Message in the Roses Query

    My third novel  Message in the Roses, needs a home. Below is the query lettery I’m sending out. I welcome your suggestions. I’ll keep you posted on the book’s progress. I’ll post an excerpt of the book soon.  Hugs

My recently completed novel, Message in the Roses, is loosely based on a murder trial I covered as a journalist in Atlanta. It’s also a love story.

Protagonist Carrie Sue Justice, 25, is a fearless and tenacious journalist with a chaotic personal life.

Marcus, 35, is a seasoned newspaper man and decorated war veteran unable to forgive himself for the accidental death of his late wife.

They begin a steamy love affair at a time when the community is in turmoil. Four black boys have been accused of shooting and killing a white boy. Before the trial begins, one of the boys allegedly hangs himself in his jail cell. Another boy pleads guilty. The two remaining youths are to be tried as adults. Tatum’s defense attorney calls Carrie Sue’s best friend and “black brother” to testify. Freemont swears he spotted Tatum blocks away from the crime scene during the time of the shooting death. As a result of Freemont’s testimony, Freemont and Carrie Sue become targets.           

Message in the Roses (82,500 words) shares common themes with classics like Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird and A Time to Kill. Carrie Sue tells this story in her southern voice and readers should be able to identify with her grief, the betrayal of her husband and her messy divorce. With passion and determination, she rises above her personal sorrow to fight injustice and defy fierce adversaries without backing down. The erotic lovemaking in this novel occurs naturally as Marcus changes from killjoy workaholic, who struggles with inner demons, to hot romantic hero.

Like Carrie Sue, I was born and raised in the South. I earned a Journalism degree from Georgia State University and worked as a reporter, columnist, broadcaster and editor. My first two books have been well received. Mardi Gravestone was rebirthed as Sex, Love & Murder. My second book Hurricane House received 4.5 stars from Romantic Times and 5 stars from Midwest Book Review.

I greatly appreciate your time and expertise. May I send you a copy of my manuscript?


Sandy Semerad



Five things you can do to be happier

Everyone wants to be happier, and I’m no exception. So I couldn’t resist the PBS special on the subject in which author Shawn Achor claims “happiness is a choice.”

He gave five things you can do right now to be much happier. After listening to him, I’m thinking I may buy his book The Happiness Advantage, but in order to spread the bliss, I couldn’t resist summarizing for you what he said.
Do these five things for 21 days and they will become habits, Achor said, and lead to a much happier, successful life and ultimately change the lens in which you view the world. Here they are:

1.Think of three new things you are grateful for that have happened in the last 24 hours. Repeat this for 21 days. Also you can increase your happiness by sharing your gratitude with your significant other and ask him or her to tell you three things for which they are grateful.

2. To double your optimism, take two minutes to write down your gratitude and your most meaningful experiences. Again do this every day for 21 days.

3. Add 15 minutes of fun activity to your day. This must be a physical activity like walking the dog or gardening, etc.

4. Consciously add three smiles to your day.

5. Charge your happiness battery by meaningful social connections. People can motivate you more than anything, Achor says. So take the time to encourage and motivate others and spread the happiness. The key here is to motivate and avoid being negative or criticizing.

Try all of the above and you’ll be healthier, more energetic and more successful, according to Achor. In fact, happiness is the fuel that allows us to be more successful, he says.