Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blog Talk Radio

Christmas is a great time for reflection, but have you ever considered what the Christmas season was like during the 1700s and the 1800s? A fantastic group of authors have done just that and would like to give you a glimpse of their thoughts.

On Monday night at 10:00 pm, Lori Anne, Donna Dalton, Susan Macatee, Beth Trissel, Lauri Robinson, and I will be at Blog Talk Radio discussing our anthology, AN AMERICAN ROSE CHRISTMAS. If you have any questions or comments, give us a call. We'd love to hear from you.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas came early

The Christmas anthology, An American Rose Christmas, is available NOW at Amazon.com. Filled with stories set during the Revolutionary and Civil War, Redcoats and Sleigh Bells is one of several stories that will fill your holiday with just the right amount of spice.

Blurb from Redcoats and Sleigh Bells

It took more than a bullet wound to stop Holly Masters from completing her intelligence mission. Generals, patrols, and experienced scouts had been her sport, until she met Dr. Nicholas Clayton. Severely injured and now his patient, in order to complete her assignment, she must decide if she can kill the man who saved her life.

Nicholas has healed wounded men for both the Patriots and the Crown, but he never expected to find a wounded woman, dressed in a British military uniform, on the edge of his property. Tucked into her coat sleeve, she holds many secrets that will change the course of the war. As an officer, he has a duty to prevent her from leaving his custody. As a doctor, he has the means to prevent her from revealing what she knows. Trained for every action, nothing has prepared him for what he knows he must do.


Excerpt

The sleigh bells jingled as he bridled the horse. “There isn't time to remove the strap. Grab that cloth over there and wrap them. We can at least muffle the noise. With the information destroyed, there's no proof that you know anything. Promise me, you will keep your mouth closed.”

She didn't know if she should be insulted or proud. “Nicholas, why do you want me to leave now?”

He continued without a proper answer. “Even if you get to the General in time, which you won't, it will be too late.”

“Nicholas, answer me.”

He stopped and looked across the horse's back. “Surely you realize that a soldier will never give accurate information in front of a civilian, even when ordered to do so by his superior. The information the sergeant gave in the barn was incorrect.”

“Are you certain?”

“Quite.” He bent over to tighten the girth. “When he returned, the paper he gave me had the correct information.”

Holly's stomach dropped to her knees and her hands shook. “Nicholas, what did you write in response?”

He refused to acknowledge her and strapped an extra blanket to the back of her saddle.

“Nicholas!”

He didn't need words. His expression spoke for him. Holly held a fist to her stomach and backed away. Her throat closed preventing her from swallowing. She had to sit soon or fall over.

He rushed to her side but she held up her hand, staying him. “Why?” The word, barely audible, was all she could manage.

Friday, October 9, 2009

YAAAAAAAAAAAAY

I don't know how much this person wants the news to spread, but I would be very remiss if I didn't acknowledge a huge accomplishment. A friend of mine just signed with a TOP rated agent. I knew it would happen the moment I beta read for her. Just wait until her book is in stores. Oh, yeah, I'll be shouting about that when it happens. So...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! *confetti*

Monday, October 5, 2009

Focus

I've managed to patch myself up enough to get past the initial shock of cutting a huge chunk from my wip. Since doing that, the creative juices are flowing. I had one moment when my imagination started to jut off in another direction. I reined it in, pointed to my original idea, and said, focus. I should have done this earlier.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Painful, so painful

I have struggled for so long with The Night Lamp. I finally took a good look, not like I haven't before, but this time I accepted what I saw. Too many characters. Too much subplot. It had to go. I cut 15000 words in one fell swoop. Ouuuuch! I won't tell you how many characters were laid low. Frightening. I know as soon as I heal up over this, I will have a book that is lean and ready to make a promising debut.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What can you do

This is hilarious. After reading Cost of Freedom, someone contacted me and told me how much they loved the story. I was so flattered. As we talked, they mentioned different, memorable scenes. They loved the hero and heroine. They wanted to violently hurt the mean and nasty characters. Then they paused. Taking a breath, they said, but I was hoping that one character in particular would die at the end of the book.

I had to laugh. I told them, I completely agree and this character did die in the original draft. It was changed due to the immense support this character received from early readers. This latest reader assured me that she still loved the book even with that flaw.

I think back to the day when I received all of those emails from critique partners telling me that no one would accept the original ending. I'm glad to hear that at least one person saw my vision.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In the mail

The contract for For Mercy's Sake has been signed and shipped. Not that I have a favorite, but I really like this book. Maybe it is due to the limited amount of research that went into the story. While For Mercy's Sake is set in the 1700s, the characters do not live out historical events. This is a basic, character-driven story. I enjoy those.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Redcoats & Sleigh Bells galleys

Redcoats & Sleigh Bells galleys are back with my editor. I am thrilled to be part of such a talented group of authors. I can't wait to read their stories. Hmm, now that my galleys are finished, there's no reason I can't get lost in their worlds.

As soon as I have a release date, I'll let you know when you will be able to enjoy this fabulous collection.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why I did it

Several years ago, some friends and I watched a movie about a family who was taken to a concentration camp. The father, through very creative methods, protected his child from the reality of their life. Although they faced certain death, the father made each day an adventure.

When the movie credits rolled, some viewers commented on how wonderful this father was. I agree. He was courageous and caring beyond measure. But at the same time, I was bothered by the message the viewer came away with. It wasn't reality. Don't get me wrong. I'm so glad the boy was spared the horrifying reality he faced, but years after the occurrence, would he question everyone's memories? Even today, there are people who deny the holocaust's existence. I often wonder how this is possible when the evidence is overwhelming.

This made me think of my writing. I love the 1700s. It was a time of bravery, chivalry, and romance. But it was also a time of war in the United States. It was gruesome and barbaric. Nice, upstanding citizens did horrific things. It is impossible to have a "civil" rebellion.

Some people have read Cost of Freedom and, very nicely, asked if all scenes were necessary. When writing the book, I asked myself that very question. I didn't want to include anything merely for shock value. At the same time, although the book is fiction, it is based on actual occurrences. In my opinion, to omit harsh realities would be a means of minimizing the sacrifices paid. War, and the events leading up to it, are not pretty, but individual character is.

While some scenes might leave readers feeling a tad squeamish, think about the person who endured the reality of the event. How would you have handled the situation? One thing that most readers say after reading Cost of Freedom, be it good or bad, is that they were affected and have been left with a new outlook of this particular event. Interestingly enough, readers who have seen war firsthand don't have any concerns about the contents. One lady, God love her, is on her fifth read.

Although I am no closer to resolving my initial quandary, I hope readers will understand my motives.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Contest!!!

A friend of mine is hosting a contest. The prize is a B&N gift certificate. How great is that?! All you have to do is answer a few questions, don't worry, it's open book. All of the answers are on her blog. She's even made it easier than peeking at the responses of those who have already entered. Did I say that out loud? ;D

Although she'd love for you to attempt the quiz, just send a comment and say hello. That's it. Contests don't come any easier than that. What. You're still here? Go on over to Jen's blog and say Carol sent you. Who knows, that alone might earn you a bonus point. And if you win, please drop a comment here. I'd love to congratulate the winner.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New author, Dan Walsh

I want to introduce a very talented author, Dan Walsh. Dan writes YA set during WW II.

Patrick Collins is seven years old, and his Christmas list contains only three items. He wants the Army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather's house. And, for reasons even he doesn't understand, he wants the wooden soldier tucked away in his grandfather's attic.

Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift explores how God can use simple and sometimes surprising things to affect powerful changes in our hearts. Like a little boy's prayers, a shoebox full of love letters, even an old hand-carved wooden soldier, long forgotten.


You can preorder The Unfinished Gift now!!! Be sure to stop by Dan's website to read a snip from this inspiring book.

Monday, June 15, 2009

This is awkward

It's too early to be up but yet, I flip on the computer and hit the high lights. I glance over e-mail, slip over to Facebook, and then take a stroll through Reader. Eating the last of my granola bar, I pop my iron pill and nearly choke. Bound by Honor catches my attention. I blink several times, swallow hard, and look again. There it is as plain as anything. A beautiful font, a glossy cover, and a different author's name! What! My Bound by Honor is due for release March 2. This is as bad as going to prom and seeing another girl wearing your dress. I suppose it could be worse, we could be in the same genre. Wait, we ARE! Well, almost anyway. This author writes erotica.

Okay, I'm waking up and things are becoming clearer. These things happen. I just wish it didn't happen so close to my release date. I want to go on record. I had this title waaaaaaay before I saw this other book. That's all I'm saying. I hope we both have great success with our releases.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Blazing Trailers

COST OF FREEDOM is profiled on the Blazing Trailer's site. Come take a peek at an excerpt and the trailer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Website

Yay! What a long road. My poor webmistress. After being recreated from the ground up, my website is finally back on track. Thanks, Charlie. (Also, thank you, Nina for pointing out the initial problem.) We've cleaned out the cobwebs and dusted off the furniture. Feel free to visit again.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bravo Nathan Bransford

It is easy to rail against injustice, or hurt feelings, and vow to anyone who will listen, (the following must be read with a Charlton Heston-style, Moses voice) if I were in control, I would never be so insensitive. Well, this week, Nathan Bransford gave everyone the chance to do just that.

Instead of arguing with, or trying to appease, irate writers, and I partially blame another blog for starting the backlash, Mr. Bransford devised a much more brilliant solution. An old Indian proverb challenges no one to make judgements unless they have walked in the other person's skin. Many people took the challenge, slipped inside an agent's skin and proceeded to sift through fifty queries.

Ha! I say. Not only did some agents-for-the-day emulate what they shout against, they had to be called down by Mr. Bransford for being too cruel. How quickly one forgets from where they came.

I did not participate. I don't have to stick my hand in a fire to know it's hot. But for those who did and did it with class, the old Indian would be proud. You not only rose to the challenge, you seem to have found a new appreciation for both sides of this prickly fence.

We will still grumble about the lack of fairness, I have done this as much as anyone, but at least we were given the chance to see first hand if we would do things differently.

Monday, April 6, 2009

DA BWAHA contest

It's time to vote in the championship round at dabwaha. Joanna Bourne's The Spymaster's Lady is up for the honor.

Not to sound like a Mattel endorsement, but GO, JO!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

message board

Something happened to my message board. It happens. Here is the new one. It is still being tweaked, but I hope you will all stop by and say hello.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back at it

It's not fun to write yourself into a corner, but I think I've made it out this time. Yay!

Today, I ran an idea passed a friend, who not only loved it, but said, she has never heard of anything else like this. Whoo hoo. I think I'm back on track.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dreams

I have read that many writers create stories that are dream inspired. Being someone who doesn't recall my dreams, I was jealous.

Lately, and for whatever reason, my dreams have become vivid, so much so that I wake during the night, usually in a panic and in a fighting mode. You guessed it. I'm recalling only horrific dreams. There are pieces of my life threaded into the dream, but the circumstance plays out to a very graphic and disturbing end. Is my subconscious trying to get me to release my anxiety?

This morning, at 4 a.m., I told my husband that I now know how I would handle a certain situation if it happened in a negative way. *shudder* I certainly woke more rested when I had no dream recall.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Enjoy the process

I woke up this morning, thinking about characters and how they always manage to say the right thing. I pictured Oscar winning scenes where phrases were spoken only to be interrupted by someone agitatedly mumbling, No, in the background. The scene would rewind and something else would spring from the actor's lips. This time, paper would crumple and a lamp would break behind the scenes. The process would repeat without ceasing, building to a wailing crescendo.

Putting the perfect words in characters' mouths is not easy. I wonder how many versions of, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." did Margaret Mitchell go through before settling on that phrase? I can't imagine anything else having the same affect. What I realized is, this all takes time. Yes, some scenes happen faster than others, but when it doesn't, that's okay.

Yesterday, I had a nice chat with someone who reminded me of this. I have been in a 'writer's funk', not a nice place to be. As she pointed out, the only way out of this is to ignore things like expectations and market dictates. I need to write what I love. So, while it is important to put the right words on paper, and in our characters mouth, it is more important to enjoy the process.

I plan to daily remind myself of the following: I will no longer worry about word count, the number of hours spent at my computer, or if I am on the first draft or the fiftieth. (Well, maybe a little concern if I'm on the fiftieth.) I plan to enjoy my characters and settings. I will write the type of book I enjoy reading. If that isn't popular, so what? I've never been one to follow the status quo.

Thanks, Jen for reminding me of the reason I began writing.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rolling up my sleeves

My writing has been stuck for a while now. Oh, I've appeased my conscience with excuses, some real, some as supportive as a cheap air mattress. It took a while to know how to tackle the problem, but I think I'm on to something.

It's hard to assess the amount of progress I've made when I had to restructure the entire last half of McKnight. Notes littered my house while I dissected what I had, reviewed established chapters, and evaluated the book's entire direction. Although some major plot points have been given the heave-ho, the groundwork has remained.

I am still elbow-deep in the process, but know as soon as I break through, huge strides will be reached. It's time to get back in there.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Update

I managed to send Bound by Honor galleys in on Friday night and shot Redcoats and Sleigh Bells over on Sunday morning. Hopefully, nothing is glaringly out of place.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cover

Take a look at this cover!!! What do you think?

Trailer?

I just got word that Bound by Honor AND Redcoats and Sleigh Bells are both on their way to galleys. Very exciting! *thinking, thinking* Should I do a trailer?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I was on a roll and then wham.

Somebody pass the Maalox and help me to a soft chair. I worked on McKnight yesterday, adding one thousand new words. I was in the zone. You know what that's like. I was one with the character. I felt, and typed, her every emotion, channeling it effectively onto the page. I reached the end of the scene and decided to call it a day. After all, the character and I needed time to absorb what had happened. Dutifully, and responsibly, I might add, I went to save my work...and poof. Instead of saving it like I very nicely asked my computer to do, the plastic Nazi refused, choosing to corrupt the entire chapter instead. One thousand hard-earned words, gone. How am I ever going to get those words back? I'm sick with the idea of trying to recreate what is lost. What a day.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jesse

This has been a very difficult week at our house. Our 14 1/2 year old shih tzu passed away. In the past year, she was treated for skin allergies. Starting last Saturday, we noticed she no longer ate or drank anything. It was very hard to watch her health deteriorate so rapidly. By the time she passed on Thursday morning, she weighed approximately five pounds. Oddly enough, this was the one year anniversary of my father-in-law's death.

Now, to be honest with you, I am not an animal person. This could be why we never considered Jesse as a pet, and neither did she. She never licked anyone, couldn't swim a stroke, and was terrified of car rides, all very undoglike qualities. As far as our house was concerned, the only difference between her and the rest of the family was, she didn't talk.

She was full of 'people-like' personality and is very missed.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I feel good...na na na na na na na

I have been at a standstill with McKnight. Frozen. Completely unable to move forward. It didn't help that I faced a scene without any dialogue. Thank goodness for the holidays. I blamed it all on them and made a deal with myself to ignore guilt and begin again, or give up, after the new year.

Every day, I would eye the folder. It sat staring at me like an orphaned puppy. Could I really turn my back on it forever?

Yesterday, I forced myself to open the folder and pull up the last scene. This folder was a catch-all of ideas. Facing the massive undertaking, I told myself, look at one paragraph and nothing more. It worked. One paragraph became one page and then one scene. Wow.

This morning I looked at it to make sure I had included all the things necessary to make a scene come to life. They were all there. I'm not saying it can't use a good polish, but it sure looks good to these eyes.

I was so afraid I would never be able to write anything again. I'm still working out the kinks, but it's good to be back.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 Goals

I think goals might be easier to face than resolutions. (I know it's the same thing.) Still...here's what I have in mind:

1. Lose five more pounds.
2. Spend more time with my family and friends.
3. Sell For Mercy's Sake.
4. Finish McKnight.
5. Attend all of the weddings that are in the works. Looking at the calendar, there is one a month. Yay for store gift registries.

I'll stop here. I don't want to over-do it.