My friend and I have a Christmas tradition now of going to see the gingerbread house competition at Grove Park Inn every year. I took the above photos. The first one is a view of Asheville from GPI. Do you see why our mountains are called Blue Ridge? The next photo is an interesting view of Grove Park Inn from below. In photography that's a worm's eye view. The 3rd photo is reindeer and trees. Then a couple of the gingerbread house winners. The main 1st place winner wasn't there unfortunately. And the last photo is a view of the mountains.
To update you on my writing news, I sold another short story, "Truth or Dare" to True Experience magazine. And I'm working on my latest Scottish historical novel.
O Flower of Scotland
O flower of Scotland
When will we see your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again
The hills are bare now
And autumn leaves lie thick and still
O'er land that is lost now
Which those so dearly held
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again
Those days are passed now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
That stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again
Scotland's (unofficial) National Anthem. The Flower of Scotland is the official anthem of the Scottish Football Team and the Scottish Rugby Team.
To hear a midi or wav version of this song please
click here .
"Daybreak" is similar to the movie of several years ago, Groundhog Day, in which the same day keeps repeating over and over until the main character "gets it right," changes, or does whatever he is supposed to do to set things straight. Groundhog day, a comedy, was one of my favorite movies but I know people who hated it and even thought their VHS tape was defective, because they couldn't understand why the character always woke up in the same place at the same time. Daybreak is a bit different in that there's nothing funny about it. It's serious drama, action, and suspense.
The main character, Detective Brett Hopper, played by Taye Diggs, is a policeman who is being framed for the murder of an assistant DA. If events play out as they do in the original day, he is quickly arrested and thrown into jail. And his girlfriend murdered. If he doesn't confess to the murder of the assistant DA, his sister and her two children will be killed as well, the bad guy promises. So he must prevent himself from being arrested, save his girlfriend's life and do a lot of other stuff before things are set right.
One unusual and interesting element is that if he sustains an injury, like a gunshot wound, he still has the injury on the next repeat day. (But no one else does.) So that means that everything is not as it was before. Thus far, a few variations of the day have played out, all very different and interesting. I can foresee lots of plot twists and turns being used as he tries to gain control of this day, the worst day of his life. This has all the elements of great fiction. The advice of "throw as many stumbling blocks in front of your character as possible" has been employed with a vengeance. This is a fantastic series, and can't wait to see the next episode.
As for the movie, The Lake House, staring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, I highly recommend it as a great romantic movie. The time element is different from anything I've seen and boils down to a magical mailbox which sends letters through time. (The USPS is not involved.) The main characters live and fall in love two years apart but these two alternate realities are going on at the same time. It's very emotional and has a couple twists I didn't expect. You can see the movie trailer here... http://thelakehousemovie.warnerbros.com/
A great Celtic rock band from Canada performed, Hunting McLeod www.huntingmcleod.com . They really know how to rock and I enjoyed their sound mucho. Here is what their website says about them: "Hunting McLeod's traditional bagpipes and fiddle transform into a new evolution of Celtic sound and powerhouse rock when mixed with electric guitar, bass and drums."
Two of my favorite kinds of music combined! What could be better?? See, more proof I have lots of Scottish blood in me veins. (I'm also a member of the MacNaughton Clan Association.) The Games also featured marching bagpipe bands. I love the sound of bagpipes.
Oh and did I mention, lots of men in kilts! The main reason to go, of course. ;-) One thing I've noticed is that the first few times I went to Highland Games, the men in kilts were kinda weird, you know, like something unusual and odd you want to stare at. But I'm finding the more I see men in kilts, the more normal they seem and even more attractive than they used to be. Men who don't wear kilts often make fun of men who do, but take note--women find men in kilts very sexy, so you guys, go out and buy kilts (and actually wear them) if you want to please your women. ;-) Has my husband ever had one on? Never! But he doesn't make fun of men who wear them, cause he knows I would object, considering the number of my (hot, yummy, alpha) heroes who wear kilts.
Also interesting at the Games, men who carry around big swords and targes (shields). Perhaps they're replicas but still attention-grabbing. I always like to observe how they're being carried, especially since these are the things I write about on a normal day in historical-romance-dom. I've also written two novellas that begin at Highland Games, so it's a favorite setting for me.
Lots of vendors were selling everything at the Games from silver Celtic knot earrings (one of my favorite things) to meat bridies with flaky crusts and fresh squeezed lemonade. Oh, and amazing kettlecorn. It was cold and the wind blew a lot so I had to wear my coat and hood most of the time. Not very sexy nor Scottish, but I stayed warm. :-)
Writing contemporary short stories in between longer works or those set in historical time periods is a great outlet for me. It helps me come back to the longer works feeling refreshed, as if I've had a break. Writing variety is definitely the best for me.
THE HOLIDAY MIXER is now available! Step through our "front door" & meet some interesting characters: one of Santa's top elves, investigating a vandalized playground...a Jewish mother, finding her way, now that the kids are grown...a serial killer, taking a date for a ride in the snow...a woman walking alone on Halloween night, suspecting she may be followed...a superstitious girl, taunted by the local bully...a Swedish woman, heartbroken over a rumor...a tiny fairy, summoning the courage to save the coming spring...a preschool teacher, stumbling upon an old flame...and a desperate mother of four young children, rediscovering the gift of giving..
In "Step on a Crack" by Elizabeth Delisi: Superstitions are just old wives' tales. Or are they? Linda Mae Watkins knows different...
Click here to view or purchase book: http://www.foxfountain.com/haypenny/books.html
Elizabeth Delisi, also known around the Internet as Madame Liz, has wanted to be a writer since she was in first grade, and probably would have written in the womb if she could have convinced her mother to swallow a pencil. But life hasn't always gone the way she planned, and on her road to publication she worked as a motel maid, waitress, secretary, administrative aide, substitute teacher, and newspaper reporter.Elizabeth's novels include a FATAL FORTUNE, first in the Lottie Baldwin paranormal mystery series; LADY OF THE TWO LANDS, a time-travel romance; and SINCE ALL IS PASSING, a suspense. She's written contemporary and paranormal romance novellas for SHIVERS AND SCREAMS, VISIONS AND DREAMS; ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS; HOLIDAY HEARTS; HOLIDAY HEARTS 2; and CUPID'S CAPERS, and has also published two short story collections, MIRROR IMAGES and PENUMBRA. In addition to her writing, Elizabeth edits for several small publishers and individuals, and teaches online writing courses for Writer's Digest. Elizabeth lives in New Hampshire with her husband, dog and cat. She invites everyone to visit her website at www.elizabethdelisi.com.
I also watched "Lost". Poor Sawyer. If he isn't conning someone, he's getting beaten up or tortured. But we find out in this episode that he does have a heart.
In "Restless Spirit" by Elizabeth Delisi: Laura St. Clair lost her eight-year-old son to a rare disease, and lost her desire to live along with him. When she tries to contact the spirit of her son with a Ouija board, she reaches something...but what? Can the entity she gets in touch with help her talk to her son, and if so, what will it expect from her in return?
You can find the book at:
Elizabeth Delisi, also known around the Internet as Madame Liz, has wanted to be a writer since she was in first grade, and probably would have written in the womb if she could have convinced her mother to swallow a pencil. But life hasn't always gone the way she planned, and on her road to publication she worked as a motel maid, waitress, secretary, administrative aide, substitute teacher, and newspaper reporter.
Elizabeth's novels include a FATAL FORTUNE, first in the Lottie Baldwin paranormal mystery series; LADY OF THE TWO LANDS, a time-travel romance; and SINCE ALL IS PASSING, a suspense. She's written contemporary and paranormal romance novellas for SHIVERS AND SCREAMS, VISIONS AND DREAMS; ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS; HOLIDAY HEARTS; HOLIDAY HEARTS 2; and CUPID'S CAPERS, and has also published two short story collections, MIRROR IMAGES and PENUMBRA. In addition to her writing, Elizabeth edits for several small publishers and individuals, and teaches online writing courses for Writer's Digest.
Elizabeth lives in New Hampshire with her husband, dog and cat. She invites everyone to visit her website at www.elizabethdelisi.com .
Over the next few days, I want to share some colorful fall photos with you. Check out this view! Over the weekend, I went with my family to see these incredible views and fall leaves close by, here in North Carolina.
Market News for Week of October 1, 2006
Good morning and welcome everyone.
First up this week, I want to let everyone know about an auction
author Julie Kenner is sponsoring to raise funds for Love Without
Boundaries (http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com ) an organization
that helps orphans in China. In honor of her new daughter from
China, Julie has gathered an amazing collection of items. The
auction goes live on eBay today and among the many great items
available is a totebag full of my books -- most of my backlist.
For more information and links to individual items, go to
This week's Spotlight from Romance Writers of America's annual
conference in Atlanta is on Tor Books. The Spotlight was
presented by Senior Editor Melissa Ann Singer and Editor Anna
Genoese. The workshop began with Melissa and Anna talking about
some of the upcoming books Tor will be publishing. Tor does the
Battlestar Gallactica novelizations (though they are not taking
submissions for this series.) Tor is publishing a series of
graphic fiction by best-selling fantasy writers. They publish
alternate history novels. They showed light-hearted chick lit in
both trade paper and mass market paperback, mystery series with
female protagonists, and "feminist" science fiction (science
fiction with strong female protagonists, focused on women's
issues such as weight, gender identity and infertility.)
Tor publishes historical fiction as well as historical romance.
Their historical fiction usually features more than one plot,
only one of which is a romance. They are interested in a variety
of time periods and settings - not so much Victorian/Edwardian
urban settings. They have publishes historical fiction set in
World War II and other settings.
Tor Romance publishes paranormal romance, including science
fiction and fantasy romance, futuristic romance, and romance
featuring witches, vampires, ghosts, goblins, psychics, etc. etc.
They're also interested in erotica, multi-racial romance and
non-traditional romance. Each novel should have two storylines -
the romance and something else. They look for strong female
protagonists and appealing heroes. For more specific information
about paranormal romance at Tor, see
In women's fiction they look for stories about women, character-
driven stories that are not necessarily romance. They want
"strong, emotion-driven story." The relationship can be between a
woman and her mother or father, a woman and her children or
friends, a married couple or some other relationship. If there is
a romance, the romance should be no more than 50 percent of the
They're very interested in mysteries with strong female
protagonists, but they're not interested in cozies.
Tor also publishes young adult fiction. Starscape publishes books
for ages 8-11 while Tor Teen releases titles for ages 11 and up.
The editor for both of these imprints is Susan Chang.
General submission guidelines are available at
Editor Anna Genoese has a blog at http://alg.livejournal.com/
where she often talks about what she's looking for/interested in.
Quill-Pen.net Press is accepting submissions for its Magazine of
Unbelievable Stories. This is a print magazine published four to
six times per year that publishes genre fiction in the tradition
of the "penny dreadful" pulp fiction magazines of earlier times.
They're currently planning a number of themed issues and are
looking for the following: Romance, science fiction western,
horror, mystery and time travel stories. 4000 to 7000 words.
Payment is $40 per story. You may submit via email. For
information, go to http://quill-pen.net/Submission.html
Look who's blogging: Check out my new blogs at
Feel free to pass along this newsletter and to encourage others
to sign up to receive it. If you reprint or forward the
newsletter, all I ask is that I be given credit for it. Anyone
can sign up by sending a blank email to cynthiasterling-
Fear of Falling, Harlequin Blaze, September 2006 (1st Gothic
The castle is said to have many ghosts, one of which is the ghost of Dame (or Lady) Lilias D. Drummond, the wife of one of the former lords, Sir Alexander Seton. They lived here during the early 1600s. Legend says her husband locked her in a room and starved her to death because he wanted to marry her cousin (or because she wouldn't produce a son for him.) Dame Lilias haunts the castle as the Green Lady. It is said after her husband married her cousin and spent the night in a certain room, they awoke the next morning to find Lilias Drummond's name etched in stone upside down in one of the windowsills where it can still be seen today. She is said to carry the scent of roses with her.
The Most Haunted team including one of their mediums, David, held a "night vigil" in the room where she is said to have died. First they reported and showed on camera the bed moving without anyone touching it. They then asked if anyone was there to please make a noise. A thump sounded. They asked her a series of questions which she apparently answered using one thump for no and two for yes. At one point, one of the men, Carl, mentioned being married to the host of the show, Yvette, and something kicked him on the calf. Another of the men said something grabbed his shin and he was leaving because he couldn't take any more. They then deduced that the ghost, Dame Lilias, had known one of the crew members during a past life....Carl, who earlier said something had kicked him. She had evidently not liked him saying he was married....because she'd been in love with him during this past life, in the 1600s. They deduced from David's questions and the ghost's thumping noises that Carl had been Dougal a stableboy at that time and Lilies the lady of the castle and already married. Of course their love was forbidden.
Perhaps none of this is true, but it was an interesting show nevertheless, and I can't wait for the next one. Plus, wouldn't this story make a great romance novel?
UK Travel, Fyvie Castle
Fleeing the law and a violent boyfriend, Tricia Stephens returns to the hometown she left years ago, never intending to return. But when Matt follows her she has no choice but to seek protection from the one man she learned early on that she could not trust.
Clint's sister was killed by her abusive husband, and he isn't about to allow that to happen to anyone else he cares for. Unfortunately, their past still haunts both of them and the act of love he used to set Tricia free has destroyed her trust in him.
Pamela is celebrating the release of her book with a contest. One lucky reader will win a download of her book. For details, please visit Pamela's website and click on the 'reader's contest' link. Pamela Tyner
Pamela is one of my wonderful critique partners and an excellent writer! Here's an additional contest she's having. Help her spread the word about her first book.
"Blog about my debut release and contest between now and October 10th
and be entered into a drawing for a $15 Barnes and Noble gift card.
Just post the information above on your blog and then email the link
to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll draw a name out of the hat on
October 11th. Please help me get my name out there!"
Ahoy, bilge rats, are ye a fan of Cap'n Jack Sparrow? Or perhaps you like your pirates more evil. Either way, today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. If you visit this site and click on "Talk Like a Pirate" you'll learn what terms like bung hole, horn pipe and grog mean. You'll even learn some pick up lines for those times when you run into a hunky pirate (or pretty lady pirate). In the fun and games section you can see if you'd be a good pirate and create your own name. My new pirate name: Cap'n Mae Slashface. There are pirate songs you can learn as well. For anyone who writes about pirates, you will find a treasure trove of links here to real pirate history.
Since I was a little kid, Bigfoot has always fascinated me. Call me weird, but I would love it if someone actually proved a "Bigfoot" species really exists. Would they be some sort of early human more primitive than Neanderthal? Or an advanced ape? Either way, they'd have to be pretty intelligent to escape discovery and classification all these years. I find extinct and mythical animals or anything relating to Cryptozoology completely fascinating. Maybe that's why I enjoy writing about shapeshifters like werewolves, or men who turn into birds. Give me a good show about Nessie, saber-tooth cats, or dinosaurs with feathers and I'm glued to the TV.
Check out this dinobird.
Wonder if they tasted like chicken?
Speaking of which, meat-eating deer were found on the Scottish island of Rum.
A romance writer who's also a geek? Possibly.
To me this says "Abby" hasn't read a romance novel in a couple of decades. No longer are our romance heroines weak shrinking violets in need of rescuing by the big He-man. Today's romance novels feature strong women as well as strong men who are more equal than ever before. In historical romance novels, it is sometimes necessary to show how men and society kept women under their thumbs to be somewhat historically accurate but even our historical heroines rise up, take charge and go after what they want, quite often physically rescuing the hero in the process. In addition, as one wise author noted, the heroes are usually the ones who need emotional rescue.
For instance in my historical romance, My Fierce Highlander, the heroine physically rescues the hero in the opening scene. He was injured in battle and is unconscious. If she hadn't dragged him away and hidden him from his enemies, they would've finished him off. She then uses her healing skills to help him recover. At the end of the story, when it appears their enemy is going to kill the hero, it is the heroine again who saves his life. During the course of the book the hero rescues or saves the life of the heroine a couple of times as well. My point is, they help each other in an equal manner because sometimes the balance of power shifts. Give and take.
As for those who love to read a good mystery but say romance is not realistic, you are kidding yourself about mystery being realistic. Is it dangerous for young police officers to read mysteries? They might think all crimes will be so easily solved. We are not that dense, people. Romance readers know that real life relationships don't always have the HEA (happily ever after) that the books must have. Some people stay married 50+ years and others don't. Those who have been married a long time know HEAs are possible and real. Romance novels are entertainment, but most of today's stories also depict men the way they should act. In other words, men should show women respect and treat them as equals, and NOT try to control, abuse or hurt them. In this way, romance novels can educate abused women by showing them how real men should act and respond to them. You can read more about this and what other romance authors have to say about it at PASIC's blog. http://toberead.blogspot.com/
The Mad Limericker (of SMRW) has given me a wonderful gift--my very own limerick in honor of My Wild Highlander finaling in the Golden Gateway.
CAN YOU HEAR THAT AMAZING SOUND?
IT'S VONDA JUMPING AROUND
WITH GREAT JOY AND GREAT GLEE
HIGHLANDER FINALED YOU SEE
HER WRITING SIMPLY ASTOUNDS.
LOL! Thanks, lady!
I've joined another chapter of RWA, Hearts Through History http://www.heartsthroughhistory.com/ for writers of historical romance. I've been wanting to join this chapter for over a year. I don't know why I didn't sooner. What prompted me to finally sign up was a great workshop I'll be taking for the next two months on Scottish Highland history. Can't wait to learn more about this wonderful area I love writing about.
I won this book at a chat and can't wait to read it. The story sounds fantastic and I love Vikings!
Under A Viking Moon by Tami Dee is a time travel romantic adventure that begins with a deadly betrayal just off the frigid shores of Iceland in the year 900. No sooner had his marriage vows been uttered, (at the point of a sword) Leif Nabboddrson, a mighty Jarl of Norway is shoved off his Drakkars, bound hand and foot, into the sea.
Instead of drowning, he washes up upon the shores of a strange and wondrous beach, and the woman who forced the sea out of his lungs with a remarkable, life saving kiss, is his treacherous bride. Or is she?
Upon her Nordic grandmother's admittance to a nursing home, Katla ‘Kat’ Jonsdottir was forced to fend for herself on the harsh streets of San Francisco. Pitted against the city's most detestable vermin, she manages to survive alone, until fate deals her an incredible hand and her life is turned upside down by the arrival of a Viking warrior.
Childhood legends come to life, trust and betrayal are at constant odds, and the attraction between Leif and Kat is too strong to be ignored.
Join Leif and Kat as they journey through the chasms of time together, each with a vital mission to complete. Leif, determined to save his family and clan, must destroy the infant who Kat is charged to save, for if she fails, she will never be born.
Coffee Time Romance had this to say about Under A Viking Moon: 5 Cup review! Absolutely Wonderful. With a Sandra Hill flair, Ms. Dee has created a phenomenal time traveling romance. Exceptionally written, this romance carries a Viking from his time to modern day, with ease. Fascinating characters with colorful secondary characters will make you laugh and cry as the story starts to unfold. Witty dialogue and steamy sexual tension are all woven in making this one extraordinary tale. Wateena, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/Underavikingmoon.html
Fallen Angel wrote this: 5 angels ~ Under a Viking Moon starts out in the age of Vikings and blasts you to the present. This story is an awesome and inspiring work of love as well as trust and even sometimes betrayal. As you continue to read, you will be drawn into Leif and Katla’s journey. Miss Dee keeps you reading, unable to put this novella down until you have read the last sentence. Each wonderfully detailed scene from the long houses to the clothing lets you discover history even while you are being entertained. Reviewed by: Debbie
To read excerpts please visit...
In the novel, Countess Anice vows to flee the amorous advances of King Henry I, and return to her home in the Highlands, where she hopes to find a laird to wed. Highlander Laird Malcolm MacNeill, seeking an English bride, becomes entangled with the Scottish lass while trying to find out why her staff has vanished. Protecting the king's ward without losing his heart to the willful lass is easier said than done.
What did I think of Winning the Highlander's Heart? When Lady Anice, Countess of Brecken, swings from a tower window and falls into the lap of Malcolm MacNeill, Earl of Pembrinton, their lives become a rousing adventure neither anticipated. The king assigns Malcolm the difficult task of escorting Anice from England back to her castle in the Scottish Highlands and protecting her along the way. Once they get there, they must find out why members of her staff have disappeared.
Terry Spear has crafted a masterpiece in Winning the Highlander’s Heart. Fans of Scottish medieval romance will delight in this page-turner which sweeps the reader back to England and Scotland during the reign of King Henry I.
I fell in love with the noble, sexy Highland hero who has a wonderful sense of humor and a caring heart. The saucy heroine is a challenge for him, yet his perfect match. Malcolm and Anice’s verbal sparring is highly entertaining, and their attraction is deeply sensual. The secondary characters stole my heart as well, especially wee Kemp, a homeless lad they find along the way. This is a lighthearted, fun read, but at times the emotion was so touching it brought a tear to my eye. The skillfully interwoven suspense kept me wondering how they would escape the dangerous situations. I highly recommend this book, brimming in lush historical details, set in vivid locations, and peopled with true-to-life, lovable characters.
Romance Studio gave WINNING THE HIGHLANDERS HEART 5 Hearts!!, Lighthouse Literary Reviews--5 Beacons!!, Fallen Angel Reviews--5 Angels!!, Romance Junkies--4.5 rating!!! And it won Honorable Mention in the International Connections Contest.
Read more great reviews and an excerpt at Terry's website...
The third season starts Oct. 4, 2006. And the complete second season is available on DVD Sept. 5. It appears the third season will start with 7 episodes and then the rest of the season of 18 episodes will follow starting in Jan. or Feb. 2007. Woohoo!!
Wondering what might happen in season three? Here you will find answers and more questions.
Official "Lost" website with lots of cool stuff including video clips.
Unofficial fansite with articles and info about episodes.
Don't know much about "Lost?" Read up on it at Wickipedia. (I was surprised to find this.)
And just for fun!
Which are your favorite? Which are the items you don't bother to pick up? Which do you take but give away? Which do you take but decide later you don't like it and throw it away? Which are the most useful? The least useful? Do you have a favorite (or least favorite) item that's not on this list? If you would like to comment and leave your name and website addy, I may quote you if I decide to use your comment in my article. (Free promo for you.) Thanks for your help!
I am participating in a blogging experiment hosted at dearauthor.com. To enter the contest, put up this blurb, image, and trackback and you are entered to win the following prize package.
$200 Amazon gift certificate
Signed copy of Slave to Sensation
New Zealand goodies chosen by Singh
ARC of Christine Feehan's October 31 release: Conspiracy Game
You can read about the experiment here and you can download the code that you need to participate here. http://dearauthor.com/contestcode.txt
SLAVE TO SENSATION
Berkley / September 2006
Welcome to a future where emotion is a crime and powers of the mind clash brutally against those of the heart.
Sascha Duncan is one of the Psy, a psychic race that has cut off its emotions in an effort to prevent murderous insanity. Those who feel are punished by having their brains wiped clean, their personalities and memories destroyed.
Lucas Hunter is a Changeling, a shapeshifter who craves sensation, lives for touch. When their separate worlds collide in the serial murders of Changeling women, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities…or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.
Or click here to visit her website and read an excerpt
Speaking of Terry Spear... she has a wonderful workshop going on now called Happy Hookers, which I'm taking. She teaches the writer how to hook the reader with every turn in the story (beginnings, middles, ends) and never let go. I definitely recommend it as well.
A character's past is the much maligned backstory that everyone thinks is the kiss of death. It isn't. Only the "backstory dump" is the bad thing. Very bad. No one wants to read a chapter about what happened during the course of your character's past up to this point. That would be boring. Start your story in the here and now on that day when everything changes. Give out teaspoons of info on important events from your character's past here and there through the story. Important events are also called Backstory Events. These are things that changed the course of the character's life. Big, traumatizing, interesting things. They serve as motivation (fuel) for what drives the character now toward what he or she wants (or avoids.) That's why you can't leave out backstory alltogether.
Here's a link to the first (ever) article I wrote a couple years ago about backstory. This is a pdf download of a whole newsletter. My article, Backstory Success, is on page 8. If you're a writer who struggles with where, when or how to use backstory you might find this helpful.
"Finding Trouble, My Wild Friend Led Me to a Sexy Bad-Boy and Love" is the title of my short story in the August issue of True Confessions. This is a fun, spicy-hot story (with lots of suspense and action) about a good girl who gets into more trouble than she bargained for when she follows her friend to a bar and catches the attention of an exciting bad-boy. This is one of my favorite stories I've written. I hope you enjoy it.
"Reformed Romeo" is the new title the editors gave my story in the Summer 06 True Experience. My original title had been Good Enough to Be a Daddy? "Reformed Romeo, Am I Too Late For My Son" is much better. And I love the way they put the title at the top of the attractive cover. Making the cover is a special treat.
"Broke, Alone and Desperate" describes the heroine of my short story in the July issue of True Romance. My title for the story was A Promise Kept. A 17 yr old boy carves "I promise 2 love U 4ever" on a tree. Fifteen years later the girl/woman he loves finds his message again, growing in the gnarled bark. What happens when she comes face to face with him and he stands in the way of her efforts to dig herself out of the hole her life has slid into? This story is about second chances and finding things you thought you'd lost many years ago. This was the first short story I wrote and I'm glad it found a home.
Have a great day!
I've been working on my latest project, a 2nd Scottish historical. I've also been entering contests.
I saw this quote this morning and thought it was cute... "Many suffer from the incurable disease of writing and it becomes chronic in their sick minds." ~Juvenal (AD 60-130)
Hahaha! Boy, isn't that the truth.
My reasons for writing romance are to make readers feel uplifted and inspired, to give them a few minutes or hours of happiness away from their everyday lives. To show them that even though they may be down, they can drag themselves out of that pit if they try hard enough, if they want it badly enough. They can take control of their lives and go after what they want just as my romance heroines do. I want to make people laugh or cry because they're touched by my characters and their triumph when they win in the end.
The movie Walk the Line was taken from real life, but it could've just as easily been adapted from a romance novel. The structure, characters and events are very similar to romances I've read. I haven’t read any romances where everything was perfect, nor would I want to.
Romance novels are entertainment, just like other genres of fiction, TV shows or movies. If they are not entertaining, if they are like hum-drum everyday life, no one would want to read them. People see romances as less valuable because they are not "realistic." Mysteries, science fiction and fantasy, action and adventure books/movies are not realistic either, yet they are not discredited nor disfavored because of it. Jurassic Park, Star Wars, James Bond, King Kong, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman...are these real? No. Are the characters larger than life? Do we love them? Yes. They are entertainment and a lot of fun just as romance novels are.
This is the reason I don't understand why romance is looked down upon by certain types of people. Mostly I think this happens because they don't understand romance. There are good and bad books in every genre and you can't judge the whole of any genre by the bad books. Look at the top-selling, award-winning books of that type if you want to understand the appeal of it. Some people say romance is formulaic. Guess what, all popular fiction and most movies (especially top-grossing ones) are formulaic. Most of them follow the three act play structure, an ancient method of storytelling. The only difference is, in a romance, the main journey is emotional, the development of a relationship against all odds.
Many movies out today are romances at heart. Not just romantic comedies. But many big name, award-winning movies like Walk the Line and Memoirs of a Geisha have romance and enduring love at their heart. I love discovering movies like this.
In addition, romance is empowering to women. All women deserve to be treated well by the men in our lives. We deserve respect and love. We deserve to have our dreams come true. We deserve our own "happy endings."
This time of year I often become garden and plant obsessed. Okay, not so much lately, but for a couple days I was. I'd talked to a friend who also gardens and listened to her describe changes she was making to her garden. This made me want to get out there and dig in the dirt. I know it doesn't sound romantic in the least or even fun. But it is, despite the hard work and how exhausted I feel afterward. The visualization of the finished landscape inspires me. If I want a certain area to look like the image in my head in a few months or next year, I have to make changes now.
We've been working in our pond area, so I expanded on this, moving hostas, sedum, arum and ivy around the pond. We installed a new UV filter for our pond to clear the water and increased the height of our little waterfall. My husband also installed a lamp light on a post. A couple months ago I reported we'd cleaned the pond. Now the waterlilies are covering most of the surface and blooming. It's really starting to look romantic and pretty out there. This is especially important to me because the window of my office looks out onto the pond. In the summer, I open my window and listen to the water splashing from the waterfall and fountain.
I've sold a new short story, "Good Enough to be a Daddy?" to True Experience magazine for their summer issue. This is my first sale to them and this mag comes out about 4 times a year. In this secret baby story, a bad boy discovers he's fathered a child and he wonders if his ex-girlfriend will think he's daddy material. This is my first male point of view story. My short story, "Imprisoned By Love", is out this month in True Confessions.
Do you ever get a rejection from an editor or agent and say, "someday you'll regret rejecting me?" We all have those fantasies or at least I do. :-) Here is link to an agent's blog where she talks about the ones that got away and how she feels about them. (You will need to copy and paste these addys into your browser in two parts.)
Are you ready to jump into the sea of marketing and self-promotion? Here's a list of the gazillion things an author should do before his/her book is released.
1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady. During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one: What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count towardour quiz grade. Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached..It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others." Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.
3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve. In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it." Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.
4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path. In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand! Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.
5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts... Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it, if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?" Being young, the little boy had misunderstoodthe doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
I recently went to Cleveland, Ohio, with my husband. He had business training and workshops there. I spent most of my time writing in our hotel room, which was very nice. My husband is a huge basketball fan. Going to the NBA playoff game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Washington Wizards was a thrill for him.
This beautiful waterfall was out back of a fantastic restaurant where we ate in a village outside Cleveland.
I don't know whether the negative reports are urban legend or the truth. You must make your own decision. But I am now officially off Splenda. I can't say whether I had any of the negative symptoms or side effects mentioned by others since I only used it a little over a month. Whether you choose to use it or not, it's important to have all the facts. Do your research. Pay attention to how your body feels.
I raise my glass of plain, unflavored, unsweetened water to your health.
Hi, I'm playing catch up yet again. The good news is I've cleared the clutter from my office, organized and feng shuied it. It's almost like I have a new office. When I walk into it, I feel a great sense of relief now. I'm a Virgo and I need organization. I hadn't had it in a long while and felt completely overwhelmed most of the time. When you have a lot of stuff, you have to think about a lot of stuff. It clutters the mind.
I've sold two more short stories! And they are different as night and day. I write 'em sweet; I write 'em sexy. ;-) "Finding Trouble" should appear in the June issue of True Confessions. This is a story of an irresistible bad boy who lures a good girl into more trouble than she's ever been in. And she never expected to like it so much.
"A Promise Kept" will possibly appear in the July issue of True Romance (or one of the summer issues.) In this story, a woman finds her first love and they recapture the deep feelings they shared fifteen years ago, as teenagers. This is the very first short story I wrote more than a year ago. And it's also a version of a story I wrote several years ago. I'm thrilled to know it will now be published after all this time. The setting of this story is also near to my heart because it is (sort of) the place where I grew up. Not the house but the beautiful, natural woods nearby, where I often played and carved messages on trees. :-)
Here are photos I took of crocuses (top) and Ice Follies daffodils in my garden.
Happy Easter/Passover everyone!
I've grown the iris for about three years and they always come back each year. I've had the snowdrops for over ten years and the little patch of them gets bigger. They're a welcome and cheerful sight toward the end of winter. The first hint of spring.
I do these buns in 10 - 20 different scents and with different toppings. Below is my version of maple pecan buns. The wax pecans look and smell like the real thing because the mold I made them in was formed from real pecans. Some people have tried to eat them. :-)
Below is a caramel apple pie candle with wax apple slices and raisins which I made in molds also. The person who ordered this didn't want a wick in it because she was going to display it in her cabinet and didn't want to burn it.
This is a gingerbread loaf candle. I love those cute little gingerbread men on the side. Happy crafting