Sunday, December 31, 2006

How Will You Reinvent Yourself?

That was the message given by our Pastor this morning regarding the new year stretching before us.

Today is the day to reflect back over all that has occurred during the year, and look ahead to a brand new year, a new beginning, stretching before us with endless possibilities. I challenge each of you to step forth into the new year with hopes and aspirations, and a belief that you can accomplish anything you believe you can. Approach the new year with courage and confidence, not arrogance, and take the time to smile at your neighbor. When you see someone who has fallen, extend your hand to them. I guarantee your heart will sing and you will move onward with renewed faith and courage.

I'm excited as I look to the turning of another year. I feel blessed with all that has happened to me during the past year, the good and the bad. Yes, even the bad. For it is through the discouraging and disheartening events that I have learned so much. I've learned that I can overcome even the most frightening challenges, and I can also forgive. In forgiveness, I am renewed.

There are so many possibilities stretched before us in the new year. You only have to step forward and embark on a new journey. Will you learn something new? Take a writing class? Write that novel you've been afraid to tackle?

How will you reinvent yourself in 2007?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Too Little Time

I've got to take some time and truly get myself organized. I've taken on so much, which I have a tendency to do, and now I've got to find the time to fit it all into my schedule. **sigh** If only I didn't have to work full-time in order to eat, have a car, a roof over my head...

So, over the weekend, I've got to put together a schedule which will allow me the proper time to write so I can achieve my goal of completing two novels in 2007. That means cutting back somewhere else. Maybe a little less time spent in promoting through chat groups, or maybe cutting down on the blogging. I did set a pretty aggressive goal when I decided to have something different each day. Maybe I'll just stick to having an interview day on Thursday and another day for something to help writers. The other days I might blog or might not. **sigh** So many things to little time...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Dear Carol Ann #2

It's Friday and time for Dear Carol Ann, my version of Dear Abby.

I'm looking forward to reading and answering your "letters"/comments. Don't be shy!

I've been toying with an idea of writing a book based around an advice to the lovelorn columnist. It's been niggling at me for quite a while. Maybe 2007 is the year that one will come to fruition.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Author Interview with Jena Galifany

Today, I'd like to welcome author, Jena Galifany, to my blog. Welcome Jena. Please make yourself comfortable. First, I'd like to thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. This is an informal interview, so please just let your hair down.

CAROL ANN: Jena, I see on your website that you wrote about the love of your life in 1982, seven years before you actually met. I'm so curious. Can you elaborate on this for the readers?

JENA: Sure! I was in an unhappy marriage with a man who had a fidelity problem. My siblings and I had discovered D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) and when I created my characters, I created a human man to be my character's mate. He was 6'4", dark brown eyes, dark hair, could fix anything, was creative and a complete gentleman in every sense of the word.
After things escalated and we separated, I lived alone for two years when into my life walked the man I had created so many years before. Only different was he was 6'3". The rest, as they say, is history. On December 29th, we will celebrate our 16th anniversary.

CAROL ANN: Wow! That's a great story. So many times we fantasize about the man we'll marry, but usually it's just that--fantasy. Your fantasy came true! So, besides Ty Synclair, whom we know is based on your true love, have you ever fallen in love with any of your other characters?

JENA: I have a certain amount of love for each of my heros. I go through the same feelings they experience and that makes me close to the character. I've laughed and cried with them all.

CAROL ANN: I can relate to that. Being a romance writer, tell me what romance means to you.

JENA: Romance is setting self aside to be pleasing to the person you love.

CAROL ANN: I love asking that question, because I always get a new perspective on romance. **smile** As well, as sweet romance, you also write dark romance. Tell me about dark romance and how you came to write the genre.

JENA: I don't think that just because it doesn't end with happily ever after that a relationship wasn't a romance. Romeo and Juliet is considered one of the greatest romances ever and look how it ended. Romance is a time, the moment between two people, one that will never be forgotten even if the relationship ends. I wrote Her Perfect Man drawing on my moments of romance with a someone who ended up being a best friend.

CAROL ANN: I never really thought about it that way. Hmmm, Love Story also had a sad ending, but it was also considered a classic romance. Thanks for sharing that. So, I see you are wearing blue jeans today. Are you a bluejeans or a skirt kind of woman.

JENA: Funny you should ask that. I'm a blue jeans woman that is trying hard to get back to being a skirt kind of woman. That's my new year's resolution.

CAROL ANN: **laugh** I think you'd look lovely in a skirt, too. So, tell me what would be your dream vacation?

JENA: My dream vacation would be to be alone with Steve for an extended time. It wouldn't matter where we were.

CAROL ANN: How wonderful to talk to someone who is truly married to their soul mate. You glow whenever you talk about him. He's a lucky guy, and you're a lucky woman. So many of us never meet that special person. You seem to be doing well as an author. How many books did you write before receiving your first contract?

JENA: I wrote four, but only submitted one before it was accepted. Whiskey Creek Press accepted my first book and the second two in the series within four months. I'm truly blessed.

CAROL ANN: Your success is well deserved. Besides books, do you collect anything?

JENA: **smiles** Yes. I collect teapots, but my daughter collects Zebras and those things are making their way into my life. I have several Zebs on my desk at home and at work.

CAROL ANN: Zebras? How fun! The last author I interviewed collects pigs. Seems we authors are animal lovers. You know, Jena, sometimes readers think authors have a wonderful life. But we have the same ups and downs as everyone else, maybe even more so. After all we deal with rejections as a part of life. So, when you get down, who can make you laugh?

JENA: Steve! Hands down. He knows how to make me smile and knows just what I need no matter what is going on.

CAROL ANN: Somehow I thought that's what you'd say! Okay, here's a question you might not have expected to answer. Broccoli and cheese, or cheeseburger? Which would you pick?

JENA: I'll take the veggies but I don't care for the cheese. I don't eat beef at all. I live on chicken.

CAROL ANN: My husband once posted a cartoon on my refrigerator of a man at the doctor's office. He had little wings on his back. The caption was: Chicken for dinner every night. What did you expect? **laugh** All right. Back to writing questions. Of your published works, which is your favorite and why?

JENA: My favorite so far would be ShadowsForge3: Retaking America. It won't be released until April, but it involves just about everyone in the band and several women. It is the most intricate book I've written and I think it shows the real personalities of the characters.

CAROL ANN: Can you offer any advice to those readers who have a dream of writing but are afraid they aren't good enough?

JENA: Trust me. I'm not good enough! I've thought that since 8th grade. What I would tell someone, Don't be afraid to try. So you get a rejection. So what? Move on to the next. Study the craft. You never know it all. Writing is a constant learning experience. Keep at it and as I say in my tag line, "Believe in Dreams!"

CAROL ANN: Wonderful advice! Tell me about the ShadowsForge series which is published by Whiskey Creek Press.

JENA: ShadowsForge didn't start out to be a series. I wrote one story, showed it to some friends who loved it and wanted more. It snowballed from there.

I love 80's bands and when I was a teenager I would have loved to spend my life hanging out with them. I watched how their relationships didn't survive too well most of the time and that inspired me to write about Ty Sinclair trying to find the One.

A thumbnail sketch of the ShadowsForge series:
ShadowsForge 1: Three Times a Hero follows Ty Synclair, bass player from the British rock band as he seeks to find "the One." He knows there is one woman in the world for each man and he is determined to change his lifestyle. He may have found her with the aid of an untimely blizzard. Released June 1, 2006 from Whiskey Creek Press.

ShadowsForge 2: Trials on Tour follows the band on a two-week tour throughout Great Britain as they attempt to stay ahead of a fan's jealous boyfriend who wants them all dead. Released October 23, 2006 from Whiskey Creek Press.

ShadowsForge 3: Retaking America finds the band back in America for another two months or so. They have some difficulty sorting out their women but it all works out in the end, mostly. Scheduled for release April 1, 2007 from Whiskey Creek Press.

ShadowsForge 4: The Long Way Home focuses on Brian Cummings, percussionist, his past and how it affects his current relationship with Diane Starling, seamstress to the band. Scheduled for release November 2007 from Whiskey Creek Press.

ShadowsForge 5: Jon's Way is still running around in my head going in several different directions. Somewhere in SF5, lead guitarist Jordan will meet his future wife, Sharon.

ShadowsForge 6: Sharon's Song follows the misunderstandings between lead guitarist Jordan Cantrell and his wife Sharon. This one is complete but short. I will be fleshing it out and adding to it.

CAROL ANN: This sounds like a fabulous series, Jena. I'm in awe. So, if you had the opportunity to address the world via satellite, what would you say about yourself?

JENA: I'd probably hide! **laugh** I know it's not what is good for selling books, but I don't like to draw attention to myself. But for the sake of success, I have to tell the world "believe in dreams." I didn't believe I'd ever be published. I didn't believe that I was good enough. After being pushed to submit my work by my friends, Joyce and Brandi, I sent in ShadowsForge 1: Three Times a Hero. Debi Womack was very pleased with it and gave me something priceless. Not only did she send me a contract, she gave me self confidence. What the world needs to know is that people around you are important, not just to use to get what you want, but to help you when you need help. I'd thank Joyce, Brandi and Debi.

CAROL ANN: Okay, one more question. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why or why not?

JENA: The things achieved with the pen will last longer. A world can be changed by what is written and shared. Fighting in any form may make changes but it will not satisfy both sides of the battle. The written word can bring about changes that will please both the writer and the reader, everyone wins.

CAROL ANN: Jena, thank you so much for taking the time to join me on my blog today. Readers, please check out Jena's website where you can view her covers and find out more about her books and where to purchase them.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Can One Have Too Many Books?

So here we are on another Wednesday, a "Books, Books, Books" day. It's a slow time of the year because everyone is busy with family and holiday preparations, so I decided to keep it short.

During the week I finished Out of the Depths, by Valerie Hansen, Christmas Bells by Emma Sanders (The Wild Rose Press), and Marshall in Petticoats by Paty Jager (The Wild Rose Press). I also started reading The Inn at Shadow Lake by Janet Edgar (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense) and Cross by James Patterson (Little Brown). This week I also plan to read Juliana by Adelle Laudan.

Good thing I'm a fast reader. Actually, I read on my lunch hour and just before bedtime. What are you all reading and when do you fit in time to read?

Carol Ann

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Kitty Perched in the Tree

No entries for last Tuesday's challenge, so....the same challenge will be up through next Sunday. Be sure to check it out and the cool prize you could win. It's titles Tuesday's Challenge - Use All the Words #1
Okay, so I've been blaming Templeton for being the culprint of destroying the tree since he was caught in it one time. I should learn never to make assumptions.

Today I'm sitting on the sofa talking to my daughter on the telephone when the Christmas tree begins shaking violently. You guessed it--a cat in the tree. I jump up and see it's Wilbur, the Maine Coon cat, with a big furry body perched on the limbs. I yell and he turns to look at me and...well, he's just so cute that I run to get my camera. By the time I got back to the living room and turned on the camera, he jumped down and looked at me as if I couldn't prove a thing.

Figuring that's the end of that, I resume my conversation with my daughter. But, a few minutes later, the tree begins to move as if stirred by a heavy breeze. Nope, no fans in my living room. It's Wilbur under the tree, poised at the bottom of the center pole...and he jumps into the tree!

Then the rat, Templeton is at the back and jumps up to join him! Two cats in the tree!! At this point I'm too afraid to take a picture for I'm sure the tree will come toppling down at any moment. I yell at them and finally they both take off running into the other room. I breathe a sigh of relief, and resume my conversation once again.

Then a thundering noise like a herd of elephants vibrates the sofa. Two fourteen pound cats come bounding down the hall, around the coffee table, and...Wilbur launches himself back into the tree!"Oh, no! I wonder if she can see me. Maybe she'll think I'm just an ornament if I don't move."

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sunday Reflection - 2006 Goals and Achievements

Last January I wrote the following:

My New Year's resolution is to submit my second manuscript in January to Harlequin Intrigue and during the remainder of the year complete my third novel and revisit/rewrite my first one with a new angle and send both of them out to publishers.

Reflecting back over the year, I feel I did pretty good with achieving most. I did submit my second manuscript to Harlequin Intrigue in February and I received a rejection. The reason, I'm sure now, is that the query letter was written focusing more on suspense than on the romance which really is the driving force of FOXFIRE. I pulled my first novel off the shelf and revised it heavily utilizing some thoughts that had been knocking around in my brain. When finished, I submitted it to a new small press publisher, The Wild Rose Press. I received a contract for HIT AND RUN and it was released in September 2006. Subsequently, I submitted my second novel, and received a contract. FOXFIRE will be published by The Wild Rose Press on January 5, 2007. Additionally, I submitted two short holiday stories which were also contracted and published, and wrote a short story for the Premiere Bouquet Contest and was one of the winners. That story will be published along with other winners in a Spring Anthology.

Though I didn't finish the third novel, I feel I accomplished more than I'd planned in 2006, and I'm well on my way to finishing that third novel.

It's my firm belief that if you want to accomplish goals, personal or otherwise, you must write them down. Place them someplace where you will look at them each and every day. You'll become committed to your goals and find yourself striving to complete them. Then when you reflect back over the year, you'll be amazed at what you've accomplished.

Did you set writing goals for yourself this past year? How did you do? Will you set new goals for 2007?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Issue of the Week - Do You Believe in Santa?

Do you believe in Santa?

Every year I read heartwarming stories of small miracles occurring to families who need help during the holidays. Some benefactors remain anonymous, and some are friends or family members stepping up to share a gift because they care. Yes, I believe in Santa.

Santa is a spirit of love, a spirit of giving, a spirit of caring, and sharing.

Today, I took my grandchildren shopping for gifts for their families. While we were wrapping the gifts, my granddaughter asked her cousin if he believed in Santa. His response was a very hearty yes, followed by the reasons why. I piped in and said that I believe. She then asked everyone who didn't believe in Santa to raise their hands. She looked at all of us and no one raised their hands. Then she asked for everyone who did believe to raise their hands. I know she was bordering on whether to believe or not and when we all raised our hands, she then raised hers as well, and a big smile crossed her face. Yes, I believe in Santa.

I believe in the spirt of goodwill, the warmth in my heart, the helping hand reaching out to help others. I believe in Santa Claus. I believe in love. I believe in God.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dear Carol Ann #1

It's Friday and the first day of my Dear Carol Ann column. Please leave your question as a comment on the blog.

Looking forward to "corresponding" with you.

Carol Ann

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Interview with Author Adelle Laudan

Carol Ann: Good morning, Adelle. Thank you for agreeing to be the first author interviewed on my blog.

Adelle: I want to thank you for this opportunity, Carol Ann.

Carol Ann: Well, let's get started. I said you could "let down you hair" in this interview, and I'm serious about that. I was perusing your website where it says you write fabulous fiction with a twist. Can you share with the audience what that means?

Adelle: You are the first person to ask me that question! As you already know, I am fairly new to the wonderful world of publishing. I am still dabbling in many genres. The twist would be my roots in biker fiction. Some might see biker fiction and think about gang wars and hardened men and women in black leather. I write from the REAL biker's POV. You'd be surprised to know that Bikers have romance in their lives too. Most have loving families and would give the shirt off their backs to help someone in need. It is my vision to show the world this side of "Bikers" in general.

Carol Ann: I see. I remember watching the movie MASK with Cher. That movie depicted bikers in a light I'd never seen before. I loved it! Usually we see the bikers as bad guys who are terrorizing a town. That was a great movie, and even that had romance in it. So tell me, what do you feel is the definition of romance?

Adelle: Romance, to me, is an act of love that touches one's heart. It is not necessarily a candlelit dinner or a walk on the beach at sunset. It can be as simple as a handwritten note left in a place you are sure to find it saying, I love you. It's the simple things we can do for the ones we love to show them how much they mean to us. Nothing says romance faster than a spontaneous act that comes from the heart.

Carol Ann: Absolutely. I think you summed it up well. So, I see you are wearing jeans today. Are you a blue jeans or skirt kind of woman?

Adelle laughs: Definitely a blue jeans kind of gal. I've always been a bit of a tom boy. I've been told I "clean up nice." When I do have to wear "girl" clothing, I am counting the moments until I can get out of them. **laugh**

Carol Ann: I prefer comfort myself! I told you this wasn't going to be your average interview. My next questions is--If you learned a distant relative died leaving you the sole heir to an uninhabited South Seas island, what would you do?

Adelle: Good question. I guess I would first off want to visit this island. If it is a place where my family could live, I'd move us all there in a heart beat. Then I would extend an open invitation to some of my closest friends and family to come build on my island, making it a community filled with all those who are near and dear to my heart.

Carol Ann: I can tell from your answer that family and friends are very important in your life. You seem like a very caring person. So, let me ask you this. If you were at a writing convention, and you noticed an award winner, who wins year after year after year, heading to the stage with her long gown stuck in her waistband, what would you do?

Adelle: I'd tell her. This author is a human being first. The little green monster called envy would no doubt think about NOT telling her. **laugh** My conscience would take over and I'd have to tell her.

Carol Ann: Good for you! I like that about you. I know some people who would let her embarrass herself and then gloat about it. So, if you had the opportunity to address the world via satellite, what would you say about yourself?

Adelle: That's a tough one. I guess I would tell everyone that I am much the same as many of them. I'm a Mom, a friend, a lover, trying to leave my mark in the world--doing what I love most, writing. I'd invite them to read my work and hopefully it would touch their hearts in some way. Finally, challenge them all to do one random act of kindness to someone less fortunate. What a joyous place this world would be, if everyone took the time.

Carol Ann: You know, sometimes just a smile can make another's day. We should all think about doing something kind once a day. Thanks for that. So, Adelle, do you collect anything?

Adelle: We have an extensive collection of pigs. Ceramic, glass, metal, stuffed and even a real live pot belly pig named, Jenny.

Carol Ann: How fun! I'm an animal lover, too, but I never thought about having a pig for a pet. One of my cats is named for a pig though. His name is Wilbur. But that's getting off the subject. Everyone imagines writers as people who are on top of the world. But, in reality, writers can get depressed and down, doubting themselves. Who can make you laugh when you're feeling down?

Adelle: My girls. They are perceptive individuals at ages 11 and 12. When they sense someone is down, they come up with the strangest things. It might be a play they make up or a song and dance. One thing is for certain, after a few moments watching their antics, one can't help but laugh out loud.

Carol Ann: How sweet! Sounds like they might have inherited their mom's creative genes. When we are children we aren't afraid to share our creativity, but as we grow older we are less willing to do so. Can you offer any advice to the readers who have a dream of writing, but are afraid they aren't good enough?

Adelle: TRY! If writing is your passion, what do you have to lose? Once you put yourself out there, it is incredible the things you learn through the proces to teach you how to better yourself as a writer. Reach out to another writer you admire for a little coaching if you are feeling inadequate. Most writers are more than willing to help out the newcomer. The main advice is to DO IT!

Carol Ann: So true. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So, tell me what you are currently working on?

Adelle: I am currently working on a book called The Iron Horse Rider which will be coming in 2007 to Wild Child Publishing. It is a story about a Biker, a Ghost and a Legend. Of course, there is a touch of romance, as always.

Carol Ann: Awesome! I'm intrigued already. Do you have a website where we can learn about your books and how to purchase them?

Adelle: Sure do. Please sign my guestbook while you're there.

Carol Ann: Great. Now, I can't let you get out of here without telling me a little about the book you currently have out called Juliana, which was published by Forbidden Publications.

Adelle: Juliana is a story of a woman's healing journey after an abusive marriage. It is a contemporary with romantic elements. Juliana finds comfort in the healing ways of the Native Indian and the essences in her garden. Juliana eventually discovers, Love IS Good. I think Juliana borders on that of an inspirational, a book I am sure will touch your heart. In fact, as a way of saying thank you, here's a copy for you. I hope it touches your heart in some way.

Carol Ann: Oh, how wonderful. **hug, hug** You don't know how much this means to me. I, too, was a survivor of an abusive marriage, so I can certainly empathize with Juliana. I can't wait to read it. Thank you.

Okay, now one final question before we say goodbye. As an author, do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

Adelle: Yes, I do believe the pen is mightier than the sword. With the written word comes change, or at least the possibility of change. When a sword is used, there is no room for discussion.

Carol Ann: Adelle, thank you so much for being here and answering my questions. I've truly enjoyed getting to know you better, and I encourage all my readers to hop over to your website. Adelle is one author you'll want to read. **hug, hug**

Adelle: I want to thank you for this opportunity, Carol Ann. I wish you much success in all your endeavors. Thanks for the great questions. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Out of the Depths, by Valerie Hansen

Currently I'm reading a Love Inspired Suspense by Steeple Hill in paperback. I've been thinking about writing an inspirational romantic suspense, so this line seemed to be the one to read if I wanted to make sure I'm on the right track. I wanted to write the novel as something that could happen to anyone, without trying to "preach." To be a good inspirational novelist, you need to weave a thread of faith throughout the book, but not to the point that the reader is distracted from the suspense and the romance.

Valerie Hansen has a great handle on inspirational romance. OUT OF THE DEPTHS heroine, Trudy Lynn Brown, is struggling to hold onto her piece of land in Serenity, Arkansas. She owns and operates a campground and canoe rental which recently has become the target of vandalism. Her best friend's brother, Cody Kerringhoven, comes to Serenity to stay while recovering from a white-water rafting accident. Trudy Lynn has always had a soft spot for Cody, so when she offers to let him stay in one of her cabins, she must try to keep her personal feelings hidden.

Cody is suffering from guilt. Another man was killed in the accident that has left Cody on crutches. Since Cody was the guide for the white water rafting trip, he feels responsible for the other man's death. In addition, the woman he thought loved him left him shortly after the accident. Disillusioned and harboring anger and resentment, he agrees to move into the cabin where he can be alone with his dog and stop his family from "pampering" him.

Trudy Lynn has a deep faith in God and she believes she can help Cody regain his broken faith and in turn lead him to forgive himself.

But someone wants Trudy Lynn's land and they will stop at nothing, not even killing, if it achieves that goal.

Valerie Hansen is a master at painting the Ozark landscape. I felt myself fighting off the pesky flying gnats and enjoying the quiet lapping of water as the canoe moved along the river. Though I haven't finished this book yet, I'm truly enjoying it and look forward to reading more of her work. If you are interested in a feel good book, I highly recommend it.

I just received my new ebook reader handheld, so now I can start reading some of the great e-books I've purchased. Keep looking because the next book I talk about may be yours!

So what are you reading? Tell me about it, please!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tuesday's Challenge - Use All The Words #1

Hopefully, you've read my new blogging schedule and know what to expect. I hope you'll all find something of interest, and I hope you'll give this Tuesday challenge a try. The winner of this week's challenge will win a hand beaded book thong and a Godiva chocolate bar. Nothing goes better with a good romance book than a nice book thong to mark your place while you take a big bite out of a chocolate bar. So give me your best shot on this challenge:

Use all four words in a scene. It can be one paragraph or more...whatever works!!

paramedic, pencil, bathroom, cheese

Make sure you use all four words to qualify to have your name entered in the drawing! You'll have until Sunday night to post your answer to this blog entry. Good luck, and most of all...have fun!

Be sure to stop by tomorrow when I'll be sharing info on the latest romance I'm reading!

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Brand New Blogging Schedule

Since we will be entering a brand new year, I wanted to make some changes to my blogging schedule, too. I hope my readers will enjoy the new "look" to my blog and will invite their friends. I'd like to make this as interactive as possible, so be sure to share with me. The new schedule begins this week, so be sure to check back daily and tell your friends!
  • Monday - Announcement of the winner of Tuesday's Writing Challenge - This is just what it sounds like! Since Monday is a "blah" day, the first day of a workweek, it'll be fun to announce a winner and I don't want to detract from that!
  • Tuesday - New Writing Challenge - Every Tuesday, I'll post a new writing challenge. Give me your best and you might be the winner of a special prize. Winner will be chosen by random draw. It's all in fun, so don't be afraid to give it a try.
  • Wednesday - Books, Books, Books - I'll be sharing bits and pieces of what I've been reading, and I invite you to share what you've been reading, good or bad!
  • Thursday - Author Interview - I'll be interviewing authors, asking those questions that you always wanted to know. If you know an author who'd like to be featured here, please invite them to submit their request via my website.
  • Friday - Dear Carol Ann - Ask me any question, and I'll give you my "best" answer. This can be about writing, or any subject. It's my version of Dear Abby! Of course, my answers might surprise you!
  • Saturday - Issue of the Week - Here I'll speak out about issues I've run across in my writing endeavors during the week. I invite you to share your experiences as well.
  • Sunday - Reflections - I'll be sharing release dates, excerpts, and more. It's my way of keeping my readers updated on my writing progress.

You are a Winner

Congratulations, Betty! You are the winner of the latest Tuesday's writing challenge and a free .pdf download of my latest release, LIGHTING THE TREE, a sweet Christmas romance. Please email me at so I can send it to you.

Thank you so much for playing!

Friday, December 15, 2006


Hope you like the new look of my blog. I think it's a bit easier to read and to navigate. Let me know what you think!

Today I finished reading the galleys for FOXFIRE and sent them back to my publisher. I'm so excited about how well everything is coming together for this release. The cover is awesome.

Would you like a little excerpt? The following scene is taking place on Tyler's deck above the animal clinic. Grace and Tyler have finished dinner and as the sun drops below the horizon they are viewing the scenery--

Grace mirrored Tyler's stance, leaning over the railing. "Did you know that sometimes you can see foxfire glowing along the ground?"
"I thought that was a legend. It's true then? Have you ever seen it?"
She nodded. "It's beautiful and haunting at the same time." His shoulder brushed hers. A shiver crawled up her spine.
He draped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer. "Are you cold? Do you want to go inside for a while?"
His hand caressed her arm. Goosebumps arose that had nothing at all to do with being chilled.
"I'm not cold. I love being outside. We have one thing in common. I moved here for the mountain scenery and serenity, too."
He turned her to face him. "And we both love animals. We seem to have a lot in common." His thumbs caressed her cheeks.
Her heart tripped faster. His nostrils did that little flare thing again, which she found totally sensuous. "That's true." Her voice came out an octave higher than usual. She cleared her throat.
He lifted her and sat her on the railing facing him. She placed her hands on his shoulders for balance. Her whole body felt as if it were melting. Like the witch in The Wizard of Oz, soon she'd be nothing but a puddle at his feet.
"So when do we see this foxfire?" he asked.
Small talk, she told herself. Focus on the small talk, not on his face. Not on the way the torches add highlights to his dark hair. Not on the fact that his arms surrounded her, resting on either side of her hips.
"Only when the moon is full and the night is bright."
"Ah, unlike tonight." He gazed up at the sky where clouds hid most of the stars.
She stared at the expanse of his neck and the dark hairs that had escaped the neckline of his shirt. "Too overcast," she said.
He lowered his head and stared at her. Not just stared but stared. The message in his eyes tapped on her heart.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Still Four Days to Play Tuesday's Challenge!

Write a short paragraph or two about a handsome rodeo bull rider who is tossed from the back of a bull and wakes up in...

Use your imagination and let me know where he ends up and tell me what happens! Have fun! I'll be drawing a winner next Monday for a free download of my Christmas story, LIGHTING THE TREE, and announcing the winner on my blog. You'll have to check back here to find out if you won or not.

You can give me one word, several words or paragraphs. It doesn't matter...just let your imagination flow and have fun!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Waiting for a Cover is Like Waiting to Give Birth

After spending months and months working on your novel, you finally get it polished enough to send off with a query letter and synopsis. Waiting to hear back is nervewracking. You try not to think about how much time has passed, you chew your nails, and you constantly check the mail or email looking for an answer. Then it comes. You have a contract. You are ecstatic, jumping up and down, telling everyone you know, basking in the moment. Next comes the first round of edits. Now you have to read that manuscript again and perhaps make some major changes. After several passes back and forth with your editor you are told...your novel has been sent in for galleys. Woo hoo! Now comes the waiting period for the galley and the most exciting thing...your cover art.

You've lived with the characters, they are with you night and day. You know them intimately. You know their darkest secrets. How will a picture convey their story? How will it appeal to readers? Will it catch their attention? The anticipation is twisting you in knots. You want to see it. You can't wait. To me this part of the publishing process is like giving birth. You know the baby is are doing your breathing and pushing...and waiting. You are so close to laying eyes on that precious life that you've carried for nine long months. Then, wonder of wonders, the baby is born...

And so is my newest cover! I'm so excited. No release date yet, but I have a visual.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Cat in the Christmas Tree

Who would ever think a fourteen pound cat could manage to find his way half-way up a six foot artifical Christmas tree? I didn't think it could be done, but hey, maybe I should enter my cat in the Guinness Book of World Records.

I spent Saturday decorating our Christmas tree. Wanted to do something different this year, so I bought all red satin balls, gold ribbon, red and gold glitter ornaments, gold glass beads, and red poinsettia flower piks. The tree turned out beautiful, including the red cardinals at the top. The cats were pretty good all weekend. They knocked a few of the balls off the tree, but since they aren't breakable, no damage done. I hated it when they found a way to dislodge the poinsettias though. Then I had to find the "right spot" to put them back on. Yesterday, we headed to work and I thought I'd come home to disaster...nope. They three cats were angels. Today DH was home from work and he called to let me know the cats were making up for yesterday. He said they knocked about five balls off the tree and had them downstairs. Then while he was eating lunch, he heard a ruckus and found Wilbur with one of the poinsettias between his paws looking all innocent. Then DH started to put it back and found Templeton staring back at him from the tree. Now, the tree is artificial and the cat has no claws! Still he managed to somehow get into that tree and sprawl across several branches. DH finally got the cat out, though it was a major battle. I can just imagine how the tree looked at this point. Figuring that was the worst of it...I came home tired and ready to just collapse. Nope. DH informed me that we had to put the tree into a new tree stand. Why? Because the cats toppled the tree into the corner curio cabinet, broke the old tree stand and I would find a bunch of ornaments on my desk in my now closed off office. **sigh**

Wilbur--The cat with the poinsettia

Took almost two hours to pull those beads out of the tangled branches, hang the ornaments, replace all six poinsettias, straighten the ribbon, then rewrap the glass beads around the tree. Both of us go to work tomorrow...I'm dreading coming home. Maybe I'll lock them up in different closets.
Templeton - the cat in the tree

Charlotte, the innocent one.

The Winner and a New Tuesday Challenge...

New Tuesday Challenge for this week is:

Write a short paragraph or two about a handsome rodeo bull rider who is tossed from the back of a bull and wakes up in...

Use your imagination and let me know where he ends up and tell me what happens! Have fun! I'll be drawing a winner next Monday for a free download of my Christmas story, LIGHTING THE TREE, and announcing the winner on my blog. You'll have to check back here to find out if you won or not.

And the winner of last week's Tuesday Challenge is...TA DA!!!!

Lesa Bennett

Lesa, please send me your snail mail address and I'll mail your free gifts! You can contact me at cae@carolannerhardt.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Today is Launch Day

Today is launch day for the SRN Author's Blog. This is going to be so cool! We are sharing a full week's sample of what you can expect in future posts. Each day of the week will have a different theme.

Monday: The Craft

Tuesday: Learning Curve

Wednesday: Getting over the Hump

Wednesdays are all about relaxing when life gets to be too much, and how we relax.

Thursday: Author’s life

Friday: Prompts

Hop on over and join in the fun.

Yesterday I chatted with the members of Joyfully Reviewed with other WRP Authors. The winner of my Gift Bag was Shannon! Congratulations, Shannon

Friday, December 08, 2006

No Wonder There are Errors in Published Books...

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae an itnerseting mnid too!
Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Egads, I could read that without stopping. What about you?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

All I Want for Christmas...

It snowed this morning! Big beautiful flakes fell around me while I drove to work, so I had a smile on my face all day. I love the first really visible snow of the year. It didn't stick and the sun came out by mid morning, but it really put me in the Christmas spirit. Hubby brought out all the decorations and I'm going to put everything out this weekend. I decided to do something different with the tree this year. I bought wide gold ribbon to weave around it, and some red poinsettia bloom to add to the branches, some red cardinals, red spiky ornaments and gold snowflakes. Also bought several strands of gold beads. Now if it only turns out like I see it in my head...

Now that we have no little ones at home, Christmas morning is boring. Hubby and I usually buy what we want throughout the year, so for Christmas we agree to buy only things that will fit in our stockings. We have to get creative to find things that will go inside. I usually get my bar of chocolate, a watch, CD, stuff like that. This year I told hubby I wanted one of those hand held electronic Sudoku games. I even told him where to get it. He told me tonight that he was afraid he wouldn't get the right thing and I should just go buy myself one. I told him he'd have to come up with something else for my stocking then because I wouldn't buy my own presents. LOL! So we went out to eat and stopped at Target where I bought my Sudoku game. I promised my muse I would only play it at work on my lunch hour or after I'd finished my writing for the day. **grin**

So what do you want for Christmas this year?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

How Do You Wake Your Muse?

For the last two weeks, I swear my muse went on vacation. Or maybe she was there and it was me having too many ideas swirling in my brain. Usually, if that happens she pulls me back out of the maelstrom of the tornado and plops me in the chair and has a good talk with me about sticking to business.

I had fifty pages completed on my manuscript. I thought it was going well, until I couldn't go forward. I struggled, and I mean really struggled with where to go. Then my muse told me the story sucked. She asked why I made my heroine such a wimp. So I went back and she was right. No wonder I couldn't move forward. So I began to play around with ideas to beef it up...and my muse went on vacation. I think she was disgusted with me.

Ideas began to take over my mind, a new one every time I blinked my eyes. What to write, what to write became my mantra. Finally I started the story over again, word by painful word. Where was my muse? Why wouldn't she come back? I became frightened thinking I'd reached the point where I'd never write another good story in my lifetime. Have you ever reached this point? Ever felt you couldn't write your way out of a paper box (pun intended)? What did I do?

I looked around my office at the shelves lined with unread Harlequin and Silhoette books I just haven't had time to read. Why not? I sifted through until I found something that looked really good. I read the first chapter, guessed it, my muse returned.

So how do you wake up your muse?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tuesday's Challenge 12-5-2006

Good morning, everyone! I just hopped out of the shower, so you can picture me sitting in front of the computer in my thick terry robe with a towel wrapped around my head. Or, on second thought, maybe not. It's been very cold her and I think we had a power outage last night because my computer was "off" when I came into my office. Either that or we had one huge power surge because of our neighbor's Christmas decorations. Their yard is very small, but they have an abundance of huge blow up decorations, and each day they add something else! Yesterday it was a lighted carousel of some sort. Now I'm talking really overkill. Their windows and the entire roof also have lights. I'll try and take a picture to show you what I mean.

Anyway, enough of the boring stuff. Let's get on to the Challenge for this Tuesday. Are you ready? Got your fingers poised over the keyboard, or your pencil poised over a sheet of paper? All rightee then, let's go.

Your challenge this Tuesday, should you decide to accept it, is to write me a paragraph or more if you so desire. The first sentence needs to be:

It was exhilarating the first time I...

Now remember, this is not an adult only blog, so be nice! LOL!

You have until Sunday night to post your best, and the winner will be drawn on Monday and posted here on the blog. Be sure to check back next Monday to see who wins! What will you win? A handmade beaded book thong AND an autographed bookmark.

Good luck and have fun!!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tuesday's Challenge #1 Winner

All the names were put in my Wild Rose Press mug and given the round and round, over and over, up and down maneuver...and the one I picked as the winner is...

Megan Rose!!!!

Congratulations! Email me your snail mail addy and I'll get your 2007 planner in the mail. There is a link to email me on my website.Be sure to stop in and play Teusday's Challenge #2!!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sweeter Romantic Notions

*** Grand Opening ***
A Multi-genre, Multi-author resource for
Authors and Readers
of sweet to sensual romance.

When? December 9th ALL DAY

Where? Sweeter Romantic Notions Author Blog


Diana Castilleja
Dayna Hart


Crystal Jordan


Jennifer Leeland


Emily Brevard
Elaine Cantrell
Stacy Dawn
Sara Dennis
Debora Dennis-Mills
Nell Dixon
Karen Duvall
Carol Ann Erhardt
Susan Greene
Adelle Laudan
Dana Mentink
Brieanna Robertson
Katherine Warwick
Betty Womack

Stop by and join in the festivities. Meet our incredibly talented group of Authors. There will be lots of giveaways as well as a very special announcement from our co owners for our Authors. You don't want to miss out!!