Thursday, August 31, 2006

Drum Roll, Please . . .

Tomorrow is a big day for me. Hit and Run will be available for download from The Wild Rose Press in e-book format. Also, the new Cup of Comfort for Grandparents should be available in bookstores tomorrow. My story "Through the Eye of a Child" is included in that release.

I've sent ARCs out to several sites to review Hit and Run and am waiting for feedback. I would love to have anyone who reads my book do a review for me at The Wild Rose Press. The print version will be available in in approximately 30 days (October 1).

Time to break out the champagne bottle!

Wishing everyone in the U.S. a happy and safe Holiday Weekend. If you don't have plans and are looking for something relaxing to do, why not visit The Wild Rose Press and pick up some great reading material. They have a lot to offer ranging from short stories to novels in many different romance genres.

Hubby and I will be traveling to Michigan to visit family. Hoping to pick up a few more story ideas along the way!

In the meantime, work continues on Joshua's Hope. I just spent an enjoyable evening in a fabulous Polynesian restaurant with the main characters. I'm enjoying the process of getting to know them better. For a sneak preview, you can check out the first chapter on my website. While you are there, don't forget to sign up for a chance to win a free download of Hit and Run!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Are You An Animal Lover?

I am. I cannot bring myself to be mean to any living creature...except for spiders (ugh!). Thus, we are now caring for a feral colony of cats. Someone abandoned a female cat about four years ago and the next door neighbor started feeding and caring for her. Subsequently she had several litters of kittens. About six of them survived over the years and suddenly he moved away and abandoned them. The house stood empty over the winter months, and my hubby and I felt sorry for the poor cats. We bought a large bag of cat food and every evening we'd go over to the house and leave food on the back deck for them. The house remained empty until April of this year. Once workers began doing some construction work, the cats migrated to our yard. The neighbor said she was allergic to cats and kept chasing them off. Much to our dismay and enjoyment we found some tiny kittens in the wood stock under the deck. Hubby built a closed-in area with doors where we store our fireplace wood. We soon learned there were two litters of kittens. Egads! As the weeks wore on the kittens ventured out into the yard. Another mother cat came in bringing her six kittens! We realized we had a real problem on our hands. We live in a subdivision, not in a rural area. What to do?

I began researching over the internet and found a group "Pet Promise" who had a "City Kitty" program where they would make arrangements to help with the neutering/spaying of feral cats, loan the traps, etc. I contacted them and they agreed to help us. All we had to do was agree to care for them with food and shelter for the remainder of their lives (which unfortunately, or fortunately, is short with feral animals). Now came the problem. How to trap them. They scheduled four appointments with a vet, every Tuesday for four weeks (3 cats each trip). The first trapping was fairly easy. We didn't feed them the day before then the evening of trapping, they were very hungry. The only problem we had was trying to keep the kittens out of the traps so we could capture the older ones. Every time we'd shoo the babies, it would frighten the other cats and all would run. Egads! It took us an hour, but we finally had the oldest male and two females. Yesterday we had to trap another three. We wanted to get the adolescent male and two older females. One of the females didn't come in, and the other one would have nothing to do with going into the cage--however, the ones that had already been captured wanted to go in!! So much for thinking they'd be traumatized. We managed to capture the male adolescent and three kittens (who are old enough to be fixed-over 2 lbs). Now we have managed to neuter seven cats. We have to our best estimate another nine to go. I'll have to call Pet Promise again and hopefully they'll agree to do the other four. The saddest part is that they clip the left ear to mark them as being "fixed."

We're really at a loss as to how to capture the rest. The more that are fixed the harder it is to keep them out of the cages without scaring away the others. Here's our brood:

We have a large orange tabby with white feet- male - Boots
A tiger and white female tabby - female - Little Mama
A long haired tiger - female - FoxY
A black - female - Blackie
An orange and white - male - Sammy
A fluffy white and tiger - sex unknown - Lucky
A black and white - sex unknown - Oreo
A white and tiger - male - Skeeter
A tiger with white legs - sex unknown - Little Britches
A coal black short hair - male - Boo
A fluffy coal black - sex unknown - Spook
A tiger with white paws - female - Spats
A himalayan siamese (cream and dark brown with white feet) - sex unknown - Mittens
A calico - sex unknown - pumpkin
A long hair tiger - sex unknown - tiger

Anyone want a cat???

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Rainy Day Sunday-God's Drink of Life

Yep, it is raining here in drought-ridden Columbus, Ohio. It's that lovely light rain that just keeps coming down, not heavy, just steady. Exactly what we've needed...or rather our lawns and flowers and trees have needed. Hubby and I just came in from a short trip to the local Target store and I remarked on how his impatiens had "perked" up already from the rain. His comment was: "I watered them yesterday and every day before that, but God's watering does the trick." I love Sundays, especially rainy day Sundays.

Nothing better comes to mind than curling up with a good book in a cozy chair. I'm half-way through reading True Believer by Nicholas Sparks. A close friend gave me At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks last year for my birthday. She knows I love his writing. I'd missed getting True Believer, so it was my present to myself for getting a contract for Hit and Run. I should be working on Joshua's Hope, which I'm gearing toward the White Rose line. I truly planned to work on it today, but God's drink of life has touched me and I think I'm just going to enjoy the rest of the afternoon reading.

Uh-oh. The sun just came out. **sigh** I think I'll just grab my AlphaSmart--but I'm still gonna curl up in that comfy chair. God and I just compromised.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Do You Believe in Horoscopes?

I remember my mother reading the traits of my sunsign to me when I was younger and she kept telling me that had me "right on." Well, I wasn't so sure about that, but it did start me wondering about how this whole zodiak thing worked. My husband likes to read them every day and at work we will read them during breaks and laugh. I've always felt that you could fit any of the horoscopes of the day to your own life if you thought hard enough.

For the past two days I've been caught up in how to promote my new book. Egad. I thought writing the book was the hard part, but I've certainly learned differently. Not only am I expected to be a writer, peck out so many pages a day, hold a full time job so I can afford to write, be a loving wife and mother, and a decent cook and housekeeper. Whew! Now I'm supposed to become a marketing guru. How does one begin. There is a ton of information and avenues for "traditional" publishing, those nice New York Times Bestsellers that sit on the shelves of every bookstore, but what about the e-book generation? This whole thing is a huge mystery to me, but being a Scorpio I love a good mystery! So perhaps the following description does fit me:

Scorpio traits are the deepest and most intense of any of the signs, never concerned with the superficial. Often this gives them great power they can see into people with their immense intuition. Very passionate in everything they do, often thought of as the sexual sign. Scorpio carries this intensity into everything they do. Scorpio can inspire fear or awe in others because of their often-overwhelming ability to strip away all veneer to get to the bottom line and not afraid of endings or new beginnings. A loyal friend but a fanatic foe, they invented the word "revenge."

Traits of Scorpio:
Deep thinker
Bad tempered

Bad tempered? Me? Ha-ha! I beg to differ. Sarcastic? Yeah, I'll have to concede to that one. I remember once when I had purchased a shredder for my office, my boss came in and asked me what it was. I explained. He wanted to know why I needed it. My answer: "Well, I guess I don't. I could chew up the confidential material and swallow it instead." Just last week my husband walked into the bedroom and saw me dressed in jeans instead of a suit. He asked, "Casual day, today?" My reply: "No. Today is nude day. I thought it would be easier to shuck these jeans than a pair of pantyhose when I get to work."

So, I've been digressing. Back to what I planned to talk about. After spinning my head around for the past two days trying to decide how to become a first class marketing guru, I logged onto the internet tonight and decided to scroll down on my home page and read my horoscope. Here's what it says: Why are you in such a rush? You're just skipping crucial parts of the entire process. Once you take the time to complete the small steps -- all of them -- the larger issues will become much clearer.

Oops, guess I better finish reading the galleys first.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ever Have One of Those Days?

Ack! Today was one of those days at work when the clock kept ticking slower and slower. Ever had one of those days? I tried to keep my eyes off the clock, off my watch, off my computer with the time showing at the bottom--but it just didn't work. I should have stayed in bed this morning like I wanted to.

To top it off, everyone seemed to be extremely LOUD. All the men whose offices are along my hallway were using their speaker phones at TOP VOLUME. I mean, come on! Then there were those spontaneous hallway meetings RIGHT OUTSIDE MY DOOR!!! Okay, so I finally got up and closed my door. That helped, but then I felt like I was marooned on a desert island. No one to see, no one to distract me.

You know, some days I'm hard to please. **grin**

I'm busy reading the galleys of my novel now, and will get back to it right after dinner. Yep, that's another thing. Why should I work all day, while my husband has the day off, and I get to come home and fix dinner?

Well, I'm still fleshing out the details for the character naming contest, so I've decided to delay it until the November time frame. Just in time for the Holidays!


Details of all contests can be found on my website.

'K, I've got to go tend to dinner now before I starve.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

And the Countdown Begins

As the publishing journey winds down for my romantic suspense novel, Hit and Run, I'm getting more and more excited to see it sitting in the WRP bookstore. Our grand opening is coming up in early September and, hopefully, my book will be ready by then. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Waiting for Galleys

Finally all the changes have been made and my novel has been sent off to have the galleys completed. This is my first publishing experience in book length fiction and it has been very smooth, thanks to my wonderful editor, Ally Robertson. She had wonderful ideas and challenged me to work harder at pulling out a tightly written manuscript. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and I learned so much about my style, my weaknesses, and my strengths along the way. I'm getting very excited about seeing my book become available in The Wild Rose Press bookstore.

I've heard many stories from published friends about the hardships encountered in getting their manuscript ready for publication. I feel very fortunate! I cannot even describe the warm feelings I have from being associated with The Wild Rose Press! I'm so proud to be one of the authors for this new "softer approach" publisher.

I'll be keeping everyone abreast through my blog, so stay tuned. A publication date should be available soon! Once the book is available, I'll be running a fun contest where you can participate in naming the characters in my next novel! I'll be awarding the winner with an autographed copy of Hit and Run AND a matching bookmark. Be sure to check back for details.

Visit my website to read an excerpt from Hit and Run, a romantic suspense novel.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Night with no Light

Last night we lost our electricity. I was sitting in the living room reading a great book when suddenly I was plunged into darkness. Have you ever experienced the total darkness where you can see nothing at all? It's like you've been sucked into a void, a nothingness, where anything can happen. Imagination kicks into high gear, as if prodded with a hot poker. Your hearing is enhanced with the loss of your sight. The night has a voice, and you listen... The night has eyes and they watch...

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Window to My Soul

Memories are wonderful things. Imagination is the creative backbone of humankind. Without these we would be colorless, dreamless beings. Is that why I feel so passionately about writing? Perhaps. I can't remember a time when I wasn't either writing or reading, losing myself in another world. Sometimes an idea or a memory will come flitting by and I must capture it. I remember back to a time when I was creating my very first personal website. What would I put on it? A childhood memory reared up and tapped me on the shoulder. I quickly began to type and the story unfolded. I'd like to share it with you. I hope it depicts the words that describe my blog: Sharing my passion for the written word by painting pictures in the minds of those who dare to enter...

Digging back through my childhood memories as I sit upon my deck pondering all I have been blessed with, I remember one close companion.

"Spooky" was his name. He was a beautiful palomino with a coat that glistened in the sun. His mane flowed softly, fluttering in the wind, while his tail billowed behind. Bareback I rode him, my legs gripping his muscled sides. We were one, riding across the meadow in the early morning sunshine.

Spring flowers were in abundance, their colors splashed across the meadow. Along the fence line in the distance, apple blossoms could be seen. As we neared the orchard, the breeze carried their perfume, surrounding our senses. I smiled, knowing that soon there would be red, juicy fruit hanging heavily from the branches of the apple trees.

Spooky slowed, and we trotted along the fence line, heading toward the creek. As the bank came into view, we slowed to a walk, listening to the water as it flowed across the rocks marking its bottom. I jumped from Spooky's back and made my way to the water. There was no need to tie him, he would not leave my side. We were tuned to each other, knowing each other's thoughts and moods. He was my best friend, my close companion, and my protector.

The water was cold, and sparkling in the spring sunshine. I removed my shoes and socks, sat in the dirt, and allowed the flowing water to tickle my toes. Tiny water spiders made circles on the surface, as they did their butterfly strokes in the quiet pool above the rock formations. I watched them, wondering what they ate, what their purpose was, and how they lived from winter to spring. Knowing all things God created have a reason for existence, my mind queried all aspects of life.

Across the water was the wooden cross. We had placed it carefully there, marking the spot where my beloved cat had been buried. This was our special place, mine and Spooky's, where we could find peace, and restore our faith. I raised my face to the sunshine and closed my eyes, allowing the warmth to soothe my soul.

I lay back on the grassy bank, opened my eyes and watched the clouds. Across the sky danced unicorns, bears, and even a funny old man's face! Watching closely the shapes would change, melding one to another, forming wondrous pictures. Time passed slowly, and yet too quickly, in this special place.

I donned my socks and shoes, and jumped to Spooky's back again to begin the long ride home. I could hear the voices of family as we neared the house, and we slowed our pace to savor the memories we had just created. Leaning low across my horse's back, I hugged his neck and thanked him for the ride.

Reaching home, I leapt from my mount, and led him to the pasture. I turned him loose to graze and enjoy the remainder of the day, and walked quickly to the house where lunch would be waiting.

As I sit here sipping my tea and savoring the memory, I smile and think of my parents sitting on their deck, still in my childhood home. The creek is still there, although it is now a dry bed, and a Metro Liner rail forms a bridge across its banks, where it carries passengers into the city. The wooden cross is gone from my cat's grave, and her bones have long since become one with the earth. And Spooky? He has long since passed away, put to pasture with other childhood things, although he will live forever in my memories, in my dreams. In reality, Spooky was only a wooden stick, pulled from my father's scrap woodpile. But to me he was a golden palomino of regal stature!

Friday, August 11, 2006

An Enlightening Interview with TWRP

Are you interested in a small press romance publisher that actually cares about publishing a good story, regardless of what the "industry giants" may reject because it isn't the "hot-selling" topic of the month? How about a publisher that responds to every rejection with a personal letter and comments to help you? How about an editor who is as excited as you about publishing your manuscript? Are you a new writer caught in a "catch-22" because you haven't been published and don't have an agent? Well if so, then check out this interview Long Ridge Writers Group held with my publisher The Wild Rose Press.

Click HERE to read the interview in its entirety.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Write What You Smell...

So yesterday I was zinging right along with making some revisions in my ms and came across a comment from my editor.

The setup: My heroine had arrived at the animal shelter to adopt a dog. A volunteer escorted her to the back room where the dogs were caged. I wrote about the sounds and the sights, but my editor's comment--What does she smell?

Okay. Right. I had left off one important "sense" to bring the scene to life. I began to write about the scent, the smell, the odor, the air, and soon I had a page full of partial sentences, which had all been discarded. I closed my eyes and tried to remember the smell of such a place. Finally, I went to bed determined to make a visit to my local shelter to renew the experience. I "KNEW" the smell. It was right at the tip of my nose, but I couldn't for the life of me find a way to bring that smell to paper.

At work the next day I called my daughter who had worked in a shelter for a brief time as a volunteer. I woke her up. Ooops. She's been doing a battle with allergies for a few days, she kind of sounded like, "Heddo?" Hee hee!! Since she was now awake, I didn't want to waste the entire call apologizing.

I asked her to close her eyes and go back to when she worked in the animal shelter. I told her to close her eyes and picture it.

She responded with, "Oh, Do. I dote thick this is godda be ady fud." Translation: Oh, no. I don't think this is gonna be any fun.

But since I'm the mom she had to try. "Now tell me what you smell," I said. Well, you know where this is leading, don't you? Yeah, you're right. She said she didn't smell anything because her nose was all stopped up!!

Then we stopped laughing and she really tried to tell me what she remembered smelling. Yep, it was the same thing I remembered smelling. But she couldn't put it in words any more than I could put it on paper.

Before we ended the call though, she came up with a superb idea. "Why not do it in dialogue? You could have the volunteer be eating a Snickers Bar and ask her how she could eat with that smell." Aha! She'd hit on the perfect solution. Do it in dialogue!! In a short time I had that scene rewritten by including the smell of the place. Um, I didn't include the candy bar, though. The Snickers bar reminded me too much of...well, we won't go there.

Hmmm, now I wonder how many of my readers will actually be able to relate to that indescribable smell? Or is it undescribable? Off to find my dictionary...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Have a Cover!!!

I'm so excited. I received my cover artwork from The Wild Rose Press. I have heard so many stories of how titles are changed, and I'm so happy that my original title is being used. The cover is great and complements the title perfectly.

Right now I'm chin deep in making the final revisions to my manuscript. My editor has been wonderful. She's warm, helpful, and extremely brilliant! I feel very lucky to have been accepted as an author for The Wild Rose Press.

Now, enough gushing about the good stuff, and back to the editing.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Darning the Holes

Today I watched my daughter darn a hole in my favorite pair of socks--the ones she'd hand knitted and given me for my birthday last year. I didn't tell her for a very long time that a hole had mysteriously appeared them. She'd spent so much time creating them, and they were beautiful--the envy of all my friends. How could I tell her they were ruined?

When I finally broke the news about two weeks ago, she told me not to worry, that she could fix them. Fix them? You mean they aren't ruined? She assured me she could do it. And she did. The fix is solid and invisible. Her skill is amazing and inspiring to me.

Then I thought about it and how we writers do the same thing. We write our stories, spilling out the words, weaving them creatively until we write THE END. The stack of paper several inches high gives us a great sense of accomplishment and happiness. Our creation is finished. We've created a wonderful piece of fiction, one that is close to our heart.

We send it off to agents and publishers, praying they will love our creation. Then we learn that inside our manuscript there may be a flaw. A small imperfection that if "tweaked" will make the manuscript publishable. Our creation has a hole.

Can it be fixed invisibly? Can it be salvaged? We worry and fret, and then reassess the flaw. We look at it carefully, looking for broken threads. We hone in on the weak spots.

Then we pick up our pens and begin to craft. We reknit the words. We weave in the loose ends of our plots and subplots. We close up the holes.

We have become darners. Isn't life wonderful?