Where Romance and Suspense Collide

Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 11)

Day 3 of Christmas Fun with SMJ!

Ready for more of SMJ’s Christmas Countdown?

Christmas Lights and a Sock MonkeyWe’re ready to do some work with the lights. Yes!

As you can see here, Lil Sock really likes bright shiny things. It took a while to dig him out of that bowl of bulbs. Do you remember the episode of The Big Bang Theory with Sheldon in the ball pit? You know, the one titled, The Einstein Approximation. Leonard tried to talk Sheldon into getting out of the pit so the security man could lock up, but Sheldon kept diving under the balls. then Leonard had to dive in and try to find him. Bazinga! That was me with Lil Sock in this big bowl of bulbs. This little guy is fast! I did finally get him out, but it was a chore.

Christmas cocoa mugs and 2 Sock Monkeys

Of course, afterward he wanted a treat because he was hungry, thirsty, and tired from playing. he ran over to the tray Sandra had set up with mugs. He thought the Sock Monkey figure holding a picture frame would help him argue his case. I guess he doesn’t quite have a grasp on real and play figurines. I know what you’re thinking. We’re monkeys made out of socks, we’re not real. Don’t get me started. Have you had the adventures I’ve had? Just check out my uncle Sock’s journey and my adventures ever since. Then we’ll see who’s real and who’s pretend.

Sock in Christmas Tree with the Browns Santa

Back to hanging lights. I gave up on the battle with my cousin and Sandra made us some hot cocoa. After we finished, I thought he would get back to work. No such luck. He ran to the tree and climbed up to the branch where the Brown’s Santa (that’s Sandra’s hubby’s favorite ornament) is lounging in a chair. I know, I know. Santa is supposed to be getting things ready for his big night of special deliveries. Calm down. It’s okay. He just took a few days to soak up some vitamin D and rest. He said the elves at the North Pole have been running him ragged.

You’re probably thinking, that’s not Santa. Santa is bigger and he always wears red. Take a minute and think about it. He’s trying to get some rest. If he went on vacation as he normally looks, kids would be lining up to talk to him everywhere he went. He wouldn’t get any rest. So, he used some of his magic Christmas snow from the North Pole and temporarily shrank himself and his beach attire. I promise, he’ll be back to regular size come Christmas Eve. Unlike Lil Sock, Santa takes his job VERY seriously.Lil Sock with a Christmas Sock Monkey

I guess Sandra finally put her foot down, because the next thing I saw was Lil Sock zinging around the tree moving the lights and hanging all his favorite ornaments. Of course, one of his Christmas Sock Monkeys visited with him. That’s Orna Sock Monkey with him in the picture. Some of his other ornaments are in the picture, too. Up at the top you’ll see a stick horse. Sandra’s mother-in-law made that a long time ago. Lil Sock really likes to ride it around the house during the holidays. He’s always tripping someone up when he does. Then there’s the little teddy bear ornament behind him. He likeIMG_20151116_094938s to use that one as a pillow for naps after all the hard work of decorating.

I did finally manage to get a couple of things done at my house. This first picture is black and white because I thought it made the cat’s eyes look like Christmas lights. I can’t remember which cat it was as we have four running around and two of them look almost identical. This is one of the twins as I call them. IMG_20151116_094218

This second pic gives you a better view of my tree. Isn’t it pretty? This is me hanging the first ornaments. You have to look close to see what they are. Yep, you guessed it, they’re shoes. These shoes are part of the cover for Sandra’s next release, Mastering the Brides.

As you can see we were quite busy yesterday. Lil Sock was busy being silly and I was busy running around after him trying to get him to help with the decorating. These crazy kids can wear a monkey out. Then again, they make all the holiday preparations that much more fun. I mean, who can’t laugh when they see a sock monkey next to Santa in a Brown’s shirt on a lounge chair. Am I right?

A little later today I’ll post our adventure of decorating Sandra’s office. This should be a blast.
So, what’s YOUR favorite Christmas ornament? Is there a story behind it? Tell me. I love Christmas stories.

Oh, and if you hurry, you can be the first one to pre-order the new Masters Men series novella, Mastering the Brides. It comes out the day after Christmas! Hurry, it’s available for pre-order on Smashwords right now. I’ll try and see if I can get more links later.



Sock Munkee Jr’s 25 Days ’til Christmas

SMJ counts down to Christmas with 25 Days of Fun, Festivities, and Treats!


Hi everyone, Sock Munkee Junior here to welcome you to my 25 day Christmas Countdown. Well, 24 at this point. Sandra went away for Thanksgiving and forgot to post my entry yesterday after she got back. I forgave her, though because that’s what friends do. Also, you don’t have to tell me that Tom Turkey isn’t part of the Christmas countdown, but he was so darned cute I told him I would put him in the blog. The poor guy only gets one day out of the entire year that everybody likes him, so I thought he deserved a little extra love this year.

Now, on with the countdown!

I’m thrilled you stopped by. I am so excited about this event that I’ve been bouncing off the walls for days. Sandra keeps giving me the evil eye because I can’t sit still for more than a few minutes. So, let’s get started!IMG_0946

Today started out awesome. I mean, how can hot cocoa with marshmallows and peanut butter graham crackers for breakfast be bad? Am I right? Yeah, I know I’m right.  Did you notice the mug? Yep, I used one of Sandra’s favorite mugs because she’s been dreaming of escaping to Florida to get warm. Don’t worry. She’s got so many stories playing through her head right now she can’t possibly take another vacation.

After breakfast I helped Sandra do some cleaning and laundry. She went to visit family in Ohio for Thanksgiving. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to get in some points on the ‘good’ side of Santa’s list by helping her out. Besides, the house had to be cleaned up for decorating anyway. Once she put away the cleaning supplies I begged her to take me out to get a tree. Unfortunately, she said we have an artificial one. She explained that in Colorado it’s so dry that the trees tend to lose their needles too fast and by Christmas they’re bare. I didn’t want a naked tree for Santa to put presents under, so I agreed to the artificial one. We still had to let it
stand over night because it was wrapped so tight when they put it away the branches need time to settle in place. I admit, I’m a little bummed, but waiting is better than having a poorly decorated tree. Yeah! Tree decorating time! I can’t wait. Sandra usually puts her tree up Thanksgiving weekend, but since they were traveling we had to wait. I hope to see you tomorrow. It should be great fun stringing lights and hanging ornaments.

Oh, before I go I want to tell you about a special sale Sandra is a part of during the first week of December. She belongs to a group called tAllianceAnnivBannerhe Alliance of Self-published Authors and December marks their One-year Anniversary and they want to celebrate with you! To do that, they have put a
of books on their Alliance Bookshelf for FREE! Yep, you read that right, FREE! So click their Anniversary Banner and download some great books between December 1st and December 7th!

Do you have your tree up yet? Did you put it up at Thanksgiving? Inquiring Sock Munkees want to know so leave a comment below!

Because of Sandra’s late return, I’ll post day 2 of the countdown later today so stay tuned.

Have a grSock Monkee Jr Cheering on Syreat morning!


PS – Did you see the Orange win last Friday? Sandra was attending a fund-raiser, but mom and I watched. Go Orange!

Munkeeing Around

Hi eIMG_0696veryone!

I know, it has been a long time since any of us from the Munkee family have visited Sandra‘s blog. She’s been busy writing and speaking and going to conventions, yada, yada. You know the drill, but I finally talked her into a vacation and figured it was a good time to visit with you. Oh, she’s still writing and promoting. She does take a few minutes here and there to play, so I’m taking advantage.

We started our vacation in Key Largo. We’d planned to do some scuba diving at Molasses Reef, but the seas were too high both days we were there so they weren’t going out. Scuba is still a possibility in a couple of days in Fort Pierce, but we’ll see about that later. Anyway, instead of diving we went to the pool at the hotel (that’s me on my lounge chair working on my tan).  After the pool, we got cleaned up and went to Snook’s. They have the Hawaiian tradition of sounding a horn at sunset that’s really cool. Click the pick to check out their new website.

AnywIMG_1235ay, we went to the bar for happy hour (okay, I started early at the pool with my spiked punch) and tried a new drink called the Moscow Mule. It’s made with ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice, served in a metal mug. The bartender said that is an important part because it tastes better in the metal because of the ginger. I don’t know if that’s true, but it sure tasted good to me!


Chasing the Heroes – A Sweetheart of a Sale



I’m thrilled to be joining with 16 other romance authors to offer you a chance to stock up before summer is over. There are options here for any romance genre desired from sweet to super spicy. Click on each cover for the Amazon buy link, or other links below the cover. As if this great sale from August 31st to September 4th wasn’t enough, we’re also giving away $100, $50, and $25 Amazon gift cards. Enter our Rafflecopter for your chance to win.

Starting from Lost













RescuedbyaBridesmaidLinkedCirclesSeaBreezeFalseStart2VictimofLoveLove and LibationsSecondhand HeartLoansLustLiesSilentLove

RomCon 2015 Paperwhite & Admission Giveaway


Would you like to win a Kindle Paperwhite or Saturday Admission to RomCon’s Reader Weekend?

If the answer is yes, then click on the link below and enter the Rafflecopter – RomCon 2015 Author Promotion Giveaway! Every option you complete gives you another chance to win one of these wonderful prizes. Remember, you could win …

RomCon 2015 Paperwhite & Admission Giveaway

The RomCon Reader Weekend is a great way to meet your favorite romance authors in person, get free books, collect autographs, meet other romance readers and so much more!

Join me for a fun-filled Saturday full of reader events, an amazing luncheon (at my luncheon table!), the book signing, and the Wild West Party on Saturday night! (16 hours of non-stop fun)RomCon 2015 Author Paperwhite & Admission Giveaway

Remember, I’m hosting a table at the Reader’s Luncheon and there are only four seats left. Please join me. I would love to meet more of my readers in person. There will be free books and prizes at the luncheon as well as specials at my table for my readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope to see you there!


From eBook to Audio



My guest today is an author friend I met through Bee Zee Books,  Rik Stone. Rik has recently put his debut novel, Birth of an Assassin out in audible form. He graciously agreed to visit and give us a look at his journey into audio publishing. You can click on the picture of the handsome rogue from the UK to learn more about him and his writing, but first let’s jump into the meat of this post.

A cyber friend of mine, author Thomas Drinkard, read and enjoyed my debut novel Birth of an Assasin. He reviewed the work, put it on Amazon, and then made contact. The conversation went something like this:

Tom: Tbirthassassinhought I’d drop you a line to tell you I have read and reviewed your book. You won’t be disappointed, so I don’t mind giving you the link … Giving thought to your work a little later, I think it would make a great audio book; have a look at the site  http://www.acx.com/ and see what you think.

Me: Yeah, thanks, Tom, it looks good, but I think it’s a bit rich for my blood. Thanks for thinking of me, though.

Tom: Look again. It isn’t necessarily going to cost you anything, other than maybe the cover. Read up on the SHARED option.

I studied everything I had overlooked on the previous browsing of the site and saw that until about ten/twelve months ago the option to independently produce an audiobook with ACX was only available to authors in the US. Not anymore, now it also includes the UK and is spreading further, strike one to me! Reading further I found that if the author is willing to split the royalties with the narrator (royalty shared option) then the whole thing can be carried out free of initial costs. For me that meant have an audio book produced or don’t, so the share didn’t seem too important. As an aside, the contract runs for seven years, so if by that time you feel you might have done better somehow elsewhere, that option isn’t dead in the water. Next steps; join ACX using your Amazon account and add your title.

Before I forget, I should mention what was said about the cost of cover work being a possibility. Unlike paperback or eBook, the cover has to be square, 360×360 as I remember. I bypassed that cost by cutting my original cover down to size, missed out a couple of bits that weren’t terribly important and dragged the name Rik Stone down onto the new cover, so the cover was cost free too.

Okay, you’re a member and you’ve claimed that you are the title owner and ACX has accepted that fact. Now you need to find a piece of text from the book that will excite the socks of a prospective narrator, I think off the top of my head it is around 400/500 words, but don’t trust me the site will tell you that. Choose something that is appealing and at the same time will stretch the range of the narrator’s voice. Found it? Then upload it and, as ACX will tell you, wait for the auditions to roll in. There are a lot of books up there begging audition, so I think that suggestion might be a little optimistic. I did have a couple of interested parties, but not enough to call it a stampede. I took the other approach, I searched through the narrators I might like, listened to how they performed samples of other people’s works and found several that sounded right for my stuff, so I made contact with them and told them where to find the auditioning sample. Job done, I waited for a response.

Because the setting of Birth of an Assassin is post war Soviet Russia, I pretty much wanted an actor whose accent was English but didn’t belong to any particular English speaking country. Enter Dennis Kleinman. You can listen to some of his samples of my book at http://rik-stone.com/audio.html and see if you can pin down the origin of his accent; I can’t.

I don’t know if all narrators work the same, but Dennis sent completed chapters to me one or two at a time and I was able to check for accuracy as we went. If there was anything I wasn’t happy with, Dennis changed the work immediately and without complaint, kudos to him. At the end of the work, which took just under three months, I gave it the okay and the rest was down to Dennis. What do I mean by that? It is up to the narrator to produce the sound quality that ACX will accept, so by this time the author is out of the loop.

Once accepted, the audio goes live. Now it is up to both sides, author and narrator, to market the book; another benefit of the shared royalty option, you have just doubled those campaigning on behalf of the audiobook.

My views: Early days to be too definite about anything. My work is available in paperback and eBook for Birth of an Assassin and The Turkish Connection. The eBooks sell copy, the paperbacks look nice on my desk stuck between two wise owl bookends and the audiobook for Birth of an Assassin gives that extra dimension of professionalism. I have several other books queued up behind what is out there awaiting publication and I’m a believer that a single successful book, I mean really successful, will sell everything else you’ve ever written, and this will also apply to that first audio book.

So far what is here, is written in the view of an independent author, but it applies to most authors. Trade published authors don’t necessarily sign away the audio rights with a book contract, so a nod from the publisher can give them the go ahead to do the same with their work.

Good Luck!


RikStonePhotAuthor Bio

Do children born into poverty become impoverished adults? It happens; pitfalls and roadblocks to advancement are everywhere. Rik Stone grew up poor amidst the slum-lands of fifties North East England, leaving school at 15 without any academic qualifications.

After working in shipyards and a stint in the merchant navy he worked quarries in South East England. Life was without horizons until he studied for, and completed, a BSc degree in mathematics and computing.

Taking a company pension at fifty, he was able to follow personal desires and began writing. Now, he is offering up his debut novel Birth of an Assassin, the first in a series. The second book in the series is also now available, The Turkish Connection.

birthassassinBirth of an Assassin Buy links:

Amazon UK     Amazon US      B&N      Kobo      Google       Waterstones    Audible







turkishThe Turkish Connection Buy links:

Amazon UK     Amazon US      B&N      Kobo      Google       Waterstones


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