Author photos

For years, I’ve used a nice picture of myself with my dog on the beach as my photo on my website and social media accounts. My mother, who is not known for her photography skills, took it one New Years Day. You can barely make out my face.  I liked it that way.

While querying a new novel (translation: sending a letter to agents with a short description of my new legal thriller & receiving impersonal rejection letters), I’ve read a few books on having success in publishing. There’s a lot of talk about building your platform, social media strategies, etc. One thing mentioned frequently was having a professional author photo. I can’t imagine choosing a book based on an author’s photo but to each their own I guess.

The thought of taking author photos didn’t sound too appealing but it was more appealing than spending more time on social media.

First, I asked my editor for a referral. That person never got back to me. For over a month, I left it at that. I tried, didn’t I? Something prompted me to look for another photographer. And I started where I start most searches–Google. One of the first results,, was in my town. Turns out, we live on the same block!

Jordan returned my email promptly. We spoke in a few days and we set up an appointment that week. That was the easy part.

I’ve read a few posts on a list-serv I’m on for writers (The Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime) about how to prepare for the appointment. There’s lots of advice.

Practice your pose in the mirror. I didn’t.

Be comfortable. I found that to be unlikely.

Bring props. No thank you.

Since I was investing in new author photos, I figured I should have it done right and made an appointment to have my hair and makeup done. Jordan was surprised I was getting my makeup done. I didn’t feel the need to tell him my utter incompetence in doing my own hair and makeup.

Fortunately, I did have people I’ve known for years do my hair and makeup. MJ (at Vivo Salon, Island Park, NY) applied my makeup. I told her a brief story before she began. I’ve had my makeup done professionally 3 other times in my life. After 2 of those times, I was told that I looked like I could work on a street corner. That is not hyperbole. It is actually what was said. (Thank you Mom and Eli). MJ laughed and assured me she wouldn’t go wild.

I spent days fretting about what to wear. ‘Be comfortable’ could go many ways. You are talking to someone who wore yoga pants to work last week. (And no I am not a yoga teacher.) In the end, I chose jeans and a T-shirt, because other than New York Mets shirts and shorts, this is what I’m usually wearing.

I was relieved when I left the salon and the ladies told me I looked nice. (Thank you Norma for fixing my hair. And thank you Maggie for always doing a great job.) The relief didn’t last as I realized that was the easy part. I didn’t have to do anything. I was terribly nervous to meet a stranger and have him take pictures of me.

Jordan quickly put me at ease. Most of the passersby on the boardwalk and beach didn’t even notice & none pointed and laughed. I gave him one order– “I don’t want to be too smiley.” I was really looking for an author photo like Stephen King’s. Without telling Jordan my motivation, I sat on a bench and channeled Stephen King. Jordan showed me the pictures in the viewfinder. Turns out the serious face doesn’t look so great on me. So smiling it is…but not too smiley.

Moral of the story-

If you need a professional photographer, and live on Long Island, check out

If you need to be made beautiful for said photographs (or any other event) and live on Long Island, check out

You’re not getting any younger, take those photos now!

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The Golden Donut Winner

I’m pleased to announce I won the Writers’ Police Academy Golden Donut Short Story contest. The challenge – write a story about the photograph below using exactly 200 words, including the title.


Hide and Seek…

“Found!” Bryce yelled.

“Time to go!” their father hollered. “No more of your games. The tour starts in thirty.” The trio headed to the penitentiary. “I must be some big shot to get us on the first tour ever.”

The boys marveled at the old, now closed, jail. All the places they could hide. All the hours they could play.

The tour guide prattled on about the jail’s history, its famous inmates and one inmate never found. Convicted murderer Oliver Seaver. “Escaped, dead, or still here? We do not know.”

Reign and Bryce trailed behind, bored.

The guide continued, “Some say they still see him wandering the halls.” He cackled, scaring no one. “Is it his ghost? Or is he still here?”

“Hide and seek?” Bryce whispered.

Reign nodded and started to count. “Ten…nine…”

Bryce hid under a bed and waited. He heard Reign’s calls. And he remained hidden.

He heard his father’s calls. And he remained hidden.

Bryce heard the jingle of keys and the cell door closed. The lights shut off.

The museum closed for the night.

Leaving Bryce still hidden under the bed.

And then he was found.

But not by his brother.


Thank you to Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series, for choosing my story.


Thank you to Lee Lofland, for organizing another educational, fun and well run event.

Writers– BUY his book.  It’s a great resource.


Thank you to Linda Lovely & Howard, WPA volunteers, who presented me with the award on Sunday morning.

Readers– BUY her book.


Someone in the crowd asked where I was during the Saturday night banquet, when the winner was announced.


Listening to the Mets game of course.

Goddess Fish Promotions

Thank you to Goddess Fish Promotions for organizing my blog tour.

Thanks also go to the great blogs that hosted me and ‘Gone But Not Missed’ for the tour.

Readers – Today is the last day to enter the raffle for a gift card.

Also, check out the blogs below on new and exciting reads.

January 30: Fabulous and Brunette
January 31: Welcome to My World of Dreams
February 1: T’s Stuff
February 2: Stormy Nights Reviewing and Bloggin’ – review
February 3: Edgar’s Books
February 6: Christine Young
February 7: Book Giveaways
February 8: fundinmental
February 9: Hearts and Scribbles
February 10: The Avid Reader
February 10: Rainy Day Reviews
February 13: EskieMama Reads
February 14: BooksChatter
February 15: Long and Short Reviews
February 16: Romance Author Hear Me Roar
February 17: Booklover Sue

Writers – Check out for great promotional tours, at reasonable rates.

A fellow writer told me about her positive experience with Goddess Fish and I concur.


Today is the last day GBNM is on sale, ebook 99cents.

Happy Reading,






Happy Holidays?

I was in the craft store Michael’s earlier this week and was shocked to hear Christmas music. Only Christmas music was playing…the entire time I was there…buying Christmas ornaments.

Fine, just so you know my holiday cards are already purchased…and addressed…and stamped…

Because when I get an idea in my head, I have to act on it. That’s how The Nathan Miccoli Mystery Series was born.

The series, now 6 books!, are all available on  in kindle and print form.

Makes a great Holiday gift!


And in case you were wondering what to get me this holiday season, WRITE a review of each book in the series.


Happy Birthday Nathan! (& Mike Piazza)

Happy Birthday to my main character, Nathan Miccoli! I was reminded of the birthday this morning by a friend, who also shares the birthday. So, Happy Birthday Michael too!

Nathan shares his birthday with baseball Hall of Famer, Mike Piazza. Coincidence?

Doubt it:)

For the Nathan Miccoli Mystery fans, here’s the cover for the latest installment.

Gone But Not Free, available later this month!


Have a great long weekend!


The Golden Donut Winner

I’m proud to say that I am the winner of the 2016 Golden Donut Short Story contest.

You can read it here —

The Writers’ Police Academy is a wonderful event that I’ve attended the last 5 years. I’ve submitted stories for the contest the last two years.

Two hundred words. Exactly. No more. No less.

I was a bit bitter that I didn’t win last year. I thought my story was great. (FYI — My mother said it was a better than than this one:)

I met 2015 winner Vinnie Hansen on the bus during this year’s WPA. I admitted how envious I was.

To be honest, I almost didn’t click on Lee Lofland’s blog link to read the winning stories. I was shocked to read my story title and then my name.

Thank you to Tami Hoag- the contest’s judge.

Thank you to Lee Lofland for organizing another phenomenal event.

Thank you to Sisters in Crime for donating substantially each year to the event.

And thank you to NWTC – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College for hosting this years program.