Tuesday, September 27, 2011


So, in a couple days the hunk and I are off to RomantiCon in Akron, OH. Click on the banner for all sorts of information...

Ellora's Cave was my first publisher. Seems like a long time ago when I received that initial contract offer for Dancer's Delight, but it wasn't really--only five years.

Now, eighteen books and two additional publishers later, I still remember the first time I met my fellow EC authors at an RT convention in Pittsburgh. Most of us were so new we were emerald green and soaking behind the ears. We rushed around hugging as we studied the faces behind our daily e-mails.

The hunk went to that convention with me and found himself eating lunch with twenty women. When the waitress asked him how he ended up with that many women, he told her they were his new harem...

I wasn't sure whether to smile or cover my face with my hands as my fellow diners included a publisher, two reporters, a reviewer or three plus an editor or two and lots of authors. But they all took it in good part.

That was also the first time I met most of the models. Since my sons are older than most of the models, they were comfortable hanging out with the hunk and I when some of the ladies at the convention tried to get too friendly. Yep, people get a bit strange when they leave home AND drink too much.

So I'm looking forward to meeting a few fans at the book signing and talking shop with my fellow authors. This year I'll meet my newest editor, also so that will be cool. And my first editor is coming from Australia. Altogether, it will be a great time!

Every year I meet some delightful reviewers and readers. Yep, many of them come for the weekend to hang out with their favorite authors. I'll post all about it when I get back!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

No She Did Not!

I don't do cell phones. I own one. I use it in an emergency or when I leave town, but otherwise I'm strictly a land-line phone user. In my office. One of the reasons...drama.

Not my drama--someone else's.

There's nothing as off-putting as sitting in a public toilet stall while the woman in the next stall has a dramatic nervous breakdown over someone else's actions. Since I have a front row seat, so to speak, I get the goods on what's going on with Susie's best friend, Alicia, who's cheating behind her boyfriend's back with Barbie's boyfriend while Barbie is cheating with Bubba who is married to Susie's sister...


Yeah. By the time I leave, I usually am, too.

I've tried really hard to come up with a scenario that necessitates having private conversations in public places. And I can't.

Or maybe that's the point. There are no more private conversations. And all public places are really just an extension of private spaces. The line between public behavior and private behavior is growing so blurred it's nearly impossible to tell where it is.

The electronic revolution isn't just a part of business, it personal and public and political. Now you can call or text your five hundred best friends to invite them to the protest demonstration on Wall Street--or on your own street. There's no such thing as spontaneous.

It used to be drama on the phone was intensely personal--usually between two teenage girls. But the girls have grown older without out-growing the drama and now they insist on sharing it with all the people around them, like it or not.

Personally, I find that rude. Rude, rude, rude. If you can't hold a short businesslike conversation, then find someplace private to talk. One of the rudest things I've seen (and it's been increasing in frequency) is the customer who talks on their phone while checking out their groceries. Hello! That checker on the other side of the counter is not chopped liver and really doesn't need to hear your conversation. Neither do all the other people waiting in line so they can pay for their groceries.

So, tell me. Other than a true emergency, is there really any reason to talk on the cell phone while on the bus, train, grocery line, doctor's office, laundromat, restaurant, public restrooms or behind the wheel of a car in motion? Really?


Friday, September 23, 2011


There are days when I wish I was a clever writer. Or witty. Or even just amusing. Then there are other moments of temporary brilliance when a funny line pops out--usually by accident more than design.

For the most part, I'm not a funny person. For the most part, I'm not even mildly amusing. So when a funny appears in my writing, I have to take a few moments and query the origin. Where did that come from?

More than likely it was hiding in the darkest part of my brain waiting for the epic opportunity to make its escape. Then when my attention is directed at such things as plot or character or goodness knows even story arc, there's the chance! The one-liner zips out of hiding.

The only time I ever intentionally allowed the critturs in that dark part of my brain to escape, they went wild. I ended up with a series called the Flowers of Camelot. Strange things happened. Odd characters grabbed the plot and ran as though escaping the great zucchini peeler.

Why does that happen, I wonder? Am I tired? Am I bored? Where has my funny gone? Or are all the one-liners cowering in the dark, terrified of what will happen if I allow them the freedom to leave?


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Glass Ball and Snake

Paranormal fiction isn't for everyone. Some readers just can't delve into a story that isn't real. Recently I was discussing my story Phantom's Rest with two lovely ladies I met at the pool. I could tell they were not quite...sure it would be a book for them.

Ghosts? they asked. Are they creepy? We don't like creepy...

No, no, I hastily assured them. I don't write creepy.

Shapeshifters? Were-people? Vampires? What's up with that? They wanted assurance.

I can relate. Really, I can. We all have our lines we draw in the sand. And when we cross that line, we leave our comfort zone. It's difficult to tell from the blurbs for books whether or not that line will be crossed. There's a lot of blurry edges these days.

I try to be scrupulously honest about my books. For instance, many in my family would find the sex in my books tooooo much. I'm up front about it. Don't read my books, I tell them. If you do read them, you have been warned.

Heh. In the same way, I explained my books to my new friends at the swimming pool. Here's what the books are about. Some you may not like.

Fortunately, for every single book, there's a reader somewhere just waiting to read it. Nay, even devour it! So, readers wanted. I write steamy, paranormal, fantasy romance. If that's your bag, have I got a story or two for you!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chatty Anny

There are some days I just lose my mind. Woke up this morning and realized I'd forgotten I have a chat today! If you look in the upper right corner, the info is posted, plus a link for the chat location.

What is a chat? It's a specified time and location where you can "talk" to your favorite author and read excerpts from her (or his) work. In my case, I invite any published author to post an excerpt from their book.

And we all talk.

If you have questions you burn to have answered, drop by and ask. If you want to state an opinion about my work, here's you chance to tell me what you think. I hope to see you all there.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Devouring Words

Have you ever noticed how with some books you zip through the pages and others you read much more slowly? Some stories drag you along at a breakneck pace. Others allow savoring of the words.

I'm not advocating that either type is better. It's just an observation. I have the notion that the fast kind is sort of like eating candy. In a short time, you find yourself dissatisfied and hungry again.

Whereas the slower one is a three course meal, something that sticks to the ribs and fills you up. Over the last three or four weeks I've read both kind. And I've even read a couple that were so slow they put me to sleep.

I suppose the trick is to find the in between ones. Something to savor, but not somnolent.The fast ones don't seem to allow time to think. Then later, when you're considering the story, you wonder why different points weren't solved or explained.

Book size doesn't seem to have anything to do with what type of story it is. I've read really long books that were one adventure after another. Those are the ones almost tailor made to be a movie. I've read others that were very short but offered a lot of food for thought.

What's your favorite type of book? Short? Long? Fast? Or slow?


Friday, September 16, 2011

Abandon all Hope

Sigh. Some days...I wonder. Why are some people survivors and others aren't? Why do the losers in life choose to kick others when they're at their lowest ebb?

Folks out in Texas survived the fires, but have no power because it's not safe. Someone came along and stole their generator. That's just disgusting.

Folks in the northeast floods had stuff sitting in the yard to dry out and someone came along and stole their stuff. People! C'me on now.

It's not your stuff!

Why are there always looters after a disaster? Why do we call them looters instead of thieves?


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts

The last few days I've vegged out. Can't seem to get the lead out and get to work. It finally dawned on me it was probably my usual late summer/early fall funk brought on by too much rain, too many gray days, a bit of SADS, and not enough moving around.

Part of that is certainly my fault. I chose to sit around. I chose to play endless computer games instead of writing. And I chose to let the world go by. Yep, part of that was avoidance. I confess I'm really not a person who mourns well in a group so in the orgy of remembrance of 9/11, I found other things to do.

But now it's time to get back to work. I've set new goals for myself. Made new plans. We'll see how they go this time.

I'm on Chapter Eleven of Spear from Crazy Woman Cave. That's the middle of the book. Things are coming together. How do you get excited at this point? The middle is where you slog along as a writer. It's probably the toughest and most important part of the book. The middle is where readers will leave if they get bored. It's where all the pieces start fitting together--all the threads become a tapestry.

Yesterday I met two delightful ladies at the swimming pool. I tried to describe the book I'm currently working on and found it's a tough job. That was a bit of a jolt. How am I going to write a synopsis? Or a blurb? Interesting question...

In the meantime, I will persevere. The sun is shining. The weather is cooler. And there are things to do. Have a blessed day.


Sunday, September 11, 2011


If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.

And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.~~St. Paul to the Corinthians

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bedlam Days

There are days when I wonder if we're all in a super-sized lunatic asylum. Insanity appears to be running rampant. Instead of stepping away from the bedlam of life to take a deep breath before deciding how to get through the next bit, most people seem to be participating in a group orgy of epic proportions on the nearest social media site.

I enjoy communication with my fellow man or woman as much as anyone else, but there are things I don't share with all and sundry. There are words I prefer not to read in a friendly post--not because I don't know what they mean--but because I do. I long for a taste of civility and manners.

I sometimes wonder if people really don't realize the words they are posting, the information they are sharing is out there, available to anyone who cares to read what they've typed. And it will still be there months and years from now when some individual decides to run an internet search on them. The young don't usually understand how much they will change as they mature and grow up.

But what exactly is the excuse for the so-called grown-ups?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Floating Your Boat...

By rights, this post should be about floods...but actually, it's not. It's about the variable tastes of our readers vs. the books authors are producing. I can't tell you how many notes I've received from my readers asking for a new Mystic Valley book. Or a new Flowers book. Or the sequel to Alpheli Solution. Or...but you probably get where I'm going with this.

As a reader with my own favorite series, I completely understand. As an author, I also understand the view from the author's chair. It's kind of like eating tuna every day. I like tuna. Really, I do. But sometimes I have a taste for something different.

The reader reaction is not always favorable. There's nothing so disheartening or sad as a fan letter that lets you know the reader wasn't impressed with your new endeavor because it was different. In other words--it didn't float their boat.

I say, try it. You just might like it! After all, the new story/series/etc., came from the same pen and writing skills as the stories you like so much. Give it an honest un-biased try. Yes, I know it requires more effort to get to know a new set of characters, but they really are a great bunch of people. I like them. You might grow to like them, too.

You just might find the new stories really do float your boat!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


It's that time. Colorful leaves. Cool temps. Kids go back to school. Life settles down.

Except this year. This year we have floods. Or wildfires. Tropical storms. Drought. Searing temperatures. Earthquakes. Hurricanes.

Maybe we should skip fall and go directly to winter...


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Top 10 Research Facts

Research is an on-going by-product of writing. Sometimes you learn something unexpected when you trot off for a bit of impromptu research. My philosophy is all knowledge makes your life more interesting. I like knowing things for the sake of knowing them, which can make things difficult when I get side-tracked from writing by the research.

Take that little jaunt having to do with processing acorns. I started out just looking up information about how to process acorns so they would be edible. Then one thing led to another. If you'd like to know more about the great acorn hunt, check out the tab on my blog that has that story.

Anyway, I thought I would tell you about the top ten things I've learned through research (other than the Great Acorn Hunt).

1) Before there were archeologists, there were antiquarians. Back in 1812 the American Antiquarian Society was established in Massachusetts. It's still ticking along as a fabulous place for research. Check it out by clicking on the AAS above. Since my current book takes place in the 1830's, I needed to know what an archeologist was called back then. And I discovered the AAS by happy accident.

2) In the book before my current one (Shadows on Stone) I needed a medium sized cargo plane. After extensive research, I settled on a Skyvan for it's size and maneuverability. And then I stumbled on THIS IMAGE which gave me a wonderful idea for the Skyvan in my book. But aside from the way I painted my own plane, I also learned all sorts of interesting things about this very versatile airplane.

3) Before packaged yeast, how did people make bread and other yeasty products? Did you ever wonder? Well, I discovered a wonderful book titled Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. Until I started delving into the subject, it didn't occur to me that yogurt was fermented. You learn the most amazing things sometimes.

4) In a particular survival scenario, I wondered if regular Superglue could be substituted for medical glue. I happen to belong to a SURVIVAL FORUM. I tossed the question out there for general discussion and received a picture via e-mail from one of the members showing a very long slash on his leg which he'd repaired with regular Superglue when he was injured while hunting. Several other members directed me to appropriate sites for other discussions on the same subject.

5) For another book I wondered what kind of house could you build with minimal tools AND minimal wood? For much of the world, the answer is mud. But where to go to find out about making such a dwelling? One of the finest books I found on the subject was The Hand-Sculpted House by Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley. It's a great book about how to build a cob cottage. And just for your info...there are cob dwellings from the 1500's that are still in use in Great Britain.

6) While researching RV's and other small homes, I stumbled on a site for the TumbleweedTinyHouse. And I instantly fell in love. This was a house I had to use in a book. I even knew exactly which book I would use it in--Phantom's Rest. I don't own a tiny house myself, but someday down the road, I would like to live in one. In the meantime, I enjoyed working out how to use it in my story.

7) In our extremely water-wasteful, germaphobic culture we've moved away from the realities of dealing with human waste. We use that nice shiny toilet and flush, using zillions of gallons of potable water to deal with the end result. But for most of the world, that isn't the way life works. In the process of writing several different books, I've acquired quite a library of books dealing with how to dispose of or use human waste. I have everything from books on waterless toilets to composting human manure. One such book is The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins. For those of you holding your nose with your lips curled back in a "Ewwwww," I would remind you that one of the first things to breakdown in a disaster is the plumbing.

8) Do ya wanna know about guns? Shooter's Bible will tell you everything you ever wanted to know. Of course, there are things you'll never know (how heavy that weapon is in your hands or what kind of kick it has when you pull the trigger) unless you shoot it yourself. There isn't any other way to know that. And I have to tell you, it's nothing like on TV or the movies.

9) Speaking of guns--there is a rifle peculiar to the American frontier--sometimes called the Kentucky or Pennsylvania long rifle. I needed some very specific information regarding this rifle. The American Longrifles site was one of many I utilized for my questions. I must say every single man I spoke to about this subject--whether from this site or another--was a patient gentleman. They answered the dumbest questions without lifting an eyebrow.

10) Finally, early clothing and weapons utilized leather. That involved tanning--so called because of the use of tannin. For a nice comprehensive article on TANNING I turned to Wikipedia. Surprised? Oh, I didn't stop after that, but I found it to be an excellent starting point.

So what have you learned inadvertently while researching? What's your most interesting research adventure?