Today In the Shadows of the Onion Domes is visiting the website ReadCheaply. According to its website,

“ReadCheaply is a free daily email that alerts you to awesome deals on acclaimed eBooks that match your interests. You pick the categories and we forward the deals!”

You can see my listing under Bestsellers/Kindle HERE.

smartphoneSee an ebook you want to read but it’s only in Kindle format? Don’t worry if you do not have a Kindle.

Amazon has a FREE app that will let you read the book on your computer, smartphone or iPad/tablet. Enter your email address in the box provided just below the book’s description on its Kindle page. To get the app, open the email sent to you by Amazon on your phone or tablet, then click the link provided in it to download the free app. You can also click this link on your PC or Mac to download the free program.

I know this because my new book of short stories, In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, is just in Kindle format for now. I downloaded a copy to my iPhone. BTW, you can purchase the book for  just 99 cents THROUGH NOV. 28.

Twenty Questions with Cheryl Solimini

CSolimini-21. Name 

Cheryl Solimini

2. How long have you been a writer?

Officially, since 1964, when I won the Edgewater (NJ) Bicycle Contest Safety Award for my essay on  proper two-wheeled vehicular etiquette. I was in first grade. Memorable last line: “Safety first!”

3. What formats do you publish in?

Print, Kindle, Website, napkin

4. What genres do you write in?

Mystery, humor, nonfiction—and my first children’s poem (five riveting lines!) was just published in Highlights High Five magazine

5. Are you on Twitter or Facebook?

Yes—as myself on Facebook and on Twitter as @jerseygirl4evah (yes, I’m now embarrassed by that choice)

6. How do you want your readers to feel after they’ve read your book?

I want them to want to hang out with the characters for a while longer.

Across-the-River-COVER7. What’s your current book?

Across the River, a mystery featuring a reluctant tabloid reporter sent to investigate a high-profile murder in her childhood hometown

8. What’s your next book or project?

Amaze Your Friends!a Kindle-only paranormal (sort of) minimystery

9. What types of jobs have you had other than writing?

Thankfully, I’ve been employed as a writer and editor throughout my adult life,  as I have no other skills.  I did cherish my college summers as a clothing-store security guard, which for me meant reading the Lords of the Rings trilogy while hiding in a dressing room).

10. What did it feel like when you were first published?

Every time feels like the first time—I can’t believe it!

11. What’s your go-to song when you’re writing muse needs to be recharged?

Born to Run

12. What do you do when writer’s block strikes?


13. What’s the best compliment your writing has ever earned?

“Hell, even the cover is good.”

14. If you’re stranded on a desert island with a solar battery recharger, what would you be reading on your Kindle?

The latest by Tana French, Harlan Coben, Lisa Lutz and MaryPat Hyland (Blog owner’s note: I swear I didn’t pay her to say that.)

15. If you could have dinner with three other writers, who would they be?

Living: MaryPat Hyland ( it’s been too long!) (Ditto. And, yes it has!)
Dead: Rex Stout
Fictional: Jo March

16. What’s your blog and/or website address? and

17. Cats or dogs?

Dogs who like cat videos

18. Cake or death?

Death by Chocolate

19. What fictional character do you identify with most?

Jo March—not so much for her writerly passion, but because I’m always burning the back of my frocks or soiling my gloves at parties

20. What’s the closing line of your latest book?

To hell with Tom Wolfe. You can go home again.


Eighteen tales for 99¢

flyingtimeIn the Shadows of the Onion Domes is a Kindle Countdown Deal from Nov. 25-30.

Here’s how it will break down:

  • Nov. 25 through 28: 99¢
  • Nov. 29 & 30: $1.99
  • Dec. 1: Back to the list price, $2.99

samplerAt this price you could buy several copies as gifts. I like to think of this book as a Whitman’s Sampler of stories. Each one has a different flavor and shape (from sudden fiction to novella length).

Consider what this price represents. It’s…

  • Cheaper than a caramel macchiato (& no calories)!
  • Cheaper than a copy of the NYTimes!
  • Cheaper than a dozen pierogi!

C’mon and join the countdown mania HERE.

Guest Post: Author Mark Smith

If you could change your world…

tgslg-cover-blue-previewIf you could change your world, would you be willing to try?

That’s the choice facing Robert Castle in my novel: The Great Scottish Land Grab.

Robert and his wife, Helen, are exploring the Scottish highlands when a shotgun wielding man forces them to turn back.

Unable to accept what happened, Robert investigates only to find that most of Scotland was stolen from its people over centuries of land grabs.

Set against the backdrop of the referendum on Scottish independence, when the leadership of the independence movement are decimated, Robert steps into the vacuum to offer a different vision for Scotland, a future where the poor are empowered to change their destiny.

But unknown to him, there are those who are determined that he will not win and who will go to any lengths to protect the status quo.

I wrote the first draft of Land Grab back in 2011. My first and only attempt at NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel but been unsure how to start, NaNoWriMo is a great way to start. The challenge is simple, join thousands of others to write a fifty thousand word novel during November.

By the time I completed NaNoWriMo, I knew I had something I wanted to keep working on, characters that were as real to me as close friends and a story that stayed with me. Yet I struggled to know how to develop that fledgling story. Until the Spring of 2014 when referendum fever reached a pitch and I realised that with some tweaking, I had a story that was relevant.

In Evan Almighty, Evan Baxter wants to change the world so God decides to take him at his word. Changing our world always comes at a cost as I’ve found for many years as I’ve set goal after goal.

Yet, despite the cost, I’ve found goals to be one of the most powerful ways to change my own world. Back in 2007 I set myself three goals to achieve in the four years before I reached Forty:

  • Complete a degree qualification
  • Be earning £40,000 a year
  • Complete a novel

At that point I already had a college certificate, one which enabled me to skip the first year of a degree. My salary was £20,000 and my largest piece of writing was less than 10,000 words long.

Each goal on its own seemed big enough to tackle but I’m a stubborn sort and prone to grand gestures. Why shouldn’t I aim to achieve all three goals before I reached Forty?

As it turned out, there was a symmetry to these goals. Connections, some of which I was aware of but others that I only realised later.

The obvious connection was that better educated individual are more likely to earn more. However, getting a degree is not likely to enable most people to double their salary in four years.

However, once you’ve set a goal, a strange thing happens. Your world both contracts and expands. Contracts to cause you to focus on the goal, contracts to enable you to see relationships that you may not have previously noticed, contracts to limit the choices you are willing to make – forcing you to decide whether you really want to achieve the goal or not.

Yet your world also expands, enabling you to see possibilities that you may not have considered, take risks that you might not have taken, experience adventure as you step outside of your comfort zone.

I’d already set myself a vague career direction in the world of IT. It turned out that software development was my main area of expertise and the esoteric world of databases and Excel macros were becoming my bread and butter.

I was able to use the UK’s Open University which allowed me to choose courses relevant to my work. These enabled me to impress employers at interviews. Employers always like people who study in their own time! I also found I was able to take what I was learning and use it to improve my skills at work.

But my work also helped my studies as I was able to draw on my experience to better understand the problems my tutors were posing, to refer to projects I had worked on as I strove to understand some of the more complex theories I was exposed to.

And both work and study were helping my writing. Years later I analysed a project I’d completed and found that all the code I’d written, all the technical documentation, all the user guides, all the reports I’d developed could have been combined into an average sized book.

I had been well paid to write and I hadn’t even realised it! I had been developing my drafting and editing skills all along.

During my Fortieth year I reached a point where I could claim that I’d achieved all three goals. This was down to hard work, perseverance and long suffering on the part of my family, but it was also down to setting those three goals in the first place. I’m certain that if I hadn’t written those goals down, I’d have been highly unlikely to have achieved that much.

If you’ve never set a goal, I encourage you to try. Even when I’ve failed to achieve a goal, I’ve always benefitted in some way. Even if just a lesson learnt or good memories from the experience. If you want to change your world, it may only be a goal away.



MARK ANDERSON SMITH is the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab and Dragon Lake and is currently serializing 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy through his blog: Mark continues to work towards his 100 goals, enjoys climbing and running, strategy games and movies and books from many genres.

The Great Scottish Land Grab is available for Kindles and other eReaders worldwide through Amazon, Apple iBookStore and and will be available in print from Amazon in December 2014.
Kindle version:

The Great Scottish Land Grab The Complete Trilogy: B00NUW1O82

ePub Versions:

The Great Scottish Land Grab (Book 1): 978-099298830-2

The Great Scottish Land Grab (Book 2): 978-099298831-9

The Great Scottish Land Grab (Book 3): 978-099298832-6

Print version (From December 2014):

The Great Scottish Land Grab: 978-099298834-0

For more information, visit the author’s links:
Facebook page:


We’re in the second week now of my three week blog book tour celebrating the release of my seventh book, In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, Collected Short Stories.

As part of the celebration I’ve created the giveaway below.


Drawing by the author of the Chenango River in Binghamton, a backdrop to a couple of the stories in the book. See how you can win this colored pencil drawing below,

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway contest to win an autographed copy of In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, copies of my ebooks or a piece of original art created by the author.

In the Shadows of the Onion Domes Rafflecopter giveaway


blogtouriconThe domes are in two places at once today!

First, I’m the guest of fellow author and editor Susan Helene Gottfried. Multi-talented Gottfried is an author, professional book reviewer, freelance editor, and Rock Fiction expert. See my interview on her blog West of Mars HERE.

Then head on over to author and PR guru Marci Diehl‘s blog for a Q&A interview HERE. Today Marci is a guest at the Hylander Diner, too!

Twenty Questions with Marci Diehl

marcidiehlToday I’m on Marci Diehl’s blog as part of my book tour. I’m very happy to welcome her back to mine for a round of twenty questions.

1. Name:
Marci Diehl

2. How long have you been an indie writer?
I’ve written freelance for magazines for 30+ years now, so in a sense, I’ve been an “indie” writer working on assignment. Being published by an independent small publisher feels normal to me. This is my debut novel, and it’s just launched through Merge Publishing.

3. What formats do you publish in?
E-reader format and softcover. It’s available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iTunes and Ingram Spark. The book is also available through

WYDKNcover4. What genres do you write in?
What You Don’t Know Now is a coming-of-age novel. This is women’s fiction (a commercial novel with a female on the brink of life change and personal growth, and includes a hopeful/upbeat ending to her romantic relationship). It also crosses into a new genre – New Adult (a genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18-25 age bracket, with a focus on issues such as leaving home, developing sexuality, and negotiating education and career choices).

There is a thread of my main character, Bridey, forming her own ideas about miracles, and what constitutes a blessing or a sin, but her choices may not fit the Christian genre. I’m not sure it reaches into historical fiction, but it is set nearly 50 years ago.

5. Are you on Twitter or facebook?
Am I ever! I’ve been on both for nearly 6 years. On Twitter I’m @writerdiehl. Or you can keep me company on Facebook on my page, MarciDiehlBooks. I also have a Pinterest page for What You Don’t Know Now, with fashions, music, culture, and European locations circa 1967 (which is when the novel takes place). Look for me on Pinterest as Marci Diehl.

6. How do you want your readers to feel after they’ve read your book?
I hope something in the book touches them. I would love it if a reader closed the book and said to herself, “I loved that.” I’d like them to feel they’ve lived in another time for a while, gone places they’ve never been – or if they have been, to remember their experience, feel whatever emotions that place brought.
This is a love story of many kinds, and it’s a mother-daughter story. I wonder what my readers will feel, thinking about their own relationships with their moms.
If they fall in love with Alessandro or Riordan, that’s good, too. I’d like readers to feel “Wow, that was pretty hot!” in certain scenes.
I started as an essayist, and I’ve always thought of my writing as if I were shooting an arrow into the sky, and never knowing where it might land. Who will connect with it? In the end, it comes down to one voice speaking to another. You may never know what they feel.

7. What’s your current book?
What You Don’t Know Now – A Novel. Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Nook Store, and

8. What’s your next book about?
Ah, that’s a good question. I have a start on a new novel, and it involves a middle-aged widow, a group of people who get together before dawn to exercise their dogs, and a younger man the widow gets involved with—at first because of their dogs. The younger man has a back story I haven’t figured out yet, and that’s going to influence this relationship. He hasn’t told me who he is or what happened to him, other than that his young, wild and sexy former wife tried to have him killed by setting their house on fire when she thought he was in it. But I also have two other book ideas that have titles and most of their stories in my head – so stay tuned.

9. What types of jobs have you had other than writing?
My biggest job (and most important) was as a stay-at-home-mom with four sons, formerly married to a PGA Tour player for 28 years. I started writing for magazines during that time on golf, lifestyle, business, and health. My marriage eventually crashed in a blaze of glory, and I took the first job offered: working in the bridal registry/china department of a store. From there I went to work as a recruiter for an employment staffing company, where I ended up creating their advertising. I jumped off a figurative cliff 18 years ago and started my own business, as a writer, editor and producer for media and marketing. I’m also the head writer and associate editor for a regional magazine.

10. What did it feel like when you were first published?
Well, the very first time I was published was in a newspaper’s Sunday magazine. I’ll never forget opening the envelope and having the letter contain a check, and the question: “What else do you have? We love your work.” Having my novel finally come into being feels surreal, to tell you the truth. I’m still getting used to it. Holding the print version in my hands felt so good. It had weight. It was real.

11. What’s your go-to song when your writing muse needs to be recharged?
I don’t have one song, really. I like so many different types of music. Everything from reggae, to bhangra, to bagpipes, to Pavarotti and Grigolo, to Robert Palmer. The list goes on and on and on.

12. What do you do when writer’s block strikes?
Having to write marketing and non-fiction for a living, I can’t afford writer’s block. But to write fiction – I guess I’d have to say, I read great fiction. The better the book, the more inspired I am to write my own fiction.

13. What’s the best compliment your writing ever earned?
When I was in a writers group, bringing in sections of WYDKN, our author/facilitator told me that my “voice” was similar to Alice Hoffman’s, who happens to be one of my favorite authors. I drove home that night just flying with happiness. But when I get a note from one of my boys that something I wrote made them tear up, that’s right up there.

14. If you’re stranded on a desert island with a solar battery recharger, what would you be reading on your Kindle?
Either The Once And Future King by T.H. White (again, for the 1,000th time), something by P.G. Wodehouse, or E. B. White’s letters or essays. Or some novel about World War II. Or Garrison Keillor.

15. If you could have dinner with three other writers, who would they be?
Honestly – I’d choose the writers I know personally. I’d choose Mary Pat Hyland (not browning up here, seriously) and Kathy Johncox, because I know we’d laugh like crazy and we’d share a lot of great advice and experience. And for the third…?  Jenna Blum, because I admire her writing so much, but also because she’d fit in perfectly, just from knowing her through social media.

16. What’s your blog and/or website address?

17. Cats or dogs?
I’ve had and loved both, but I’d have to choose dogs.

18. Cake or death? (To soothe the boisterous Eddie Izzard lobbyists…)
Is there no pie? OK, cake. But only because the alternative is so unappealing.

19. What fictional character do you identify with most?
I’d like to say Tinkerbell for her spirit, sass, and adorable little figure, but the truth is more Wendy. I have a history of nurturing Lost Boys.

20. What’s the closing line of your latest book?
For now, just for now, she’d come far enough.




Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon Canada:

Amazon Italy:

Amazon Germany:

Amazon author page:

Barnes & Noble:




blogtouriconToday I’m the guest of fellow indie author Deborah Nam-Krane. She writes women’s fiction and romance novels and is author of The New Pioneers series.

See my post on her blog HERE.

SHARE: Your Writer Platform

mondaycoffeeYou’re an indie writer and have published or are preparing to do so. Here’s a big and important question: What’s your writer platform? In other words, what do you want readers to think about when they hear your name?

You’re probably thinking, oh no, in addition to getting this thing done, edited and a cover designed, there’s more to worry about?

This morning I stumbled happily across a wonderful how-to site by Canadian author Kimberley called Your Writer Platform. There are many informative posts that lead you through the steps of branding your writing, building mailing lists and all other forms of marketing. I love how the site is written in a conversational style, too.

I highly recommend you visit Your Writer Platform and soak all of this wonderful information in. (Be sure to sign up for the emails with the latest tips.)

More information:

Your Writer Platform on Facebook

@writerplatform on Twitter

Your Writer Platform on