Feel the Heat!

Another reason we shold have prion policy reform!

Information for Friends and Family of Inmates

Hot prison2775636014_a5e40d041f_z_1_I don’t know where you live, but I live in Las Vegas and it is hot here. It was 110 the other day. And, there is a heat wave across the country. Now imagine being stuck in a 6 X 9 prison cell in the southeast without air conditioning. Across the country there are 13 states that do not provide air conditioning and or heating throughout their prisons.

My son, who is out and doing extremely well now, was in solitary in Lewisburg, PA. There wasn’t any air conditioning in the summer nor was there any heat in the winter. I would get letters from him with sweat stains from perspiration dropping on the paper. In the winter, he slept  in his sweats with two blankets and was still freezing every night.

Fortunately, he was healthy and survived, but what about all those ageing or sick inmates who are susceptible…

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How to Link to Amazon

It took me awhile, but I finally figured out how to insert links on my blog to my books on Amazon. First you have to become an affiliate. (Just because you have a book on amazon does not mean you are an affiliate.)

Fill out the form, which you can find a link for at the bottom of Amazon pages – Become an Affiliate. You will be directed on how to fill out the form.

Once you are an affiliate, search for your book and look at the top of the page for the Amazon Associates Site Stripe and choose “Get Link.” You should be able to link either an image, a text or both. Once you choose it, copy and paste into your blog. Easy as that!

Frankly, if I can do it anyone can. The first image below is my text link to my newest book, Surviving La Bestia. (The perilous journey of two children leaving their dangerous home in Honduras, on a desperate trip to America)  The second image is the text link to my first book, Waiting on the Outside. When you click on either one, you will be directed to my books. While you’re at it…buy one! Waiting on the Outside is an eyeopener for anyone who has or has had children, family or friends with problems which have led to incarceration.  Surviving La Bestia is great for anyone who wants a mesmerizing read about immigrants and the difficulties they incur trying to reach the promised land.

https://amzn.to/2EYuEFd – SURVIVING LA BESTIA

https://amzn.to/2IrPBcC – WAITING ON THE OUTSIDE




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Peurto Penasco

Penasco Beach 2

We joined the Sun City Anthem RV Club for their annual trip to Rocky Point, Puerto Penasco, Mexico. Twenty-two rigs left on October 10, 2018. First stop, Saddle Mountain RV Park in Tucson, Arizona. Our journey there took us through booming Lake Havasu. How that place has changed in the last few years.
We arrived at the border the next day with little notice from the Mexican border guards. They didn’t even stop most of us or ask for our passports! Then we navigated the next 62 miles to our destination, passing by the beautiful Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument biosphere. The organ pipe, saguaro, hedgehog, and ocotillo cactus were spectacular.
Our wagon Master, Roy and his sidekick, Joanie had made the reservations the year before and our sites were all arranged. The first five days were a little challenging with extremely high winds whipping around our rigs at night and blowing everything off the tables during the day.Puerto Penasco Tents
The rest of our time there was beautiful with great warm weather, calm seas and gorgeous sunsets. As it was early for “snow bird” season, we had the beach mostly to ourselves. The RV park was fairly full though. Oh yes, there were a lot, and I mean a lot of pesky flies due to a recent hurricane that passed through.
Special margaritas and fabulous appetizers were in abundance for our happy hours. On a few evenings, some of us might have imbibed in one too many of those great margaritas.

Other nights we were YOYO. (You’re on your own) Most of us joined one of the small groups going out to sample the local food, trying out restaurants from “Taco Tuesday” at a nearby condo building, shrimp on the dock downtown, to the exclusive Pane-vino on top of the hill above town.
Some of the ladies and a few men shopped on “Rodeo Drive” and in the city shopping area called El Malecon. Some bought dishes, some jewelry and some just junk for the yard. Penasco ToiletI fell into the last category. Wonder how those iron Ocotillo and ceramic quail will look in our yard?
We had two “razors” with us and there were a couple of off road rides. One of them ended with a bent rear axle. Thank goodness all involved were safe with only one minor injury.Roy's Razor
A few of our group went sightseeing to a volcano area, some went to the beach, and some went to the ER and Urgent care. A couple of our dogs needed medical care too. With that many people and pets, you never know what’s going to happen. There is always a small medical emergency of some kind. Luckily, everyone survived without any major problems.
The locals in Puerto Penasco are friendly, kind and courteous. It is a pleasure talking with them. They make the trip even more pleasant and interesting than just visiting a beach somewhere. The food is great -try Carmen’s breakfast burritos on the beach. The ocean is warm and salty due to being on the Sea of Cortez. Makes for wonderful floating in the ocean and gazing up at the sky.
On Our last night, we all went to Rosy’s Restaurant and had a fabulous Mexican dinner, along with some giant margaritas. All in all it was a great trip, and our sincere thanks went out to or wagon master and mistress, Roy and Joanie.Penasco Beach 1

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The Last Taboo

via The Last Taboo

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My notes from the Las Vegas Writers conference April 2018. It was well worth the money, particularly if you utilize early sign up for a discount. The speakers were professional, informative and interesting. It was a valuable experience for me. It’s long, but well worth reading through. 

Las Vegas Writers Conference 2018

Held at the Tuscany Hotel, in the conference rooms. Included three meals a day, free pitches, (sign up ahead of time) a raffle and a free Blue Pencil offering. Head Shots were also offered for a fee.

There was an additional Sunday session, featuring Jane Friedman, for an additional price. Lunch included. This was well worth the money. 

Choices of four sessions per one hour time slot.

The ones I attended:

  • How to get the most out of the conference. (Good for newcomers)

  • How to Analyze and Adjust your Social Media.

  • Be active on all networks (Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Keep your URL’s as similar as possible
  • Link back to your author webpage
  • Check to make sure your bios are up to date
  • Check to see if you have optimizer your SEO (YOAST for WordPress)
  • On your website have a call to action, sign up for email, Link to your book
  • Check your analytics
  • Become an Amazon affiliate
  • Essential Edits to Being a Best Seller

  • Have a unique outlook
  • Hero stays on a tightrope
  • Must solve obstacles
  • Have him or her question themselves, God, society
  • Use setting as a character
  • Use three of five senses in every chapter
  • Keep plot moving with action and change
  • Don’t put backstory in first few chapters
  • Keep people moving – not just talking to each other
  • Include a hook and heart
  • Use a dramatic question in the beginning
  • Chapter one and the ending should mirror each other. (problem and solution)
  • Make ending payoff at different levels (Emotional, physical, soul and heart)
  • Publishing by the Numbers

  • Basic information about how publishers work and how you receive your share
  • New Ways to Query and Pitch

  • Be brief
  • Research where to send it to the correct place
  • Follow the guidelines
  • Add: Genre, any prior publications, research, why book is different
  • Don’t give the end away
  • Look at first sentences of book descriptions on Amazon
  • Give comparison titles
  • Include your platform
  • Focus on the characters
  • You can find pitch offers on Twitter
  • Story Structure

  • A brief outline of how to structure a story. Mostly used a diagram.
  • Give reader someone to care about
  • Have a call to action or a need
  • Send character out for action
  • Search for solution
  • Find the answer
  • Take charge to solve
  • In Service of a Story

  • Three editors share how and why they picked projects
  • They all receive 99% of their books from agents
  • Usual time frame from acquisition to publishing is one year
  • Sometimes change title or cover
  • Usually need portions of book revised
  • Typical advance: $10,000 to $500,000
  • Usually know from the first few pages if they like it
  • Dynamic Dialogue

  • Character is revealed by what they say and don’t say
  • Use self-effacing dialogue
  • Drop tag lines. Use action of character
  • Use power verbs
  • Internal dialogue must be something reader might not know or be a surprise
  • Use action Not: He raised the gun. But: She said, “put the gun down.”
  • Let characters state hopes and fears
  • Use subtext – different meaning to what was said
  • Use foreshadowing
  • Writing High Concept

  • It’s inventive, literary, profound
  • Tools for Revision

  • Look for where you can improve manuscript
  • Have a plot and timeline checklist
  • Make sure there is a hook at the end of each chapter
  • Protagonist has a clear goal or goals
  • Inciting incident at page 30-50
  • Have an emotional and external conflict
  • Make sure stakes and obstacles are clear
  • Have a distinct turning point. When do they win?
  • The Art of Revision

  • Read out oud
  • Editors are usually right when they suggest revision
  • Examine your time line
  • Check facts
  • Make sure you enhance and advance
  • Use word search to find overused words (Prowriter or another tool)
  • Voice and tone must be consistent
  • Cut anything not essential to plot
  • Get to the end, then revise
  • Have a good Beta Reader
  • Read your entire book in one or two settings
  • Is there action and does it follow the plot?
  • Is the end satisfying?
  • Driving Amazon Sales with Keywords and other tips

  • Book should have the ability to “look inside”
  • Is it available through Amazon Prime?
  • Is your author name in blue? If so, it takes reader to your author page
  • Utilize Author Central
  • Post videos. Raises your visibility
  • If you click on your book, it should take you to the description
  • Make sure all reviews are posted
  • “From the Author” is where you can put keywords, add hot phrases and similar author names or books. Adds to searchability
  • Keywords are not just phrases, but authors, book titles, news stories
  • You will need 3,00 keywords to start. Put them in an Excel spreadsheet
  • Where to put them
  • Book Description
  • Author Bio
  • Author Central Page
  • Blogs
  • Reviews – get reviewer to put in their review
  • You can buy adds
  • Start with a 50 cent per click bid
  • Set up for 36-48 hours
  • Run three campaigns at a time. At least 1,00 keywords per campaign
  • Check which keywords worked
  • Then run fourth campaign using the 50 keywords that worked best plus another 1,000
  • Run fourth campaign 3-4 days non-fiction weekdays, fiction weekends
  • What are Bookstores and Libraries Looking For?

  • Information on how they chose books to buy. Purchased through distributors and wholesalers
  • The Art of Interviewing

  • Use Hindenburg App or Zoom recorder
  • Get person to open up by sharing about yourself
  • Use Excel spreadsheet to document: Date, Dictation points, topic
  • Creating Dynamic Characters

  • Have characters who are opposites
  • Character is built by how they deal with obstacles
  • Write your character’s bio
  • Attributes of character must be justified (real)
  • Jane Friedman’s Class: The Business of Being A Writer

  • Get influencers to talk about your work
  • Use Mail Chimp for email list
  • Review other’s books to gain authors as fans
  • Get reviews on Goodreads: Leslie A. Lindsay = top 100 reviewer
  • Have a website
  • Maintain an email list
  • Have consistent engagement – blog
  • Purchase your domain name
  • Be sure all your information is above the “fold” on your website
  • Put your book covers above the “fold” on website
  • Create a tag line for yourself: About you not your book
  • Have a dedicated page for each book
  • Create links to where they can be purchased
  • Bio page must be in third person
  • Use widget sections
  • Large type in headers
  • One pop-up at the most on website
  • Don’t use sliding pages: people hate them
  • Use Google Analytics to monitor your traffic and presence
  • On each page have pointers to other pages
  • Check your SEO: Make sure your name comes up if you google it
  • Check questions people ask and word they look for to optimize keywords
  • Be on all social media, but concentrate on the ones that provide traffic for you
  • Be consistent across all your media and bios
  • Avoid, whining, direct sales pitches, automated posts, posting junk or promo stuff
  • Put your book on Pintrest
  • Use a newsletter if you have time
  • Write when you have time, then schedule for public
  • When launching your book send out email blast
  • People remember when you use humor or make them smile
  • Best practice for email signup is double opt-in. sign up then they have to get email to confirm
  • Always thank people for signing up
  • Good blogs have: lists, bullets, headlines, photos


GRODZINSKY_Surviving La Beastia_3D bookGRODZINSKY_Waiting 3D book_SMALL





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I’m still working on my thriller, but it is coming along a little slower than I would like. The good news is, I think it’s better than I expected at this point in time. I know that sounds negative, but because I joined thenextbigwriter.com I have had such great editing from other members, I’m way ahead in my first drafts.

The members are helpful and make great suggestions. I don’t always use them all, as sometimes I fell like my version is better. They do correct grammar at times, but most stick to suggestions for sentence structure, flow, plot, character development, theme and how interesting the story is. Since my manuscript,  “The Hanging Girl” is a mystery/thriller, I’ve received several suggestions on how to make it more exciting and create tension.

The site is free to join, but to fully participate you pay a small amount monthly or an annual fee of I believe $69.00. There are different groups within the main group, so if you are writing a YA novel or non-fiction or anything else, you can join a group just for that genre. I think it’s a valuable ally to have.



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Working on a New Book!

In-between traveling with my husband, I have finally found the time to begin a new novel. This one will  surprise you …it is a thriller! It won’t be finished until next year, but I will keep you updated on my progress. You’ll love my new character, Sergeant Matt Monahan from the Coronado Police Department.

Not much usually happens on Coronado Island, except petty theft and drunk driving. But, on a peaceful Sunday morning in the fall,  all that changes when Matt encounters a dead girl whose boyfriend is a former Navy Seal.

More to come……

In the meantime, if you haven’t already read my first two books, you can find them on Amazon.

Surviving La Bestia: Chronicles the terrible dangers Javier Salazar and his little sister, Ana, encounter as they escape to America from drug torn Honduras.

Waiting on the Outside: The story of my son’s journey to prison and a white supremacist gang.



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Just a reminder for those of you out there who have already read my new book, and I know there are a lot of you. Please leave a review on Amazon. Just got to near the bottom of the page for the book, under customer reviews, and you will see a yellow tab that says write a customer review. Click on that tab and it will direct you to write your review. I would appreciate it!

GRODZINSKY_Surviving La Beastia_3D book

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Giveaway Complete

Congratulations to the ten winners of my new book, Surviving La Bestia.  Thanks to all those almost 200 readers who entered the giveaway!  I appreciate it.

I will be hosting another giveaway on Goodreads in the near future and will be letting you all now when that will happen. This story about Javier Salazar’s and his little sister’s journey from Honduras through Mexico riding La Bestia is one I hope you won’t forget. In the meantime, if you want to purchase the book go to:

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