Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Passionate Pampering

Marketing, marketing, marketing. Selling books is all about marketing oneself.

So...question for all my readers. If you heard about the following would you be intrigued/interested enough to attend the function? (I've left the date and location off purposely)

Join Carol Ann Erhardt, Romance Novelist
Traci Jordan & Julie Strickland,
Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultants
For a free day of indulgence just for you!!
Surround yourself in our relaxing ambience
and get away from daily pressures and stress.
Enter your name in a drawing to win the grand prize of:
a free fresh bouquet,
a free autographed romance novel,
and a free Mary Kay basic starter kit!

Experience a foot spa experience

Enjoy a warm romance reading

Pamper your skin with a free facial

Chat with local author, Carol Ann Erhardt

All for free!!

Door Prizes!!!

Autographed bookmarks

Jeweled bookmarks

Food and Drinks

Fun and Laughter

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Brand New Book Cover!!

I'm excited. I just received my new book cover for THE FADED PHOTOGRAPH!!! No release date yet, but should be soon. I'm waiting on galleys to proof. This is a sweet romance and one I loved to write.
Here's the blurb:
Widower James Carter is about to become a grandfather at the young age of forty-nine. And he’s not ready. A faded photograph, kept hidden in his wallet over the years, brings memories of his first love. What has happened to her? Does she ever think of him? Does she remember the dreams they once shared?

With a determination to move out of his lonely existence, he embarks on a journey to fulfill lost dreams and find the woman in the faded photograph.
And an Excerpt:
The ringing telephone awoke James from his dream. Clutching a faded photograph, he made his way to the kitchen. His heart lifted when he recognized the caller ID.

“Margie! To what do I owe the pleasure?” Their only child, now twenty-two, lived with her husband, John, in California. Lately she had been urging him to sell the house and move to California. He couldn’t imagine moving anywhere. He enjoyed Chicago with its distinct changes in weather, from brilliant sun in the summer that kissed Lake Michigan to the brutal winds and snows of January.

“Dad, I have wonderful news!”

Lord, she sounded so much like her mother. “I could use some, hon.”

“Are you ready? Are you sitting down?”

He laughed. “Tell me.”

“I’m pregnant!”

His baby was going to have a baby? It seemed like only yesterday he’d changed her diapers. Wait. That meant he was going to be...a grandfather?

“Did you hear me, Dad? Isn’t it wonderful?”

He sank onto the kitchen chair. Margie was too young to be having a child. He was too young to be called Papaw. Maybe he had a few streaks of silver beside his temples, but that didn’t make him old. Only old men became grandpas.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday - A Day in My Life

I dislike Mondays! It's the first day back to work after a two day weekend. The weather today--cloudy, cold, and depressing.

You think a writer's life might be exciting? Here's my day in review.

5am - alarm rings. Wake up hubby. Cover head and go back to sleep.
5:30am - hubby kisses me goodbye. I get out of bed.
6:00am - dripping from shower.
6:20am - huffing and puffing on the elliptical machine.
6:45am - eat a bowl of mini shredded wheat - no sweener added.
7:00am - blow dry hair upside down.
7:15am - dress with hair looking like a lion with static electricity.
7:30am - slap on makeup
8:00am - clock in at work.
10:00am - take break and watch coworkers eat mandarin orange cake while I drool because I gave up sweets for lent.
12:30pm - clock out for lunch. Take car through car wash to remove salt from the latest snow and muddy footprints from the 14 feral cats.
1:30pm clock in to work.
3:00pm - watch co-workers read paper on break.
5:00pm - clock out and head for home! Woo hoo!
5:30pm - tell hubby about two hour author chat I must attend while he heats up chili for our dinner.
6:00pm - post first email to reader loop and listen to hubby snoring.
8:00pm - hubby rises from bed and asks if I'm ready to eat.
8:01pm - answer telephone and talk to my mother.
8:15pm - eat chili and wathc the rest of Deal or No Deal
9:00pm - watch The Nanny while monitoring the email group and responding.
10:00pm - rub stinky muscle rub on hubby's back and kiss him goodnight.
10:15pm - delete deluge of emails from all my loops
10:30pm - get code for stat tracker and install on website and blog
10:45pm - write stupid nonsensical blog about my nonproductive day.

Total writing completed - the heading "Chapter Three" of Beautiful Deception

Good night!!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Everyone is Invited to a Grand Opening!!!

You are invited to join The Wild Rose Press Authors on Monday February 26, 2007 for the Grand Opening of our Readers Loop!

Come join in the fun!!

Wild Rose Press authors will be posting blurbs, excerpts, covers, and talking about their characters.

The Wild Rose Press will be donating prizes. Book thongs, rose soaps, gift certificates and percentage off coupons. Everyone who participates is eligible to win.

I'll be popping in from 6pm to 8pm EST with a very special contest. I promise we'll have fun and you'll get to meet and chat with some characters of my novels.

Hope to see you there! You'll have to join the yahoo group to participate.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Okay, I'm Officially Senile

I'm officially declaring myself senile. I can't even remember what day of the week it is! Maybe it was having that day off last week because of the weather that threw me off...or maybe I'm just getting senile. Forgetful. Or maybe I'm trying to juggle too many balls at once!

Maybe I shouldn't even be telling on myself, but if I didn't then my mistaken mixed up days wouldn't be half as funny!

You did notice, didn't you? Yep, today is Thursday and I'm posting this ridiculous blog because...


Go ahead, laugh. I have been. If you haven't yet read the interview with author Kim Baccellia, please do so. She's a very interesting woman and a talented Young Adult fiction writer.

Til tomorrow...unless I forget. LOL!!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Author Interview with Kim Baccellia

Hello, audience! **Carol Ann enters the studio in a chic casual outfit of olive green cargo pants and a cream colored cotton sweater with three quarter length sleeves** How is everyone today?

Fabulous, Carol Ann (The audience answers as one)

Glad to hear that! We're going to have fun today interviewing a Young Adult author whose first book is doing very well in the market. Kim Baccellia, please come on out!

Kim enters the studio waving to the audience. She's wearing tailored jeans, a v-neck red silk blouse, and a stylish jean jacket.

CAROL ANN: Welcome, Kim. From the sound of the applause, the audience is looking forward to learning a lot more about you. Please sit down and let's begin.

You've written a fantasy novel for young adults. Tell me a bit about the story and how you came to write it.

KIM: EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA is a fast paced fantasy featuring a young Latina who discovers ancient traditions in her family history that propel her to a magical civilization, where she struggles against evil forces that threaten her family, her heart, and her life.
One day, after reading the latest Junie B. Jones book to my first graders it hit me. Why couldn’t I write a book that had a Latina as a heroine? I found it ironic that here I was a sheltered English teacher reading a book on an Anglo heroine to mostly Latino children. So I practiced what I preached—I wrote the story.

CAROL ANN: That's fantastic! I've heard many different stories of how an author got started, but yours is classic. It takes a lot of guts to move forward with an idea like that and bring it to fruition. You are an inspiration. Have you written in any other genre, or do you have plans to do so in the future?

KIM: Yes. I’ve written poetry and a number of essays. My poem, MY FATHER, was in the poetry anthology, MIND MUTATIONS. My essay on the adoption of my son, FINALLY OUR TURN, was printed in Adoptive Families.

I’m currently working on a contemporary YA that deals with bipolar disorder in 1976. I also would love to write a historical romance based on the life of my Sicilian great-grandfather and the love of his life, my great-grandmother, Cipriana Acuna.

CAROL ANN: Wonderful. I'd be very interested in your novel on bipolar disorder. My grandson suffers from this and it is a very difficult disorder to understand. Hats off to you for tackling such a difficult subject. I see you wore jeans today, and they look fantastic, by the way. Are you a blue jeans or skirt kind of woman?

KIM: **laughs** I’m totally a jean chica.

CAROL ANN: Okay, now for an off the wall question. I like to keep my guests on their toes and give the audience a glimpse of your true personality. Question: If you learned a distant relative died leaving you the sole heir to an uninhabited South Seas Island, what would you do?

KIM: Ohmigosh, I’d move there! No questions asked! Can I take Antonio Banderas with me? Uh, maybe not!!

CAROL ANN: **claps and laughs** Nothing like having a wonderful dream! Okay, here's another. If you were at a writing convention, and you noticed an award wnner, who wins year after year after year, heading to the stage with her long gown stuck in her waistband, what would you do?

KIM: Do I know this writer personally? Ah, it depends. If she was someone from my writing group or local schmooze group, I’d get up and unstuck her gown.

CAROL ANN: **grin** So, then I have to assume that if you didn't know this woman personally, that you'd let her embarrass herself. **laugh** Glad we have gotten to know each other. Um, we are close now aren't we? **Kim just grins and raises her eyebrows** **Carol Ann hopes she never has this happen to, well not the winning, but the dress stuck...well, you know what I mean** Seriously, Kim, if you had the opportunity to address the world via satellite, what would you say about yourself?

IKIM: have one wild imagination! No, seriously, I’m a serious writer who doesn’t like the word, no.

CAROL ANN: Love it! You have to develop that determination and go for it. How about collections? Do you collect anything?

KIM: I collect dolls. I love dolls of color. I also have the original Princess Di doll in her wedding gown. I put a copy of the newspaper announcing her death inside.
CAROL ANN: Oh, that's interesting...and touching. I remember the day of her death and watching the news and not wanting to believe it. That doll must be special.
KIM: Yes, she is.
CAROL ANN: Kim, who can make you laugh when you are feeling down?

KIM: My five-year-old. He’s at the age where even the simplest things, like dancing or running through the water sprinkler can be fun.

CAROL ANN: Children are truly a blessing. Through their eyes you can see a totally different world than when looking through our older jaded eyes. You are such an inspiration to me in so many ways. There are a lot of people in the audience who would like to take the chance and write the book of their heart, just as you did. Can you offer any advice to those who have a dream of writing, but are afraid they aren't good enough?

KIM: Be persistent. Don’t give up. Seize any opportunity that comes your way.
Be like that one contestant on AMERICAN IDOL who tried every season to get on. He didn’t let those rejections affect his dream. Finally, after five times, he made the cut.

CAROL ANN: Wise words, Kim. What are you currently working on? Can you share a bit?

KIM: Right now I’m finishing revisions on a YA paranormal called CROSSED OUT. Here’s a little taste of my novel:
Helping the dead to the other side sure sucks sometimes.

CAROL ANN: Oh, wow! What a teaser. I've never had anyone give me a one line hook that made me want to read the novel before. I'm sure the audience would like to learn more. Do you have a website where we can learn more about your books and how to purchase them?

KIM: My website is The wonderful and talented SCBWI illustrator Liz Jones illustrated both my portrait and the jungle scene.

You can purchase my eBook at and
Also check out my You Tube video

And my CafePress merchandise too!

CAROL ANN: Thanks, Kim. One last question, do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why or why not?

KIM: This is a tough question. I wish all the current problems in the world could be taken care of with one touch on the keyboard.
The pen is very strong. I think of those in the countries that were ruled by the Taliban that refused to burn their books. Or the young girls and women that refused not to learn to read, even at the cost of their lives.
Books have always been a source of comfort to me, especially when growing up in an abusive home. With books I could leave the craziness and enter whole new worlds.
The pen is powerful. I hope that my words can be both a comfort and a sense of enjoyment to others.
CAROL ANN: **Kim and Carol Ann share a hug** Thank you for being with us today. I've truly enjoyed out time together and getting to know you. **Carol Ann turns to the audience** I recommend you check out Kim's website and if you have a young adult, why not purchase EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA as a gift.
Til next time...

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Ebook - A Practical Solution

My house is full of books! I'm not talking just a few books here. I've been collecting hard back books since...well for nearly forty years! I should probably donate them to a good cause, like a senior citizen's center or something. Maybe one day I'll be able to do that. There's something comforting about having all those wonderful volumes on my bookshelves. But...I'm running out of space.

For several years, I bought paperbacks and then passed them on to others...well, except for the ones that I found extremely moving. **sigh**

Now with the expansion of ebooks and the quality of authors, including best-selling authors, I'm starting to collect these treasures. Recently, I purchased an ebook reader and I can download books, books, and more books. The best part is I can carry them with me anywhere I go. If we vacation, I can take as many as 80 books in one small package. It's a readers dream come true.

So, if you haven't tried the new technology...I encourage you to do so. Especially if you are as avid a reader as me.

My favorite place to purchase is Fictionwise. can find my books there, too! And my short stories!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Foxfire...Excerpt--In the Beginning

In the beginning:

"I'm sure you understand that given the circumstances we can't be married."

Connor's words hit Grace with the force of an invisible fist. The restaurant sounds grew louder with multiple conversations, a burst of laughter and the clink of silverware on fine china. All normal sounds in a normal world.

Connor lifted his crystal goblet as if to propose a toast to the termination of their engagement.
Beneath the artificial lights, the diamond on Grace's finger winked lewdly. She yanked it off and dropped it into Connor's glass of merlot, where it landed with a satisfactory clink.

"You hypocritical bastard."

He slammed the goblet on the table, sending forth a shower of wine. With an oath, he mopped at the spots of red on his otherwise pristine, and very expensive, designer shirt.

"Damn it, Grace, look what you've done."

"I haven't done anything." Her voice rose. "What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Who made you judge and juror?" More angry words sat on the tip of her tongue, but she squelched them. She slammed her hands on the table and leaned into his face. "You're off the hook, Counselor." Grace's voice turned the heads of the couple seated at the table next to them.
Connor gazed over the glasses resting on his nose. His eyes, which once heated her blood, now froze her with a blast of contempt.

"For God's sake, keep your voice down."

Grace pushed her chair back and walked away, defying the bulls-eye she felt between her shoulder blades. The press loved Connor Thomas, prosecuting attorney and aspiring senator. At any moment she expected an eager reporter to jump out and blind her with flashbulbs. She maneuvered her way through the throng of waiting customers, pushed open the doors of the restaurant and burst into the warm Tennessee night.

Friday, February 16, 2007

How to Write a Synopsis

I've always been against writing a synopsis saying that I couldn't write one without having the book written first. I've struggled, taken classes, agonized...and still fell back on being a panster. Lately, I've been getting hung up on "what happens next". So, I decided to write a blasted synopsis.

I did it and shared it with my writing group who gave me wonderful feedback. It showed me the weak points. I've spent several days working on making changes, adding to the plot, creating those all important things, like tension and the black moment, and I now believe I have a great synopsis from which I can create my manuscript. It's just a bit over four pages.
But, I haven't shared with you the most important thing that helped in my success. Wilbur. Yes, that's right, my Wilbur, my big fluffy lovable cat. Well, rather than just tell, I'll show you.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Author Interview with...???

Please accept my apologies. Due to computer glitches, yahoo glitches, or spam glitches, I have not received responses from the author planned to be interviewed today. Hopefully, we will connect and I can include her later in the scheduled year.

Today is my mother's birthday! I was so pleased to get the press kit for Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrates Mothers and Daughters. You can preorder it on Amazon, but the release date will be March 1. Inside is a story I wrote honoring my mother, titled "Hands of Time."

It's back to work for me today. The secondary roads were still ice covered tracks. Driving on them made me feel as if I were in a covered wagon traversing a trail where the muddy ruts had hardened under the hot summer sun. It was a rocking and rolling ride!

I'm nearly finished with the synopsis for Beautiful Deception. Having to revamp a few plot points before posting. Hope you have a blessed day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Valentine's Day Gift

What a wonderful gift! Received a call about two hours ago and my office is closing for tomorrow due to the weather! I had forgotten how great it felt to be a kid and have school close, but now the feeling has returned! Woo hoo!!

I get an entire day to sit here and write! I'm very excited. I'm nearly finished with the synopsis for my newest manuscript. Tomorrow I can put the finishing touches on it and post it to my writing group for feedback. Then I can spend the remainder of the day writing the first chapter or maybe more!

The picture is a Hibiscus which is in my back yard. I think I took it last summer. Thought this would help those in cold snowy climates remember that spring is right around the corner!

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

New Cover - Rose Petals

This is the new cover for the anthology my story THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR will be published in. These stories were all first place winners in various Romance subgenres in the Premiere Rose Bouquet contest-The Wild Rose Press. I'm thrilled to be included with some of my favorite authors.

No date yet for publication, but this will be a print book which should be available through Barnes and Noble and other bookstores.

More to come...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The All Important Beginning

Where a story opens is critical. You need to capture the reader, make them care, make them wonder what is going to happen. You've heard have I. So how do you determine that all important opening scene?

What I've learned is you must open with action, with your main character in their current world and an event that is going to blow that world apart. What I've been struggling with this past week is how to start my story, which has lots of critical backstory, without confusing the reader, and still have my heroine and hero meet in the first few pages. Big daunting task.

My first shot confused the reader. They needed to know "why" the emotions were so high and controversial. Yeah, I knew why--it is all in the backstory. It's been drummed into my head to incorporate backstory in small doses. Hmm, so how to correct that and still have that all important first meeting.

I went to one of my writing critique groups and asked how I could accomplish this. And I received the answer. Use different POVs. By starting with the big bang in the POV of the heroine and then switching to the POV of the hero, I can write in the backstory, build anticipation for the reader for when the two finally come face to face. All sorts of possibilities exist.

Yesterday I felt as if I were standing in front of a huge wall that I had to climb with no rope, no footholds or handholds and a sinking feeling of despair that it couldn't be done. Today, I'm looking at the world on the opposite side of that wall. A vast horizon with many paths to choose.

The morale of the story? Writing may be a solitary occupation, but it is much better accomplished if you build a strong support system. And always remember to "pay it forward".

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Interview with Author Vicki Taylor

Good morning, blogging audience! How are you this fine morning? It's great to see so many smiling faces. Today, I have a treat for you. I'm interviewing Vicki Taylor. (Carol Ann claps along with audience as Vicki comes into the studio)

CAROL ANN: Good morning Vicki. I'm so honored that you came to visit today. I'm anxious to learn more about you and your books. Your latest release is Trust in the Wind. I viewed the book trailer and it's really good. Please tell my blog audience a bit about the book.

VICKI: Thanks for looking at the book trailer. It helped tell the story, I think. Trust in the Wind is about two people who've had it rough. Joanne got pregnant and then disowned by her parents, while still a teenager. Roy had a family but they were killed during a burglary while he was away on duty. Joanne learns to become independent and not rely on anyone. Roy buries his feelings and becomes somewhat of a "cowboy" when it comes to his job, always volunteering for the most dangerous missions. A call to Joanne's apartment complex throws them together and they begin a journey to discovering what it is that makes them want to be together, all the while as Roy falls hopelessly in love with Joanne's little boy, Joey. Inch by inch, they hack away at each other's walls until a tense hostage standoff shows them exactly what's important in their lives.

CAROL ANN: Sound like a wonderful and heartwarming story. Vicki, you've had several books and novellas published. Which has been your favorite to write and why?

VICKI: That's a difficult question to answer, because each one is special in its own way. Forever Until We Meet brought the Internet romances out in the open and the tragic results of some people getting too intimate too quickly. March Madness was my first attempt at a mystery with a murder and I liked the character development very much. I've always thought that I'd like to go back and expand that story into a novel. Not Without Anna is special to me because the idea originally came from my daughter. She wrote a short story for school that intrigued me. I kept the basic premise of the story and the two young characters, while using the "what if" process to develop a complex and disturbing story of teenagers involved with drugs murder, alcohol, and suicide. Trust in the Wind came to me in a dream. I woke the next morning full of the story and wrote the whole synopsis down in its entirety. That dream is still fresh in my memories. I have a book, Out for Justice, with a publisher right now and it is another attempt at suspense and murder. This book, as well, came to me in a dream. My current work in progress, Good Intentions, takes me away from murder and suicide and puts me into the heart of adopting teenagers and teenage pregnancy. It's a story straight from the newspaper headlines.

CAROL ANN: Sounds like you are keeping very busy. I've never had a complete story come to me in a dream. How interesting! So when you write, do you have your own little corner or space?

VICKI: I have my own space in a spare bedroom that we've turned into my office. Part of the room is still available for guests, but my desks, computer, printers and files are in there as well. It's away from the rest of the "living" area of the house, so I don't hear my husband if he's knocking about. I'm home during the day, so the house is pretty quiet anyway. Except for my parrot, Bailey and my dog, Jack. They tend to want to be with me, so Jack will lay under my desk and look out the window, while I bring Bailey and his cage to my office so he can still see and hear me. We listen to music, and what's playing depends if we're listening for my pleasure or Bailey's. My journal sits near my bed so that it's close by for any time I wake up with a story idea and need to get it down immediately. I've learned to listen to the voices inside of me and stop and write them down when they come. My space is cramped and crowded, filled with all the gadgets that go with a home office. But, I know that when I go in there, it's "my space" and I can do whatever I want and build whatever world I want with my words.

CAROL ANN: I think it's important for a writer to have a place they call their own. I love the idea of you writing with Bailey in the office with you! It's nice that you are home during the day. So many writers don't have that quiet time. But even so you must have a lot of other commitments. How do you schedule your writing around your personal life? Do you have a set time to write?

VICKI: Thanks to my husband, I don't have an outside of the house job. But, I do have a house to run and a husband and pets to take care of so there is a limited amount of spare time to write. I tend to write more in the afternoon, than I do in the earlier part of the day. I'm not the type of person who can just jump out of bed and start writing. I'm obsessive compulsive enough to know that for me, certain chores need to get done first so that I have the mental state to write. I try to get all my writing done before my husband comes home. That's our time. I don't always make my goal, and he's understanding and supportive. I write until I reach a good stopping point and then we determine if it's too late to make dinner or we call for delivery. I like writing on a schedule, because I know there's always something to go back to in the story. Although, I've gone through my rough periods too, and have been abandoned by my Muse. Those days are rough. I go about my daily activities, wondering when the Muse will find me again. But, eventually it does. It may not always bring me back to the old project right away, but it does infuse me with creativity for other fun things to write.

CAROL ANN: I was perusing your website and ran across an entry that you like stunt kite flying. Please tell us more about this! Sounds really interesting.

VICKI: Stunt Kite Flying. It's exciting. Thrilling. Exhilarating. Instead of the one kite string on normal kites, you get two, with handles. The kites are made specifically to gather as much wind as possible. You control the kite with the handles and can put the kite through maneuvers like twists, spins and dives. It's a very popular sport with competition events all along the coast. I don't compete, it's just a hobby for me.

CAROL ANN: Sounds like a great way to get outdoors and release some tension. I understand you have a collection of teddy bears.

VICKI: Yes! A teddy bear gift from one of my children started my collection. From there it grew into a serious hobby. Soon, everyone knew I collected teddy bears so from then on, I could always predict what gift I would be getting. Anything to do with bears. I have a very large Polar Bear collection, including the Coca Cola bears. My Winnie the Pooh collection isn't too bad. I could always use more Poohs. I have some Steiffs which are the pride of my collection, including a large Coca Cola Steiff polar bear. I have some very old bears, even one of the first ones to have a belly button. My husband is a scuba diver, so I even have a scuba diver bear, complete with fins, mask, and air tank.As my collection grows, I am more particular about what I add to it. There's only so much room in my house. They've already claimed most every available space there is. What's not claimed by teddy bears is claimed by books.

CAROL ANN: Oh, I hear you. My grandmother gave me a music box. That started my collection. I have lots of interesting music boxes, but finally had to say to my family, "Please no more!" **laugh** Do you have any other hobbies?

VICKI: Well, reading is a hobby. I love to read. And, I read a wide variety of authors. From Stephen King to Barbara Delinsky to Piers Anthony to Lisa Gardner to Tim Dorsey and so many more it would take up so much space to list them all. I have a lot of books. My bookshelves are overflowing and books are stacked on every space available in my house. Even the floor. LOL I can thank my husband for the other hobby I spend a lot of time with and that's the computer game World of Warcraft. My character is a Night Elf and she's a Hunter. It's a Role > Playing Game played on the Internet with millions of other characters/users. It can be very addictive. And then there are my pets. My parrot, Bailey and my dog, Jack. Do those count as hobbies? I know they're spoiled, that's for sure.

CAROL ANN: Well, maybe not a hobby, but definitely family. I have three very spoiled cats. You mentioned Stephen King first, when you listed authors. What draws you to his writing and since I, too, am a fan, which of his books is your favorite?

VICKI: I have to admit, of all the books I have, there is no other collection bigger than the Stephen King books. Although, Patricia Cornwell is starting to give him a run for his money for space on my bookcases. Stephen King has a way of writing that draws the reader in and > encourages the reader to use their imagination. He will write characters or descriptions in such a way that will leave you wondering later if you read everything you saw in your mind's eye or if he gave you just enough to fill in the details for yourself. That talent to draw the reader in so completely that they live the story in their mind is one I haven't seem among many other writers. I'm not sure if I have a favorite Stephen King book because they all have touched me in some way or another. But, I can tell you that the scariest Stephen King book I've read was Tommyknockers. I had to sleep with the light on for quite a few nights while reading that book. I even had a rule, no reading it after sundown.

CAROL ANN: Oh, I loved that one. My hubby gave it to me for Christmas and I couldn't put it down. It scared the living daylights out of me, too! Okay, time for a serious question. Are you a "girly-girl" or a tom-boy?

VICKI: Definitely a tom-boy. I joined the Marines after high school and in my 30's rode a motorcycle. Well, my motorcycle was red. My jacket was pink. My helmet had an airbrush rendition of Winnie the Pooh, and I rode with a Winnie the Pooh backpack. Was that too girly? **Carol Ann laughs** I like doing girly things sometimes like being pampered or drinking tea, but I don't mind getting into the middle of things either. Uh oh. Now you have me wondering. Am I a girly-girl or a tom-boy?

CAROL ANN: Sorry, Vicki. Didn't mean to give you such a hard question. **laugh** Let's try another. Which comes first? The plot or the characters? Where do you get your ideas?

VICKI: I get my ideas from all kinds of places. Dreams. Newspapers. Magazines. Life. Sometimes I'll have a character and she'll have a story to tell. Then I build a plot around her. It depends on the story I'm telling. Every one is different. Unique. However, come to think of it, I think that my novels are more character led. My stories develop around my characters and their lives. A plot develops from there. I give a talk on where I get my story ideas and I tell my listeners that there are all kinds of ideas, but those that are strong enough to build a story upon take work. They way it works for me is I use the "what if" process. Start with an idea, then ask "what if..." and continue until a story is built or the idea becomes a dud.

CAROL ANN: What does the word "romance" mean to you?

VICKI: Romance? It means a few different things to me. It is an emotion or a mood or a feeling. Romance means a loving relationship between two people who show each other in their own ways how much each means to the other. It could be the way he holds her door open, or it could be the way she folds his socks and puts them away. It's not a holiday or a commerical enterprise. It's the kiss before you go to sleep at night and the little card you slide into his pocket that says "I love you." It's him putting his dirty clothes in the hamper without being asked and it's her gentle touch when she applies aloe vera to his sunburned nose. Romance is all of those things. It's knowing that you wake up and go to sleep next the only person in the world you would want to be there. Some people think romance is flowers and chocolates. It could be for that person. But, for me, it's so much more.

CAROL ANN: Here's a question I ask all my authors. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why or why not?

VICKI: This is a hard one. I believe that there is a time and place for both. It would be wonderful if all conflicts could be solved with words instead of weapons. But, words can be so forceful. They are weapons when wielded with a viper's wrath. They can be as soft and gentle as a puppy's kiss, making you feel comforted and safe. Whatever the case, words stand forever in time, etched in the stone of records forever in our memories. Words as weapons can strike fear and cause chaos in generations. Great thought and care should be considered when words are used. I believe that there are times when words do more damage > than any sword could do. People destroy one another based on words.

CAROL ANN: Vicki, thank you so much for spending time with us today. It's been fun learning more about you and I hope the readers have gotten a glimpse of your warm personality. Please share your website link and any other links or email addreses you'd like our readers to have.

VICKI: Thanks so much for having me as your guest. I enjoyed your questions and I hope my answers helped others learn a little bit more about who I am. The links below are other sites I manage in my "spare" time.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Shelving and Empowering

Like a movie script, Joshua's Hope has been meeting with the cutting room floor. I'm not really sure what's wrong, so rather than waste any more time, it's being shelved...for the time being.

Beautiful Deception characters have been whispering in my ear now for the past couple of weeks, so I've decided to let them tell their story. I've whittled and chopped at the first rough draft chapter and applied Margie Lawson's "Empowering Character Emotions" workshop. So...this is going to be a new experience for me. Instead of just dumping the rough, I'm going to experiment with spending the time to get most of it right the first time. That means analyzing every sentence.

How will I do this? Well, of course, I'll write it as the characters tell the story to me, but I'll be looking back over everything I write each day to "empower" it.

Wish me luck!

Monday, February 05, 2007

A New Contract

Yesterday I received a new contract from The Wild Rose Press for a short story titled A Faded Photograph. It will be in the Last Rose of Summer line. This was a different step for me, as it's written in the POV of a male rather than female. I really like this story and I hope you'll check it out when it's released.

Also, today I posted a "craft" blog on Sweeter Romantic Notions Author Blog. It's all about "empowering" the word smile in your manuscript. On Friday, I'll be posting some examples of what I changed in my current ms, and I'm challenging everyone to do the same. I hope you'll take a few moments to read my blog entry, and then look what you are currently writing. Then on Friday, join me to add those brilliant lines you've revised.

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 02, 2007

You CAN Teach An Old Dog New Tricks...

I've been looking at all the neat book trailers that everyone has been making and finally decided to put together my own using Microsoft Movie Maker. I used all my own photographs that I took at various times in Tennessee. And the dog is my late beloved dog, Katie.

I'd sure love to hear how you think I did. I kind of like it.

Blah, blah, blah

Ever had one of those days where everyone wants to talk to you? My favorite co-workers have all stopped in to chat this morning. I enjoy talking to them, but I feel really at loose ends today.

Ever had one of those days when your mind can't grasp hold of one thought for longer than two to three minutes? Maybe it's because Friday is wind down day...the last day of the work week.

My characters have gone on vacation. Everyone else is talking to me except them. **sigh** Okay, maybe I should be concentrating on my day job, which isn't writing, but I've finished all my projects, my boss is in Florida for the Super Bowl, and the halls are filled with sales personnel, yacking, laughing, and totally disrupting me. I could close my door, I suppose.

What I really want to do is sit here and listen to my characters and sketch out the next few chapters...but it's just not working. That's why I decided to open the blog and write this totally senseless trivia. At least I'm writing.

Have you ever had one of those days?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Interview with Author Christine Columbus

Hello dear blog studio guests! It's great to see you on this frosty morning in Ohio. Thank you for stopping by. I have a very special guest for you to meet today. Author Christine Columbus. Her stort stories are receiving five star reviews and very deservingly so!

**Carol Ann sits down across from Christine as the audience applauds**

CAROL ANN: Christine, thank you so much for traveling all the way to the studio today. I'm honored to be interviewing you.

CHRISTINE: Thank you. And thank you everyone for the round of applause. This is my first interview so please don't ask too hard of questions.

CAROL ANN: I promise they won't be hard. So, just let your hair down and have fun. No need to be nervous.

CHRISTINE: Do I have the option of not answering something?

CAROL ANN: **laugh** Sure. But it's not like a test or anything. Tell us a little about Christine Columbus. What kind of stories do you write?

CHRISTINE: I write Great Stories…the kind you want to read….LOL

CAROL ANN: **laugh** Great answer!

CHRISTINE: Seriously, today I write sweet romance, tomorrow might be murder mysteries. (Switch in genre would be due to Hormonal Imbalance – I’m 47, I also live with two teenagers and working with all men)

CAROL ANN: **turns to the audience--Doesn't she have a great sense of humor? That alone should make you want to hop over to the Wild Rose Press and buy her stories. **turns back to Christine** I'd love to hear about your publishing history. Can you share the journey with us?

CHRISTINE: I have had poetry published, creative fiction, children’s stories and short romance stories.

CAROL ANN: Where do you get your ideas for stories?

CHRISTINE: I hear a sentence from someone’s conversation, which sticks with me, and all of a sudden, I’m making up a story. I heard a boy mention that his Grandpa always gave him a quarter. I thought about that quarter and came up with Uncle Mike’s Love.

CAROL ANN: I'm going to have to buy that story. You've received some great fan letters about this story and the reviewers love it. So when you write, do you have a special place?

CHRISTINE: In the summer, I love to sit out on my patio with my laptop. Now, that it is winter. I sit at my pub table in my living room and write and if all the conditions are right. I even have a glass of wine, a fire in the fireplace and a country station tuned in.

CAROL ANN: I love wine, country music, and fireplaces. But if I were in that setting, I wouldn't be able to write. I'd be too relaxed. **laugh** If you had to describe yourself, what would you say?

CHRISTINE: I’m certain I was kidnapped as a small child from a warm and tropical climate and brought to Minnesota, because I hate the cold, but apparently not enough to move. I lived in MN my whole life, I’ve worked for the same company for 27+ years and the same house for 21 years.

I think I need a mid-life crisis.

CAROL ANN: **laughs and wipes eyes** That might make a good story! When you write, do you just let the whole story flow until finished, or do you edit as you go?

CHRISTINE: I’m always going back to see what is I wrote the day before and of course I always find something I need to change – on good days it is one step back and two steps forward.

CAROL ANN: Okay, now for some really serious questions. First, What is your favorite color?


CAROL ANN: Do you collect anything?

CHRISTINE: Dust, cobwebs, streaks, dirt and grime.

CAROL ANN: Oh, my God! **laugh** You're making my mascara run. I like that answer. I may have to borrow it. Maybe I'll cross stitch that on a sampler and hang it on my wall. Okay, another question. What is your favorite meal?

CHRISTINE: Cheesecake

CAROL ANN: I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long time. **takes a deep breath and pours a glass of ice water. Sips.** All right. What does the word romance mean to you?

CHRISTINE: Romance is walking to the edge of the cliff, love is jumping off and true love is when you have someone to catch you when you fall.

CAROL ANN: Wonderful answer. If Oprah Winfrey called and asked you to be on her show to promote one of your stories, which one would you pick and why?

CHRISTINE: Uncle Mike’s Love, because that is the story that people always ask me about, they want to talk about Patty, and they have questions about Mike.

CAROL ANN: What are you currently working on?

CHRISTINE: Just waiting to get the edits back on my novel, “The Perfect Country and Western Story” I am also working on what I believe is another short story “Back Up”, but I thought “The Perfect Country and Western Story” was going to be a short story too, ends up a novel.

CAROL ANN: Sometimes you just have to give those characters enough space to tell their story. I love the title "The Perfect Country and Western Story". What can we expect in the future?

CHRISTINE: Longer short stories and a few more novels.

CAROL ANN: And the last question. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

CHRISTINE: I believe it depends on who’s hand in on the pen and who is holding the sword.

CAROL ANN: Christine, thank you again for joining us here in the studio. It's been a lot of fun and I look forward to reading your novel when it is published. Can you give us a website and or blog address so the readers can learn more about you and your work?

CHRISTINE: Thank you for the interview….this was my first one…I guess this means I’m no longer a virgin?
and of course

Tune in Later Today...

My humble apologies to Christine Columbus and all my readers. I forgot to post the interview with Christine this morning before I left for my D-day job.

The interview will be posted this evening. Please do check back tonight or tomorrow and read the interview. I guarantee it will be worth it. Christine is a wonderful author and a very fun person.