Monday, December 17, 2007

Tips to Making a Gingerbread House

Step 1: Buy a kit with precut gingerbread pieces, icing, and candy.

Step 2: Read directions (or, as 6 year old Kaley would say, "destructions").

Step 3: Decorate pieces.

Step 4: Piece pieces together (it's even better when hubby helps).

Step 5: Watch pieces to make sure they don't get all eaten.

Step 6: Have fun.

Step 7: A finished gingerbread house.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Confronting Your Fear of Success

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I’ve been doing a lot of self-contemplation and self-discovery lately, because I’ve been in a bad spot in my writing career. After a much needed pep talk from family and friends, I have determined that I must confront my fears.

The fear of success.

What, exactly, is the fear of success?

If you Google “Fear of Success”, you’ll come up with a long list of websites that mention the problem. I found the following information on

• Fear that you will accomplish all that you set out to, but that you still won't be happy, content, or satisfied once you reach your goal.
• Belief that you are undeserving of all the good things and recognition that come your way as a result of your accomplishments and successes.
• Opposite of fear of failure, in that fear of failure is the fear of making mistakes and losing approval. Fear of success is the fear of accomplishment and being recognized and honored.
• Lack of belief in your own ability to sustain your progress, and the accomplishments you have achieved in your life.
• Fear that your accomplishments can self-destruct at anytime.
• Belief that no matter how much you are able to achieve or accomplish, it will never be enough to sustain success.
• Belief that there are others out there who are better than you, who will replace or displace you if you do not maintain your performance record.
• Belief that success is an end in itself; yet that end is not enough to sustain your interest and/or commitment.
• Fear that once you have achieved the goals you have worked diligently for, the motivation to continue will fade.
• Fear that you will find no happiness in your accomplishments; that you will be perpetually dissatisfied with life.

Again, the website I mentioned has a list of other things, as well, and I see a lot of myself in those points.

Fear of success can truly harm your writing career if you let it, or whatever area of life that fear is working on. You feel you have to work harder, that people won’t accept you, that things will change, your status in life will change, or that people will start to expect too much from you. Or maybe you feel that if you succeed at one thing (say a book), then you have to really work at making the next one even better.

Let’s say you want to lose weight. Some people will be proud of us, but others (come on, you know who they are) will antagonize you for your efforts.

As cited on the above mentioned website, you lead yourself to believe you’re going to have to work hard, hard, hard for the rest of your life to keep that success going, and wonder if the effort is worth it. You convince yourself nobody likes a winner and is out to shoot the head man. Everyone supports the underdog but finds fault with the successful.

I used to believe I feared failure. No one wants to fail, after all. But fear of success is just as potent, because with the fear of success comes the fear that you might fail once you succeed.

So how do you confront those fears? How do you get past them? How do you stop letting fears get in the way of your dreams?
suggests the following:

• Learn to reinforce yourself for the hard work, effort, and sacrifices you've made to achieve success
• Honestly appraise your level of achievement, success, and accomplishment
• Accept yourself as being healthy, "together,'' happy, successful, prosperous, and accomplished
• Don’t give yourself any excuses for being unsuccessful
• Give others in your life permission to give you honest, open, candid feedback when they see you self-destructing or backsliding
• Monitor your level of commitment and motivation to reach your goals
• Visualize your life when you are successful
• Give others credit, recognition, and support for their personal achievements, successes, and accomplishments
• Honest, open, realistic self-talk encourages you to work your hardest to achieve the goals you have set for yourself
• Accept the compliments and recognition of others with an open heart and mind

If you’re interested in reading more, the website I mentioned has steps to face to overcome your fears, and if you Google “Fear of Success” you get lots of helpful information.

As with all aspects of life, success has positive and negative side-effects. I think facing those potential problems can help you deal with facing your fears. The articles I’ve read tell you to ask yourself “What will happen if I succeed?” and embrace the positive and negative aspects. Then, ask yourself “What will happen if I don’t succeed?” Well, more than likely, you’ll life will still change. That’s life, isn’t it?

Another fear of mine is that I wonder if that’s really what I’m supposed to do with my life. Do we really have a set destiny or future that we are supposed to follow? If I sit around and wait and wonder what that future will be, will I ever succeed? No, because I’m sitting here wondering and waiting for a sign, when in fact the sign could be right in front of me.

Another fear of mine is in my job. The one other than writing. The one that pays my bills and allows me time to write. I fear how others will see me at even trying to accomplish something, and how others will see me once they see me as successful. It’s silly, isn’t it? When I really think about it, it is silly. I know there are some (and I know who they are) who will snub me and my goals, but that’s okay. That’s their problem, not mine!

Whether it’s the fact you need to lose weight, or a new job, or finishing your book, or quit smoking…whatever it is, do you let the fear of success weigh down your accomplishments? Do you let any type of fear inhibit what you set out to do?

I do! And it’s time I confront those fears.!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Crazy Life and the Holidays

I've been meaning to post since Thanksgiving, but life has been crazy for me. Work is insane since we took off 2.5 work days amounting to 4.5 with the weekend. Leaving early on Wednesday and not coming back until Monday, then I had Tuesday off for a doctor appointment. I'm still playing catch up because crime doesn't stop, even with the holidays. Actually, it seems worse this time of year.

Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? I haven't. I haven't done anything except placed a holiday mat by the door. I plan on doing it all today, and dear hubby has promised to help. I have a lot of my holiday shopping done, but not all of it.

This evening is the town's Christmas parade. I'm going to try to go. I have a gingerbread house mix I plan on making soon with my 6-year old niece. We might try to get together next week and do that. Should be fun. I've always wanted to do it, but never have. I was going to try to go on a wine tasting holiday tour, but didn't buy tickets ahead of time. :( And there's still the trail of lights I can't miss.

The weather has been sullen. Very cloudy, foggy, and misty. I love the snow, but I live in Texas, so there is no snow. I look outside my window and see murky skies and dead grass where I dream of seeing bright sunshine and white snow (it's beautiful!) But if I look across the way at my pond, I see beautiful ducks and some type of crane. So there's always beauty, even in what first appears ugly. And now is the time to light some candles and put on some Christmas music. And who knows, maybe this evening after the parade, I'll drink some Pennsylvania Dutch Eggnog (the best) and finish my decorations.

So...are you getting everything done for the holidays? What do you still have left to do? We have 3 weeks!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just when I thought there was nothing left

Some days I am incredibly insightful and creative. Other days I'm like a deflated balloon and I couldn't come up with something creative if it hit me over the head.

I dread those uncreative moments, especially when they last awhile.

I've been battling with myself over my writing. These funny little things that pop up, brainstorms you have to have with yourself until you get things right. It's worse when you can't brainstorm because you can't think of one thing. Not one.

This has been going on for...well, ever since I completed my last novel (which I haven't talked about yet because it is in limbo, and so I don't like to talk about it). I also finished a novella about a month or two ago. In 1-2 months, yes 1-2 months, I have not been writing much!!!

I hate to admit it, because I was worried I had nothing left. I think it's a worry many writers have, but I seriously thought my career was over. Until I realized I had to give myself a break. I remember going through this same thing last year, and I was in the middle of my story then. This time, I'm at the beginning.

I read that Nora Roberts writes everyday, no matter what, because "you can't edit a blank page". She doesn't believe in writer's block and believes that a writer is going to write. So imagine the pressure I've been feeling because I can't seem to write.'s what I did.

I gave myself a break. I just completed and submitted my third 100K novel, I finished and submitted a 40K novella. I have every right to take a break. To feel emotionally exhausted. To feel like every word has been detracted from my body. So once I finally realized this, I accepted that I just needed a break. Then I did other creative things, like created a character sketch for my characters.

I had a character sketch already, but I didn't care about my characters. I didn't care about my story and had no idea. But once I gave myself that break and realized I deserved it, everything was better and I actually wanted to work on the story. This sketch is very cool, almost a poster board type sketch only it's on my computer (I printed it to hang on my wall), with pictures and facts about the character. Maybe I'll show it to you one day, but for now I have to keep it to myself. It is a WIP, after all, and I never talk about my WIP.

So...just when I thought the well was dried up, water burst forth, and I've written some fantastic scenes this evening. Ones I am so proud of!

Oh, and I realized that just because a certain author does it a certain way, no matter how successful she is, doesn't mean we are all that way! We have to do things that work for us. What worked for me is finally telling myself that I deserve a break and will get back on track. It didn't take long to get back on track once I came to this realization on my own (doesn't matter how many people told me to take a break beforehand). I only hope I stay on track for awhile...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Emotions in Characters and Pet Peeves

I used to think I didn’t have a pet peeve when it came to reading. I dislike books that don't catch my interest right away, for whatever reason, but I'm fairly easy to please.

I’ve since discovered maybe I'm not so easy to please.

There are so many ways to draw a reader into a story. My favorite? Show me how the character is feeling by revealing—through his thoughts and senses—how he is feeling. The weather, usually very overplayed, if done right can be a great revelation of emotion. There are moments when a scene requires a slight nudge to show me the character, another when I need to be banged on the hand with the information.

I was reading a book from one of my favorite authors, (NYT bestseller, but I'm not saying who) and I can't make make it past the first chapter. Why? I wanted to know how the character was feeling, but every other sentence told me. Yes, in highly emotional scenes it is good to super empower the sensations and thoughts of the character, but readers can’t stand to read in a super empowered state at every sentence. (At least, I can’t).

Another pet peeve? Thoughts. I hate italics. If I am in that character’s head, I do not need italics. It jars me and jerks me out of where I want to be—in the character’s head. Some editors believe that a character’s thought must be italicized. I believe in going deep into the character’s POV. Everything the character sees, touches, experiences is what I experience. His thoughts are my thoughts. If the grass looks purple to him…well, you catch my drift. But I don't like italics. It's just my personal preference, and I know others will disagree, but this book has italics on every page. I'm not kidding. More than once, sometimes, and it makes me want to throw the book across the room.

What’s your pet peeve?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Keep Moving Forward

I love movies, but rarely blog about them. I could blog movie reviews all day long and tell you what I liked and disliked about them, but the movie I watched last night deserves commenting on.

I had just come home from my aunt and uncle's, where I spent the weekend. Hubby and I decided to relax with a movie and a pizza, because it had been an eventful and tiring weekend. We watched Meet the Robinsons.

The movie had its good moments and it's "let's get this on with it" moments, but the overall theme of the movie is what touched me. Lately, I've been in a bad place mentally. Writing can be such a stressful and lonely occupation. Challenging. Frustrating. Demanding. Add in an exhausting full time job, and you have days when you just want to give up. It's easy to follow your negative stream of consciousness when self-doubt reins stronger than the joy of writing.

My aunt must have known the frustration I was feeling, because she said something I know, but something I needed to hear from someone who loves me for me (besides my husband...because sometimes, well, I think he's just trying to make me feel better). "Not many people get to realize their dreams," she said. "You have, and you should be proud of that." Other things were said about my job, but you get the point.

Back to the movie, Meet the Robinsons...about a kid who is ready to give up on his dreams until he sees the future he'll have if he "Keeps Moving Forward" (the mantra of the movie). Of course, he has the opportunity to fix the bad things that happen and everything ends up happily ever after.

We don't have the opportunity to see our future, but can you see how many opportunities we have to throw our future away? What if the next rejection kills my hopes and I never pick up a pen again? What if I let my job stress overwhelm me so much that I decide writing isn't a future I am able to pursue?

What if J.K. Rowling stopped at her third Harry Potter book?

If you give up your dreams, you give up a part of yourself. Sure, you'll have a different future, but think of the future Lewis would have had in Meet The Robinsons as opposed to the one he did have, because he KEPT MOVING FORWARD!

I believe that God sometimes uses people and things to tell us something, and while part of me wonders why He would support my dream of writing romantic suspense (I'm not out saving the world), the other part of me realizes the good that can come of it. I grew up reading romance, and each book I've read, each author, has touched me deeply, though I never knew and probably will never know them personally. My mom, who would have been the biggest support post of all, is no longer here to pursue her dreams, but I know she would offer wisdom if she could. So with that in mind, I'm ready to KEEP MOVING FORWARD!

On another note...I wanted to wish our veterans a HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY. I wish I could personally thank each and every one of them for what they've done for our country.

Recently, I did some research on the Vietnam War. I just completed a novella targeting the Vietnam era (patiently waiting to hear back from my publisher) and how it affected the relationship between a man and a woman, and I bought a couple of books from true Vietnam vets who spoke of their experiences. While all war is catastrophic and changes the lives of many, I learned how Vietnam was different. Those men went to a foreign country with little training and came back after a year with little to no support. They didn't have a fanfare waiting for them, and sometimes their families didn't even recognize them. They were supposed to get a job or go back to work with no debriefing when they returned home. It was hard to know who their enemy was, even after they returned home.

Many of them experienced outbursts of rage and still have nightmares to this day. They were trained to kill, dehumanize, and hate, then come back home and return to a normal life.

What is normal? To them, everything had changed and they'd miss out on what should have been the most important part of their life. Many of them right out of high school and most of them young, they saw more death and destruction than most people could possibly imagine, and many of them never came home. Most people gave up believing in the war and many didn't believe in or support the soldiers anymore.

No matter how you feel about war, if you know a Vet, or anyone who is in the military, give them a hug and shout out your appreciation. We all know what they do isn't easy, but I hope they know how much we love and appreciate them.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Following The Muse

I want to do what I want to do! I want to write what I want to write!

But my muse won’t let me.

For those of you who don’t believe in a muse, I’m here to disagree, but I’m not going to try to explain what I think it is. I have no way of knowing. Something internal, some creative aspect of ourselves that seems to know exactly what we should say, do, think or write. Some kind of internal dialogue with ourselves. I can even liken it to a spirit. If you believe in the Holy Spirit, I think the muse is something like that. And when you tap into that muse, when you are “one” with that muse, everything seems so perfect for awhile.

But man, it’s hard to stay there. I always try to run ahead, and leave my muse behind. Then when I stop and wait for the muse to catch up, I look around waiting and wondering what happened to it, but it’s lost. There are other times when I lag behind. My foot gets wrapped with twigs and briars as I run through a forest of ideas, and I trip and fall, calling out for the muse to wait for me.

I’ve lost the muse.

Okay, so it isn’t quite like that, but the muse is a wonderful, terrifying part of most writers’ life, and it seems to want me to write a story I didn’t think I was ready for.

The bad thing about the muse is if I try to force a story without its support, it usually sucks. Eventually the muse may come around if I keep forcing it, but I’m not happy with my work if I don’t have the muse’s support. The good thing about the muse is if it’s there, everything flows perfectly. It’s like something else is inside me, writing.

The worst part is if the muse if there, clapping me on and chocking me full of ideas, and I’m ignoring it. I’m doing everything but writing. I’m tuning it out, pushing it away, telling it to leave me alone.

Writing in my blog instead of writing what my muse is urging me to do.

Why, oh why, would a writer do such a thing?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Professionally Creative

I think we pulled off "professionally creative". Minus the eye patch and head piece. Actually, I did have the head piece, but it was "professionally creative". I guess I should have taken a "before" picture.

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween, with lots of treats!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I'm looking forward to Wednesday. A friend and I are taking her daughter and my niece out trick-or-treating, and are getting together to eat chili and hot dogs beforehand. My job doesn't usually allow us to dress up, but we are doing so this year professionally and only adding the other non-professional stuff later. I'll share pictures sometime after, so check back.

Halloween is not something I used to enjoy. As a diabetic, it's almost torture, but by the time I was diagnosed, I had grown out of wanting to do it and now that I have an insulin pump, it's much easier to enjoy those treats! Then, when my mom died only five days before (Oct. 26), I couldn't stand the ghosts, goblins, and skeletons. But now I enjoy it again, and it's been a tradition of mine to go with my niece.

Also, as a reminder, my short Halloween story, HOPE, LOVE AND TREATS is still available from The Wild Rose Press. The story came out this time last year, but you can still enjoy it. I pride myself on it being a romance you can read to your children, like my mom did for me.

What's your Halloween tradition? Your Halloween fears? Your favorite Halloween treats? (Anything with chocolate!)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

RWA Magazine and Day Jobs

I just love the articles in the Romance Writers Report, the monthly magazine of the RWA. That magazine alone makes membership in the RWA worth it. They have great tip, advice and articles by other members.

There was an article about quitting your day job, and while that won't happen for me for awhile because it's just not feasible (for many reasons), I realized I am not the only one who has suffered.

I thought I was losing my mind. My mind has been exhausted, I have little time and energy to follow my dream, I blamed it on anything but my job (my health, my other pursuits, etc.) I blamed it on my diabetes, thinking that diabetes was just affecting my mind. I am reassured to realize that other people have been through the same thing. Emotional exhaustion is a tough one to beat. I'd rather be physically exhausted and I used to argue with my husband about it. Physical exhaustion makes me feel like I've done something constructive. Makes me feel like my body has accomplished something, and I can give it rest by taking a nice warm bath and drinking a glass of wine.

But how do you get over emotional exhaustion?

Sometimes you just have to "let go, and let be". A lot like physical exhaustion, you just have to give your body and mind a break. Veg out in front of the TV. Take a warm bath. Spend time with friends. Laugh.

But what about everyday? What if you suffer from an intense job that wreaks havoc on your writing? Then what?

Oh, if only I had all the answers. Scheduling is important, but it's also important to give yourself down time. Don't stay too long in that down time, though. That's my problem. If you get in that down time and won't get out of it. Also, deep breathing exercises help me. If I sit down to write but the scene won't form, deep breathing and "imagination meditation" helps. (I should do it more often, instead of forcing words out). That's where I breathe slowly and deeply and focus on my scene, imagining what's happening but not writing it down. If you fear you'll forget, use a tape recorder. I carry around a digital voice recorder, and it has saved me several times.

I spend a lot of time in front of the computer because of my job, so sometimes I have to bring out the ole pen and notebook. There's something about that method that breaks me out of the doldrums and gives fresh meaning to "writing".

Lunch breaks are a good time to use that notebook and just write. I'll pack my lunch and go to the park. A good hour of this will really put steam in my writing, and this time of year is a beautiful time to do that.

And weekends. They've gotten away from me a lot lately, but a good weekend with nothing to do but write has been a life savior to me many times. It means you have to say no to people sometimes, and PUT WRITING FIRST!

Seriously, sometimes when writing, my mind will be so exhausted that I have to ask my husband “what’s that word that means…” That, my friends, has been scary since it’s been happening more often than not. But since I can’t quit my day job, those are a few techniques I use to cope. I’d love to hear yours!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hot Burns and Mustard

Hot Burns and Mustard

Yep, I said it right. Hot burns, not hot dogs. I found a cure, or at least a home remedy that works for burns!

Last night I was cleaning my cast iron skillet. I’d left it in the sink too long, and you know how iron skillets can get rusty with water. I put it on the stove to dry, turned it off, did a few other things, poured some oil in it and, thinking it was cool, I stuck my right three fingers in the skillet to smooth out the oil.

YOOOUCCH! It was still hot, and my three fingers puffed with the pain. I have no idea what I was thinking, obviously I wasn’t thinking. I should have used a towel of course, or something. I shouldn’t have used anything at all, probably.

I ran it under water for just a minute, used ice, tried lavender oil because I always heard that would help (it didn’t), then stuck it in a cup of cold water for a long time. Nothing helped. It really hurt. I tried to take my mind off it, even watched an hour and a half movie putting my fingers in water off and on, but nothing worked.

Then my hubby says he thinks he remembers reading that mustard is supposed to help. At this point, I’m ready to try anything, and I'm big into home remedies. After all, I’ve tried this burn spray relief several times, the ice cold water, the trying to get my mind off it. Nothing worked. So I poured some mustard in a small bowl and stuck my fingers in it. If nothing else, it felt really good because it was nice and cool.

I am amazed! Downright amazed at what happened. I left it in there a couple of minutes, and afterwards didn’t have to use anything again. It’s been a day, and the puffiness that started to appear is now almost gone. You can see dry spots and the whiteness of the burn. (And the yellow under my fingernails because of the mustard, LOL).

Next time I burn myself, I know what to do. Run it under some cool water, then stick it in mustard! Seriously, I was amazed at the results and highly recommend mustard for burns.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hot Dog Party and a Redneck Family Reunion

8 am--Getting ready for 10 am, when the meet and greet party starts. Just about to take the food to the tables outside, and it starts sprinkling. There's hope. The sun is right behind the sprinkles. I looked at the radar and didn't see anything.

Will I be eating a lot of leftover hot dogs for the next couple of months?

It didn't rain, but it was windy. That's okay, the wind kept the heat away. It was a slow day, but the people who did show up were important people, like a wrecker service, a journalist, and people who will help get our names out there.

Still, I have a lot of leftovers. At least hot dogs freeze, and we can do this again!

I'm going to have to run extra on the treadmill what with all the cupcakes I ate.

Then Saturday, I had a family reunion. We had karaoke and a wedding. Yep, that's a true "redneck" family reunion, LOL. I wonder what Jeff Foxworthy would say about that.

One of my fears is public speaking. And you know how people always say the best way to confront your fears is to just get up there and do it. So, I thought, what better way to humiliate myself (and confront my fears) than to "croakey" in front of my family?

Wish I had pictures to share, but I was too busy. Obviously. :-))

Monday, October 15, 2007

A New Venture

After working all day, my brain is mush, so it's been hard for me to get online and blog. I think of all kinds of things to chat or blog about while working, but when I get home, it just seems like I can't think anymore. My job is emotionally exhausting, and here lately, my life has just been crazy busy.

Besides trying to fit writing into my schedule, my husband and I are starting our own business. He's a collision repair technician, and has been commuting for the past twelve years sometimes up to 200 miles round trip. So, we've gone into debt by taking out a loan and are working hard at succeeding with our own collision repair center. I know he can do it, but it's a matter of getting work before we can't pay our bills.

We've always had good credit, so it scares me to think of all that you have to do.

I wrote a business plan, but we ended up not needing it. Good experience, though. Here's a condensed version of the to-do list: Lease a building and get it ready for collision repair (which entails a paint booth, supplies, etc). Buy a fax machine and other office supplies (thank God we have a computer we can use), file a Tax ID and a sales tax id, file your assumed name, open a business account, set up a business phone...

Whew, I've already done all of that. That's what I've been doing (instead of writing) for the past few weeks. Now we've opened our doors.

This time of year is always slow for body shops. School just started, the weather is mild, the holidays are upcoming, and everyone has settled back into a routine after summer break only to be jerked back from it for the holiday season. Well, I can only hope something will happen BEFORE the holidays, because we can only live on our mere loan for a little while.

Wednesday, we are planning a "Meet and Greet" to get people aware of us. Now, I live in a small town and the body shop is actually about 5 miles outside of town, but everyone here is used to driving somewhere to get anywhere. Most people drive 45 miles to the nearest Wal-Mart, so hopefully it won't be a problem. Wednesday, we are serving hot dogs, drinks and other snacks, so if all else fails, hubby and I will have hot dogs to eat for the next few months, LOL.

My dad, who is also a collision repair tech., is involved, too, but we are fronting the money. It should work, if it works, because they get along well and work good together.

So...join me in the next few days, weeks, months as I journey through a business while working full time and writing full time. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of finally sitting down and doing some much needed revisions on a novella I'm working on, and charting my next novel. Oh, by the way, my 3rd novel is in submission stage, so I'm keeping my prayers going to hear something positive back on that.

Now, with a new business venture and an upcoming event, the concerns and marketing is similar to being a published author. Did I advertise enough? Am I still in budget (Budget? Wait, what's that!?!) If I build it, will they truly come? Am I taking a huge step into a pitfall, or do I need more blind faith? Oh...I can't begin to tell you the stresses I have faced, but I'm also proud of myself. Proud of myself for all I've accomplished and all I've learned. When I really start to feel down, I can think about all the things I have done. So, if things get really bad, frustration and/or stressful, I'm going to have to bring out the pictures and good memories to lighten my load, at least temporarily.

I'll let you know how Wednesday goes. I've talked to a journalist, and he's supposed to be there. I'm excited about that! Free advertising!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Vote for My Website!

Vote on FictionAddiction.NET

Hi all, I'd love and appreciate some votes for my WEBSITE. (Not the blog, but my actual website).

I created my site all on my own with no knowledge of html, save for the banner. A friend/writing buddy did the banner. It's listed on Fiction Addiction and you can vote everyday until November 12, when the winner is announced!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I played my first game of Pokeno last night. A group of women get together the first Tuesday of the month, so I joined last night with plans to attend monthly.

If you've never heard of Pokeno (I haven't, until my aunt introduced me), it is like the Las Vegas Keno game. A group of women (there were 15 of us) sit around a table with this 'card', and we take turns calling out the suit. If you have it, you place a red chip over it. The person who is calling the cards get to choose how it's place, i.e. the top row, the middle, a cross, the four corners, or just one card in the middle.

You can read more about it here, since I'm no good at explaining.

Each person brings an expensive gift, based on a theme. Last night, the theme was pictures/photos. It could be a photo album, a picture frame, etc. The winner chooses a gift. It goes around. The winner keeps choosing a gift until the last person calls the cards. We take a break, open the gifts, eat (you also bring a dish, a snack, whatever). Then we do it again, but this time you choose the gift already unwrapped. Basically like white elephant. So if you win 3 times, you may go home with nothing if others take it away from you.

I didn't win. I was the very last person to call the cards, and I won on my card! Funny how things get more exciting when you win.

So I got to choose whatever gift I wanted without worries anyone would take it away, since it was the last game. Look what I ended up with:

Isn't it darling?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pamela Morsi at my Signing

My book signing at the Twig went great. I met and autographed my two novels for Pamela Morsi. She is hilarious, inspiring, and ultra awesome! A USA Today Bestselling Author, she is very down to earth and a caring person. What a great support to a newer, "nobody" author like me. It was an honor to meet her and sign my novels for her. When I'm on the USA Today Bestseller list, I hope to be just as supportive to struggling authors that I do not know. Pam, she's an inspiration!

Here's a picture:

Also, my friend Miranda. She's a hoot (the picture says it all), and you'll be seeing her novels on the shelves soon. Love ya, Miranda!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My Signing!

It's late, but I finally downloaded the picture of my signing at Borders from September 8. This is the Texas ARF (Authors of Romance Fiction). Looking at the picture, I'm the one on the far right hand side.

It's a little blurry. Lots of red and the picture didn't turn out well. But here it is!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

O'Reilly (Markus! Malkin! Hitchens!)

I have no idea what my subject means, really. I'd love for someone to enlighten me. But I was looking through Elle magazine for the first time in years, or maybe even the first time ever, and only because I'm doing research for my upcoming romantic suspense WIP and thought Elle would be a good place to glean information. I'm using it as research (hey, is that a tax write-off?). I don't read Elle and I'm probably totally the opposite of what Elle is all about. (I.E. Trendy, couth and classy). I enjoyed reading it, though. It was actually quite enlightening and entertaining, and I don't have much time anymore to seek amusement. And that's not a good way to live. I've been "away" from the world for awhile, too busy to even watch the news. I hope to change that.

Okay, to make a long story short (and to stop rambling), I was reading through Elle (or should I say thumbing through it, as it was mostly advertisements) and I came across this Advice "Ask E. Jean" column. She's hilarious! There was a "question" by a writer (name unknown, but it wasn't me, I should have thought of doing this, though) who asked how she could gain publicity for her blog. (I.E. What's the secret?) The reply? Start each blog with what I started with above, only it had another section I wasn't going to add because I'm not brave enough to be totally rude about someone/something I don't even know. She also said to post 5 times a day!

What? Five times a day? I'm lucky if I can post 5 times a month. The other option? Blog in your underwear, blog about things no one else blogs about, or write wikipedia entries because it's less time consuming. ROFL.

That's the truth. Blogging is time consuming. You'd think that as I writer, I'd have all kinds of subject matter to discuss. Not so. Sometimes I have a negative feeling about the whole blog thing. It's like anyone can get online and talk about whatever now. It's almost like free publishing. Sometimes I ask myself if it's causing book sales to slump. After all, why pay $15 for a novel when you can get real stories for free? Why download a $5 ebook when there are thousands about thousands of blogs to read. Yep, that's my pessimistic attitude talking. And I don't mean to be down on blogs. Really, I think they're cool.

Blogging shows me how popular writing is, and how most people love to write, no matter the subject. Whether it's to get their feelings on paper or share a fiction story that's been bobbing around their head forever, I think writing must be one of the most popular, universal hobbies of all time. Blogging, forums, chats. We're writing and talking without ever really having to be right there in front of someone. We're telling stories. And, if people actually visit your blog, we're getting attention.

Friday, September 07, 2007

One Year Anniversary

The month of September, I am celebrating one whole year of being in print! What's a girl to do to celebrate?!? Honestly, I haven't even thought about it. What would you do?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Upcoming Events

September 8, I'll be joining other Texas Authors for a signing, reading, and discussion about books and ebooks at Borders South Park Meadows, 9500 South IH 35 Service Road, South Park Meadows Shopping Complex, Austin, TX 78748 from 1-5 PM.

On September 26, from 5-7 PM, I'll be participating in my first solo book signing event at The Twig in San Antonio.

If you're in the area, I'd love to meet you!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Every Word Counts

Every word counts, every line matters. In writing, I can look at the same sentence for what seems like hours, trying to make it work. Trying to make it fresh.

In today's world, that's what's important. Freshness. Fresh, strong writing. Oomph. But how do you do it? How do you turn a simple sentence into something so heartbreaking, or lyrical, or so intense that the reader does not and will not put it down?

It takes time. And patience. And there are those days you're going to feel like giving it up. I want to shout it out to the world how hard writing is when they think it's simple to put words to paper. Anyone can write. See Jane run. But not everyone can write good.

Am I good enough? There are some days I don't think so. Some days when every sentence in every paragraph starts with she was. Some days I don't believe I can get up, go to a job I am not happy with, and come home to attempt to write, and to stare at another blank page. How can I make my characters feel anything when I myself feel so robotic?

Bear with me. I'm feeling melancholy today. But I will be empowered. I will continue to write, no matter how many times I question my sanity.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Anxiously Awaiting Sandra Brown

It's almost here...the release of Sandra Brown's new novel, PLAY DIRTY. Now I LOVE to read and I have many authors I buy, even authors I'd put in my favorite authors list, but Sandra Brown is one of the only authors I actually wait for and get excited about.

I'm not a crazed fan, by any means, but I look up to Sandra Brown. She's a mentor of mine, and I've never even met her or exchanged words with her. She's also an enigma, and someone I would love to invite over for dinner (as long as I don't have to cook).

On or about August 12, don't expect me to do much. I've pre-ordered it, so I probably won't get it in the mail for a week after, but it's a day or two, or however long it takes (which won't be long), of no writing, no reading anything else, maybe no cooking. Because truly, Sandra Brown is my favorite author of all time.

Naturally, I want to follow in her footsteps. I hope one day that someone out there will anxiously await my next book. I read and read her stories to get it finished, to see what happens next, but I hate finishing it, because then the story is over for me. Have you ever read something, then had a hard time getting into another story, because it was so well written that everything else paled in comparison?

Sandra Brown is one of the reasons I decided romantic suspense was my passion, and not contemporary romance. I love her style, her voice, her stories, and as each year passes, they get edgier and edgier. She can describe something in a way nobody else can. She releases ONE a year, and though it's hard to wait, it's worth every moment.

Her characters are true to life, imperfect people. I just love them.

Who's your favorite author? One that you just can't get enough of? Do you have one in particular that you admire?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

X Games, Jake Brown, Travis Pastrana, Etc.

Every year, my husband and I watch the X Games---four days worth. Thank God for Tivo, right? If you don't know what X Games is, it is an accumulation of extreme sports such as skateboarding, Moto X, BMX and rally racing. Best Trick, Big Air, etc. etc.

I don't partake in extreme sports, but I'm a huge fan (and of course, I have my favorites). My third novel actually mentions, somewhat, extreme sporting and one day I hope to write more about it.

I was enthralled Thursday night when the skateboarding big air was in process. Jake Brown fell 45 feet, his shoes exploded from his feet, and I'm sure a lot of people, including me, thought he was dead. I prayed as I watched and finally, he stood and walked off the stage. God bless you, Jake Brown! We're glad you're safe.

It was a good show this year, but I was disappointed in the end...the rally race with Pastrana and Foust. I'm a huge fan of Pastrana (and the Subaru WRX, as I have one, LOL), and I didn't think Pastrana should have been disqualified. After all, look at the course. They were so close, it's almost inevitable that someone is going to run into someone else. IMO, you don't get on the course if you don't expect your car to be damaged. Would it have been different if they weren't side by side? But that's what I love about Travis Pastrana, he goes out with joy and no hard feelings. That, my friends, is called charisma, and he has it in spades. He's happy to be there, no matter what, and truly enjoys what he does. More athletes should learn from him (instead of pouting when things don't go their way).

Let's see...four days worth of X Games and there's a lot to talk about. Last year when we saw Pastrana do the double back-flip in Moto X, I feared things would only get crazier. After all, how can you top that? But it seems these athletes always push themselves. I did miss the 900 in skateboarding this year, but as usual, I'm glad everyone is safe.

Congrats to all the winners, and to those who did not win, congratulations. Because you succeeded in making it to X Games and attempting your best.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I've been interviewed

If you want to know more about me, my books and my writing style, hop over to Love Romances and More.

You can also find a different interview here.

And a new press article out at Oh My News International.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Kathleen Woodiwiss

I wanted to write a memoriam for Kathleen Woodiwiss, who was a big influence on my reading and writing romance. I'm sorry I'm late with this, but I've been on vacation.

Her novels are the first I remember reading. I've read novels before, but hers stuck with me so much that I remember, and still own many of them to this day. My mom loved her books, thus I started reading them at a very young age, 500 page novels when I was a wee child, LOL.

She's one of the reasons I've learned how important reading is. Not just as entertainment, but as a means to help develop and maintain our brains. I love nothing more than to see people reading, especially a child. It's never too early or too late to enjoy reading and/or writing, if that's your desire.

I'm saddened by this news, and my heart goes out to her family. I am grateful for all the things she has done to make romance what it is. Thank you, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Funny Cat

I'm sorry I haven't blogged much lately. I meant to post a happy July 4th, I meant to tell you about this or that, but honestly I've been very VERY busy, so I just haven't had time. It's summer, there's always something going on (mowing every day for one, LOL) and my novel is almost ready for submission, so I've been tweaking it to get it finished.

To make up for it, I wanted to share some silly pictures of my cat, Riley. She loves to lay in the silliest places...

Friday, June 29, 2007


I can't believe June is almost over.

I'm still here, sorry I haven't blogged much, but I have been so busy. Every time I want to try to start a schedule, I just can't. Maybe one day...

I have redone my website, and am in the works right now with someone on getting a personalized banner made, which is very cool. For now, you can check out my new website here I'd love to know what you think.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Today is my 13th wedding anniversary, and it is about the same time I signed my first publishing contract one year ago. So I have a lot to celebrate!

I'd like to offer advice on how my husband and I have lasted for 13 years when we married so young, but the only advice I can give is to give 100%. It's not a 50/50 split, but 100/100. There will be days he'll give less of himself and vice versa, but in the long run give 100% and don't hold grudges.

Another important factor is friendship. You must be friends in your relationship or, in my opinion, you don't have a relationship. I've gone to car shows and monster truck events because he enjoyed it, and I ended up enjoying it, too. He's done the same thing for me. But it's also important to find something you both enjoy and do it together. I hate to see marriages where the couple goes out with their friends to have fun, but they don't go out with their spouse. It's important to be friends with the love of your life, or how can you like each other?

Anyway, that's my advice for relationships. Simple, really.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Happy Weekend and Happy Father's Day!

It's the weekend and I couldn't be more excited! Not that I have any big plans, but at least I don't have to go to work.

Not only is it the weekend, but it's Father's Day weekend. I'm helping my dad move. My dad mostly reads western novels and his initial reaction to hearing about my "romance" writing was "does somebody get killed?" I replied "yes", he said "Okay, I'll read it." ROFL.

My dad...he's a good guy. Funny, quirky, grouchy at times, still maintains a sense of humor after all the hell he's had in life. I lost my mom many years ago, still think of her all the time, but Mother's Day is usually just "another day". But even if it's just a phone call, be sure to let your dad know you love him.

I love you, Dad!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Writing "The Scene"

I’m at a juncture in my current WIP with a problem that has never arisen before now.

Now that I’m published with two novels, you’d think "these" scenes would be easier for me. They’re not. They’re harder.

When I wrote my two novels, I was unpublished, so I never thought about who might read them. Now that I'm published and I know certain family members do read my books, I feel like I'm bringing them into the bedroom with my characters. Okay, maybe not that bad, but all I can think about is... 'what will "they" think'?'

I know the proper thing to do with a love scene is not to think about who may be reading it, but that's easier said than done. I also have to wonder if it just shouldn't be happening now. I wrote a pretty sizzling one a few months ago for this novel that occurs later in the book, so maybe it's just not time yet. (Yes, I write my scenes like a filmmaker would film their movies, and piece them together later).

Still, I wrote that "scorcher" when I was still newly published, and hadn't talked to family yet. Now that I know they're reading them...


I've written and rewritten drafts where the movements are stilted, and the breathy sighs get old. My verbs seemed to have stopped at "pull, push, stepped back and smoothed."

You ever have this problem? How do you get over it?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Roller Coaster Ride

To me, writing is a roller coaster ride of emotions. One moment I’m feeling high and rising higher, and the next I’m plunging into despair. Writing is a love/hate relationship. I love to write, but it is the hardest, most frustrating thing I’ve ever done. Why do I do it?

A lot of my frustration is that I’d rather be writing…when working, when gardening, when doing lots of things I’m doing. Then I sit down to write and it’s hard to focus. Sometimes I have thoughts churning through my mind so much that I can’t get a clear grasp of them. That’s when it’s time to take a step back. Meditative yoga and deep breathing helps a lot when I get this way. Just trying to stretch and breathe brings my mind back into focus.

But so does writing. Writing anything.

I like to read, but sometimes I need to get away from words, and I’ve found that to be true even more so lately. I think it’s because I’m surrounded by words. My full time job has nothing to do with writing, but it’s still nothing but words. This case, that case, that notation, this data (word data) I have to enter, that document I have to type up. I’m always around words.

That’s where the yoga comes in handy (I haven't done it near enough lately), but I’ve also taken up coloring. I used to enjoy coloring but stopped, until my niece (now five) sat down and colored with me on the floor for hours. Now I go to the store and buy new coloring books purported to be for her, when I’m really buying them for myself.

Sudoku is also a good release. Sudoku is all about numbers, so it’s a nice break from words and traditional crosswords.

Long walk with nature is by far the best thing, in my opinion, to calm my mind, especially this time of year, but unless I intentionally clear my mind, I still have things running rampant through it.

I love music, and music is always a good release, but I’ve found I don’t listen to it as much anymore. I think it must be because it’s just more words, and then a song will get stuck in my head and I’ll have even more jumbled thoughts dancing around in there, LOL.

The more jumbled my thoughts are, the harder it is for me to write. What do you do when you need to focus?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Life of My Cat...

Here I am, trying to clean house...sweep, mop, vacuum, wash clothes and mow the lawn, plus I still have to get to the grocery store...things I can no longer put off...and this is what my cat is doing...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Wow, where has the time gone? Tomorrow is the last day of May. I had so many plans for the year, and it's almost half over.

I've been stuck on a WIP (my current work-in-progress), and it's important that I get it done (if only for my benefit). I keep thinking everything is great and then suddenly, it isn't so good. Why can't I always stay in that perfect muse where words just form cohesively, coherently, and with almost no will at all?

I'm a pantster, so I start with one blank page at a time, though I plan to at least outline my next novel. (Probably isn't going to happen, though).

As far as blogs go...I just can't seem to stick with any schedule and how in the world can boring ol' me find something fun to talk about? I'd love some ideas!

I have this "brainstorming" book I thought about blogging about, but I haven't even used it. I'm supposed to do it once a day, but I can't (got too many other things going on).

So what's your schedule like? What is your blog schedule like? What types of blogs do you prefer to read? What types of blogs do you think are exciting? What do you gravitate to?

It's time to revamp mine, but I'm not promising anything right now...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

SARA conference

I am still excited about the SARA conference I attended yesterday. I met a lot of interesting people, including my publisher...Rhonda and RJ. They are so cool and genuine, exactly as I thought they would be. I wish I could post a picture of them posing with me, but I forgot my camera. I packed it in my bag but forgot to grab it because I was running late and afraid I would be the last one there. Ack!

I got an autographed copy of a book from Rhonda and a couple other WRP authors and I met Tamra, the cover artist who created the cover for ONE WRONG MOVE. How cool is that? Here's the cover she created:

Friday, May 11, 2007

Excerpt: Beginning of ONE WRONG MOVE

Camden Alexander squinted against the onslaught of salt water striking his face. He smacked his lips closed and gritted his teeth against the sand lodging in his gums.

Salt and sand. He was beginning to hate it.

He slithered one hand in front of him, slowly, carefully, feeling his way around the marshy dunes.

Something was wrong. Tension ran like brambles along his spine, lashing the back of his neck. The clammy heat stuck to his skin and clothing like epoxy, and not even a fresh spray of ocean air could help dissipate the goo.

No, this ocean air was putrid. Dead fish. Dead seagulls. Swarms of mosquitoes. This wasn’t the section of ocean displayed in the traveler’s brochures.

Moonlight drifted across the water. Camden used the glow that beamed across the water as his flare, keeping him grounded as he trudged on his knees through sand and cacti, praying. If Web caught him here, what would he say? How could he explain this?

He couldn’t explain it. That’s why he couldn’t be found.

"Camden," his earbud cackled. His heartbeat quickened, his nerves already chaotic. He stopped, crouching lower, as if anyone else could hear the voice in his head.

"I'm here," Camden whispered.

“Where?” Moore’s voice was edged in tension. Moore, who was back at the command post. Safe, sound and secure.

“I lost sight of Web. Where’s our backup?”

Static. Camden jiggled the earbud. Nothing.

The unmistakable smell of death struck him. Like rancid meat left out too long, or the smell of vomit festering after a week in the hot sun. Camden couldn't see. He lost sight of the moon behind a thick row of clouds and the burrow of weeds he hid in.

He put one hand in front of the other. Moved his knee, felt around on the ground. He searched for his gun and breathed a sigh of relief when he found it.

Not that it’d help him much with the mess he was in.

He butted up against something squishy and smelly.

The clouds shifted, revealing a sky full of twinkling stars and translucent beauty. It should have been a time to kick back with a woman and bask in the afterglow of love. A time to relish the warmer days of summer, run down the beach and dive into the cool splash of water, or eat cold watermelon with a frosted mug of brew.

The body on the ground was anything but beautiful.

Agent Bill Fletcher was dead.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Cause for Celebration!

I just checked my word count, and I only have a little over 20,000 more words to go if I stop at the maximum preferred Wild Rose Press count. I still have a few chapters to complete; I’m not at the end yet. I have additional scenes to piece together in the chapters I’ve written, and A LOT of revisions and additions to make. All in all, 20K words shouldn’t be so hard to come by, and here I was thinking I wasn’t very far into it at all.

I’ve gotten lost in this story, which is a good thing. That’s exactly what I want my readers to feel. When things are going well for me, they go very well, but this story has been hard where I go through moments of panic thinking I can’t finish it, but then I go through moments where I feel it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.

I AM going to finish this novel, and I’m learning something along the way. Don’t push it when the words won’t come, but don’t sit and wait for them to come. Sit down and write, and usually (hopefully) it’ll happen. Yay! Don’t you writers love this feeling?

This one has also been harder because of the research. I’ll be writing and suddenly, I get to a point that requires further research and I just get stuck.

I know some writers who’d have 20K words in a day or at least a week, and I’m not one of those people, mostly because I don’t have the time. I write when I can but, unfortunately, it doesn’t happen everyday like I know it “should”. But guess what? I’m not using “should”s anymore. I am using “able”s. I should write everyday, but I am not able, so I will write whenever possible and not beat myself up over it.

I “should” fold my clothes that I washed this weekend but guess what? I’m not doing that either, because then I wouldn’t be “able” to write right now, LOL. Writing comes first (okay, second to family and unfortunately, a paying job). Food, then dishes then clothes, LOL. I won’t worry about the grass…it’s not yet up to my knees.

Friday, May 04, 2007


I feel like I haven't smiled for days. Between the stress of work and trying to write, I feel a little, okay a lot overwhelmed. Writing is a lonely profession even if it isn't your main profession. Sometimes I want to give up, but I never will because that would be silly, especially after coming this far. But I can't help but other writers feel like me? Lost and alone at times, as if there is no one else out there. I live in a small town, can't make it to RWA meetings, and my only writing friendships have been formed online. I'll be at a conference in a couple of weeks where... finally!...I'll be meeting fellow writers in person!

Sometimes I feel like nobody cares, like nobody knows me, and I know it's a long process to get "noticed" but I like things to happen NOW! (Must be the Aquarius in me). I felt a little better yesterday when a family member asked me when my next book comes out. :)

My husband has a job opportunity where we will move to a much bigger town, one with more opportunities for me, and I'm really excited about it, but I have to let him make the decision on whether or not to do it. And I'm afraid he won't, because it's a new and scary experience for us both, and there's certain things he doesn't like about it. So I can't be selfish, even though it's what I want.

Sorry for the melancholy post. I'm trying to poke my head out of my cave and grab some sunshine. I think being "stuck" (in a cave, on my story, in my promotions) is starting to affect me.

On a happier note...Spiderman 3 is out today and I'm a HUGE fan! Can't wait to see it!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

In My Cave

I'm in my dark and lonesome cave, getting some writing done, and I thought I'd poke my head out a moment and say hello!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Love is a Mystery

That’s basically the quote I use for my romance and I want to share a story with you on why I believe love is a mystery.

My friend leads a normal life. She’s beautiful, single, works full time and has a fear of relationships because of past relationships that had gone sour. She’s young and somewhat ready to find someone, but it has to be the right one.

She has found someone she really likes, and he likes her too it seems, but they are taking their time, which is a good thing. She’s told me some things that keep her wall up and I tell her she has to let go of past bitterness so that it doesn’t make her just that…bitter. Embrace each new relationship as if it were your first, no matter how difficult.

That’s what I love about love. It takes time to develop, like a flower bud blooming then opening on a warm, spring day. You don’t automatically know someone the first time you meet, though you’ll make assumptions right away. If they cast all their problems out immediately, knocked their walls down so each of them knew what they were getting, then they probably would never work out. The best kind of love is slow love, IMO, even if the chemistry is immediate, especially if the chemistry is immediate, LOL.

Of course, real life romance doesn’t seem to work out they way they do in novels. People don’t always like to tear down their walls and would rather remain untrusting and single for fear of pain. He’s leaving soon for something he has to do, and it may be awhile for them to see each other again. If I were writing this novel, of course, I’d find a way to make it work, but we don’t always do that in real life, do we?

Ahh…the mystery of love. It’s not always the external conflict, the who-done-it or the how-are-we-going-to-solve-this? It’s the internal conflict, the not wanting to get hurt again conflict. I love to write about romance and I just love to hear about real life romance and I wish my friend the best of luck in her romance!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


This morning before my shower, my husband called to tell me the junk car he was (finally) going to have towed off had two kittens and a mother inside. Naturally, I couldn’t let someone haul off a car and let two kittens die, and he needed to get to work (he was there to put the title in the car) so I told him to go on and I’d check on them before I left to see if maybe the mother moved them. She’s a stray cat and wasn’t used to humans. I didn't even know she existed because I'd never seen her before.

After I was already running late, I tried to apply my makeup on through the steam in the mirrors. When the room finally cleared, I almost screamed in horror at my clown-faced makeup, found my face cleanser and washed my blush off, and went with barely any on today. In my haste to get out the door, I stumbled down the steps and had to go back up after realizing I forgot my lunchbox. (yes, I do take a lunchbox to work, LOL)

I made it to the junk car. It’s about a hundred feet or so down from the house and I didn’t walk since it’s on my way out. It was a little wet and muddy outside and I made the mistake of wearing flip-flops. Good thing I was standing back a ways from the window, or the mother cat would have mauled me on her rush out the window when I walked up.

But alas there they were, two sweet kittens that didn’t quiet have their eyes opened yet. I immediately called my husband and told him under no circumstances were those people to come haul this car off yet. They’d have to wait a few weeks until the kittens were grown enough to take care of themselves or if the mother moved them, which I thought she might (but hasn’t yet).

Like I really need more cats... :)

Surprisingly, I wasn't late for work, but I was ready for an excuse this time, LOL. If I get a chance, I'll post a picture. They are gray tabby type cats and very adorable.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Empowering Your Voice

Have you found your voice? What does voice mean to you?

To me, a writer’s voice is like one of those bands who you will always recognize, no matter what. The Beatles, Guns N’Roses, George Strait, Sublime. If you’re a fan, you’ll recognize their voice even if the song is new. A writer’s voice is their own way of saying something. Certain actors have their own acting style though many of them can go from action to suspense to romance.

The sky was blue. Plain and simple. Yet take your voice and describe it how you would do it. Every one of us would describe it differently, and we even would at different times or depending on what mood we’re trying to set. But there's always this deep, underlying voice.

It’s not always easy to change or even find your voice. Sentence cadence, one word, a comma where you don’t want one but it’s the proper grammatical thing to do. How do you feel about commas? I like them when they are important. I like them, when they are important. But I don’t think they are necessary as much as they are used. In other words, I, think, they, are, overused.

To me, commas are clutter and draw me away from the story when I don’t think they are necessary. That’s right. To me, commas are clutter, and they draw me away from the story when I don’t think they are necessary. Did you catch that? What about the paragraph above?

We writers are all different, but I think too many commas, too much clutter, is taking away from your voice. I also think a comma in a place that isn’t likely is a good way to power things up and shock readers. Unfortunately, sometimes that comma is accepted only as a mistake or the lack of comma may be considered a mistake. Unfortunately, sometimes that comma is accepted only as a mistake, or the lack of comma may be considered a mistake.

I think commas are best underused rather than overused, because if the book is good a reader will usually read read read and not notice a comma. They’ll put they’re own pause where they think it should go, but a pause where they don’t think it should go may draw them out of the story. It happens to me. Has it happened to you?

Okay, so I’ve gone from voice to commas, and I really do have a reason for this because I believe a writer’s voice can be heard through the little things, such as commas. What do you think?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Skipping Scenes

When writing, do you skip over chapters, write each scene in congruity or do you write each scene as they come to you and piece them together later?

Most movies don’t film scenes from beginning to end. Many of them begin at the end or somewhere in the middle.

When I first begin my story, I usually write a lot of scenes, then piece them together. But later I’ll try to write from the beginning, get stuck in the middle and skip over that, write the end, and go back.

How do you manage your scenes? What is the hardest part to write for you? Beginning, middle or end?

For me it’s the middle. I always seem to get stuck somewhere, and going to a new story is only a temporary cure.

Which brings me to my next topic. How many of you writers write more than one story at a time? I'm talking longer 50,000+ novellas and novels, not short stories. Do you ever get thoroughly into a novel and have a great idea for another one that you don't want to put off? That's where I'm at right now and so far it seems to work. After all, if I'm stuck on a scene in my first novel, I can work on my scenes in the next one, but will they ever get finished like this? Hmm...only time will tell, as long as I keep writing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Wesley Interviews James Buchanan

Today, Wesley interviews James Buchanan.
Wesley is still looking for interview subjects, so don't be scared! It's fun and he's met some interesting people and learned a lot.

Wesley: What is your favorite color?

James: Purple. Second favorite is Black. Sorta the whole bruise scenario.

Wesley: What is your favorite food?

James: Mashed Potatoes actually. They remind me of my Grandma. Every Sunday we'd walk to her house for dinner. There was always Mashed Potatoes and homemade Mac and Cheese.

Wesley: I noticed you’re a Clive Barker fan. What is your favorite work by him?

James: The Lord of Illusions.

Wesley: Has he been a big influence in your writing?

James: Yes and no. The big thing I’ve learned from him and other masters of horror is the acknowledgement that you should mix the real with the surreal to make it scary. One of what I call the “step to the left authors.” You take the everyday and ordinary, then take one step to the left and you’ll creep people out. Plus his paintings are gorgeous.

Wesley: Do you prefer cars, trucks, or SUVs?

James: Prefer classic cars and trucks, but I drive a station wagon on steroids (ML320). I’ve owned, over the course of time, a ’63 T-Bird, ’69 Mustang, ’62 Dodge Pickup (really bastardized… had the gear shift of a Mack Truck with a bit old hole cut into the floor, and a Chevy engine. It came out of a machine shop where they just kept cannibalizing other trucks to keep that one going. That truck was the inspiration for the one in My Brother, Coyote), ’67 Fiat Spider, ’63 AMC Rambler, ’61 Mercedes 190E and a ’57 T-Bird.

Wesley: Nice. If you could drive any automobile in the world, money is no object, what would it be?

James: My ’57 T-Bird. Right now it’s sitting in the drive waiting for a complete re-do of the brake system, almost every gasket needs to be replaced, one hub-cap is somewhere in San Francisco Bay, the floor panels are rusted out b/c the weather stripping has dried out, and I think my bro installed the radio wrong so the battery keeps dying. Lots of work to do.

Wesley: LOL, that’s the fun part. What got you started in writing?

James: I’ve always written. My mother has a “book” I wrote when I was five on a roll of calculator tape. It goes through all these bugs, until the end where the lizard is. I wrote stories in grade school, I was on the literary magazines in HS and College. I did Vampire Poetry in Law School. I did some freebies on Literotica and people started telling me I should write professionally. I subbed some stuff to contests and one of them sent me a letter back saying “It’s great, I love it, too long for the contest” but then pointed me in the direction of Torquere Press where I sold that story.

Wesley: How long have you been writing?

James: All my life.

Wesley: After perusing your site, I noticed you write mostly homosexual erotic running the gamut of mystery, thriller, horror and sci-fi. Is there anything in particular that got you started writing in this genre?

James: Originally I was a poet, which pays horribly for the amount of blood, sweat and tears that goes into a piece. While I could get my poems published, I really wanted to write just plain old fantasy, science fiction and horror. And it just didn’t work, my characters were dull and lifeless, the plots got stuck, yadda. I could go through reams of what editors didn’t like about my work. I put the non-poetry writing aside for a long time.

Then two things happened. I found a Hugo Weaving fan community and we’d challenge each other to write fan fiction. And then I stumbled across Literotica and started reading. That’s when it hit me. What everyone responded to in my fan-fics was the hot sex (they were just drabbles) and the one thing I never let my original characters do was do each other. I got my feet wet writing a few original erotica pieces, posted them on Literotica and got really good feed back. Plus they have a HUGE forum community where I found other authors and volunteer editors there who tutored me in how to clean up my writing. So then I decided to jump back in and entered The Darkness into a best fantasy erotica competition. I didn’t get accepted… but the reason was it was too long and that editor told me to get my butt over to Torquere with that story. It took me a few months to get up the balls to sub it. I was floored when they accepted it.

Wesley: Any plans to venture into another genre?

James: No. Well I might write non-erotic some day, but I’m guessing that I’ll stay in the gay-fic realm. I don’t write women that people like. Really, I’ve been told that people want to bitch-slap my heroines in the few het pieces I tried.

Wesley: Do you have a set schedule, something to get you going before you write?

James: No, I tend to write when the mood strikes me. If I’m in the “zone” I can crank out a 5-8k short in a weekend. Other times it’s pulling teeth and I jump back and forth between 5 or 6 projects. I’ll get centered on one and finish it, but I don’t schedule things.

Wesley: Do you prefer music, television, or silence when you write?

James: I have two spawn, three cats, two dogs and a Sexy Guy who plays on-line poker in the same room where I usually write… I’ve learned to write with just about anything going on. If no ones around I’ll put on the “In Dark Faith Eternal” channel from internet radio. It’s Goth ambient.

Wesley: What books and/or authors have most influenced your writing?

James: Ray Bradbury and HP Lovecraft. Bradbury for the descriptions. I can see, feel and taste his settings. I wish I was half that good. Lovecraft… I wish I could manage that creepy.

Wesley: Are you a sports fan?

James: Not particularly. I watch poker, but mostly because the Sexy Guy does. Oh, wait, most people probably don’t consider that a sport huh?

Wesley: Tell me about your current release.

James: April 18 my story Technique comes out in the Hand Cuff Toy Box from Torquere Press ( ). Torquere does a lot of mini anthologies, three to four shorts around a central theme. This one was actually written due to prompting by my editor. She kept reminding me that “we’re doing hand cuff shorts” in April or “you have some hot cops in that novel we’re running (Cheating Chance is in their serialized novel catalog).” I would just tell her I know. Finally, she gave up the hinting and just came out and asked, “You’re going to write me Nicky and Brandon and hand cuffs, right?” So I did.

The other current release is Pat Down in the Under Arrest! Taste Test. Again another mini anthology through Torquere which came out in March. That one happened during a chat where two other authors and I were lusting over cops. We kept teasing that we had to write a set of stories about sexy cops. So we did. Pat Down is told from the perspective of the other side of the law. Basically, what happens when two guys who secretly lusted after each other in high school wind up face to face… and one has become a cop and the other is, well, a bad boy.

Wesley: Any upcoming projects you want to talk about?

James: God, tons of them. I’ve always got four or five balls in the air. I just finished writing the sequel to Twice the Cowboy… its called Twice the Ride. I’m half way through the sequel to Cheating Chance and the third book in the Jules LaRousse stories, Lutin’s Heir. In the midst of that I’ve got cops I need to write for a ManLoveRomance anthology ( is an author co-op and we’ve decided to write a few anthologies to help defray some of our advertising costs), I’ve got a longish short due for Phaze Phantasies III, I’m writing firemen for a Force Heat Sheet submission. And then there are the projects I just need to write. A ghost story involving Maximilian’s Treasure, a science fiction space opera, and a Hopi story.

Wesley: Who or what inspired you to write your first book? How long did it take to get published?

James: If we’re talking about my first book… it took almost 15 years. It was the proverbial trunk novel. It was based, loosely on a D&D character of mine and those of some people I played with. I started it out just to chronicle things for us and developed it beyond that a bit. But, like I said, it was flat and just not good. So I put it away. While I was doing my little bits on Literotica I was cleaning out a file cabinet and found it. I picked it up, dusted it off and went into it mercilessly.

I posted that rough draft in a workshop environment and people liked it. I started subbing it. It was still pretty rough and garnered a slew of rejections. But every time an editor sent the MS back, I got lucky and they commented. So I did what they said. It was almost a year into publishing with Torquere that Phaze accepted Lord Carabas for publication. It came out February this year. Now there’s a sequel, Cry Melusine, coming out in July, Lutin is scheduled for late 2007, and Phaze has an option on the other five books in the series.

Wesley: If you could have any career in the world, what would it be?

James: I’d be able to write full time.

Wesley: Up until you were 15, who do you feel has made the greatest impact on your life?

James: My maternal grandmother. She was the kind of woman who never let anything stop her. My grandfather died in WWII, when my mom was 3mo old. She knew she had to make it so my grandma went door to door to trade schools until she found one that would allow her to trade tuition for work – she cleaned the floors the bathrooms, yadda – and became a dental hygienist. Her passion was not her work. Her passion was birds. I can remember hand feeding sparrow hawk chicks in her kitchen.

Wesley: What about after the teen years?

James: Hmm, actually, some of it was negative influence… in a positive way. I was with people who did not live good lives. Eventually able to step back and see what they were doing to themselves with drugs and sex and other things. I knew, I could see where they’d be in 20 years and knew I didn’t want to be there.

Wesley: Good for you. What is the most embarrassing moment you’ll own up to?

James: Waking up in a field on Nov. 1 after a 3 day Halloween Party, where I’d messed myself up on lots of stuff (see the above answer). The guy next to me was cute, he was blond, he was not the guy I was living with, we were both naked and didn’t know each other’s names. A wee bit awkward there.

Wesley: Which star or celebrity would you most like to hang out with and why?

James: Actually, living in Los Angeles, I’ve had the chance to. I was setting up a Vampire Live Action game (yes I was and am a geek). Met another guy who was trying to as well, so we could combine forces. The conversation went something like:

Me: “I’m in law school, what do you do?”

Him: “I’m an actor.”

Me: “Really,” feigned over-interested voice inserted here, “what restaurant?”

Him: Polite laughter, “No, really, I’m a working actor.”

Me: “Okay, what have you been in recently?”

Him: A really wicked look passed over his face. “Well, Stargate.” This was the premier weekend BTW, and I was going to go see it with a good bud of mine. “But, I’m not in it until the second half of the movie and none of my lines are in English.”

Me: “Great, I’m seeing that tonight, I’ll look for you.”

Fast forward to the movie that night, theater darkens, promos are over and intro rolls. I whisper my bud, “look for this guy. His name is Alexis Cruz. We need to stay for the credits so I can say I saw him.”

He’s watching the screen and whispers back... “you mean THAT GUY?” The fifth name down in the credits. BASTAGE! We hung out for about four years before we drifted apart.

Wesley: What have you learned about yourself in the past year?

James: That I can’t do this alone. Promotion is harder then writing. I need a degree in marketing. And that I can write a novel in a month if I put myself to it.

Wesley: Do you have any advice for other writers?

James: Write, write and write some more. Listen to what other people say. Criticism may be hard to take but sometimes it’s necessary. I use a few die hard fans as my beta readers. These are people who are not afraid to tell me that they don’t understand something, or like something or that I’ve missed things. Now I take it with a grain of salt, but these are the people who buy my books. If they see it, others will too.

Wesley: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

James: Does groveling on the floor in thanks count? Honestly, I’m stunned that I have “fans,” people who tell me they buy every book I write. Holy cow! I’m still floored by it every time I hear it.

Thanks for the interview, James! It was…interesting.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Wesley Interviews Kissa Starling

Welcome to Wesley's first interview! For those of you who do not know, Wesley (the hero in HOLDING FAST) is seeking interview subjects. You do not have to be an author or a writer. If you're interested in being interviewed, friend him and make a request on myspace. If you don't have myspace, just email him at

Kissa Starling is Wesley's first interview. Welcome, Kissa!

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Wesley: What is your favorite color?

Kissa: Lavender

Wesley: What is your favorite food?

Kissa: French fries with ranch dressing

Wesley: Do you prefer cars, trucks, or SUVs?

Kissa: Anything convertible

Wesley: If you could drive any automobile in the world, money is no object, what would it be?

Kissa: Volkswagon bus with flowers painted all over the outside by me

Wesley: What got you started in writing?

Kissa: I started writing in diaries when I was young- a form of expression- an outlet if you will

Wesley: How long have you been writing?

Kissa: I started writing, with the intent to submit, about ten months ago

Wesley: What is your favorite genre do you write in and do you stick with one genre or several?

Kissa: I love Erotic Romance but I have submitted a Chick Lit story recently. I am also working on several children’s stories.

Wesley: Do you have a set schedule, something to get you going before you write?

Kissa: I usually write when everyone else in the house is asleep. That way I don’t have to worry about anyone interrupting me. I take a glass of Crystal Light and sit in front of the computer for hours. I try to make it to bed before everyone else wakes up!

Wesley: Do you prefer music, television, or silence when you write?

Kissa: I like listening to music and sometimes have the television on but once I get in my groove I am oblivious to any background noise.

Wesley: I noticed on your webpage you prefer to spend time with family and pets. What kind of pets do you have?

Kissa: I have two German Shepherds, two rabbits, two hermit crabs and two adult cats- my Moon just had six kittens and they are adorable.

Wesley: If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be and why?

Kissa: I would have to say a cat. They get away with everything! I would hunt during the day, eat whenever I liked, and lay around- only interacting with humans when I felt like being scratched.

Wesley: Tell me about your purses.

Kissa: Last count I had sixty. My husband vows it’s more. I can’t seem to go shopping without buying a purse. My favorites are beaded and vintage. I have one in every color imaginable and even take odd items and make them into purses. I never get bored because I change them so often. I could talk about purses all day long!

Wesley: Wow, that’s a lot of purses! What books and/or authors have most influenced your writing?

Kissa: When I was young I loved Judy Blume and V.C. Andrews. I enjoyed a few fantasy stories like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’.

Wesley: Are you a sports fan?

Kissa: I adore baseball. The Atlanta Braves are my team of choice. I go watch them play a few times a year and keep up with the scores online.

Wesley: Tell me about your current release.

Kissa: I have a short story, ‘Candy Kisses’, coming out June 6th with Twilight Fantasies Publishing. It is a Twisted Fairytale- the x-rated version.

Wesley: Any upcoming projects you want to talk about?

Kissa: I have several stories out with publishers right now and I’m hoping to hear back from several of them this month. I am off in the summers so I plan to finish my first novel this July for publication.

Wesley: Who or what inspired you to write your first book? How long did it take to get published?

Kissa: I was browsing online and happened upon a Christmas writing contest. I wrote my first novella and submitted it. They asked me to revise and resubmit but I was devastated and worked on something else for a while. I have since learned that is all part of the process. I first published online last June, about two weeks after I started writing, at Sensual Venus. They accepted another story of mine in July. In November I sold my first short story to Steamy Audio and then I was offered a contract with Twilight Fantasies Publishing in January of this year. I’ve been really lucky so far.

Wesley: If you could have any career in the world, what would it be?

Kissa: My husband keeps telling me to win the lottery so we can retire. I picture myself living in Savannah, close to the beach- still pecking away on my laptop (that I will buy with the lottery winnings). I would like to someday paint my own book covers in watercolor. (I used to be an art major).

Wesley: Up until you were 15, who do you feel has made the greatest impact on your life? What about after the teen years?

Kissa: I have had my grandmother to look up to my entire life. We don’t live close but she is always there for me. She is a writer also. Other than her I would have to say my son. He has made me want to be a better person- I want him to have all of the opportunities I missed out on.

Wesley: What is the most embarrassing moment you’ll own up to?

Kissa: I had to think about this one. I have regular ‘blonde moments’ in my life. One time the remote entry pad batteries went dead on my key ring for the car. I asked my husband how we were going to get in- imagine my embarrassment when he said- “Use the key.” I have to admit I have went to the copier and asked, “Where are the pictures I printed off the computer?” at work. They just look at me and shake their heads.(For the blondes out there- computers print to printers, not copiers)

Wesley: LOL, Emma’s computer at work will print to her copy machine, so you can just use that as your excuse next time. Which star or celebrity would you most like to hang out with and why?

Kissa: I would like to meet Mel Gibson and dance with him on “Dancing with the Stars.” I love to dance and wear extravagant gowns.

Wesley: What have you learned about yourself in the past year?

Kissa: When I go for something I go all the way. I am even more determined than I first thought.

Wesley: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Kissa: Persevere- keep writing.

Wesley: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Kissa: I love to hear from readers and opening mail is one of my most favorite past times. I want to thank every person who has every read one of my stories.

Thanks for taking your time to interview with Wesley and congratulations on your success!