Friday, November 30, 2012


This year, I decorated our Christmas Tree with an assortment of DIY ornaments with steampunk and alchemy flair. This was surprisingly simple and inexpensive to create. I found everything at a local craft store and assembly took less than two hours. *Caution: If you're using magnifiers as ornaments, assemble your tree in an area of your home without direct sunlight.*

Materials: Large Felt Top Hat, Pearl Strands, Plastic Sand Art Bottles in various sizes with Cork Tops, Skeleton Key Ornaments, Various Magnifying Glasses, Food Coloring, Water, Bronze Craft Wire

 This top hat is not the $20 "christmas tree top hat tree topper" found at retail stores. I bought a $4 large felt top hat at the craft store and added some red ribbon and holly, sat it on top of the tree and viola! A Top Hat Tree Topper

I created different sizes, colors, and designs of "alchemy potion vials" by filling plastic sand art bottles and test tubes (sand art bottles were $0.50 each and test tubes can be found for $9 per 10 pack) with food coloring and water, then wrapping each tube in a flexible, bronze craft wire. Super easy! 

I found several antique looking pocket watches on clearance for $5. They made perfect accessories for my steampunk tree and I can use them for other things through out the year. 

Various sizes and styles of magnifiers complete the look. If using magnifiers as ornaments, make sure to keep your tree in an area of your home without direct sunlight or keep your shades drawn to avoid fire hazards. I found a three pack of magnifiers for $2 at the craft store

My kids love this tree, especially the magnifiers which are super fun to look through. The potion vials are non-toxic, being only water and food coloring, so they're safe if the kids get curious and open them... which they will not do because I told them the potions would turn them into spiders. Ha!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

History of an Author

During the Second Grade, my class was given the task of writing a story for a homework assignment. Me? I wrote a book. Then, I begged my mom to type it up, bind it and laminate the cover. I even illustrated the entire thing, every page, with colored pencils. 

Last week, my mother found this book, still intact, in a box in her basement. Without further fanfare, here it is... Complete with poorly illustrated cat nipples, spelling errors, grammar mishaps, random POV shifts and a convoluted plot about a promiscuous lady cat, a randy tom cat, and the offspring they sired. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stuck In Books: Caged in Myth by J.T. Fairfield ~ Spotlight, inter...

Stuck In Books: Caged in Myth by J.T. Fairfield ~ Spotlight, inter...: Add to Goodreads From Goodreads LGBT Upper YA Urban Fantasy *CAUTION : This title contains cursing, graphic violence, and reference...

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Very Steampunk Christmas: How To

For those of you, like me, who are looking for ways to Steampunk-ify their Christmas this year... 

BEHOLD : Steampunk Christmas 
Examples and Ideas

With a little modification, this DIY gift / stocking stuffer could be very Steampunk.

A Very Important Date pocket watch. Use pocket watches as tree ornaments.

Wrap these test tubes in copper colored wire, fill with colored water, and hang on your tree for quick and easy DIY Steampunk ornaments.

To keep up with all my Old World / Steampunk Christmas and Holiday finds, follow my board on Pinterest. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Author Marketing and Promo How/Where-To's

I've had a few people ask me where I bought my banner and promotional materials shown in the picture posted below. 

Here's a quick run-down of costs and where to buy.

  • The banner came from VistaPrint  and cost $25. It would normally have been closer to $50 but VistaPrint  routinely runs 50% off sales and I waited until I had a coupon code to buy my banner. They run promotions throughout the month so keep checking back until you see the item you want is on sale.

  • The rack cards came from Zazzle. They're great quality and printed front and back. $11.25 for 25 cards. Zazzle  also does a different promotion each week along with a special 4 hr sale every friday where something is discounted at least 50%. They do free shipping and I've never received a bad product from them.

  • I loaded e-books onto pencil and pen shaped USB Flash Drives  which I purchased on e-bay for $3.99 to $5.99 each. Keep in mind, you will need to report the e-book sales to whichever publisher holds the rights to the book you sell.

  • The payments I took via credit/debit cards were done on my phone through the SquareUp  program. SquareUp  gives you a free app to download and sends you a free card read which plugs into your phone. I was unable to get the card reader to work, but I simply punched the card numbers into the app and completed the transaction that way. The money was deposited straight into my checking account.

I think that's about it. If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them.

Most important: RESULTS

I setup this booth at a local street fair on Saturday, October 13th. I brought only fifteen paperbacks of my recent release because I honestly didn't think random people at a street fair would buy them. At 8:30 a.m., I sold my first copy. The fair didn't actually start until 9:00. I took this as a good sign. By 2:00, I'd sold out of paperbacks and had sold 3 e-books on flash drives.

By noon, I was completely out of the promotional pens and bookmarks which one of my publishers, Eternal Press, had sent to me. People absolutely loved them. I gave away 2 gift bags in exchange for email addresses and they were a huge hit. The free candy I offered was a great icebreaker. I gathered about 75 emails for marketing purposes. I'm counting this as a success. I probably could have sold another fifteen paperbacks if I'd had them in hand. 

Within 24 hrs after the street fair, I've had a marked improvement in the Amazon rankings of a couple of my books. I've also received a few emails from people who took my promotional materials home, found me online, then purchased a book of mine.

I guess the moral of this story is, get out there, take a chance, make an impression. :-)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Huge, Multi-Author Giveaway on October 13th!

Hoo-Ray for Reading!!!


On October 13th, I'll be at the Yellow Springs Street Fair in Yellow Springs, OH signing, selling books, and giving two big, canvas tote bags filled with amazing prizes. 

Each winner will receive a large green canvas tote filled with books, buttons, Mary Kay products, character playing cards, pens, two thumb drives loaded with ebooks, a cute stuffed Autumn Owl, and many other gifts donated by wonderful authors from around the globe.


I will be selling paperbacks of my Urban Fantasy novel Surprisingly Supernatural, which is set in Yellow Springs. E-books will also be sold at my booth and will come with one of my unique pen or pencil thumb drives. The pen actually writes! Cool? Yes! 

Stop by my booth, number 513, on October 13th. Sign up for the giveaways and pick up a paperback or thumdrive ebook of one of my books!

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm Totally Famous! Well..Kind Of


Article Written by Devon Aragona

     Findlay can now add a published author of fiction books to its list of alumni. S.J. Drum recently released her third book Surprisingly Supernatural, the first in what is to be a series published by Eternal Press. 
    Drum, known as Sara Caudill when attending Findlay, is a 2005 graduate who majored in fine arts with a minor in psychology.     
 Being an author was in no way what Drum thought she was going to end up doing with her life.  
    “I thought I was going to be a marine biologist,” she said. “I actually got into a marine biology masters program at the University of Miami Florida the summer after I graduated from Findlay.” 
    Having written her first book in second grade, and a little “terrible emo poetry,” it wasn’t until later in her twenties she pursued writing.
    “Around my twenty-sixth birthday, I decided I was going to write a novel and gave myself a deadline,” she said. 
    The book is a fantasy whose protagonist is a young woman named Elaina.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Interview with Author Linda Hays-Gibbs

I'd like to welcome fellow Eternal Press author Linda Hays-Gibbs. She's been kind enough to answer a few questions and provide us with some wonderful info on her newest books. 


Do you have any rituals when you write? A certain pen to chew on, a particular drink, or something like that?
  • Sure, I chew on a pencil now and then but mainly I talk to my parrot.  She answers me back sometimes and tells me she loves me. I have my diet Dr. Peppers and I watch Law and Order. 

How do you edit a manuscript? On your computer, by making notes on an e-reader, or do you print out a copy and attack it with a good ‘ole fashioned red pen? 
  • I read it over and over again and my editor uses track on word.

If you could send a message back in time to yourself as you’re writing your first book, what would you tell yourself? 
  • I would go back and tell myself to not let others stop me from doing my dreams. I should have been writing for many years but my ex husband thought I could do nothing but wait on him.  His new wife never waits on him.

Do you have a significant other, and if so, do they read your books? What do they think of them? 
  • I do not have a significant other. My daughter reads my books and tells me they are good.  I just hope that someone enjoys them. I put my heart into them.

Who is your favorite character in the book you’re currently promoting? Why?
  • My favorite character in "My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls" is Pru because she grows up finally. I know it takes her awhile but she has a lot going on and for her to remain sane is an effort.  I like her.  I also like Pierre.  He adds some spice to the story.

Where can we find you online? 

This review is from: My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls

By S (Latrobe, Australia) -

The battlefields rob innocent young Pru of her beloved twin, her Scottish admirer and her future. One day she is a young lady enjoying a ball; all too soon after she is wandering through the carnage seeking two bodies among the multitude. But she is not alone. A great dog howls a dirge, and a half-crazed Frenchman watches Pru with hungry fascination. In the aftermath, Pru returns to a home that is no longer hers, and then moves on to a deserted house. With Knight, the dog whom she has adopted, she tries to overcome her nightmares but again she is not alone.

This sounds as if the story is one of unrelenting misery, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once Pru is over the initial shock and horror, she is a resourceful young woman and she really needs to be. What with the protective Knight, an amorous ghost, assorted demons, vampires and the eponymous angel to deal with, the arrival of a flesh-and-blood Scot is just one more thing. And then there's the Frenchman in Pru's c-- (shhh, that's a spoiler!) Parts of this story made me laugh out loud. It is exquisitely funny in places, and oh-so-sad in others. It never fails to hold my interest. Linda Hays-Gibbs's mind-world is an enchanted and enchanting place. (So, what's the genre? Um... sensual Gothic romance horror comedy Regency will do for starters...)

My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls by Linda Hays-Gibbs

“What I said to your brother, lassie, was true. You are the sweetest flower here, and so tiny. I thought you were a dream when I saw you. Your brother looks a lot like you. Do ye be twins?”

“Yes, Your Grace, we are fraternal twins although Mike is so much larger than I am.”

“Well, this be a real funny coincidence. I have a twin too. We are like two peas in a pod, lassie.” He laughed and Prudence lost her heart. His smile radiated with a white brilliance and was so real, especially when she saw the twin dimples in his handsome cheeks. 

The dance was coming to a close and Fearghass steered his catch into the doors that led to the balcony. Pru had no time to protest before he had her hidden behind the door and took her into his arms. She saw his mouth descending to hers as if in slow motion and licked her lips. It was like a dream come true. His lips, hard and smooth, captured hers, stopping the chaos of her mind. Pru’s heart hammered wildly.

Angel in My Heart, Devil in My Soul

An assassin searches for the woman he is hired to kill but when he finds her, he cannot kill her.  Her beauty astonishes him and he is left immobile.  She captivates his heart and mind and lures him away from the devil with her magical powers. She has lost her memory and does not know she is an angel. She falls in love with this brutal man and is carried away to Scotland.  When she finds her memory, the devil is in her house, literally and she must escape.
Coming in November by Eternal Press

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Romantic Thriller by Tim Smith

 Tim Smith introduces us to his new Romantic Thriller in today's post.

I’m pleased to be Sara’s guest today and to introduce my new romantic thriller, Never Look Back, from eXtasy Books. This is the second in the Nick Seven series I began last year with Memories Die Last but like all of my series titles, this one stands alone.

“Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens left the CIA to carve out an idyllic anonymous life in The Florida Keys. The last thing they wanted was to be used by their former employer as pawns in America’s war on terror. Nick and Felicia navigate a complex maze of intrigue and double-crosses while dealing with a rogue agent from their past who has a score to settle. When Felicia becomes part of the scheme the stakes get higher and more personal. Can Nick keep her out of harm’s way or will he finally be outwitted? Will Felicia stay with him or return to Barbados?”

People have asked me about these characters and why I chose the setting I did. When I conceived the series I needed a place for these former spies to hang out, somewhere colorful where anything could happen but nothing that had been overused. I had recently visited The Florida Keys and asked myself a question – “If I were a former CIA spook who wanted to hide in plain sight, where would I go? Key Largo.” For plot purposes its ideal – Miami is to the north, and Key West is a couple of hours south.  A lot of action can take place on that hundred-mile stretch of islands.

Nick isn’t your typical spy guy action hero like you see on TV or in the movies. He isn’t married to his job like Gibbs on NCIS and he doesn’t ache to get back into the espionage game like Michael Weston on Burn Notice. Nor does he feel an unflagging loyalty to Queen and country like James Bond. Nick had enough and wants to stay the hell out of the game. Unfortunately his former employers have different ideas.

Every good adventure has a sexy tough leading lady for the hero to bounce ideas and one-liners off of and Nick has Felicia, the Barbadian beauty he was once partnered with. He teasingly calls her “the toughest broad this side of the West Indies” but it’s no joke. She can kick ass with the best of them and the heat they generate between the sheets could melt the polar ice cap. Even though the stories are adventure thrillers, there’s a very strong romance at the core and a deep emotional attachment between the two leads.

                                                                        * * * *

Nick got himself a scotch and soda then joined Felicia at his private table on the outdoor deck, one that commanded a view of the Gulf. The setting sun was putting on its nightly show as bursts of orange peeked through the remaining clouds, casting a purplish hue on the bright blue water. This is the best part of the day—each sunset is different than the day before.
He relaxed in his seat, lit a cigarette and enjoyed the light jazz being played by the combo near the outdoor bar. The music smoothed and blended with the chatter of the bar patrons. He sipped his drink and gazed adoringly at her.
“You’re pretty. You know that?”
She glanced down and unconsciously brushed back a strand of her long brown hair. “You keep pilin’ on the compliments and you’ll make me think you want somethin’.”
“Only the same thing you want.” He looked at her for a moment. “Are you really happy here?”
Felicia glanced down and slowly moved her glass in a circular motion on the table. “Yeah, I am. I feel like I have a purpose.”
“What purpose?’
She grinned. “Keepin’ you out of trouble.”
Nick laughed. “Pretty big job. You didn’t have a purpose when you went back to Barbados after you quit The Agency?”
She scoffed. “Hon, manhandlin’ drunks in a waterfront bar wasn’t the kind of career change I had in mind.”
“What did you think of doing?”
She sipped her rum and Coke. “I wasn’t really sure. After everything we did overseas I wanted to get into somethin’ less dangerous but not too borin’. My brother tried talkin’ me into workin’ at the bank with him but I knew that wasn’t for me.”
“I can’t see you as a nine-to-fiver.”
“Me either. Workin’ as a bouncer wasn’t much better, but it kept me in shape and on my toes.” She looked at him for a moment. “It’s you I can’t figure out sometimes.”
“Because you were the original go-to guy when we were in the field, but now you’re content to hang around here catchin’ sunsets.”
“Beats catching terrorists.”
Felicia laughed. “No argument, but I still don’t get it.”
Nick took a drink. “After everything I went through, all the close calls, the double-crosses…and losing my wife because of my job, I made a personal promise.”
“What promise?”
Nick bored into her soft brown eyes. “No more killing.”
“Good philosophy.”

                                                                        * * * *

If you’re in the mood for an adventure with a topical theme, colorful setting and two intriguing characters, then check out Never Look Back. If you get a sudden thirst for a Pina Colada or a desire to book your next vacation in The Keys, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Author bio:

Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from romantic mystery/thriller to contemporary erotic romance. He is also a freelance photographer. When he isn’t pursuing those two passions he can often be found in The Florida Keys, doing research between parasailing and seeking out the perfect Mojito. His website is

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Author Spotlight: Jane Toombs

Change of Seasons
A Guest Post by Author Jane Toombs


 August nights turned cold, and by the time the month spilled into September, our furnace came on before morning. Us Yoopers (those of us lucky enough to live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) know this is typical of summer nights We know these colder nights make the days take longer to warm up--a sign fall is hovering in the wings. (For grammarians: No one up here ever says “we Yoopers.” It’s always “us Yoopers.”)

We don’t have a lawn. We have a meadow, situated as we are across the road from Lake Superior. Now the Queen Anne ’s lace, the wild phlox, the black-eyed susans, Indian paintbrushes and other native wild flowers have all gone to seed--except for the goldenrod, which is still in bloom. By the end of September even the goldenrod will have gone to seed. Chances are we’ll be having night frosts.

But we still have October to look forward to. Pleasantly warm days mixed with some rain, with frosty nights. Unless we get an unusual early snow, autumn up here is gorgeous with all the bright-colored leaves on the deciduous trees.

When I lived in Southern California I really missed the seasons changing, even though once I got acclimatized I realized vegetation is slightly different during the four seasons even there..

So when I set a book in an unfamiliar place, I do careful research about seasonal changes to avoid weather and flora mistakes. When I wrote Deception’s Bride I had to be especially careful because the book is set in the 1600s in America, Formosa, Holland and England as the heroine tries to find her place in the world.

One might think I made an error having an American Indian on a sailing ship. But research showed that, in the early days, ship captains often took male Indians back to their home countries to show them off and some of these men became sailors.

So, yes, Deception’s Bride is historical, but also is full of suspense and romance, plus a few paranormal elements. While it was fun to write, I did have to do a lot of research. I will be giving away a download of this ebook to a commenter on Sara Jane’s blog.

Deception‘s Bride: Forced to marry a man she dislikes, Donella is relieved, though frightened, when the terrifying call of "Pirates!" ends her wedding. She's rescued by a never-forgotten man she's seen only once before. But can he keep her safe from either the pirates--or her new husband?


What do I usually write? Like the seasons, I’ve gone through phases, beginning with gothics, then came contemporary romance, historical romance, including Regencies. I wrote and sold a horror book (Note: My SO finds some of my paranormals too horrific for his taste.) I love fantasy and some of my paranormals veer into that genre. Two of my suspense books the publisher labeled as murder mysteries.

These days I mostly write contemporary paranormal suspense romance. Which, actually, my early gothic were. So I guess, like when the year ends, I’m actually back where I started.

All my books can be found on my website at: