The Adventures of Indie BookFest 2014

This past weekend was hectic, but fabulous! Friday, after a great Keynote Address by Tiffany King, we were offered the opportunity to attend various panels. The schedule was as follows:

Panel 1A- Got Flexibility? (Tiffany King, Elise Marion, Courtney Cole, Casse Narome)

Panel 1B- Got Reach? (Kobo Writing Life Presentation)

Panel 2A- Got Serials? (Rebecca Ethington, Sarra Cannon, Rene Folsom, Tricia Zoeller)


Panel 2B- Got Gore? (Rick Chiantaretto, Melanie Karsak, Adam Kunz, Jennifer Martinez)

Panel 3A- Got Character? (Maria V. Snyder, Claudia Gray, Ben Hale, Adam Kunz)

Panel 3B- Got Grit? (Kristie Cook, Amy Miles, K. S. Thomas, Carol Kunz)

Panel 4A- Got Diversity? (Elise Marion, Casse Narome, Kristina Circelli, Nadege Richards)

Panel 4B- Got Game? (Kristie Cook, Rick Miles, Tawdra Kandle, Mandie Stevens)

Panel 5- Got Mad Author Love? (All authors attending Indie Bookfest!) – This was an interactive event where authors were seated at round tables and readers rotated from table to table every five minutes to learn about the authors and ask questions.  (See photo below)

Author Table 11

Panel 6- Got Fantasy? (Maria V. Snyder, Claudia Gray, GP Ching, Chanda Hahn)

Panel 7- Got Romance? (Tabatha Vargo, Wendy Owens, Sawyer Bennett, Ceci Giltenan)

Budge and I had lunch with Tricia Zoeller, Christin Lovell, and Rene Folsom but went to Wolfgang Puck’s at Downtown Disney by ourselves that night. The garden vegetable pizza was awesome!

Saturday was the Book Signing Event from 1-4 p.m.  

IBF Table with ATT

(Photo above of me at my table with promo material for Prim and Proper that was given out as a bonus to attendees along with a signed copy of True:  3 Short Stories)

I got a chance to talk with a few other authors and to visit more with that sweetheart named Danielle Linhart of Danielle’s Dazzling Designs before it started, but then I was pretty much tied to my table. I’m not complaining. I sold and signed books, had a gift basket raffle that included signed copies of my current releases, magnets, jewelry, swag, and merchandise for Prim and Proper, even though the cover reveal isn’t until August 27th. Those who attended Indie BookFest 2014 got a sneak peek at the cover, and everyone remarked on how HOT it was. Since that was the goal, I was pleased. Congratulations to Sam of Virginia, my gift basket winner!

Me and Sam Raffle Winner

I do wish I’d had more time to visit the tables I didn’t get to check out before the signings started. At least at the after party that nightI did get to hang out with some of the authors I wasn’t able to interact with earlier in the day. Then, Budge and I went to Ghirardelli in Downtown Disney across the street for shakes to end our day. Yummy!

We headed back home Sunday, and I’ve been doing the sort-and-scramble thing ever since! It was a full but worthwhile weekend, and I’m so glad I was able to participate and interact with my fellow authors and with readers during the panels and Q&A on Friday and the book signing on Saturday.

I love my time spent at conferences and the connections I make with other authors and readers. We’re all readers and share a love of books. Being a part of this community is an amazing and wonderful thing, and I’m thrilled every time I hear the words, “Oh, my God! I loved this book you wrote! It changed my life/gave me such pleasure/made me cry/made me laugh!” Reaching others through words brings me joy, no matter whether I hear it through an e-mail, post, or in person. However, meeting those people face-to-face is a special treat, and I relish it every time. Indie BookFest 2014 was yet another fantastic way to bring everyone together. 

For a pictorial recap of Indie BookFest 2014 and a chance to win a signed ARC of Prim and Proper, sign up for my newsletter by going to  I’ll be sending it out this weekend.  The winner’s name will be embedded in the newsletter.  🙂



Ready! Aim! Fire! Right? Write!

When I’m writing about any topic, I always try to be accurate and provide realistic descriptions of events or items.  This past weekend, I decided to go outside my comfort zone and do some real hands-on research.  I wanted to see what it was like to shoot a gun. 

Those who know me are aware that I don’t like guns.  I personally could never hunt and kill something unless I was literally starving.  I have had characters use guns in books I’ve written, some of which have been released and some of which are in queue for publication.  However, the gun use has been sporadic.  Enter the ROYAL series I started a few months ago and had to temporarily suspend due to the upcoming release of Prim and Proper and my overwhelming need to revise most of the story of Bound by Grace:  Book 3 in The Gift Series.  I hope to be finished with the revisions in August and want to start working again on Relentless:  Book 1 of the ROYAL Series after that. 

Blayne, the kick-ass ROYAL operative in Relentless knows exactly what he’s doing when it comes to guns, knives, and hand-to-hand combat.  Tess, the strong-willed corporate owner who survived a brutal attack when she was a teen and then the cover-up by her parents, knows nothing about self-defense other than what she learned in the course she took after the attack.  So, I wanted to know what would an expert know and what would a novice do when dealing with guns. 

Thus, my son and I made a trip to Shooters World, the largest gun store in Florida.  It happens to be located in Tampa, which is about 45 minutes from where I live.  We were impressed by the polished look of the place and the variety of items available.  The employees were extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.  I explained the purpose of my visit and got a lesson regarding guns I knew something about from research (Sigs, Glocks, etc.) and custom guns like NIghthawk, Ed Brown, and Wilson, of which I knew very little.  I learned a lot and decided I wanted to shoot a custom gun, since I now think that’s what Blayne would use.  So, after a tour of the rifle section, Joe and I went to the indoor firing range. 


I didn’t even know if they’d let me shoot, since I’d never fired a gun and am visually-impaired.  However, I was informed that as long as Joe and one of their employees was with me in the lane, then I could do it.  Joe has fired guns, but he’d never previously fired a pistol.  He was excited.  I was excited, but I was also nervous.  I really had no idea what to expect. 

We got a tutorial from the employee who was going to go with us to our lane.  I could barely pull back the top and told Joe he would have to load the mag.  We entered the range, and it was LOUD, even with the protective ear covering.  Once we were ready, I was told to go first.  The silhouette target was about 25 yards away.  I have no central vision, but I’m adept at adapting and was able to see the silhouette and aim with the grip and stance I’d been taught.  I pulled the trigger and BOOM!  I knew from reading that there would be a kick-back.  However, I thought of it more as a literal kick-back.  Instead, it was more like a blow to the chest.  I did hit the target and let Joe shoot next.  We began to alternate every few shots.  The employee told me to try firing rapidly, and I found that more comfortable.  Out of twenty-five bullets, we hit the target 21 times, once when it was at 25 yards and once when it was farther back.  Most of the bullets hit the silhouette, and I did shoot the guy in the 10 area(kill shot to the head).   At one point, Joe put three rounds into the same exact spot in the guy’s stomach.  He was definitely not walking away from this barrage. 

We decided to switch guns.  I wanted to try one with a suppressor, since every good operative uses a suppressor now and then, right? 

I knew the weight distribution would be different because of the suppressor, and the employee verified this when I asked before we started.  I found that gun, an FNH-FNX 45 Tactical easier to fire but worse to aim.  I did hit the target but not nearly as accurately.  Joe said I also shot the floor under the target twice.  He didn’t do as well either but had the advantage of being fully-sighted and did much better than I did.  He even executed (pun intended) a traditional kill shot of two bullets in the stomach and one in the head.  It was interesting to hear the difference between the sound of the shots with and without the suppressor.  The entire experience was interesting.

Joe wants to go back with Budge and do more shooting.  I’m probably done with the actual shooting for now, although I may go back for more research.  The employees were intrigued and wanted to know when the books would be out.  I told them I’m working on a first draft of Book 1, so it will be a while.  I don’t just pop out books like bullets.  If you’ve been following my blog long, you know I like to let the books “percolate” for a while before going back to them for editing, beta readers, and the like.  I did give out some business cards and told them when they see a book called Relentless they’d know the first in the series was out. 

It was a worthwhile trip that allowed me to hold all sorts of guns, feel their weight and grip, learn more about the different features, and to feel what it was like to fire.  I’m not going to get into miniscule detail about guns in these books, but I can now describe with greater accuracy what it feels like to shoot and how difficult it would be for a novice to successfully load and fire a gun without instruction.  Also, hearing the sound helped me to understand how the children in the book might react to the loud BANG they’ll hear when a gun is fired.  The research was worth it. 


So, the visually-impaired author who isn’t into guns has now experienced what it’s like!  My writing has certainly led me in some interesting directions, but this is one scenario I never envisioned for myself.  It was time and money well-spent and will assist me in future novels where guns are involved.  Thanks so much to those at Shooters World and to my wonderful son for making my hands-on research possible!


The On My Way Up with Barbara Newsletter Is Coming!

Subscribe to my  On My Way Up with Barbara Newsletter by going to  Type your e-mail address in the box on the right side of the Home page, then hit the Subscribe button.  I promise I will NOT spam you.  This will be a fun newsletter that will come out no more than once a month unless a book release is imminent.  Even then, I’m not going to be putting out one a day or anything, so never fear!  I want this to be a way for me to connect with fans on a more interactive level, to give them updates and sneak peeks before those not on the subscription list, and to give them the chance to win things like signed books, ebooks, merchandise, and promo SWAG in giveaways open only to newsletter subscribers.  I plan to release the first newsletter this weekend, and the format may morph as I get feedback from subscribers.  So, subscribe today and head On My Way Up with Barbara!


I’m establishing a street team!  Since I tend to be veering into the romance arena more than other genres at this time, I’m thinking I’ll have more female street team members than male.  However, I don’t want to leave the guys out.  Therefore, my street team will be called Barbara’s Book Babes for the ladies, but the men will have their own special place as Barbara Book Buds.  This works well, since my husband’s name is Budge, and I call him Bud a lot.  He will be my first male street team member.  

Join my street team to help spread the word about my work and to get special treats from me like flash giveaways, access to deleted scenes, and sneak peeks at past, present, and current projects.  This is my first foray into the world of street teams, so there will be a learning curve.  The most important thing I want street team members to know is that I intend to treat them well.  I don’t believe in using people who are on a street team.  I want them to be part of the BBB family and share my excitement and their own as our efforts progress. 

If you’re interested in joining my street team, then e-mail me at  Join BBB today! 


Prim and Proper is coming September 16th!

My first contemporary romance, Prim and Proper, will be released on September 16th!  I’m working on the final read-through so that I can pass it along for formatting.  Budge is working on designing the cover using the image taken by photographer Sherri Proctor, and I’ll begin to work on teaser photos, etc. with the other photos we selected from the shoot once I’m done with my read-through.  I also need to pass the images on for the trailer production.  Oh, and I have to make all of the SWAG that goes along with the novel.  I hope to have that done before Indie Bookfest 2014 at the beginning of August so that those attending will get a sneak peek at the cover and merchandise and have a chance to win some of these items along with others relating to Prim and Proper and my previously-released works.  The months before a release are always wild, but they’re wild in an exciting (and stressful) way.  

I’m also working on setting up the cover reveal and blog tours.  Fun!  Fun!  Fun!  

I’m collaborating with Danielle’s Dazzling Designs on necklaces relating to something crucial to the book.  She says she has a design she thinks will be perfect for what I want.  I can’t wait to see her concept!

It’s nice to finally be getting my life back again.  Things are still stressful due to my necessary three-month hiatus from my home, work schedule, and life in general.  I feel as though I’m gradually finding myself again as I push through the emotional rubble and physical exhaustion.  I’ll be glad to eventually be ME again! 

Lining things up for this release is a definite morale booster.  We’re also working on scheduling the photo shoot for A Lovely Dream and A Lovely Reality (no release date set, yet).  That will hopefully be in August as well.  I’m thinking A Lovely Dream will be released Spring, 2015.  I’ll look at that once Prim and Proper are all taken care of and ready to go.  Sean and Prim need me!  


Happy to Be Home!

I’m so happy to be home in Florida!  My work on Relentless:  Book One of the ROYAL Series has been hampered in the past two weeks by all that was required during the move of my mother to my area and during the days that have followed.  I make certain to write a little every day.  Even if I only get down a few sentences, it keeps me motivated.  I know I need to review Prim and Proper for the release in a few months (no release date set, yet), but I don’t want to lose the feel of the fast-paced romantic thriller that is Relentless.  

So, Prim and Sean will have to wait a little longer.  I have the pictures for the cover and teasers and someone lined up to make a trailer.  However, I need to pull out quotes, excerpts, and work with the producer of the trailer to figure out what I want.  I’d love to get the book released before I attend Indie Bookfest 2014 in Orlando in August, but I’m not sure if that will happen. I will have a table at the event, and I’m looking forward to the panel discussions and interactions with other authors, fans and those involved in the Indie world.

I hope to return to some semblance of normalcy now that I’m home.  I know normal is a relative term.  Ha!  I’ll never forget when my son thanked me and my husband one day when he was in high school.  I asked him what he was thanking us for, and he said for being normal.  I laughed and told him I appreciated that he thought we were normal.  In retrospect, I suppose we are.  We all have our idiosyncrasies, but my husband and I have always tried to provide a stable home in which diversity, goodness, and a desire to constantly learn and grow prevail. 

In my copious free time, I still need to sift through my notes from RT and the materials and books I picked up while attending and making my appearance. 

One thing I really want to do is post a Sign Up for My Newsletter! link on my website.  However, I have no idea how to do this.  I’m going to attempt it this week and see if I can figure it out.  I want to start my newsletter to release updates, offer material that will only be available to those receiving the newsletter, and have random giveaways of my books, ebooks, and audiobooks as well as gift cards.  It will be another new chapter in my literary career.  I will make it work! 

I was talking with someone today about the fact that she suffers from self-doubt regarding what she can achieve.  I told her I firmly believe that if one wants something badly enough, then he or she should strive to attain it.  Time will continue to pass, so why not give it a shot?  That’s what publishing novels is all about – doing something you love and sharing it with as many people as you can!

And now for my time with Tess and Blayne of Relentless!  There are so many books I have in queue and so many yet to be written.  So much to do in one lifetime!  I hope I have a long life.  I have too many tales to tell.


No Longer a Virgin!

I am no longer an RT Virgin!  I attended and participated in the RT Convention in New Orleans last week.  They anticipated 2,900 people at RT.  Even though RT stands for Romantic Times, it now includes most genres.  It’s huge. 

Despite the first day getting off to a rocky start with Registration beginning after Orientation (meaning a lot of us just skipped Orientation), everything else went smoothly. I had done the “soft” registration the day before things started and still had to wait for an hour that first morning. Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but the rest of the week went well for me!  I attended wonderful panels with panelists such as Molly Harper, Melanie Meadors, Jennifer Fusco, Jana DeLeon, Tina Folsom, Theresa Ragan, Jasinda Wilder, Liliana Hart, Dana Kaye, Sarah Wendell, Colleen Lindsay, Colleen Glason (a.k.a. Joss Ware), Jane Graves, Dorien Kelly, Vido Engstrand, Jennifer Estep, Liz Berry, M.J. Rose, Jillian Stein, Eliza Gayle, Kat Johnson, Lexi Blake (a.k.a. Sophie Oak), Kristen Ashley, Mark Coker (Smashwords founder), and Courtney Milan. The topics were varied but covered everything from marketing to indie publishing to social media.  I got more confirmation about the validity of my efforts regarding furthering my career.  Not surprisingly, I also picked up information on the importance of things I either was aware of but haven’t yet put into practice or ones that were new to me.  I did attend one panel on craft, but it was not quite what I expected.  I did learn something during that panel, though.  I always learn something valuable when I come into contact with other authors, bloggers, and readers. 

My author appearance was fabulous.  I met new readers and authors, signed books, and gave away SWAG.  My gift basket raffle was awesome because of the serendipity involved.  The winner, Anita, just so happened to check to see if she’d won any baskets about thirty seconds after I’d pulled her name from the hopper.  So, we got to meet and talk while I personalized the inscriptions on her books and she examined the goodies in the basket like necklaces, magnets, keychains, a t-shirt, and a mug.  Congratulations, Anita!  I’m excited to have you as a new reader and fan! 

Whenever I think of my writing career, I think of Sir Winston Churchill’s advice:  “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

The enemy of most authors who do not have tons of extra money, loads of extra time, or connections is typically the authors themselves.  They begin to doubt, to feel as though their goals are unreachable, to wonder if they can succeed.  The authors and the founder of Smashwords reminded all of us at RT that perseverance is the key.  As long as we keep pushing, keep writing good works, and keep believing, then it will happen.  Those who give up will never know success.  I’ve already succeeded by publishing five books in less than two years.  I have many drafts waiting for publication and am working on a new series I’ve decided to call The ROYAL Series.  More on that next blog.  🙂

The flow of creativity and the joy it brings to readers is invigorating!  I had several people come up to me during the convention to let me know that they’d already read whatever book of mine they’d gotten at RT and how that affected their lives.  THAT is the joy of interacting with others who gain pleasure from one’s work.  THAT is why I write.  THAT is why I decided it was time to start publishing when I turned forty-five.  It’s a crazy, challenging, great journey, and I’m thrilled I made the RT Convention in New Orleans one of my stops along the way!   Barbara