Happy Snarktember!

I’m blogging about National Chess Day at the great Snarktemberfest!

lisa pietsch, snarky mom reads, snarktember

lisa pietsch, snarky mom reads, snarktemberI’m also giving away books!  You can get a free copy of The Path to Freedom by leaving a comment on my guest blog at Snarky Mom Reads and you can also get Sarah’s Summer free at Amazon this week.

Sarah’s summer is a very short read about what happens when Sarah and her team have too much time on their hands and not enough bad guys to chase.

Click here to read my guest blog for Snarky Mom and see what trips my triggers about a good game of chess (and hot guys with guns).

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway too!

giveaway logo, lisa pietsch, snarky mom reads, snarktember

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hot Guys with Guns – Nathan Fillion

There are several reasons why Nathan Fillion should be considered hot –

Let me count the ways:

Ruggedly Handsome

He really is ruggedly handsome.


with Guns


He’s a space cowboy!

space cowboy


he’s not afraid to be Silly

He’s Canadian.  It’s kind of a requirement.

sillion1Canadian-born actor Nathan Fillion gained critical acclaim and a large cult of fans when he starred as Captain Malcolm Reynolds on the Joss Whedon TV series Firefly (2002), having previously been a regular on One Life to Live (1968) and Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place (1998). Fillion had also appeared in small roles in the films Blast from the Past(1999) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Whedon gave Fillion a chance to display his range when he cast Fillion as the twisted preacher Caleb, a villain, in the seventh and final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer(1997).

sillion 2When Firefly (2002) was prematurely canceled in late 2002, the show’s cast, crew, and many fans were devastated. Whedon vowed to resurrect the series in some way, and Fillion played Captain Reynolds again in the feature-film Serenity (2005). Fillion followed this film with more big screen leading roles in the horror-comedy Slither (2006) and the indie hit Waitress (2007). He also continued to be a force in television, starring in the short-lived Fox-TV series Drive (2007) and appearing on ABC’s Desperate Housewives(2004). He took his first singing part (and cemented his cult appeal) as Captain Hammer in Whedon’s musical Internet smash Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008).

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Azure_Girl


he plays a Writer

Parents are Cookie and Bob Fillion, both of whom are retired English teachers.

fillion should be writing

He gives great meme





He’s got great (Social) presence


In case you haven’t seen it, you’d want your face on Jared Padalecki’s chest too.



You’re welcome – for all of it.

Happy Friday!

Ballantine’s Day (Task Force 125) Now Available for Pre-Order

Ballantine’s Day

Task Force 125 #6

ballantine's Day, tracey ballantine, sarah stevens, task force 125Now available for pre-order

We first met Tracy Ballantine at a clandestine training camp in the Nevada Desert.  She and Sarah Stevens were bunkmates.  Though they went to separate teams, they were both assigned to Task Force 125.  Ballantine’s Day is the story of Tracy’s first assignment.  I hope you’ll enjoy her adventures as much as you’ve enjoyed Sarah’s.

When his entire team is wiped out in an attack on their safe house, Karl must not only clear his name with the CIA and find the real culprits, but he has to do it with a shiny new blonde bombshell agent who is completely wrong for the sort of fieldwork necessary.
Tracy Ballantine was used to being underestimated by men who couldn’t see past her blonde hair and blue eyes, but there was something so wrong about Karl that she knew she’d have to kill him in his sleep.
Can two wrongs make it right?

Pre-order Ballantine’s Day at Amazon.com now!


Kissing the Frogman (Task Force 125) Now Available for Pre-Order

Kissing the frogman

Task Force 125 #5

Kissing the FrogmanNow available for pre-order

With American Swift in a holding pattern as Sarah and Jay hold down the fort in Moscow, Brian Allen is getting restless.  He’s the kind of guy who can only go on so long lounging around on a yacht on the Moroccan coast.  Just when he’s looking for some pyrotechnic action, Brian meets the most explosive woman he’s ever met. Kissing the Frogman is Brian’s story.

Jennifer Santiago can spot a special forces adrenaline junkie from miles away and knows the score. They’re great for a hook-up but lousy in the long-term relationship department. Lucky for her she was on the rebound and one of those junkies just walked into the casino.

Brian Allen had seen combat all around the world as a Navy SEAL and a paramilitary operations officer in the CIA’s Special Activities Division. When his team is given a cushy assignment as backup in Morocco, he quells the itch for action by taking a night to relax with a beautiful distraction. When she proved even more distracting, he was happy to take the Director’s call – until he realized his big distraction was the Director’s daughter.

Pre-order Kissing the Frogman at Amazon.com now!


Genius Reciperemus

That moment you read something really brilliant you’d forgotten you’d written.


Tail From the Goddess #FREEREAD

tail from the goddess, freereadTail from the Goddess

Originally created as a round-robin story by authors of the now closed Sapphire Blue Publishing, Tail from the Goddess is a little paranormal romp that is completely FREE!

Click here to download!

Julia Sanderson pressed her palm to her forehead. Where am I, and what did I do? She opened her eyes to find herself in her own bedroom, but something was off. Maybe it was just the hangover. She rolled out of bed and swayed a little as her head throbbed. She closed her eyes against the morning sunlight hammering at her through the window and walked blindly toward the bathroom. As she reached the bathroom door, she heard something rustle in the bed. Something that sounded much larger than her cat, Pyewacket. Every hair on the back of her neck stood up, and she opened her eyes wide. She took a deep breath and turned toward the bed. How did I miss that? A gorgeous man with stunning green eyes smiled at her. “Good morning.”

Click here to read more…



Be a Wolf!

Never be ordinary.  Never be mediocre.  Be a fucking wolf.


The Rock Says:

“Success at anything will always come down to this: Focus & Effort. And we control both.”


Coffee Understands

Coffee doesn’t ask silly questions.  Coffee understands.

coffee understands

My Version of PMS

One minute I’m all “I love you, Pumpkin”, then next, I’m Tourette’s and a gun.

honey bunny

What is Google+? Why choose a G+ Profile or Page?


In a nutshell, Google+ is your big IN with search engine traffic.  Google+ Profiles & Pages are very similar to Facebook Profiles & Pages except for one tiny thing:
Google+ Pages are crawled instantly and will show up at the top of any relevant Google searches  
If you use the Google+ Profile & Page on the same account as your YouTube channel then it creates a one-two punch to the top of Google rankings for your YouTube channel as well.
YouTube is a great vehicle, but when you add the Google+ Profile & Page to it, it’s like rocket fuel.
Don’t use YouTube?  Doesn’t matter.
If you want to be at the top of Google search results, use Google+!


The difference between a Google+ Profile and a Google+ Page are much the same as Facebook.
The Google+ Profile is usually of a more personal nature whereas the Google+ Page is for a brand/business.
Google-Plus-LogoThe Google+ Page offers analytics just like the Facebook Page does.  Using a Google+ Page for your brand provides you with a way of getting information fed directly into Google (creating the ultimate search engine optimization – unless you’re pulling titles out of your ass an not using appropriate keywords) and tells us a wealth of demographic information about fans including age, sex, location, how often they visit, how engaged they are in content, what content they like, and what brings them in.  As you can guess, this is important information to use as you grow your audience.


#1: Follow the Formula

Format your posts properly:
  • Post titles should be no more than 40 characters long and use asterisks at each end to make them bold.
  • Begin your post with a short, 159 character summary so people will see the whole thing without having to click Read More.
  • Include a link to the destination post if you’re using an image or video.  (Images pull BIG traffic on Google+.)
  • Add personal insight to create a connection with the reader. Ask a question or include a call to action to help boost your engagement.
  • Add three to five hashtags to improve discovery in Google+ and Google search.

#2: Stay On-Topic

What is your brand?  What is your product?  Why should people bother with what you have to share?  That’s your topic.  Stay on it.

#3: Share Business Posts to your Personal Profile

You’re short on time. Combine your efforts and post to both to extend your reach and reap great dividends.
For even better results, get a network of friends together who will collectively share each others’ posts.
By sharing your posts from multiple accounts, you reach a much wider audience. Adding a level of personality to your posts (via customized insights about them) adds a personalized punch to the content, which in turn expresses expertise, authority and trustworthiness.

#4: Post Third-Party Content

It’s OK to link to other blogs or share other people’s posts. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to provide 80% content that is not promotional in nature (including content from someone else) and 20% that speaks to what you do.
Add your own comments to the third-party content you share to increase your authority, as well as showing others that is has value and they should read it.  Remember: It’s not always about you.

#5: Analytics

When you know what moves the needle for your business, it’s easier to measure the metrics that relate to it.
As you analyze metrics from the Google+ dashboard, you might also want to look at the momentum in metrics to determine whether your social media efforts are working. As you note trends in these metrics, you can tweak your tactics as necessary.
Wrapping Up
To reap the benefits of Google+
  • Stay on-topic
  • Share helpful information from others
  • Leverage your network of existing connections

Feel the Heat with @tinagerow on @blogtalkradio!

btr, blog talk radio, renee bernard, tina gerow, @TinaGerowTonight my friend and fellow Butterscotch Martini Girl, Cassie Ryan aka @TinaGerow, will be on Renee Bernard’s (@ReneeBernard) Blog Talk Radio show.  Please be sure to tune in!  Here are the details:

my obsession, @tinagerow, @blogtalkradio, @ReneeBernardI’m on The Romance Bookmark Radio Show tonight with Renee Bernard! It’s at 8:30EST to listen live, but she’ll have a permalink on her site that you can listen to if you can’t make it for the live one tonight!!

This link won’t go active until 8:30pm EST/5:30pm MST tonight, but here’s the live one. 

Then, if you miss the live show, you can visit this permalink to listen later.

Tina is promoting her new release, My Obsession, writing as Cassie Ryan, her super naughty alter-ego who writes a white hot, spanking good time.  She’s a whole lot of fun in person too, so check her out on Renee’s show and follow her on Twitter. @TinaGerow


I’m Dreaming Scenes

the path to freedom, dreaming scenes, by Sapphire Blue Publishing

Released September 21, 2008

There was a time when I had a story that kept coming to me every night in my dreams.  Characters sprung fully-formed into my nights and their personal stories played out in scenes out of order.  Every day, I’d wake wondering what they were trying to tell me.  What was the story?

And then I started writing scenes down.

More and more of my sleep was spent dreaming scenes.

Those characters and those scenes from my dreams became The Path to Freedom.

It’s been nearly 7 years since that book earned my my first publishing contract.

For a very long time, my characters didn’t speak to me.  I wrote out of commitment – contracts had to be fulfilled.  But I wasn’t inspired.

I’m a completely different person today.  My life has changed so much for the better, but the changes weren’t easy.  I’ve been through a gauntlet these past four years and I began to wonder if I’d write again at all.  Was it just a pipe dream?  Was I just a pretender?  After all, writer’s write, right?

But life happens, and sometimes we have all we can do to just live.  During those times, we have to forgive ourselves – and just breathe.

Last night I dreamed a scene for the first time in years.


I’m dreaming scenes.  Finally…I can write again.

Look for Kissing the Frogman & Ballantine’s Day (both Task Force 125 novellas) coming to Amazon.com for preorder in August.

Look for excerpts here.

voices are back, dreaming scenes

So Many More Giveaways! #Thriller #SciFi @RomConInc @FreshFiction

Like audio books?  Here are a few giveaways you may want to enter:

Win Secrets of the Kill from Lawrence Kelter and Audible.com

Giveaways, secrets of the kill, lawrence kelterLawrence Kelter’s new crime novel, Secrets of the Kill (F Street Books) moves from an opening target-practice scene starring Kelter’s tough, smart-mouth ex-Marine and FBI agent Chloe Mather, to her investigation of a local homicide, and then to chapters starring Mafiosi.

Win an Audible.com Copy of Don’t Close Your Eyes by Lawrence Kelter

Giveaways, don't close your eyes, lawrence kelterThree very different women have been murdered and NYPD Detective Stephanie Chalice wants to know why. Her case begins on the Roosevelt Island tram. The conductor has been shot, but lying next to him is the real mystery: a woman who might appear to have died of natural causes if not for the handwritten note stuffed in her mouth that simply reads “Look back!”

Win 1 of 10 Audio Downloads of Agent I1: Tristan (The D.I.R.E. Agency – Book 1) by Joni Hahn

Giveaways, agent I1: Tristan, joni hahnRaised in the art of warfare, Former Navy SEAL, Tristan Jacobs, has always been a force to reckon with. Now that D.I.R.E. has successfully implemented his scientific enhancements, he’s a walking weapon. Unstoppable, as long as he stays focused. No relationships.

When ex-BUD/S teammate, Aidan Monroe, interrupts his long-awaited sabbatical to call in a favor, Tristan reluctantly fills the simple request: take out his sister’s fiancé.

One problem: Rachel Monroe – smokin’ hot, kind-hearted, and in desperate need of a protector. After the best sex of his life, Tristan’s afraid unstoppable is just a memory. Knowing Aidan’s temper, Tristan could be, too.

RomCon Reader Weekend 2015 Author Giveaway by Joni Hahn

Enter the GiveawayGiveaways, romcon for a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite and a Saturday admission to RomCon’s Reader Weekend! There will be three different giveaways all summer long! This giveaway is from July 10-30th!

Enjoy a Super Summer of Reading with Joni Hahn & Fresh Fiction

Joni HahnGiveaways, fresh fiction, joni hahn makes your hot summer cool by offering you a chance to win an Amazon – Fire HD. It’s black with a 7″ screen and 8GB. The resolution is 1280 x 800 and has front and rear cameras.

All you have to do to enter is sign up for Joni’s newsletter and answer this question: If you had the super power to rid the world of one thing, what would it be?  Find out more and enter to win at Fresh Fiction!


Feeling Lucky? Too Many #Goodreads Giveaways to Lose

19goodreadsI hang out with bookish types.  Lots of times they’ll give away unlimited copies of books (see yesterday’s post) but when quantities are limited or they’re giving away and ereader or something, they’ll give away as many as they can.  This particular bunch are being given away at Goodreads.

Following are just a few of the giveaways I know about this weekend:

Lawrence Kelter #Thriller #Crime #Police

Enter now to win a paperback copy of Baby Girl Doe!


Everyone deserves a well-earned vacation, don’t they? Guess again! Plans have been made and the bags are packed but Detective Stephanie Chalice is having about as much fun as Michael Vick at an ASPCA fundraiser. The new story finds Chalice and Lido on the East End of Long Island, vacationing with Max, their new arrival. Things go wrong from the very start. Their vacation rental burns to the ground, bodies pile up, and just to make things interesting, Lido . . . All I’ll say is that you’ll never believe it. Chalice may be out of her jurisdiction but she’s never out of questions or determination and soon connects two unsolved homicides. As always, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and her initial findings plunge her deeper and deeper into the most extraordinary investigation of her career.  Click here to enter

Enter now to win a paperback copy of Secrets of the Kill

secrets of the kill, lawrence kelterNPR Review by Joan Baum:
Lawrence Kelter’s new crime novel, Secrets of the Kill (F Street Books) moves from an opening target-practice scene starring Kelter’s tough, smart-mouth ex-Marine and FBI agent Chloe Mather, to her investigation of a local homicide, and then to chapters starring Mafiosi. Mather, who’s spent fighting time in Afghanistan, is a delightful heroine. She gets on well with her live-in love, Liam, a meteorologist, and they both share a cottage in Huntington, with her mother Grace. Chloe’s feisty and smart, and it takes her no time to find out the name of the homicide victim, a young woman whose dismembered torso has been accidentally speared one night by a guy into illegal fishing. It turns out that the woman, Rachel Rabin, was working for Israeli intelligence in an office not far from JFK that fronts as a freight transport business. In reality, the place manages an operation run by The Mob, an exchange program – heroin for guns that are sent to a well-heeled sheik planning to kill thousands of Jews in New York.

The most engaging parts of the novel involve put-down exchanges between her and her FBI partner, the fast-mouth, equally funny Dominic Cabrera (he calls her “Gumdrop”) who matches her, insult for insult. No romance, but lots of affection and mutual respect. Meanwhile, another kind of adventure has kicked in: an airplane in distress. The pilot of an incoming Israeli Air Force Gulfstream radios JFK that his co-pilot is ill, but soon he, too, falls unconscious. A lone passenger, a top intelligence agent on his way to find out what happened to Rachel, takes over and lands the plane. These chapters, though exciting, seem removed from the Chloe-centered ones, especially as the narrative becomes more ideological – terrorists vs. Israel. Everything is explained eventually, including some simulation technology. Secrets of the Kill is a fast-moving romp. Kelter, who has a fine comic sense, should roll it out without distraction next time and stay away from international scenarios that in real life often seem stranger – and more “secretive” than fiction.

A mutilated body has been discovered; a body not meant to be found, but now that it has, Pandora’s box is open and secrets never to be learned have been revealed.

An Israeli woman living in New York has been murdered. She has been raped and butchered; an outrage that ignites a fuse that burns all the way back to Tel Aviv.

Enter FBI Agent Chloe Mather, a hard-charging ex-Marine who has no sympathy for the kind of maggot who could commit such a violent atrocity. A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, she was one of the first woman Marines to be deployed into an active combat area. She struggles with PTSD and the consequences of a fatherless childhood, yet this is a woman who accepts no pity and operates according to a moral code that is second to none. She’ll stop at nothing to find the psychopath responsible for this unspeakable crime. In Secrets of the Kill, Mather and this code will face the ultimate test.

What begins as a challenging homicide becomes more, much more, and Mather is pulled into an investigation that involves the mob, Israeli intelligence, and a radical terrorist faction.

They say that blood is thicker than water but is it thicker than the bonds of patriotism? Mather will ponder this question and many others as she fights to bring an innocent woman’s murderer to justice, and prevent a geopolitical atrocity from taking place on American shores. Click here to enter

Joni Hahn #SciFi #Romance

Goodreads Book Giveaway For Agent N6: Dylan (Book 6 – The D.I.R.E. Agency Series)

Enter from now until August 5, 2015 at Goodreads to win a copy of Agent N6: Dylan (Book 6 – The D.I.R.E. Agency Series).

Third generation Marine Dylan McCall has only one goal in mind: revenge. Armed with a new, scientific enhancement, he won’t rest until he destroys Cyrus Matheson’s plans.

Geneticist Teague Hamilton wants nothing more than a healthy baby of her own. Raised in a girls’ home, she knows Cyrus’s genetic engineering technology is her only chance at gaining the family she wants.

Dylan can’t get enough of D.I.R.E.’s confident, sexy-as-hell geneticist, even though his gut tells him she’s hiding something. He won’t rest until he tames her and brings her deception to light.

When Cyrus draws Teague out of D.I.R.E.’s protective custody and takes her to the past, she uncovers lies that prove she’s never controlled her own destiny, while Dylan travels back in time to save her before it’s too late.

Can Dylan rescue Teague in time, or will he lose the woman he loves forever?

Click here to enter at Goodreads now!

Free Books #FREEREADS #Thriller #Pulp #Western

Some great author friends have crazy #FREEREADS giveaways going on this month.  Check out these freebies, but do it soon before the giveaways end!


After being cheated on yet again, full-figured Alice O’Brien no longer believes she’ll find her Prince Charming. She resolves to enjoy men, but refuses to involve her heart.

When she literally tumbles down a rabbit hole, she finds she has left her familiar home city of San Francisco. She has landed in a strange and beautiful world, where she meets a powerful and dominant shapeshifter, Jarronn, and his equally fierce and irresistible brothers.

By the draw of a card foretelling his kingdom’s future, Jarronn has deliberately lured Alice to his realm in hopes of averting a terrible danger threatening his people. He has every intention of saving his kingdom with his and Alice’s bond of passion, and nothing will stop him from making her his Queen of Hearts. #CURVY

Click here to get Taken By Passion


Megan Wilder doesn’t think there’s a man in this world who could love her just the way she is. After meeting sexy Ryan McBride, she suspects he might just be the one to change her mind.

With her family in danger of losing their restaurant and their home, a sudden illness has everything Megan thought was sure in her life crashing down around her. Finding out Ryan is the one responsible for threatening foreclosure shakes her very foundation.

Can Ryan and Megan succeed in overcoming their obstacles and fight for a love that was meant to be?

Click here to get Branded for You


“I think something might have happened to me Saturday night. Something bad.”

Private Investigator Dani Ripper’s client list is nuttier than the Looney Tunes conga line, but she diligently solves one crazy case after another, waiting for a game-changer.

Enter Riley Freeman, 17-year-old honor student.

Saturday afternoon Riley quietly placed a little strawberry sticker on her private area and pretended it was a tattoo. She didn’t tell anyone about it. That night she went to a slumber party that featured drinking and boys. Riley fell asleep, woke up the next day with no reason to think anything happened…

…Until Monday, at school, when a classmate called her Strawberry.

Coincidence or crime? Dani agrees to investigate. And the roller coaster ride begins.

Click here to get Promise You Won’t Tell


“When you’re in my hospital you’re not family. You’re prey!

“If you’re coming after me, don’t do it in a hospital. That’s my domain. And don’t piss me off in the real world and expect a smooth hospital stay because I have a long memory, and no one is exempt. Before you bully me in a bar, embarrass me on a date, or refuse to replace the crappy car you sold me, think about this: you’ll never be more vulnerable in your life than when you’re spending the night in a hospital. When you’re here, you’re not family. You’re prey!”
–Dr. Gideon Box

Click here to get Bad Doctor FREE


Compromised and Ridiculously Happy!

I received the following email around midnight last night:

Dear Lisa Pietsch,
Congratulations! Your Kindle Scout nomination Compromised has been selected for publication by Kindle Press.
As a thank you for your time — and great taste — we are going to send you a free copy of the book before it is officially published. We’ll let you know when your early, free copy is available for download.
The author, Lawrence Kelter, wanted to make sure you received this thank you message:
“Whether I received your nomination or not I’d like to thank you for taking the time to immerse yourself in my story. Writing the Stephanie Chalice character is a labor of love. I hope it gave you some measure of enjoyment. If you’d like to know more about me and my work please take a peek at my website:www.lawrencekelter.com or follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I love getting mail. My contact is:larrykelter@aol.com.”
There is no better way to celebrate than by scouting more books!
Three cheers for reader-powered publishing!
The Kindle Scout team
I’m very excited by this particular event for several reasons:
  1. Larry is a client of mine
  2. I’m really enjoying his Chalice series
  3. Kindle Scout is a new program that can open a lot of doors for independent authors.
  4. Having a book selected by Kindle Scout is about mobilizing your network.

Lawrence Kelter

Lawrence Kelter is an international bestseller with an epic backlist.  He’s collaborated on antholigies with some of my favorites like Dan Ames/Dani Amore, Zoë Sharp and many more.  He’ll be a participating author at this year’s ThrillerFest and a featured author in the discussion “PLANES, TRAINS, OR SURFBOARDS? Keeping The Pace Moving”.

Stephanie Chalice

One of my favorite things about Stephanie Chalice: She talks like a cop.  Kelter keeps her real, not some romanticized version of real.  I find it easier to fall into a story when the characters feel real to me.

Kindle Scout Opening Doors

rwaKindle Scout is a program that is going to open a lot of doors for a whole lot of authors.  Many of us have gone indie in recent years, but not having the street cred of being traditionally published and receiving advances can really ding us when it comes time to join a professional organization like the Romance Writers of America.  (Sure, you can join RWA, but self-published doesn’t automatically equate to PAN credentials and that means less cred & access at conference and exclusion from the RWA speaker’s bureau.)  With Kindle Scout, selected books will be published by Kindle Press (publisher) and receive 5-year renewable terms (contract), a $1,500 advance (the golden ticket for PAN membership status), 50% eBook royalty rate (less than a 75% self-published rate but still better than the industry standard of 15%), easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.
kindleI love the way Kindle Scout success depends upon an author’s network and ability to muster their readers.  It is a testament to the power of social networking and involves an author’s fans in getting their next read to market ASAP.  Kindle makes this plain in their instructions to authors:
“Plan how you’re going to let your fans and network know that you’re putting your book up for a publishing contract. Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and email lists you have accumulated over the years are great places to start…The more nominations your book receives the more likely it will get the attention of our Kindle Scout team and be selected for publication.”
So you’re not traditionally published by one of the big publishing houses and you don’t like ceding control to a small ebook only house.  Kindle Scout provides a great middle ground where you have all the street cred of a traditionally published author, the backing of a huge promotional machine, and the benefits of indie author payment rates.  And did I mention the fans who nominate your book get a free copy before it is released to the public?  Publishing genius.

All About the Network

As a Social Media Consultant who outlines and manages social media strategy, I find the nomination method used by Kindle Scout to not only be very effective, but also very gratifying.  This is just another door that optimal social media management can open for aspiring authors and established authors alike.  Kindle Scout is cutting edge publishing using all the technological tools that matter TODAY.  I like it!
Check out Lawrence Kelter’s soon to be released book, Compromised below:
Rogue detective stalks a cop killer.
Two shots ring out from a rooftop. When the smoke clears, Detective Chalice is down and her rookie partner is dead. She’s sustained a traumatic head injury that has left her suffering with seizures and a compromised memory. Hurt, raw, and angry, she’s out for vengeance and will let nothing stand in her way as she pursues the shooter, and a psychopath who has taken the life and dignity from a promising high school student.

Tequila Aficionado Takes to the Open Road

mike morales, tequila aficionadoTequila Aficionado

I usually refer to Mike Morales as “my darling companion”, so it would be reasonable for you to wonder why I’m posting a link to some guy’s tequila blog. Actually, Tequila Aficionado is our tequila magazine (along with our 3rd partner, the founder, Alexander Perez), but that’s where Mike posts the bulk of his articles.  This is all part of what we hope will be our transition to the RV Lifestyle.  I hope you enjoy Mike’s take:

Tequila Aficionado on the Road

Unlike some tequilas, most of my moves have never been smooth–or without incident.
For the better part of 18 years, I lived in New Mexico.  After a year long stay in my home state of California, I moved my personal residence and headquarters to San Antonio, TX to helm the newly revamped Tequila Aficionado Media almost two years ago.  In all that time, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars in storage fees.
So, when my partner, Lisa Pietsch, suggested an RV road trip in late May/early June to get the rest of my possessions in Albuquerque, I was hesitant.

Choosing the Best Motorhome for our RV Lifestyle

cruise americaWe’ve got the bug.  After our test drive of the RV lifestyle, we knew that we were ready to embrace the open road with open arms for more adventure.  Renting an RV isn’t cost effective and doesn’t allow for any modifications we’d like to make for conservation and convenience.  Clearly the only choice is to purchase a motorhome.
But which class of motorhome would we want to make our home on the road?
The kids have made their choice clear.  They want the luxury bus (Class A) that costs 2-3 times as much as the house we live in and requires a special license to drive.  palazzo, thorTruth be told, Mike and I would be satisfied with such a life and I’d be happy to get the license.  The financial facts must be considered though.  A quarter million dollar motorhome just isn’t in the budget right now.
On the flip side, two adults, two kids, a dog, two cats, and a turtle, traveling in a camper van (Class B), even with a tent or pop-up canopy for extra living space, just isn’t my idea of the good life. Sure, the gas mileage would be better but traveling like sardines isn’t for us.
happy campersSo we’ve decided to start with a Class C motorhome.  The motorhome we rented was a 28′ Class C.  I found driving it quite comfortable (although somewhat harrowing through cities and storms).  It had a bedroom in the back for me and Mike, a queen sized loft bed over the cab for Sparky, and a futon style couch that converted to a queen bed for Teddy and his dog, Della.  Della has special needs.  With only one rear leg, her ability to jump is limited.  The couch is the perfect height so she can continue to sleep with Teddy on the road, just as she does at home.
The Class C provides the amenities we require like a kitchen, bathroom and electricity.  Dining out is expensive and inconvenient so the kitchen makes meals as easy as they are at home.  When you’re traveling, truck stops aren’t always convenient and, when you’re at a campground, you may be parked a good distance from the bathrooms.  Having a built in toilet & shower is worth its weight in gold.. As for electricity, you might have seen me mention it before – Mike and I will be working while on the road, and the kids will be using their Kindles and computers.  Electricity, and plenty of it, is an absolute must.  (I’ll discuss the electricity and Internet issues in an upcoming blog.)
So with that decided, our next decision is how and where to purchase.  Being self-employed, financing may not be an option.  Neither of us is keen on incurring additional debt either.  So we’ll plan to save our dollars and buy it outright with cash.  If we want it anytime soon, buying used may be the best budgetary choice.
There are plenty of people selling perfectly good motor homes in private sales but there are also plenty of people who are looking to unload a lemon.  I’ve never been keen on that sort of navigation.  If I can buy used but factory refurbished with warranties then I usually do.  (In fact, that’s how I purchased the iPad I’m writing this blog on now.). Cruise America motor homes are made by Thor (the same company that makes Class A palaces on wheels) and, though they’re used, they come with some guarantees and extended warranties can be purchased for certain systems within the RV.  As for mileage, unlike cars, RVs are built to roll on long after the initial 100,000 miles.. Cruise America will also give us a rebate on our purchase for up to $3000 in rental fees paid up to six months before the purchase.  They also have a Fly & Buy program that reimburses you for your flight to the Cruise America center where you buy your RV.  With all of that going for it, purchasing our first RV from Cruise America seems like a much safer and more logical choice than picking up something from RV Trader and lighting a candle to the Virgin Guadalupe.
That gets us to our next step:
Pay off some debt and save the cash to purchase a $20-30k used Class C RV from Cruise America.
With that decided, we can use this prep-time to consider some green options and the best approach to always having an Internet connection when we’re camping.
Stay tuned for more on that…

Our RV Lifestyle Test Drive

We lived in an RV and We liked it.
rv lifestyle, drivingFor the past several years, my partner, Mike, and I have had fun discussions about how great it would be to just pack up the kids and pets and take off on an RV adventure.  We’d be modern day explorers, seeking out new adventures and making new friends, all while being (technically) on vacation.  More and more, we began to dream out loud about the RV lifestyle.
cruise america When it became necessary to travel to New Mexico, we discovered the least expensive option was to rent an RV.  So we packed up the kids and the pets and took off on a one-week RV adventure.  It was our RV lifestyle test drive.
palazzo, thorWe’d seen the Palazzos by Thor and the Phaetons by Tiffin and dreamed of someday rolling away in the lap of luxury.  But the lap of luxury is an expensive place for a tequila industry consultant and a social media consultant.  Both starting over at mid-life, with two young kids aged 10 and 7, set us a bit behind the power curve when most people our age are attending their kids’ college graduations and retiring.  So we let ourselves dream for a while.
Then the manifesting began.
happy campersWe had to go to New Mexico to get Mike’s things in storage.  Our Jeep Wrangler was far too uncomfortable for such a drive.  Flying has become a hassle and taking a train was entirely too expensive.  It was the perfect opportunity to try RV living.  So we rented a Class C RV from Cruise America at the same price we’d have paid for staying in a hotel every night and the adventure began!
Planning the trip was an exercise in minimalism.  What would we need for a week?  Food, coffee, Advocare supplements, and clothes and linens for starters.  freddie dashWe usually cook once for the week and keep everything in containers in the refrigerator so we did the same thing for our week in the RV.  Scrambled eggs and sausage, shredded beef, tortillas, Ezekiel bread, yogurt, cheese, fruits, juice, a can of Don Francisco coffee and our coffeemaker and we were all set.
Next, since we still had work to do while we were on the road, we’d have to determine what electronics were coming along and just where we’d get our internet signal. You see, Mike and I do the bulk of our work online.  We’re writers and consultants.  We have reading, writing and social media accounts that need attention every day.  So Mike planned to bring his laptop and phone, I would bring my iPad and phone, and the kids would each bring their Kindle tablets and 17″ laptop computers.  (Did I mention that we’re homeschoolers?)  Along with our electronics, we’d need the associated cords, accessories, and tangle of whatnot to keep them all going.
turty rvWe planned to bring 2 cats, a dog, and a turtle, so we’d also need their food, bowls, a leash, a cat carrier and something the turtle could live in for a week. Dry cat food and dog food in gallon sized ziplock bags and turtle food in a can were easy enough.  We had a cat carrier and dog leash.  Check.  Turty needed a special kind of child safety seat though.  With a little creativity, I managed to find a small pet carrier and aquatic decor that doubled as a dry spot.  It was just big enough to provide Turty a bit of water to dunk in and enough headroom to climb onto the ceramic stump for sun.  A bungee cord attached to either side of the table and run through the handle of the carrier kept it secured to the table and in front of the window.
We would be traveling it what was technically the off-season, but we made campground reservations anyway.  That was simple enough.  water liliesWe found a Good Sam in Van Horn, TX, with full hookups, a pool and wifi.  What more did we need?  Then we found a KOA in Bernalillo, NM, with the same necessary amenities and booked that too.
When we picked up the RV, we had a brief orientation and then Lance gave us the keys to our adventure. I had elected to drive it, so the kids tumbled in, full of wonder and excitement, and we drove home to pack it up and set off on the open road!
van horn
This was it…we were living the dream!
Stay tuned for more on our RV Lifestyle Adventure…