Monday, November 30, 2009

Nov. 30

...end of another month- wow. The men are off deer hunting. My daughter is sick-going on day four and so there has been a marathon of Lifetime channel Christmas movies on the television. Last night we watched "The Shop Around the Corner" with Jimmy Stewart. The Christmas tree is up and sparkling in the corner and despite the coughing and hacking and sniffing from the girl, it all has a bit of a festive feeling to it. My biggest holiday joy is finding stocking stuffers. My mother sent us Christmas stockings all my adult life. My kids loved this tradition- to see what silly little things were stuffed inside-candy, a toothbrush, funny little toys. So, I am continuing the tradition with them. Which goes to show that sometimes it's the little things that bring us the most joy. Cheers!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nov. 29

I know that on Thursday, I blogged that I am thankful for you in my life. I meant it. When it comes down to it, relationships are the most important thing we have. I might not get to see you in person, but I do get to talk to you-if only a little-every day. I get to read your comments and know that you include me in your life. That is saying a lot. Your friendship is important to me. It lifts me up when I get too overly dramatic. It makes me laugh when I can share a joke. Most of all, it makes all the hard parts of writing melt away-to know that I could share a story--no matter how short-- with you. So, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nov. 28

Saw this on my Romvets loop and thought I would pass it on to my readers.

"Would you like your stuffing with or without sand fleas?"

Please help make the holidays sweeter for some female service members in Basra, Iraq. They have taken the lead in delivering the school supplies we've sent, and we'd like to express our gratitude.

Any of the following gifts would be greatly appreciated:

1. Moisturizers : Fragrant lotions, shampoos, soaps, loofah sponges, etc. (Small samples are great)
2. Magazines (nothing sexy, please) Issues you've read are fine too.
3. Munchies : Cookies in the can, hard candy, microwave popcorn, nuts

Also, ground coffee . (Strong. No decaf.)
Homey holiday decorations : an ornament, scented candle, stocking
LOVE : Cards, letters and children’s drawings are the best gifts of all.

No chocolate candy, please. The temperature in Basra is still in the high 70s.


Meyers, Aaron D.
34th ID, Fires Cell
APO AE 09374
Attn: HOL

SFC Meyers will make sure that our gifts are delivered directly to female service members. Please mail by Dec. 5 for delivery by Christmas.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Nov. 27

It's only Friday. Crazy feels like it should at least be Saturday. The holiday rush is on. I've never been a big fan of holiday sales. It's so American to make shopping a competitive sport. Advertised specials of low low prices and then the stores only have one or two such items. Thus the first one in gets the low price while everyone else is a "sucker" or "loser." Nuts! At least this year I haven't heard of any deaths as mobs rush stores. I mean, it's nice if you can save money and have more on a budget, but I'm not about to stay up all night, stand in line and get in a fist fight over a cheaper widget. Don't get me wrong. I say bravo to those who fight and win, but I simply refuse to play the game.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nov. 26

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am thankful to have you in my life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nov. 25

The last day or so has given us true Thanksgiving weather--at least how I remember it. It has been foggy and rainy and cold and dark. The house is filled with the scents of baking pies, cookies, stuffing and turkey. American football plays loudly on the television and fans shout when their teams score. It's a cold outside, warm cozy inside, kind of feeling that really only happens this time of year. A way to make the darkest days tolerable. My son comes home tomorrow. I look forward to the sights, smells, tastes and textures of the day. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nov. 24

It was nearly one a.m. last night/this morning, when I finally printed off a really nice sheet of bookmarks. (One side-still have to design and fit the back.) I enjoy the designing-even if it makes me want to rip my hair out sometimes because the nudge button is too big or the text box won't snap to a guide. In the end the bookmarks look nice. Oh- in my searching for my craft cutter, I discovered I had a box of Avery postcards. So, for now I'm printing my own bookmarks. If nothing else, I may be remembered for my kitchy promo. After all, it's all about the buzz, right? cheers!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nov. 23

I'm working on promotion. The first step is to design cheap bookmarks to hand out like business cards for my up coming release. I have years of experience in graphic design, but I have no graphic design software at home. So, the first step is to download free software. I did some research and have decided to download Gimp, Inscape and Scribus. Then it will be play time to create a nifty bookmark that doesn't look too cheap. A friend recommended Vista print-she takes the free postcards and cuts them in half for bookmarks. I'll keep you posted on this craft project. After bookmarks, I'll attempt my first book trailer. (Thanks Linda for the suggestion.) I guess if you have to do promotion you might as well have fun doing it. Cheers!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nov 22.

My Sunday blog this week is a commercial for my next book.I hope you consider books when shopping for Christmas presents this year. Publishing is a business and without sales there are no books. Have you ever wondered why an author never finished a series? It could be that the author did but the publisher didn't buy the remaining books due to low sales numbers. Think of your favorite TV shows that get canceled due to low ratings. Book publishing works along the same lines. So, support your favorite authors by buying a book today. (Sorry, used books don't count.) Thank you for your support. Cheers!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nov. 21

The view from my window is a study in sepeatone. The lake mirrors the white, white sky. It is framed by dark black, bare branches. Gray fog fills the spaces between the branches. Crystal droplets shine in the white light. In the center of the lake float 35 Canada geese, dark outlines on the metallic water. Honking softly, they are the only sound of life in the quiet morning.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nov. 20

I am running behind today. Truthfully it's been a crazy month. So far I have six books out on submission. Two fulls sent out last week and two fulls sent out this week with a partial requested that I need to do. None of these submissions have gone out without careful revisions - one book was cut from 95,000 words to 60,600 words. I'm not complaining. I am so happy for the opportunities and I really am praying/hoping/lighting candle and crossing fingers and whatever else it takes to get the universe to say yes to the work.
But, all this has left me a little bit fuzzy brained and behind in my blogging, article writing and PR. Um...can I take a day off now? After I send out the last request, of course. No, no, that doesn't mean you can't call me with a contract or ask for more revisions... I'm here, I'm here. That's the point of all this- isn't it? :) What, I have not lost can't drag me from the computer....wait! don't shut off that power switch!
Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nov. 19

The romance writing world is all a buzz since Harlequin Enterprises announced it has opened a vanity press and will add a blurb to all it's rejection letters telling authors that they could still self pub under the Harlequin name. In a brave and interesting move, Romance Writer's of America has announced that Harlequin is no longer a recommended publisher. The reason for this move is that RWA is first and foremost an advocacy group whose purpose is to advocate and educate working (in their terms "career") writers. Vanity presses exploit writers and this one is even worse because they hold out the Harlequin name as a carrot. Vanity presses have a purpose-if you want to publish a work for the family- a family history or grandpa's memoirs or a cookbook of favorites. But if your goal is to be a working writer, then you should never, never pay-not an agent not a publisher. Instead you should be paid and hopefully well for the hard work that you do.
Please note that their is a vast difference between vanity press and e-press. I think Harlequin's jump into e-press is an interesting and legitimate move in this changing environment. But never, never pay someone to publish your work unless you're doing it as a Christmas present.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nov. 18

Hmmm, it is the Wild West in the publishing world these days. At least, two NY publishers have opened self-publishing branches. Authors are worried that their publisher brand will become synonymous with vanity press and poorly executed work. There is a lot of worry that the minimal paychecks writers receive now will become even smaller. That writing as a career will disappear for all but the very giant names- writers who are in essence their own corporations. The novel is dead. Books are gone. Anyone with the gumption to put words to computer screen can be published. The sky is falling. The sky is falling.
Truth is we are in a time of change- change driven by business models that aren't working in a global economic turn down. Desperate corporations are trying anything to make a buck to keep their shareholders happy. Workers of all levels lose out. What can you do?
Breathe in and out. Write the best book you know how. Keep improving your craft. Be willing to change when change happens and remember--we live in interesting times.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nov. 17

I did it! I got a 95,000 word book down to 60,600. I'm printing it off and sending it today. I found this task daunting at first. But then it got interesting. You must look at each paragraph, each sentence. Ask yourself what would make this tighter? Why do I like this enough to leave it? Will the reader understand if I leave some action implied? (Such as having a character walk, run or reach before they open a door vs. just having them open the door.) After losing so many words/so many scenes will the story make sense? I had to completely rewrite the ending. Should probably have rewritten the opening, but I liked it too much thus leaving the book 600 words over the max limit. :) I'll keep you posted on what the editor thinks. Cheers and happy revising!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nov. 16

I'm sitting here, staring out the window, watching the lake ripple, listening to the one hundred or so, Canada geese that just flew in squawk. The trees are completely void of leaves. The wind blows the scraps of brown and red around. The sky is a dull blue gray and smells of the emptiness that comes after the wonderful scents of Fall are gone and before the smell of snow. The view is endlessly changing and minutely interesting and I understand why the big dog likes to sit on the deck and take it all in--sunshine or rain.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nov. 15

Today, I blogged about the most important thing a writer can do on my Sunday blog,

There are less than 8 weeks left until my next book is released. I need to take some time and think about promo. My writer friends say I should have book marks. I want to do another small blog tour. So, I think I'll put the excerpt of my next book up on my Sunday blog next week. This book, "Dream Man" is my sexiest book to date with actual sex scenes- not erotica-but sex. So I will be warning all my readers to expect something besides sweet/sensual. I know this will limit my blog touring but it was part of the story and important enough to keep in.

Never fear- I am currently working on a sweet Western. So there will be books for all audiences. Cheers!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nov. 14

There are people who worry about National Novel Writing Month. They say they write slow and feel out of the loop. Don't fret! Some of the best writers write slow--Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a good example. The point of nano is not to make everyone write "up-to-speed" but to give you a goal to focus on. To help to remind you that your end goal is to finish a work in progress. The key word being finish. It's difficult with all the information out there on the internet to sort through it and find what works for you-your own process and then stick to it. But that is the only way you can create a career. Without your own process, you're simply imitating others and the work won't shine. So- fear not, oh brave writers, your process however fast or slow will work for you! Happy Saturday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nov. 13

Wow- It's Friday the 13th. The sun is out on a glorious day. I have work to do. I wrote a 95,000 word single title which made all the rounds of the big houses. So I decided to query it to my publisher Avalon- only they have a standard 55-60,000 word max. So, now I'm cutting scenes left and right. So far I'm down to 70,000 - will cut some more today- then reread and shape and make sure it all makes sense. Then cut some more. I love this book. I love the characters. I keep reading a scene going-"but I love this... I'll leave it and cut something else." lol. Riiight. Must be ruthless. I owe my characters respect- respect to see their story gets out to readers. So, must step aside with my thoughts on my work and instead do what is best for them. Ahhh, the life of a writer. Cheers!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nov. 12

The Romvets group was mentioned on the review sight "Smart Bitches, Trashy Books" yesterday with a link to our before and after pictures. So cool to see authors in uniform. (Yes, there is an old pic of me in uniform, too.)

As I mentioned earlier this week, Harlequin Enterprises has opened a new division called Carina Press.

This is Harlequin's entry into the electronic book world. They hope to offer e-books of all genres: romance, science fiction, mystery, thriller, etc. They will offer close to standard e-book royalities and at this time have no plans to put out print books. (That may change in future depending on demand.) According to their submission guidelines they are not looking for YA at this time. The first books will come out in the Summer of 2010.

I like the idea of writing e-books for an established "big" press. And so I submitted a book to them. It remains to be seen as to what kind of volume they will have--too many e-books released and your book will get lost in the crowd and earn very little. What actual distribution looks like--hey mention Carina's site and other distributors. And how the market for e-books grows-- with the Kindle, the Sony e-reader, books on ipods and iphones and now the new Noble reader, I think this is the new frontier of writing. As of right now I prefer print books and bookstores, but I do have many books already written and revised that don't fit the print marketing model and this would be a good outlet for them. But I won't be writing books specifically for the e-book market at this time. I'll keep you posted.

Let me know what your thoughts are about this issue. Is all the real money in e-books in the erotica market? Or will people pay for other genres...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nov. 11

Happy Veteran's day to all our soldiers, sailors and airmen. As an Air Force Vet, I know the sacrifices you make/made for our country. Thank you!! I salute you and honor you and am proud to be in your company.

There is a great group of veterans who write romance of all sorts. Please check out their books at support a Vet- buy a book. Even better- donate a book today for our men and women overseas. It's a bit of home away from home. check out Operation Paperback at

Also- they are accepting cards and letters of support for the Fort Hood Injured soldiers and their families. Here is an address:
Ft. Hood Injured Soldiers or Ft Hood Family Members
c/o OPAC
560 Peoples Plaza, #121
Newark DE 19702

Mrs. Frankie Mayo
Operation AC Inc. (a 501(c)3 non-profit troop support company)
IRS # 02-0699201
www.operationac. com

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nov 10

I'm out and about today. Took daughter to work so I have the car. Taking little dog to the groomer- not looking forward to her shaking and whining the whole way...she loves them-just not the clippers, but she looks like a puffball and I would love to see her eyes and feet again. So, it has to be done. Unlike me, she can't simply put her hair in a pony tail and pretend she gets it cut.
In other news- Harlequin is opening a new e-press division called Carina press. I don't think they are doing YA-yet. But I think it's a sign of the future-or could just be another HQ trend-we'll talk more about this tomorrow. Have a great day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nov. 9

It's Monday and cloudy and I'm back in the office...back at work. I am revising and querying and doing some promo. I was asked by a new facebook friend to stop by her blog and tell her readers a little bit about me. That blog is posted today if you want to hop over and leave a comment. It's - She has some very inspiring posts on her blog. I am always and ever amazed by the gorgeous writing and great information found in the blogosphere.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nov. 8

Off today to meet with fabulous writer friends. We meet once a month to kibitz about writing, help each other out and set goals. For me it's about getting out of the house and socializing with other writers. I do learn a lot from these ladies and they brighten my day. So, here's to friends who cheer each other on. May you have many such wonderful people in your life. Cheers!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nov. 7

Okay- so I'm late in posting. My excuse is that it is absolutely lovely weather today. The sun is out. The sky is blue. The air is dry enough that there is no haze. Even better than sunshine and blue skies -- you don't need a coat or sweater! I've been wearing both for nearly a month now. So we have what they call Indian Summer today. Those brilliantly blue sky, warm air days after the first frost. Perfect for walking, running and playing football. Here's wishing a long and happy Indian summer for all!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Nov. 6

I mentioned on Facebook that I'm between projects and asked what people do with their down time. Someone said, writer's never have downtime because we're always writing in our heads. Which is so true. The trouble I'm having is that I have six completed books and two partials right now. Which means I have eight option books (a second for each book complete) rattling around in my head. Can't write the options until I sell the first book. I'm currently working in three genres and three areas of the romance genre. It's all too much.
The problem is that I am not patient. I want to write and sell and write some more- and when I don't sell I keep writing, revising. The market doesn't work that way- especially with a ten percent unemployment rate and book stores closing left and right. I need to stop and wait and be patient. Perseverance is good-but over kill is not. Like the people who audition for American Idol-and when they are turned down-burst into a different song- and then another song and another until someone gets the hook and throws them out. :) Patience is better than desperation. Don't you think? :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nov. 5

I'm a klutz. My father used to say I was graceful as an ox. Eight years ago I took my daughter to RWA National conference in Colorado. She was born in Denver and hadn't been back since so I wanted her to see the city and state that I love. On our first stop, we toured The Buffalo Bill museum and enjoyed the vast view at the top of the mountain. I had been there before and wanted her to see the view from both sides, so I took her down a small footpath to see the mountainside view. Climbing up on what looked like a small rock, I encouraged her to come up and get a better view. She eyed the rock and shook her head. "No way!" "Come on, it's not that high," I said. "Forget it!" she said. So I rolled my eyes at her fear and walked down to the short end and hopped off the rock. It should have been a small turned into what felt like 15 minutes of falling down the side of the mountain. I swear. I had enough time to figure out how best to know, knees tucked, shoulder first... Once I hit bottom-we were both so shocked we stared at each other. Then laughed and laughed...then checked out the damage-my right thumb swelled up, my left knee was torn open, my shoulder battered and my elbow messed up. Embarrassed, I did not go into the museum and ask for help...nope. I drove down the mountain-past a first aid station-to the Walmart. My daughter went in and purchased first aid stuff-bandages, aspirin, wound cleaner and a splint...The cashier said-"this is all just in case, right? No one's hurt?" My daughter smiled. "Yeah," she said "just in case." Paid the money and came out. We patched me up in the parking lot. I joked that it was the ghost of Buffalo Bill that pushed me. It's been a family joke ever since. (I went back to the hotel and went to conference all banged up, waited until I got home to see the doctor. Yep, my thumb was broken in three places and my elbow was chipped- I should have had stitches...but seriously didn't want to admit I was so stupid as to jump off a rock. I told everyone who asked at conference that I had done it rock climbing....;)
What brings this little story to mind today is last nights' episode of Ghost Hunters. They were guessed it...The Buffalo Bill museum. Where their were reports of mists and footsteps and...a lady being pushed down the stairs... Maybe I wasn't such a klutz after all. Maybe it was a ghost that pushed me. :) Cheers!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nov. 4

Happy Birthday to my good friend and soon-to-be-published author, Joelle. Many blessings and happy returns!

Today is enrollment day for semester two of the MA program. So, I went and followed all the steps but the computer would not let me add my courses... (figures, right? lol) So I logged out. Logged back in- still not allowed to add. Sigh. So I called the registrar who kindly checked and said that there were no holds, I should be able to enroll and sent me to the help desk. The help desk said I was the second person with this problem, but no one there knew how to fix it. The person in charge would be in soon and call me back. So I waited an hour and tried a different browser and voila! I am registered. Logged out. Logged in with original browser and guess what? No add boxes and no proof that I was enrolled. Don't you love computer systems? So, I logged out and went to the other browser-logged in and there I was enrolled. I printed out the page. We'll see what happens next. Patience is key and a very good sense of humor!

Hope your day is great~

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nov. 3

I have found that writers are a unique combination of optimist and fatalist. You have to be an optimist to think that you could even write a book. Even more of an optimist to sit down and finish a book - think about it, you are creating something out of thin air. Then you have to be optimistic enough to let others read it- to revise- to query and to publish. Even then you have to be optimistic that readers will want to buy it and read it to do any kind of marketing and promotion-sending out to be judged in contests, etc.
But at the same time we are fatalists- the only part about being an author that is in our control is the actual writing and revising. With bad economies, publishers not buying, readers not buying, and rejection letters mounting, writer's tend to "know in their hearts" this probably won't fly but I'll keep trying. Case in point, a friend finalled in a contest for the first time. While we were all congratulating her, she looked at the other finalists and said-"They have all won other contests, I haven't. I don't really have a chance to win..." lol. Not true. She has as much a chance as any of the others, but she is already resigned to the possibility of not winning.
Fatalism is a learned reaction to protect us from the things we can't control- such as whether someone "loves" the book enough to take it on. It's not a bad thing- as long as we don't allow it to overtake out optimism and keep us from attempting our dreams.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Nov 2

My calendar says today is the Day of the Dead. It is also my late Grandma Ruth's birthday so I am thinking of ancestors. All the family that lived before us, and how they live inside us now. I like to wonder on their lives, think about their hopes and dreams. It is an interesting time to wander through the cemetery and look at the inscriptions. To see the rich and the poor, the well loved and the lost. It creates stories in my heart and in my head. What binds us all is life and death- love and anger and struggle. Stories of real people fuel the stories in my head and I wonder if there isn't a part of my ancestors that live on in my characters.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nov 1

I'm going to admit how much of a geek I really am... I wanted to know what kind of trick-or-treaters we have. It always feels like a lot and we go through 10 to 13 bags of candy-of course, I give away more than one piece. So this year I conducted an experiment. I made up 80 gift bags of candy. 20 for tiny girls, 20 for tiny boys, 20 for older girls and 20 for older boys. At the end of the night I had a clear picture of how many kids came to my door. Curious? :) I'll share.
I had 14 bags left we had 66 kids stop by in three hours. The most were young boys-(19 in total), followed by older girls, (18). Then we had young girls (16) and finally older boys (13).
It was cold last night and our impression was that we didn't get as many tiny kids as usual. My daughter thought perhaps the cold mixed with the threat of flu this year kept many toddlers and preschoolers home. My favorite of the preschool costumes was a little guy dressed like a teddy bear. The older girls were dressed in 80's gear, fairies, etc. Oh, three were "cougars"- not the animal but middle-aged women who used giant purses for their treat bags. lol. The boys were action figures, skeletons and super heroes...the coolest being a giant pumpkin-headed grim reaper who scare two other boys his same age. Funny. I do enjoy trick-or-treats. Cheers!