Tag Archives: Donna McDonald

Dad – If You Could See Me Now… Part II

4 Feb

Dad (and Mom) listen up now, this is where my story gets even more amazing. What does a retired elementary teacher do while waiting for her fellow teaching buddy to give in and retire so they can do fun things together during the day? Well, I read, joined a book club, and read some more, then…

You may be aware of the term, The Butterfly Effect, which explains how tiny initial differences may lead to large and unforeseen consequences over a period of time. This is my version of the phenomenon.

My butterfly’s egg was hatched on June 9, 2011 when I downloaded a free book from Amazon called Maid For the Billionaire by Ruth Cardello. After reading and enjoying the book, as I did with a number of authors, I searched for a web site for Ruth and found a blog site named, eBook Experiment, where Ruth had frequent blogs about her journey into authoring romance books.  At that time, she had only released her first book, and it was free, so she wasn’t yet making any money with her writing. Well, my little caterpillar devoured reading about her journey and before long the chrysalis was formed.

My butterfly burst forth on August 20, 2011, when Ruth self-published her second book, For Love or Legacy, and I quickly ‘one-clicked’ and downloaded it. Those wings started flapping and unknown at that time, I started my new journey. Ruth had asked her Facebook friends to let her know if they found any mistakes as they read the book. As I was reading I did find a couple of mistakes and I ‘private messaged’ Ruth. Being the sweet person she is, she thanked me and we started a conversation that lasted into the late evening as I read the book and found a few more tiny errors. At one point she joked that maybe I could edit her third book. We laughed… talked teaching (at the time she was on summer break from her kindergarten teaching job)… discussed family…we even discussed having coffee together someday.  She said, “And who knows, if this writing thing takes off…maybe I’ll take you up on that coffee.”  Serendipity, Ruth!

When the school year started, Ruth went back to teaching, but we still messaged off and on. She asked me to reread her first book and look for mistakes before she submitted it for paper print. I volunteered to reread the second one too to see if I could find anything I had missed the first time through. Her sales were going very well on the second book and I (along with many others I’m sure) encouraged her to quit teaching and write full time so she could get started on her third book. In April 2012, Ruth became a full time writer and our friendship grew as she wrote Bedding the Billionaire, book three. She talked to her colleagues, told them about me, and one or two of them asked if I could help them by proofreading their manuscripts.  Feeling a bit under-qualified, I hesitated; after all, my training was in elementary education, with a master in educational curriculum, not an English degree. But with Ruth’s encouragement, I agreed. Ruth convinced me my qualification came from reading as many books as I had and that I had a good eye for finding those pesky little mistakes that so many writers just don’t see in their own writing. Plus, both of us being former teachers, we had practiced daily how to help others make their work better. The good news was, the authors that I helped, thanked me profusely for a job well done! Ruth cemented our friendship right there; we entered the realm of sisterhood!

During this time, my biological sister and I also started a new book group that read only eBooks that were fun and cheap, five dollars or under—The Bargain eBook Book Club.  To make our group unique and jovial, I started contacting authors and asking them if they could join in our discussions. To hear those stories, please read through my earlier blogs, but suffice it to say, we have a fun time and we have Skyped with almost twenty different authors, many of them New York Times Best Selling authors! Our best treat was a day in June when Ruth called and told me she didn’t want to Skype, she wanted to actually fly here and meet with the Defiance ladies that were all the talk of her writing world. Her third book, which I had proofed for her just like we laughed about earlier, had just made the New York Times Belling Selling list for eBooks! Well,to add to that surprise, Donna McDonald, another author our book club knew, said she would like to drive up from Kentucky and meet not only us, but Ruth too. And guess what?  Yes! I got to have that predestined cup of coffee! The ladies graciously presented a workshop to local writers explaining the hows and whys of self-publishing along with an evening of merriment and friendship with both of my book groups at the local bed and breakfast. Amazing—successful authors coming to Defiance just to meet our little book group!book group with Ruth and Donna

Meanwhile, my little proofing business was growing and I needed some help.  Ruth, who by then I had considered more than a friend (we had bonded…), kept putting my information on her Facebook pages and new authors lined up. In October, my sister joined with me and we are now proofreading/line editing/beta reading for over fifteen romance authors.  Did you hear that Dad—your two daughters are working with romance authors! Some of them even want to meet us! They know me! Don’t you love it?  And, my retirement plan—it allowed us to purchase tickets to visit my daughters in New Mexico and Seattle. Oh… and I took a trip to see Ruth in Rhode Island in December where she planned a party for me to meet many of the authors I work with, then Ruth and I went to Newport and had lunch with Marie Force. It was rather like coming full circle, although I’d like to think of it more as a spiral, because this butterfly is not nearly finished with her amazing journey. Stay tuned… Texas is next!Ruth and Karen

If you are wondering what to do with a new phase in your life, I will tell you what I’ve always told my children—find something you love to do and do it! As hokey as it sounds, when a door is closed, a window IS opened.  Embrace that window and let in your butterfly! There is a whole new cyber world out there just waiting for your discovery.

Notable Romance Series

10 Sep

Do you love to read series?  It seems to be the way of romance books these days, so I have tried to introduce my book group to some authors that write series.  One popular bonus with authors and series is they often offer the first book for free or a very low price for you to try them out.  Of course they want you to get hooked and buy the rest, and it works for me!  I have some great series and authors that I’ve tired that I’d like to introduce to you.

The Legacy Series, by Ruth Cardello  At present there are three books in this series.  The first one, Maid for the Billionaire is free.  This series follows the Corisi and Andrade families and friends.  A fourth book, Saving the Sheikh,  is to be released in November.

Never Too Late Series, by Donna McDonald  There are five books right now in this series with Dating a Cougar being the first free one.  These books follow the lives of three more mature girlfriends (early 40s to early 50s) as they find their soul mates.  Books four and five deal with one’s daughter and another’s mother.  Life doesn’t stop in your 40s, or even your 60s!

The Bluegrass Series, by Kathleen Brooks  This is really two series, however the second series (The Bluegrass Brothers) continues with the same cast of characters.  These books follow characters from Keeneston, a small town in Kentucky.  They all have a mystery to solve, making them more of a romantic suspense, but with plenty of laughs from some of the townspeople.  My favorites are the Rose sisters.  Bluegrass State of Mind is the first free one.  So far there are five books available.

The Fatal Series, by Marie Force  There are five books presently in this series.  The first one isn’t the free one, but it can’t be missed!  Fatal Affair introduces my favorite hero – Nick Cappuano.  The interesting thing about this series is that it follows the same couple in every book and you still can’t get enough of Nick and Sam!  She is a police detective in Washington DC while Nick starts out as chief of staff for a senator.  This is romantic suspense at its best.  As their romance and crime solving cases progress, we get to the free book, Fatal Destiny, which was written as a present to all of Marie’s fans.  This is the fourth book (really called 3.5) and it is the wedding book, making it well worth the price of the first three!  A sixth book is to be released in November.

There are many other series that I’ve enjoyed, some from these same authors.  This is just a small spicy sampling of some of my favorites and, the good news—all of these authors are very willing to skype with your book groups too.  So, for free, try some of them out and see for yourself!  Happy reading!

Can’t Skype, Send Swag!

7 Apr

While many authors are happy to Skype with The Bargain eBooks Book Club, there are some who either won’t or can’t.  This is to be expected.  However – I have found some really nice authors who have offered to send us little presents, or swag, since they weren’t going to “be” with us.  We’ve had two authors that went above and beyond with their swag.

When I first contacted Carly Phillips, I held little hope that she would even return my email.  I mean, she has been a best selling author for years and Kelly Ripa chose her book on national TV and everyone’s heard of her and…….  Much to my surprise, not only did she answer, but she explained that she would love to Skype, but she would be on vacation on the date we were discussing her book.  Then she offered to send us some bookmarks, autographed book plates, and magnets to make up for not being with us!  Who wouldn’t love to get presents from famous authors?  And our members were delighted to get her goodies as we discussed her book, The Bachelor, the one that got her national recognition going through Ms. Ripa!

Gemma Halliday ‘s story is really cute.  She replied to my email by saying it was a lovely offer, but she doesn’t Skype as she is not that tech savvy yet.  She continued by saying she would love to send us some High Heel goodies if I would send her the number of members and my address.  To my great surprise, when her box arrived, I found the cutest little wine charms with high heels on them, along with cute autographed trading cards for her first five books of her High Heel Series.  She also sent some promotional autographed post cards for her other series, Hollywood Headlines.  Needless to say, the members were extremely excited to get the wine charms – so much so that we took a picture!

We have had other authors who did Skype and have also sent us some of their swag.  Ruth Cardello sent us personalized pens and chocolates (she does know me!) and Donna McDonald sent us some pens that we used for a drawing when she skyped.  We drew numbers and she chose the winners!

Now, do you have your book club going yet?  We have our books planned through August right now and I know we will be skyping with the next two authors – Sheila Horgan and Kathryn Shay!  By the way, last week Barbara Freethy was a sweetheart and very entertaining.  We read her book, Ryan’s Return – a great story!  You really need to ask your authors about talking live with them at your next book club meeting.  A good time will be had by all!

Future reads of Bargain eBooks Book Club:

Skype Hype with Book Clubs

2 Apr

Today the Bargain eBook Book Club is Skyping with New York Times Best Selling Author, Barbara Freethy.  Yes, that’s right – we’re bringing a well-known author right to little old Defiance, Ohio.  AND – it’s not the first time!  In fact, we have met six authors through the magic of the Internet.

Last year when it was my turn to select a book for my other book club’s monthly meeting, I chose Juliet: a Novel by Anne Fortier.  Having read the book when it first came out, I loved the parallel stories of the 14th century tale and present day.  Wanting to make the meeting special, I contacted the author for some added information and as we communicated back and forth, it was decided that we would Skype.  It was so special to actually discuss the book with the author.  What better way to find out where the author’s mind was during her writing process?  And Ms. Fortier was a lovely lady to talk to us for almost an hour about her book.

When I started the Bargain eBook Book Club, my goal was to introduce new authors to  friends.  Last summer, through a stroke of luck, I “met” Ruth Cardello, author of Maid for the Billionaire and For Love or Legacy, on Facebook.  Her books were our first discussion books.  At that time, our Internet connection was not good, so we only talked on the phone to her.  But since, we have discussed, laughed, and questioned four other authors.  Marie Force has Skyped with us so many times, she must feel like an honorary citizen of Defiance.  Donna McDonald has not only Skyped, but has asked us to help her research older couples for a future book.  And Tawna Fenske got up pretty early, wearing a special shirt to discuss her first book, Making Waves.

Who knows what specialties will be with Barbara and us today?  I’m just looking forward to “seeing” another great author and finding out some interesting facts on Ryan’s Return.  It pays to contact an author and see if they would be willing to Skype.  Let the fun begin!

Books we have selected by the above authors not mentioned:

Marie Force:

Donna McDonald