Saturday, December 26, 2009

We've come a long way, baby....?

I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Well, as much as I've actually matured, shall we say? ;)

While I'm all for 'equal pay for equal work' and letting men and women choose their occupations, etc, there's still something that bugs me. Let me say, from the outset, that I do NOT consider myself a feminist. I'm a woman. A wife. A mother -- often that job is first and foremost when it comes to my time and attention. I'm also a friend. A writer. A hard worker. And a dreamer.

I believe men and women are equally important in this world and in the grand scheme of things. I do not, however, believe that we are equal in everything. Men and women are inherently different in many ways -- mentally, emotionally and physically.

Not all women are the same, either. Some are nurturers at heart... but not all women carry that trait. Some men are heroic warriors, yet not all are good on the battlefront. It doesn't make them any less womanly or manly. It makes us unique individuals, as intended.

I'm proud of who I am. I also know, however, that I have a long way to go before I become everything I'm capable of being. What worries me, however, is the direction many women of the coming generation seem to be going.

I heard all about the 60s and 'free love' ... sorry, folks, but nothing, NOTHING on this earth is free. I also heard about being liberated and that if it was okay for men to have multiple sex partners -- than, hell yes! It must be okay for the women, as well.

I personally, am very old-fashioned when it comes to sexuality. I am also very conservative when it comes to relationships. But that's beside the point. My questions to women -- especially the younger women today -- are these:

When did become okay to exploit your body for all the world to see? Is this really what the women of the liberation movement fought for? To see their daughters or granddaughters half-naked and performing for any man who cares to look? Is this truly liberation and freedom ... or are women still allowing themselves to be used?

In my most humble opinion, this is not the way to garner true respect. This is not the way to gain liberation or freedom, for you are simply becoming a thing to be drooled over; lusted after; joked about. Sure, you have their attention, but for how long?

I have three daughters and two sons -- I don't want any of them to witness some of the displays of skin and sex that I've seen recently. Someone posted a photo of a doll, in a bikini, attached to the antenna of a truck like a pole-dancer. What does this tell anyone who sees it? Well, it tells me that the person in that vehicle doesn't respect women. They are seen as things, not human beings with minds and feelings.

Is that what young woman of today really want? Attention at all costs? Lust instead of love? Leering instead of respect?

You can be beautiful, ladies, without showing every inch of skin possible. You can be sexy without being crude and cheap. You can have respect from others -- if you show respect for yourselves.

I only hope more young woman start to care.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas lists...

I now know why Santa checks his list twice. I've had to check mine at least ten times to remember what I've bought for who!

But I wanted to share my other list with you this year. My list of things I love about Christmas:

1. The reminder of all the blessings I've been given in my life, especially the blessing of my faith. Life would be unbearable without it.

2. Christmas music -- there are so many lovely carols and songs. They always brighten my mood.

3. Christmas lights -- those are my favorite decorations. I love lights -- the colors, the twinkling, the way they brighten the dark winter nights.

4. Toy stores -- I love the kind of store that sells a million cool things that you never, ever see on television. Unfortunately, those unique stores are few and far between these days.

5. Christmas cookies -- I'm a regular cookie monster. ;) But simple, cut-out sugar cookies are my fave after chocolate chip.

6. Good will -- I like how this season reminds us all to think of others and to actually DO something for them. Only wish we could all think like this year round.

7. The smells of Christmas, including cinnamon, pine trees, and gingerbread. Oh, and don't forget baking ham! Yum!

8. Christmas movies and specials. My favorites include: A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott; Scrooge with Albert Finney; A Christmas Story; A Charlie Brown Christmas; and You've Got Mail.

9. Fudge... it's one of the few times a year that we make homemade fudge. Which is probably a good thing. ;)

& 10. My favorite thing about Christmas... the looks on the faces of my children when they see the tree Christmas morning and while they open their presents. I revel in the pure joy I see in their smiles... in their eyes.

I hope each of you finds something to rejoice in this holiday season. Be happy, be loving, be blessed.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fired up...again

Many authors across the web are participating in what is termed NaNoWri ... National Novel Writing Month. The goal: to write 50k -- the size of a small book or the start of a longer one -- in one month.

If you've ever written a novel, you can probably understand why some of us look at that goal and laugh nervously. Writing is not for sissies. Pushing yourself to write 50k in one month is somewhat masochistic. You can either fly or crash and burn. Hopefully most will at least wind up somewhere in between.

While I haven't been officially participating, seeing others post their goals and accomplishments has given me an incentive I've sorely needed to get seriously writing again. To treat it as a job, instead of a hobby seems to be the most important step for me, personally.

No, my word count isn't impressive, but my motivation is still strong. Just have to get into the groove with my new part-time job, and wait for myself and the family to recover from the recent bout of illness that's knocked us all on our butts.

The other bit of motivation I've had recently has been the wonderful review DREAM WALK received from Romantic Times magazine. I'm pleased to say that the novel was rated with 4 Stars by the reviewer. Here's a bit of her praise:

"Readers looking for a great new paranormal series need look no further. Allison
opens up a whole new world with her sensational Sentinels series." —Gail Pruszkowski

Yay! This is my first RT review and I'm hoping it will encourage readers to pick up a copy and give The Sentinels a chance. Besides, it's just so wonderful when someone appreciates what you've created. This alone fires me up to finish that second book. Hang on folks, it's coming!

So what helps motivate you when you've lost some of your spark?

Friday, November 06, 2009

A dose of reality

What I can possibly say when most of us are still reeling and/or shaking our heads regarding the news this week? As of this morning, we've uncovered one 'new' serial killer -- not the anti-hero, Dexter type, I'm sad to say; a bizarre kidnapping plot; and have faced the fact that not even secure facilities are secure... and sometimes the craziest ones among us might be the ones trying to heal our pain. :\ My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the horrors in both Ohio and at Fort Hood.

Yes, as you can probably deduce, I've had a bit too much reality this week. It reminds me not only why I don't enjoy watching the news, but why we're becoming so isolated from one another even as we spend hours on the Internet. Stranger danger has never had a more provocative meaning.

Reality is, however, something we have to face. Meet head-on at times. Even overcome or fight to change. But how do we keep our own mental health from hitting rock bottom in the meantime? It differs, I think, from person to person.

It runs the gamut of those who get out there and help to others who curl up in the fetal position and wait for it all to blow over. Then there's people like me who simply turn off the news and grab a good book...or play a game...or connect with friends and my family. I do face reality, but in small doses... or at least until my brain and heart reach the point of saturation. Then I delve back into make-believe.

Either way, I'm one of those who likes to be in control of their world. When I can't be -- which is often the case -- then I tend to get a bit overwhelmed. But I've figured out ways to deal with that stress so my family doesn't have to suffer my bad moods.

Recently I went so far as to turn on TV-Land and the Andy Griffith Show. Ah, to be in Mayberry again, sitting on the porch with Aunt Bea as I eat a big hunk of apple pie. How I'd love to laze with Andy and Opie at the old fishin' hole, just whittling the hours away in peace and quiet.

All I can say is that this week has reminded me that old-fashioned ideas and out-dated notions aren't necessarily a bad thing. In a perfect reality, neighbors would be friends -- they'd look out for each other; depend on each other without a thought and never regret it. In a perfect reality, my children wouldn't even know the term 'serial killer', and that would be okay. In a perfect reality, the bad guys would wear the black hats so we'd know, on sight, who we could trust.

Ah, but reality is never perfect. Which is partly why I read fiction... and write romance. I have control over that world, at least.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween '09

Today is actually Halloween, but we had our church's trunk or treat last night. It was wonderful! So many people turned out and there were many cute costumes. Here's some pics of my own clan of spookies. We love Halloween ... the dressing up... the candy... the creepiness of it all. But I do NOT like slasher movies or gore, so we try to keep our costumes to the cute/pretty/creepy categories.

Celtic Elf
Red from
Rock Star
The whole gang
Greek Philosopher
Egyptian Servant
'Headless' Horseman

Hope everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Birthday present!

It's my birthday, but I'm giving away the gift!

A wonderful conincidence came about when the editors at the Samhellion scheduled my own Halloween freebie to go live today! So I get to give all my readers -- and hopefully some new readers -- a small gift. :)

Follow the link and then the instructions -- just one small hoop, but it's easy, I promise.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Write what you know???

One of the very first pieces of advice I ever heard regarding writing fiction was the simple statement: "Write what you know."

Okay, sure, on the surface it seems simple. Logical. Then follows the assumption that the only way to truly know something is to have lived it. Ah, yeah... I really don't think anyone wants to read about a stay-at-home mom with five kids. Hey, I could be wrong, but my life is not that interesting. Happy, but rather dull -- just the way I like it. ;)

So, does this mean if I haven't been an astronaut or a CIA agent, then I probably won't write a believable story about either? Okay, no, I do not plan to write anything set at NASA and I've done the later already... SECRETS AND SHADOWS. But I've never been a secret agent. I truly doubt any of the writers who have penned a romance including a spy hero or heroine ever worked for the FBI. I could be wrong.

If you do enough of the right kind of research, as a writer you should be capable of creating anything and making your reader believe in it. I've never been to Ireland, but I wrote a story set there -- ALAINA'S PROMISE. Reviewers and readers alike praised the book. One wrote how she 'fell in love' with the country and its people by reading that novel.

That was a case where my research combined with talent paid off. :) Does that mean I hit the mark? In some ways, yes. But few readers have ever been to 1870s Ireland, so I doubt I'll ever know how accurate my descriptions were.

All this said, I do feel there are some things you cannot simply read about and then write well. The foremost would be emotions. If I had never been in love, I'm not sure I could ever write a romance. Maybe I could read someone else's book and then repeat back the sensations and feelings conveyed. But even then, using my own words, I don't think it would ring true. You have to understand or have felt something before you can describe it to someone else. Otherwise, it's like trying to explain snow to someone who has never seen it when you've only seen it in a picture. You're missing way too much.

Yes, there are many other emotions involved in my writing. Despite popular opinion, romances are not all about the sex.

There's anger, deep hatred, lust, fear, greed, envy, sadness and depression. I have experienced each and every one of them -- plus others -- at some point in my life. Therefore, yes, I can write a murder scene and make you feel the anger of the killer or the fear of the victim. Have I ever killed anyone? Obviously not -- unless you count the occasional insect or two. But I have a basis in understanding those feelings I think might be involved. I can and do imagine the rest.

So I will add my own two cents of advice to the sage: "Write what you know." ... Go out and experience life. Find out what it's like to be a true friend; to fall in love. Discover every positive emotion ... and learn to control the destructive ones. But learn to feel... for without feelings, there is little point to living or writing.

Then when you want to write a story... a really good story... you'll understand your characters more thoroughly, and even the most mundane setting or character can be made riveting and real. Almost anything beyond your normal experiences can be found during research. A true writer can imagine or create the rest.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Archetype or stereotype?

I've loved all the recent posts on Shades of Suspense. Particularly the last regarding archetypes. It really got me thinking, which may or may not be a good thing. ;)

My main concern as a writer: How do I effectively use an archetype without it becoming a stereotype?

Just so we're all on the same page, here's how defines the word stereotype:


1. a process... for making metal printing plates by taking a mold of composed type or the like in papier-mâché or other material and then taking from this mold a cast in type metal.

2 & 3 are more of the same and then we reach...

4. Sociology. a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group...

I suppose that, by this last definition, it is possible to turn any one of our standard character archetypes into stereotypes. It depends largely on the writer ... and perhaps the reader, as to what type of characters catch on. For many years the most popular archetype -- at least in category romance -- seemed to be the beautiful, virginal, sweet and naive heroine.

Let's take one of the heroine archetypes for an example: The Boss. Now how many of you have either read a book or seen a movie/tv show with a female boss character? Many times that character is depicted as the power-hungry witch who cares for no one. So, in that sense, an archetype becomes a stereotype.

Any romance lover knows, however, that her personality is going to have to soften or change completely before we can dub The Boss as the heroine of the piece. After all, not many of us cheer for the corporate raider who grinds her stilettos into anyone who gets in the way. See? Stereotyped, all the way. ;) We do cheer for the underdog secretary or the quiet mouse in the steno pool. Ummm... do they even have steno pools anymore?

Ah, but I digress.

It's obvious that few of us are any of those archetypes in whole. We all have different faucets to our personalities. Sometimes we just might be that Boss Lady with attitude; at others, we are the nurturers who take care of others because their trials bring out our soft sides. We can be any and all of these women -- and so should our characters if we want them to be three-dimensional.

Now this thought-process has been with me for a while as I climb my way back up from the bottom of one rejection and fight to finish another book. My thanks to Jerri Drennen for actually putting it all out there at SOS for me to see and ponder anew. :)

I've been contemplating the whole idea of character because I worry that my characters are bordering on stereotyped status. Am I re-writing the same hero and heroine over and over? What about my villains? A simple change of name, nationality or hair color will not do the trick.

There is nothing more riveting than a story with three-dimensional beings at center stage. THOSE are the stories I want to write. I want a heroine to whom I can relate on some level. I want a hero with whom I can fall in love. I want a villain who I can curse ... and yet, one that draws a bit of sympathy from me, as well. The latter isn't an easy thing to create.

I think the most difficult character I've written to-date has been the sister of my DREAM WALK heroine. At first she seemed to simply be the bitch who did nothing but party and sleep around -- and in the beginning of the story, in the beginning of my thought process, she was exactly that. But then I kept writing... and I let the characters speak to me.

I wondered: "Why is she like this? What made her so different from her sister?"

She told me. In a writing session where the words poured like a waterfall, she helped me understand her rather complex personality. And so I began to actually like that character a bit more. She softened right before my eyes. It was an amazing experience.

Will she ever be the heroine, herself? Not sure. I still have issues with her, personally. ;) But at least I know she's not a one-dimensional party-girl secondary anymore. She became much more sympathetic, at least in my eyes.

So maybe I do know the secret of keeping those characters from becoming stereotypes, after all! Just put your hands on the keyboard... and listen. ;)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Beyond Algebra

I'm really not what I call a math person. Sometimes the mere mention of a word problem such as "If Train A leaves Chicago at three..." will make my brain freeze up like an icepop in the Arctic. My forte is words. Numbers... yeah, well, we have a love/hate relationship.

However, give me a good math book and I can usually figure things out. Especially if they have a lot of examples. I find an example that looks similar and then try to work the problem by those steps. Easy, right? Um, no. Not always.

So when it comes to home schooling, I've had many rough teaching and/or tutoring sessions in math. Particularly Algebra. It seems my braincells did not retain everything from high school -- go figure! ;)

We have gotten through it. We're in round three of Algebra now with child number three. He's having a hard time grasping a certain aspect at the moment and is getting a bit frustrated with himself. My job is to keep on going... to cajole, cheer and urge him on as needed. It's also my job to figure out just what might do the trick to help it all click and come together.

During all the frustrations with math I've been asked over and over: "What good is this going to do me in life? How will I ever use this again?"

My answer? You probably won't. But you might.

Sometimes learning is for the sake of learning, itself. In the case of Algebra -- often the bain of my existence -- the main thing you are learning is to think logically.

Logical thinkers have a much better chance in life as a whole. They can be rational. They can think through a process from point A to point B and actually find an answer.
They can follow those annoying directions when putting together IKEA furniture and bicycles.

So when something difficult comes along, I try to remember what I learned in Algebra class ... and the lessons I've learned in teaching it to my own children. No, I don't really care what X equals -- but on the other hand, it does feel good to actually figure it out. To actually push myself beyond my own comfort zone.

Learning is so vital to both our minds and self-esteem. And yet, when you're trying to solve quadratic equations, it often feels like torture. Unless you happen to be like our child #5 who seems to have gift for numbers and LOVES math! He's a year ahead in the subject.

Yeah. He definitely gets it from his father. ;)

I've been interviewed!

Stop by Make-believe Mondays and check out my latest interview. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Men, and why I adore them...

It seems so easy to get into a rant about men. How dumb they can be. How confusing they are, etc. But I think I need to take a moment and let everyone know that I adore them. All men -- not just the cover-model gorgeous ones or the movie stars I sigh over.

Okay, let me qualify that a tiny bit ... I adore good men. Those with a sense of honor and integrity. Those who do what they have to do without complaining about it day in and day out. The ones who are tough, yet tear up when his child does something special or the family pet is laid to rest.

Those are the ones I truly appreciate.

Of course, I have my own special man. He's honest, hardworking, has a quirky sense of humor and is very intelligent. He loves and supports me though he doesn't always understand just what it is I do... especially how I manage to do it. He's the first to brag and often the last to get any attention himself. He's a loyal husband and friend; a wonderful father; a good man; and I teasingly call him my oldest child. (Not going for browny points here, he doesn't read my blog. LOL!)

I was recently asked why the heroes in romance novels are always young, tall, well-muscled, with lots of hair and great looks. I hesitate to reply because the reply sounds sexist. It really does. But in general, that is a woman's fantasy and I'm writing for them. Just as the totally hot, thin babe in every James Bond film is the fantasy of most men.

But I think if you look beyond the physical, you'll see a lot of 'real' men in my heroes. They have flaws, weaknesses. They often say exactly the wrong thing as well as the right one. The latter is because they have me writing the dialogue. ;)

They are men with pasts -- with things they wished they had done differently. They are often brave and completely fearless to the untrained eye. Yet, the heroine scares them to death. They make mistakes. And yes, they always wind up with the girl. Like I said, this a fantasy -- a woman's fantasy. A romance.

Just because I idealize men in my books, it doesn't mean I look down on all the real, slightly overweight and balding men out there. Quite the contrary! And if I could get away with using such heroes ... or without describing them at all, then I would. But I just don't know if it would work. Correction -- if I could make it work.

Women tend to internalize words and images. Romance novels feed the imagination, the heart with the sensual image of a man and woman together. It makes us long for love and all that comes with it. It makes us hope, if even for a moment, for that happy ending in our own lives.

So I feed the fantasy as I offer up heroes with six-pack abs and thick, dark hair. Maybe I'll become a better writer someday, and offer those same visions with merely the color of his eyes and hair, leaving the rest to the imagination alone.

Until then, I'll write the fantasies. I'll let my heroine conquer her bad-boy, rough-edged hero. I'll help the reader remember what that blush of first love felt like...and maybe inspire them to re-light the spark with their own knight in burnished armor.

But I couldn't accomplish any of this without men -- real men for me to base the most important characteristics upon: honesty... integrity... humor... compassion.

So while I might roll my eyes and implore the heavens: "What on earth was he thinking?" ... Always know that this woman does appreciate the good guys out there. My good guy, in particular. Obviously so, because I chose to live most of my adult life with him. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The problem with convenience

Let me first say that wireless Internet was a necessity in our home. We have four children currently in cyber-school -- all with their own laptops and their own schedules. It would be impossible to have each of them hooked up to one router in our schoolroom. For one thing, the noise would make it hard to concentrate. For another, our schoolroom isn't the most comfortable room in the house -- particularly during cold Pennsylvania winters.

So the wireless router was installed. It's great -- not perfect, but great. The signal isn't always what I'd like it to be, but it does enable the children to fan out and enjoy some measure of comfort while they attend virtual classes. Yes, they really do have the life. ;)

I've also found that this wondrous, wireless connection is my downfall. When I first got my laptop -- still in love with it, btw -- I got a lot of work done in my bedroom. I couldn't go on-line, so it made my choices simple: write or play Freecell. Freecell gets old fast. I got quite a bit of work done.

Then I connected. At first it was great. Look! I can check my email from here, I don't have to wait until later when the desktop is available. Nice.

Then I realized I could update my website, too. And change my Facebook page. Even twitter. Oh, I'd better check that FB game, my crops may need harvesting. Oh, that looks like fun.

I'd get back to the wip and suddenly hit a wall. Well, I'll take a break. One game won't hurt. I have to re-check my email, something important might come up.

And so it went ... until I found that convenient wireless Internet became my downfall. My crutch for avoiding work.

Of course, the writer's block I've been experiencing has its roots elsewhere. I can't blame the Internet or the little signal bouncing around the walls of my home. But I also can't help but wonder if I might have gotten over it more quickly if procrastination hadn't been made so easy?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Romance Junkies

I'll be chatting tonight at Romance Junkies along with two other Samhain authors. I'm sure there will be plenty of prizes, excerpts and fun for everyone involved. Come on by and join us from 9-10 p.m. (EDT)!

FYI: You'll need the latest version of Java to join in.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My inspiration...

Is over at Shades of Suspense. Pop on over and take a look. ;)

We also have a few new voices on board at that blog. Please check out these wonderful new writers and their stories.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A sad goodbye...

There aren't many movie stars that impress me. Most of them wind up with their sordid affairs, addictions and broken marriages plastered on the front page of every magazine and tabloid in existence. At times, it's difficult to see past the very frail human being to the talent within. But such is the expense of fame.

One actor who through the years managed to hold on to his 'good guy' image was Patrick Swayze. He blazed onto the screen in DIRTY DANCING as the classic hero from the wrong side of the tracks. Yet, he managed to play the character as endearing, even a little shy and insecure. He was the diamond in the rough. The bad boy every girl lusts after but knows in her heart will never be good for her. The bad boy who, in the end, stood up for his girl.

Through that film he imparted in his audience the love of ballroom dancing. He showed us the beauty and passion within the steps. He proved that yes, even real men can and do dance. I watch DIRTY DANCING every time I discover it on television. I sigh and dream and simply fall in love all over again.

Swayze went on to act in many forgettable movies, but managed at least one other big hit, the classic GHOST. Again, he played the vulnerable hero who could never say "I love you" out loud. Again, he stole our hearts ... the ending shattering them into tiny pieces.

Swayze, 57, died Monday evening. And so our hearts are saddened once more. We've all heard of his struggle with pancreatic cancer. We've all seen him age almost before our eyes as the disease ravaged his body. Yet when he smiled I found myself transported back to those scenes of him teaching 'Baby' how to dance and what it really meant to love.

We hoped this particular good guy would win his battle with cancer. But it wasn't meant to be. Rest in peace, Patrick. Your talent, your eternal youth, your smile will be missed.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Illusion or reality?

"Better a dish of illusion and a hearty appetite for life, than a feast of reality and indigestion therewith." ~~Henry A. Overstreet

I have to agree most days.

I'd rather deal with illusion than jump into an unhappy reality. Although I will admit my own personal reality is not that bad. We have our ups and downs, our problems as a couple and as a family. But for the most part, we're happy. In a general sense, we are where we want to be in life. We simply do our best, rely in faith, in each other, and everything seems to work out for the best. Eventually. ;)

But when I read for pleasure, I'd rather have the illusion. Oh, sure, I want the essence of reality with a good mystery -- a murder or two -- a frightening character who goes 'bump' in the night. Afterward, I need the happy ending. The 'happy ever after' we grew so accustomed to in modern fairy tales. I say modern, because we all know those characters in the Grimm versions rarely lived on...let alone happily.

That's also how I prefer to write. My characters may go to hell and back -- even literally -- but the reader always knows that somehow, somewhere, they will persevere and beat the demons. Yes, those can be literal, too ... depending on the story.

So think about it -- which do you prefer? Happy illusion or sour reality? Which do you prefer to entertain yourself with?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Idling on by

"It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do." (Jerome K. Jerome)

If you think about it for a moment, you'll realize that's probably true. However, I tend to be in an opposite camp. After "idling", I'm more apt to feel guilt than any type of pleasure.

But that begs the question of why is it so easy to put things off -- to do one thing, when you're supposed to be doing other things? Is it merely a lack of self-discipline, or is there something of greater depth involved?

In my case, I believe my procrastinatin is due, in large, to the fear of failure. I don't want to make the same mistakes with this story as I did the last. I want this story to be just as good ... no, better than the previous one. But when you're the writer, it isn't easy to judge your own work. Some days everything is good -- other days it stinks. A lot depends on your mood.

The bottom line -- I need to write. I need to stay away from Facebook and Farkle and Super Poke Pets and do what I do best -- tell another story. Only then will I, personally, be able to 'idle' with some peace of mind.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Obsessively counting words

"Let him that would move the world, first move himself." ~Socrates

Believe me, I am trying. ;)

I'm in the middle of my next novel, another paranormal romance, and the writing isn't going as quickly as I'd like. After each session, I found myself checking the word count. It's adding up...slowly. Very slowly.

It's not that I need a particular number of words. I just know what the minimum count has been for my other novels. DREAM WALK was the longest I've had published to-date -- over 95k words. This novel needs to be at least 85k for it to be complete. You get a feel for these things after you've written a few stories from beginning to end. ;)

But lately I haven't been able to get into my writing zone. That means the words are coming at a snail's pace when I need to be working more along the lines of a cheetah. Well, I suppose I should be glad my episode of writer's block is over. Just have to keep things moving along.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Coping with rejection

It seems the complete story of Gabriel Bonnett and Beth Murphy will have to remain a mystery to Sentinels' fans. Unfortunately, my editor wasn't impressed with draft two of the book.

Like most writers, I've experienced my share of rejections. It still stings a bit, but you learn to cope and move on. You have to -- the only alternative is giving up. But what do you do once that "no thanks" letter couched in apology arrives? How do you deal with your disappointment? The self-doubt? And just what the hell do you do with the thousands of words you've written and now seem to have been a waste of your time?

This time around it hasn't been quite the dilemma that it once was. Honestly, after a certain period of optimism, I was somewhat expecting the R -- shorthand for 'rejection letter' in this business. I'm not sure why... but somewhere along the line I lost faith in this particular story.

And no, it wasn't a "nice" R with loads of compliments and such regarding the strengths of the story. By the tone and what was said, there didn't seem to be even one thing that appealed to her about Gabriel and Beth's romance. Pity. I really like those two characters.

Do I take it personally? Um, a little...but not deeply. I think the big problem here was I had reworked it to death. It lost any spark it might have had in the beginning. It wasn't the story I really wanted it to be. Also, it really might have been better as the first story -- or later in the series. Pre-quels are a very tricky animal. So maybe that's part of why I'm not taking this R quite so much to heart as others.

That, and previous experience. BTDT, as the t-shirt says. ;)

Still... here comes the self-doubt. Although I'm over 11k into the next Sentinels book -- now bumped up to that coveted #2 spot -- I stutter to a halt when I begin to write a scene. Am I making the same mistakes with Samantha's story as I did with Gabriel's? Are my character's goals, motivations, and conflicts (GMCs) as clear-cut and riveting as they need to be? Does their relationship have enough spark...a strong chemistry? Is the action paced well? Fast but not too rushed?

Yes, self-doubt can be a crippling thing when it comes to writing. It brings your muse to a screeching halt. It makes your hands freeze over the keyboard and your thoughts shut down as if someone hit a switch. It can also turn you into a chocolate-guzzling lump, sitting in front of the television watching all day marathons of NCIS...

But I digress. (ahem) What I really want to know is: How do you deal with rejection? How do you tame that demon self-doubt and send him back to Hades where he belongs? Please share ... I have another book to finish.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Show and tell blogging...

I blogged this evening over at Beyond the Veil.

What's in your favorites and history? Do you dare tell?

Thursday, July 16, 2009


My good friend, writer Laura Hamby, cast the spotlight on DREAM WALK a while ago. Come check it out.

It's good to have friends. :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Hot off the presses!

The print edition of DREAM WALK is available beginning today!

You can order it at your favorite on-line bookseller, or try any of these links: My Bookstore and More;;;

If you'd rather, you can also ask your local brick-and-mortar store to order a copy. :)

“Dream Walk” by Meg Allison

Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 978-1-60504-317-3
Length: 288 Pages

Some nightmares are deadly real.

The Sentinels, Book 1

Camille Bryant is a gifted medium being slowly driven insane by terrifying dreams. When she is forced to accept help from a Sentinel—a mysterious warrior of her race—her comfort zone is quickly invaded. Try as she might, she can’t seem to stop the erotic visions that fill her mind when her rescuer is near.

Ian Spain is a dream walker who’s been assigned to banish the dream demon from Camille’s restless nights. But complications quickly ensue. This is no ordinary demon and Camille is no ordinary woman: both are far stronger than anyone realizes. So strong, Ian suddenly isn’t sure he has the power to vanquish her demon—not when his own hound his every step.

Their passion ignites even as the body count rises and their courage is put to the test in a battle as old as time. Winner takes all.

Warning: Scenes of leather-clad hero may induce spontaneous drooling, erotic fantasies, and unfair comparisons to spouse or significant other.


A glimpse of a hero:

Chapter One

Present day

Camille jerked awake, her breath coming in short, shallow gasps. Images from the nightmare hovered like nebulous ghosts in her mind. Long damp strands of hair stuck to her face, the thin cotton nightshirt clung to her skin. Kicking off the sheet, she swung her feet to the floor and took a deep breath.

Nightmare. More like night terror. She’d had them as a young girl—moments of absolute horror that had her seeing things crawling up the dark, empty walls. Camille remembered little except the transparent images superimposed on the real world, and her mother’s soothing voice.

She clicked on the bedside lamp. Her shoulders drooped with defeat as she glanced at the clock. Five in the morning. She hadn’t gone to bed until two. With a heavy sigh, she rose and crossed to the adjoining bathroom. She stripped off the sweat-soaked garment and climbed into the shower.

Over the past four months, she had relived the same terrifying visions with the same conclusion. Camille had all but lost her ability to sleep. Lack of sleep made it hard to think, let alone write. Work suffered, not to mention her sanity which hung by a thread.

“He’s coming.”

She jerked her head up from beneath the hot drizzle and glanced around at the swirling steam. With a sigh of relief, she shook her head.

“Don’t scare me like that,” she whispered.

“No worries, child.”

She closed her eyes as a warm, peaceful wave filled her from head to toe. Her guide, her spirit mentor, was the only man she trusted. The only man she’d let close since her nineteenth birthday over ten years ago.

As she allowed the blank screen in her mind to change, colors swirled like a kaleidoscope. An image formed of shoulder-length dark hair pulled back from a bronzed face. The features sharpened to reveal eyes as dark as pitch, a straight nose, heavy brow and full mouth. Camille’s breath caught. He was beautiful and frightening all at once. This man would help her overcome evil? He looked like a warrior or a fallen angel, not a savior.



Indulge your senses...

Friday, July 03, 2009

Dream Walk in PRINT!

I just found out that DREAM WALK will be available in print this coming week -- Tuesday, July 7th.

It's available at, Barnes & and will be available at My Bookstore and More starting July 7th.

Book Two of the Sentinels series is currently in the hands of my wonderful editor. I'm hoping this version will pass the test -- but time will tell. Meanwhile, I'm hard at work on Book Three, At Second Sight, which features one of the secondary characters of DREAM WALK as its heroine. More about that over the next few weeks.

Here's a sneak peek at DREAM WALK:

A knock made her jump. She stared at the closed bedroom door, heart pounding as she wondered who else could possibly be up this early? The sun had barely risen.


She let out a deep breath as Ian’s voice reached through the barrier.

“I need to speak with you.”

She bit her lip. Maybe she could pretend…

“I know you’re there,” he said as if he could read her mind. “Open up.”

She slid off the lock and opened the door. His presence filled her room even as he stood in the hallway, gazing down at her with those midnight-black eyes. A woman could sink into those eyes and gladly drift away toward the promises lingering in the shadows. But she had always been afraid of the dark.

He searched her face like a seer divining tea leaves. From the way his jaw clenched, he didn’t like the revelations. He stared at her a moment and it seemed as if she could feel his mind reaching into hers—seeking the truth. She blinked in surprise. Did he have a psychic gift as well? He gave her a half-smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

“I need access to your website. I want to see if my tech boys can trace any of the threatening messages.”

“You can use the computer in the study downstairs, but I deleted them all a long time ago.”

“I imagine they’ll hit a brick wall, but it’s worth a try. I need something to occupy my time while you’re writing.”

“All right, I’ll be here if you need anything else.”

“What’s your password? They’ll need it to access the site as the administrator.”

She hesitated for a moment—not because she was giving him admittance to another portion of her life, but because she was afraid. Would he laugh? Judge?

“Beatrix Potter.”

He frowned. “Excuse me?”

“The password is Beatrix Potter.” She sighed when he continued to stare. “She wrote children’s stories about animals. Peter Rabbit?”

He held up a hand. “Yes, I know who she is. I was once a child myself, believe it or not.” This time the smile lifted the corners of his dark eyes where it glittered like stars in the deep-night sky. “You continue to amaze me. You aren’t anything like what I expected.”

“Oh, and what did you expect?”

His smile broadened to a full-fledged grin. Her heart skipped a beat and then raced like a jackrabbit fleeing a wolf. God. He’s beautiful.

“Well, honestly, I expected someone more like Ophelia.” He winked and turned away.


Indulge your senses...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tools of the trade

Every career requires a certain amount of learning or training. Writing is no different. While classes in English, literature, and creative writing can help hone a god-given talent, the learning doesn't stop there. And the best place to learn? From other writers, of course. :)

There are some things -- books, in particular -- that I personally feel no serious writer should be without. First, there's the obvious: Strunk & White Elements of Style; and a good dictionary and thesaurus combo. For the latter, shop around a bit to find one with a lot of choices. Some, I've found, are limited.

Now, for the more subjective list.

On Writing, by Stephen King

I've lost count of the number of writers who say they swear by this book -- that to them, it's like the industry bible. Whether or not you enjoy horror, King is one of the greatest writers ever. He has an amazing ability to string words together and draw you deep into the story and the minds of his characters. This book -- which is somewhat an autobigraphy as well as a how-to book -- is full of fantastic guidance.

Now I give fair warning: it is not for the faint of heart. He's honest, forthwright and his language can be extremely... shall we say, earthy? ;) If cursing bothers you, then pass it by -- unless you can overlook it and instead glean the gems from this work. It just might be worth it, but that's a very personal preference.

Writing the Romance Novel for Dummies, by Leslie Wainger

This book is sitting on my own shelf. While you may not be interested in writing romance, Wainger's book still has great advice regarding characters, plotting, etc. If you are writing romance, then this book is a must-have because it comes from the perspective of the editor -- that person you want to please with your final product.

Another great 'how-to' book for romance writers is:

The Art of Romance Writing, by Valerie Parv

Ms Parv is a multi-published romance author -- probably well-known to the Harlequin/Silhouette readers. She's clever, a fantastic story-teller, and a really amazing lady. Any guidance you can receive from an established pro has got to be worth its weight in gold.

Okay, these are just some of the tools I'd like to endorse for anyone wanting to improve their writing style. Next time, some ideas for researching. But until then, would anyone like to add to the list?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A rose by any other name...

Could be a whole different kind of flower. ;)

Today I'm thinking about words. Note that I'm in editing and revision stage with book two -- SHATTERED (previously titled: Broken). My dear, intelligent editor didn't care for the first version. I understood her objections, asked if I could revise and resubmit with them in mind. She agreed. And such is the way you deal with that.

Of course, she could still hate it when I'm done, but that's a chance I'm willing to take. (Typing with crossed fingers is really difficult, btw.) ;)

But I digress... Revisions often mean I'm looking for new ways to say the same thing again and again. I hate repetitious words. Readers do, as well. If you use a word too often in the space of a page or two -- or use a very unfamiliar word -- it can 'bump' them out of the story. As a writer, you need to keep them reading long into the night. You don't want to give them any reason to put that book down. And therefore you need to smooth the bumps wherever possible. Think of yourself as a one-person road crew.

So, out come the handy dandy Thesaurus. Of course you can use the one built into your word program or one on the Internet. It's your call. But it's one of the better tools in a writer's arsenal.

We'll discuss other must-have books in a later post.

However, inside your thesaurus, make a note to yourself. It should say something like this: USE WITH CARE. You see, not all synonyms are created equal. Let's take the word "rose", since I titled this post with it to get your attention. ;) lists possibilities as: flush, blush, pink, red, rosette, rouge.

Could you use any of these in place of the word? Um, probably not...unless you are referring to the color. If you're talking about the flower itself, you're limited. This isn't the best example, really, but the point I'm trying to make is that synonyms don't always have the exact meaning of the word you started with. They are close-to OR similar to. NOT least, not always.

I was talking with a dear friend who line-edits part time. She mentioned a story she was working on (without telling me the title or author's name) in which it was obvious the writer used her handy thesaurus at every turn. Unfortunately, the words she picked didn't always mean what she thought they meant.

Now here's where another important writing tool comes into play: the Dictionary. If you're in doubt, look it up. This is not the editor's job, it's yours. Many editors will just send a polite rejection letter instead of even trying to fix copy with a lot of errors.

Also, remember I said unusual words will bump a reader? There are times when even the best synonym just doesn't work. For example, I have a really hard time writing scenes where a door is involved. Sounds dumb? Think about it.

Here's a very short example from my latest novel, DREAM WALK:

"The bundle of towels held like a shield, she walked the long
yards to her bodyguard’s room. For a moment, she simply
listened before tapping lightly on the door. Silence. She
frowned. Perhaps he had gone back to his car for something?

She knocked louder. Nothing. With a shrug, she opened the
door and stepped inside. It would be better to leave the linens
on the bed and scoot out again. Without pinpointing the reason,
she knew it wasn’t wise to risk another confrontation so soon."

Normally I would cringe at the use of the same noun twice in such a short space. But with 'door', I've found my options are limited. Any other term draws too much attention. Here are some possibilities: aperture, egress, entry, entryway, exit, gate, gateway, hatch, hatchway, ingress, opening, portal, postern, slammer.

Um, yeah. I don't talk like that. Do you? IF you do, great, use the word that sounds natural -- to you and to your characters. But in my world of limited vocabulary skills, a door is a door is a door. ;) Of course, in other instances, the words like "exit; entry; gate; or opening" would work, but not in these two paragraphs.

Now that you've gotten some of your story written, you have permission to go back and edit a bit. ;) Start by making sure your word choices are the best for the story. Do the words flow? Do you have to stop and think about what a word means or how to pronounce it? If so, then maybe you need to consider a change. Of course the real test comes when you get a beta-reader, aka critique partner, to look over your stuff.

But the words you choose are vital: They set the tone of your story. The words you tend to use are also a part of what we call your "voice". Every artist has a style -- and so do writers. The trick is to let yours be heard.

So open your document; grab a thesaurus and carefully... very carefully check for those pesky repetitious words. I will say, however, that it might be better to completely re-write a sentence or paragraph or MORE rather than use an iffy synonym.

Each writer's tool is important... and each should be handled with care.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Now what?

Hopefully you've been writing down your story. I've actually had a really good week in that department -- all but three chapters in SHATTERED are completely revised; wrote over three-thousand new words for book three, AT SECOND SIGHT.

Compared to my recent attempts at working, this is fantastic, trust me.

Now that you've started writing, what's next? Well for most of us there's a point -- sometimes more than one -- when we get stuck. This can be in the "sagging middle" or some other area in the story. The trick is to not let it get you down... and to keep on writing.

My experience as a writer has taught me that there are different levels in my creative process. The one I love happens much too infrequently. It's when words pour like water from my fingertips. I can visualize the scene; the dialogue; the sensual information without a hiccup. It feels as if someone is dictating the story from one word to the next. I love "the zone"...and it's during these times that I'm most productive.

The other extreme is "pulling teeth" writing. That's when it feels like I'm digging every other word from the bottom of some deep pit in my brain. One sentence is a struggle. An entire scene is almost torture! Sometimes this is the point where I give up and close the document. If I can feel it's going to be a "pulling teeth" kind of session, I often won't even try. But that's the worse thing you can do.

The best way to get past the hiccups in your writing is to keep on trucking. ;) Write as much as you can -- even if it's very little. But write something. The only way to finish is to DO IT. The bad days will pass and when those little road blocks come down, it is such a rush!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On writing... where to begin

A year or two ago I wrote a few posts regarding the how-tos of writing. I decided to offer my own two cents on the subject after a book signing where quite a few people asked me some basic questions: How do you write? How do you get published? It seems a lot of people are wannabe writers. I've decided to offer advice once again with the hope that I can find something useful to say. :)

But how do you get to "wannabe" to "being"? Sounds almost philosophical. ;)

First I'll ask this: Do you want to write? No... Better question: Do you need to write?

I've found that most writers do so because they have something to say--something they just can't bottle up inside. They have stories playing out in their minds, with plots and characters in a wide array of settings. My first scenes in a new story often resemble a movie trailer, but it doesn't have to be visual image in your head. Everyone is different and therefore the creative process varies.

The first step towards becoming a writer is very simple. If you have an idea: write it down. Don't worry about the words you use, at first. Don't worry about imagery, form or synonyms. The main thing is to get your idea, your story onto paper... or the computer screen.

Once you write down as much as you can, then you can go back and make it pretty. But even then, you should always limit how much time goes into editing. Save the bulk of that for the final rough draft.

Now don't be impatient. I said to write down the idea. My beginnings are often a scene or two -- sometimes from the middle of the story. Sometimes I don't even know where the image is going to play. But you have to get that idea down on paper before you lose it. You have to start so you can finish.

So get moving! The world has plenty of room for great stories. We want to hear yours.

Now while you're doing that... I have some work of my own to do. ;)

to be continued

Friday, April 17, 2009

Borrowing kids

Well, not really 'borrowing'. It's more like a temporary adoption thing. ;)

Of course I'm talking about sleep-overs, the great tradition of allowing your children to have friends over to hang-out all night. The name is a misnomer since sleep rarely has anything to do with these activities.

I don't mind the festivities too much. My children are pretty good at picking friends who are polite and basically well-behaved. Who can possibly mind a 13 yob who tells you what a great cook you are? And as long as it's not my hand they're filling with shaving cream, all's well. ;) I also find it's a good opportunity to learn more about who my kids hang-out with...who they may or may not emulate.

So, from time-to-time our house will have a few extra kids on board. Yes, the noise level increases, as does the mess and number of dishes, but no worries. I don't do the dishes anymore... that's the kids' job. ;)

What exciting plans do you have this weekend?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chuzzle lessons

My favorite computer game at the moment is Chuzzle. I love puzzles and adore the furry little googly-eyed creatures who inhabit this colorful game. I really love the sounds they make when you get three or more in a row -- and the explosions. It's almost as satisfying as slamming a door. ;)

However, I've also learned something from this odd little game. A life lesson, of sorts.

Let me explain for the Chuzzle-impaired...

On some levels, a chuzzle will become 'locked'. When that happens, you cannot move it or the row it's in -- at least not in every direction. This limits how you can move and, therefore, your number of possible moves. If you get too many locked at one time, you lose.

But I've discovered something quite by accident. Sometimes, if a move doesn't present itself right away, all you have to do is keep playing and wait. Eventually the little fuzzballs will move around enough so that the colors line up and you can pop those locked spaces. I've also found if you can get a locked one all the way to the bottom of the box it will be taken care of by the natural course of the game.

Now here comes the analogy...

Sometimes in life we come upon a road block; an obstacle to achieving whatever it is we want. We can try to work through it; we can fight our way around it. However, there are times when there really doesn't seem to be a way to win. If we can only keep going ... keeping working with our goal in mind, eventually, in the natural course of life, the solution will be there. The obstacle will be taken away. The problem solved.

Notice I said to 'keep working'. At no time should we ever give up on what's really important, but maybe we need to find a new strategy. Perhaps we need to re-evaluate our priorities and make sure we're seeking after the right thing. And sometimes we need to put our faith in something bigger than ourselves.

It will work out. We will overcome. Sometimes we just have to be very patient... and play a game or two to pass the time. ;)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

In a rut...

And looking for advice.

Come on over and leave your .02 behind. ;)

Shades of Suspense

Monday, March 30, 2009

eBook of the Month!

DREAM WALK has been voted April's eBook-of-the-Month at Jennifer's Random Musings!
This is really a great honor and thrill. :)

Now if the weather would only warm up, my week would be complete. ;)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Heroes and spring

It's my turn to blog today at Beyond the Veil. Come on over and check it out -- I'm talking about heroes that I really can't buy in romance. Do you have any?

And while the calendar has proclaimed Spring is here in the U.S., the weather itself has been very quiet on the subject. Nights are still getting damn cold! But things are looking up. I hope. I'm really, REALLY ready for some sunshine and warmth.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Website update

My website is back up and running. I've made some changes, in other words did some stream-lining. Hope you like it. :)

Indulge your senses...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Book of the Month

DREAM WALK has been nominated as April's Book-of-the-Month at Jennifer's Random Musings. It was a lovely surprise -- many thanks to whoever nominated it. :)

All the nominees are listed; polls for both the e-books and print books are down the page at the right.

**NOTE: My website is undergoing some construction and is temporarily unavailable. I'll let you know when it's back up and running.**

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I found this quote the other day and it kind of made me stop... and stare... and then laugh. It's just so ironic, considering.

"And love makes one calmer about many things, and that way, one is more fit for one's work."

No, it's not the words themselves, but the speaker... Vincent Van Gogh.

Something tells me he didn't always feel that way. ;)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day

I have a confession to make. I hate Valentine's Day.


Yes, I'll admit it, despite the prospect of tarnishing my image as a romance writer. I have disliked this day from my earliest childhood when we were forced to decorate bags for the purpose of collecting those funky little grade-school cards. The results were always heartbreaking.

Let's put it this way: I was not a popular child. I wasn't outgoing and perky. I wasn't athletic or overly pretty. I was rather plain, wore glasses, was somewhat smart and painfully shy. Got the picture?

Years later I heard most schools require children to give everyone in a class a valentine. That's almost worse, in my view. How good can it feel to get a card from someone who either ignores or teases you otherwise? Talk about insincerity!

So the holiday holds bad memories for me. Subsequent V-days weren't much better since I was invariably single and dateless at that time of year. Bummer.

Marriage has softened the melancholy haze of February 14th. But, honestly, except for loving the chocolate and our occasional night out alone, the holiday is still at the bottom of my list. I'd rather my dh be romantic and express his love without being guilted into it. I prefer spontaneous shows of affection -- like the time he came home from a yard sale with a box full of lighthouse figures. Just because he knows I like them. Or the night he came home from work with my favorite candy. He saw it at the store and thought of me. :)

If you want to impress your lover on Valentine's Day, do something special -- you notice I didn't say expensive. Money is not the object. A true show of affection, caring and thoughtfulness is. Who are they? What do they really like?

Thought and care are so much more romantic than throwing down a big wad of cash.

Now that I've admitted my view on this whole love-fest thing, I've created a little Valentine of my own in the form of a free short story. You can download it HERE.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day. Whether you're single or part of a couple, have a great weekend and enjoy something you love.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Changing the world

I was listening to the radio recently when John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change" came on:

"Me and all my friends
We're all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing
There's no way we ever could
Now we see everything is going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don't have the means
To rise above and beat it"

I somewhat like the song, honestly -- but I find the message a little sad. I wonder if this is how John's generation really feels? Hopeless? Ineffectual? Probably.

I know there are many times I wonder "Why bother?" Nothing I do or think or feel seems to make much of a difference. The world goes on exactly as it wishes and only the rich and powerful seem to direct its course.

But then I'm reminded that few people can actually change the course of an entire planet. Yet, we can make a difference -- maybe a small one, but a difference nonetheless. The concept isn't new.

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, though no one thinks of changing himself." ~~Leo Tolstoy

Every time you make a good decision; every time you do the right thing by helping another, by being less selfish, by caring -- you change yourself. When you change, its the Butterfly Effect in action. Your small deeds ripple outward, influencing others... changing your surroundings... improving your small corner of the world.

Of course you can do the opposite -- be selfish, hard-hearted, hurtful, etc... it still affects the world in small but noticeable ways. But is that the kind of world you want?

Maybe we need to stop bemoaning our fate, our government, our economy, and start finding ways to change ourselves. One person at a time. One family at a time.

First we have to choose -- Do what's right OR do what's easy? Try the former and I promise you'll see some positive changes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Five nymphs!

The first review for DREAM WALK has been posted -- and it's wonderful! I'm so thrilled the reviewer enjoyed the book. :)

Title: Dream Walk
Author: Meg Allison
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 1-60504-191-2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Nymph Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

"It’s always a pleasure when an author manages to grab my attention in the first pages of a book and keeps it until the end. That’s exactly what Ms. Allison did with her latest release, Dream Walk. It’s the first in her new series, The Sentinels and if this intricately plotted and crafted book is any indication, the readers of this new contemporary paranormal romance series are in for an awesome ride."

READ the ENTIRE review ... it really made my week! (GGGG)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thirteen reasons I love cats

"In the beginning, God created man, but seeing him so feeble, He gave him the cat."
- Warren Eckstein

1. A warm cat on an aching body is better than a heating pad. Unless her claws are extended.

2. Cats are very intelligent creatures. When they want to be.

"A cat is more intelligent than people believe, and can be taught any crime."
-Mark Twain Notebook, 1895

3. Cats can be very entertaining. Offer him a ball of foil or a string and you have a great show in the making.

4. Cats love to pose for photographs and they usually make very good subjects. Unless you use a flash.

5. A cat's face is most expressive. Particularly when they're annoyed.

"Beware of people who dislike cats."
- Irish Proverb

6. Cats always seem to know when their human needs to cuddle.

7. A cat can find the greatest pleasure in a sunbeam.

8. Cats are very clean. Of course this can be rather disconcerting when they immediately bathe the exact spot you just petted. Are they trying to tell you something?

9. Cats are normally very agile and graceful. And when they make a misstep, they seem so human and embarrassed. It rather pacifies us mortals.

10. Cats are wonderful pest-catchers. Now if only they could hold on to the little vermin...

11. A cat's purr is the most soothing music.

12. Cats come in so many colors, patterns and textures...there's sure to be one type to please the pickiest pet owner.

13. My fondest memories are of the many cats we've served over the years. Each had its own unique personality and quirks, and will never be forgotten.

"No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch."
- Leo Dworken

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Murder, anyone?

I love a good murder.

Okay, there really isn't such a thing as a "good" murder, even if the victim is hated by one and all. But I find myself enthralled on a daily basis by tales of crime and mayhem on either television or in books. I love the excitement of the chase; the intrigue; the clues. I suppose what I really adore is not the brutal act itself (no need to call the cops) but the puzzle left behind.

I have always loved puzzles. My brains seems to thrive on them. I work out the crossword every day and the cryptiquote. I love jigsaw puzzles, but have a hard time leaving one unfinished once I start. And so I turn to crime shows -- CSI in all its incarnations; Law & Order; Monk; etc -- for entertainment...for a chance to unwind.

As a child I played endless games of CLUE with my mother -- and now play up to three different versions with my own children on those long, snowy weekends. ;) Yes, I often win, but not always. My kids seem to have their mother's aptitude for crime ... they know how to put the pieces together and figure out the 'who, what, when or why'.

So what exactly is the attraction? Why does my brain seem to require the stimulation of putting clues in place? Of ferreting out the red herrings? I'm not sure. But I do know it keeps my mind working. It seems to keep my young.

Maybe I should have been a cop? Nah. I'm much too squeamish and I prefer my 'danger' to be completely vicarious.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

2008 CAPA awards

This is the first time any of my stories have been nominated for The Romance Studio's CAPA award. It's a great honor for me -- unfortunately the story that received the honor is no longer in print ... um, or digital. LOL!

But I still wanted to brag a little. That's my right, after all. ;)

TABLE FOR TWO was nominated in the Contemporary Romance category. Someday, somewhere, I just may try to bring this little gem back out of retirement -- it didn't have a very long 'shelf' life since the publisher, By Grace Publishing, had to close it's doors at the end of December.

Congrats to all the other nominees -- especially to Marianne. :) Good luck!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Better late than never?

Good question.

My writing career started somewhat late in life, although I was pleased to have my first published story before the big 4-0 came around. Barely. A few years later and I find myself at an interesting crossroad: one publishing company closed; another booming; and my muse has been thoroughly taken over by things that go bump in the night.

I love the paranormal and have for many years. Ghosts and mysteries have long been my favored form of entertainment -- not to mention a family history of, shall we say unique experiences? But I'm not sure I really ever thought about writing something otherworldly. Not until a story idea took an unexpected turn.

I dare say I'll have a hard time going back. I'm becoming accustomed to thinking outside the box. I enjoy taking each "What if?" question one step further. I revel in the power that allows me to create my own version of reality.

And now as we begin another year of possibilities, I find myself both eager and nervous. Eager to triumph ... Nervous of the journey. But then I'm reminded that getting here wasn't a piece of cake. The road behind is strewn with discarded words, incomplete stories, disappointments, and a pile of rejection letters.

My one regret is that I didn't start this adventure years earlier in a time when publishing stood wide open to new talent. A time when some of the great writers my generation grew up with were just beginning to sell and flourish. Then again, it's likely I wasn't ready. Everything has a season and this is mine.

That's the beauty of writing. You don't have to be young, beautiful and in perfect form to make your mark. You only have to have talent, a bit of luck and a hide as thick as an alligator.

Yeah, I think I have it covered. ;)

Thursday, January 01, 2009


By Grace Publishing and Moonlit Romance are now both closed. My stories with these publishers are no longer available or are in the process of being removed from the various Internet sites. This included my CAPA nominated novella, TABLE FOR TWO. The nomination is a bitter-sweet conclusion to my association with Unique Enterprises, its owner, editors and writers.

I've made changes accordingly to both this blog and my website. Both have been done with some mixed feelings. A writer puts a little of themself into each and every story they write -- whether it be suspense, comedy or paranormal intrigue. I enjoyed the light, funny stories I wrote for these publishers. Through this, I learned a lot about writing short. I learned about ploting. I also learned a bit about myself.

If you had a chance to read any of my BG or MR short stories or novellas, thank you. If you haven't...

I'm not sure what will happen to these tales. I've made no decisions as far as possibly resubmitting or rewriting any of them. Honestly, with all the current stories and characters I have in my head, it's doubtful these old favorites will see the light of day. Although I am toying with the idea of posting some of briefer stories as free reads.

It's a New Year -- 2009! A new journey with new experiences is laid out before me. It promises to be an entertaining trek and I hope you'll join me for the ride. :)