Feet Don’t Fail Me Now ~ on the viral dry skin remedy

IMG_1079I’m reading Lisa Lickel’s marketing article on Elaine Stock’s blog…good stuff. All the while my feet are in a tub of that Listerine/vinegar mixture that’s gone viral for sloughing off dry skin.

I’m sure anyone with a dry skin issue on their feet is aware of the claims of the Listerine/vinegar treatment.

You mix 1/4 C Listerine (most prefer the blue, cool-mint), 1/4 C white vinegar, and 1/2 C warm water. Soak feet for 10 minutes and they claim the dry skin will slough right off in your hand.

I have such dry skin due to a thyroid condition (that is being treated), you’d think I had golumphing golumpha’s disorder on my feet. I bought the cool-mint, blue Listerine (on sale) a month ago. Then I read a dermatologist’s article sort of pooh-poohing this home-remedy, so I put off trying it.

Today when my feet took the plunge, I doubled the recipe. That’s just me. I wanted my feet sloshing around in a little bit more liquid. The cool liquid feels great! Refreshing. I guess that’s why everyone says go with the blue Listerine. As to the results…the dry skin doesn’t just slough off. However, this is the best remedy I’ve tried yet…and I’ve tried both prescription and non-prescription ointments and salves, some with fruit acids. This took off more dead skin, by far, than any of those. This is just my results. I’m not a medical doctor, not a podiatrist, nor a dermatologist, and I’m not prescribing. I’m a writer and I’m recording.

IMG_1080As I said, the dry skin doesn’t simply slough off. I used the two instruments of torture to the left to gently remove dead skin.

My best estimate is, I’m going to be doing thins once a month to keep things in tootsie-ville down to a dull roar.

Killer Titles

Your title either grabs the reader or it doesn’t. Readers are pretty savvy. They want the title to speak to them and intrigue them. Simply by the title, they want to know what type of novel they’re looking at. After all, we’re asking them to plunk down their hard earned cash to buy it.

So, the author has to know his/her stuff. First know the genre. Of course, I’m talking crime fiction titles. Still, that over-arching genre breaks down into: thrillers, murder mysteries, detective stories, suspense novels, romantic suspense, and cozies. If you’ve got a humorous cozy with a delightful grandma sleuth running around town catching thugs and murderers, the last thing you want is a super-serious title.

Back On Murder

If you write for a publishing company, the final word on the title will be the publisher’s. No matter how emotionally attached the author is to the working title, the publisher wants a title that’s a workhorse, a title that will sell the book. If you’re an indie author, you’ve got to choose that type of winning title.

I enjoy a clever title and think most readers do. It could have a double meaning, a play on words, or it could be a bit of a riddle. One title that grabbed me from the get-go and pulled me in is J. Mark Bertrand’s BACK ON MURDER. The story takes us into the world of a detective whose life fell apart after his daughter was killed by a drunk driver and he was bounced off the homicide squad. When the novel opens, he’s back on murder, but this is his last chance.

Without FailWhile devouring my key lime pie at an author’s luncheon not long ago, the speaker, a librarian, mentioned that if library goers like a book they took out, they will then purchase subsequent novels by that author. This is true of me. And usually it’s the title on the spine of the book that grabs my eye. If I like the book, I’ll want to read other stories by that author…and I don’t want to wait for the library to get them in. That happened to me with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. I’m a sucker for two-word titles. [All of my novels have two-word titles.] So, as I browsed the aisles at my local library branch, WITHOUT FAIL, number six in the series, seemed to leap off the shelf and into my hands. When I opened the book and read the first page, and I was hooked. I finished this thriller, returned it to the library, and starting with book number one, began ordering from Amazon.

You can google: How To Choose A Title and find articles that give you 5, 7, 10 tips to creating great fiction titles. Ultimately, you have to love your title. If you aren’t totally satisfied with it, it’s not the right title.

Why not have a fun day searching for terrific titles? The Grand Army Plaza Public Library (main branch in Brooklyn) has a gourmet snack bar. My local branch doesn’t, but they’ve let me bring in a container of tea. Barnes & Noble has Starbucks. Go to one of these, get your fav beverage and find a table. Then browse the mystery/thriller section. Look at the spines for novels of the type you write. Pick out ones that jump out at you (10 – 20 books). Bring them to your table…where you have a notebook handy. Enjoy your beverage while you study the titles. Take notes. Do these great titles have anything in common? Narrow it down to the five best. What makes them the best? Is there action and movement in the titles (verbs)? Do they promise something? Are they quirky, denoting humor? Does this fit your story?

Harmful Intent, Amazon SmWhen I chose the title: HARMFUL INTENT, for my recently released whounit, I hoped the title conveyed the promise of diabolical schemes, treachery, deceit…all good things in a murder mystery. And it passed my ultimate test. The title satisfied me, totally.



BURNING SKY by Lori Benton ~ a review

Burning Sky 2

BURNING SKY by Lori Benton is a captivating historical epic novel set in the post-Revolutionary War era. This debut novel won the Grace Awards 2013 in the Action-Adventure/Western/Epic Fiction category. The novel’s historical accuracy is obvious, as well as the author’s knowledge of the Native American tribes then living in New York State. The author’s expressive prose paints a vibrant picture of life at that time. This novel would be a valuable addition to any homeschooling curriculum.

Ms. Benton moves the characters from one element of the story to the next with great skill. The author did a superb job when Burning Sky, who had been captured as a young lass by northern New York State tribes, returns home to her family’s cabin and transitions back to thinking and speaking more and more in English as she tries to resume her former identity as Willa Obenchein. She is stunned to find her family’s cabin empty, abandoned, and in disrepair. She’s even more stunned to find some have called into question her parents loyalty to the colonial-cause during the war. She’s a woman caught between two worlds. Though not surprised when some settlers treated her with open hostility, it instills fear in her and increases her wariness. She is the type of character the reader cares about from page one.

Willa has experienced a number of losses throughout her life, most significantly, the death of the two children she bore to her deceased Native American husband. She is determined to guard her heart and keep it closed to avoid getting hurt again. However, hard she tries to shut herself off from emotional entanglements, she finds life will have its way.

The characters, even the secondary and minor ones, feel believable and authentic to the period. Many of whom bear deep and painful scars due to the brutal battles on the frontier, with both the British and Americans having committed atrocities. This is a multi-faceted novel presenting a story of bitterness, suspicion, and determination that turns into one of love, forgiveness, and restoration.

Neil MacGregor and Joseph Tames His Horse, two very different men, with dissimilar strengths, both devout Christians, vie for the love of Willa/Burning Sky. The portrayal of Neil’s strength through his deep faith was done superbly, without even the slightest hint of preaching, and was organic to the story. The author does a marvelous job keeping the reader guessing how this love-triangle will turn out. The villains are not stereotypes, but rather are well fleshed out. One of them skillfully and horrifically manipulates events. While his younger brother, who has developmental challenges, is a touching character crafted with depth. I highly recommend this book to readers from age fourteen to one-hundred and fourteen.

Author Blog Hop ~ Have a Little Fun With It


My friend and sister in crime Marcy Dyer asked me to join this very fun author blog hop. So, I’m hopping.

Marcy Dyer 2

Marcy is a registered nurse and suspense author. She doesn’t hold back in her stories, and you’ll find yourself flipping through the pages. She currently has two novels from the Desert Winds Series available: Down & Out and Out for Blood Her newest novel, Blood and Lies will release in November.


Kangaroo, sign


Marcy asked me to answer these four questions.



What am I working on?

I’m working on book two in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes novels. DEADLY DESIGNS is part of my couples series. The first novel in this series is HARMFUL INTENT, which just released. That’s where I introduce Ronnie and Hughes and where they become attracted to each other. DEADLY DESIGNS is a story about murder and child abduction. Of course you have to have conflict between the two main characters or there’s no fun to it. So, as the story opens Ronnie is angry with Hughes because the search for the child was delayed by almost two days. Of course, her anger is misplaced, as Hughes had nothing to do with the delay.

How does my work differ from others?

My writing is quite different from others. First of all, I’ve got a unique voice. My writing brings to mind the sassy pulp fiction style. I also write both main characters in first person. So, I have to develop their character-persoalities with depth so the reader can navigate from one to the other and not get confused as to whose scene it is.

Why do I write what I write?

I love reading detective stories and police procedurals that are realistic and authentic. I like a little grit in my mystery novels. That keeps it real and keeps me reading. So, that’s also what I write. I have an off the wall sense of humor, so my whodunits have a zany humor thread.

How does my writing process work?

I come up with an idea. Any idea…of course related to murder. In HARMFUL INTENT the first idea I came up with was infidelity. The heroine’s father was serially unfaithful to her mother and her mother put on a brave front for public consumption. This helped propel Ronnie into the private investigator business where she is on a mission to catch cheaters red-handed and or bare bottomed, as she snaps the incriminating photos. But it doesn’t stop there. Ronnie wants to be different then her mother who put up with her cheating husband until he left for another woman. However, Ronnie finds her husband is much like her dad. Married only one year and he’s cheating on her.

Kangaroo, sign


As I hop along, I’ll pass the baton to three wonderful writers. So, be sure to visit their blogs to continue the fun and to find out more about them and their writing.



Bette Thomason OwensBorn in the Pacific Northwest, Betty grew up in such exotic places as West Tennessee and San Diego, California. She lives in Kentucky with her husband. They have three sons and six grandchildren.

She has two fantasy-adventure novels in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale Books, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press. She is one of twelve authors featured in the romantic novella, A Dozen Apologies, released Valentine’s Day, 2014 by Write Integrity Press. She recently contracted with Write Integrity Press for her three-book Legacy Series. Watch for her first novel, Amelia’s Legacy, late 2014.The Lady of the Haven

She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and Bluegrass Christian Writers, a lively group of Kentucky writers, who meet quarterly in a Lexington, Kentucky bookstore. www.bettythomasonowens.com


Barbara Ellen Brink

Barbara Ellen Brink is a multi-published author of mystery, suspense, and young adult novels. Apart from writing, she is a wife, mother, and dog walker. She grew up on a small farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota with her husband and their dogs, Rugby & Willow. In her spare time – when she’s not reading – she likes to ride motorcycles, visit local wineries, and catch up on the latest movies.Amish Vampire Trilogy

She is the author of The Fredrickson Winery Novels, ENTANGLED, CRUSHED, and SAVOR; a humorous young adult series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy; and Inspirational suspense novels, RUNNING HOME and ALIAS RAVEN BLACK. Her speculative/thriller, SPLIT SENSE,  won the 2012 Grace Award.  http://www.barbaraellenbrink.com


April McGowan

April McGowan loves to write healing fiction. She and her husband, two children, and her mews, Spookers, live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, reading down her book list, homeschooling her two children, or playing board games, you might find her at her drum kit, imagining she’s on a world tour. Hey, it could happen. http://aprilmcgowan.com/

Kangaroo, sign


So hop-hop-hop on over to these authors’ websites/blogs to see what they’re all about.