Posts Tagged ‘Confessions of a Watery Tart’

Today I’m turning this space over to the ever fabulous and very successful writer Hart Johnson, whom you can usually find naked and carrying on at her blog, Confessions of a Watery Tart.  Her latest cozy mystery, THE BEGONIA BRIBE (under her pen name Alyse Carlson), is out and I can tell you that it’s fun and witty and oh so entertaining.   You really must pick up a copy and enjoy this great read.  And now, without further ado, I give you Hart.


First I want to thank the divine Helena for having me here! We’ve been friends a couple years now, and she’s been one of the most fantastically supportive people I’ve met. (PLUS, The Compass Master is seriously the best book I read in 2012, so if you haven’t read it yet, get it). *cough*

Anyway… There are a lot of really cool things I would LOVE to do. I mean yes, I have my bucket list of things I really WILL do… but the things I probably will NOT actually do, that I’d LOVE to… at least in theory. I’d love to be some badass spy, speak a dozen languages, kick butt in fights (pacifist leanings aside), solve crime…

I think Helena is the only writer I know who actually committed to LEARNING all that stuff.

The reality is, I am slow, even when I’ve been a regular runner… I have pathetically poor upper body strength and a center of gravity at my butt, pulling me ever down and back, so climbing is out.  Once upon a time I have good balance and coordination, but those years are long past. I was not made for stealthy movement or hand-to-hand combat. I am lacking SKILLZ… spelled that way because the situation is really dire.

Now I DO have a tad more than the average intelligence. Not FBI intelligence or CIA intelligence… Not enough to write Sci-Fi or international espionage thrillers, but not too shabby, either. So there IS something I can do to PRETEND I can do all these things. I can write about them. I can live my bizarro-world fantasies out in words. I can imagine it and make it so.

Now I’m not inclined to write erotica, but one of the perks is definitely involving myself with a dreamy man or two. Cam and Annie, the main character and best friend in The Garden Society Mystery series, both have rather hot boyfriends… the reporter and the cop… useful, and oh-so-nice to look at.  I’ve given it a twist though.  You see, I am NO damsel in distress! (Never mind all the phone calls for my grandpa to rescue me from car mishaps as a teen.)  So I’ve made a point of my characters rescuing those boys more than the other way around.

And I’m not observant… other writers may recognize the inclination to tunnel-vision—tough to notice around us when we are busy with all the stuff inside our head… but my MC is sharp as a hawk—she misses NOTHING!  Oh, and is she organized!  (I am so disorganized I tell myself I don’t even WANT to be organized—how is that for delusion?)

I really love her people skills, though.  She can talk people into anything. (Me, not so much… mostly because I feel too awkward to even ask and hate confrontation, so if it’s uncomfortable? Forget it!)

I have other characters in other books with OTHER skills I’d like to have, too.  That’s the beauty of writing… no reason to limit our fantasy lives to just one awesome character!  And then there are the awe-inspiring ones I couldn’t even come up with on my own…

Just so long as I don’t forget Dumbledore’s advice:  “It does not do to dwell in dreams and forget to live,” this really makes life a lot more fun.

Anybody else living vicariously through characters they read or write?


Roanoke, Virginia, is home to some of the country’s most exquisite gardens, and it’s Camellia Harris’s job to promote them. But when a pint-sized beauty contest comes to town, someone decides to deliver a final judgment …

A beauty pageant for little girls—the Little Miss Begonia Pageant—has decided to hold their event in a Roanoke park. Camellia is called in to help deal with the botanical details, the cute contestants, and their catty mothers. She soon realizes that the drama onstage is nothing compared to the judges row. There’s jealousy, betrayal, and a love triangle involving local newsman—and known lothario—Telly Stevens. And a mysterious saboteur is trying to stop the pageant from happening at all.

But the drama turns deadly when Stevens is found dead, poisoned by some sort of plant. With a full flowerbed of potential suspects, Cam needs to dig through the evidence to uproot a killer with a deadly green thumb.

Alyse Carlson is the pen name for Hart Johnson who writes books from her bathtub and can be found at:  Confessions of a Watery Tart, on Facebook (author page, profile), Twitter, or Goodreads.

I’m happy to announce that today (Thursday) I’m a guest over on writer Hart Johnson’s sassy blog, CONFESSIONS OF A WATERY TART.  Please check me out at this link, and while you’re at it say hello to the gloriously irreverent Hart.

Meanwhile, Amazon has STILL not posted the first chapter of The Compass Master on its page, and they have STILL not responded to my queries about it (“We will reply to your email within 12 hours.”  Liars).  So or your entertainment I’m posting here the first part of the first chapter.

Have a wonderful day.

Chapter 1

The guards appeared like dark threats in the empty landscape. There were five of them, and all were slouching in boredom and fiddling with their Kalashnikovs, and none wore distinguishing uniforms but instead the kind of black leather jackets favored by Serbian tough guys. They were blocking a road that split off from the two-lane highway and led around a hill to an unseen Serbian town—an enemy’s legally separate enclave in predominantly Muslim-Croat Bosnia. It didn’t matter that the war had been over for years. Because bad memories never die, the men stood armed and ready in the mid­dle of nowhere.

Layla Daltry knew they might give her trouble. Might force her to stop by stringing themselves across the road. Might swagger over to her slowing car and shove the barrels of their guns up against its windows, and shout at her in a language she didn’t understand. She was driving on the Bosnian side of the border, but hers was the only car on the highway. No one else was around to prevent the guards from doing whatever they wanted.

There was only one thing she could do to escape them. She slammed her foot on the gas pedal, which made the little rented Yugo give a heave and a jerk. Lord, how she hated Yugos! Worst gears in the world. But in seconds the car was ripping down the asphalt like a screaming demon. The guards turned in her direction and one held up his hand and another his gun. That was when she performed her oldie but goodie, dazzle ‘em with fun and sex. She tossed her head so that her hair fell playfully across one eye, teasingly unbuttoned her shirt halfway down, and flashed a crooked, naughty smile. The guards gawked in surprise. Before they could move her car zipped past them. In the rearview mirror she saw them laughing and waving at her while one hooted a catcall.

“Talk about being dangerously bored,” Layla whispered. At least those men were the last trap she had to negotiate—she hoped.

Long minutes dragged by before traffic appeared on the road ahead. Like an animal seeking shelter in a herd, she steered into the thick of it until her nondescript car became invisible amid the sleek Mercedes, old junk heaps, and smoking trucks. A few miles later she murmured, “It’s just around the corner.” She took the last long curve of asphalt with reckless speed and didn’t slow down even when she saw it: her sanctuary, Sarajevo…

Today I’m singing my gratitude to, among others, the proudly naked Hart Johnson, the literary force to be reckoned with behind the very successful blog, Confessions of a Watery Tart. (She’s the tart.)

Yesterday (Sunday) Hart devoted her blog posting to yours truly and the release of  The Compass Master.  I was touched, I was thrilled, and I was embarrassed to realize that I’d spaced out the part in her email to me where she said she would write about TCM in her Sunday and Thursday postings.  I kinda misunderstood and thought she was giving me a choice so I chose Thursday.  But in fact she was giving me both days.  Anyway late yesterday afternoon I thought I’d stop by her blog, and lo and behold there was my name and book in large print!

Here’ the proof:  (Scroll down to Sunday after reading today’s moving post)

She also made me sound like someone impressive (lol) who’s been working like crazy on my Layla plan.  But the reality is, between finishing, publishing, and now trying to promote TCM, plus my full-time job and life in general, I’ve barely had time for the last month or two to devote myself to it as much as I should.  And as much as I want to.  I mean, I really NEED to start having some fun again.  But I can do without the sometimes physical pain.

Speaking of that plan, I am overdue in giving Robert Read a big hug and thanks for writing the first review for TCM on Amazon.  Like Hart, I met Robert in cyberspace, in his case when he started leaving comments on this blog.  And I mean they are always intelligent, well-written comments because he’s the kind of man who clearly knows what he’s talking about, whether it’s weight-lifting or poker or you name it, and he doesn’t let me get away with hot air, which I can be full of when I get lazy.  He also kindly volunteered to read a draft of TCM, and his critiques were so sharp and insightful I of course followed them closely as I rewrote the weak passages and elements he pointed out.  He definitely made my book better.  Thank you, Robert.   (And here’s an illustration of my image of you.)

Another person I’m singling out today is Ciara Knight, who’s an all-around generous and supportive person and a newly published writer.  You can find her at her blog of the same name,, which as the cool subtitle of “Writing to the Edge of Darkness.”  I downloaded her ebook, Love’s Long Shadow from Amazon, and as soon as I find some FREAKING TIME this week I’m gonna relax and enjoy and read it.

Also, here’s a shout out and thanks to my cyber pal Ben Schmitt, a fellow writer, a very smart guy, a devotee of the martial arts, a crazy busy student and worker, and future great novelist and filmmaker.

To you all and more, I love ya.

I have been so busy this last week and so sleep deprived that, due to feeling like a zombie, I haven’t written much anything here.   You may have noticed.   But today I’m got the great good luck of spreading news about a couple of my fave buddy bloggers.

And to start things off…


I am so happy to report that CIARA KNIGHT, who has a gorgeous site about WRITING TO THE EDGE OF DARKNESS ( has honored me with her LOVELY BLOGGER AWARD.  But of greater importance is that just today, Ciara has announced she’s going to be a PUBLISHED AUTHOR!

(Pause for shouts of Huzzah!)

Ciara has signed a contract with Turquoise Morning Press for her Young Adult Paranormal, Rise From Darkness.  That is fantastic news, lady.  YOU SO DESERVE IT!

Also of great note  is the naked tarty shameless Hart Johnson over at CONFESSIONS OF A WATERY TART (

Hart has a YA entry in Amazon’s formidable ABNA competition, and so far she has made it all the way to the quarter finals, which means her book beat out a few thousand contestants.  An excerpt of her novel, The Kahlotus Disposal Site, can be read for free on Amazon.  I’ve read it and it’s so good I  got an insecurity complex and went back to reread The Compass Master’s first chapters to make sure they grab me the way Hart’s chapters do.

Hart also has a contract with a real live PUBLISHER for a cozy mystery (talk about being multi-literary-talented).

To top it off, this is crazy busy whirlwind has generously offered to review my blurb for The Compass Master, which I’ll be composing this weekend.  You know what blurbs are—those pithy descriptions on book jackets or the back of books that convince readers this novel is the best thing since Gone with the Wind or any Harry Potter book and you’ll be miserably deprived if you don’t read it.   Blurbs are like query letters for the general public—your literary success can hang precariously on them.  So thank you, darling Hart.

Obviously in the coming months I’m going to be getting in line to buy the books of Hart Johnson and Ciara Knight.  That is really gonna feel so cool.