Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Eight years ago yesterday, I rescued my pug-wa-wa from the city pound.

I was working with a dog rescue group and went there to see another dog the rescue coordinators were interested in. That dog had already been adopted. But as I walked by the building that housed the small dogs and puppies, one puppy was howling, squalling, and making quite a racket.

When I stepped inside, this pretty little tan dog in the cage next to the noisy puppy looked up at me with pleading eyes that plainly said, "Please, get me OUT OF HERE!" I called the attendant and took the little dog out for a walk. Three things immediately became apparent to me:
  1. She was leash trained.
  2. She was also potty trained.
  3. No way was I leaving her there!
Luckily the vet was on premises that day, and she confirmed what I guessed (by the scar on her belly), she was already spayed. Two hours and eighty dollars adoption fee later, I took the pretty little tan dog home with me.

It was a beautiful autumn day (just like yesterday, and today!), so I named her Autumn. Turned out she was also crate trained, and a fierce guardian (in spite of a bark that sounds like a wind-up toy) of all she considers hers. Whomever lost her (she was picked up on the street) lost a jewel, and I am thankful everyday that I was lucky enough to find her!

Being part pug (as I was assured by a Pug Rescue group) she does snore like a buzz-saw, but other than that, she is THE WORLD'S MOST PERFECT DOG!

Have you "found" a pet? Or had one "find" you? Weren't they THE GREATEST?!?! Please share your story with Aunty and everyone.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The intimidating world of blogging

Hello everyone!

Here I am at my very first blogging experience and I'll be honest, it's a little intimidating. As an unpublished author I kept telling myself that it isn't necessary to have a blog. After all, I don't have any readers to connect with. Who's going to read a blog from an unknown writer? What could I possibly have to say to those lucky people who even bother to find my blog? Well, that my friends, about sums up exactly how inexperienced I really am.

Sure, I don't have any readers - yet, but there are thousands of people out there I can connect with right now. The more connections I make now, the more potential readers I will have when I'm finally published. How exciting to have people start routing for me right now!

And it's absurd to think that I have nothing to blog about. I'm a writer for crying out loud! I have completed 3 full length manuscripts, several short stories, and I have dozens of ideas floating around in my head for many more. If I can finish a full length manuscript and I have ideas waiting to come to life on paper, of course I can write a one page blog. What a silly notion that I can't.

So here I am, with the help and this awesome opportunity from my dear friend Cindy, reaching out to the world with the hope that the world will embrace me and my efforts.

I'd love to connect with people like myself who are just starting out, trying to stay afloat in the gigantic sea of advice, information, disappointment, and madness known as writing. I'd also love to connect with experienced authors who have managed to not only stay afloat, but have built rafts and ski boats and yachts, and those super over-achievers, with cruise ships. While it all seems nearly impossible from down here in the churning, cold, shark infested waters with no life preserver, I keep looking up at those big shiny cruise ships and saying, "someday soon, I'll be up there with them."

Starting in November, I will be blogging each month from my website jansenschmidt.com. I'd love to have you all stop by and watch my progress and offer encouragement and advice. I'll be looking for you! And of course in the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

At this time, I'd like to ask you, what is your best advice for me regarding my new blogging adventures? I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions for not just staying afloat, but for building my own fleet of cruise ships! Bon Voyage!

Thank you Aunty Cindy for this wonderful opportunity to experience blogging in a safe and fun environment. I look foward to being your guest again.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Sidhe Princess Is Available!

I'm THRILLED to announce that my novelette The Sidhe Princess is now available on Amazon (just click on the title of this post to go to the Amazon page)!

I hope you will take a look and "like" (just click on the box below my author name) my story. It will be available on SmashWords and other ereader platforms in a few days.

The world of books and publishing is undergoing major changes even as I type this post, and I'm excited to be a part of it. The release of The Sidhe Princess marks a milestone in my writing career, as it is the start of my journey as an "Indie Author."

As an Indie Author, the good news is that I am the one responsible for all aspects of getting my book out there for my readers. The bad news is that I am the one responsible for all aspects of getting my book out there... Yep, definitely a two edged sword, that responsibility! Success or failure is all tied to how well I handle that responsibility. But I firmly believe that getting my work out there for my readers IS a big success.

The Sidhe Princess is a real departure for me in that it is NOT a romance and is not even a novel (at 14,000 words it doesn't even quality as a novella)! No traditional publisher would have even considered publishing it, so self-publishing was really my only option. But I'm not only happy to have this option, I'm pleased to be able to offer my readers a story through this option.

So here's a brief excerpt from The Sidhe Princess, which is about 16 year old Moira Mullins, who sees and hears other-worldly creatures that no one else does:

Nine days later, Moira first saw the new apparition. Mum and Da went off on their usual Saturday shopping expedition, and Moira elected to stay home alone.

Though Mum looked worried, Da actually took Moira’s side. “She’s not a wee lass any more, Mary,” he scolded. “You don’t need her right by your side every waking moment.”

He’d given Moira a wink behind her mother’s back when they climbed into the ancient farm truck that was their only means of transportation. With hearty calls of “Be home for tea!” they rumbled off in a cloud of dust.

The day was far too fine to stay inside ironing, so a couple of hours later, Moira slipped her little yellow transistor radio into her apron pocket and went outside to simply enjoy the sweet autumn sunshine. Even if she felt relief at coming and going as she pleased, she did feel oddly alone after the constant voices and presence of the staff and patients in the sanitarium. Not that she missed the place, far from it!

She missed her sister.

On the radio, the Beatles crooned about “…please me like I please you…” and she sang along. But by the end of the song, the signal was fading. She turned the radio off and wished she’d asked Mum to pick up new batteries while she and Da were out.

As she slid the radio back into her pocket, her fingers brushed over Fiona’s letter. Moira had already read it more than once. In fact, she’d given Mum her reply to mail in the village today. But she walked over to the stump at the edge of the yard to read the letter yet another time.

Something about the letter wasn’t right. It wasn’t so much the things Fee wrote, but more like what she hadn’t. Moira couldn’t shake an uneasy feeling that not all was well. However, she also knew Fee wouldn’t say anything for fear of worrying Mum and Da.

The thin onion-skin paper rattled like the waxy stuff wrapped around the fancy scones that came from the village bakery. Moira smoothed the folded sheets across her lap and read Fee’s sprawling script, heard her voice in the written words as she described the crazy city traffic all going in the wrong direction. The Richardsons had a brand new Lincoln Town Car and Mrs. Richardson intended to buy herself a car too, as soon as she found one to her liking.

Moira closed her eyes and imagined what it must be like to be so rich you owned two new cars and a fine house so big that your three children each had a bedroom and the nanny had one too. While she pictured the lovely wall-papered room Fee had described, the sound of childish laughter invaded Moira’s daydream. Her eyes popped open and she scanned the brushy border of the fens, catching a glimpse of a white figure.

“Who’s there?” Moira cried, shoving the letter back into her pocket and jumping to her feet.

The fens could be a dangerous place for a child, full of boggy spots and stickery piles of brambles, as Mum had never failed to tell her. But as Moira crossed the over-grown expanse of the meadow and drew closer to the fens, she heard the giggling again. A scrape of doubt tugged at her mind, making her hesitate. Something about the sound wasn’t childish. Or even human.

While she paused, the being came into view. Small as a child of nine or ten and clad in a long gown of gauzy white, the girl’s golden hair streamed behind her, strands of it braided around bird feathers or woven into bits of metal or bright colored beads. Her skin was almost the same shade as her hair, like rich honey, and when she stopped to regard Moira, her dark eyes shone with the same flecks of gold.

One of the fae, Moira guessed, and the most exquisite wee thing she’d ever seen.

“You can see me as well as hear me, can you not?” asked the small woman. The proud way she stood and the commanding tone she used were not the least bit childlike.

Moira nodded mutely and twisted her hands into her apron. ‘Twas not the first time she’d seen and even spoken to other-worldly creatures, though never before had one been so bold in approaching her. Nor so beautiful.
Please join me in celebrating this new direction in my writing life. I hope you enjoy The Sidhe Princess!

Along with taking my writing career in a new direction, I'm going to be trying some different things on the blog too. I hope to do more interviews with Indie Authors and maybe give away more prizes. Also, this Friday, my friend and chaptermate Jensen Schmidt will try her hand at blogging for the very first time. Be sure to check back and see what she has to say!

Have you read other Indie Authors? What do you think of electronic books instead of traditional paperback or hard cover books? Is there someone or something you'd like to see on this blog?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Winners!

Hey All! You read that correctly WINNERS!

Jo wanted me to give a BIG THANX to everyone who came by and helped her celebrate her second release The Avenger. She also apologized for not naming a winner sooner, but she was struck down with a nasty bout of food poisoning. ACK! No shared recipes were involved, don't worry.

Anyway, Jo would like to give away a free download of The Avenger to TWO commenters:




Paisley Kirkpatrick

Ladies, please contact Jo at jo.lewisrobertson @ yahoo.com (without the spaces) to claim your download of The Avenger! I just know you're going to enjoy it!

Aunty will be inviting Jo back in the not-too-distant future when her third book in the Bigler County series The Traitor is released.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jo Robertson and The Avenger

Today, I'm excited to welcome back to the blog my fantastic critique partner Jo Robertson. Jo's first romantic thriller, The Watcher came out in August and reached the Amazon Top 100 for Romantic Suspense!

SUPER CONGRATS! Please tell us a little about your second book, The Avenger.

JR: Thanks, Cindy, and thanks for inviting me back to your blog. The Watcher keeps moving in and out of that Amazon Top 100 List, but it's pretty exciting because I've never made a list before. It's my little fifteen minutes of fame!

AC: Previously, you told us the idea for The Watcher came from a psychology class you took. Where did you find the inspiration for The Avenger?

JR: I can't be absolutely sure where the idea came from. You know, we writers have brains that are more like warehouses than workshops, and all kinds of weird and strange stuff meanders around there firing up our synapses!

[NOTE: Aunty knows that all too well!]

JR: But I think I've always had a fairly strong grasp on religious ideologies and how they influence history. It's always been interesting to me that so many events – wars, in particular – are inspired by religious fervor. The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, a Jihad. So I played with the idea of what motivates people who are deeply religious, but also are psychopathic killers. And I came up with the villain in The Avenger.

The title is a bit misleading because "The Avenger" is a term the killer applies to himself, but the hero, Jackson Holt, is also an avenger in the sense that he's trying to speak for the dead victims and repudiate the wrongs he's done himself while working for a secret organization over the years.

AC: I think the duality of the title is fascinating! Please tell us how this book is tied to your previous one, The Watcher, and your next romantic thriller, The Traitor.

JR: All three books are tied by setting to Bigler County, California, which is a fictional county based on the county where I live. It's nestled at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain, and the sheriff is Ben Slater (the main protagonist in The Watcher). The books can all be read as stand-alone novels because the resolutions are settled in each book and the happy ending guaranteed for the hero and heroine.

In The Avenger Slater's and Olivia Gant's childhood friend is Jackson Holt, the hero. Something happened years ago when Jack "betrayed" them in a sense, but no one knew the full story. This book brings the issue to closure.

AC: You seem adept at creating very scary and memorable villains. Any idea why? Are they your favorite characters to create?

JR: Trust me, I've lain awake at night wondering why my villains speak so clearly to me. I may need a lot of redemption for my "thoughts" in the hereafter.

Just kidding, of course, but villains who are two-dimensional, flat characters have never appealed to me. I've always preferred the complex, rounded villains. I find it extremely interesting to discover what makes people turn out to be the kinds of folks they are, good or bad. Are we hard-wired a certain way or does environment really affect a person significantly?

AC: What is next for Jo Robertson?

JR: I'm nearly finished with the third book in the trilogy which introduces a new hero, Ashraf Hashemi, a DEA agent at odds with ADA Isabella Torres, who played a role in The Avenger. In The Traitor Isabella focuses on putting an end to human trafficking because she believes her beautiful older sister Maria, who disappeared on a graduation trip to Mexico years ago, was actually kidnapped and is alive. Rafe is looking at the same man, Diego Vargas, for instituting new drug trafficking routes in California.

I'm having fun bringing Vargas' lawyer/bodyguard, Gabriel Santos, back as a major player in this story.

[AC rubs her hands together with gleeful anticipation because Santos is a GREAT character!]

JR: After these three books have a chance to reach readers, I'm considering publishing my two historical suspense books, both inspired by real events. I hope readers will enjoy them.

Finally, I'll be returning to Bigler County for the fourth and last book in the not-trilogy (ha, ha), an untitled book which will actually be about Gabriel Santos, who's an interesting and complex villain with his own unique moral compass.

A question for the readers of today's blog: Do you enjoy seeing recurring characters in books, especially secondary ones who get their own stories?

Have you ever been fascinated enough by a "villain" that you'd like to see if he/she has a story of their own to tell?

What's your favorite fall dessert? Ha, gotcha!

Seriously, leave a good recipe for fall on Aunty Cindy's blog and I'll enter you in a contest to win a download of either The Watcher or The Avenger.