Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So you want to be a writer?

The holidays are over ... um, somewhat. It's kind of hard to get the children back in the groove of things when there are so many new games to play and the tree is still up. But for me, personally, it's time to put nose to grindstone -- butt in chair; fingers to keyboard -- and get cracking! I have to get this book, DREAM WALK, done. It's been way too long a work in progress...and since I finally have my paranormal world figured out, I need to let these two would-be lovers fight their demons (literal and figurative) and find their happy ever after.

But first .... on to my promised 'lessons'. I'll start with a question I was asked at my recent book signing:

How do you get started writing?

That one is kind of tough. I feel you need at least two things to begin your career as a writer:
1. Talent
2. An idea

Let's take the second one first:

Where do ideas come from? Well, for me, they can come from anywhere. The lyrics of a song. Another book, a movie or play. A 'what if?' question that pops into my head. A lot of ideas come from the age old past-time of people-watching. No, I'm not talking about peeping Tom here...I just mean sitting in a public place or event and watching the people around you. Everyone has a story -- most probably wouldn't make for a great adventurous novel -- but add a little imagination to the mix and you just might find an idea germinating.

Now for the hard part:

Talent, well, there's somewhat of a debate there. Are writer's born or made? Many have strong feelings on either side. I feel it's a bit of both. However, if you aren't 'born' with the writing gift or inclination, no amount of tutoring is going to turn you into the next Nora Roberts or Stephen King. (Let's face it, there probably will never be another King.)

Writing has to come from within. There has to be a storyteller lying in wait inside your brain -- a voice that 'speaks' to you and demands you write it all down. Some say there is a fine line between the insane and writers. I say there's not much of a line at all. ;) But as long as the voices aren't telling you that you're God or that someone (except a fictional character) needs to die, you're probably as sane as any writer can get.

In my not so humble opinion, if you have the urge to tell stories...if your imagination goes into overdrive anytime you see a glove on the side of a road or hear sirens in the distance... if you really and truly desire to write, then you can learn to do just that.

But how do you learn? Hopefully you paid attention in English classes -- no, you don't need to conjugate verbs or identify participles, thank goodness -- but you do need to understand and make use of basic grammar, punctuation, etc. Then you have to feel free enough...and be good break those rules in the process. At least some of them.

Writing...good, strong writing...comes from years of doing two things: reading & writing.

Sounds trite? Too easy? Think again. You don't copy what others do, but you learn from their mistakes and their triumphs. If you read a scene in a book that sweeps you away -- figure out what it is that makes it so. Is it the use of verbs? The description? The dialogue? How is it unique or special to you?

If you read a novel that you just want to heave against the wall (yes, I have actually done this, but I won't tell who the author was) -- decipher those emotions as well.

Writers must constantly grow, learn and hone their craft. If they stop; the writing suffers. Read the classics you ignored during school. Get a word-a-day calendar and make yourself increase your vocabulary. If you hear or read a great metaphor or simile, make note of it. Words are your paint and the more you know, the more vibrant your writing can become.

So... do you still want to try? Do you have determination? A thick skin? Are the voices in your head clamoring for their turn? Then sit down, put you fingers to the keyboard and WRITE!
Don't worry about being perfect at the start -- chances are, you won't be. But if you don't write something, ANYTHING, your dream ends here.

Follow your dream and hold on tight. It's bound to be a bumpy ride.

**Next time: What is point of view?**

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Autopsy of a booksigning

First off, let me say that my first booksigning went fairly well -- it was not a rousing success that will establish my career, but I did make a few sales, made a couple of contacts. All in all, it was an interesting night. Out of 18 copies Borders had in stock, I sold a total of five that night. The manager was very enthusiastic and wonderfully nice -- she asked me to come back the weekend before Valentine's Day to give it one more try. :)

Those are the let's tear the night apart, dig in and see what really happened.

Thank goodness for friends!

One tip that I followed from a fellow writer was to print out little pamphlets regarding my book, SECRETS AND SHADOWS, to pass out to possible customers. It may bring in another sale or two, we'll see. I am glad, however, that I had those and my homemade bookmarks & business cards on hand.


Two things that did NOT surprise me: a couple of older gentleman stopped and asked what the book was about. When I mentioned romantic suspense, they immediately lost interest. LOL! Which, honestly, is a little sad. I strongly believe that any man who is interested in how women feel, think and approach a loving relationship should read at least one well-written romance novel. Seriously guys, it would save you a lot of grief.

The second unsurprising occurrence: the number of people who hurried by, avoided direct eye-contact and basically went out of their way (or my way) to enter the bookstore. LOL!

Trust me, folks -- I am not going tackle you and try to mind-control and/or guilt you into buying my novel. Really. For one thing, I haven't the foggiest how to do that -- otherwise my children would be much better behaved 24/7 AND my book would be with a big NY pub like Ballantine or Kensington. I love Samhain, don't get me wrong, but we all know where the bigger bucks are, don't we? ;)

The Unexpected:

One thing that did surprise me, however, were the number of people who seemed in awe of me. Just because I had written and had a book published. I felt a bit like a celebrity...actually, I felt like I was somehow impersonating a celebrity. I felt a little...guilty? Out of place?

It could have been my 'power suit' or my sudden and instant 'in the spotlight' status that created those feelings. Or it could have been the three young people -- two teenage boys, one girl -- who all had questions about writing. How do you do it? What's the process? How do you get published?

This is where I had to start thinking fast and talking like .... well, like I knew what the heck I was talking about.

Yes, I suppose I am now an 'expert' of sorts. I am published, so I must be doing something right, somewhere. And yes, if I really think about it, I can give advice -- which I did that night -- and I can maybe teach others a thing or two about the process and the mechanics of writing a novel.

But I am more of a natural writer. In other words, I sit down and the words flow. I don't stop to think about conjugating verbs or whether this is a metaphor or simile...yes, I often leave participles dangling **GASP!** and I still don't catch it until some more grammar-oriented person points it out.


I've decided for the good of the few ... at least those few young souls (or the young at heart) who truly desire to write but do not know how to begin ... I've decided to give this rather mediocre blog a more positive direction. I've decided to share my insights into the written word. I'll start by trying to answer -- in my most humble way -- those questions asked me by the eager and very flattering young men and woman at that booksigning.

How do you start?

What's the writing process?

What do you do from there?

So, if you want to learn at least as much as I, personally, can teach you, come back frequently. Writing takes time, patience, work, a thick skin, and perseverance. If you really, really want to reach the goal of publication, those are the qualities you must possess or strive to obtain.

A good dose of talent doesn't hurt, either. ;)

Another meme

Here's another list courtesy of my friend and colleague, Laura Hamby. The things I've done are in bold...some with further explanations attached. ;)

1. Used real snow to make/eat a snow cone -- Yes, with Kool-aid

2. Slept in you car while parked at the side of the road

3. Didn't go to bed until 4 in the morning on New Year's Day

4. Dyed an Easter egg, using all the colors available

5. Catch a scent on the air that reminded you of something from your childhood

6. Taken a picture of the sky because it was a remarkable shade of blue that day

7. Caught a fish and cleaned it yourself, then cooked it for dinner

8. Wished you bought two pairs of your favorite shoes -- Orange sandals with sparkly, sequined flowers...I love them and they're wearing out. :(

9. Made a list like this

10. Taken art lessons -- In college -- loved it!

11. Taken ballet lessons -- As a child -- hated it! LOL!

12. Driven a really scary stretch of road

13. Read a book from cover to cover in one sitting -- More than once. ;)

14. Written a letter to your Congressman

15. Changed political parties

16. Made a boat yourself, and sailed in it

17. Worn mismatched shoes by accident

18. Been so happy you wanted to burst into song -- And did so! Many times. ;)

19. Watched Barney, as an adult, without becoming annoyed -- When the show first began and I watched with youngest two children. Not sure I could do it now.

20. Thought you could walk to Sesame Street -- As a child, I so wanted to go to Sesame Street!

21. Invented something

22. Came up with a new recipe -- really just a variation of another recipe.

23. Snorkeled or dived a coral reef

24. Been in a shark cage

25. Been told that a character in a Nora Roberts book reminded a friend of you

26. Howled in the car with your kids -- Yes, but only during a full moon, naturally.

27. Loved someone so much your heart hurt

28. Painted a house

29. Painted a picture in the style of a famous painter

30. Seen the Mona Lisa

31. Seen the Hope Diamond

32. Been the president of the PTA

33. Sat on Santa's an adult -- Actually, I was 17 -- it that adult enough? :)

34. Lost your spouse

35. Driven a race car

36. Eaten fried okra

37. Climbed Mt. Everest

38. Seen Mt. Rushmore

39. Saved a baby bird that had fallen from its nest

40. Tried a food you always thought was gross and discovered you loved it -- Yep, Guacamole.

41. Been to Hawaii

42. Been to Africa

42. Had an "old-time" picture taken with your family, your friends or alone -- At Pigeon Forge, Tenn., now Dollywood. LOL! My mom still has the tin-type.

43. Made good friends via the Internet -- Oh, yes! Most my good friends are IM buddies. :)

44. Met a movie star

45. Seen the Queen of England in person

46. Indulged in a tinsel fight while decorating the Christmas tree

47. Attended a family reunion

48. Couldn't turn out the lights for the night after reading a Stephen King novel -- The Stand...the summer after I graduated high school.

49. Gone on a cruise

50. Can you remember where you where the day the Challenger exploded? -- Vividly... English Lit., during college. Saw it replay in the student lounge.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Words of wisdom

This was passed along by a's a long list, but one worth reading.

Lessons in Life By Regina Brett The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons lifetaught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. Myodometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don'tworry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the secondone is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don'ttake no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancylingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In fiveyears, will this matter?"

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Yourfriends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anythingyou did or didn't do.

35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyoneelse's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don't ask, you don't get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Since I'm(Deborah Brent) now 52 I have 2 more to add to the list.

51. It is easier to ask for forgiveness than ask forpermission. (I learned this from one of my local churchleaders.)

52. From <http://www.mayaange .html> MayaAngelou I learned just because I'm in pain I don't have to beone."A REAL FRIEND IS ONE WHO WALKS IN WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD WALKS OUT"

Monday, December 11, 2006


I'm having my very first booksigning!

When: Friday, Dec. 15th, from 6-9 p.m.
Where: Borders Express, Clearview Mall, Butler, PA.
For: Secrets and Shadows (Now in Print!)

If you happen to be in the area, stop in and say 'Hi!'

Books make great holiday gifts, by the way. Just thought I'd throw that out there. ;)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

We got angst...grab a bucket!

I have two teenagers at home. Females. Yeah, I hear the women snickering and the men flinching at those words. Can we say: Angst by the Boat load? Grab a bucket, folks, it's time to bale!

Now I also have an 11 year-old son who has sprouted pit hair -- this knowledge thanks to his big sisters -- and is showing all the signs of also hitting that horrific time in anyone's life. Puberty.

I shudder at the mere thought, believe me.

His voice is cracking...he's growing an inch a month...his feet are now bigger than mine...and he sweats like, well, like a guy. Luckily (knock on wood) he has NOT discovered the complex attraction of male to female. Just shoot me when that happens. Please.

Truly, I am enjoying watching my children grow and change. I rejoice in seeing them make good decisions -- and apologizing when they make rather stupid ones. I enjoy seeing them as more 'equal' than as the tiny humans I had to do everything for. Now they can do for me.

And the angst? Yeah, well, it's like revisiting my own teen years. The whining...the moping...the certainty that MY zit is really the most hideous zit to ever appear on anyone's face. Their insecurities take me right back to my own.

Now I can look back, laugh and shrug my shoulders. Did I ever really think such trivial things were "The End"? Yep. Sure did. With all the melodrama involved. And yes, I can tell them -- someday you'll see that this really does NOT matter. But they don't believe that. Just like I didn't.


My mother sat across from me at lunch recently as I complained about life with teens and pre-teens and began to laugh hysterically. She pointed a finger at me, this somewhat evil grin on her face and said: "Pay back is sweet!"

I was shocked. Then I laughed. So true...I just can't wait until the day when I can say the same to my kids.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Another meme ;)

I learned one thing from this particular 'meme' -- I really need to get out more. ;) The things I've done are in bold.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree-------for photo purposes only :o)
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (and survived the crush afterwards)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Copy and paste it to your own blog, hi-liting the things you've done!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Five Things you might not know about me...

Diane Craver tagged me, so I guess it's my turn to fess up. ;) In the process, I'll tag my fellow authors Tori Scott and Laura Hamby -- two friends who write very different and wonderful romances. You're it, ladies! ;)

Five Things You Might not Know About Me:

1. Some of my previous career aspirations included: astronaut, astronomer, and fashion model. The latter I gave up on when I stopped growing at 5'6". ;)

2. I played Sally Brown my senior year in our school's production of the musical: SNOOPY!!! (Yes, I still have the costume.)

3. If I had had a bit more drive and courage, I would've loved to be a professional actress. While I'm shy in public, I come alive on stage. I think that talent helps me tremendously in my writing.

4. I cannot go to the movies without a box of Snowcaps in hand.

5. Many years ago -- back in high school, I believe -- I had a huge crush on Barry Manilow. Yes, I hear the snickering...but it's true. The man has a wonderful voice and gorgeous eyes. ;)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Which of the X-Men are you?

You Are Jean Grey

Although your fate is often unknown, you always seem to survive (even after death).
Your mind is your greatest weapon, literally!

Powers: telepathy and telekinesis, the ability to project thoughts into the mind of others, communication with animals

Saturday, November 25, 2006

CONTRACTED! ~~ A Writer's Challenge!


Unique Enterprises, the parent company of By Grace Publishing and
Moonlit Romance, is sponsoring CONTRACTED– A Writers' Challenge
during 2007. We will hold 2 challenges, January-June and July-
December, with the winner being announced and published in
September, 2007 and March 2008.

This contest is open to unpublished in romance authors only. The
novels entered into the contest must have 12 chapters, and may be
any romance sub-genre. All novels must meet the guidelines for
either By Grace Publishing or Moonlit Romance. Please see the
Guidelines at Moonlit Romance and By Grace Publishing.

To Enter: Please send a query letter to Laura Hamby
(laurahambyeditor @ and the completed entry form you'll
find in the files section of either the By Grace or Moonlit romance readers' loops: Moonlit Romance Reader's Loop OR By Grace Reader's Loop.

All attached files must be saved in .rtf format, or they will not be opened. There will be 2 rounds of CONTRACTED— A Writers' Challenge in 2007. Entry

Round One — December 15, 2006
Round Two — May 15, 2007.
Please put "Contracted–A Writers' Challenge Entry" in the
subject line of the email.

Contestants will compete for 6 months in two different forums: the
public Blog Challenges and the private Editors' Challenges, based on
a monthly challenge theme. Once a month, contestants will provide
their Blog Challenges to Laura Hamby to be posted on the Unique
Enterprises' Authors' Blog, in addition to submitting their private
Editors' Challenge to Laura Hamby to be forwarded to the judging
Unique Enterprises editors. Both the Blog Challenges and the
Editors' Challenges will be rated on a rubric that will be provided
to each contestant before each contest begins. In order to continue
from month to month, contestants must complete both the Blog and the
Editors' Challenges. Contestants who fail to participate in both
monthly challenges every month will be disqualified. Standings will
be determined by averaging the Editors' and Blog Challenges

Contestants who do not satisfactorily pass the monthly Challenges
will not proceed to the next month's round. Points will be awarded
on a 1-5 scale, and those authors not achieving an Editors' and Blog
Challenge of 3.5 or higher won't progress to the next level. These
contestants will receive a critique of the first 3 chapters of their
novel from Unique Enterprises' Senior Editors Sheila Holloway or
Laura Hamby, and will be encouraged to participate in the next
Writers' Challenge.

At the conclusion of the 6 month competition, the authors who have
made it successfully through the Writers' Challenge with a 6 month
average of the equivalent to a 3.5 will have one month to revise,
edit and polish their novel for the Final Competition. For entrants
in the January-June contest, their final product will be due August
1, 2007.

For entrants in the July-December contest, their final
product will be due February 1, 2008. Contestants will receive the
Final Judging Rubric at the conclusion of the 6 month competition.
Winners will be publically announced on the Unique Enterprises
Authors' Blog on September 1, 2007 and March 1, 2008. The winning
novel will be published in September, 2007 (1stround) and March,
2008 (2nd round).

The winner(s) of CONTRACTED–A Writers' Challenge will win a contract
for their completed, ready-to-publish novel with either Moonlit
Romance or By Grace Publishing. The runners-up will receive comments
of their novels from the judges, and are invited to resubmit their
novels to By Grace Publishing or Moonlit Romance.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Chat today!

Writers Across Time will be chatting at the CataNetwork Readers Group today, Saturday, November 18th, beginning at noon and lasting until 10 p.m. --- all Eastern U.S. times.

Join me and my fellow historical writers for hours of chatter, excerpts and I'm sure a prize give-away or two. ;) I'll be there from 8-10 p.m. --- just in time for my hero to give you warm, happy dreams.

See you there!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Join the Scavenger Hunt!

Come join us for a chance to win a great prize! I'll be giving away a download of my romantic suspense, SECRETS AND SHADOWS...but check out the other authors and their prizes, too.

Happy hunting!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Another year...

It's my birthday, today! Well, it will be for about another hour. ;) Had a wonderful day with some very special, heartfelt gifts and a card from my dh that had me laughing. It was perfect! The day was great...even the weather shaped up for me. (GGG)

So, where has this past year taken me? It's amazing how much and how little one's life can change over the course of time. Here I am, one book coming out in print later this coming month...another to be published early next year; yet another coming out some time later in the year. Maybe more? Right now, I can't tell. But I do see a very busy future -- both professionally and personally. My children are all healthy and happy...well, as happy as teenagers can be. ;) My dh is doing well. Everyone is just busy.

Busy is good. It keeps us focused; keeps us from getting bored or getting into trouble. ;) But I also love the quiet moments; the down times when I can step back, take a breath and relax. Which is exactly what I did this weekend. My dh had to work so I got to watch television. My choice! Yay! Two chick flicks; Closed Case; Without a Trace; and Supernatural. Not things I get to watch very often anymore. I'm usually busy on the computer -- writing, promoting, chatting. Or someone else has control of the remote. Or I'm at some event or other. But this weekend was mine!

Yeah, I could get spoiled by this. But then again, just sitting in front of the television would get old after a while. I need this computer...the interaction with friends. I especially need to read a good book now and then. Not to mention finish writing one. (GGG)

Have a great week!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Wow! Party, party, party....

What a party! When Mandy and Michelle throw a bash, you better batten down the hatches! I haven't seen that many posts in one place in a long time.

Congrats to all the winners...and if you didn't get a chance to jump into the fun, join the group and read the great excerpts now posted in the Database. You're sure to find something you like. :)

Now I'm off to a totally different kind of party. A 'Trunk-or-Treat' sponsored by our church. We park in the parkinglot and the kids, dressed in costumes, naturally, will go from car to car and collect their treats. Then they'll play games inside with the added bonus of prizes and other treats. Should be fun for all....until the kids all crash from the sugar high. LOL!

Monday, October 16, 2006

How much more can a girl take?

What I want to know is who was the first woman to 'want it all'? You know, career, home, marriage, etc?

Not that I'm knocking it -- no sir, not me. But these past few weeks I've kind of looked at those Donna Reed images and wondered...what was so bad about all that?

Cooking, cleaning, shopping...well, except for the cleaning part, I can handle that. But here I am -- wife, mother, home maker; home schooler (yes, I know, my choice); published writer. Trying to get it all done, get the kids where they need to be; keep the house respectably clean; feed them now and then... AAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

When do I find time to write? How do I get this bloody story DONE and wonderfully "perfect" before I send it out the door?????

Hell if I know. But then I look back at old Donna and realize... she was a figment of the imagination. I'm not sure that kind of life ever existed and, frankly, if it did, it probably wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Maybe my life isn't, either, somedays. But at least I do have a choice.

Hey, I like my life. I love my children and my dh. I'm happy with our home and that I have the opportunity to teach my children: because that's what I WANT to do. Um, most days. ;)

Most of all, I am really, really blessed to have my dream realized and to have become a published author.

How much more can I take? Huh. I guess the answer is: "One day at a time."

Have a great week!

Monday, September 18, 2006

A wager and motivation

I have a confession to make. I do not like to make cut-out cookies.

Shocking, no? I mean, how can any stay-at-home mother of five NOT enjoy making sugar cookies? Especially at Christmas time? You know, with all the little tree and reindeer and Santa shaped cutters; bright colored icing; red, green and silver sprinkles?

Well, I hate it! I absolutely would rather clean out the refrigerator or scrub the toilets than make those stupid things! **Btw, I have two little boys, if that tells you anything about the state of our toilets. (shudder)**

Into the stunned silence I will add that I have always felt this way about cut-out cookies. It doesn't matter what I do -- what recipe I follow or how much I flour/grease/or whatever my 'work surface' -- those cute little shapes always wind up as big, unrecognizable blobs. Yes, we'll just call them snowmen and get it over with. :P

So, knowing my aversion, my clever almost-sixteen-year-old made a deal with me the other day in one of my more desperate moments. Desperate, that is, to finish this paranormal story and get it to an editor who will hopefully love it and BUY said story... and maybe the three to four stories that will follow.

I made a deal. If this story isn't done by the first of November, I lose. The cost? You probably already guessed it. I have to make cut-out sugar cookies... with the three younger children (ages 6,8 & 11) ... three times before Christmas. :-O **Note: these three darlings cannot get through one-half hour of anything without arguing.***


I think I've sold myself down the river on this one. And I think my oldest has the makings of a great psychologist or lawyer.

I better get writing. Fast!

Monday, September 11, 2006

A new historical blog

Come on over and meet some friends of mine at Writer's Across Time. We're an eclectic group of historical writers, including romance and straight fiction from many different eras.

I think you'll enjoy all the variety -- from cowboys to the Victorian era; from the 1960s to post-Civil War Ireland. Come take a peek and let us know what you think.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Book SALE & Contest!!!!!

FABULOUS SALE & CONTEST AT MBAM!<>Lots of prizes this week - all you do is make a purchase to be entered!Winners will be chosen to win a variety of print books!ALSO, from now until September 30, 2006, every purchase will counttoward a drawing for an ebook reader! The winner may choose between aneBookwise, a Palm Tungsten E2, or an HP IPAQ rx1950!PLUS, you can enter the drawing without making a purchase by sending apostcard with your name, address, phone number, email address, and howyou heard about MBaM <> to thisaddress:My Bookstore and More2932 Ross Clark Circle #384Dothan AL 36301All postcards must be received by October 31st, winner will be announcedon November 1st, 2006Come see our SALE PRICES on ebooks! <>All Trade PRINT books are ON SALE too! 10% off cover price plus FREEShipping!Presented by Millennium Promotion Services, Inc. <>

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sexy books on sale!

Did that get your attention? We shall see. ;)

But what I really wanted to do was to congratulate my buddy AMELIA ELIAS on making the Top Ten best sellers list at My Bookstore & More for her brand new paranormal romance release: OUTCAST.

Check it out -- and all the other great books offered by Samhain Publishing, Ltd. They're having a sale on all titles AND a contest to give away an ebook reader. Go to the bookstore for more details.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My SECRETS are out!

SECRETS AND SHADOWS was released today!

Check it out:

Monday, August 21, 2006

Talking to myself again...

What a waste of time! Sitting here, week after week, talking to myself and wondering who the hell cares?

Not too many people, apparently.

But I 've come to figure that you either have a great *blogger* personality, or you don't. Having a hundred or so cyber friends helps as well. While I do have a few, they all have these strange things they have to take care of called *lives*.

No, not being bitter. Just recognizing the cold, hard truth when it comes to this particular form of self-expression. As far as promotional value goes -- I don't think it has much. Not now, anyway. Not for me. Okay, so maybe I am being just a little snarky tonight. I'm allowed, right?

So where would my time be better spent? Writing my novels, of course! Or helping my children with their school work -- the neverending saga of the home school mom. ;) Or...I could be reading someone else's book; watching television. But I'd probably fall asleep AND you know what they say about satellite T.V. is very true --- 500 channels and nothing on... NOTHING! That is amazing, in itself.

Stories are really coming at me hard now, and I need to be paying attention. How else will they get submitted and contracted...etc, etc? I need to get them finished! I am inspired to get the paranormal romance done, but the problem is that I've left them at a very tricky point. AS in: I don't know what the hell happens next! They are at point B and somehow I have to move them to point D. (excuse me while I bang my head on the keyboard)

Oy. Another long week ahead. But I will manage. The suspense will be released -- Tuesday, I hope, if MyBookStore and More is back up and running by then. I'm excited...I'm nervous...I'm like a yo-yo of emtions inside. Also feeling a little green.

Okay, so I'm rambling...trying to make myself feel better. As I've said before, maybe that IS the best purpose for this blog. Just gives me a chance to blow off some steam and put things in perspective.

The best perspective is just taking it one day, one book, one problem at a time. Yeah, that just might work.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Anthology NOW available!

Life expectancy...

You Will Die at Age 79

You're pretty average when it comes to how you live...
And how you'll die as well.

Personality Test

Your Personality Is

Idealist (NF)

You are a passionate, caring, and unique person.
You are good at expressing yourself and sharing your ideals.

You are the most compassionate of all types and connect with others easily.
Your heart tends to rule you. You can't make decisions without considering feelings.

You seek out other empathetic people to befriend.
Truth and authenticity matters in your friendships.

In love, you give everything you have to relationships. You fall in love easily.

At work, you crave personal expression and meaning in your career.

With others, you communicate well. You can spend all night talking with someone.

As far as your looks go, you've likely taken the time to develop your own personal style.

On weekends, you like to be with others. Charity work is also a favorite pastime of yours.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Your Aura is Blue

Spiritual and calm, you tend to live a quiet but enriching life.
You are very giving of yourself. And it's hard for you to let go of relationships.

The purpose of your life: showing love to other people

Famous blues include: Angelina Jolie, the Dali Lama, Oprah

Careers for you to try: Psychic, Peace Corps Volunteer, Counselor

No real comment

Well, I'm there. At MySpace. I'm not hugely impressed ... and yet it's kind of neat the amount of *friends* I've already accumulated while networking. One extremely surprising episode came about when I was 'reunited' with an old friend I haven't seen in at least 17 or 18 years. Talk about a small world!

Otherwise, the whole *friends* thing... I now have about 70 ... but it's a bit strong of a word, IMHO. I'm sure most of them, if not all, are very nice, pleasant folk. But friends? Not quite the word I'd choose. It would be nice to create some actual friendships from that list, however. I know it can be done in time.

I have a distinct feeling the whole environment was set up for us wall flowers -- those of us who maybe had a hard time fitting in during high school or college? Those of us who still have a hard time 'meeting and greeting' out there in the real world.

But, that's just my first impression. My quick impression of a world within which I feel totally alien. Yet, there are a lot of interesting people there. I may learn a thing or two. ;)

Will MySpace help sell more books? Huh. I really can't tell. I think the only thing that can sell books is word of mouth and a storyline that grabs the reader's attention -- and keeps it.

A great cover doesn't hurt, either.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My Space

Yes, I've followed the crowd. Which is honestly something I don't normally do, but I've decided to give My Space a try. We'll see if it generates any real interest and the kind of contacts I'd like to have.

Join me here:

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

And another whine...

I am officially feeling sorry for myself.

Oh, yes, this is so fun. Why do I do it? Human frailty, I suspect, or perhaps it's that hormonal crap again. Heaven knows.

But I'm sitting here tonight, melting under the weight of the humidity and wishing I could dive into a swimming pool -- and mourning what I cannot be.

I am not perfect. I cannot be loved by one and all. My novels are not on the top of anyone's Best Sellers' list. And the dream I once had of being published by some Big Name Print Pub seems a mile away.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cry me a river and burn the tear-stained t-shirt already!

But my philosophy is this: Whine if you want to (or need to) and then get the heck over it!

We all need to vent...we all need a moment or two to cry, wail and gnash our teeth in dismay. But if we stay in that corner a couple of unpleasant things are going to happen.

Everyone will eventually get sick of it and leave us alone. REALLY alone.

Nothing will ever get better 'cause we're not doing one damn thing about it.

I can say this -- to myself, mind you -- because if anyone else pointed it out I'd probably hurt them. I can say this here because the mic is on but nobody's home! So, I am, essentially, talking to myself. Kind of therapeutic, actually.

Huh, maybe this blogging stuff isn't a waste of time after all.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

You want fries with that?

I don't ask for much in life. Healthy children; a happy husband; enough income to make ends meet. You know -- the basics of clothing and shelter.

But I would really like at least six more hours in my day. For writing.

I have all these stories floating around -- some in the process of being written, others simple ghosts of ideas -- and I can't seem to find the time to get them down on 'paper'. The ones in process elude me when I do have a spare moment in the computer chair.

So, along with my nice, comfortable life, I want a little more. Don't we all? Oh, there are other things I'd like as well, but the writing issue is uppermost in my mind today. Because when I don't write, I'm not 100% happy. It's like I'm being cut off from my inspiration -- being kept from one of my main purposes -- my battery in need of a good charge and the power is off.

Let me tell you, an unhappy mama makes for an unhappy family. Just ask my kids.

Of course, if you can't get me those extra six hours, how about a babysitter and another computer?


Figures. Guess it's time .... shudder... prioritize. :-(

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Working out... food for thought.

I learned how to use the gym equipment today at my local YMCA. Yes, I am somewhat behind the times -- one of the last to jump into the fitness frenzy and actually start 'working out' at the gym.

Uh, we'll see how long it lasts. I am not an athletic person but I am determined to age as ungracefully as possible. Meaning: I'm going out kicking and screaming, gray hair colored, weight under control and abs, glutes and what-have-yous as firm as I can get them before gravity takes over and it all starts to sag.

However, as I wandered around the fitness center today and tried out the machines, my imagination kicked into overdrive. Oh, great. Not again!

I have a love/hate relationship with this thought process. Yes, I can always use good material for new stories. No, I do NOT need a new story right now. But muses being fickel, difficult little sprites who rather enjoy making writers/painters/artists pull their hair out by the roots -- a new story is exactly what began to simmer in my brain.

Maybe not completely new. But I think I have a new twist to one I've already begun. A new dimension to both plot and characters. Yes, it just might work.

And if I keep working on my form, maybe the rest of the story will fall into place as easily. I guess this means I'm stuck working out for while. Oy.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My cover!

Here's my baby! Isn't it gorgeous? (GGG)

Pats on the back

I like reviews. Okay, so I haven't gotten a *bad* one yet, but I love those little pats on the back. I revel in those comments that tell me -- YES, this story made sense; NO, I didn't figure out the secrets by page fifty; YES, your hero is as yummy as you think he is AND your heroine is not too stupid to live. ;)

Logic dictates that someday I will get a bad review: one full of snark and criticism -- or one that is just a little luke warm in response. I'm sure I'll mope about it a bit, but I'll pick myself up and put that one aside. Then on to the next story. Because I realize everyone will not adore my stories, and that's really okay. How boring would the world be if we all liked the same things? And how much more difficult would it be to get published, if that were true?

Let's not even think about that.

***By the way, check out my new Fallen Angels reviews for Secrets and Shadows & Romancing Jenny.... HERE.***

Thursday, June 22, 2006

First Pops' Girls review

Learning to Live received its first review -- earning the Top Pick Award at Romance Reader at Heart! Read the entire review HERE.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dancing on the ceiling!

I finally get to announce this:

"The Historical that Wouldn't Die".... LIVES! And has found a home at Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Set in 1870 on the Western Coast of Ireland, Alaina's Promise was my first completed novel. It's undergone serious revisions since that time...a time when I had no idea what 'point of view' or 'headhopping' meant. My plotting left much to be desired, as well.

But the story has been streamlined, made more coherent and a little more exciting. Apparently my editor approved. :)

With a tentative release date of January 30th, this coming year is shaping up to be another good one.

Friday, June 16, 2006

New release -- it's a comedy!

Learning to Live is now available as a download and trade paperback! I'm excited to see my newest 'baby' make its way into the world. ;)

If you like romantic comedy with a little bit of sex appeal, then you'll love Learning to Live & the other installments of our Blue Plate Special: Pops' Girls series.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Quirks R Us

I have a quirk.

"Oh, really?" Go ahead and laugh. You know you want to.

I write, therefore I have to be a bit 'off', don't you think? Maybe. At least I have to be a bit different from most people. Most people do NOT make up stories in their heads. Took me years to realize this and the phenomenon still fascinates me.

My particular quirk -- at least the one I'm willing to divulge in a public forum -- is this:
I cannot write an unnamed story.

Nope. Can't do it. I've tried and failed.

I have to have a title or the words don't come. Nothing. It's as if the title cements the story; sets the tone; directs or defines the plot. The title seems to bring it to life like the lightning bolt that jolted Dr. Frankenstein's monster off the table and into our nightmares.

If I have a title, the rest can be as vague as a character's name and a general premise. Sometimes the title leads me to the rest as if it were a guidepost. Strange, huh? I don't know if anyone else writes this way and I'm honestly afraid to ask. But it works for me. I suppose nothing else really matters.

Current titles in the works or on my to-do list:

Table for Two (rom com)

Chameleon (paranormal rom suspense)

Autumn of the Armada (historical)

Small Town Junk (contemp suspense)

Phone Tag (rom com w/paranormal elements)

A Perfect Fit (rom com)

I love titles that do double duty -- ones with hidden or multiple meanings. But I won't tell you which ones fit that billing. You'll just have to read the stories to find out for yourself. ;)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Join our Reader Loops!

If you like to talk about good romance and want to keep up-to-date on two up-and-coming e-publishers, then join our reader loops:

Moonlit Romance publishes romance with a little steam from PG to soft R; except for the upcoming imprint, Moonlit Madness which will present the hotter side of love. Click on the logo to join in the fun and learn more.

By Grace Publications is a publisher of both Inspirational and Sweet romance. Click on the logo to join with our authors, editors and publisher in discussing romance presented the old-fashioned way.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The reviews roll in...

My first Samhain book, Secrets and Shadows, is due out August 22nd, but the reviews are coming in already. So far, they're really great! :)

You can read the one at Euro Reviews here:

(Their reviewer, Chantay, gave the story 4.5 flags and had some very nice comments to add.)

The other review from Coffee Time Romance wont' be posted in full until August. But here's a little peek at what their reviewer, Charissa, had to say:

"Fraught with lushly written twists and turns, this story is a fantastic read. The author has created two characters with strength and vulnerabilities that endear, and the danger that lurks around every corner leaves you guessing right up to the very end. The smoldering sexual tensions that grow page by page are the crowning touch." (Rating: 4 cups)

Am I psyched? Oh, yeah! These reviews and the comments made show me that I've done my job very well. What more can a writer ask for?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Chat tonight!

I'll be chatting tonight from 9-10 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, in the chatroom at Moonlit Romance. Pop on in and *meet* me and other Moonlit authors, editors and our wonderful publisher -- you may even win a prize! :)

We'll be discussing my upcoming release: Learning to Live, the third installment in the Blue Plate Special: Pops' Girls series.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Yes! Another one is done and out the cyber-door!

Oh, yes, I was about an hour late on my deadline--but hopefully no one will notice. If they do, well, I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Am I satisfied with the story? Yes and no. It didn't exactly take the turns I thought it might. It didn't wind up the sexy read I might have expected...although there are moments of major tension.

I have a hard time judging here, because this one was so hard to write! And I'm not 100% sure why. Maybe me heart wasn't in it? Maybe it was circumstances in real life? I have no idea. But I did it -- and it's cute, a little romantic, hopefully a little funny now and then. If not, there's always editing. ;)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Irony, anyone?

I've been playing around with promotional items and came up with a great idea -- why not print out my very pretty banner (made by fellow Samhellion, Rene Lyons) as a bookmark?

It looks good! Perfect size. Simple; to the point; pretty.

And then it hit me. A writer whose mainly pubished in e-books...making bookmarks? Huh. Slightly ironic, don't you think?

Then again, all my titles thus far are or will be available in Print on Demand form. AND if someone should use my little bookmark in some other book...they'll have my name and website addy right there with them. As a gentle reminder, perhaps. So, yeah, this could work.

If not, hey, it gives me something to do while I'm waiting for the decision on that never-ending-but-it-did (Thank God) historical.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Romance Studio

Check it out! I'm in the spotlight--along with my book and my dd's cat ;) -- at The Romance Studio. They have it up a little early, but I'm not complaining. :)

Go back tot he main page and you'll see three other Moonlit Romance authors are being featured as well: Nell Dixon and the writing team of Joann Baker and Patricia Mason.

It's a Moonlit kind of month this June. (GGG)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bit by bit

I'm getting there. If you'll notice the word count meters to the side of my blog, I'm about 70% done with my short story, Accidentally in Love. Which is great, except that I'm racing a June 1st deadline. :(

Oh, I'll make it--thank goodness tomorrow is a clear and 'easy' day as far as errands and such go. I'll be commandeering the computer ASAP and my butt will likely be sore from sitting in this chair all day. But it will get finished ON TIME! I love meeting deadlines--it's one of the few moments in my life where I'm actually early or on schedule. Just ask my dh--I tend to be late for everything else.

Well, hey, I was born early and have been making up for it ever since. ;)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Where's the funny?

I have a deadline -- June 1st. The project is a short story to be published in a Blue Plate Special Anthology this August.

My problem? My story is supposed to be funny and my funny bone seems to be a bit fractured at the moment. Life has -- once again -- gotten in the way. Nothing really serious has happened. Nothing that can't be fixed or work itself out eventually. But when I need to put two people together and make the reader laugh... oy! The writing has been like pulling teeth these past two weeks. Meaning: I've had to fight for every word, every sentence, every laugh.

But I haven't given up. I'm almost there and I've started seeing the humor in the fictional situation -- well, okay, the humor that will be there once I start editing.

So I've discovered the main thing a writer needs is perseverance...and the willingness to fall flat on your butt now and then. If you can do that and still 'find the funny', you've got writing (and life) in the bag.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Secrets and Shadows is now on the COMING SOON page at Samhain! I know it's still three months away, but I'm excited. :)

Check it out!

Photo posted

Finally took the plunge and posted my photo on my website. Wished I could put up a super model or at least one of my high school pics, but I figured too many people would call me on it. ;)

Friday, May 12, 2006

And another one...

Wow! Moonlit Romance has another best seller at Fictionwise -- currently at #20, The Cinderella Substitute by Nell Dixon. I'm so excited for her and for the company as a whole. Can't wait to see how the Blue Plate Special series does...keeping my fingers crossed that we hold the trend. ;)

Quick Review -- The Reluctant Rancher

I bought and read The Reluctant Rancher yesterday. I'm very impressed! If you've been looking for a sweet romance with a big and beautiful heroine, this is the book for you!

The characters are wonderful; their insecurities so believable; and the sexual tension is just right. :) Patricia Mason and Joann Baker are a great writing team! Can't wait to read their next novel.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Another best seller!

Moonlit Romance has another book on the Best Sellers list at Fictionwise! Congrats to Patty and Joann! It's well deserved. :)

Check out the Moonlit Web Journal for more info.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Done and out...

Well, the never-ending historical has done just that. It ended. I finished late last week and sent it to my editor that very night -- oh the marvels of e-mail! ;)

While she did tell me she got the submission and "loves" the premise and the hero's name, so far I don't have any idea whether she'll buy or pass. Of course, I'm hoping for a buy. I love working with this editor and this particular publisher is going places. But most of all, I'll be happy to find my story a good home. If not, at least I did what every good writer does. I gave it my best and didn't give up. And yes, I do have another option to pursue should she decide the story isn't what they're looking for.

The Samhain Author List chat was wonderful, btw. I enjoyed every bit of it -- especially the great comments regarding my excerpts. (GGG) If you'd like to read some samples of my writing, check my website on the EXCERPTS page. Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Samhellions out in force...

Join us for the Samhain Author List Day on Saturday, May 6th, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., EST. Samhain authors -- two different writers each hour -- will be chatting, sharing excerpts and announcing contests. All you have to do to share in the fun is to join the Samhain Cafe loop.

I'll be there from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. with author Elisa Adams. Hope to *see* you there!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Time to gloat!

Just found out -- thanks to my wonderful editor -- that Romancing Jenny has been nominated in the Best Novella category for the 2005 Golden Rose!

This is a first for me and I'm very excited!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Comedy or drama?

I write different types of romance. Sweet and sensual -- in other words, no sex to something a little spicier.

I also write a bit of historical, quite a lot of mystery/suspense, and paranormal. Then there are my funny stories. Okay, I hope they're funny. I do manage to make some people laugh, anyway. ;)

I have found that while I enjoy writing all types of romance, rom com is in some ways the easiest. I say that because with a comedy your Hero and heroine don't have to be almost perfect but slightly flawed. They can be completely opposite as long as they're likable. But to me, the characters are more *real*. They seem to be people that could live next door or in the next town. My humorous characters get some of their best lines straight from real-life -- my life. They live through the same kinds of problems and insecurities as the rest of us. No where in comic romance do your characters have to be 'larger than life'.

Real. Likable. The boy-next-door; the nerd at the office; the sassy waitress at the local coffee shop; the shy girl behind the perfume counter. They don't have to be spies or millionares or have a perfect voice, body, smile... or anything! So in that way, they are so much easier to create and write. And they can also be a lot more fun.

Yeah, the hard part is keeping it funny for the long haul. That's where I really give credit to other writers who 'keep it funny' in book after book after book. Jennifer Cruise is the first that comes to mind. Even her blog and website make me LOL!

To write romantic comedy you need: a sense of humor; some writing skills; a bunch of real and likable characters; and a lot of time to get it down and get it right. Hey, I've got most of that covered -- plus a few plots spinning in my head.

When the historical is done and out the door, then I'll take up one of those rom coms and finish it up. My editor and publisher will be happy, as will I. It's hard to have a bad day when you're looking for the humor in it all.

Dive into a romantic comedy soon. Sometimes the angst gets to be a bit much, don't you think? We all need a good laugh ... and a little love ... and a Happily Ever After, now and then. :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Revisionist blues

I hate to let go of things. Particularly when the thing in question took a hell of a lot of work, time, and tears. Hence my revival of the manuscript I lovingly call: The Historical that Will Not Die.

If you're a writer, then you understand how much your writing grows and changes from that first story to the current wip. So you wind up finding things in older stories that can make you cringe. If it's bad enough, you even throw in the towel and bury the story for all eternity. That is if you don't just delete the file.

I have a hard time with deleting. It almost feels like I'm killing off an old friend. So my computer files are filled with stories I haven't gotten back to -- and for my own sake, hopefully never will. Why? Because I've found it's a heck of a lot easier to start from scratch than to pick something apart and try to make it work. Have you ever remodeled a house? We have. Building from the ground up is easier. Trust me.

However, we don't always have the luxury to build from the basement up and those months of work banging out a story feel like a loss if it never flies.

So, I'm determined to give my first "baby" one or two more shots at being seen. She hardly resembles the ms she once was. She's lost about 40k of words that really were not necessary--I'm cringing, btw, to know a real editor once read this part. Yet, the structure is sound, the writing mostly passable and fixable, the characters are dear to my heart. Will it sell? Heck if I know. But I promised myself that I'll set it aside if plans F & G fall through. Really. I will. Scouts honor.

Okay, I might have to reuse the hero's name for another character down the road (I love, love, love the name) ... but I will move on to something else. Something newer. Something with a little more pizzazz. ;) And I have just the thing ... right there in my documents list. (GG)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Holiday wishes

Happy Easter and Passover to all those who celebrate!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Come chat with us!

We'll be chatting at Coffeetime Romance tonight, April 11th, at 9 p.m. EDT. The subject of the evening will be the upcoming romantic comedy series, Blue Plate Special: Pops' Girls, to be released consecutively in April, May and June by Moonlit Romance.

Come join Laura Hamby, Shara Jones and me as we talk about the books we've been working on together over the past year. A whole year!? Wow, where has the time gone?

We'll be giving away prizes and sharing excerpts and blurbs -- and knowing my writing buddies, it should be a fun chat.

See you there!

And I promise not to sneeze on anyone. ;)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Controlled substances??

I have a cold. No big deal, really, just something settled in my head and now I'm miserable. But I don't need a doctor -- not yet. I'll just take some over-the-counter stuff and keep up the Vitamin-C until I feel better.

Oh, but if you go to buy cold meds anytime soon -- don't forget a photo I.D.

HUH? Yep, in case you're like me and have been living in a fog for the past months -- you now need a photo I.D. to buy Sudafed and other similar medications. Apparently, some very enterprising people have figured out how to make meth amphetamines out of our once every-day, ordinary cold products.

This shows me three things:
1. I've been suffering from a tunnel vision of sorts lately -- not knowing or really caring what's going on around me;
2. The world is getting out-of-control-weird if people have to find such bizarre ways to get high and/or make money; AND
3. I really need to keep up-to-date for professional purposes.

Professionally, I like to write contemporary and often suspense. One of my next novels is a sequel to my Summer release, Secrets and Shadows. The new story is tentatively titled, Small Town Junk, and involves a gang of drug dealers in the mountain town of Castle's Grove, PA. (A fictional burg which only exists in my imagination.)

Now I'm wondering... well, maybe the dealers don't have to have big city connections to heroin, maybe I can just outfit them with a chem lab and a hot case of Sudafed Cold and Flu? Huh. This is definitely something I'll have to research.

But I admit -- I feel a little uneasy about the strange twists and turns our society is going through. As a mom, it worries me that drugs are such an 'easy' thing to get hold of these days. The new trends in getting high give me moments of real dread as I think about my own children being faced with these choices. And it kind of ticks me off that I have to show I.D. & sign something in order to buy cold medicine!

When did any of us old folks ever dream that our cold meds would be dubbed as controlled substances? It boggles the mind ... and sets the imagination on a new flight. But wherever this might lead any future stories, at least I know my romance H/h will have a happy ending. All I have to do is make sure I have the right villain for the piece.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Good news

Two of my writing friends have great news to share.

Laura Hamby's latest release, It's all Greek to Me, is a best seller at! Drop by her blog and tell her congrats. She'll read it soon enough -- once she comes down off the ceiling. ;)

Sela Carsen is also floating a bit these days. She's sold her fantastic and very funny paranormal romance to Samhain Publishing, Ltd.!

I am so proud of my former critique group buddies! We're all still heading in the right direction. :)

Lesson learned: Don't give up the dream -- but don't be afraid to change your plans along the way.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The cost of success

It's kind of amazing that when I first started writing, I really had little thought to getting published. Then when I decided to give it a whirl, I thought -- oh, it won't be too hard, I'm good.

Yes, I hear you snickering out there. Stop that.

Reality landed square on my shoulders in the the form of my first rejection letter. At the time, I thought it was a sign of failure -- now I know it's a badge of honor in my profession. Very few professions consider you 'one of us' when you fail, btw. That just shows what a strange lot we writers are by nature.

Now I have success. Not exactly as I envisioned it five years ago when I started this ride, but success all the same. And I'm finding the work has just begun. So has the price.

Promotional items; advertisement; websites --- all of these cost money and/or time. While I do have a do-it-yourself freebie website at the moment, I know the time will come when it won't be enough. I'll want something 'prettier', more professional looking. Whatever that may mean.

So how do I explain to my oh-so-supportive dh that I need to invest money where I've made very little? Well, he's a smart man. He'll be able to see the wisdom in that eventually. It's just getting up the nerve to approach the subject that's the problem.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Author page

I now have an Author Page up at Samhain Publishing, Ltd.! It looks so nice -- I love the font and colors on the site are gorgeous. Cannot wait until my cover art is ready! I'm expecting great things from their artist, Scott Carpenter. :)

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Chat tomorrow!

We're holding a chat tomorrow, Monday, March 20th, at Moonlit Romance to celebrate the release of Nell Dixon's book, The Cinderella Substitute.

Join us from 4-5 p.m. EST, and chat with Nell and other Moonlit authors.

See you there!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

In my hands

I ordered a copy of By Grace Publishing's Short and Sweet Anthology (2005). It arrived yesterday. My first published story ... in my hands ... pretty candy cover and all. :)

Needless to say, I was very excited. There's just something about holding your book in your hands. Don't get me wrong, eBooks are wonderful and probably will be the thing of the future. I'm even giving serious thought to investing in an eBook reader. But I'll probably always be a paperback kind of girl. When that baby is brought to three-dimensional life, well, it's just a thrill beyond words.

So... my first baby has arrived. She's lovely and came with friends in tow. ;) Can't wait to read those other stories now.

By the way, due to upcoming deadlines, revisions, etc, I'll just be blogging once a week unless something exciting happens, I have a slow day, or need an excuse to procrastinate. ;)

Have a good week and read a good book ... or two. :)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pain and suffering

My head hurts. No, not a little. Yes, I've taken something. Gotten it down to a dull roar, but I can feel the pain lurking.

And it leaves me to wonder -- and ramble, as I tend to do when my head aches -- how do people live with chronic pain? How can you possibly get used to something like this? But I know some people do. They are truly heroic.

The thing about headaches -- and I woke up with this one, so it could be anything from stress to migraine -- is that they make it difficult to think coherently. And to write. Except that as I lay there this morning, wanting to die, a thought did manifest in my throbbing skull. This is how my heroine in my next paranormal can get together with the hero, a healer. Working title: The Healer's Touch

So, one headache = one miserable day BUT with one good plot idea attached. Hey, I'll take it... and a couple more aspirin, please.

(Thank heavens for spell check!)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Writing quotes

Yes, I'm out of ideas today. But here are some quotes that caught my eye.

Everything that doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. And later on you can use it in some story. ~~Tapani Bagge

When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand. ~~Raymond Chandler

When in doubt, blow something up. ~~J. Michael Straczynski

The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live long yet live very little. ~~Michel de Montaigne

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wanted: One Muse

One who will not argue or leave
his/her writer at the slightest whim.
Must love dark chocolate, Gerard Butler,
country music and all things Irish.
Ability to converse in both contemporary and
historical terms a plus.
Must be willing to dabble in both paranormal
and suspenseful elements.
Apply within.
Urgent ... I have deadlines to meet.

Anyone have an extra muse sitting about? Maybe one you don't get along with?

Mine has flown the coup. And it's all because I wouldn't agree to start another story -- a historical showing my version of what happened to a man very much like the infamous Phantom of the Opera. Yes, it's a romance. Somedays I wish I had never seen that darn movie.

But I have too many things going at the moment. First round edits for my June Moonlit Romance title, Learning to Live; final rewrite and polish on my Irish historical, Alaina's Promise (so I can inflict... uh, submit it to my wonderful editor); another short romantic comedy for By Grace, Table for Two; a short story to go with the Blue Plate Special anthology, as yet untitled; and ... the grandaddy of them all ... my monster paranormal romantic suspense (the first of a series), Chameleon.

That doesn't even cover the starts and stops waiting patiently in my computer files -- some I will finish eventually (especially my Lakota hero, yum), others will never make it past the few pages I've managed. And Ms. Muse wants me to start another story?!?! Ain't gonna happen.

No no no no no no no!!!!!!!!!


Okay. Maybe just one page.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A very long weekend

Why did this weekend seem longer than others?

Good question. I think the answer lies in the fact that I have been unable to write. Okay, so that's not quite accurate. Let's say: "I've been unable to write anything that isn't crap."

There. Much better.

Why do I go through this stage periodically? Not sure. It could be that the stress of life interferes. It could be that I'm putting too much pressure on myself to get certain projects done. Or it could just be that I'm destined to produce garbage for a time. But, this too shall pass. I know it will -- it always does. Just have to keep writing something, anything and hope the good words come sooner rather than later.

However, a spot of good news made it down the grapevine today: Moonlit Romance's webjournal received a Journal of the Week award! I'm very happy for everyone involved. And while I did take part, I know the real kudos go to our fearless leaders: Sheila Holloway (publisher), Laura Hamby (editor/author) and Shara Jones (publicist/author), for all the hard work they put into making this project an organized, fun and gorgeous endeavor.

Congrats, all!

Stop by and tell everyone "Hi!" while you're blog hopping. ;)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Reaffirming the gift

Writing is a gift. Not everyone can do it and do it well. Not everyone thinks like a writer. Believe it or not, most people do not have imaginary people playing out scenes in their minds. Don't call the men in white coats. I'm perfectly normal. Really.

I finished my first round edits for Secrets and Shadows yesterday. Two whole weeks before my scheduled deadline. In any profession, beating the deadline is a really good thing. For me this meant two things: the book was in great shape and needed little done; & my faith in that writing gift has been reaffirmed.

Writers are frequently an insecure lot. So it helps to have someone pat you on the back and point out how good your work really is. My editor is wonderful. Very helpful and professional -- and she likes my writing. Yes, that does help or she wouldn't have bought the story, right? But she also mentioned that she enjoys the way I write love scenes.


What a relief! Because I have to say love scenes are among the most difficult aspects for me as a romance writer. I don't want it to sound like purple prose ... I don't want it to be a step-by-step instruction guide as in Tab A goes into Slot B (snicker) ... and I want to keep it in harmony with the personalities of the hero and heroine.

Some writers are great with love scenes, others not as good. One who I think is almost perfect is Heather Graham. Yes, I want to write like her when I grow up. So I find myself thinking about just what makes her scenes so wonderful -- besides her basic gift with words. Then I try to use that same sort of approach in my stories. I concentrate on sight, sound, scent, touch and emotion. Whatever applies. I don't worry as much about what goes where -- that'll work itself out -- and the scene just flows from there.

Since I write both sweet and sensual stories, I enjoy both ends of the spectrum. The key element is attraction which develops into something deeper. Depending on which story I'm writing (and for which publisher) I know just what type of language I can use to show this couple falling in love.

One of my publishers is strictly for sweet stories. Another is PG to soft R -- the latter meaning no detailed action 'below the waist', to put it in simple terms. ;) My third publisher is looking for just about everything -- as long as it's well-written. It's by these guidelines -- and my personal comfort level -- that I work.

Overall, emotion is the key. That and really knowing your characters. If you rely on those two things, you should have a good start.

I think I've known for a while that I'm getting good at this stuff. And now that my gift has been reaffirmed in the kindest of ways, it gives me the little push I've been needing to jump over this latest writer's block.

Speaking of characters -- there are a couple that need my attention.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Come and join us...

By the way, you can join me and some of my writing buddies at a live chat this coming week.
Here's the official announcement:

Moonlit Romance is excited to announce we'll be having our first monthly chat on Monday, March 6 at 9 p.m. US Eastern Standard Time. Come chat with the Moonlit authors, editors and publisher! Come join us for fun, games and contests on the first Monday of every month for our Monthly Monday Moonlit Chats. The entrance to our chatroom is on the main page at the Moonlit Romance website.

And, also stop by on Monday, March 20th, to celebrate the release of The Cinderella Substitute by Nell Dixon. We'll be chatting 4 p.m to 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time at the Moonlit Romance website chatroom.

Hope to see you there!

Intergalactic Dating?

Read a very interesting article in an old Popular Science (June 2005) I found in the house. All about sending messages to outer space -- anything from trying to give the Earth away, to selling ugly sofas and finding the perfect *mate*.

While at first I LOL at the weirdness of it all, the writer in me soon took over and sped off in a different direction. What is someone jokingly sent a lonely hearts ad out into the middle of the Milky Way --- and got a response? In person? That could be interesting ... and funny.

Another story idea? Heaven forbid! It's not like I don't have enough of those already. My list is about ten titles long, at the moment. But the creative juices are flowing. Of course, I'm sure it's already been done somewhere ... by someone. If not...

Okay, okay. I'll put it on my list of Things to Write. It may get done before someone actually gets a response.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mythical Creatures

Santa Claus does a great job at our house every year. The kids are always happy. He seems to know exactly what they want -- or manages to get them just what they like, even if it wasn't on the list.

The Easter Bunny is good, too. Smart bunny -- always bringing nice little plushies and wonderful candy in bright colored buckets we leave sitting out. Even leaves *extra* behind on occasion.

But I have a bone to pick with one particular mythical creature. The Tooth Fairy. Who the heck thought up this one, anyway?

She is totally incompetent. Inept. Lazy. The Tooth Fairy almost always manages to forget those precious little baby teeth laying unprotected beneath the pillow. She almost always manages to be a day late and quarter short. For instance: The Baby (as he will be known for the rest of eternity, poor thing) lost another tooth earlier this week. And he waited patiently all week for that stupid fairy to visit.

Nothing. Luckily big brother saw the problem and came to the rescue this morning. The Baby is now the proud owner of two more quarters and another gap in his teeth. Very cute when you're six, btw.

The Tooth Fairy, on the other hand, is about to get demoted to plaque scraper.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Getting stronger sux

What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger.

I like and dislike that quote (or the paraphrased version of it) all at once. Yes, if I don't die, these experiences will likely strengthen me somehow. Kind of like making lemonade if life gives you lemons.

But sometimes ... just sometimes ... I feel like shouting, "Where the he**'s the sugar?!"

Some of my friends are going through difficult times. One of my closest friends faced the death of her father this past weekend. I didn't know until tonight. And there's not a whole lot I can do from almost the opposite end of the country.

E-cards seem shallow in these cases. E-mail hugs cannot replace the real thing. We live in a world where we are so close, so connected because of this marvelous technology --- and yet at times it seems rather cold ... impersonal ... useless.

Give somebody you care about a real hug today while I collect the lemons and try to make something good to drink. Don't worry. I'll share.


Taking chances

I have been informed by my very nice editor -- who apparently read this blog, heh -- that the reason there is so little to do, is because I sent in a very clean manuscript.

See? All those months of rewrites, revisions, hair-tearing and nail-biting did pay off! Can't tell you how glad I am that I took a chance and sent that story out one last time. Whew!

See, it was written (and revised) for category length ... but they finally decided to pass. If you haven't noticed, there aren't too many category pubs out there these days. And while it would take a major overhaul to make it long enough for a Single Title publisher, it was just the right size for this new e-pub everyone's been talking about. (Samhain Publishing, Ltd. -- check out my links.)

Took a chance. Said a prayer. Sent it out.... sent it out again with the synopsis attached, this time. Duh! And a couple of days later I got the e-mail version of The Call. Much screaming of joy ensued, followed by children asking what on earth was wrong with mom. (I love scaring the children.) And now I await the I-know-it-will-be-gorgeous book cover.

Those first round edits? Oh, I'll be done rather quickly. Before the deadline, I'm pretty sure.

Now I need to finish that other book.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

This is too easy ...

I'm one of those people who likes to worry. Well, I don't like it, exactly. But I tend to do so all the same.

After I logged out yesterday, I checked my email one last time. There were my edits! Yay! So the first opportunity I had, I opened up that document and got started. I have to admit, this is a lot easier than I thought it might be.

Yeah, I'm wondering now ... is this a good thing or am I doing something wrong? Is there something here that I'm just not *getting*? :
But then again, this novel has undergone a lot of revision in the past. Maybe this means I did such a great job the first time -- though not great enough for a certain publisher, whom I won't name -- that it really doesn't need much work. Hmmmmm.....

Hey, you know what? Think I'll take the half-full glass I'm being offered and run with it. I'm sure I'll have plenty of hair-pulling revision opportunities sometime down the road.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Current list

I'm not only waiting ... I'm procrastinating. And since Nell tagged me ... I have her to blame. ;)

Current clothing - Blue jeans (my standard); rust-colored long sleeve pullover; white socks and sneakers.

Current hair - Just washed and styled -- yay -- but in need of color and a trim.

Current mood - Annoyed that I still cannot seem to write one good sentence.

Current refreshment - Diet Vanilla Pepsi

Current annoyance - That I cannot write one good sentence. Have I mentioned this already?

Current avoidance - Laundry; cleaning anything; teaching; writing.

Current Smell - Vanilla Sugar body mist.

Current thing you ought to be doing - Getting dinner started.

Current things on the wall - Nothing. Dull white walls -- except for youngest child's artistic expressions which I should have erased months ago.

Current im - No one at the moment ---- they all seem to have lives. Go figure.

Current jewllery - plain gold wedding band

Current book - Recently finished Unleash the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Haven't started another. Yes, shocking, I know.

Current worry - Getting it all done -- writing, cleaning, promotional stuff, teaching -- and that my dh didn't get any sleep though he has to work tonight.

Current celebrity - Gerard Butler

Current obsession - Phantom of the Opera and how I'd write the Phantom a happy ending of his own.

Current love - My dh

Current longing - To finish revising my historical romance so I can submit it to my editor.

Current diappointment - That my oldest son still struggles with his reading.

Current lyric in my head - No lyrics, but Celtic Echoes CD playing for 'mood' purposes: song Flight of the Wild Geese.

Current favourite book - Desire After Dark, by Amanda Ashley

Current favourite movie - Time Line; Flightplan; Pride and Prejudice

Current wish - That I'll be able to finish my paranormal romance and sell it to a print pub.

Current desktop picture - Yellow tulips against a vivid blue sky. I want Spring!

Current plans for tonight/weekend - Take my children to a church activity; attend church; help Laura by reading & commenting on her upcoming novella, Watercolor Memories; write.

I tag Laura and Shara.