Photos by Sheryl Sturges 

Today is my "on-sale" day....the first day that my book is officially offered for sale.  To say I am excited is an understatement.  I'm bouncing off the walls.  I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl.  I started the day off at 6:30 am with a 14 minute interview with Bulldog, a DJ at a radio station in Ocean City, Maryland.   Don't let the name fool you.  Bulldog was gracious and incredulous at the same time.  He asked good, pointed questions and kept saying that he and his co-host were just the janitors who happened to be in the station when they pushed a button and got me.  I told them I'd have to come by and make coffee....but it would be a long plane ride to get there.

Sunday we had a book release party for 85 people at the Left Bank Restaurant.  It was hard to limit the invitations but I don't own a bank or run a Fortune 500 company that just got bailed out by the government (think AIG and a $450,000 party).  Those in attendance were people who knew my perpetrator and/or who cheered me on over the years as I made this publishing journey.  Many characters in the book attended and I read a snippet on each one right before I introduced them.  Then I signed books for two-and-a-half hours.  I'm surprised I didn't end up with a sore wrist, but I lasted just fine.  Thanks to Sheryl Sturges and Drew Mesomsub for being my official photograhers.


I was searching the web to find out where my book might be mentioned.  Surprise!  Surprise!  I found that three libraries have pre-ordered my book and list them on their websites.  This is SOOOOOO EXCITING!

Houston area

http://baytownlibrary.org/    Upcoming Mystery – Thriller and Suspense




Cities north of Seattle,


Sno-Isle Libraries



 Bentley, Barbara,


 Attempted murder United States Case studies.


 Divorce Law and legislation California.







Call No.


Due Date


Nonfiction Collection


On Order



Nonfiction Collection


On Order



Nonfiction Collection


On Order



Nonfiction Collection


On Order



Nonfiction Collection


On Order






This morning I set the alarm for 5:15 am but was awake before the TV blared into the darkness.  No time for sleepy eyes.  I jumped out of bed and headed for the shower.  I know.  I know.  I could have not worried about looking my best because who was going to see me?  Sierra the cat?  Rex, my husband?  I could have been in pj's and bunny slippers -- except that I don't own any bunny slippers -- but I had decided this interview was special and a deluge of warm water was a good way to make sure I didn't yawn into the phone.  Rex made me a pot of coffee and I was set.

Jack Pattie called me exactly at 6 am to make sure I was awake.  We hung up and the phone rang promptly at 6:10 am.  Jack addressed the listening audience and explained the format of his program "Forensic Friday" and how he had a true crime author as a guest on alternate Fridays.  He said today he had a true crime author but with a little different twist -- she was also the victim.  (Remember, in the true crime genre, the vicitm is dead.) 

Jack is a wonderful interviewer.  What impressed me right away is that I could tell by his questions that he had read the book.  I felt relaxed and as comfortable as if we were sitting across the table having a morning chat over a cup of steaming coffee.  Thank goodness I kissed the Blarney Stone some years back because I definitely have the gift of gab.  Sometimes I had to pause to process the questions Jack presented me, trying to determine what exactly he was looking for since I have a lot of experiences detailed in the book.

There was one technical glitch -- I think someone manning the call board in the station hit the wrong button when I got a dial tone in my ear about half-way through the program.  I was reconnected shortly but this delay meant that Jack was not able to take calls from his listeners and we continued on to the end of the show.  In the last 30 seconds I gave a pitch about how my book was written to be an educational tool to learn about psychopaths, domestic violence and going beyond self.  I mentioned how the Introduction talks about psychopaths and domestic violence and how the appendices contained Survival Tips and Resources.  I asked the listeners to buy and read the book -- it just might save their lives.

Thank you, Jack, for your sensitivity in handling the subject matter and for your interest in my story.




This afternoon I got an email from my publicist at Berkley Books and immediately started screaming as I read it.  She told me I had been booked to appear on A VIEW FROM THE BAY on ABC 7 in San Francisco on October 30, 2008.  My husband in the other room yelled out, "What's the matter?  Are you okay?"  I ran into his office, jumping up-and-down like a two year old waiting for her ice cream.  "Oh my God," I screamed, "I'm going to be on TV."  As I said the words I could feel happy tears well up in my eyes.  I keep having to pinch myself that the dream is coming true.  I have believed that my Higher Power would direct this book and get it published when it needed to be published.  What lies ahead?

The show is on from 3 pm - 4 pm PST and I'm scheduled for a 5 - 7 minute interview.
You can watch from your computer at  http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/channel?section=view_from_the_bay&id=5755208



Another first in my amazing publishing journey.   It's another "Oh My God" moment.
Jack Pattie, the host of the Jack Pattie Show on WVLK-AM 590 in Lexington, Kentucky, does a segment every week called Forensic Fridays, during which he interviews a true crime author or a prosecutor.
I am please to announce that Jack will interview me about A DANCE WITH THE DEVIL for fifty minutes on Friday, October 24, 2008, from 9:05 am - 9:55 am EST. 
You can listen to this historic event via the Internet. Open the radio station's web page http://wvlkam.com/ and double click on LISTEN LIVE on the right side of the screen.  There will be a short 20 second advertising followed by the live broadcast.
Jack is a respected radio personality who loves to promote authors of true crime.  Read what his fans have to say about him at  http://incoldblogger.blogspot.com/2007/08/becoming-infamous.html .
I'm looking forward to the interview - after all, how many times do you get to talk to Santa Claus!  That's right.  Jack is an official Santa Claus.  http://www.santaguy.com/ 
Hope to see you on the radio!


Last week my publicist advised me that A DANCE WITH THE DEVIL had been reviewed by Kirkus Reviews.  This news didn't mean a whole lot to me until she told me that "not only is it difficult to get a book reviewed by Kirkus, they are known to be extremely critical as well.  Barbara, congrats on this positive critique."  My editor said, "I'll second that, Barbara -- Kirkus is notoriously nasty, so this is a doubly great review!  Congratulations."  So this is another "Oh my God" moment in my publishing journey.  I wonder what doors will open now?  Hmmm.

Wikipedia says that Kirkus Reviews is an American book review journal located in New York City.  It was founded in 1933 and it serves the book and literary trade sector, including libraries, publishers, literary and film agents, film and TV producers and booksellers. It is owned by The Nielsen Company and is part of Nielsen Business Media's US Music & Literary Group.  Kirkus Reviews is published on the first and 15th of each month. Reviews appear two to four months prior to a book's publication, and it features approximately 5,000 titles per year: fiction, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, translations, nonfiction and children's and young-adult (YA) books. Kirkus has long been a respected, authoritative pre-publication review source within the literary and film industries.  Reviews are anonymous and done by experts in the genre being reviewed.

Here's a look at a small part of the review.

"The first-time memoirist narrates this improbable nightmare in an easy-to-read conversational style that makes it all the more unsettling. ....  An engrossing modern-day fable, particularly timely in the age of anonymous Internet dating."



Today a long-time dream came true -- I floated above the Napa Valley in a balloon.  Not that it didn't take some effort to get the job done.  I had bid for the trip at a charity silent auction last year and scheduled my ride for this past May.  My husband and I got up at "O-God-Three-Thirty in the morning" to arrive in Napa for the 5:45 am meeting time.  I had an ominous feeling as we headed over the bridge and saw the fog bank darken the sky ahead.  We checked in at the Red Hen Cantina and were given the bad news -- the balloons were grounded for Napa Valley.  But all was not to be lost.  They had an alternate site about an hour away.  Disappointed, we decided to take the offer and climbed in the transfer van, only to be told within a couple of minutes that it was too windy at the alternate site.  We rescheduled. 

This time we were smarter; we got a room right across the road from the Red Hen Cantina so we could sleep in until 4:45 am.  We were the last of the four balloons to lift off and we floated calmly up, up and away until we had a bird's eye view of Yountville.  The winds blessed us with a most scenic ride.  Normally they caress the balloons south, toward Napa.  But today they worked in our favor and we headed north to float at 1500 feet over the vineyards and wineries.  What struck me the most was how quiet it was, except for the occasional blast from the propane burner.   It's easy to see how one could get addicted to ballooning.   As we descended we hovered above a Silver Oak cabernet sauvignon vineyard until one of the chase crew could grab the dangling line and pull us to the dirt service road.  After a smooth landing we helped make sure the balloon didn't fall into the metal trellises of the newly planted vineyard on the other side.  Back at the cantina we had a champagne breakfast.  Yum, yum.

Man's delight with hot air balloons first appears in Chinese history in 220 - 280 AD, when unmanned ones were used as airborne lanterns for military signaling.  The first unmanned documented balloon flight in Europe was in 1709.  After experimenting with unmanned balloons and flights with animals, the first tethered balloon flight with humans on board took place on October 19, 1783.  Modern hot air balloons, with their onboard heat surce, were pioneered in the 1950s which resulted in the first successful flight on October 22, 1960.  Today, hot air balloons are used primarily for recreation, and there are some 7,500 hot air balloons operating in the United States.


Early last week my editor let me know that my galleys would be delivered Friday and I counted each day in anticipation of finally holding my “almost” finished book in my hands. When the FedEx man rang the doorbell on Friday I bolted downstairs, only to see him climb into his truck. I started to yell when I looked down and saw it....the most beautiful innocuous cardboard box ever to hold fifteen galley copies. I grabbed the box and I raced upstairs to my office. With the assistance of a pair of scissors I tore into the box, and paused when I saw that the cover was not the vibrant red-and-black that I expected; it was yellow with black lettering and devoid of photographs. I grabbed a book and caressed it to my chest. It was still gorgeous, and it was mine. This moment was a long time in coming.   Sigh. 

I perused the front cover and discovered a rectangular box near the bottom that contained the statement, “Uncorrected Proofs for Limited Distribution, NOT FOR SALE, A NOVEMBER BERKLEY ORIGINAL TRADE PAPERBACK.”   On the back cover inside another rectangle it said, “UNCORRECTED PROOFS – NOT FOR SALE” and added, “If any material is to be quoted, it must be checked against the bound book.”  I flipped to the introduction and I choked up. Tears welled in my eyes. Staring back from the bound page were my words, written from the heart to help others. Oh my God, the fairy tale is coming true.
So, what is a galley? It is simply the typeset pages bound into book form. Photographs are not included and the cover is plain cardstock. Publicists send galleys to book reviewers, distributors and book clubs that like to see a copy of the book three or four months before its official publication date. My galleys are “in the mail” to these guys and I can’t wait to see what interest evolves from this step of the publishing process. Other reviewers like to receive an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) that has a full color cover. The publicist sends these out about one month before publication. The journey continues.....


 My editor sent me the following information and guess what?  I’m going to enter my first book competition.  Of course I’ll have to wait until November when I can send along the six copies that the rules require.  Wish me luck!  But remember....luck is the result of planning and hard work.  And remember, achieving begins with believing.  I believed my book would be published at the right time.  Now I’m believe I can win a California Book Award.  My editor must think so too.


I just heard about the California Book Awards, and I thought of you—apparently the books can be submitted by authors (for free!) and even online. Here’s the little blurb about it:

Since 1931, the California Book Awards have honored the exceptional literary merit of California writers and publishers. Each year a select jury considers hundreds of books in search of the very best in literary achievement. Eligible books must be written while the author is a resident of California, and they must be published during the year under consideration. Awards are presented in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, First Work of Fiction, Poetry, Californiana, Notable Contribution to Publishing, Juvenile Literature and Young Adult Literature.

And here’s the link: http://www.commonwealthclub.org/features/caBookAwards/about.php#guidelines


Can’t hurt, right?!



 This was an “Oh my God” day.....the day my editor sent me the following message. 

Excellent news--Bookspan has negotiatied for A DANCE WITH THE DEVIL to be a Featured Alternate in Doubleday Book Club, Literary Guild, Mystery Guild, Book of the Month and BOMC2. Congratulations!

I screamed with excitement as I read the email and the contractors working in my house thought I had fallen out a window, I was so loud.  I’m still bouncing off the walls.  We’re three months away and the exposure is beginning to snowball.   Breathe, Barbara, breathe.  Thank you God for all you have provided during my journey to help others.