Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas


We're waiting for Santa. Here's hoping everyone's Christmas is merry!

Friday, December 12, 2008

slow and steady

I've taken a few weeks to concentrate on Christmas. I'm done with my decorating and shopping and just have a few presents to wrap so it's back to the writing.

I expect it will be slow until after the first of the year as I'm still working on the world building and introducing the characters. If I can hit 20,000 by Jan. 1 I'll be content then ready to rock it from there on out. My goal is to have this book finished by the middle of April.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Fallen, out-takes and edits


I was thrilled to be able to bring Connor Duncan back in Fallen, which is about John Murray Carrie's brother. If you've read Rising Wind then you know John is something of an ass, and that's putting it nicely. Okay he's a big jerk the entire book. Fallen is about the reason why he acts as he does in Rising Wind. It starts the year before Rising Wind and continues until the end of the Revolutionary War. I also have points of view from Izzy, John's true love, her father Donald and her brother Ewan.

This post is to help you see how the editorial process works. While writing the story I wanted the reader who hadn't read Rising Wind to know something that happened to John in the past. I'm also a big fan of dream scenes so I included a battle from Rising Wind in John's dreams so the reader would know about some of the things that haunted John. My editor suggested we take it out for a very good reason which I'll explain after the excerpt.

John's Dream sequence.

He could not see. He could hear the noises, he knew the enemy was around him, but he could not see them. He drew his sword and his pistol and moved away from his tent.
John heard the screams and yells. He smelled the blood. Carrie was here, somewhere, in the midst of the battle. All he saw was fog and smoke. He ran through it to where he thought she should be. Where was she? Where were his soldiers, his command, all the men that were his responsibility? He was to lead them safely to Fort Savannah. It was up to him. All him. No one else.
The fog and smoke dissolved around him. He looked around the ridge and saw the bodies of his men strewn about, all covered with blood and their scalps missing. He turned a slow circle to search for any sign of life but there was no one.
“Carrie?” John formed the words but nothing came out. He felt a strange need, an urgency, a desire. He knew he should run and hide before the savages returned but he couldn’t. He had to find his sister. He moved about, calling her name but no sound was made. His mouth moved and his throat was hoarse with his calls. Perhaps he was deaf. Could that be it? He turned again, calling for Carrie. All he heard was the emptiness. Not even a bird could be heard singing in the trees. But he had heard the battle earlier. Had he not?
John shook his head and moved onward. He turned over the bodies of his soldiers with the toe of his boot, hoping against hope that perhaps Carrie would be sheltered under one of them. He looked for a color other than the red coats of his soldiers and the red of blood. He looked for golden hair and a pink striped skirt. Was that not what she was wearing?
Finally, by a trampled tent, he saw what he was looking for. A woman lay face down. John ran to her side. He dropped his weapons and fell to his knees.
“Carrie?” He touched her shoulder and it was cold and still. “Carrie?” he said again as he pulled her body into his arms and turned her over.
Izzy…How? Why? He looked down upon her pale face, at the smattering of freckles across her nose, at her red blonde cloud of curls. There was not a mark upon her, yet she was dead.
He had left her to die. Just as he had his men. She was his responsibility and he failed her.
Izzy was dead.
The pain tore through him as if the Shawnee held a knife to his heart. The shock of it sent him flying upright and he stumbled from his cot with his legs twisted in his blanket.


Later in the story I had Donald talking with Connor. Donald told Connor about John and Izzy. The problem is, the reader already knows this stuff so for them its just repetition. So we took that part out also. By the way, I really enjoyed writing Donald. He had such a dry outlook on everything. He fought at Culloden and felt guilty about abandoning his wife and children to hide in the highlands afterwards.

Donald's version.

He wasn’t going to make it. Donald looked at the bruised, beaten and sweaty face beneath the filthy bandage. John Murray would soon be a dead man, either from the broken skull or the crushed leg. It was up to him to see that he lived long enough for Izzy to make her peace with the man.
Ewan best get back with her soon or the only peace she’d have would be from standing over his grave. They’d carried Murray into the makeshift hospital camp under a flag of truce then Ewan left, taking a few of the remaining English soldiers with him to show them where they’d found Murray so they could collect the dead and the wounded. The camp was nothing more than rows of cots with some canvases hung to shelter the patients from the rain. Surgery was inside a small cabin close to the meetin house and wagons held the dead awaiting burial.
The Quakers at New Garden gave him a wide berth. Mostly because of the rifle that lay across his lap. They did not approve of violence of any kind. The Doctors looked at Murray, offered to take his leg off and he would not let them. When Murray faced his daughter it would be as a whole man and nothing less. Donald had made his position clear and they left him alone after patching the man up as best they could.
They all knew Murray would not live much longer. As it was the man was lucky to be alive. Since Ewan left the man had sunk into a delirium from his wounds and there was no rousing him. Occasionally he would speak nonsense as he tossed his head back and forth on the cot that he lay upon. Words like father, mother, Carrie, duty, savages and Izzy. Donald could not help but smile when he heard his daughter’s name. The man still thought on her. It was a revenge of sorts since he’d left his daughter with a bastard child to raise on her own.
Donald raised his hand when he saw Connor walking among the rows of wounded with two tin plates in his hands. He was covered with mud and soaking wet.
“How is he?” Connor asked as he handed a plate to Donald.
“Near death,” Donald said. The plate contained a hearty stew and a chunk of bread which he used to sop up the meal.
Connor flashed a quick grin. “Donnae spare my feelings,” he said. “Please.”
“I ken he is your wife’s brother,” Donald said dryly. “But ye can tell by looking at him that he willnae last long.” There was no need to mince words. Duncan’s kinship with the man would not stop him from dying.
Connor drug over a short stool, sat down, and dug into his plate. He had to be as hungry as Donald felt, if not more so. And there was nothing he could do for Murray beyond sit and wait.
“I hae a friend,” Connor said between bites, “Efrem, a Cherokee who is wise in the way of plants and things. I wish he was here, but then again, I am glad he is with Carrie, watching out for her.”
“Ye buried her father?”
“I did,” Connor said. “Beneath a dogwood. It will be blooming soon. Carrie would like it I think.”
“Better than he would have gotten from this lot I think,” Donald said.
“He was a good man,” Connor said. “I owed him much, including my life.”
Donald nodded his head as he let Connor have his silent moments of tribute.
“Tell me how ye know John,” he said after a bit.
“I donnae really,” Donald said. “Except that Ewan used his horse to try to break me out of prison.”
“What about your daughter?” Connor asked. “Ye said he was Elly’s father?”
“Aye. Which makes her your niece.”
“Then it is no wonder she resembles my wee Jilly.”
Murray stirred feverishly on the cot. Connor pulled a kerchief from inside his shirt and stuck it out in the rain to gather water. When he was satisfied he wiped at Murray’s face and let some of the water drizzle between his lips. He did it all matter of factly and Donald could tell there was no love lost between the two men.
“Tell me the story,” Connor said when Murray had settled.
“It seems the man here fancied my daughter,” Donald began. “He was also the one who brought me in. He had no idea that Izzy was my daughter. I think she used her mother’s name for employment or so Ewan told me. She didnae have much patience with me in those days. She blamed me for her mother’s death.” Donald looked out at the rain. He still grieved for Ellyn. The pain of hearing the news of her death was as fresh now as it was all those years ago.
“My youngest son, Donnie.” He swallowed back more grief. He had barely known Donnie, the one who resembled him most. “Was the same coloring and size as Murray here. And with Murray’s white horse…”
“I have his horse,” Connor said. “He’s a great stud.”
Donald nodded in agreement. “Tis good to know that such an animal survived instead of being blown to bits on some battlefield.”
“Donnie pretended to be John,” Connor said.
“Aye. They had a letter and a seal and since the man here was new at the post Ewan thought they could get away with it. They waited until Izzy had plans with the man, drugged a bottle of wine and he got Izzy with child while Ewan and Donnie used his horse and uniform. They were bringing me up the steps of the prison when his friend came upon them and realized it was not Murray on the horse. His friend was killed, along with Donnie…”
“Did your daughter know of the plan?”
“Nay, not according to Ewan. But he thought she did and that was enough to destroy Izzy.”
“I would say it destroyed him too,” Connor said. “He seemed to have an unnatural hatred for all things Scots when I met him. I can now see why. Carrie puzzled upon it also. She said the man I knew was not the brother she’d grown up with.”
“Pride can make men do strange things,” Donald said.
“Aye,” Connor agreed. “This explains much about how he was with me. I think it nearly killed him when Carrie chose me.”
“He felt the lash,” Donald continued. “Along with Ewan. They made Izzy watch it for her part. We didnae see her again until we were put upon the ship. He was on it too. With his horse and his sister, your wife. And Elly was born on the voyage over. Izzy wouldnae let us tell him either. He never even knew she was on board.”
“Izzy…” Murray said as he tossed his head once again.
Connor wiped Murray’s forehead again. “He tried to have me lashed,” he said as he wiped. “Luckily his father stopped it. As I said, I owed the man much.”
“I donnae thing Izzy ever got over him,” Donald said. “She is much like her mother in that way.”
“Once a woman gives her heart,” Connor said. “It is hard to convince her otherwise.”
Donald smiled as a vision of Ellyn filled his mind. “Aye,” he agreed. “And since she has given her heart to this man I willnae have him die without knowing that Izzy did not betray him. He will look her in the eye and ask her forgiveness.”
I have not done much for her…my daughter…but this I will be sure of…
“I hope he lives that long,” Connor said.


My editor suggested that we have Connor tell Donald about what happened in the massacre in Rising Wind. It was interesting to get Connor's perspective of it several years later. Plus I just love writing about him.

Connor's version

He wasn’t going to make it. Donald looked at the bruised, beaten and sweaty face beneath the filthy bandage. John Murray would soon be a dead man, either from the broken skull or the crushed leg. It was up to him to see that he lived long enough for Izzy to make her peace.
Ewan best get back with her soon or the only peace she’d have would be from standing over his grave. They’d carried Murray into the makeshift hospital camp under a flag of truce then Ewan left, taking a few of the remaining English soldiers with him to show them where they’d found Murray so they could collect the dead and the wounded. The camp was nothing more than rows of cots with some canvases hung to shelter the patients from the rain. Surgery was inside a small cabin close to the meetin house and wagons held the dead awaiting burial.
The Quakers at New Garden gave him a wide berth. Mostly because of the rifle that lay across his lap. They did not approve of violence of any kind. The Doctors looked at Murray, offered to take his leg off and he would not let them. When Murray faced his daughter it would be as a whole man and nothing less. Donald had made his position clear and they left him alone after patching the man up as best they could.
They all knew Murray would not live much longer. As it was the man was lucky to be alive. Since Ewan left the man sunk into a delirium from his wounds and there was no rousing him. Occasionally he would speak nonsense as he tossed his head back and forth on the cot that he lay upon. Words like father, mother, Carrie, duty, savages and Izzy. Donald could not help but smile when he heard his daughter’s name. The man still thought on her. It was a revenge of sorts since he’d left his daughter with a bastard child to raise on her own.
Donald raised his hand when he saw Connor walking among the rows of wounded with two tin plates in his hands. He was covered with mud and soaking wet.
“How is he?” Connor asked as he handed a plate to Donald.
“Near death,” Donald said. The plate contained a hearty stew and a chunk of bread which he used to sop up the meal.
Connor flashed a quick grin. “Donnae spare my feelings,” he said. “Please.”
“I ken he is your wife’s brother,” Donald said dryly. “But ye can tell by looking at him that he willnae last long.” There was no need to mince words. Duncan’s kinship with the man would not stop him from dying.
Connor drug over a short stool, sat down, and dug into his plate. He had to be as hungry as Donald felt, if not more so. And there was nothing he could do for Murray beyond sit and wait.
“I hae a friend,” Connor said between bites, “Efrem, a Cherokee who is wise in the way of plants and things. I wish he was here, but then again, I am glad he is with Carrie, watching out for her.”
“Ye buried her father?”
“I did,” Connor said. “Beneath a dogwood. It will be blooming soon. Carrie would like it I think.”
“Better than he would have gotten from this lot I think,” Donald said.
“He was a good man,” Connor said. “I owed him much, including my life.”
Donald nodded his head as he let Connor have his silent moments of tribute.
“Tell me how ye know John,” he said after a bit.
“I donnae really,” Donald said. “Except that Ewan used his horse to try to break me out of prison.”
“What about your daughter?” Connor asked. “Ye said he was Elly’s father?”
“Aye. Which makes her your niece.”
“Then it is no wonder she resembles my wee Jilly.”
Murray stirred feverishly on the cot. Connor pulled a kerchief from inside his shirt and stuck it out in the rain to gather water. When he was satisfied he wiped at Murray’s face and let some of the water drizzle between his lips. He did it all matter of factly and Donald could tell there was no love lost between the two men.
“Tell me the story,” Connor said when Murray had settled.
“It seems the man here fancied my daughter,” Donald began. He told Connor the tale, as told to him by Ewan who lived it…and regretted it for the grief it caused.
“Did your daughter know of the plan?” Connor asked when he was done.
“Nay, not according to Ewan. But he thought she did and that was enough to destroy Izzy.”
“I would say it destroyed him too,” Connor said. “He seemed to have an unnatural hatred for all things Scots when I met him. I can now see why. Carrie puzzled upon it also. She said the man I knew was not the brother she’d grown up with.”
“My daughter seems to care for him. And he is my grand-daughters father. I know nothing of him beyond that. I cannae judge him as ye can.”
“I am not sure I can judge him fairly,” Connor said. “I spent more time thinking about how I wanted to kill him than anything else. From the first moment I met him we were at odds.”
Donald settled his stool back against a post and crossed his legs in front of him. “Tell me,” he said. “If by some miracle he survives this and I have dealing with him in the future it would help me to know something about him.”
Connor smiled. “He hated me from the start. That much was obvious. I think I understand it now but then I took it personally. Or course I had no love for anyone wearing the red coat at that time. For good reason.”
“Most highlanders can say that,” Donald agreed. “Tis the way of things.”
“Aye,” Connor said. “Add to that the fact that his sister caught my eye.” He chuckled. “She nearly killed me come to think of it.”
“From the looks of ye I think ye survived,” Donald said dryly.
“We nearly didn’t,” Connor said, suddenly serious. “We lost his entire troop up on the Blue Ridge.”
“Shawnee?”
“Aye. I was to lead them to Fort Savannah. It was back in ‘74. In April. They were just off the ship.”
“As were we,” Donald said.
“Carrie was determined to come with us. She wanted to see her father. And himself there was determined to march through the wilderness as if he were parading down the streets of London.”
“Might as well of invited the Shawnee into your camp,” Donald observed.
“I missed the signs,” Connor admitted. “And he was not inclined to listen to my opinion on much…”
“Because ye are Scot.”
“Aye,” Connor agreed. He leaned forward and placed his forearms on his knees. “The fog was heavy that morning. My friend, Efrem, had come into camp the night before. We rose early and went down to the stream to bathe… and talk. Efrem was trying to convince me to cut his throat and take off with Carrie.” Connor tilted his head towards Murray. “As soon as I heard the first shot I knew they’d come. My first and only thought was for Carrie. It turned out she was in the stream with her maid as she had the same notion for a bath.”
Donald knew what Connor was seeing in his mind’s eye. He’d seen it enough in his own lifetime. Different battles, different fields of valor, but always the same deadly results. “Ye did the only thing ye could do. Ye took the girl and ye ran.”
“We did,” Connor admitted. He smiled again. “Then she made us go back for him.”
Murray chose that moment to stir. He said something unintelligible. Was he reliving the battle as Connor told of it? Connor wiped the man’s brow again. He had a history with the man yet he took care with him. His love for his wife was strong enough to conquer the hatred he felt for his enemy.
Murray settled again and Connor continued with his story. “We were too far into the wilderness to go back so we moved on to Fort Savannah. He blamed me for all of it.” He stretched a long leg out and nudged a moccasin clad toe at a rock that poked up through the damp grass. “He nearly drowned when we crossed the New River. Efrem and I jumped in to save him and still he wanted to kill me. Carrie nearly died too, from a copperhead. That, along with the Shawnee on our heels…” His voice trailed off and he scratched at the growth of coppery beard that grew beneath his chin. “When we got to the fort he threw me in a cell and ordered me lashed. He was full of hatred. And pride. I think he went mad a bit after his men were killed. He blamed me for it ye ken.”
“Pride can make men do strange things,” Donald said.
“Aye,” Connor agreed. “I think it nearly killed him when Carrie chose me.”
“He felt the lash himself,” Donald continued. “Along with Ewan. They made Izzy watch it for her part. We didnae see her again until we were put upon the ship. He was on it too. With his horse and his sister. And Elly was born on the voyage over. Izzy wouldnae let us tell him either. He never even knew she was on board.”
“Izzy…” Murray said as he tossed his head once again.
Connor wiped Murray’s forehead again. “Luckily for me his father came and stopped my lashing. As I said, I owed the man much.” He looked over at Murray whose lips moved in silent communication with the demons who haunted his dreams. “I got the best of him yet,” he said. I have his great white stud and am putting him to good use.”
“It might give him some comfort inspite of his hatred,” Donald admitted. “We watched him on the ship with the beast. He treated him well.” Donald rose and stretched his arms over his head. The weather and Connor’s story, combined with the intensity of the battle had finally caught up with. “I donnae thing Izzy ever got over him,” he added. “She is much like her mother in that way.”
“Once a woman gives her heart,” Connor said. “It is hard to convince her otherwise.”
Donald smiled as a vision of Ellyn filled his mind. “Aye,” he agreed. “And since she has given her heart to this man I willnae have him die without knowing that Izzy did not betray him. He will look her in the eye and ask her forgiveness.”
I have not done much for her…my daughter…but this I will be sure of…
“I hope he lives that long,” Connor said.


I hope this gives you an idea on how the editorial process works. It's always helps me to have another view of the story since I tend to write in a vacumn. So what do you think? Is the story more interesting this way? Can you see the process behind the edits?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Contentment


Since I posted pics of the view outside I'd thought I'd add some of the inside. My biggest fans, Achilles and Cody watching me work.

Geez my office is a mess.

Mondays

Monday is my day to post on the Chatelaines
Come on by and tell us what you're thankful for.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fall



I love Fall. The cool weather, the colors, the clothes. I love baking cakes and cookies and making soup and chili. It's my favorite season of the year. So here is some of the beautiful scenery I see every day. Try to over look the dozer. My neighborhood is still under construction

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Halloween



Once more I went for fairy wings. For Trunk or Treat at our church I was Scary Fairy.
And in the neighborhood on Halloween night I was the Pretty Fairy. Believe me, I had fun flitting about in my uggs and fairy wings and the kids loved it. I'm all for wings, anytime, anywhere.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Chat with the Chatelaines



Come Chat with the Chatelaines. Join Emily Bryan, Jennifer Ashley, CL Wilson, Joy Nash, Gerri Russell, Bonnie Vanak and me as we talk about historical romance, books we love and life in general.

Our first topic is Obsessions.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Going for it


I've decided to join up with the nanowrimo this month. Of course I'm already behind since I'm two days late but what the heck, I'll give it a shot. Plus I like this write meter guy. Maybe it will keep me motivated.

I'm working on Breath Of Heaven, my next historical. It's set in medieval England and as a touch of magic to it. I'm loving the time.

So wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yes, I've been hiding under a rock

Did anyone miss me? The problem is I've had this horrible virus for the entire month of October. Weak and listless with an incredible congestion that racks my body with coughing spasms. Not fun. It also makes me sad because October is my favorite month of the year and I feel like I've pretty much missed it.

So here's the news from my world. I've started a new book called Breath of Heaven. Its a medieval which is a time I've never written about but have always loved. Think Camelot, First Knight, Kingdom of Heaven, Tristan and Isolde, The Wolf and The Dove and the Roselynde Chronicles. All favorites of mine. I am really enjoying it.

I just did my page proofs on Fallen which will be released in Feb. I will be posting the cover and some out takes soon, I promise.

We have a new dog...temporarily. My son's girlfriend, whom we adore, got into grad school a year sooner than planned. So we have her dog, a six month old Siberian Husky. Once more will post some pics. My camera crashed and I'm in the process of getting it fixed. We've been going to obedience school and I have to admit I've learned a lot. Now if I could just get him to stop shedding....

I also just sent out an exciting new scifi project called Prism. I'm really excited about it and hope to be talking about it more soon.

Oh yeah, I'm on Twitter if you want to keep up with my day to day ramblings. I'll try to get back into the swing of things and blog more consistently. I promise.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

yes, I know someone famous



Since tonight is the new 90210 night I thought I'd post about Jessica Straup. She plays Erin Silver on the show and my son took her to Prom! Not only that, Drew was Jessica's first boyfriend back in middle school. Somewhere in my archives I have a picture of her when she was 13 and even then you could see she was going to be a great beauty.

We've been following her career since she took off to Hollywood. We squeed when we saw her on the Target commercial, followed by Dentyne Ice and then she showed up on Grey's Anatomy and in movies like The Hills Have Eyes. Now we get to see her every week and she is doing an awesome job with her multi dimensional character.

Yay Jessica. We're so proud of you and can see you are going places.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

San Francisco sights!


I did manage to squeeze in a bit of sight seeing while I was in San Francisco. Chinatown was within walking distance and Alyssa Day and I ran off for a few hours to Fisherman's Wharf. I didn't make it to Alcatraz due to the flight screwups so I had to settle for a long distance shot. Alyssa said the tour was wonderful.
We had ice cream and bought T-shirts. Also got a Hard Rock Cafe guitar magnet. I'm determined to get one from every Hard Rock I can.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

we have a winner!


The winner of the autographed set of Colby Hodge books and a set of autographed pictures of Chris Winters is!

Deidre!

Yay!

The stuff will be in the mail as soon as I get her addy. Congrats Deidre.

Friday, August 22, 2008

more from NY NY

The best thing about being in NY was catching up with all my friends. Awesome writers Barb Ferrer and Alyssa Day were in town with their daughters and we met Marianne Mancusi and Liz Maverick at Sambuca's, home of the $30 meatball
Afterwards we walked past the Dakota into Central Park since I had never been there. Liz and Marianne both live on the upper West Side which I have to admit it rather nice. We picked up Marianne's dog Molly and took her for a walk and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.
It was a whirlwind three day trip with family, friends, agent and publisher and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Later I'll post the official "results" of my trip.

I'm an innovator

Not this week. This week I'm the dog sitter.




You Are the Innovator



You're the type of person who is always a step ahead of everyone else.

You thrive when you're experimenting with new designs, ideas, and attitudes.



You are a creative person with many talents. You have to have artistic outlets in your life.

You need to create - whether it's writing furiously or redecorating your home. If not, your life becomes chaotic.



You tire of doing the same thing every day. You change your job, friends, and personal style often.

You are at your best when you have a focus. If not, you develop a flaky artist's temperament.

Monday, August 18, 2008

catch up

This is a catch up post. I admit it. I have every intention of blogging every day. I take my lap top with me so I can upload videos and pictures. Then I get extremely frustrated because of course nothing goes the way I want it too. So just to get everyone up to date.

I have finished Fallen. Yay! I turned it in the Monday before I left for nationals in San Francisco. The release date is Feb 09 and I'm waiting for the final on the artwork to post the cover. Its beautiful!

My next project is Breath Of Heaven. This is a medieval set story and I'm researching the period right now. I'm excited about this book. Many years ago I attempted to write a book and this was it. Needless to say it wound up in the trash and this time I am determined to do it right.

I've taken three weeks off to recoup from a horrendous year of deadlines and dealing with my dad's cancer. Dad is doing great and the books are turned in. So now I'm excited about some new projects and just waiting to hear from the publishers on what they want me to do next. I'm also sending out a new YA for consideration.

In the past month I've been to NYC, San Francisco and Ocean Isle NC. I will post pics soon, I hope. If I can get it to work. I also hope to recommend some great reads I've had the pleasure to enjoy.

I've also started a new group called Authors4animals. Join me at www.myspace.com/authors4animals. Help us raise money for different rescue groups. It's in the formative phase right now and I hope to have it rocking by RT09.

More will follow! I promise!

Monday, August 04, 2008

San Francisco, the trip out


RWA nationals were in San Francisco this year. Wow. Five days in San Fran. I couldn't wait. I made plans for sight seeing on Wednesday morning, prebought my tickets and wound up having not one, but two flights that had mechanical problems. I spent half the day Tuesday flying, spent six hours in the Nashville airport after being grounded, then had to fly to Philly the next day then on to San Francisco. The only good thing to come out of two straight days of airline hell was that I made a new friend. Cody! We were seated together on two flights and traded around so we could sit together on the last flight. We figured after going through all that trauma that we should hang together until the very end. Plus its much nicer to fall asleep on someone you sorta know instead of a complete stranger.

Friday, July 18, 2008

New York, New York


I just got back from a whirlwind tour of New York City where I met with my editors to discuss new books and met with my agent to discuss new deals. Also caught up with some friends.
Here's me with hot and humid hair with Liz Maverick, one half of the Rebels of Romance. We were at a Turkish restaurant where the appetizer plate did not look appetizing to me. And I still can't understand how you can mix yogurt, garlic and mint together in one sentence. But I digress...it wasn't about the food, it was the company. And I did like the yogurt, garlicmint oxymoron.


And here's me with book seller extraordinaire Stacey Agdern and positively Stellar tourguide/scifiromance writer Leanna Renee Hibler. After dinner they walked me back to my hotel and we splurged for milkshakes at Lindy's on seventh and 54th. Yummy.


and me and my wonderful cousin Betsy who treated me to my first broadway show,Legally Blonde. It was the best, plus I had a blast hanging out with her and her beautiful daughters. And guess what, we're at Lindy's again drinking milkshakes.

Stay tuned for more details about my trip.

Friday, July 11, 2008

craziness

We went to a local beach music festival Saturday with our friends and had a blast of course. The best thing now is that all of our kids are old enough to party with us. And they've also realized that we are pretty cool. Once again it took a while for everyone to realize that I had a video camera in my hand, but once they did things kind of took off. This is Reece. He graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina this year. Will someone please give him a job? Hopefully close to home because I sure would miss him if he wasn't around.
video

Reece is looking for a job in Television production. He's got some great videos and commericials put together. And he's working on a book vid of Twist for me. I can't wait to see what he comes up with. And oh yeah, you should see him do the Electric Slide.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Cool New Contest

Dorchester is doing a contest inviting readers to dress up as their favorite character from a Dorchester book and send in a photo. There are cash and free book prizes for the best in 4 categories. The Rebels of Romance did a video explaining the rules.

I can't wait to see what the readers come up with. And if you decide to do one of my characters send me a picture and I will return the favor with an autographed copy of Twist.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another interview with Chris Winters!


Chris has another indepth interview with Helen Scott Taylor this years winner of the American Title contest. Put two winners together and that equals one great interview. Go here to read more.

And yes, we will be giving away the prize sometime in August.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008




This is the report I just got from my local YMCA. For those of you who don't know, I've been on a high protein diet and workout program designed by my son Josh who is a certified personal trainer and nutrisionist.

As you can see he knows what he's talking about. And it works, so far I've lost sixteen pounds. Woohoo

But here's the thing. I have to lift thirty elephants to eat fifteen ice cream sundaes? That's like two elephants per Sundae. Where is the justice in that? And why is it you can gain five lbs in one day but it takes two weeks to work them off and that's if you workout strenuously every day and don't eat.

Don't get me wrong, I feel great, I'm looking better, I'm down a size, my arms are toned and I'm like a machine on the tread climber. I'm addicted to working out. Plus my metabolism is much stronger now and burns calories faster. But come on. If I want a sundae I've got to lift two elephants? What if I just want an ice cream cone? Like a childs scoop, in a cup maybe, of chocolate from Baskin Robbins. What do I have to lift to eat that?

Actually nothing. I had one last night and my weight stayed the same. But I have learned something. Exercise plus good diet equals healthy weight loss. And I'm all for that.

So all you elephants, stay out of my way.

Monday, June 23, 2008

new toys

I got this wonderful flip video camera for mothers day and I'm still figuring out how to upload it. Anyway, this is from mother's day with my baby (yes a very big baby) Drew
video

Ha! I got proof! More videos to follow. Thats my nephew recording. It took forever for everyone to figure out that it was a video camera and not a still one.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hey I'm on Lifetime TV

Well acutally its more about my dear friend Chris Winters winning Mr. Romance but if you watch it close you can catch my buddy Luke giving me a spin. Yes I'm making a face coz Luke and I didn't have a clue what to do. It was last second improv.

But Chris, as usual, is perfect. Gotta love Mr. Romance.

Monday, June 02, 2008

An Interview with Mr. Romance 2008 Chris Winters



Chris, congratulations on being chosen Mr. Romance of 2008 and thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview. Please tell us, why did you decide to enter the contest, sponsored by Dorchester Publishing, in the first place?

Thank you very much and glad to do the interview! Well, I first started last year, and made a lot of friends. I also learned that this was a complete different world, and in this world its more than just the romance competition. It was fantasy, it was friendships, it was about the craft of writing! The romance competition was just a small part of it.
This year though, my good friends: Christine Feehan, Dayna Linton, and Anette Batista with BetweenYoursheets.com sponsored me. Christine Feehan last year sponsored me along with Crossing Realms. It was so good to see them again!
Along with the sponsors, I also did the character of Zander of Star Shadows. I enjoyed the book, and got into the character, which is surprisingly similar to me.


During the Romantic Times Conference and as a Mr. Romance contestant your job was to talk to as many attendees as possible. Did you ever find it difficult to be so open and friendly with so many people?


Not at all. With an East Coast shell and a West Coast open mind-set, I am always open to people. I hardly get embarrassed or let me pride get into the way. I don’t mind answering questions at all.


During the pageant you were asked to portray Zander from Colby Hodge’s book Star Shadows. What did you do to prepare for the role?


I bought the book, and read it. After reading the book, I went out and bought some some materials that resembled the character. I even took pics and passed them onto Colby to get her ‘approval’. She said, it looks groovy, and then afterthat, it was all Zander from there!

I know that you are a computer applications developer by day and an actor/model on the side. Tell us a bit about your life in both worlds and do you think being Mr. Romance will help advance your modeling/acting career?


Well, doing application development and web site design takes patience, creativity, and mind processing. I enjoy doing application development more than anything. On the acting side, its what I really enjoy. I like being many, many people or things. Modeling is cool, and I hope to make it a more full time thing. Its becoming increasingly that way now.
Mr. Romance helping my career? Im sure, with all appearances, or productions I am in helps me to a degree. Im hoping once I get my regular productions complete, I will start the Mr. Romance ‘tour’. HA HA! I not have started on that yet! Whew!


Dorchester publishes all types of romance books that include historicals from medieval times to the old west, paranormals with vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters, urban fantasy, contemporary stories and also futuristic action romance. What kind of hero would you like to play on the cover of a Dorchester release?

Well, I’m real excited to see what they have planned for me, which will be a huge challenge because, that is un-explored areas. It would be really nice to configure myself in a way to represent a character. I did it before, and I am excited to have Dorchester reveal that character. It would be awesome to do Zander, for Colby Hodge, because I’ve did that character, and researched him, during RT. I would like to continue the efforts in bringing his character out. I’m not just saying this to promote her book, but Star Shadows was actually a great book to read. I actually got a bit upset when she killed off one of Zander’s hope-to-be. Getting back to the answer, I really would like to be the representation of Zander. THAT would be cool! Not only could I go into book stores and see myself floating on the books, but it would be better to make appearances with Colby and sign books. Now, of course (chuckles) I would not dress up and act him out right there and then because that would be… a bit odd I think? No?

Was there any part of the competition that was difficult for you?

I think just being in it! It’s very taxing on one’s soul and mind, after a week of not getting rest! (chuckles). I do have to mention about the pose down I did. That can be difficult, because you want to portray how everybody views romance. Everyone thinks romance is candlelight dinners, or a way a man takes a woman, wraps himself around her. Its more than that… Its fantasy, little things you do for a gal, and the things that show interest, in her- not how you look with her. For example, I remember doing my rehersals: All the guys laughed at me because I showed each and every one of the models how I would like “us” to be seen. Not how “I” liked to be seen, but “us”. I had a couple of seductive modeling photos I did with a few women and explained how hot it would look if we played it out. The girls loved it. The guys thought I wanted to give out my number and stuff. It took only one time, and explanation, and the gals went right along with it. I said all they had to do is follow my lead. Let me touch them. To touch a woman, is to touch her, not grope her or force her into a romantic position—you “carry” her there!
Anyway, on stage, the guys were still practicing how their pose down should be. I mentioned to a couple and said: “Don’t practice, there’s no need to. When you are with that girl, make it as if you entered her room. Seduce her with your magnetic male properties. Be her alpha male.”
when I went on stage, I touched those girls, and they went right along with it. I could feel the goose bumps. I can feel their lovely smooth skin. Their breathe on my face. They could feel my breathe on their neck. The kissing and nudging was a part of it, because that ‘is’ romance. I heard once from a blog that I purposively broke the rules by kissing the models. I don’t recall those rules, but if it takes showing romance and seduction on another level, then I want to show it. I think the crowd loved it because the third model actually, wanted me to do the same thing to her. That to me, show romance and seduction. It was the moment. I remember the cover models told me that my pose down is what women liked, what everyone like and expected—to take a female to that place where I wasn’t at the competition anymore.. We were in another world: our own.


How did you feel when they announced your name as Mr. Romance 2008?

I didn’t even know I won, I was already so out of it, ready to pass out from not eating and rest, and not to mention, my mind processing about the movies Im supposed to do a week later after the show! When my name was called, I was really shocked. I thought Fred Williams or Fish would have gotton it. Fred Williams and Luke Walsh, I loved. They were the exact same duplication of me, personality wise.

Any advice for future Mr. Romance contestants?

Be real. Don’t practice. Don’t try to be someone or something for a woman. Its not looks, its not the way to try hard, it’s the way you are, a real human being, genuine. Its that man who walks, gracefully, looking at her, smiling. Its that man who brings her a cup of coffee, or even sits and laughs with her. Its that man who listens to her, not talks her ear off. Its that man, who extends his hand to her, accepting hers.
I’ll definitely will be there next year, to help any hopefuls out. Im not perfect, but I am Mr. Romance!


What’s up next for Mr. Romance?

Well, big things are happening! I just completed a music video that will be on MTV soon, the group is a hard core group named WE WERE GENTLEMEN. I am also in production with two indie movies: Window With A View and Mountain Mafia. I also completed a short comedy called Check, Please! I did some print work for a transit company, Hampton Inn, and SunnyDays magazine. Still to this day, on Discovery Channel, the A Haunting: Ghost Soldier is still playing! There’s a lot more in store, but I cannot say right now, but I can say, that I’ll be doing more RT cover model stuff in the coming year!
I’ve got an empty coffee cup that you drank out of. Do you think I can sell it on ebay?

No. Enjoy it first, when I get famous, I’ll give you more to sell!

Anything you want to add?
I enjoyed this interview. If anyone wants to see me work, you can google my name, go to my website (chriswinters.com), and check my out at IMDB.COM. I just want to say in short: I love everybody! Remember: Smile! Its makes you look good!

On a personal note, I got to spend a lot of time with Chris at RT and I can say without hesitation that he is a very genuine person and deserved to win. And yes, I'm saving the empty coffee cup for when he's famous!

If you've got a question or a comment for Chris please post it. And who knows you might be lucky enough to win a set of Chris Winters autographed pictures and a set of Colby Hodge books. A winner will be chosen at random from the comment list.

Friday, May 09, 2008

I just got tagged

I just got tagged by Marianne Mancusi

The rules:

a) Link to the person who tagged you.

b) Post the rules on your blog.

c) Write six random things about yourself.

d) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.

e) Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on his/her blog.

f) Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

Okay six random things about me.

1. I saw the Mothman when I was four years old. Seriously

2. My favorite movie of all time is White Christmas and I would love to dance like Vera Ellen in the song Mandy.

3. I LOVE to ride roller coasters.

4. When I was little I called station wagons cars with back porches.

5. The first time I saw the ocean we were at Virginia Beach and I was more scared of the crabs because it was night and I couldn't see them.

6. My favorite guilty pleasure is a chocolate shake from Hard Rock Cafe. Luckily there are no Hard Rock Cafe's near me.

I'm tagging Sonja Foust, Barb Ferrer, Stacey Klemstein and thats all because everyone else I know has either been tagged or won't play.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

HIstorical Fans


Check out the great new historicals available from my fellow Leisure Authors. Go here for info and excerpts. Happy reading!

Monday, May 05, 2008

I need a hero!


A lot of dicussion has gone on recently about some of the actions of the cover guys at the RT conference in Pittsburgh. And I have come to realize that just as there are all different kinds of writers there are all different kinds of cover guys. When talking about the conference with some of my non attending friends I realize that a lot of people have this "Image" of what they think the guys are like and most of it is not good. So let me attempt to divide these guys into three different groups

First up is the EC guys. They work for Ellora's Cave and walk around in tanks that say things like "Got Sex?" They are there to look hot and entertain the crowd. The only problem I have with these guys is the fact that some of them think every woman there wants to sleep with them. WRONG! The following is my perception of an interaction with an EC guy. I was sitting in the hotel lobby with one of my published friends when two guys wearing EC shirts walked by. The dialog is all internal.
ME: What is up with that hair? Does he seriously think that's attractive?
HIM: She wants me. All women want me.
ME: Seriously dude. get a haircut. And wash it. It looks like you've got a potted plant growing out of your head.
HIM: She really wants me. I'm surprised she's not ripping her clothes off.
ME: (at this point I jab my writer friend and give a coy check that out toss of my head.
HIM: They both want me. I'll give them a show. He then proceeds to do a clenchy thing with his muscles that makes his butt cheeks jump.
ME: Ewww gross, does he think that's sexy?"
HIM: hmmm, I can't believe she's not jumping my body.

Seriously a big misunderstanding. So when EC guys hit the stage I just find something better to do with my time. I've got no problem with it or them, I just find that my tastes run to something different. And it is all a matter of personal opinion. I am sure that there are some who would read this post and think I'm crazy and think that above mentioned pothead guy is really attractive and sweet. I'm just saying I don't. But as you will see I can and will admit that I am wrong about something.

The next group is the guys who are cover and calender models and come to RT to meet up with their photographers, see their friends and hopefully make some connections that will lead to more covers and book vids. I will admit that I was wrong about these guys. I had them lumped into the EC catergory. I found out this year that they are a wonderful group, funny, goodlooking of course and just general nice guys. One in particular I had misjudged. I thought he was a jerk when I met him in Kansas City a few years back. Turned out he had just had surgery and was heavily doped up on pain meds while trying to compete in the MR. Romance pageant. MY BAD!

The third group is the Mr. Romance contestants. These guys are great. Models trying to break in, babies most of them, walking around wide eyed and wondering just what the heck did they get into? They get no sleep, have no time to eat and spend the entire week meeting and talking to fans. They are perfect gentlemen. Some of them enjoy it so much that they come back year after year and fall into the above group. I have made some really great friends from this group and can't wait to see them next year and the year after and the year after.

In the coming weeks, on Mondays, I will be introducing everyong to guys from the second and third group. I will have short interviews and some hot pics and those of you who are at RT next year can go up and say, "Hey I hear you are a really great guy!" It will most likely make their day and you find out up close and personal how really great they are. You might even recognize some of them from the covers they've done.

So just as you don't judge a book by its cover, don't judge a cover guy by the actions of a few. I think you will be in for a pleasant surprise. Oh yeah, pictured above is Mr. Romance Chris Winters, The lovely Katherine Taylor, Luke Walsh, Fred Williams and Christopher Howell, all contestants in the Mr. Romance competition 2008.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Feed and Care of Your Deadline Crazed Writer


I was trying to explain to a friend the other day about deadline hell. What happens to writers when we have to slide into that dreaded place that consumes every bit of our time, imagination and energy. I realized that until you really live it, that most people do not really understand what it is. So hopefully this will explain it a bit and give you some hints on what you can do to help your favorite writer get through it.

Deadline hell is what occurs when you don’t hit your carefully planned out page count for each day that you have until your book is due. Best laid plans and all that, but quite frankly, life happens and it does get in our way. For me lately it’s been my dad’s cancer, which is now in remission, thank you. So said book that was due March 1 is now due June 1 and has to be turned in or else it will not make it to production on time for its February release. This also means that since I missed the first deadline I will not have a Cindy Holby release this year (only Colby Hodge’s Twist) andI SUCK AS A WRITER AND MY CAREER IS OVER.

Since I now have two extra months to write I can do it. Woohoo! WRONG. During April Dad is in hospital twice with complications, I am preparing for RT, I go to RT for eight days and it takes me a week to recover, catch up from RT. Two of those days were spent sleeping as I got no sleep at RT. So now its May 1, book is due June 1 and I’m about 4,000 words away from halfway. Which means I have to write around 250 pages in a month. Which is around ten pages a day if I write everyday which I won’t be able to do because life gets in the way. Can I do it? I better because if I don’t I SUCK AS A WRITER AND MY CAREER IS OVER.


So what happens then. I sit in front of my computer. I tell myself I will not play Freecell ever again for as long as I live. I play Freecell. I look at manuscript. I decide entire book is the great dedication to sucktitude. I put on writing inspired songs to get into the story. Since I am writing an angsty story I get depressed. I listen to them over and over again. I get all weepy. My bwff (best writing friend forever) tells me to quit listening to angsty songs and I reply with giant wail. “But I caaaaannnn’t. It’s the soundtrack to Atonement and I Lurve James MacAvoy and he diieeesss.” Btw dialog like this goes back and forth all day with my bwff posse. If you want to know who they are check out the dedications in my books. Finally I decide I am in right frame of mind to write.

But first I check my email. Why? Because writers are isolated. Email is our connection to our friends. What are our friends doing? Are they in writing hell too? Ohh, here’s a link to something. Maybe I should check that out. Finally I realize that I’ve wasted half a day on internet. Turn off internet and write. Go back to manuscript. Maybe it doesn’t suck. Hmmm, writing historical and I need to know what certain building on certain street looked like in eighteenth century. Sign back onto internet. Get distracted again by email, IM or something Brittany/Paris/TomKat has done. Oh, another email, someone I know has hit list/won award/got new multi comma contract and while I am happy for them it didn’t happen to me because I SUCK AS A WRITER AND MY CAREER IS OVER.

Why do writers obsess over things like that? Because we write in a vapor. Some writers have critique partners. I don’t. If the story takes a direction I’m not sure of I’ll send it out to a few of my friends for some feedback but for the most part it’s just us and the story.

So now its time to really get serious. What happens next in the story? Write write write. Hmmm, write some more. Shove kitten off desk. Try to ignore sad doggy eyes. Grab apple, yogurt, banana, hand full of chips for lunch. Grab some caffeine. Grab some more. Stay up late writing. Eyes cross, wrists aches, back and shoulders ache, butt hurts because this continues day after day after day. Husband pokes head in and asks about dinner. You look at him like he’s an idiot and wave him off. Husband carries in dinner, does laundry, vacuums, rubs back and tries to stay out of your way. (I am fortunate that my kids are grown and pretty much self sufficient and I also have an awesome husband) Week goes by, then another, then another and you realize story has come together and perhaps you aren’t the giant burrito of sucktitude (bwff term) that you once thought you were. But you are also very lonely, and you kind of look like crap since you have basically lived in front of your computer for a month. Since I am now working on my thirteenth book I’ve kind of been through this before so I know what to expect. You think that one day I would figure it out and stay out of deadline hell but I don’t because I SUCK AS A WRITER AND MY CAREER IS OVER.

So what can you, as a fan/friend of a deadline crazed writer do? I have my own little support group. I just got a text hug from one. Another is giving me rah rahs every night and I have realized how much I really appreciate it. I look forward to it. It keeps me inspired because I know these people believe in me and maybe I don’t SUCK AS A WRITER. So if you have a writer friend who is in deadline hell then drop them an email (believe me they will be checking) or a comment on their myspace page and say Yay, we believe in you and can’t wait for the next book. They will appreciate it more than you know. And it’s also great to know that you don’t really suck that you are just doing the best that you can.

Oh yeah, we procrastinate too. Why else would I be spending my time writing this instead of working on my story?

Friday, April 25, 2008

This makes me happy!



Balding Penguin Gets Wetsuit for Warmth
AP
Posted: 2008-04-25 13:20:54
Filed Under: Science News, Weird News
SAN FRANCISCO (April 25) - What's black and white and warm all over? A penguin in a wetsuit, naturally.


Photo Gallery
Eric Risberg, AP 'He Was Cold;
He Would Shake'1 of 4 Forget the Rogaine -- Pierre the penguin's got a wetsuit. The 25-year-old African bird was going bald, so biologists at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco outfitted him in a specially-designed wetsuit to encourage him back into the water. Here, Pierre models his sleek duds for aquatic biologist Pam Schaller.

Sounds like a joke, but it's quite serious for biologists at the California Academy of Sciences, who had a wetsuit created for an African penguin to help him get back in the swim of things.

Pierre, a venerable 25 years old, was going bald, which left him with an embarrassingly exposed, pale pink behind.

Unlike marine mammals, which have a layer of blubber to keep them warm, penguins rely on their waterproof feathers. Without them, Pierre was unwilling to plunge into the academy's penguin tank and ended up shivering on the sidelines while his 19 peers played in the water.

"He was cold; he would shake," said Pam Schaller, a senior aquatic biologist at the academy.

Pierre's species of penguin is accustomed to temperate climates, unlike many of their cousins. The birds are nicknamed Jackass penguins because they make sounds similar to braying donkeys, quite startling the first time you hear it in an aquarium.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

RT Recap


Wow, so much happened it eight days that it is hard to even remember what the beginning was like. So I’ll just have to do it a day at a time.

I arrived in Pittsburgh on Sunday after driving six hours with the back of my car filled to the ceiling with promo stuff for the Intergalactic Bar and Grille Party. I met Linnea Sinclair and Stacey Klemstein at the airport and we left for the hotel after having a great laugh when we saw an exit for Moon Beaver PA. From that point on Isobo Kelly’s baby was referred to as Moon Beaver. I shortened it to Moon Beam. I like that better. The four of us had a fabulous dinner at a restaurant called the Palomino and had a great time catching up on things.


Monday I was privileged to have the chance to speak at Bobbi Smith’s advanced writers course. I talked about creating internal conflict and research in two different workshops. I loved seeing the excitement of these writers and especially loved catching up with them during the rest of the week. Good luck to all of you that were in those workshops.

Monday night my friend Chris Winters who was participating in the Mr. Romance pageant arrived and we talked for a long time. I really enjoyed having the hotel to a small group because I knew in twenty four hours all hell was going to break loose. I warned my favorite Bellhop Val what he was in for. I’m not sure he really believed me.

Tuesday taught another class and then got to go out on three photo shoots with Annette Batista of Between Your Sheets. I had walked around downtown Pittsburgh a bit that morning and have to say it is the most beautiful city. My room had a view of the two rivers, the Steelers stadium (I love NFL Football) and the ridge opposite with the most beautiful old church and houses. Wish I would have taken pics but kept forgetting too everyday.

Went on totally enjoyable photo shoot with Chris Winters. I told everyone I was his personal assistant since I was keeping track of all his stuff. It was a blast and I learned a lot. Photography has always been a hobby of mine and it was amazing to watch Annette to her magic. Plus Chris just lights up a camera.

Came back and had lunch with the amazing women of Between Your Sheets. Then got invited to do more shoots. Went out with John Fish of the amazing humongous muscles. We even got him to unbutton his shirt out on the street. Have to say women were tripping. Then went out for photos with the adorable Christopher Howell who is beyond sweet. I hope next year he shares some of his dance moves with us. He teased us a bit at the pageant. I want more more more!

The amazing and totally priceless J.C. Wilder arrived and a group of us went to Max and Irma’s for dinner. Have to say we closed the place down. J.C. decided it was her project to make me yeep. And she succeeded. I also spewed. Needless to say there was much laughter. The hotel was filling up fast and Val the bellhop gave me a ride on his amazing cart. He also made an amazing amount of money in tips. I saw Mark Johnson arrive and he gave me the sweetest hug. He truly is a great guy. So sweet. Also saw the totally vivacious Jade Lee whom I adore. A bunch of us went up to Linnea’s room to pack goodie bags for the Intergalactic Bar and Grille party. Came down to my room and ran into fellow Shadow Booty Clan member Liz Maverick where we proceeded to have the best reunion ever not caught on video tape. At some point we will reenact it for the public. Caught up with the last third of our terrible trio, Marianne. The two of them make up the Rebels of Romance. I just kind of hang around and terrorize them.

By Wednesday I was surviving on no sleep. I was practically staggering. That afternoon we had the Intergalactic Bar and Grille which was an absolute blast. We gave out lots of prizes. By the time it was over I was so desperate for sleep and so tired that I fell flat on my face in a packed elevator. (Luke Walsh has his own version of what happened. Don’t listen to him. It’s all lies.) Luckily for me there was a hero on board and I was rescued by a very gallant Mr. Romance contestant who saw me safely back to my room.

Wednesday night was the EC Hollywood Glam party. Since I didn’t pack a ballgown I wore my jeans and sneakers and had a blast dancing and making new friends. Finally got some sleep that night. Thursday morning I participated in a writing sci-fi panel and then my RT responsibilities were done. From then on I could just hang out and catch up and talk to people. Thursday night was the fairy ball which I love dressing up for and Lifetime TV interviewed me in my fairy costume. After that we went to Christine Feehan’s speakeasy. I adore Christine, she is truly amazing. Her entire family is wonderful.

Friday I went to club RT and talked to lots of fans of my Colby Hodge books. Caught up with my old friend Bill Freda and John DeSalvo who graced the cover of Stargazer. Then went to a workshop with my new friend Natalie Stenzel. Friday night was more dancing and talking with my wonderful editor Chris Keeslar and the rest of the Dorchester gang, Diane Stacey, Erin Galloway and Renee Yewdaev. Saturday was the wonderful book fair where I signed in between Cheryl Holt and Sandra Hill. Wow was I in good company. I also got to meet Roberta Gellis, who wrote the first romance novel I ever read, Alinor.


Then the Mr. Romance pageant where Jade Lee and I made a spectacle or ourselves on stage and my friend Chris Winters, who played the part of Zander from Star Shadows in the pageant won. Then there was an awesome bookseller mixer put on by the amazing Dorchester Staff and I met Christina Tanuadji and Veronika Kahrmadji from Australia and Sara Loftus from Huntington WV, which is where a lot of my Wind books take place. Then there was nothing left but the totally awesome Dorchester party where the Impalers, who were sponsored by my good friend Kathy Love and Erin McCarthy totally rocked the house.

I made so many new friends this week. Jennifer St. Giles and the gang at Between The Sheets. There there was Rose, Anthony and Lisa from Crossing Realms. The incredibly sweet and gallant cover guys, Brian, Steve, my boy Luke Walsh, Ryan, Jimi, and of course Fred and Christopher along with my dear friend Mr. Romance Chris Winters. It was great getting to know J.C. Wilder, and Isobo Kelly better and chowing down in J.C.’s room when the restaurants couldn’t serve us and laughing at stories. I adore my new friends, Leanna, Morgan and Stacey, the most amazing bookseller from Grand Central in NYC and I am coming up to NYC for a visit soon. Also have to mention Sue from Troy and yes Sue I am coming for a visit and bringing Luke with me. So many people it’s impossible to remember them all.

All in all it was the most awesome, busy and mind blowing week of my life. I can’t wait until next year.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sensible observations

Something to think upon until I recover from RT

1) When I die, I want to die like my grandfather--who died suddenly in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car."
--Author Unknown


2) Advice for the day: If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle:
"Take two aspirin" and "Keep away from children."
--Author Unknown


3) "Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that!
It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar."
--Drew Carey


4) "The problem with the designated driver program, it's not a desirable job, but if you ever get sucked into doing it, have fun with it. At the end of the night,
drop them off at the wrong house."
--Jeff Foxworthy


5) "If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the
infant's life without even considering if there's a man on base."
--Dave Barry


6) "Relationships are hard. It's like a full time job, and we should treat it like one. If your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to leave you, they should give you two weeks notice.
There should be severance pay, and the day before they leave they should have to find you a temp."
--Bob Ettinger


7) "My Mom said she learned how to swim when someone took her out in the lake and threw her off the boat. I said,
'Mom, they weren't trying to teach you how to swim!'"
--Paula Poundstone


8) "A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men.
I just want to say to the
authors of that study: "Duh."
--Conan O'Brien


9) "Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant?? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my God....
I could be eating a slow learner."
--Lynda Montgomery


10) "I think that's how Chicago got started. Bunch of people in New York said,
'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't cold enough.
Let's go west.'"
--Richard Jeni


11) "If life were fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead."
--Johnny Carson


12) "Sometimes I think war is God's way of teaching us geography."
--Paul Rodriguez


13) "My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that's the law."
--Jerry Seinfeld


14) "Remember in elementary school, you were told that in case of fire you have to line up quietly in single file from smallest to tallest. What is the logic in that?
What, do tall people burn slower?"
--Warren Hutcherson


15) "Bigamy is having one wife/husband too many.
Monogamy is the same."
--Oscar Wilde


16) "Suppose you were an idiot.
And suppose you were a
member of Congress
... but I repeat myself."
--Mark Twain


17) "Our bombs are smarter than the average high school student.
At least they can find Afghanistan ."
--A. Whitney Brown


18) "You can say any foolish thing to a dog,
and the dog will give you a look that says,
'My God, you're right!
I never would've thought of that!'"
--Dave Barry

19) Do you know why they call it "PMS"?
Because "Mad Cow Disease" was taken.
--Unknown, presumed deceased


20) "Everybody's got to believe in something.
I believe I'll have another beer."
- W. C. Fields

And lastly: Why in Hell should I have to Press 1 for English?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Covers

Want to see how a cover is made for a romance novel? Go here You'll also get a peek at the Dorchester offices and see my Star Shadows cover in the background.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Characters Cpme To Life







A lot of times we are asked who we would cast if our books ever became movies. I think for most of us writers it usually goes beyond that. A lot of us have someone in mind when we first create our characters. Since I'm a visual type person I enjoy having that image fully formed in my mind when I sit down to write.

For Stargazer I had Tom Welling in mind for the role of Shaun. He plays a young Clark Kent on Smallville and I think he's much better when he's bad. Plus I would love to see him in a more grown up type role. John DeSalvo go the cover. In my mind he was a bit too mature in the face to be Shaun and I'm not a fan of all the skin but the cover sold a lot of books. I saw Tom Selleck as the Soverign Alexander and George Clooney as Michael. The women usually are not as distinct. Usually because I'm playing out my own foolish fantasies through them. But occasionally one comes to me.

In Shooting Star my inspiration for Tess was Evangeline Lilly from Lost. David Beckham was Ruben. I saw a picture of him on the cover of GC and he just clicked in my mind. Star Shadows had Ian Summerholder as Boone. Although Adam Levine from Maroon Five showed up occasionally after I watched the Makes Me Wonder video about a thousand times. In Twist Paul Walker became the Avatar for Shane after the guy on the cover came out with blonde hair. What can I say, I like dark hair on my heroes but I was more than happy to go with Paul. And it worked.

But now I actually get to see one of my heroes come to life. At the upcoming Romantic Times conference in Pittsburgh the Mr. Romance pageant is featuring my book, Star Shadows and Chris Winters, is playing the role of Zander. Chris is also a most awesome actor so he's reading the book to learn the dark side of Zander who is one of my most tortured heroes. To learn more about Chris go here.

Friday, April 04, 2008

More on the craft of writing


I am currently working on a historical called Fallen and waaaay behind in my writing. As each author has a different process and has to find what works for them I'd thought I'd do some craft stuff and those of you interested can figure out what works for you and what doesn't. Oh and just for fun, I have an avatar of John. It's really Simon Baker but hey, works for me

At the moment I'm more worried about getting the pages done that the quality of them. I figure I can go back and fix them later. (I've got six weeks to write 300 plus pages. Yeah, no pressure. I usually need six months) So last night I realized that I was telling instead of showing when it really should be the other way around.

This is my first draft. The time is 1774, Aberdeen Scotland and the hero, Captain John Murray of His Majesty's Army has just gotten a letter informing him of his mother's pending death and the death of her third fiance.

John could not help but shake his head at his sister’s unbelievable run of bad luck where marriage was concerned. Lord Fansler had been her last hope at making a decent marriage as she was now known about London as the Virgin Widow. The gossip would only be worse now and all the eligible men would avoid her like the plague. Beyond her apparent beauty, she had nothing to offer. There was no dowry and Carrie was more likely to knock over a tea service than serve it. Still she was a pleasant companion and had a wonderful sense of humor along with a peaceful mien that made her pleasant company. Any man would be lucky to have her for a wife, lack of dowry notwithstanding. Perhaps he should introduce her to some of his comrades, such as Rory.
Rory’s father would likely not allow it. As would any of his friends parents who were of the peerage. Marriages were made to garner wealth and position which was something Carrie did not have. She was past the age of becoming a governess also.
John sighed as he realized that he would likely have to provide for his sister for the rest of her life. But thinking on that was better than thinking on the real reason for the letter.
Their mother was dying. Their father was in the colonies. If Carrie had sent father a letter at the same time she sent John’s then it was weeks away from delivery, and that was if father was at a post. The last he’d heard his father was on the Western Frontier, in a place called Pennsylvania, along a river called Ohio, fighting the savages. It could be months before Carrie’s letter found him and then more months before he could get home. What were the chances that Mother would still be alive if father got to come home?
John hated to ask for leave now since he had only recently come to Aberdeen. It would have to wait. Wait until mother was sicker and closer to death. There was nothing he could do for her or Carrie. Being there wouldn’t change anything. At least his visit would be something they could look forward too.


Boring right. John is sitting in his room just thinking. A friend and I call it rock sitting. Long story but same principle.

This is my final without edits. In this rewrite I added John's room-mate Rory to the mix.

“A letter from home?” Rory asked as he came into the room. He quickly removed his coat and hung it next to John’s, loosened his stock and stretched out on his bunk with his hands crossed behind his head. He appeared quite content and John knew, without asking, that his friend had recently been with a woman. “Bad news?” Rory asked.
“Yes,” John replied. “Full of it.”
“Give me the least of it first,” Rory said.
“Carrie’s latest fiancĂ© has passed.”
“How many is that now?” Rory asked. “Three?”
John nodded. “This one expired of old age.”
“Tell me John, how can this be considered bad news. Beyond the obvious lack of income for your sister.”
“She has no dowry and now no prospects. Lord Fansler was a last resort on our mother’s part. He had no heirs and no property, but he did have some money and a nice little house in London. It would have been enough to keep Carrie comfortable.”
“I supposed now it will all go to some distant relative,” Rory concluded.
“Yes,” John sighed. He dropped the letter on the desk the two men shared and stretched out on his own cot. “They call her the Virgin Widow you know.”
“Yes,” Rory said. “I’ve heard.”
“It’s too bad really,” John said. “She would make someone a wonderful wife. She’s pretty and intelligent and a most pleasant companion.”
“Indeed,” Rory agreed.
John looked hopefully at his room-mate. “She has a wonderful sense of humor also.”
“I know what you are thinking John and my father would sooner disown me than allow me to marry a woman with no wealth or title no matter how well he thinks of you. When and if I marry it will be to enhance the family coffers with coin, land and titles.” Rory looked over at John with a wry look on her face. “Although it might be worth the disownment to watch Carrie pour tea in his lap as she did when I visited with your mother when we were last in London.”
John had to grin at the memory. What Carrie possessed in beauty she lost in clumsiness. She had a dreadful penchant for tripping over her dress hem and knocking over tables and such.
“How is your lovely mother by the way,” Rory asked.
John sighed. “Not well. Not well at all.” He pointed at the letter. “Feel free to read it. I’m not sure I can stand to say it aloud at the moment.”
Rory quickly read the letter and sat down on his cot to look at John. “I am so sorry old friend,” he said. “What do you plan to do? Ask for leave?”
“I don’t feel as if I can at the moment,” John said as he too, sat up and faced Rory. “Even though I know the General will allow it because of his friendship with my father. I don’t want anyone thinking I am taking advantage of that friendship and asking for special privileges, especially since we have only recently come to this post.”
“I’m sure no one would think that, given the circumstances.”
“Oh but someone will,” John said. “It would come out, sooner than later. It would be on my permanent record and follow me wherever I go. There is some time. I think it would be better to wait until…later…”
“It would give her something to look forward too,” Rory added.
“Indeed.”
“What about your father,” Rory asked. “Do you think he knows?”
“It depends. I think now, at the present time, he does not know.” John rubbed
his hands over his face as the seriousness of the situation settled upon him. “If Carrie sent Father a letter at the same time she sent mine then it is weeks away from delivery, and that is only if Father is at his post. The last I heard from him he was on the Western Frontier, in a place called Pennsylvania, along a river called Ohio, fighting the savages.” John continued. “It could be months before Carrie’s letter finds him and then more months before he can get home. What are the chances that Mother will still be alive if and when he gets here?”
Rory reached out and laid a comforting hand on John’s shoulder. “There is only so much you can do from here, and nothing you can do about the things you can not control. Write Carrie and tell her you will ask for leave this fall and that your prayers are with her and your mother. Then write your mother and tell her you look forward to seeing her soon and make no mention of her illness. I have found in my own experience that mother’s like to think they are in charge and can make things fine just by wishing them so.”
“It is the same with mine,” John said.
“Then she will appreciate your subterfuge,” Rory said. “I will leave you in peace for a bit to write your letters.” With that he stood and stretched his arms over his head as if waking from a nap. “I suddenly find that I am starving and will have to go raid the mess lest I expire before meal time is upon us.”


I was able to cover all the information I wanted the reader to see, plus show a bit of Rory's personality. Rory is not a central character to the story, other than the fact that he will be senselessly killed and John's reaction to that death is important in his relationship with Izzy, the heroine. By doing this however, I developed Rory's character a bit more, showed how close their friendship is and hopefully in the long run have the reader be saddened by his death.

Its much more interesting this way, or so I hope.