Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

White Diamonds by Shirley Hailstock (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Shirley Hailstock, author of White Diamonds!

Author Guest Post

Where Do You Get Your Writing Done?
By: Shirley Hailstock

One of the most common questions asked of a writer is how could she sustain herself long enough to write an entire book, especially one of the length of White Diamonds (over 400 book pages). I wrote my first book with pen and paper. I taught Accounting at night at Rutgers University and while I waited for class to begin or during exams I would write. I’d write in the morning before work, during lunchtime in a local park and in the evening while everyone else watched television. I’d write while waiting in a doctor’s office or sitting on the bleachers before and after my child participated in a sport. I even have a voice-activated digital recorded which allowed me to write while I drove back and forth to work (Olympus Voice Recorder WS-300M). 

There are many places and many times to write. If you have five minutes, you can write. If you’re serious about it, it can be done. However, there are sacrifices to be made and there are methods of making it easier for the writer. I employed many of these to get the stories on paper. Even busy people can find the time. Look of the number of exercise commercials that say if you have ten minutes you can lose a hundred pounds. It takes discipline and commitment for the long haul. I have 29 books published. This is a small number compared to authors with 50, 100, 500 books in print. Unlike people who believe authors just pump out the stories, we know that is a myth. It takes a lot of fortitude, concentration and sitting your butt in the chair to get from the blank page to The End. Here’s what I do: 

Limit TV viewing. I have a big screen television. Watching it is like going to the movies every night. However, I limit my involvement with programs. If a program is going to be on more than one night, I usually won’t watch it. As for weekly programs, I only watch the ones that are really good or teach me something. 

Limit the amount of E-mail that you deal with. Keep your address to yourself when stores and businesses offer you $5.00 or a discount if you will give them your e-mail address. No matter how much they tell you that they won’t send you marketing information or sell your address, eventually it will happen. They change their policies without notice all the time. Even spam and deleting from the main inbox takes time. If you’re easily distracted, this can suck away your time. 

Set achievable goals. My goal is to write one page a day. If I adhere to that at the end of the year I’d have a finished book. I don’t adhere to one page a day often because once I’m in the book I write until the well is dry or I’m too tired to keep going. This allows me to be more prolific and to sell more books in one year. But if I’m tired or don’t really feel like writing, all I have to do is one page to satisfy my goal. Completing several books close together works well for readers. They really like stories that continue or bring in a secondary character as the main character is his or her book. 

Utilize the tips and methods of Book in a Week (BIAW - April Kihlstrom program - I don’t comply with all of the tips, but I prepare healthy snacks, get up and do something physical every hour and give myself a specific amount of time each day to write. The time span is flexible. In BIAW there are other features for the week, but when I’m not doing the concentrated program for only a week, I use the tips that allow me able to sit for long periods without getting a stiff neck or sore back (like exercise and eating healthy). 

Consolidate Trips. I try to use my time wisely by consolidating trips away from my writing and keeping them to a minimum. Set aside one day to do errands instead of going out everyday and using up energy that could be put in a book. Also, you want your head to stay in the book as much as possible until it’s done. There will be exceptions, especially if you have children. 

Write at Conferences and overnight trips. Speaking of keeping your head in the story, many of us think of conferences as a mini-vacation. If I’m in a book (and I always am), I write at conferences. I will probably only do one page or even one half a page. This keeps my head in the book. When I return home to my familiar and comfortable writing place, I don’t have to spend time re-familiarizing myself with my story and where I was in it. I’ve never been out of it. 

Go to Conferences with an agenda. There should be a reason for going to a conference aside from meeting old friends. It could be as simple and as important as attending workshops on specific subjects. I attended a lot of conferences in the past. I was looking for an editor or an agent and to hone my skills. After I sold, I was looking for additional opportunities and to network with industry professionals. With the rapid changes going on in the industry now, I go to keep up with the changes and to learn about other avenues that might help make my goals easier or faster to attain. 

Attend chapter meetings. Even if the meetings are at a distance, attend them. This is my career. I give myself permission to learn from people who are at these conferences or doing workshops. If going can enhance my writing or my career, I want to be there to absorb the information. Again, I have to limit where I go. My purse is not unlimited, so I go to the ones that I can reach easily (by car is great) and/or the ones that have the greatest number of workshops that interest me. There was a time I drove two hours to get to a writer’s class. It took three hours to get home. I used the time as I’ve mentioned above, but I felt the class was important to my career and it was only once a month. 

Write wherever you are. I’ve heard people saying how it’s impossible for them to write without certain conditions. I don’t need any of those. I can write anywhere as long as I have pencil and paper whether it be pulp of electronic. I can write through noise, talking, music or television. It becomes white noise to me. Well the music doesn’t. I know too many songs and I love to sing, so if I know the songs, the writing will be slower, but not impossible because I’m going to sing in my head. Productivity may be greater in the comfortable home office, but I don’t limit myself to that location. 

Give writing a priority. This is probably the most important thing I do and that an aspiring writer can do. Make your writing a priority. It isn’t something that you do when everything else is done. Everything will never be done. I have a friend and fellow author (Michael Lee West) who asked me one day when I was whining about all the things I’d had to do that day, “What do you want written on your tombstone? That you were a published author...or you had a clean house?” That did it for me.

About The Author

Shirley Hailstock began her writing life as a lover of reading. She likes nothing better than to get lost in a book, explore new worlds and visit places she never expected to see. As an author, she can not only visit those places, but she can be the heroine of her own stories. A past president of Romance Writers of America, Shirley’s has authored 29 books and won many awards and accolades for her work.

White Diamonds by Shirley Hailstock ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Contest Dates: Feb 25 - March 15

Everyone who leaves a comment on White Diamonds by Shirley Hailstock ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of White Diamonds before March 15 and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Book Review

White Diamonds by Shirley Hailstock
Book 2: The Lies and Liars Series
Publisher: Words, Ink
Publication Date: June 17, 2012
Original Publisher/Publication Date: Arabesque / August 28, 1996
Format: eBook / Kindle - 684 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 0786002964
Genre: Romantic Suspense

BUY THE BOOK: White Diamonds

BUY THE SERIES: The Lies and Liars Series
Book 1: Under The Sheets
Book 2: White Diamonds

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Sandra Rutledge has been in front of cameras most of her life. She longs for the quiet existence of a university professor. A PhD candidate in mathematics, she’s at the family cabin in the Pocono Mountains when she finds Wyatt Randolph, the missing junior senator from Pennsylvania, bleeding to death on the road. Saving his life puts hers in danger. Attracted to the senator, she’s appalled when he accuses her father of treason. Together they set out to find the truth.

Wyatt Randolph’s best friend was killed for a cache of diamonds. His death set off a chain of events that go all the way to the White House. It’s up to Wyatt to discover what the stones entrusted to him do and why people are willing to kill for them. With the reluctant help of Sandra Rutledge, the daughter of the man Wyatt believes holds the key to the entire project, the two of them fight to find the truth and stay alive in the process.

Book Excerpt:

Wyatt Randolph! What was he doing here?

His body wobbled like a puppet from side to side, forcing Sandra to compensate for his shifts. The snow pattern behind her looked as though a drunk had woven a crooked line to her door.

How she got him into the cabin she'd never know, but she had him on the table of her mother's mountainside surgery. Melissa Rutledge, Sandra’s mother, often came to the mountain to write and relax. She’d penned many of her papers in this cabin.

Now what? Sandra asked herself. She checked his eyes, lifting the lids to make sure. . .of what—that his eyeballs were still there? She'd seen it done countless times, but had no idea why anyone did it. Sandra was the daughter of a famous surgeon, a woman whose medical skills included the success­ful transplantation of human hearts. Yet she, Sandra, didn't know how to change a bandage.

She did know there was more blood on the senator’s belly than had been there before. Either she had made the wound worse by moving him or the heat in the cabin was warming him. The bruises on his face were superficial. She didn't think there would be any permanent damage to his eye, despite the fact that he looked like a monster from an old black-and-white movie. Whoever beat him had only damaged one side of his face. The other half was unmarred. Carefully she began open­ing items of clothing to reach the source of the blood. Her protected fingers worked quickly to unbutton his coat and shirt. When she should have found skin, she discovered a band around his waist.

It was a crude attempt at a money belt. Blood soaked it. She frowned, skewing her nose at the amount covering the cloth. In this storm he should have picked a different road on which to get stranded, one where there was a doctor!

Sandra glanced at his face. He was helpless, unconscious. Paleness clung to him like a death shroud. She was his only hope. Sandra went back to work, taking a pair of bandage scissors and cutting the bound cotton in two places. She lifted it away and stared at the gaping wound. Blood oozed from it. Even her untrained eyes knew he'd been stabbed and that he needed stitches.

Absorbed by the thought that she was going to have to administer to this wound, she let go of one side of the cloth she held. Suddenly, she jumped at the noise and stepped away from the shards of glass pecking her legs as they fell from the bloody cloth and danced about her feet.

Sandra gasped, dropping the cloth. Diamonds, not glass. Huge cut stones stained the white floor, skittering about like bloody jumping beans before momentum ceased and they came to rest. Her mind whirled with questions as her eyes darted back and forth between the floor and the man on the table. What was he doing with all these diamonds? An unnamed fear rose in her throat but she pushed it down. She didn't have time for that now. At the moment she had a man who needed her complete attention.

Ripping off the rubber gloves, she dropped them in the medical wastebasket and, without lifting the receiver of the speaker phone she punched her mother's phone number at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC. She waited while the secretary connected her, praying silently that Dr. Rutledge was available and not in surgery. Sandra knew surgeons could assist in operations in all parts of the world by satellite hookup. Here, in the remote Pocono Mountains, they didn't have that kind of equipment and she was no doctor, yet the man lying on the table behind her would bleed to death if she didn't get help for him. This was the best she could do. Sandra let out a relieved breath when her mother's strong voice came over the line. She was going to have to walk her through the steps that would save the life of a United States senator. Then Sandra could wonder about the diamonds on the floor.

My Book Review:

Sandra Rutledge has lived her life in the public eye as the daughter of a senior U.S. Senator, now she justs wants to live a quiet life as a university mathematics professor. While working on her doctorate at her family's remote cabin in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, Sandra comes upon an unconscious injured man on the road. To her surprise, the man is none other than junior U.S. Senator Wyatt Randolph from Pennsylvania, who went missing a few days before. On Wyatt's person is a cache of diamonds worth millions that he discovered when his best friend was murdered. Wyatt believes there is a political conspiracy going on in Washington D.C., and that Sandra's father is involved in the plot that could have national and international security and political implications. Sandra doesn't believe her father is a traitor against his country, but with questions and evidence mounting, she joins Wyatt in a dangerous journey to discover the truth.

White Diamonds is an intriguing tale of romantic suspense and political conspiracy that keeps the reader on the edge guessing what will happen next. Author Shirley Hailstock weaves a fast-paced and intense thriller written in the third person narrative, that engages the reader to follow along with Sandra and Wyatt on a dangerous journey of seeking the truth behind the government conspiracy that leads straight to the White House. This story has fascinating multi-layers that unravels with the unfolding of every twist and turn, and a steamy tension filled romance between Sandra and Wyatt that is sure to keep the reader entertained. I have always been a fan of political thrillers, and I found that this book satisfied my curiosity and the romantic twist added in was a bonus that I thoroughly enjoyed. I really enjoyed the playful banter and intense chemistry between Sandra and Wyatt, I was drawn into the development of their relationship, it had a nice mixture of flirtation, sexual tension and humor that was very entertaining.

With a realistic complex cast of characters; witty dialogue and interactions; and a fascinating thriller of a storyline that is a real page turner, White Diamonds is an intricate tale of suspense and romance that will keep the reader's pulse racing!



  1. Hi Samantha! thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event! :)

  2. Hi Shirley! I really enjoyed reading White Diamonds, it was a thrilling read! I have already posted the review on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, Shelfari and LibraryThing! :)

  3. Kathleen,

    Thank you so much. I love WHITE DIAMONDS. glad you enjoyed it and thank you for posting the reviews.