Sunday, January 31, 2010

White Heart, Lakota Spirit

I'm so excited that my western historical romance...yep with a handsome Indian hero, is being released in April by Moongypsy Press. In case you haven't heard, they're new, but already have quite an impressive staff to aid the authors already signed. Have a look at their website. I'm sure you'll see some familiar names.

Just to tease you, I'll offer up an UNEDITED excerpt. I'm still waiting for my editor to provide me with her suggestions. :)

Set up: Grace Cummings has been abducted by Indians. She's befriended Green Eyes, another white woman who came to live with the Sioux by choice. By now, Grace has accepted her fate and is finally seeing that people with red skin are not much different than she. Little Elk, one of the braves who captured and claimed her, has given her an Indian name, Dancing Fawn.

Excerpt:

Fawn sat next to the fire and worked on Little Elk’s Christmas gift. Flames crackled within the uneven stone ring and made the air almost too warm. She inched away and sought the comfort of her backrest. His woven willow seat sat empty next to her, and she wondered how long he’d be gone. While he and several others had ventured to the far side of the valley in search of game, she took advantage of his absence to complete his surprise.

Using her newly acquired skills, she planned to give him a new deerskin shirt adorned with beads she had earned by helping other women with their laundry. Secretly, before she even thought of Christmas, she had stashed the biggest deer hide from one of his successful hunts, and whenever he wasn’t around, she worked at scraping and softening it. She finished the sewing and now worked on adding the colored baubles.

Green Eyes brought a blast of cold air on her heels when Fawn invited her inside. She sat next to the fire and brushed stray snowflakes from her clothing. “My goodness, I do believe this is the coldest it has been since I have been coming to our winter camp.”

“Is it snowing again?”

“Only if you pass too closely under a tree.” Green Eyes chuckled.

“I’m glad you came. Little Elk is hunting again and I needed some company. I’m awfully glad he doesn’t mind traipsing around in the snow looking for food. I wouldn’t be very good at it.”

“Me either. Lone Eagle went too, and took Little Cloud. I got tired of talking to myself.” She eyed the deerskin spread across Fawn’s lap. “What are you working on?”

“Little Elk’s Christmas present.”

Green Eyes fingered the fabric and inspected the decoration. “I am very proud of you. You have learned well.”

“I had hoped to have all the beads and quills on by now, but I still don’t feel well.”

“I wanted to talk to you about that.”

“About being ill?”

“Yes. When did you have your last moon time?”

Fawn rubbed the back of her neck. “I…I can’t remember.”

“I thought about you after you left last night and recalled you had not mentioned visiting the women’s hut for some time. Think! When was the last time you bled?”

“I don’t know. I’m not very good at keeping track.” Fawn bit her bottom lip and searched her memory. “I think my time happened only once since I came here.

Green Eyes raised a brow. “Describe how you have been feeling.”
“Well, my stomach feels like it’s turning flips. The nausea is worse in the mornings or after I eat. Today, even the smell of cooking makes me sick.”

Her friend clapped her hands. “Oh, Fawn. I think maybe, come summer, you will have a baby.”

“A baby?” Fawn swallowed her shock. “But how?”

“Oh, Fawn, do you really not know how babies are made?”

“My mother and I never talked about such things.”

“You have shared your blankets and body with a man, and he planted a seed in your woman’s place. From that seed your child will grow.”

“What if I am not ready to be a mother?” Fawn gulped.

Well, my sweet girl, it is too late to wonder that. You have several months to prepare, and I will be right by your side.”

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Our White Christmas Came Late

Ever since I moved to Tennessee, I've laughed at the "snow days" that close the schools. For example, on Thursday evening we received notification that the schools would be closed on Friday. In the past, closures have been for naught...nary a flake fell, but I think the teacher's do a "snow dance" at home because it's a paid day off for them. Heck, who wouldn't.

But the snow did come, and the most the Nashville are has seen for quite a while. Sharing these pictures gives you a glimpse of our new living "quarters." The two automobiles are parked just outside our front door. Although, I wish for a garage like I had in California, they are scarce commodities back here. Those who have them usually store things inside and let their cars set out. Makes me scratch my head. The days of cleaning my car and putting it in a nice tidy garage are gone forever. :(


This view is looking to the right through my front door, toward the dumpster, where I'll not be going for a few days. *lol* And, last but not least, this picture was taken through the glass on my back door (conveniently located in the second bedroom (guest/office quarters) and gives you an idea of the expanse of the patio that holds our BBQ. A 4x4 slab with a privacy panel is a far cry from the nice screened in sunroom at our old house, but at least, here we can breathe.



Oh, and judging from the newscasts showing all the collisions, it's a good thing they close the schools. People back here clearly do not know how to drive in the snow. Of course, I don't either, so I won't. But on Thursday, the aisles were packed with shoppers. It wasn't the first or the fifteenth, so it puzzled me. The lady in line behind me had a cart holding little canned goods, candles, and a few miscellaneous things, and when I wondered aloud why the lines were so long she had a ready answer. "Everyone here is stockin' up for the "blizzard" that's a comin'." So now through the magic of pictures, you can say you've seen a Tennessee blizzard. *lol* Until now, I thought a blizzard was something scrump-delicious available at Dairy Queen. I love the Chocolate-covered Stawberry Blizzard. Yum!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Welcome, Arianna Skye


First and foremost, I want to thank Ginger for allowing me this opportunity to visit. Many people who know me are impressed with my ability to write a plethora of different genres. I started out writing my first love, historical romance. Although I love reading the genre, especially regency, I found that my voice was better suited for a more contemporary setting. My heroines tend to have a sarcastic and snarky wit that really doesn’t work in a historical piece. I haven’t completely abandoned all hope on that historical, though.

My first novel, Wings of Desire, was an idea I’ve had percolating in my mind for over ten years. As my biography states, I’m a self professed techno-geek. As I was sitting at my computer wasting the night away chatting, I noticed most the people in the chat room had taken the names of gods and goddesses. There was an Aphrodite, a Persephone, a Janus, and even an Osiris, just to name a few. No, there were no Rhiannon’s though. I had this crazy idea. What if one of these chatters managed to get transported back into ancient Greece or Rome? Laughing, I set the idea to the side and went on with my life.

Then the muse struck. I was getting frustrated with the historical project I was working on. Mr. Muse reminded me of my chat room brainstorm. It hit me. My chatter would have the name of a goddess, but she wasn’t a goddess. She was a faerie. She wasn’t any faerie. She was a faerie princess. Her computer unlocks a portal to the world she was kidnapped from. The hero uses this portal to bring her back and save their kingdom. Rhiannon has a rather sarcastic personality and it was fun writing her and Cerne’s story. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that you should write what YOU want, not what you think people want to read. My favorite quote has always been “Write what you love… Love what you write, otherwise no one else will either!” It is my firm belief that the most realistic stories are the ones that come from your heart.
Wings of Desire will be available from Eternal Press on Sunday, February 7th. Yes, a certain nameless (due to copyright issues) sporting event also shares that date. So while your significant other is busy watching the big game, why not immerse yourself in more stimulating activities? Although, I have to admit I do enjoy watching some of those crazy commercials.

To show my thanks, I will be selecting one random commenter to win a copy of Wings of Desire when it’s released.

In the meantime feel free to check out the book trailer:


Cheers and happy reading!
Arianna

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Working the Muddle Out of Your Middle

It's my pleasure to promote award-winning author, Cheryl St. John's upcoming class. It was my great pleasure to strike a friendship with her at my first and only RT conference. It's evident from the instructor's bio below that she knows what she's doing, and if she can teach me something, I'm willing to learn.



FEBRUARY ONLINE CLASS: Working the Muddle Out of Your Middle
Cheryl St.John
DATE: February 1-28
COST: $25.
REGISTRATION VIA PAYPAL: http://cheryl-stjohn-workshop.blogspot.com/
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

It happens to everyone at some time or another--that muddle when you reach the middle of a book. Ever lost energy and drive? Ever thought you didn't have enough story? Ever panicked because you had too much story? Most of us know what it's like to stall out, but there are steps you can take to keep your story moving forward.

Every writer needs to know that just because a certain scene or chapter or book is difficult to write, your talent has not deserted you. There are techniques that will carry you across that difficult stretch more effectively.

In Cheryl St.John's workshop, WORKING THE MUDDLE OUT OF YOUR MIDDLE, she will offer suggestions on how to focus during this challenging stage of the story. After over thirty published books, she knows each book will be a different challenge and that not one solution will always help. She'll show you how to come against destructive self-doubt. Returning to the first love of what excited you about the story is a big part of moving forward, and she will share exercises on how to jump start your creativity. Writers who've taken this workshop come away with fresh ideas and inspiration.

Topics addressed:

* frustration and lack of confidence
* defining the middle
* intuition and first love
* plot points
* tension
* focus


INSTRUCTOR BIO:

Among her achievements, which include over thirty-five published books in both contemporary and historical genres, Cheryl St.John has received multiple Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards and three RITA nominations. In describing her stories of second chances and redemption, readers and reviewers use words like, “emotional punch, hometown feel, core values, believable characters and real life situations.” She has taught writing on local and national levels, and is in demand as a motivational speaker.

FORMAT:

The class will be conducted via subscription to a private yahoogroup. Two lessons per week, after which you're encouraged to post questions. Most lessons will include a brief exercise pertaining to the participant’s current work in progress. Entire archived class will be available for one week after the ending date.

Oops


No, you aren't crazy. If you followed a link from a search engine here and wonder what happened... Lisabet Sarai's date got changed and I deleted the blog and moved it to the appropriate slot. Google sure works fast. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oh, my back...I mean, I'm back!

If you've followed my blog, you'll recall that when I moved thirteen months ago, I swore I would never endure the torture again. Well...I have a new address.

I really loved the house we were in, but after months of being ill...and not just me, my sister and my husband, we started getting suspicious that there was something amiss. All of us had unusual fatigue, headaches, and all were treated for respiratory and sinus problems. I was even beginning to feel like I had dementia because my thought processes were so confused. Imagine...all these symptoms are side affects of prolonged exposure to mold.

Black Mold Symptoms (Just one of many sites I found on the Internet)

Black mold exposure in humans usually leads to a range of physical symptoms. Mostly, they revolve around problems with the airway, nasal passages, and lungs. Coughing, sneezing and stuffy noses are usually evident in people exposed to large amount of mold. This is because our bodies try to physically expel the irritating substance from the nose or airways.


NOTE: I have a letter from the doctor certifying that all occupants of the house were treated for respiratory and sinus problems.

Aches and Pains

Most aches are of the headache variety. They're not actually from the mold, but because we work so hard to blow out our noses and cough mold from our lungs, our heads begin to ache a bit. In a few cases, a non-fatal toxin from the mold will cause these pains, or even general fatigue.


NOTE: I've been to the doctor several times, confused by why I was so exhausted all the time. I've had countless blood tests and even was referred to a rheumatologist for the pain. I've always boasted that I never have headaches, but they've been almost a daily companion for at least the past six months.

Heavy Amounts of Black Mold. If a person is subjected to a lot of black mold, minor lapses of memory can result. Additionally, it could feel like the onset of the flu has begun. Also, there may be some nausea or vomiting, and maybe even diarrhea. In this case, go see a doctor.

NOTE: I actually feared I was getting dementia, and my husband was ten times worse than usual at forgetting where he put anything. My sister always complained that she felt like she was getting the flu.

If you live in an older home and suffer any of the above, I urge you to check it out.

The house had a "musty" smell when we moved in, but we chalked it up to it being closed up and unoccupied for a time. The smell never went away. We live in a high humidity state, so one can expect moisture from time to time, but our bedroom windows were a constant hotbed of mold. A month or so ago, my sister wanted to wear her leather jacket, and when she took it out of the hall closet, we all gasped. Her leather and mine were covered with white mold. We thought them ruined, but we were able to salvage them.

Then a little two inch "spore" sprouted between the carpet and the baseboard in the family room. My sister was the first to vacate. She has lupus and has been on inhaled steroids for months. After only two weeks away, she's feeling like a different person and stopped using the expensive meds. We actually decided to push our move up when my husband got dual eye infections and a visit to his Vanderbilt eye specialist (he has had two cornea transplants and dual cataract surgery recently) informed us that mold is a prime reason for transplant rejection and could have actually speed up the cataract growth. When I think of all the money we've spent on co-pays and medicine, I'm astounded.

Kelly and I wore masks and goggles while we cleaned up after the move, and I think we left the property cleaner and certainly with improvements we intended to enjoy for years to come. I guess fate had a different plan for us. I refuse to let people believe I've a slob which seems to be so commonplace among renters. I did leave this little patch for the landlord as proof and I'm sharing the picture here so you can see what mold looks like. We found this behind the armoire in our bedroom.

Anyhow...just wanted to whine a little and let you know why I've been gone.

Now all I need to do is wait for my back and knee to heal, and I'm good to go. Love my little Condo! For the first time in years, Kelly and I are living alone! What a feeling. He actually walked naked through the house, just because he could. *lol*

Thanks to my friends who kept this place going while I was gone. It's good to be "home."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kayden McLeod's Deep Water Legends, Character Interview


Genre: Paranormal Science Fiction (Vampires)

Length (word-count): 18k

For Excerpt and Blurb:

http://kaydenmcleod.com/paranormalsciencefiction/deepwateregends

Buy Link For Kindle-Format E-Book:

http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Water-Legends-ebook/dp/B00336F2M4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263157258&sr=8-2



Character Interview:




When there is a high-profile case, such as the betrayal of one of their own, the Council has laws set in place to see it ‘properly documented’, and one of those rules is to situate a series of spells about the premises, to record exactly what is said by whom, their ‘movements’, and on the occasion their emotional impact to what is said, to keep a more accurate text-record, in case it’s needed in the future. This document encompasses exactly what was predetermined to happen in that basement room of the headquarters of the Vancouver vampire Council.

There are some things out there not in vampirekind’s best interest to know...such as when other races really did exist out there. As Canada’s most powerful vampire in more ways than one, it’s Manuel’s final decision to leave out very important parts of the real story, to perhaps salvage something of the waste lain by one single Rogue, whom stole Council property, along with a human, all in a single bid to prove he wasn’t the lunatic he was named.

This document, even as scarce as it is to what actually happened that night on Mount Robson, was mysteriously lost to the Council after the proper personnel filed it away, leaving a log as to its ‘whereabouts’….until now. This is the first time it has been opened since that fateful night.


Official Documentation of the Interview of the Foxworth Council Hunters

CONFIDENTIAL, TO BE SEALED AND FILED IN THE ARCHIVES IMMEDIATELY UPON COMPLETETION


Interview with:

Ceanna Foxworth, Council Hunter

Arcadia Foxworth, Council Hunter


Interviewer: Dwayne Kilmarco, assistant to Manuel Martinez, Councilman

Official Witness: Manuel Martinez, Head of Canada, Councilman


* * * * *


Dwayne: This is an official record, where only truth will be told...the only place any of the truth will be.

Manuel: *Barks out a laugh* Don’t be a smartass, just get on with the legal crap.

Arcadia: I don’t understand why the vampire Council even needs ‘legal crap’.

Manuel: Because you’re not the one who gets to make the rules...and then make the others follow them.

Ceanna: Or, so you try.

Dwayne: Do I really have to read the entire write-up for this to be official? Everyone is just going to lie anyways...

Manuel: No, not really, just the motions to appease the little beings that plague me day and night with their constant bickering.

Dwayne: But I get to know what actually happened right?

Arcadia: Sorry boss, your boss said no one. One more secret I get to keep from you.

Ceanna: Don’t worry Dwayne, it really isn’t that interesting.

Dwayne: Right...that’s why we’re having this huge game of charades right? Manuel doesn’t seal up cases like this, ever. Something happened out there, something that made the both of you want to leave the Council for good. I’ve known you your entire lives, and I know the hard you’ve had it.

Arcadia: And that has what to do with anything?

Manuel: That is takes a lot to scare you off.

Arcadia: So? Have you people met my wife? Do you know what she is capable of doing to me, if I continue to endanger myself for a corporation I can no longer believe in? No offence, Manny.

Manuel: *Sigh* As usual, none taken. I do not much like the corruption either...it just isn’t like the old days at all, nor what my brothers and I envisioned.

Ceanna: *Smiles coldly* When the councilmen disobey you and decide to abuse their power like they did in Fernando’s case, you could just kill them all...you are powerful enough.

Manuel: I can’t...

Arcadia: *Sits up sharply in his chair* Why the hell not?

Dwayne: Because the first rules, the ones that the Original Cursed Ones follow to this dat, stays his hand. All three of us know how Manuel is about upholding what they believe is right.

*Arcadia snorts, while Ceanna rolls her eyes*

Ceanna: Yea. Right. Manuel always obeys all the laws. *Snickers*

Manuel: *Sly grin* I never break the rules. Ever.

Dwayne: Bullshit! For the first time in British Columbia’s history, you’re letting a councilman and woman go. Do any of you doubt that hasn’t resonated throughout our community...wondering what makes them special?

Manuel: Of course I am. I know better than to go against who stands behind them. They have the forces of nature on their side, plus a Mother who would beat six dozen different ways, if I did not relinquish them back completely within her care. Or that is what I’m allowing others to believe.

Dwayne: But what happened to the human that the Rogue, Fernando stole?

Ceanna: Daphne? Those details are classified, but it was taken care of.

Dwayne: So what can you tell me then?

Arcadia: I think we already covered that.

Dwayne: Then why the hell am I even here? Do you people have any clue how much work this man makes me do? Waste of my time, if you ask me.

Manuel: You’re on my time, little man. I’ll waste it however I please. Let’s wrap this up. There are far better things for us to be doing; reset the spells, and have personnel file it away. I’ll make sure it goes missing after they’ve done it.

Arcadia: *Laughs* There really was no point to this, was there?

Manuel: *Shoots Arcadia a level glare* There is very reason to do this. In order to let you leave unscathed, I have to move mountains, but I’m willing to do it. To minimize the backlash of going against everything they believe in, I have to not outright break as many laws as possible.

*Dwayne recites the incantation backwards, releasing the energy powering the spells back into the atmosphere, the words and actions magically appearing as it happened freezing, but not before he slips the record into the folder and seals it.*


http://kaydenmcleod.com/

http://kaydenmcleod.blogspot.com/

http://www.kaydenmcleodparanormal.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Moving Again

Except for my scheduled guests, I'm forced to ignore my blog for a week or so. We're moving, and they are disconnecting my internet today and I won't be reconnected until sometime next week.
Don't check the obits just yet...I'm only going to be dead tired when all is said and done. Please enjoy a hiatus from my rambling. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Scraching My Head

I got an email today from a friend about the English Language, and I immediately thought of Gallagher's lesson. I'm displaying it here, and the email I received is beneath it. Enjoy:


Let's face it - English is a crazy language!
There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England or French Fries in France .

Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.
We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why when the stars are out they are visible but when the lights are out they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick' ?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this...

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP'.

It's easyto understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP! When is rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When is doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so........it is time to shut UP!

Oh . . . one more thing:

What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night? U-P!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sex and Senior Citizenry

I’m so not the sexy type. No matter how hard I try to pretend, there is nothing about this sixty-four-year-old body that makes me think I could make a man shiver with desire. Therein lies the problem with being successful in writing Erotica…at least from my POV. When I write, the characters tell me a story and I have to envision the concept to put it into words. There are just no words adequate enough to drag something sexy from this brain to my fingertips. All I can see is myself, and believe me, no one wants to share that image. Someone forgot to secure the baggage and the package shifted during travel. Seriously!

There once was a time when I could put on a black nightie and feel somewhat desirable, but that ship sailed…and I believe sunk some years ago. Truth is, age steals so many things from you that you’ve always taken for granted. All those graphic stories that tell of “his” manhood delving into her “moist” woman’s cave. HA! Once you become a senior citizen, if you don’t have a bottle of lube by the bedside, you’d better be prepared to scream…and not in ecstasy. Drier than dust comes to mind!

And those perky breasts! Maybe twenty years ago they were. Now they’ve migrated North and South. When an older woman is flat on her back, it’s not quite so easy to “capture a nipple" when her breasts reside in her armpits.

Once, I was flexible, now I’m arthritic. Sex is about as appealing to me as having a blood test. And of course, those positions that once brought delight now bring Charlie Horses and achy hips. Of course, some may say, “be on top.” NO friggin way! Then I keep flashing back to Dorothy’s advice to Blanche on the Golden Girls to bend over and look in a mirror. OMG! I did and I believe I’m a direct descendant of the Char Pei dog line. That didn’t do a darn thing for my missing self-esteem.

Oh, I know men could have sex with a knot hole, but I’ve always liked to think I was more attractive than a piece of wood. Now I’m not to sure, and sometimes, I actually wish we had a fence. *lol*

I think the main reason I can’t write Erotica is that I’m a “behind the door” kind of girl—both in writing and my personal life. I love romance. I want to feel the attraction, the heat, but I like things left to my imagination. Close the door at that point and let me picture what goes on behind it. I don’t need to read about every lick, suck or plunge. Honestly, I don’t. But to those of you who do, and write or read it with such ease and comfort, I applaud you.

Erotica is a hot seller, but I guess I’ll miss the boat on this one. Same goes for fairies, werewolves, shapeshifters, and vampires. Readers are really into fantasy, and if you throw in sex, you’re got a winning novel. Unfortunately, most of my characters pop out of the old west, and in order to make the story somewhat believable, even if it is fiction, the author has to show the story to the reader. I can’t if I can’t imagine it. Besides, the only thing howling at the moon in my books is going to be a coyote, and if someone’s shape shifts, it’s because she’s with child. I can’t ever recall seeing a fairy or vampire on Little House on the Prairie or Bonanza, so I think I’ll stick with writing what I can see in my mind’s eye. I have cataracts, so maybe that eye has one, too.

Just so you know...I did FORCE myself to write an Erotica some time ago. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. Normally words flow with ease from my mind to my fingers, but, I really struggled to get the story finished. It's entitled, Searchers, and is still available at Whiskey Creek Press.

Ellora's cave rejected it back then because, GASP!!!!, my heroine had an affair. How offensive is that in this day and age? But, my rejection letter cited that the concept would be offensive to readers and not something they endorsed. Like I said in one of my humorous books...you can have sex with a vampire, a hairy werewolf, or an alien in any body orifice, time-travel to another century and screw a count or duke, but God forbid your heroine actually strays to someone else's bed while she's married. That NEVER happens!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How Would You Feel?


While we're waiting for Kim Smith to make her appearance today, I'll share something just posted to one of my author's loops. First, though I wonder if readers realize how much effort is put into writing a book? The creation is the easiest part. Then comes editing, querying, waiting, nail biting, suffering rejections, and then praising God when someone says, "send me the entire manuscript." Once the book is published, then comes the real work... promotion and marketing.

I cannot count the hours I spend on loops, posting excerpts, inviting people to my blog, let alone blogging, chatting, emailing, planning contests, joining in other people's contests, giving away free books and prizes, spending money for bookmarks, postcards, keychains, pens, anything to help promote me and my work and keep it in the limelight. My family bugs me about "wasting my time." Unlike mainstream published authors who have help getting their names and titles out there, e-published authors bear the brunt of the labor. You hope to earn enough money to cover the hours you spend, heal the stress you suffer, and make being an author worthwhile, but in the end, by the time the editors, cover artists, outsourced sites like All Romance Ebooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., get their cut, we make pennies on the dollar.

Why do I write...because I love it. For me it was never about the money, although it would be nice to earn enough to pay for the items I purchase. I would so like to go to another RT conference, but the first one cost me almost $3000 and I can't afford it. So I have to network in the cheapest ways I can find. I envy those who can go to these conventions, conferences and meetups. All my friends are "virtual." But their still the best and I care for each and every one of them...actually feel a kinship with some.

So, it upsets me when I read things like this post. Everyone I know is depressed over failing sales, looking for reasons, evaluating what they are doing wrong or have missed doing, and then a study reveals that of 913 books followed, 3 million illegal downloads were detected. Read the entire article: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6714772.html?nid=2286&rid=#CustomerId&source=link

Each time someone takes advantage of a free download on these pirating sites, you're stealing money from the people who worked hard to make the book a reality. Think how you might feel!

*My thanks to dbtechno.com for letting me blogjack their pirate.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What, Me a Success?

Click HERE for website for JD Webb Author of Mysteries.


Authors’ egos are easily bent/damaged. We are constantly rejected and reminded that we are inadequate. Over these past few years, I’ve taken heart after hearing the stories of famous authors and their rejections. Then comes a question from a friend: Are you disappointed that you have not yet become a name like King or Patterson? Well, after wrestling away depression, I started thinking. Am I successful? First answer – darn right I am. Another bout with doubt. Why am I writing, and am I satisfied with my career?

After I had toiled in the corporate world for twenty-five years, the company decided they no longer needed me—or even my job. Cripes - rejection. I promoted myself to cobbler and owned my own business for eleven years. When the economy for cobblers (predating the economy for others) went south, I closed my business. Rejection number two.

I became a full time author in 2002. Since that time, I’ve had three mystery novels published by a small, respected electronic publisher, and have a fourth coming out in 2010 by a different small also respected publisher. Each of these submissions paralleled the process for publication by the big guys: query letter, first three chapters and then the entire manuscript.
I’ve had several short stories published, and am the owner of the Publishing and Promoting Yahoo group with more than 900 international members. My novels have garnered awards and wonderful reviews. So I considered myself successful. At least until the question from my friend.

Holding that first printed copy of my book was the realization of a life-long dream. Finally, when I was 65 years old, my book was published. I’d always wanted to be a writer, writing short stories all my life, and had the some-day dream of writing a novel. My very first goal was merely to finish a book. I had no desire or thought about getting it published. I’d read enough about authors to know that every one of the famous names has a first novel stashed in the back of a desk drawer.

A second book followed. An author friend in my writing group encouraged me to submit it to her publisher. I had already placed a rejection folder in my file cabinet. With my track record, rejection was a forgone conclusion. I should be ready for it. To my astonishment, they wanted to publish the book. Well, the bug had bitten me. I thought, “Hey, I have another book done, why not send it as well?” And three months after the first was in print, the second came out. I had no qualms saying I was a success. I even sold a bunch of them. Not thousands of copies, but actual people were reading my books. And liking them. Presto, I was a success. More books came.

But the question continues to taunt me. Am I a success? I ponder. And yes, by golly, at the moment I am a success. I’m doing what I believe I was meant to do--tell stories. I’m giving pleasure and smiles to readers and enjoying every minute of the journey, even the dreaded promotion and business side of writing. I have a wonderful writing group who help me overcome my grammatical ineptitude and a beautiful, supporting wife who is my biggest fan. And my “job” allows me time to volunteer and give back to my community.

When I listen to my characters talk to me and drive me to the finish line, I am in heaven on earth. I sometimes read what I have written and wonder where the heck that came from? I’ve made myself laugh and cry. Isn’t that what life is supposed to be about? Joy and sorrow? I thank you, God, for giving me the talent and tenacity to keep going. I am a success. Just ask me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Email Tracking and Good Advice


This has circulated before, but I'm so sick of clicking fifteen forwarded messages to get to the meat of the email...also weeding through pages and pages of addresses. To be honest, I've utilized them a few times for promotional purposes. *lol* Why not...you send me a bunch of email addys and I'm gonna use them. But now, I think I'm going to be a lot more careful about what I add my name to, and I'll be using the bcc: more to protect my friends.

Here is something everyone should read and take the advice. If you don't, you're hurting yourself and your E-mail buddies...

By now, I suspect everyone is familiar with www.snopes.com and/or www.truthorfiction.com for determining whether information received via e-mail is just that: true/false or fact/fiction. Both are excellent sites.

Advice from Snopes.com Very important!

1) Any time you see an E-mail that says forward this on to '10' (or however many) of your friends, sign this petition, or you'll get bad luck, good luck, you'll see something funny on your screen after you send it, or whatever, it almost always has an E-Mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and E-Mails of those folks you forward to.

The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of 'active' E-Mail addresses to use in SPAM E-Mails, or sell to other spammers. Even when you get E-Mails that demand you send the e-mail on if you're not ashamed of God/Jesus .....that's E-mail tracking and they're playing on your conscience. These people don't care how they get your e-mail addresses - just as long as they get them. Also, E-Mails that talk about a missing child or a child with an incurable disease - "how would you feel if that was your child"....E-mail Tracking!!!

Ignore them and don't participate!

2) Almost all E-Mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all any of this type of E-mail is, is a way to get names and 'cookie' tracking information for telemarketers and spammers - - to validate active E-mail accounts for their own profitable purposes.

You can do your friends and family members a GREAT favor by sending this information to them; you will be providing a service to your friends, and will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam E-Mails in the future!

If you have been sending out (FORWARDING) the above kinds of E-mail, now you know why you get so much SPAM!

Do yourself a favor and STOP adding your name(s) to those types of listings regardless how inviting they might sound!...or make you feel guilty if you don't!...it's all about getting e-mail addresses - nothing more!

You may think you are supporting a GREAT cause, but you are NOT! Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later and very possibly a virus attached! Plus, you are helping the spammers get rich! Let's stop making it easy for them!

Also: E-mail petitions are NOT acceptable to Government, or any other organization - i.e. social security, etc. To be acceptable, petitions must have a signed signature and full address of the person signing the petition, so this is a waste of time and you're just helping the E-mail trackers....

Please read the full story here:
http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/petition/internet.asp


IMPORTANT!! HOW TO FORWARD E-MAIL APPROPRIATELY

A friend who is a computer expert received the following directly from a system administrator for a corporate system..
It is an excellent message that ABSOLUTELY applies to ALL of us who send E-Mails.

Please read the short letter below, even if you're sure you already follow proper procedures.

Do you really know how to forward E-Mails? 50% do; 50% DO NOT.
Do you wonder why you get viruses or junk mail? Do you hate it?
Every time you forward an E-mail there is information left over from the people who got the message before you, namely their e-mail addresses & names. As the messages get forwarded along, the list of addresses builds, and builds, and builds, and all it takes is for some poor sap to get a virus, and his or her computer can send that virus to every E-mail address that has come across his computer.

Or, someone can take all of those addresses and sell them or send junk mail to them in the hopes that you will go to the site and he will make five cents for each hit. That's right, all of that inconvenience over five cents

How do you stop it?

Well, there are several easy steps:

(1) When you forward an e-mail, DELETE all of the other addresses that appear in the body of the message (at the top).. That's right, DELETE them. Highlight them and delete them, backspace them, cut them, whatever it is you know how to do. It only takes a second. You MUST click the 'Forward' button first and then you will have full editing capabilities against the body and headers of the message. If you don't click on 'Forward' first, you won't be able to edit the message at all.


(2) Whenever you send an e-mail to more than one person, do NOT use the To: or Cc: fields for adding e-mail addresses. Always use the BCC: (blind carbon copy)field for listing the e-mail addresses. This is the way the people you send to will only see their own e-mail address. If you don't see your BCC: option click on where it says To: and your address list will appear. Highlight the address and choose BCC: and that's it, it's that easy. When you send to BCC: your message will automatically say 'Undisclosed Recipients' in the 'TO:' field of the people who receive it.

(3) Remove any 'FW :' in the subject line. You can re-name the subject if you wish or even fix spelling.

(4) ALWAYS hit your Forward button from the actual E-mail you are reading. Ever get those E-Mails that you have to open 10 pages to read the one page with the information on it? By Forwarding from the actual page you wish someone to view, you stop them from having to open many E-Mails just to see what you sent.

(5) Have you ever got an E-mail that is a petition? It states a position and asks you to add your name and address and to forward it to 10 or 15 people or your entire address book. The E-mail can be forwarded on and on and can collect thousands of names and e-mail addresses. A FACT: The completed petition is actually worth a couple of bucks to a professional spammer because of the wealth of valid names and e-mail addresses contained therein. If you want to support the petition, send it as your own personal letter to the intended recipient. Your position may carry more weight as a personal letter than a laundry list of names and e-mail address on a petition. (Actually, if you think about it, who's supposed to send the petition in to whatever cause it supports? And don't believe the ones that say that the e-mail is being traced, it just ain't so!)

(6) One of the main ones I hate is the ones that say something like, 'Send this e-mail to 10 people and you'll see something great run across your screen.' Or, sometimes they'll just tease you by saying something really cute will happen. IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!!!!! (Trust me, I'm still seeing some of the same ones that I waited on 10 years ago!) I don't let the bad luck ones scare me either, they get trashed.

(7) Before you forward an Amber Alert, or a Virus Alert, or some of the other ones floating around nowadays,check them out before you forward them. Most of them are junk mail that's been circling the net for YEARS! Just about everything you receive in an E-mail that is in question can be checked out at Snopes. Just go to http://www.snopes.com/
Its really easy to find out if it's real or not. If it's not, please don't pass it on.

So please, in the future, let's stop the junk mail and the viruses.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome, Rachel Brimble

This is my very first offering as a guest blogger so I thank Ginger from the bottom of my heart for taking a risk with me! Now, let’s see if I can draw you to the edge of your seats in anticipation of wanting to read my latest novel…
I am already an author of two romantic suspense novels, but it is my latest release I am here to talk about today. The Sharp Points of a Triangle is a sexy, romantic comedy and my first release with Eternal Press. Inspired by a newspaper article about about past lovers reunited, the book was my favorite to write so far. Hannah Boyd and Jamie Young leapt from the page and became the funniest, smartest, sexiest couple I have created to date.

Let me tell you a little about the book and then I’ll post an excerpt.

Hannah is flying high – newly appointed as the youngest female financial adviser in the UK, she is more than ready to accept her boss’ challenge of securing one of the wealthiest men in the country as a client. They embark on a four day Medieval themed conference where the client is attending and Hannah begins her seduction…but then her worst nightmare comes true when her biggest rival turns out to be the ex who broke her heart six years before - Jamie. An ex who will do whatever it takes to prove how much he still loves her and get her back by his side where she belongs…

Excerpt: (CONTAINS SEXUAL CONTENT)

I look down at my fingers lingering above the waist band of his jeans. Have I lost my mind? I whip my arm back so quickly I hear a crick in my shoulder.

“Sorry, sorry, I don’t know...”

But then his lips are pressing down hard against mine. I feel his arm come round and support my back which I am bloody grateful for, because although swooning women are a thing of the past, I’m not sure my legs will hold me. He pushes his tongue tentatively into my mouth and I lift mine to meet his, his lips linger somewhere between soft and firm, and for a long moment my mind is whirling. There is a red hot stirring between my legs and I kiss him back with everything I’ve got.

I lift my hands to his face and pull him closer. A gasp escapes my lips when he gently nudges my feet apart and presses a thigh firmly between my legs. He begins to tug at the hem of my dress and with our lips still connected, I lift my arms. The silky material glides up my back and our mouths separate for a brief moment as he lifts it over my head, before joining once more.

“Hannah.”

He breathes my name into my mouth and I feel a solitary tear slide slowly down my cheek. This is all so wrong, but I can’t stop. I don’t want to stop. Eventually, I have to pull away for fear of drowning.

“Let’s swim.”

We quickly discard the remainder of our clothes and sprint towards the water. I cannot believe what I’m doing, and I’m secretly hoping the moonlight isn’t bouncing too savagely off my lily white ass. My breath catches as I leap head first into the waves and when I re-surface, Jamie snatches me close.

I can feel the length of his erection pressing up against my belly. I smile as I reach up to push the hair from his eyes. “Now that’s just showing off,” I say.

“What is?” he murmurs, his eyes lingering over my breasts as they bob above the water.

“There aren’t many men who could dive into cold water like this and maintain an erection of that size.”

He raises an eyebrow. “That size, huh? The lady is impressed.”

I reach my arms around his neck. “Nah, not really.”

He throws his head back and laughs. The sound penetrates my skin and fills my heart. And I know in that moment, I want to hear him laugh forever. I look into his eyes and purposefully, push the notion of regret to the back of my mind. I lean closer and his smile slowly dissolves as my lips find his. I taste salt, feel heat and hear my own blood rushing through my veins as he lifts me. My legs easily encircle his waist. The world drifts farther and farther away from us. It’s Jamie and I, alone, happy, re-discovering each other…

“Hey you, Mr. and Mrs. Naked Lovers! Yoo-hoo!”

We break apart and turn to the shore. I slap one hand over each tit.
“Oh, good God. Nooooooo!”

But it’s too late. The three teenagers have taken our clothes and they’re running, screaming and laughing up the beach like the little shits they are. I turn to Jamie who is staring at them as though hypnotized.

Please check out my website: www.rachelbrimble.com

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Poll

The Preditor and Editor site is well-known among e-authors, for their helpful information about publishers, agents, contests, etc. Every year they host a competition where readers and authors alike can nominate themselves or their favorite books, publishers, artists, ezines, poems, short stories, and more. The excitement sparks strings of posts begging for votes. Everyone wants to vote for their friends, but if you have more than a handful, it's hard to pick who to favor. And, you can only vote once in each category. I have at least ten friends that I feel are worthy under romance novel. So how do I choose?

I cannot tell you how many times I've read this line: "I can't believe it. Someone nominated *insert title here* on the P&E poll. I'd appreciate your vote."

Well of course, the first thing I think is...you nominated yourself but you're too ashamed to admit it. I understand the need to see your own work on the lists, and in years past, I've been among those begging for votes...even asking my sister to have all the employees who work for her to cast their votes for me. You know what...I never even finished in the top ten.

This year, I didn't bother. I didn't send out any notations that three of my books are nominated, and I entered my own name in the author category. I didn't ask a single person to vote because I want to see how I fare on my own. I checked the results and I'm hanging at the bottom for author (my nomination), and my books are somewhere mid category. At this point, the contest becomes more about who has the most friends and influence...at least in my opinion. Is there pride in winning something you have to beg for? You bet! I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to display the winning logo on my website. It's about prestige.

SoI'm not downing those who still get excited. Every year, there's a new crop of authors and hoards of new names, but after so many years of pleading for votes, I've given up and I'm going to "let the cards fall where they may." I have a feeling, I'll be sliding off the charts real soon. *lol*

Best of luck to those of you still hanging in the top ten. I wouldn't mind too much saying I was a contender in the P&E poll. People are still very impressed by it. That's a good thing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

White Heart, Lakota Spirit - Coming Soon

I'm tickled pink to have my cover for White Heart, Lakota Spirit, my historical romance set in the Dakota Hills during the 1800s. Dawne Dominique is the amazing mind behind this eye-catching beauty.

WHLS is an upcoming release from Moongypsy Press, a new publisher with a talented line-up of authors and staff already in place for the grand opening later this month. I hope you'll be on the lookout for it. Check out Moongypsy Press

Here's an UNEDITED excerpt from WHLS:

Lone Eagle crossed the compound in search of his son. Nearing his mother’s lodge, he heard raised voices and saw a crowd gathering at the far end of the village. He quickened his pace toward the commotion, thoughts of finding Little Cloud lost.

Six young warriors rode into camp—their faces and horses painted for war. Shock and confusion jolted Little Eagle at seeing his nephew, Little Elk, among them. Where had the group been? He had no idea they’d left the village. He shoved his way through the throng.

His gaze shifted to the white woman tethered and stumbling behind the Appaloosa of his nephew’s closest friend, Black Crow. Each faltering step testified to her exhaustion. She struggled to remain standing. Her chin lifted momentarily, and she looked directly at Lone Eagle. Long blonde hair hung in matted strands. Her blue eyes, barely visible beneath the dirty tresses, widened with fright. One sleeve of her soiled dress hung in tatters down her arm, and her wrists looked painfully chafed. Raw and weeping red spots peeked through the veil of dust on her bare feet.

Rage burned within Lone Eagle. He stood in the path of Black Crow’s horse and raised his hand. “As your Chief, I demand to know what you have done.”

The band dismounted. Little Elk came forward, pride shining in his eyes. “My uncle, we rode together to make war against the whites. We have brought a captive as evidence.”

Lone Eagle’s icy glare spanned the young braves. He stepped closer to Little Elk and leaned in until they were almost nose to nose. “Your chest puffs with pride, but your actions were foolish.” He fought the urge to shake some sense into his nephew and knotted his fists at his sides. “How dare you decide something without advice of Tribal Council! You have no right to put the tribe at risk of war. By bringing a wasichu captive to our camp, you place our people in danger and bring shame upon yourselves.”

“But, Uncle...”

Lone Eagle held up his palm. “I will not hear from you now. We will discuss this among the elders, but first, is anyone injured?”

Little Elk hung his head. “None of us here...but...but two of our brothers now walk the ghost trail.”

Blood pulsed in Lone Eagle’s temples. “Do you see what your foolish impulse has cost?” He scanned the faces of the young men. “Because you wanted to prove your manliness, two of our people are dead. I will go and call a tribal meeting at once to discuss your actions.”

Lone Eagle spun and stormed away from the crowd.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Welcome, Gianna Bruno


Big thanks to Ginger for hosting me today. Hot Chocolate Kiss was released by Eternal Press yesterday, and I'm still flying high after the all the launch day festivities.

Keela Branford’s passion for extreme winter sports, fueled by anger at a cheating soon to be ex-husband, drives her to brave sub-zero wind chills and break a lot of rules--including the one to never ski alone. There are just some battles that have to be fought despite the risks.

Keela doesn't think much of Rick Marston, a ski lift attendant who is brazen enough to question Keela's judgment. And she thinks even less of his invitation for a drink when she comes down from the summit. She's sworn off controlling jocks like her ex, and is determined to exorcise the demon of self-doubt inside her. Will Keela win the battle against The Witches waiting for her on the ski slopes? And will the heat between Keela and the man who gets in the middle rout them for good?

I don't know about you, but the weather where I am is very cold, snowy and windy--not as extreme as what Rick and Keela experienced, but nevertheless conducive to cuddling in front of a fire with a Hot Chocolate Kiss- namely a yummy mug of cocoa, Kahlua, Tia Maria and whipped cream.

Eternal Press wanted some stories about winter sports to celebrate the upcoming Winter Olympics and I am so pleased they chose mine to get you all in the mood for some extreme sports, both on and off the slopes.

After you've read the story, please join me on my website forum where Rick and Keela will be guest blogging and answering readers' questions.

Stop by my blog for the latest news. Follow me on Twitter, or join my Yahoo group. Easy links to all are available on my website.

So to get you in the mood, here's the video trailer for Hot Chocolate Kiss followed by an excerpt.

Enjoy!



Excerpt:


The blonde perched on a stool wore boots that looked like she’d strapped a husky dog to each leg. Keela doubted she had ever skied in her life. That sleek blonde ponytail wouldn't fit under a helmet, and she'd freeze her perky tits and tight ass off wearing that pink fleece jacket and black spandex pants.

She prattled out the usual disclaimers while processing the credit card transaction. "No refunds for conditions. The gondolas are closed due to high winds. Only the open chairs are going to the summit, and we might have to close them as well. The ski patrol has put up an extreme weather alert: no exposed skin, take frequent re-warming breaks."

Keela tried not to sound bitchy. This wasn't one of Ken's girlfriends. The kid was just doing her job. "Thanks for the tips."

After securing the $75..00 ticket on her parka and putting on every piece of protective equipment in her pack., she waddled out the door like a stuffed pig, sweating like one, too.

She knocked the ice off the bottom of her boots with her poles and clicked into the bindings. No matter who I’m with, it’s always me against the mountain—alone. Keela skated over to the lift where the same guy she’d met outside the can was working. "It’s the Tuckerman lady." He winked and guided the chair under her butt.

She couldn't see the rest of his face but imagined him licking his lips.

The lift swept her up, and he called out, "Seriously, be careful. I’ll buy you a Hot Chocolate Kiss when you come down from the summit, sister."

I don't think so, dude. No more being treated like a buddy who happened to have a receptacle instead of a plug. No more schlepping boots and ski equipment, plus a backpack full of camping gear to the summit of Mount Washington , dodging rockslides and avalanches, to ski Tuckerman Ravine. No more romantic nights crammed into a lean-to, surrounded by a unisex cadre of other idiots, with a sleeping bag, thermals, and Gore-Tex to light her fire.



Hot Chocolate Kiss

by Gianna Bruno

order your copy from Eternal Press

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dirty Laundry & New Beginnings



by Maggie Dove

In the spring of 1981, my husband, a Captain in the Marine Corps, decided to leave the Marines to practice law in Florida. We met soon afterwards on a blind date in June and married six months later. During our first year of marriage, we lived in a condo by the beach and he worked as a lawyer for the State Attorney’s office. I was a very happy newlywed living in the same town that I had grown up in surrounded by family and friends.

Eight months into our marriage, my husband received a letter from The United States Marine Corps., offering him the opportunity to come back for three years of active duty to practice law and live in the base at Quantico, Virginia. My husband told me that he missed the Marine Corps., and that he would love to return to service. I was horrified. I pictured myself as Private Benjamin, leaving my beautiful loft apartment near the beach and trading it in, as well as my family and friends, for a marine barracks in the cold with strangers.

I really did not want to go, but my husband uttered the magic words. “Everything is paid for…you don’t have to work.” I had been working for ten straight years in a beautiful Florida hotel and was a bit exhausted. The idea of becoming a stay home wife was a very convincing notion. I was even looking forward to watching soaps and having coffee with newfound friends ala 1950’s sitcoms where housewives were just that and Lucy and Ethel had nothing better to do than relax and think up ways to drive their husbands nuts! I longed for peace and quiet. Without further hesitation, I packed my bags and three months later, we said goodbye to our loved ones and headed off for Quantico, Virginia.

It took about 2 days for me to fall completely in love with the base. My “barracks” was a beautiful 3 story brownstone with French doors and polished wooden floors located on the top of a gorgeous hill near the General’s quarters and the Officer’s Club. The building, surrounded by luscious woods, was part of a group of redbrick brownstones called the Letter Apartments. Each building consisted of 3 floors occupied by 6 couples (2 couples to a floor.) My husband and I lived on the first floor. My building was Building A. I spoke with my mother-in-law my first week at Quantico and she asked me how I was doing my laundry. I told her that my husband was right and that everything on the base was, indeed, free! Apart from food and clothing, there were no bills to pay. Unlike my apartment in Florida where coins were needed to use the machines in the laundry room, I was thrilled to tell her that the basement of my Quantico brownstone was filled with washers and dryers and it did not cost a penny to do laundry.

After living in Quantico for two months, Building A had its first “Building Good Neighbor’s Meeting.” My husband and I were invited for coffee and doughnuts at our neighbors’ apartment upstairs where we discussed pertinent issues and the distribution of duties such as the raking of the leaves, shoveling snow, cleaning the stairwells, etc. Everything was going well until I decided to be a “good neighbor” and ask very politely about the protocol for doing laundry. Raising my hand, I said, “I hope that you all don’t mind, but I really do not have all day and when I go down to the basement, I find that you have taken all the machines. Sometimes I have to go down more than once to check and see if you have finished your laundry. Some of you leave the clothes in there all day. Again, I hope that you don’t mind, but I find myself having to take your clothes out (sometimes wet) so that I can use the machines.” I left out that this was taking time out of my soap opera watching and that, although, I actually did have all day to do laundry, I thought this was extremely rude and discourteous of them!

The couples stared at me funny and looked amongst themselves as though they did not comprehend a word I had said. “Are you talking about the laundry machines in the basement?” asked a neighbor. Smiling politely, I repeated, “Yes. I hope that you don’t mind but since you leave your clothes in the machines all day long, I find myself having to remove them in order to do my laundry.”

Judy, who later became my best friend on base, finally spoke. “Maggie, we own our machines, but you are more than welcome to use them.”
“Yes,” they all agreed. “Use them whenever and for as long as you need.”

Those were the most embarrassing 2 seconds of my life, sitting on the sofa with all eyes on me…the fool who, for two whole months, had been using their washers and dryers, taking their clothes out to use the machines, and on top of that having the nerve to complain to them that they were taking too long to do laundry!

Needless to say, the very next day, my mortified husband and I paid a visit to the appliance department at Sears! My three years at Quantico were one of the most enjoyable of my life. I met so many friends and to this date, I keep in contact with them. We laugh recalling the many zany episodes I shared with them as a Marine Corps. wife. Lucille Ball could have taken pointers!

I remember the night when I was taking a writing class on base and I got snowed in and had to abandon my car at the school. I slid down a huge hill, and, to my husband’s horror, four hours later came home with the military police! And the day when I went to visit a friend (next door) and while watching a movie, there was an ice storm. Living in Florida, I had no idea how to handle the Quantico weather. It was 11 o’clock at night and I couldn’t get home because I kept slipping on the pavement. Kneeling on all fours, I crawled back to my neighbor’s house and I called my husband and told him that I had to stay at my neighbor’s for the night because I had tried and tried, but there was no way I could make it home. I didn’t want to fall and crack my scull. Ten minutes later, my husband (dressed in a coat that hid his pajamas) had to come drag me home…by taking my hand and simply walking me from the pavement on to the grass…which was right there! There was also the time when instead of walking to the Officers’ Club three buildings away, I forced my husband to take me in our car because there was also a lot of ice. After he parked the car, it slid down the hill! And there was the time….

Maggie Dove
www.maggiedove.net

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Welcome, Diane Scott Lewis


Ginger, I’m so thrilled you invited me to post on your blog. I’ve been writing since a small child and have worked as an editor for The Wild Rose Press. I recently received a contract for my debut historical novel, The False Light. I anticipate starting edits any day now as the book will release in April from Eternal Press.

I’ve researched the eighteenth century for several years, even poring over old texts in the Library of Congress, to get my history correct.

Here’s the gist of my story:

“Fleeing the French Revolution, Bettina Jonquiere struggles to survive in a remote Cornish village, discover the secret behind her father's death, while attracted to a man who may have murdered his wife.” The novel is full of adventure, intrigue and romance.

Below is an UNEDITED excerpt.

Lisbette de Jonquiere crushed the small bundle to her chest and hurried across the main square of Boulogne’s Haute Ville. She glanced back at the townhouse. A place where she’d resented being sequestered this last week, yet it was preferable to the night’s shadows. Blinking drizzle from her eyelashes, she glared at the elderly man walking beside her. His lantern pushed a small pool of light before them. “If I must sail, why can’t I travel as a passenger on a packet boat?”
“There is…no time to obtain a passport.” Armand rasped this out, ending in a cough. He moved closer and hooked his arm with hers as if they led a nocturnal dance. “When you arrive in Dover catch the first coach to Bath.”
They passed the cathedral and the pink-bricked Town Hall. Around a corner, Lisbette started when a figure emerged from an alley and blocked their path. Armand halted, twitching his shoulders before the huge man who trudged into their lantern’s glow. Lisbette cringed at his filthy clothes. His face looked as if someone had tried to carve their initials into his cheeks. A stench rolled off him, like the slime washed up from beneath the sea.
“So, this is the one?” The giant tugged a frayed hat low on his forehead. Water dripping off the roof behind him smacked the cobbles and stirred the mist around his bulky frame.
“Certainement. This is she, and please be gentle.” Armand glanced at her, his eyes droopy above gaunt cheeks, sadder than she’d ever seen them. “Is it quiet down there, at the harbor?”
“Quiet enough for what we need. Only one from customs. I’ll be there.” The man turned around and in a splat of footfalls the gloom swallowed him up once more.
Lisbette shivered and bunched together the edges of her cloak, already damp from the increasing rain. “Who is that dirty man, Armand? I still don’t understand why you insist on sending me off at this hour and with no decent companion.”
“I’ve explained that it’s too late to engage anyone. But I promised your mother I’d keep you from harm.” He averted his eyes when he mentioned her mother, then coughed into his hand. “Let’s keep walking, my dear.”
“Maman will not approve of this. We should go back to the house. You’re ill. I feel the heat in your arm.” Lisbette wondered if his fever had confused him. The shock of being dragged from bed, her interrupted sleep, scrambled for reason in her head. But the cold air sharpened her fears like a needle. “Ma foi, why is my leaving so urgent?”

I hope you will visit my website to find out more about me and my novels in progress:
dianescottlewis.com



Note from Ginger: I'm honored that Diane shared an Advanced Reading Copy of The False Light with me, and I'll be reviewing this exciting novel soon on my new Examiner.com site: E-Book Reviews.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

If You Could Make Someone's Dream Come True...What Would It Be?



That's an easy question for me. My hubby has sacrificed so much for us. When I met him, he had a beautiful 1956 Mercury that he had restored himself. There's so much pride in doing the work and being able to say you didn't have to pay someone to create a thing of beauty. Because of his child support obligation and the fact that his ex-wife left him with a house with no equity, he had to donate his Merv to a charitable organization so we could have a tax write-off. He didn't let on how crushed he was, but I knew if he wasn't a man, he would have sobbed.

Later, he found a deal on a old Plymouth. He brought it home, rebuilt it, and made it another thing of beauty. But, in his heart, he always wanted a pre-49 car. This was another 1956, but with the beautiful Jalapeno green paint job, beautiful flames, and a killer sound system, I was proud as punch.

But, then one day, he went to a swap meet and came home with that pre-49 he'd always dreamed of. I was shocked that he traded our beautiful Plymouth for an old Pontiac that was plain and boring. I've never been able to visualize like he has. I see junk...he's sees beauty. Guess that's why he married me. *lol*

Anyhow, he transformed that car into the likes I'd never seen. He painted a ghost image of Marilyn Monroe on the trunk, and put ghost flames on the sides and hood. The car sizzled with his little trademark additions, and I was elated to see him happy again.

But, somewhere along the line, the bottom fell out of our finances and we had to return to California. Kelly sold his dream car so we could make the trip. He doesn't complain, but I know in his heart he wants another custom car. If I had the money, I'd make his dream come true. Damn, Jay Leno owns a ton...you think he could spare one...the cheapskate. *lol*

Maybe someday I can put the sparkle back in Kelly's eyes. Anyone got an old car they want to get rid of? Somewhere between Free and a dollar is about what I can afford. *big grin*

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Private Matter by Kathleen O'Connor


Synopsis

Mitch Gallagher is obsessed with finding the killer of David Forjane. The young detective believes the murder’s proximity to the victim’s workplace is the key clue. Tess McConnell, a new hire, at the same corporation complicates the detective’s job though.

Unaware Gallagher is a recent widower, she comes on too strong and then feels terribly rejected when the grieving detective doesn’t respond. To get even, she ignores Gallagher and initiates some amateur sleuthing of her own. The detective suffers during this ‘cold shoulder’ treatment and eventually discovers he is more ready for a relationship than he realized. And it will take the efforts of both these characters to solve a murder where the killer left no clues.

Excerpt

David Forjane threw his briefcase in the back seat of his new red Saturn. It was a sporty enough car, but did not quite make the statement he desired. He was two years away from the blue BMW. Life was always a waiting game.

He peeled out of the garage anxious to get a mile away from the concrete fortress that was the Rayex Chemical Company. Something about the building affected radio reception, and he was now ready to hear the silky-voiced Samantha of WKAC. Always his companion for the commute home, she spun records for the heartsick and lovesick. He enjoyed their dim patter. Yesterday he heard his girlfriend call in and request a tune for David; a song called Gone. He could not quite believe it. It was his Peggy, of the repetitive conversation and robotic sex, doing something interesting and original. When Marta Johns serenaded him with, I’m beginning to see you’re growing bored with me, David answered, “Oh Peggy, I’ve been bored with you for a long time.”

He looked into the rear view mirror and was surprised to see the departmental loaner car barreling up behind. He thought he recognized the driver, but not the passenger. The twosome was going like hell and about to pass on the left. David reached down to turn on the radio.

A single bullet slammed through his brain before his hand reached the dial.


BIOGRAPHY: Kathleen O’Connor is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and recipient of a James Michener Fellowship. She is the author of four novels and her short stories and articles have appeared in Good Housekeeping, Liguorian, St. Anthony Messenger, Redbook, Seventeen and Woman’s World.


HOME PAGE: http://www.gottawritenetwork.com/kathleenoconnor.html

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pred & Ed


Yep...it's that time of year again. The holidays are over, the stockings are empty, the trees dead, the weather sucks and everyone has the after-Christmas blues. You know, the kind you get when the bills start to pour in?

So to fight off the crappy feeling, the yearly Preditor and Editor polls are open for nominations and voting. There are numerous categories, so make someone's day.

Of course, you realize this, like so many others, becomes a popularity contest, but I'm all for anything that helps an author feel recognized and appreciated. Writing is hard work, despite what some may think. If you've ever written a book, then you know, each and every one becomes your "special baby" and you never want anyone to say, "what an ugly kid."

So...have some spare time? Visit the polls and vote your choice. Like I said, be prepared to peruse, as there as many categories offered. Don't see who you like? Be the one to nominate them.

Click here and I'll whisk you right to the poll page :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Moon, New Year

You'll find Jim Whitaker's book "Hill of Beans" available at whiskeycreekpress.com and barnesandnoble.com.



December 2009, the conclusion to an often blue decade, could have been a bluebell month or a blueberry month or a Bluebeard month or a bluebook month or a blue-chip month. It's a blue moon month.
We could have had four blue Mondays. We could have taken blue pills and been stuck at home all weekend (a side effect of many blue pills – just check your PDR). We could have fallen off a ladder, startled by blue bird and collected on our Blue Cross. We could have won a first-place blue ribbon in the Christmas lights contest while the other guy collected green cash. We could've gone hiking high in the Blue Mountains and come back with blue ankles and a bluenose and all blue from the lack of oxygen. We could have sold our cobalt blue car at less than Blue Book. We could have heard "Blue Christmas" just … one …more … time.
I could go on.
I don't hear anybody out there encouraging me.
December was one of those rarities when the full moon rises twice before you have a chance to flip the calendar page in the kitchen. (Unless your kitchen calendar is like ours and you haven't turned it for a little while. I could’ve sworn Monday the 21st was the first day of spring.)
The blue moon happens in the night sky about every 2.7142857143 years on average. (Sorry for the lack of preciseness. The calculator is busted.) But it can happen just months apart.
Even though the rare blue moon happens at least once in a blue moon, there are occurrences that just don’t take place even once in a blue moon (no matter how long you hold your breath and turn, well, you get it by now):
• the coffee machine delivers five fully filled cups of steaming, delicious brew in a row without cheating you out of your dollar;
• meaningful tax cuts from the feds, the state, the county and the city;
• February 30;
• a still-wet sock doesn’t fall to the floor when you’re unloading the dryer you thought was finished;
• that full-amount-you-expect pay raise you know you absolutely deserve without question;
• your husband cleans out his pockets before the pants reach the washing machine;
• provisions of major legislation opposed by a majority of the public and affecting every American profoundly is developed and debated in the open and not hidden from the people by Congress and the president, despite the chief executive's cheap promise of transparency;
• your husband volunteers to do the laundry and actually separates the whites and the reds (that baseball analogy you used to explain why the reds and the whites need to be segregated finally soaked in);
• your child forgets to ask you for a twenty to buy a soda;
• the boss asks your opinion and follows every single recommendation you make without revision;
• you win back at least 10 percent of the money you've spent on lottery tickets over the past seven years;
• the government forgets to threaten us with a non-election-year hike in the gasoline tax;
• a big chocolate chip cookie has bigger chips than a little chocolate chip cookie and tastes better at the same time;
• a product won’t be “improved” by adding Spanish to its label;
• and… well I could go on.
I don't hear anybody out there encouraging me.
In addition to December being a blue mooner, the month of double moonshine ushers in a new year, brightly illuminating a time for second chances – time for renewal and forgiveness and regeneration.
However, best of all, when you forget to leave the porch light on and you come home late from New Year's Eve and you drop your house keys in the snow while you're fumbling at the front door … you'll have that big bright smilin' moon so you can see how to break into the bedroom window.
Have a Non-Blue New Year!

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