Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

News Roundup, end of September edition


I’ve been super busy and haven’t had time for an update, but lots of friends and clients and cool people are doing newsworthy things, and since it’s mostly all book related, let’s spread the love.

Reviews are continuing to roll in on my friend Joyce Tremel’s first book in her new series, Brewing Trouble. The second book comes out in early October, so check out what our mutual friend (and amazing writer, herself) Annette Dashofy has to say over at the #30Authors event.

West of Mars friend KC May has updated her E-Book Formatting for Novelists. It’s available for free at a number of locations, including this one at InstaFreebie.

West of Mars friend Liz Milliron (among mega-cool others) has a story in a new anthology, Blood on the Bayou. Check out this glowing review — and then get a copy for yourself.

If you don’t know by now, West of Mars is located in the Pittsburgh suburbs. I’ve always loved living here (okay, not so much in high school, but how much do you really appreciate in high school anyway?). My beloved city is currently having a sort of renewal, rebirth, or has simply done stuff to be trendy and hip. I’m not sure which. But at any rate, to go with our killer new restaurants, we’ve got a brand-new bookstore: Nine Stories. I’m busy during their grand opening, but I’ll have to go on down and (find parking. Ugh. The bane of my existence; I hate being a suburban girl!) make some connections to help better the writing/reading community in the city… and beyond.

Over at The Rock of Pages this week, Jett’s coveted a few books and left an important announcement about Rocktober. Which is that I’ve been busy recovering from the bike accident (yes, still — today’s the 40-week mark and go and make all the pregnancy jokes you’d like to) and didn’t have the time or energy to hunt down authors to ask them to join in. If you know an author of Rock Fiction or read Rock Fiction, Jett and I are always glad to hand the site over for a guest blog post and/or review… or anything you can think up, so long as it joins music and fiction. At The Rock of Pages, it’s Rocktober all year round. Spread the word. Get involved.

On an editing front, I’m booked out about three weeks at this point, but there are a couple potential clients who I’ve been talking to, and I’m awaiting a major project from a client, as well. If you need an edit, better be in touch with me soon. And by soon, I mean NOW.

Also on the editing front, although a bit differently, one of my clients is debating the merits and advantages (and disadvantages) of ACX versus Audible. Leave your feedback here or at the West of Mars Facebook page. Help a fellow author — or two. You never know who is lurking and will take your advice to heart!


Best of the Burghosphere: LJSkool blog


West of Mars

This post needed my logo. But it needs another one, too:
Web Banner Best of

That’s because although I’m a proud Pittsburgher, I’ve lived below the radar for too long. Time to change that. And one way was to join the Best of the Burghosphere 2015 celebration, in conjunction with Most Wanted Fine Art and Sue Kerr, who I’ve known via social media for a long time now.

Here’s a bit about the project:

Most Wanted Fine Art is pleased to team up with Pittsburgh Bloggers to acknowledge and honor the contributions of bloggers through Pittsburgh’s blogosphere (aka “Burghosphere”) with an awards ceremony that also pays tribute to our love for all lists Top Ten.

Whether blogging is an art, craft or off-shoot of journalism, it is a labor of love and creativity that infuses our lives with new ideas and an unparalled opportunity to engage (and sometimes, outrage) our community. To be a blogger is to be among the best. There is no ranking, no competition and no criteria. The act of blogging is all that is required.

Now, come on. How can your favorite heavy metal editor not join in this sort of fun? It’s right up my alley!

And I’m glad I did.

I got to investigate LJSkool, which is an incredibly energetic, upbeat blog about parenting and homeschooling. Truth? It made me sad homeschooling wasn’t an option for me and my kids ’cause the way this family learns? Would have been perfect for the gang I’ve got. Of course, it would leave me next to zero time to work, but on the other hand, I’d be out living life and not hiding behind a computer all day. We’d be having adventures, challenging both myself and the kids, learning the way learning was probably meant to be done, through experience and direct contact, not blackboards and bell schedules and backpacks that are allowed in some classes and not in others.

Anyway, in the end, I’m jealous as anything. To have the freedom to teach, to explore this magnificent city of ours, to use it as a backdrop for learning… Definitely jealous.

So it’s my privilege and delight to award LJSkool the Best, Most Upbeat Homeschooling and Parenting Blog in the entire City of Pittsburgh.


Featured New Book: Second Chances by Alana Lorens


SecondChances-promoI belong to a couple of writers’ organizations. Big ones, that have been around a long time. I belong to some newer ones, too, but right now, we’re focusing on Pennwriters, an awesome group of mostly (but not entirely) Pennsylvania writers.

I’m happy to host Alana Lorens today. Her new book, Second Chances, is set here in Da Burgh — that’s Pittsburgh for you not hip enough to know the name of the beloved major city I live near. Second Chances is the second in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series. But I bet you can read this one before picking up the first.

So… Alana, what song makes you think of your book?

Recipe For Love— by Harry Connick, Jr. My 40-something heroine Inessa Regan finally allows herself to give in to her feelings for her much younger Iraq veteran honey Kurt Lowdon, while sitting in the office they share late one night, reviewing secretary resumes, drinking wine and listening to old Harry sing as only he can. She wakes up the next morning singing this song and blushing like a much younger woman, happy in love.

Harry Connick, Junior! Been awhile since I’ve heard his name!

On to the book blurb:

This women’s fiction story begins the day attorney Inessa Regan receives a pink slip after ten years of faithful service. She’s been a mid-level associate her whole career, partners telling her what to do, providing her with an office and everything she needs. Thrown out into the legal world on her own, she doesn’t know how she’ll survive.

Her neighbor brings her first client, Kurt Lowdon, a young Iraq veteran with cancer, who’s looking just to have a will made. Inessa struggles to give Kurt what he needs, and he helps make it easy for her.

Once his immediate needs are met, he takes her under his wing and brings her more clients as well as a place to open an office to see them. Things begin to fall together for her, including a very special friendship with Kurt that becomes something more.

But his past military service, and the friends he’s made there, begin to cause problems for them both, as well as issues his drug-addicted sister delivers to his doorstep. He still hasn’t kicked his cancer, either, and Inessa wonders if falling in love with him is a blessing or a curse.

Here’s the book trailer for SECOND CHANCES

Buy at Amazon
Barnes and Noble

4. Please provide any personal links you’d like to include: your website, your blog, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads… and/or anything else I may have forgotten


Friend me at Facebook


Foster Me!


I’ve been having such a good time as a foster parent (of cats, people. Cats.) that I decided it needed to be blogged about. So I contacted the right person at the shelter I volunteer through and …

Go read my intro. You can meet Lucy and Milo, my shelter kitties!

More to come… Wait until you set eyes on Zenji. You won’t be the same.


Featured New Book: What Happens on Sunday by Laurie Koozer


I’m not sure how Laurie Koozer and I met. Was it our Pittsburgh connection? Twitter? Something else that’s shared?

I don’t know. I DO know that I’ve been a guest on her blog, Yinz R Readin’, and now that she’s got a book of her own out, it’s only fair to return the favor.

Plus, Laurie’s cool people. I can’t wait until she and I begin taking Pittsburgh by storm.

Which means you KNOW she’s got a cool song to accompany her new book, What Happens on Sunday. I was lucky enough to do a proofread on this book, and let me tell you: it totally captures the Pittsburgh essence. Look out, world: Laurie’s here.

Without further ado, here’s what Laurie has to say about music and What Happens on Sunday:

I always think of my book when I hear the song “Hell’s Bells” by AC/DC. Every time I hear this song, particularly the long introduction with the bells tolling, I imagine a very cinematic vision of my characters getting ready for a Steelers game – Megan slutting up a vintage Steelers shirt and listening to pregame coverage in her Bloomfield apartment, Patty in the kitchen making game time snacks in the suburbs, Desiree putting on Steelers jewelry and a pullover fleece in preparation for a tailgate, Shannon alone in her apartment picking out a jersey to wear and ignoring calls from her sister, Jen tucking her Terrible Towel into her pocket as her and Dave argue about which wide receiver is going to have a better day, and Angela, very intentionally not wearing Steelers gear and avoiding anything on TV about the game.

I think the juxtaposition of a hard rock song to describe a book about six women is pretty fitting too given this book and the world in which they live – while softer elements such as romance and family relationships ultimately drive this novel there are parts of each character’s arc that get somewhat gritty, dare I say as bleak as a Steelers losing streak in a Pittsburgh winter? These are women who love and cry and yearn yet there is also a certain kind of grit and steel to them that is reminiscent not only of their Steel City heritage, but the gridiron game that they love.

Wow, huh?

Here’s the blurb:

In Pittsburgh, what happens on football Sundays is more than just a game and for six women during the 2005 Steelers season, their complicated relationships with the team provide solace, distraction and occasionally frustration.

Jen is a very young and very pregnant newlywed who worries that getting married on the same day as a Steelers loss will doom her marriage.

Megan never met a tailgate or a man she couldn’t conquer but is scared of losing her best friend to a relationship.

Desiree is a brash professional struggling to deal with her husband’s ex-wife and children and beginning to wonder if it’s the right time to start a family of her own.

Angela is a high school senior long ago branded bad luck for the Steelers and all she wants to do is get the hell out of Pittsburgh even if it means leaving behind her best friend Robbie.

Patty, a mom who sends a pair of sexy panties to a different player every week, hasn’t been on a date since her divorce five years ago.

And then there’s Shannon, she’s thirty-four and single. She spends the majority of her days navigating Pittsburgh traffic and her evenings tending bar and pining after her sister’s boyfriend.

As the Steelers make what seems to be an impossible run to the Super Bowl, their lives will intersect, each of them finding connections in the most unexpected places.

You guys will have to tell me if this resonates with you the way it resonated with me. This is one that’s haunted me since I worked on it, and given how many projects I see every month, and how many books I read as a reviewer, and how many books I read for pleasure, that’s saying something, wouldn’t you think?

So. Go buy. It went live on Amazon on August 13, which was just last week.

My favorite of all the e-book retailers is Smashwords. They offer us authors the highest royalties while giving you readers your choice of formats. Pick up Laurie’s book there, why don’tcha?

Connect with Laurie, too. Like I said, she’s cool people. Like attracts like, after all!

Good Reads




Oh, to be in Clevel… WHAT???


Yeah. I live outside of Pittsburgh. Outside enough to not have to send the kids to the Pittsburgh Public Schools (with apologies to my friend who teaches in one of them), but near enough to consider myself a Burgher, proud and true.

So I sorta want to gag when I envy the music lovers of Cleveland. I mean, hello? CLEVELAND??? The city that set its river on fire???

Yeah, and to add personal insult to the decades-long rivalry between the cities, I’ve got family in Cleveland.

Here’s what’s making me say such gag-inducing words as, “Oh to be in Cleveland on April 13… the day after King Trevor’s release!”

It’s Duff McKagan. I might have fallen a bit in love with him during the escapade that prompted this post… but, maybe I didn’t.

Either way, hearing that he’s going to be in Cleveland the night before the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, where he’ll be honored as a member of Guns ‘n Roses, made me drool. Oh, it’s not because of Axl, who intrigues the hell out of me. It’s because on the 13th, Duff took over the House of Blues (the only House of Blues I’ve ever been in, coincidentally — a fact that MUST be changed before I perish) for a one-off musical tie-in performance to his book, It’s So Easy (and other lies).

It’s a multi-media book reading, complete with music and … oh, hell. It’s some form of really avant garde performance art that will probably make perfect sense and make me swoon with the sheer creativity of the project. And when I’m done swooning, I’ll be sad I wasn’t part of it.

Except… I wasn’t be there. Couldn’t be. But man, do I want to be…