Everyday Antics

Author Spotlight: Howard Odentz

Author Spotlight: Howard Odentz

LOOK!!! A Highland Coo!!!

I just came home from a 10-day tour of Scotland. The whole country is beautifully bleak, with rolling hills in the lowlands and towering mountains in the highlands. By a very thin margin, the national asset is arguably the sheep or the highland cow (pronounced coo). The people are friendly. The shops are literally  bursting with tartan, and everywhere you look the ground is covered with heather, which our kilt-clad guide, Ian, described as a ‘disappointing brown’ this time of year.

It’s cold there, which the New Englander in me loves. The history is filled with blood, which the horror writer in me adores.

Still, I have a beef with Scotland, and it’s a big beef, roughly the same size as a shaggy highland coo.

My beef is Nessie.

I’ve literally spent my whole life dreaming of the day that I would stand on the dark shores of Loch Ness and look off in the distance, camera at the ready, to see Nessie rise from the depths in all her prehistoric splendor, just so I could get a selfie with her monstrous, slimy self.

The thing is . . . the locals don’t actually believe that Nessie exists.

Wait, what?

Oh sure, there are little stuffed Nessies at all the gift shops, and salt and pepper shakers shaped like a head and a hump. What’s more, there’s even a place called Nessieland on the outskirts of Inverness, with all the seriousness of the It’s a Small World attraction at Disney. Just the for record, the Disney attraction is far creepier and you all know what I think about creepy kids (See Little Killers A to Z among my recent releases).

Our portly guide on our Loch Ness boat ride giggled when he pointed out the tiny trailer across the loch where the resident crazy has lived for the last twenty-five years, scanning the waters daily for signs of the monster. He practically admitted that most locals cross the street when they spy him because he also believes in Bigfoot, aliens, and the fact that the majority of folks in the US government are really giant lizards intent on taking over the world.

Great. Just great. Go ahead and shatter my entire world view.

I suppose that witches, ghosts, vampires, and intelligent politicians are all fantasies, too?

I’m crushed, Scotland. I guess there’s nothing left for me to do but throw away all my old beliefs and maybe switch to writing romance novels. That, or shore up the walls inside my head and hold fast to the inarguable fact that Nessie is really down there in the depths somewhere waiting for that one person who will get that perfect shot of her.

I can be that person. Why not? I’m booking a trip back to Scotland soon and I’m going to rent a tiny, stucco bungalow near that equally tiny trailer across the Loch. Maybe the man who lives there will give me pointers on where to stalk the waters with my camera ready.

After all, someone has to win the Lottery. Why not me?


Pick up Little Killers A-Z today for just $0.99! This deal will only last until the 15th!

Bad things come in small packages . . .

EPIC Award finalist Howard Odentz has penned twenty-six disturbingly fascinating horror stories about the youngest predators among us.

From Andy and Boris to Yuri and Zina, this eclectic anthology is filled, A to Z, with psychopaths, monsters, and murderers!

So turn on the lights and huddle under your blankets because murder isn’t just for grown-ups anymore. Come meet our gallery of little killers.

After all, they’re dying to meet you!



About Howard Odentz:

Author and playwright Howard Odentz is a lifelong resident of the gray area between Western Massachusetts and North Central Connecticut. His love of the region is evident in his writing as he often incorporates the foothills of the Berkshires and the small towns of the Bay and Nutmeg states into his work.

From Jeanne Stein

From Jeanne Stein
pic 1
1mywriting space (2)
Blood Drive

pic 1From Jeanne Stein


I want to thank Belle Books for featuring Blood Drive in this month’s promotion. I thought one way to promote it was to show you a few of my favorite moments in writing the Anna Strong novels.


The first picture is my writing space. I love seeing where other authors work their magic. I hope you enjoy this peek into where I spend much of my time.


1mywriting space (2)


Next, Blood Drive has been translated into three languages. Here’s the Norwegian cover.




The Anna Strong stories are set in Mission Beach, California. If you are familiar with the area, you will recognize many of the locations I use in the books.




While I’ve been on several National Best Seller lists, The only Anna Strong title that has yet to make the NYT list was the story, Blood Debt, in the anthology HEXED.




It was a thrill to see my name on that NYT list, even if only for a week!


Hexed  by Ilona Andrews, Yasmine Galenorn, Allyson James, Jeanne C. Stein

Format: Paperback Released: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Berkley List price: $7.99
ISBN-10: 0425241769 ISBN-13: 9780425241769


New York Times
Mass-market Fiction
List date #
June 26, 2011  32




So there it is…a glimpse into the life of a writer. It’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had, but without a doubt, also one of the best. Please feel free to contact me at Jeanne@jeannestein.com. I love hearing from readers.


Pick up BLOOD DRIVE for just $1.99 through the 15th!

Blood Drive - 200x300x72 


Donnell Bell


By Donnell Ann Bell

Whenever I sit down with my husband to watch Jeopardy, and a writer is one of the three contestants, my Dear Husband automatically says, the writer will win, he/she’s smart.  I sit back and think, maybe.  He might be a descendant of Einstein’s, a Harvard graduate, incredibly well read, or he might be like me –he gets this crazy idea that won’t let go, and has to finish it so his head won’t explode.

Being thought of as the owner of a high IQ is much more glamorous so I smile and remain quiet.  Still, just between you, me and the blogosphere, writers answer to their muse, and, sadly, that muse often takes them in a direction writers don’t want to go.

My muse couldn’t care less about the amount of work I have to do or the fear involved when I write a character.  What do you mean you think my protagonist needs to be a nuclear physicist?  I know nothing about nuclear physicists.  Do you know how much researching and interviewing that occupation will entail?

I’ll subtly insert, say, a janitor when my muse isn’t looking.  I can write a janitor.  To which she’ll cross her arms, lift an eyebrow (my muse has eyebrows) and say, I distinctly ordered a MIT-caliber character—write one.

In BETRAYED, my November release from Bell Bridge Books, my characters consist of a trap shooting champion, a world class soccer player, a cop with a masters in psychology,  an Ob-GYN, artists dealing with glass, iron and paint disciplines, and several others who would do so much better on Jeopardy than me.  You would think my muse would be satisfied with the amount of research I had to put into this book. Not even close.  She’s already moved on to my next work in progress.

Maybe writers are like me and try out for Jeopardy to hide from their muses.  Anyone have Alex Trebeck’s contact information?  The next time you see one on a game show, don’t fall for that ‘they must be smart’ routine.  The truth is if writers are doing something besides writing, they’re avoiding their muses.  Writers – most know enough to be dangerous.


Click on the covers to check out Donnell Ann Bell’s “dangerous” novels – DEADLY RECALL and THE PAST CAME HUNTING!

And don’t miss out on BETRAYED.  Out TODAY!


Trish Jensen
Just This Once
Send Me No Flowers

                               WRITING FOR FUN

by: Trish Jensen


I admit it, I’m a zone person. There are days when writing feels like a chore, and there are days when I get into the zone when things just seem to flow.

This was a zone book. It flowed, and I was annoyed when anyone interrupted that flow, including family.

Here was the excellent thing. I wrote a book totally out of my comfort zone. It was set in LA, where I’d never been, at a TV network, which I knew nothing about, and starred a producer (still nothing in my world) and a talented hair dresser (I barely know how to blow dry my hair correctly) who’s been recruited against her will to be the talent for a national makeover show.

She and I have nothing in common, as she’s tall and gorgeous and I’m short and “cute.”

One thing we had in common I could tap into is that we are both extremely shy, but can ratchet it up if someone annoys me. So in that way, I knew her. But Hollywood? A TV show? We both felt so out of our element.

Yet it was probably the most fun I’ve had writing a comedy. The two main characters zing each other at every opportunity.

The hero, AJ Landry is coerced into producing the show. He is not a happy dude. But as he gets to know Tanya Pierce, the talented makeover artist, and begins to realize she was so not out for fame and fortune, but instead was scared spitless at the thought of performing her craft for a national audience to witness, AJ becomes invested in her success and the success of the show.

The problem is, the only way he can eek any form of productivity out of her is to make her angry. So he shows up on the set, lists of insults in tow. Much as he hates her thinking he’s the biggest jerk in the universe, he knows it’s necessary to get any work done.

What a conundrum.  Unfortunately, his insults work to help her be so angry she forgets to be scared, and the result is a fabulous show that catches on fast with the public.

Now to try to get her to realize that he’s really not an ogre. Not having a great deal of success on that front. Or so he thinks.

Tanya can’t understand her attraction to the jerk, who never fails to remind her who’s the boss. Still, she does everything in her power to get him to fire her so she can head home to her small town and her shop. Instead, the man not only refuses to fire her, he starts threatening her with guest appearances on talk shows and at boat christenings.

Their animosity is palpable to everyone working on the set. They begin to call it “Zoning Tanya.”

And that is what Tanya and I have in common. We both need to be “zoned” to get work done. Now if I could only find my own AJ Landry to keep me in the zone.

Go check out ALL of Trish Jensen’s FABULOUS books now on Amazon!     

And DON’T FORGET to go grab her newest release BEHIND THE SCENES!!!