Wednesday Words: Tweak


verb (used with object)

  1. to pinch and pull with a jerk and twist: to tweak someone’s ear; to tweak someone’s nose.
  2. to pull or pinch the nose of, especially gently: He tweaked the baby on greeting.
  3. to make a minor adjustment to: to tweak a computer program.


  1. an act or instance of tweaking; a sharp, twisting pull or jerk.

I love how the word tweak sounds. It’s one of those words that really sound like what they describe–not an onomatopoeia, but it just feels right in my head, in my mouth.

It’s also one of my husband’s favorite characters on South Park (yeah, my husband’s weird that way. 🙂 ).

Here’s an example of how I used the word in To Growl or to Groan:

“Your drink count is five, but I still don’t think that’s the issue. So what’s going on?” He tweaks my nose again.

I might bite him if he does that again, feeling as uncharitable as I do at the moment.

What are some of your favorite words that sound good to you?

Wednesday Words: Pendulum– Plus an exclusive deleted scene!

In To Growl or to Groan, Chloe acquires a pendulum at a new age shop she visits in Scotland. In the course of edits, I had to cut the scene where she researches more about pendulums. I also cut some other fun facts about pendulums I’ve learned along the way, like the importance of the material used to make the pendulum (various stones, metals, crystals or wood) and that many people either name their pendulums or believe that they come with names to be discovered. Chloe wasn’t on board with the naming idea, but she did do more research on the stone in her pendulum.

For those who have read the book, this scene takes place between the second and third scenes in Chapter Ten.

Jorge rises and takes my breakfast dishes without a word, so I head to our rooms to get my pendulum and the piece of paper with the Websites about them that the shop clerk gave me. No sense poking the bear, and I may as well do something useful. If I’m going to embrace the additional esoteric tools and practices coming my way, I figure I might as well go all in to explore what’s been brought into my life.

I head to use the shared laptop in the den. The first site I pull up gives a step-by-step guide to using a pendulum for divination. It talks about how to hold the pendulum and how to cleanse it of negative energy. I follow the instructions to calibrate it, asking yes/no questions I know the answers to.

The first non-calibration question I ask is if Gracie is OK. It tells me maybe, which isn’t really all that helpful and raises my frustration level.

Next, I try asking if I should go see my mother. It says yes. I’ve definitely got mixed feelings on that answer. Scratch that. I feel just like I did when I asked if so and so liked me and the Magic Eight Ball said “The Answer is No.”

Enough with the questions.

I check out the second site, which is more extensive. It talks about setting intentions and blocking the influence of spirits that may not have the greatest good as their intention. It also catalogs questions I shouldn’t ask, like determining winning lottery numbers or other things that could impact more than myself. The site even comes with warnings, such as don’t always believe the pendulum and beware of future predictions since people always have free will to change the future.

And I somehow thought using a pendulum would be so simple. I suppose it’s like Reiki in that way. With an attunement, you can feel the Reiki energy flow, but there is so much more to it if you develop it as a healing or spiritual practice.

A third site talks about the different types of stones and their healing properties and historic significance. Amethyst is right up there on the list of commonly used stones and gems.

I skim. Evidently the name of the stone comes from the Greek words for “no drunkenness” and they carved cups out of amethyst to drink alcohol from. What the point of that was, I don’t know. Why drink excessive amounts of alcohol if you don’t want to get drunk?

I keep skimming. More interesting is the Ancient Egyptian belief that the stone guarded against fear, guilt, self-deception and witchcraft. Reminds me of The Devil card. Seems amethyst would be the perfect antidote to the lies and illusions that the tarot reader said that card can represent. Maybe that shop clerk really was seeing more about me than I gave her credit for.

Or maybe it was luck of the draw, my inner skeptic holds out.

The site also says amethyst is often used in healing, put under the pillow to ensure good dreams, and employed as a focal point for meditation. It’s even suggested that meditating with an amethyst can increase positive spiritual feelings, which certainly wouldn’t hurt me. Maybe it’ll keep the shared dreams at bay.

I decide to keep the tool close just in case and slip it in my jeans pocket.

Hidden Line, book two

She’s unready to face her past, but she may have no choice.

It may be her best friend who gets surprisingly accurate hunches about the future, but Chloe just  knows something big –and bad—is about to happen. She telepathically communicates with animals and shape-shifters, but her growing psychic abilities are beginning to scare her. She suspects her mother also had abilities, and when those powers grew beyond her control, she left her daughter and husband when Chloe was only ten.

Despite her worries, she won’t let anything interrupt her trip to Scotland to meet her shape-shifter boyfriend’s family. Meeting Jorge’s close-knit family and spending the Holidays with them is worry enough!

When his sister goes missing, her disappearance is linked to a shadowy organization that knows exactly how to hide her from her shape-shifting relatives’ tracking ability. What they don’t count on is Chloe’s psychic gift.

In the rush to find Jorge’s sister, Chloe loses control of her ability and accidentally harms an animal’s psyche. Ridden with guilt, she’s afraid her ability just might destroy her relationship with Jorge. She isn’t ready to find her mother and face her past, but she may not have a choice if she wants to ensure she never harms anyone again.

What readers are saying about To Growl or to Groan:

“I enjoyed reading more in this book about Chloe’s exploration of her abilities and past as well as her HOT relationship with Jorge. I will be looking for more from this author for sure. This book is a light and fun read with adventure, passion and a few unexpected twists and turns. Highly recommend reading this book.”

“This book definitely kept my interest through the entire read.”

Wednesday Words: Tarot

Tarot plays a prominent role in my latest novel, To Growl or to Groan. The deck in the book is modeled on the Mary-El Tarot, which is one of the most fascinating, beautiful and haunting tarot decks I have come across. It brings in not only traditional tarot interpretations, but also draws from a rich comparative mythology background.

I used an integrative tarot method for the readings in my book. Much thanks goes to Letitia of Integrative Tarot, who introduced me to this method and the Mary-El Tarot.

I believe that serendipity is at work in the world. Shortly after I was introduced to the deck, I found it for sale at my local Half Price Books on a 40% off day. It was meant to be mine. It became integral to the path of my novel. I did not deliberately pick particular cards for the two readings that appear in the book. I actually did two separate three card readings for Chloe for two different points in her journey. You can read one of Chloe’s tarot readings for free at Amazon or BN.

Tarot, and oracle cards, are powerful tools for self-exploration. It is amazing to me how readings consistently give me insight into and different ways of contemplating various questions or issues in my life.

Have you used tarot or oracle cards for self development? If so, what has your experience been?

Wednesday Words: Chris Redding shares some American and British Faves

I love words. That is why I am a writer, of course. So I was intrigued by the idea of picking some favorites. I cheated a little. A couple of my words are British, not American, but I have an excuse. I lived in England at one point in my life and sometimes a British word is better than an American one. Here goes.

1. Gobsmacked means to be startled. Its root is gob for mouth and smacked meaning to put your hand in front of your mouth. I think it sounds like what it means. You’ve been hit with something and you’re surprised by it.

Here’s how I used it in Along Came Pauly, a romantic comedy I released this year. This scene is where the hero first meets the heroine.

Paul Vincenzo stood at the bottom of the marble steps, gobsmacked. It was a word his butler, Jeeves, used, but for the first time he understood it.

I searched all of my manuscripts and found that I only used it once. It lends itself better to romantic comedy than romantic suspense.

2. Wanker is another British word I love. I don’t believe there is an equivalent in American English. It basically means a jerk, but it’s really a stronger word than jerk. Wanking is masturbating.  I’ve never used it in a story, but I may have to now that I think about it. Challenge accepted.

3. Detritus is a word I pronounced incorrectly for years. Until I heard someone else say it. I looked up the pronunciation then. I like how I say it better, but it still is one of those words that sounds like what it means. Detritus is debris usually from erosion. I didn’t use this word in a book either. Odd because I think it would sound good in a romantic suspense.

4. Onamotapoeia. That is such a pretty word. And such a simple idea. A word that sounds like what it is. Examples: Cuckoo, bam, honk, meow.

This is what had to say for its origin: 1577, from L.L., from Gk. onomatopoiia “the making of a name or word”
(in imitation of a soundassociated with the thing being named), from onomatopoios,
from onoma (gen. onomatos) “word, name”(see name) + a derivative of poiein “compose, make” (see poet).

Imagine. We use a word today that someone more than 400 years ago would know what it meant. Boggles the mind. To me, that means the word is such a useful word that it never went out of our nomenclature.

As I said earlier I love words and these were just a few of my favorite words.

Thanks for having me today.


A contemporary romance about a dog that brings two people together who don’t want to be. She’s a vegetarian veterinarian who needs cash for a no-kill shelter. He’s the heir to a hot dog fortune who must give away money before he gains his inheritance. Sounds like a perfect match. It isn’t


She didn’t have time to soothe his ego. If he couldn’t understand about animal emergencies than she couldn’t explain it to him.

Not now. Not ever.

Running down the steps in front of the hotel, she stumbled. When she landed upright, the heel of one shoe broke. “Damn. Cheap shoes.” She pulled them off, standing in her stockinged feet.

She gave the valet her ticket then waited for her car. A light drizzle, dropping the temperature. She shivered hoping the valet hadn’t parked too her car far away from her.

After what seemed like an eternity, the young man pulled up. She shook his hand, slipping him some bills for his trouble. At least she tried. She ended up dropping the bills. He reached for the money the same time she did. Her shoulder hit him in the eye.


“I’m sorry.”

The parking guy managed to stay on his feet. Daria landed on her butt in a puddle. Another dress ruined. “How about I let you get the money?”

“Can I help you up?”

“Maybe you better not.”

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Wednesday Words: Nicole Zoltack shares four she loves

Today I welcome Nicole Zoltack to talk four words she loves and share from her upcoming release Black Hellebore.

1. Hope

Hope is such a strong word. Sometimes, all you need is a little hope to get you through the tough times. Without hope, nothing seems surmountable.

2. Persevere

Persevere is an author’s best friend. I always strive to persevere with every aspect of my life – as a writer, an editor, a wife and mother.

3. Chivalry

The word chivalry reminds me of knights and honor and putting others ahead of yourself. The world needs more chivalry in it. No wonder I wrote an entire trilogy about knights and romance! (The Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy: Woman of Honor, Knight of Glory, and Champion of Valor)

4. Sardonic

A complete departure from the other words on the list. Sardonic is such a fun word to say. Although I do find it irritating when people are acting sardonic. Unless it’s for comedic effect. Then it can be almost as cool as the word sardonic itself.

Coming Soon:

Black Hellebore, first in a new superhero romance trilogy – Heroes of Falledge

  • Release in ebook format: October 21st 2013
  • Release in print: January 2014
  • Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
  • Goodreads
  • ISBN 10: 1-61252-363-3
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-61252-363-7

Once a year for the past decade, Nicholas Adams returns to Falledge and leaves a black hellebore on his girlfriend’s grave. While departing Falledge, he chases after a man sneaking into the laboratory and dies for his trouble. A witch brings him back to life, but Nicholas soon realizes he’s not the same man. Turns out, magic combined with a black hellebore in his pocket changed him into a kind of a super man.

His girlfriend’s twin, Julianna Paige, is Falledge’s deputy, struggling to solve several murders. Nicholas, and his alter ego the Black Hellebore, helps her, even as she helps him move on and even start to love again.

Unfortunately, Nicholas wasn’t the only one changed in the laboratory explosion, and now there’s a supervillain bent on destroying Falledge, and killing the Black Hellebore. But falling in love might prove more dangerous than any supervillain.

Author Bio:

Nicole Zoltack loves to write fantasy/paranormal, romances, horror, historical, for adults and young adults, novels, short stories, and flash pieces. She doesn’t want to get boxed in by genre — she might be claustrophobic! She’s also an editor for MuseItUp Publishing and works as a freelance editor.

When she isn’t writing about girls wanting to be knights, talking unicorns, and zombies, she spends time with her loving family. She loves to ride horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, dressed in period garb. Her favorite current TV show is The Walking Dead.

To learn more about Nicole and her work, visit: