Author Archives: Melinda

SHE CAN TELL is release day for SHE CAN TELL.  This a a very special book to me for  a number of reasons.  My daughter was very ill while I was in the middle of this book. I didn’t write at all for 3 months.  I picked the half-finished manuscript up in January of 2012 with a March deadline and by some miracle finished it early. The book came out in one draft. It needed no revisions other than a line edit. Clearly, karma decided to give me a break.   (Note: that never happened again. Every manuscript before and after has been the usual hair-pulling struggle.)

SHE CAN TELL is also the first book I sold on proposal. My first 2 books had been finished when they were submitted. It also represented my first multi-book deal.  SO, in a way, SHE CAN TELL is the book that made me feel like a professional author instead of a fluke.

With a healthy family and 4 more books under contract, I’m feeling very thankful and blessed (as well as busy!) this holiday season.

What are you thankful for this year?

candy cane border


A horse trainer’s homecoming turns deadly when a vicious stalker, a cold murder case, and a hot police chief threaten to expose family secrets that a killer wants to keep buried.

After a terrible accident ends riding career, horse trainer Rachel Parker returns to her hometown to a hostile welcome. Her efforts to rebuild the family farm are hampered by her sister’s domestic crisis and a violent vandal who threatens Rachel’s new business and her life. She is also blindsided by the undeniable and unwanted attraction she feels for hot police chief handling her case. Someone is systematically trying to destroy her. Someone who knows private things about her. Someone who’s been watching her…b&nbuttonamazonbutton

As his investigation uncovers the turbulent past Rachel keeps carefully hidden, Police Chief Mike O’Connell finds himself with too many suspects and too many feelings for his fiercely independent victim. His desire for Rachel is a conflict of interest that jeopardizes everything he stands for. Long buried family secrets, a skeleton, and a corrupt local official with a grudge against Mike complicate the case, but the escalating violence against Rachel convinces him he doesn’t have much time. Whoever is watching Rachel wants her dead. Mike and Rachel race to untangle a web of deceit and lies that stretches twenty-five years into the past—before her stalker strikes again.

“Relentless tension builds to a riveting crescendo in Leigh’s romantic thriller… Leigh (She Can Run) easily juggles multiple story lines, romance, and suspense.”  ~Publisher’s Weekly

“The highly suspenseful plot spans decades, pulling secrets from the past and melding them with the present, and is paired with a steamy romance that explores vulnerability, passion and trust.” ~ RT Book Reviews (4 Stars)

Leigh has created a nail-bitingly suspenseful romance novel that’s sure to put your manicure in danger.” ~ Booklist

Deadlines and Schedules

I have a tight deadline coming up.  The only way I have a prayer of making it is with a strict writing schedule. Getting a minimum number of words on the page every single day. But sometimes life intrudes on even the most disciplined writer, and my kids always come first. So yesterday, a major screw up at by the high school demanded the attention of this mama bear. (Seriously, high school was a miserable experience when I attended, and it hasn’t gotten any better. But I won’t go into all that because this blog would be pages and pages of ranting about the complete lack of common sense–)

Deep breath. Moving on…

Anyway, I worked after everyone went to bed, but I was 200 words short of my goal when I fell asleep in my chair with my laptop open. Then I woke up this morning to find out that power issues during last night’s nor’easter fried my desktop computer monitor. (Yes, I have a surge protector.) I’m not complaining. We are grateful to have come through Hurricane Sandy relatively unscathed.

All in all, yesterday was a crapper of a day.

Balancing family and work is often a challenge. How do you handle being pulled in mulitple directions at one time?

I’m sending my thoughts to all of you deeply affected by the hurricane and nor’easter. For those of you not affected, please consider donating to the Red Cross and/or local relief efforts. Even small contributions add up.



More Cover Fun

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to put up a neat poll like Kathy did about her cover and genre.  But I do have a new cover to share!  I also have a tight deadline that is giving me plenty of panic. So, today’s post will be brief.

Since my December 4th release, SHE CAN TELL, is a spin off from my debut novel, the idea with this cover was to reflect the layout of the cover of SHE CAN RUN.  I’m putting the two covers here, side-by-side.

What do you think?   Is it clear that these books are part of the same series?

Getting the Details Right

Everyone knows a writer is supposed to do research for each project.  Is your character a fireman?  A policewoman? An arson investigator?  Whatever bits of the real world find their way into your novel better be accurate or someone will call you on it.

But what about the nitty gritty things that apply to everyday life?  How much research do you do on stuff that doesn’t necessarily impact the plot?

I’m particular about every aspect of a book, which is why the materials I’m consulting on a daily basis as I get my new story off the ground include various  calendars of 2013.  Setting doesn’t just apply to descriptions of the physical location and the weather. It also includes things like days of the week, times of sunrise and sunset, phases of the moon, moonrise/set, and upcoming holidays (think decorations).

I have a file with all of those dates, times, and calendars at my fingertips while I’m writing.  I can’t have a full moon in the sky on November 5th, 2013 if the correct moon phase of that day is waxing crescent.

How much attention to those nitty gritty details do you put in your novel? For those of you as obsessive as me, are there any other ordinary facets of daily life that you verify before writing a scene?

Trying a New Writing Software: WriteWay Pro

I’ve recently turned in a book. (YAY!)  Since the manuscript was finished in a serious crunch, there’s no time for a break before getting my next project underway.  Time to plot!

I tried Scrivener last year for help with this process but found the software too cumbersome for my taste, but I really wanted software that would help pull together some of my plotting steps, especially since I’m writing 2 series simultaneously.

A friend recently told me about WriteWay Pro.  I downloaded the trial and was hooked.  It’s a simple program that allows me to keep my outline, characters, research, synopsis, and many other aspects of my new project in one file.  I had no trouble figuring out how to work anything without consulting the help button even once.  My absolute favorite function is the ability to import character profiles from previous books into new files. This will be a big help when I jump from one series to the other.

Here’s a YouTube tutorial if you want to check out WriteWay.

If I was going to give the folks at WriteWay any advice, it would be to add audio to their tutorial clips.  But you’ll get an idea of how the software functions.

Has anyone tried WriteWay?  What do you think?

Attacking the Page Welcomes Cathy Tully!

We have a new blogger on board!  I’d like to take some time this morning to issue a great big welcome to Cathy Tully, a dear friend, fellow-writer, and martial artist who will be joining me, Rayna, and Kathy as a regular blogger on Attacking the Page.

Here’s a little about Cathy.

Cathy Tully has spent the last eight years writing Sweet Romance, Contemporary Romance and Women’s Fiction. Prior to romance, she wrote a children’s non-fiction book titled, NEBRASKA for Kidhaven Press in 2004. Her first Sweet Romance, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, is available through Astraea Press.A Member of Romance Writer’s Of America, The Liberty States Fiction Writer’s, and The Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators, Cathy is a firm believer in continually honing her craft. A yellow belt in Isshinryu Karate, she loves the feeling of strength and independence it allows her. Cathy can be found on Facebook and at A born and bred Jersey girl, Cathy lives in central New Jersey with her husband, Joe, and their two daughters.

Join us on Monday for Cathy’s first post. I know I’m really looking forward to it. Now, let’s give her a warm welcome (insert cyber round of applause).

On Reviews

When I had my first book published in 2011, I was prepared for bad reviews.  Books are like anything else, everyone has different tastes. On Goodreads, there are over 21,000 1-star reviews posted for To Kill A Mockingbird, one of my all-time favorites. (I admit to reading some just to make myself feel better.) There are even people out there in the world who don’t like chocolate, so I can’t expect everyone to like my book. I’m fine with that. I have faith that over time the right readers will find me and people who don’t enjoy my work will find authors they do like.

A well-written critical review can give readers as much or more valuable information about a book than a glowing, best-thing-since-sliced-bread review.  But there were many things about reviews I didn’t expect. For one, the pleasure and vehemence some people express when trashing a book is one of those things.  Another is the fact that people will buy a book without reading the book description and then blame the author when it isn’t exactly what they wanted. I can’t even comment on those that post reviews with so many incorrect details it’s clear they haven’t read it. Lastly, if you feel a book is wasting your time, why would you continue to read it? There are zillions of published books out there, truly something for everyone. Time is valuable. Read something else. Personally, I try to give a book 3 chapters. If it hasn’t hooked me by then, I move on. No harm, no foul.

All of these things perplex me, but the bottom line is that I’m trying to swear off reading bad reviews. Negativity bogs down my creativity and productivity. It’s hard, though. Reviews are like crack for writers. They’re scabs that beg to be picked. We MUST KNOW what every single person on the face of the earth thinks of our work.

The good reviews, the people who truly love what we’ve written, the readers who email us asking when our next book is coming out because they can’t wait to read it, those are the moments that make writers swoon. But how does an author resist reading negative reviews?

Readers, do reviews influence your buying decisions? Writers, do you read the reviews of you books? If not, how do you resist?

What was the Best Writing Class You Ever Took?

Next week, I’ll be attending Debra Dixon’s Book in a Day workshop. I am so excited about this. I’ve read
GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction and found it to be concise and informative. Plus, steamlining my writing process is becoming more and more important as deadlines become tighter.  I’m almost ready to start a new project, so the timing couldn’t be better.

Have you ever been to a writing workshop that changed the way you work?  What was it and what did you learn?

And the Winners Are…

And the winners of advanced copies of Midnight Exposure are rl(@rhondareads) and Chris.  Please email me at melindaleighauthor @ (minus the spaces) with your snail mail addresses.

Thanks for entering!

A Kick-Butt Heroine & ARC Giveway

My next book, MIDNIGHT EXPOSURE, releases tomorrow!  What’s so special about this book?  I’m glad you asked. One reason I love this story is because of my heroine, Jayne Sullivan. She totally kicks butt, and she does it in realistic way.

Photographer Jayne Sullivan was once a victim of a brutal assault. One of the things that helped Jayne recover was learning to defend herself. She enrolled in a karate school, worked hard, and earned a black belt.  This doesn’t mean she’s turned into Laura Croft or Jackie Chan, able to spin kick kick her way through a gang of felons. On TV and in movies, fighting always looks so smooth and well-timed. That’s because it’s choreographed. In reality, it’s much harder for the average person to engage in a physical fight. Fights are messy and confusing. There are no rules. Bad guys are more willing to hit hard enough to cause damage. Real people bleed, and getting hit, just once, hurts a lot more than a non-fighter expects. The typical assailant has much more experience than the average Joe, or in this case, the average Jayne.

But Jayne is willing and she’s learned a thing or two. When the vicious villain of MIDNIGHT EXPOSURE targets her, he isn’t expecting his latest victim to fight back with everything she has. She’s not a cop or a super spy, but surprise. Surprise. Jayne is no easy target.

I love female characters who fight back. Who is your favorite kick butt heroine and why?

I’m giving away 2 advanced reader copies (ARCs) of MIDNIGHT EXPOSURE. Comment between now and midnight Wednesday (8/22/12) to be entered. Winners will be announced on Thursday’s blog.