Friday, July 31, 2009

July 31st

Wow- spent the morning making announcements that my book, Mr. Charming releases today! And have been suitably frustrated by various website and blogger glitches that won't let me post. Sigh. Yes, I know, I should have started this yesterday, but between cold medicine and a storm front. It didn't happen.

So... I am happy to announce Mr. Charming is available in e-format and paperback. Just click on the link below. Cheers!

Buy here:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 30

It's a very quiet day here. The lake surface is like mirrored glass, smooth reflecting the gray clouds above and the deep green shadows of the trees around. The leaves are still. The grass is brown and crunchy. All seem to be waiting for the clouds to build higher and the soothing rain to fall from the sky and bring them back to life. In the stillness a robin calls. The first wave of geese have left. The pair of mallard ducks have taken their babies and moved on. In the quiet I find anticipation of good things yet to come.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 29

I would like to express my sadness and hugs and prayers for my good friend Candy Cole on the loss of her father, Winston. I've known Candy for years and years and her father was as much a part of my family as she is. Emphysema is a hard, hard disease. I pray he is now at peace. Please think of her and her family as they go through this time of grief.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 28

The administrator in charge of the MA program, who sends out tons of info to the participants made an astounding comment. "I keep forgetting you are writers, not readers." :) It seems people don't really read the info and then ask questions which were already answered.

I admit, I do tend to be a writer, not a reader of info. I know that my publisher has sent out the information on when paper copies of the book come out versus e-books, but I still have yet to dig through the information available and figure it out. (I put the information aside with the thought, I've got months before I need this...LOL) A friend who writes a different kind of book for this publisher said she thought it was six months after the e-book... I thought it was six weeks at first then over the last year changed to releases at the same time... but it is a vague memory. So, I really need to do more research. So, that I can have the answer for you... LOL

Each publisher is different, making the journey interesting indeed. Now, off to be a reader...not just a writer. Cheers!

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27

I've been fighting a sinus/head cold/allergy thing off and on for a month. I got up today and realized my first romantic suspense releases on Friday and I have not set up any signings. I have a blog tour that starts next week. There is also a local authors appreciation day at the library that I should attend and it would be great if I had books to sign then. I need to look into that.

Some authors are so good at promotion. They start six months in advance of a deadline. They carry their books around with them and always have one to sell or sign. They create wonderful publicity tours and really work the circuit. Kind of like movie stars do when their movie first comes out. I know I need to do better. But man, it would be easier if I had a publicist and a whole troupe of PR people putting it together and simply telling me where to show up and when. LOL That might happen for movie stars and big, big name authors. But the rest of us can only pretend.

Hope you have a great week and I hope you don't get tired of my blogging about promotion this week. Cheers!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

July 26

It's a lovely Sunday morning. The water on the lake sparkles. All the windows are open letting in a cool summer breeze. Yesterday's mail brought a rejection of the Harlequin Intrigue book I wrote in March--the senior editor very nicely wrote that it was hard for her to return...

Such is the business of publishing. I'm going to go out today-take a walk, lay in the sun and enjoy the sparkle on the water, the rustles of the leaves as the wind plays through them. Tomorrow I'll continue on writing and querying, blogging and promo.

My next book releases on Friday. So it's going to be a big week. I hope you all have a beautiful day. Cheers!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

July 25

Seriously- writing and craft has spoiled my reading pleasure...sigh. Example: The following sentence is the opening sentence to a thriller I've been assigned for class- circa 2005

"R. Charles Janus, M.D., magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth Medical, fellow if the American Academy of Neurology--and long time closet homosexual--had spent the waning minutes of Memorial Day slowly cruising his pearlescent gray Jag past the dimly lit side streets and avenues of West Chelsea."

Do you see any problems with the construction of the sentence? yeah... 1) Way too long 2) No real hook --unless you find closet homosexual titillating (which I don't particularly). 3) Passive (Had spent) 4) This is the bad guy not the hero. 5) You have no idea what his goal, his motivation or his conflict is...

Yes this book is published and marked with a sticker declaring "Good read guaranteed" by the publisher.

My Sunday blog was about the randomness of publishing... I don't think I need to say anything more. Cheers!

Friday, July 24, 2009

July 24

I was thinking about popularity - at work, in school, in readership- and it occurred to me that heroes tend to be fringe characters. They are not the popular jocks, or the VP's on the rise or even bestselling authors... Really good heroes/heroines are fringe characters. They feel ignored, left out and small. They look at other's lives and wonder why not them - think Cinderella, Eve Dallas, Harry Potter.

They all start out feeling as if they are struggling against class, circumstance, loneliness, abuse. Then discover the hero inside themselves. They may not change, but how they view themselves, their world... that changes. It makes for a great story... but it's also a good metaphor for life. So, when you are feeling small, ignored, like you can't catch a break and wishing you were someone else, remember...the best heroes feel the same and it doesn't make them any less a hero.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 23

A friend of mine recently lost her computer to a hard drive crash. She lamented the lack of recent backup. On another writer's loop they discussed on-line back up storage. Some pay for it. Some are free if you don't have much to store. I back up my work on flash drives these days. My son asked me the other day if I still had copies of all the books I've written. I do... some hard copies, some still on those small A drive discs... LOL.

One friend said she had more than 2G she needed to store and paid for unlimited on-line back up. Another friend swore she was getting an external hard drive.

I scratch my head... what do you back up? I back up my stories. (Even with all my work I don't have more than 2G) Otherwise I have hard copies of query letters- and hard copies of charts of who and what went where. I suppose you could back up photos...I did store those online until they started charging for the pleasure...

Let me know what you back up and where- I'm curious... :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 22

I'm finishing JD Robb's latest thriller, have started The Manchurian Candidate circa 1959, have a John Mackie, and a David Baldacci waiting to be read. All this is helping me to get an historical and current feel for the thriller market. And yes- in the final semester there is an academic thesis paper due on the genre, it's history, it's future and where your work fits.

I've never studied genre fiction in this way... I find it interesting... and a bit odd. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21

I'm slowly working my way through the assigned reading for my MA program. I find it lovely that genre fiction is assigned reading. Even more interesting that I am reading thrillers...meanwhile a vastly different story idea peculates through my brain. (Something far different than anything I've ever written is bouncing around in my head.) Some people can read and watch TV at the same time. My father is a master at that. That's what it's like to have your brain creating one story while you read another. It can be distracting, but is thoroughly enjoyable.

There are times, though, when I worry that I am slipping into a bit of madness... especially when I yen for a huge white board so I can write my thoughts out on my wall. Hmmm- Writing on walls...Isn't that something crazy people do? Perhaps it's merely a sign of a beautiful mind. Cheers~

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20

The view from my window is lovely today. The sky overhead is a hazy white/blue. The leaves on the trees are dark green and shimmer in the sunlight. A gentle breeze blows through the window carrying the scents of summer. It's cool here in the low 70 degrees F. The lake is low from our dry spell. It appears thick and full of dark green shadows from the surrounding trees. The center sparkles with waves from the breeze.
I'm listening to the songs of birds-robins, redwing black bird, sparrow, chickadee. Somewhere in the distance children are playing. I can't see them, but I can hear their laughter. It brings back memories of my own childhood and lazy summer days-filled with swings and games and Popsicles.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

July 19th

Happy Birthday to my nephew Ethan Lefert who is 13 today!! May you be blessed always...and Happy, happy birthday to "Papa" Tom Parra who brings joy to his family.

(My blog on how randomness rules a writer's life can be found at


Saturday, July 18, 2009

July 18

I'm off to see the latest Harry Potter movie- nuts, I know as it will probably be jam packed- but I enjoy the Harry Potter movies. I'll let you know what I think.

Do movies spark book ideas for you? If so- what are your favorites?

Have a great Saturday~

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 17

In college I had a math minor and tried out majors in paleontology, aerospace engineering, and meteorology. While I find math and science concepts ultra cool, what I discovered was that my brain tends to turn these findings into stories. (I struggle with the down and dirty exacting proofs that mathematicians and scientists insist on.)
That is how I knew I was really a better story teller than scientist. I kept making these creative leaps that would take years to prove and reprove and review. Let's face it I have the patience of a gnat. :) Instead I think I'll dream up a cool new story using my leaps of creativity and let my characters prove or disprove my theories.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16

I was at the library yesterday and I love to check the "new" books shelf. I pulled out this fabulous nonfiction book - "The Drunkard's Walk, how randomness rules our lives" by Leonard Mlodinow. There is a short blurb on the cover by Stephen Hawkings, "A wonderfully readable guide to how the laws of randomness affect our lives."

Okay- it was a random book to pull off the shelf at the library... and yet- it fits perfectly with where my thoughts have been going lately. I think I'm going to blog on this on my Sunday blog. But wait, you say- it's a book about math (shudder) - what does that have to do with writing??

Page 8 has some wonderful examples of the randomness of book writing... *smile* yes...math can explain my career... love it.

Off to read more... Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 15

Can't believe that July is half over today. I have not been to the beach yet. It's been too cool. And now the stores are touting back-to-school. The television stations are already selling their Fall line-up...even though most of the shows don't start until October. Does anyone else remember when the first week of September was when the Fall shows started? Remember the new Saturday line-ups? We would look forward to September to watch the Saturday cartoons previewed on Friday night. Now all the kids get are reality shows. Sad. Or maybe not. Maybe kids don't watch as much TV as we did. They have other things like game consoles and computers.

I digress. Just thinking about how quickly the seasons go... how quick the retail world is to toss away time. Forget summer picnics and beaches and fun... come buy a new coat and wool sweater. Perhaps it's a good time to stop and enjoy today. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 14

I'm working on next month's promotional efforts for Mr. Charming. As of right now, I have an interview with the heroine blog; a review of the book blog; an over coffee topic; an inspirational blog; and an excerpt blog. I am amazed and delighted to find so many good blogger friends who are willing to showcase me to their blog readers. The blog tour starts the first week of August. I promise to post all the links. It's my first such endeavor and I am enjoying the journey.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 13

The RWA national conference is this week and for the second year in a row I'm not going. I wish I were. I really enjoy the craziness of conference; the buzz of excitement;the meeting of old friends; the chance meetings of editors and agents in the hallways and the rumors that circulate...not to mention all the chocolate.

I simply couldn't justify the cost this year and instead chose to go to school for my Masters. In the long run, it's the right choice, but right now, as I listen to the on-line chatter of preparation, I feel a twinge of sadness. If you're going- please know that I'm with you in spirit and be sure to e-mail me all the latest when you get back.

If you're not a romance writer, there are all kinds of other conferences happening now as well- Thrillerfest just finished, and there is Bouchercon coming up and the Ninc conference not to mention all kinds of small regional conferences and retreats. If you get a chance, you should go to one at least once a year-you never know what will happen.

One word of advice-check out the conference carefully and make sure you'll get the most bang for your buck. Some small regional conferences are simply one big flea market for self published authors. So, be careful and most importantly, enjoy!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 12

Happy Birthday to my sister Mary! I hope you have a fun day and may this year be blessed.

The little dog, Gracie, goes off to the groomer today for what my daughter calls her "manny peddy." All I know is she cries and shivers all the way there- and one bad haircut later comes home happy. It's a once every six weeks ritual. I don't know which is worse-the trips to the groomer or the big dog who sheds all over the house... I love my pets. I think I'll take them just the way they are. Cheers!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 11

It's a lovely day here today- highs in the 70's, sunshine and cool breezes. I spent the morning running errands and trimming the front shrubbery-which took nearly two hours. Everything looks so much better. There is a feeling of accomplishment-until I realize that there are three sides of the house left with shrubs to trim. :0

Someday when I'm rich and famous, *snort* I'll hire a gardener to keep up with the bushes. But I'm afraid that I'm just contrary enough that when I have a gardener, I'll want to do it all myself.

Hope you have a happy Saturday! Cheers~

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 10

It's a cloudy drippy morning. I have the lights on in my office to chase away the shadows. Surprisingly the mosquitoes have disappeared. I don't know if it's the bats I saw flying over the lake, or the fact that we have been so dry the grass stopped growing. Whatever it was that made those bugs quit swarming, I'm glad for the reprieve.

Yesterday the mail person brought me the rings I left at the Pittsburgh Airport. I paid the COD gladly and opened the envelope to find they were indeed my very own favorite rings. I like to share this because all you hear in the news is the bad things people do. This is an example of good things that people do everyday with no reward. Random acts of kindness and goodness happen around us all the time, from someone opening a door for you to someone letting the other guy go first at the stop sign. The world is full of kindness. We simply have to recognise it.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 9

I'm running late on the blog today. I have no excuses other than I think I have the flu. Symptoms will not be discussed as they are not pretty... LOL But mostly my brain is in a hazy fog. So I think instead of writing today is a good day to read. I've got three books I'm reading for my Master's program: 1) the Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon circa 1959 with a great intro piece explaining what was going on in the world at the time the book was written.
2) The Faithful Spy by Alex Bernson circa 2006
3) Intrigue: espionage and culture by Allan Hepburn (This is a non fiction piece discussing espionage in literature, history, politics and culture.)

Now if only I were writing a spy novel... LOL.

Cheers everyone!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 8

Since the turn of the century/millennium there is much talk about the magic of numbers. One such number was the Olympics on 8/08/08 - good luck according to the Chinese culture. Today is another odd number- just after noon will be - 12:34:56 07/08/09 - of course they leave off the 0 before the 7 and 8 and then take away the 200 before the nine to get this supposed "cool" number that will "never" come again... until 2109.

I like things like horoscopes and astrology and biorhythms- I think they are fun to think about... and also new ways to see the world. I'm not much into numbers-being a word person- but lots of people swear by the hidden math that surrounds us. (I love the TV show "Numbers" where they can predict behavior and solve crimes with math.)

For me, though, numbers are mostly seen in bills and bank accounts and so, I don't have a happy time relating to them. (The ac was fixed yesterday. A relay on the motherboard fried with a nice cloud of smut and a hole in the board. At least the bill wasn't astronomical and I am now in cool allergy filtered comfort.)

If you're a writer, an interesting way to round out a character is to give them an interest in numbers or horoscopes. A little quirk to help the reader see them as more human.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 7

Our air conditioner died Saturday night. We waited until Monday to call the repair man, who arrived at his leisure and determined that it was the mother board. Which he didn't have and his supplier was out of. So he special ordered it. There is hope it will arrive this afternoon and the repairman will return today and finish the repair. Meanwhile we are thankful for the relative coolness of the wide baths... ice cream...allergy medications and a healthy appreciation for modern 21st century living environments. :)

Time travel? Are you nuts? They wore a lot of clothing and had no air a/c and wearing a corset. I don't think so...LOL.


Monday, July 6, 2009

July 6

I can't believe it. Finally, I have a book release the end of this month. Mr. Charming, my first romantic suspense will be released by The Wild Rose Press. My goal for this week is to plan out my promotion tactics and start spreading the news. As I've said before, book buying is really an impulse buy- so promotion works best if people can go to a buy button and click it the minute they read your blog or see your banner. Since the book is released July 31st, I am setting up my promotion for the months of August and September. Once Mr. Charming is released, I'll be putting a sample chapter of my next book, "Dream Man" on my website. Can't wait for the book buzz and reviews! Cheers-

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 5

We have mosquitoes so thick and big in our back yard that they could carry off our little dog. Which is odd because it has been very dry this month. But they all hatched in last month's wet weather and now swarm the plants and patio. I have taken to burning citronella candles near the patio door so that I can let the dogs in and out without bringing swarms of the little biters in with them. Gotta love summer...

Happy Sunday, everyone- don't get carried away! Cheers-

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4

Happy Independence Day everyone! Lots of fireworks yesterday and today. Picnics and boating and fishing- never mind that it's very cool and overcast and spitting rain. *smile* We are a hearty bred. Aren't we?

Someone on Facebook asked me what nationality I was- I laughed and wrote, "I am an American." Which works even if I decide to immigrate to Canada...(That's another story.) Over all, I think it's great to be an American mutt - (English, Irish, Scots, Welsh, Dutch, Polish, Croatian...mutt) It is a great example of how everyone can live together and get along.


Friday, July 3, 2009

July 3

Many people have today off for the big Fourth of July weekend festivities. I am dragging myself around as I have not yet recovered from my week at school. (I think next time I need to take those pills that help prevent catching stuff on airplanes...what is that stuff called? LOL)

I hope that you have a fabulous holiday weekend. Wave a flag, have a picnic, watch fireworks and remember how wonderful it is to be an American! Cheers!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 2

I'm so far behind on reading blogs I may never catch up. It's interesting to me that when I read blogs regularly and comment, people comment in return-thank you- and if I let that slip, then my blog ranking also slips. This is a good thing. Blogging should be a friendship--a partnership--a two way street. That's why I switched from the simple entries that I use to make to blogspot where you can comment. It creates dialog and a chance to interact.

As a marketing tool, I think blogging takes too much time and effort. Very little bang for your buck. But as a way to build a community-that is where blogging is good. It allows you to feel a part of something even if you find yourself very much alone in your little room...staring out your window.

But, as I said, blogging is a two way street. I will try to do better to hold up my end of the bargain. Let me start by thanking you for reading and participating in our friendship. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July 1

Happy Canada Day! In honor of all things Canadian, I watched a Ryan Reynold's (My fav Canadian actor dejour) film last night on DVD called Nines. It was cool and quirky. If you like movies where you spend the entire film puzzling out what is up, you'll like this film. (Think The Sixth Sense.) There are clues throughout linking the three parts of the story together. In the first part, he plays a crazed playboy actor on house arrest. In the second part, he plays a gay television writer desperate to have his pilot picked up and in the final part he plays a loving husband/father who disappears in the woods with a stranger. Throughout runs the central theme of discovering who he really is and what it all means. A theme every one of us can relate, too. Cheers!