Saturday, April 28, 2007

On Promoting Internet Style...

It's been nearly one year since I received my first contract. I now have two full length novels out with a small press. Being new, I cringed at having to "promote" myself and my books. How would I--an unknown--be able to do that?

Then I discovered the world of Yahoo Groups. I didn't realize how many reader and writer loops there were. So I jumped on the bandwagon and joined in every single chat and promotion available. It was easy. Being shy, I didn't have to worry about seeing faces that might look at me as if I were crazy. I could let my hair down and use my creative energy. What a wonderful way to promote!

What I've learned since those early days of being so gung-ho is that the same people appear on all the loops. Oh, sure, there may be a few new ones here and there, but for the most part you will be talking to other authors. How disappointing to "talk to yourself" for an hour or two, and then hope someone actually reads the posts at a later time. Me? I don't. I can't take time to read all the promotional chats on each loop. If I did, I'd never get any writing done.

So what to do? For myself, I've made the decision to create some flyers, put together promo packages, and start hitting the local independent booksellers. Since my books are POD, it becomes a trial to get them into store, but I'll never know unless I try. I must now become a salesperson...something I've never wanted to do. But I'll paste on a smile, put on my protective shield and go beat the pavements.

Why? Because I'm an author.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Author Interview with Stacy Dawn

**Curtains raise**

**Audience applause**

**Carol Ann enters from the wings wearing a pair of black jeans, a red silk blouse, and a big smile**

"Thank you so much!!"

**Carol Ann bows and applaudes the audience**

"It's great to be here this morning. Thank you all for stopping by. Every person who came here today will receive an entry into a drawing to win a genuine 18" crystal necklace and earring set. All you need to do is leave a comment and you'll be entered in the drawing. The winner will be announced next Thursday morning. Good luck!"

**Applause, and woo hoos**

"In the studio this morning is a very special guest. She's a dear friend of mine and she's come all the way from Canada to be in Ohio with us. Please give a warm blog studio welcome to...Stacy Dawn!!"

**Applause, whistles, and woo hoos. Stacy enters from the wing wearing a designer gown in sapphire blue.**

CAROL ANN: Stacy, it's so great to see you! Come over and sit with me. What a stunning gown. You look beautiful this morning.

STACY: Thank you! And thanks so much Carol Ann for chatting with me today!

CAROL ANN: I see you have your latest book with you.

**Carol Ann holds it up for the audience to see. The camera zooms in...**

CAROL ANN: This is a beautiful cover. I had the pleasure of reading this book and I can honestly say I enjoyed it so much! It is such a heartwarming, sometimes humorous, story of romance. It played for me like a movie when I read it. Please tell the audience about THE APPLE OF HIS EYE.

STACY DAWN: The Apple of His Eye is about the age old problem of falling for your best friend's girl.

The Golden Rule of Friendship: Do not covet thy best friend’s fiancée.

An easy rule for Shane Gallagher to obey when he first meets Eden, as staid and business-minded as his friend she was about to marry. But when she starts blossoming before his eyes, can Shane stay away from the forbidden fruit?

CAROL ANN: Where did you come up with the idea for this book?

STACY DAWN: I was invited to contribute to this collection of stories by another author. The only stipulation was that the story revolve around the word Forbidden. Well, all sorts of things popped into mind but I left them to the erotic writers and decided to take my own sweet/sensual twist on the story. The first thing that popped into my head was the forbidden fruit. An old song came on the radio, Jesse's Girl by Rick Springfield, then a funny little image jumped into my head with a man berating himself for taking a bite of the forbidden fruit and, well, the rest of the story blossomed from there.

CAROL ANN: It's always fun to see what triggers an idea. With you, which comes first: plot or characters?

STACY DAWN: I'd have to say plot because more often than not, an opening sentence will pop into my head and I'll build things around there.

CAROL ANN: I pulled a book from my craft shelf the other day called Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell. Just reading how other authors come up with ideas from books from first sentence, scene, or title is so fascinating. What I've never seen in a book is how to create a title. How do you decide on titles for your books?

STACY DAWN: I like fun titles. I like to make them short and catcy if I can. Most important, they have to 'feel' right. It's hard for me to start a new piece without the right title--quirky, I know but I feel the title can sometimes make the whole story come alive.

CAROL ANN: You write romance stories, but in real life what does the word romance mean to you?

STACY DAWN: Romance is so much more than a simple word. It's an atmosphere, a feeling, a journey. It's not just one night of wine and roses, it's learning to rely on someone else, to trust them--to trust yourself. Romance is a wonderful journey where two hearts learn how to beat in time together. Corny thoughts, maybe, but the fun of romance isn't the end result, it's the exciting and sometimes frustrating path--the first kiss, the first fight, the first moment you realize you can't live without that person. It's knowing someone else knows you so well that they can even make doing the dishes into a romantic encounter.

CAROL ANN: Even your description is romantic. Let's imagine that your life is about to become a movie. What will the title be?

STACY DAWN: **laugh** Um, how about "Catch-up: The Untold Story of a Woman Forever Behind"

CAROL ANN: **big grin** Love it. That could be my movie as well. **both laugh**

Many people think writers live such glamorous lives. Would you mind sharing what a normal day for you might be?

STACY DAWN: Not sure about the word 'normal' **laugh** I have two young sons so it depends on if it's a kindergarten day or not. Both are up by 6am and want to go downstairs to play livingroom hockey before I can even wake up. **audience laughter** After they're fed etc, I usually take an hour to check over my emails and organize what needs to be done for the day (which never actually stays organized--if I get through half the list, it's a good day **laugh**) From this point on it's a balance between playing with the kids and working/writing. I'm really lucky, they are great kids. We'll play together for a while then they let me work in piece for a bit. Lunch, similar routine, different games. I usually like to write in the mornings and then work on the sites for my clients through my author-helper company Jump Start Promotions ( in the afternoon. In between, we'll throw in some laundry or a bit of--ugh--housecleaning. Nights are usually my time because my husband comes home from work and my now three sportsaholic boys will entertain each other or watch whichever their favorite team is play--currently it's the Toronto Blue Jays baseball.

CAROL ANN: Wow, I get tired just listening to you. Speaking of Jump Start Promotions, I've seen some of your work, and it's awesome. What a great service to any new writers who don't know how to begin setting up a presence for themselves on the web. With all the multi-tasking you do, there have to be times when you are tired, stressed, and feeling blah. When you are down, who can make you laugh?

STACY DAWN: My boys, all of them. They're too cute for their own good and have the funniest way of looking at things.

CAROL ANN: Children have a way of doing that. How great that you have such a great family. With everything else you do, do you collect anything?

STACY DAWN: Cows. It started way back when my sister and I were getting our first apartment. I loved this teatowel set with cows on it and from there everyone just started giving me cows. I've got tons. Some of my favorites are my Robin Hoof and Maid Mooian, my motorcycle salt and pepper shakers and my cowelers.

In fact, I brought a few...**Stacy leans behind her and removes items from the table. Camera pans in**

CAROL ANN: Oh, how cute! My daughter used to save cows, too. We bought her books and CDs which were so funny! Anyway, I love these. Especially the Cowelers.
**lights blink**
CAROL ANN: Oh, no. The time has just passed so quickly. I really hate to end our interview, but it looks like the curtains are about to close on us. I think we have time for just one more quick question. This is one I ask all my blog studio guests. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why?

STACY DAWN: Yes. Word of mouth alone is a magnificent weapon. I'd say less bloody but, unfortunately, that's not always true either.

CAROL ANN: Thanks, Stacy. **hug** I've enjoyed having you here this morning.
STACY DAWN: This has been fun, thank you so much Carol Ann!
CAROL ANN: Audience, here are the links where you can learn more about Stacy and her wonderful stories. And don't forget to leave a comment and get your name entered in the drawing for the free necklace and earrings.
Other releases:

Monday, April 23, 2007

"Old People"

I have a grandson who always manages to say something that cracks me up. Especially since he's always serious. He's always been way to smart. Some of his antics have been so hilarious that I encouraged my daughter to write a book titled, "Another Kody Story."

This past Saturday, I babysat with my two grandsons, CJ and Kody for a few hours. Unfortunately, I had to clean the family room before we could do anything fun. Hubby had finished repairing the ceiling, which included a lot of sanding, resulting in a layer of residue covering every square inch.

So they arrived before I finished. I told them I'd take them out to lunch when I finished with the cleaning. Like great troupers they went outside to keep PaPa company. That lasted less than five minutes. LOL!

"Grandma, we're hungry. When are we going to go eat?"

I told them I would get finished a lot faster if they would help. They both agreed. I showed them how to remove items from the bookshelf, clean off the bookshelf and items, and then put them back. I had window cleaner, furniture polish, paper towels...Kody then said,

"I didn't know old people had so many kinds of cleaning stuff."

CJ, his brother, then said, "Well, Kody, some of them want to have clean houses so people don't think they're dirty."

I'm still laughing. I took them to eat and then to the park. While they played, I sat on the bench enjoying being "old people."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Playing with Graphics...

So, several years ago, when I began my first website, I purchased a graphics program. What fun we had making signature tags and lots more. But, when I closed down my personal site and set up my writing site, I didn't have much use for my graphics program.

I made my website graphics using the program, but I don't use anything elaborate like I did on my personal site.

Last night, I decided to set up a shop on CafePress and add some gift items. That graphic program came in very handy, although I used only the basic stuff.

Check it out: My CafePress Store

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mammogram -- The Ultimate Legal Torture Device

Yesterday I had my annual mammogram. In the past, I've had some good experiences and one not so good, but yesterday was pure Torture. Yes, that's torture with a capital T!!!The technician was nice enough, not someone I expected to put me through excruciating pain. She looked and sounded sympathetic, but that's as far as it went.

Have you ever gone to a hairdresser who was angry about something. She'll smile while pulling your hair out by the roots? Yeah. You know what I'm talking about. Well, I think that's what happened to my technician. She either had a bad hair or got up on the wrong side of the bed.

Then she pasted on her "I'm so sorry to have to mangle your breasts smile" and took out all her frustration on my poor body.First picture, frontal. Plop breast on plastic shelf. Raise chin. Arms down straight. Hold it. Rrrrrrrrrr. Clamp makes contact. Continues to make a pancake out of my breast. Stop breathing. Click, whirr. Okay, you can breathe now. Yeah, no problem.

Turn sideways. Grab this handle waaaaaay up here. All right, now I need to tell you that I have very short arms. I can never find a jacket or long-sleeved shirt that doesn't cover the ends of my fingers. So I grab the handle. NO, she says. Put your arm along this metal shelf and then grab the handle. Okay, that's good. Now lift your chin. She plops my boob back on the shelf. Then she says, "Relax your shoulder." Uh, how? She presses it back and down. Now I'm standing at a very awkward angle and the corner of the metal shelf is trying to make an entrance into my body via my underarm. Hold your breath. No problem. I haven't been breathing since the tears started falling five minutes ago. Rrrrrrrrrr. Click, whirrr. Okay, you can breathe now.

Finally, she releases my boob and I feel such intense pounding pain that I can't imagine turning and letting her do it to the other boob. But somehow I manage.

I walk out to the waiting room, where I meet the eyes of the other victims. They smile in an understanding way. One by one the others are released to go home.

Then the technician calls to me. She needs to take another picture! One of the side pictures. Arrrrgh. I want to rip out her eyes.

Once again she puts me through the same torture. Finally I'm released to try and walk with my shoulders upright to the car...and then ??drive??

Today, it was pure agony to put on a bra and go to work. My breasts and underarms are throbbing as I type this blog.

My question...why can't they invent a softer way to do this xray? I wonder if all the mashing and mangling aren't one of the reasons the breast cancer rates are so high. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

EFT for Writing

On Saturday, my local RWA chapter had the pleasure of participating in a "mini" workshop with author, Cindy Carver, also a Life Coach.

Cindy presented EFT for Writers. EFT = Emotional Freedom Technique. What a great workshop!

EFT is a way of clearing the path of creative blocks. It can be used on any emotions, or chaotic events in your life. The technique uses two fingers, accupoints, set-up statements, and reminder phrases to remove "blocks."

Being a Scorpio, I'm naturally drawn to the various ways energy affects our lives, whether in psychic abilities, uses of gemstones, like turquoise and crystal, or other "powers" beyond our visual field. So I'm more than willing to believe it will work. Belief in something can actually create an energy that can make changes.

When I was in grade school, I had "warts" on my hands. Not just one or two, but lots of nasty and large warts. No one wanted to hold my hand when we played games. No magic wart removers had been invented back then. One night my mother read in one of her magazines about a cure which consisted of having someone circle each wart thirty times, and if the person with the warts believed they would go away in thirty days, they would. So she patiently circled each wart, while counting aloud, and I closed my eyes and...believed. They didn't go away in thirty days, but they continually get smaller and smaller until disappearing several months later.

So, I believe EFT can work for me. I am focusing on using it to make changes in my life. I'm removing the blocks to procrastination in exercise, diet, and writing.

The way it works is you focus on a particular area you want to correct. For instance my set-up statement to remove procrastination on my writing is:

"Even though I procrastinate on all my projects I forgive myself and accept myself."

I tap the accupoints with the tips of my index and middle fingers while saying this phrase aloud. There is a lot more to the technique. You have to add positive affirmations as well.

The statements change depending on which emotions I'm feeling, or which aspects I wish to concentrate on. So if you see me someplace, and I'm tapping my head, around my eye, under my nose, my chin...don't worry. I haven't gone over the edge, I'm just tapping away my procrastination.

You can learn more at Cindy's website.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Author Interview with Max Overton

Good morning, blog studio friends! I am hopeful that spring is soon to "spring" itself on this part of the country. It seems so long since we've had a nice long spell of warm weather and sunshine. Sunshine always makes me feel happy and alive!

Despite the rainstorms of last night, I'm still hopeful. Today I have a very special person who is going to tell you all about one of his books and allow us to "interrogate" him. **audience laughs**

**Max peeks through the curtains and feigns fear**

**more laughter**

Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome the one and only, and very talented, Max Overton!!!

CAROL ANN: Welcome, Max. I'm delighted to have you in the studio this morning. And this is a very eye catching book cover. Is it available now, or when will it be available?

MAX: A Cry of Shadows is available from Mundania Press ( An excerpt can also be read on my website ( It is the story of two serial killers from very different backgrounds, Australia and Illinois, USA. One of them is a scientist, obsessed with the death process. Where does he get subjects to experiment on? Dr. Ian Delaney finds a way and as he delves deeper into the mystery surrounding violent death he gets more and more caught up in a world where reality is not always what it seems to be. The other killer, Wayne Richardson, has decided to kill his ex-girlfriend and discovers that he enjoys killing. He seeks out young women who resemble his dead ex-girlfriend. A policeman, John Barnes, is tracking the killers down but as the death toll rises, knows he must resort to extraordinary means to bring the killers to justice.

CAROL ANN: I'm intrigued. I love to read thrillers about serial killers. This is one I will definitely be purchasing. I like the premise of the two killers from different parts of the world. I know that you've lived in many areas of the world. In your travels, which place stands out in your memories, and why?

MAX: I have memories from all over the world and many that stand out – Belgium, where we lived in a former Gestapo house; Germany in the 1950s with parts of the cities still in ruins; my years growing up in New Zealand; my fascinating few years in Illinois and Michigan; the pleasures of tropical Queensland – but I think my favorite must be Jamaica. I was there for about two and a half years just before Independence and the effect of such a romantic tropical island on a young boy who loved butterflies was quite incredible. I have some extraordinarily vivid memories of my time there and one day I will write it up as a series of short stories. I have one written and several more in the planning stages.

CAROL ANN: Wonderful! Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

MAX: All over, literally.

My “Lion of Scythia” trilogy on Alexander the Great stemmed from reading Mary Renault’s classic books on the subject. I decided I could not hope to write anything as good on the man himself, so I took a junior officer in his Companion Corps, threw him to the Scythian wolves and watched what happened. I must have succeeded as I won two Eppies with that trilogy.

The “Glass House” trilogy I wrote with my late wife Ariana. She was American and when she flew over to Australia to meet me, I told her all about Aboriginal Dreamtime and the fabulous semi-myths of this land Down Under. These stories inspired a paranormal adventure that spanned continents and millennia.

My serial killer thriller, “A Cry of Shadows” started from a short story about a boy and a dog and wondering what makes a man kill. Knowing two locales very well – Townsville, Australia and Collinsville, Illinois – I decided to explore these ideas more fully, making my killers walk real streets, talk to real people (disguised), and even work in the unloading bay at Wal-Mart, where I have worked myself.

A love of Egypt and a fascination with the heretic king, Akhenaten, led to my pentology (is that the word for a series of five books?) on the largely unknown kings at the end of the 18th dynasty – Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, Tutankhamen, Ay, and Horemheb. I decided to use a central character that appears only twice in history – Beketaten, sister of Akhenaten – as it would put the reader at the center of events, privy to the thoughts and actions of kings and commoners alike. The first two books have been written, and the first, “Scarab – Akhenaten: Book 1 of the Amarnan Kings” is due out from Mundania Press in September 2007.

“Rakshasa” stems from a TV program on a tribe in remote Southeast Asia. They are animists and live cut off from modern civilization. I sat there and wondered what it would feel like to be one of the gods of the tribe confronted by a Christian missionary. That led to a story about one of the Rakshasa, the demons of India. It follows his existence down through the ages and examines the impact he had on people and the effect they had on him. What becomes of a demon when he encounters the gods? Can a demon change his fate?

CAROL ANN: You are living proof that writers can get an idea from most anything, and experience, a thought, a place...the possibilities are truly endless. You might be surprised to learn that I lived in Belleville, Illinois, from 1950 until 1961. We still visit every year.

**Carol Ann faces studio audience**

Belleville is only a few miles away from Collinsville. When visiting my grandparents, we used to drive through Collinsville. So I kind of feel a kinship here with Max.

**Carol Ann turns back to Max**

Sorry, Max. Sometimes I get sidetracked. Let's get back to the, I mean interview. **Max laughs. **

MAX: Don't worry about it. I'd be interesting to talking more to you about Illinois sometime.

CAROL ANN: Great. So, getting back to the interview, what is your writing process? Do you outline, research, or just write?

MAX: Outline comes first and then research. Deep and accurate research is essential for Historicals. When I know where I am, when I have the facts at my fingertips and my characters are rarin’ to go, then I sit down and write. I set myself a target of 1,000 words a day but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t reach it. My weekly target is 7,000 and I usually reach that; my monthly is 30,000 and I always reach that. Every day when I sit down to write, I go over what I wrote the day before and edit it before continuing the story. My daily goal pushes the story forward so I never have writer’s block. My books are about 150,000 + words now, but shorter when I first started. I write the whole book, then I take a break before I start editing – I want to see it with fresher eyes.

CAROL ANN: Which come first--characters or plot?

MAX: I think a situation comes first. I have to find that ‘what if?’ before there can be a story. I like to write a prologue or a short chapter (it doesn’t have to be chapter one) and then put it away to ferment for a few months or a year. When I start thinking about it again, I rough out the plot, which may be no more than a start and finish point and a couple of highlights, before I pick characters. Then I point them in the right direction and see where they lead me.

CAROL ANN: It's always fun to see what happens, isn't it? And so many surprises crop up along the way for me. I'll never forget when one of my characters set off a bomb. I was sitting at a campground feverishly pounding the keyboard while the character took me on a path I hadn't expected. I knew what was going to happen, but when it actually exploded...I was blown away (pun intended). I had to stop right there for the day. To get that scene out of my mind, I had to pick up a book and read. As an author, I assume you also like to read. What is the last book you read?

MAX: Man-eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett. An incredible account of man-eating tigers and leopards in the Himalayan foothills at the beginning of the last century. Highly recommended.

CAROL ANN: I'll bet the descriptions are breathtaking. **Carol Ann leans forward** I like to learn a little more about my guests than just what they write. I promise not to embarrass you though. For the first personal question, if you could be any age at all, what age would you choose and why?

MAX: My present age – with good health. Seriously, I could wish to have the body of a twenty-five year old again, but I’d hate to have such an immature mind. I’ll accept the limitations of a nearly 60 year old providing I can have good health. I have a vast range of experience, as much maturity as a man ever has, and a weird sense of humour. Now I can write about things I know, drawing on my experiences from all over the world.

CAROL ANN: Great answer! Here's another one. Your life is about to become a movie. What will the title be?

MAX: **Max crosses his legs and leans back in the chair. A big grin lights his face.**

“It Ain’t Over Yet!”

I have never had a career, always willing to try something new. I have been a high school teacher, university lecturer, government research scientist, manager, sales adviser, door-to-door encyclopaedia salesman, commercial cleaner, scrubcutter, insurance clerk, gas station attendant, bumble-bee catcher and writer. I have lived in nine countries and been to twenty-five. I’ve been married three times; have two boys of my own and a boy and girl as step-children. I’ve known success and failure, joy and intense grief; and I love to laugh.

My life is not over yet – I want to be here to see Halley’s comet come round again in 2069. I intend to pack a lot more into the rest of my life.

CAROL ANN: Good for you! There's a question I ask all my authors. What is your definition of the word "romance"?

MAX: I’m the last person you should ask. My wife says I don’t have a romantic bone in my body. I think to me, romance and love is the willingness to put your partner’s feelings and well-being before your own. To do the little things that bring pleasure. Remembering anniversaries and other occasions is all well and good, but I think the unlooked-for gift of a flower or breakfast in bed, or just a cuddle, is just as important.

CAROL ANN: That answer tells me you are a romantic man. **laugh** And now for the last question. Another one I ask every author who comes to the studio. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why?

MAX: Yes. The sword makes short-term changes but the pen (computer, typewriter, ball-point, pencil, quill, reed, copper chisel) effects changes down the ages. The great empires of the earth have come and gone, armies marched back and forth to destruction, but the written word is all that remains of these civilizations.

I don’t pretend that my words will last as long, but for me; it is more satisfying to create than to destroy.

CAROL ANN: Thank you so much, Max, for joining me today. It's been a real pleasure.

Blog Studio audience, here is where you can find more information about Max and his published works.

Novels by Max and/or Ariana Overton:
Writers of Historicals, Horror, Paranormal Thrillers & Murder Mysteries. (
The Lion of Scythia Trilogy - EPPIE winners 2005 and 2006
The Glass House Trilogy, A Cry of Shadows, The Devil is in the Details
Coming Soon: Scarab - Akhenaten (Book 1 of the Amarnan Kings), Scarab - Smenkhkare (Book 2 of the Amarnan Kings), Trapdoor, Tapestry
Works in Progress: Scarab - Tutankhamen, Scarab - Ay, and Scarab - Horemheb (Books 3, 4 & 5 of the Amarnan Kings), Rakshasa

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Power is Within

My Horoscope for today: Whether you realize it or not, you just passed a major milestone. Are you surprised that it was much easier than you thought? Your long-cherished goal is clearly in sight thanks to all of these recent experiences.

When reading that, I thought hurray! Then I began to think about it. How easy it would be if our fate truly lie in someone's interpretation of the stars. But in reality, it doesn't. The responsibility lies within us--within the decisions we make along the way. So if I have made the decision to change a few things in my life regarding exercise and writing goals, and I've taken the first step, then the first sentence makes perfect sense. I have just passed a major milestone. It was my decision to make the changes that will result in positive change.

Was that easier than I thought? Well, sure. Procrastination can hold one back. Putting things off just one more day leads into another, and never making a change. So telling myself that I can do it, that I will do it, then doing something about it--no matter how small--is easy. And makes the next step easier, and suddenly I'm making strides in positive change.

My long cherished goal is in sight thanks to the recent experiences. Well, sure! And looking at that last sentence as I plod along one day at a time is motivation to continue on.

Inside each of us is a little voice that whispers "you can't", and when we listen, we procrastinate. But if we tell ourselves we can, then within us lies the power to succeed. Setting realistic goals is the first step to success. Don't expect it all to happen overnight. That's not realistic. Keep grounded and looking forward, stuff a sock in the naysayer's mouth, and believe in yourself.

If there's one thing I learned from being in an abusive relationship, it's that I am worth it. I'm not a piece of dirt. I'm a human being, I'm God's creation, and if I believe in Him, all things are possible.

Over the past six weeks, I've been taking the first steps toward living a more healthy life. Now I'm adding a new layer. And I'm moving forward. I'm like the little train that wouldn't quit, but I don't just think I can...I know I can!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

In My Father's House

In one of my writing groups, we used to throw out prompts and then we had to post something within five minutes, less than 250 words, just letting our minds go and writing what came to mind regardless of whether it made much sense or not.

I'd love to hear what you come up. Come on, give me your five minute version.

The prompt is "in my father's house". Here's what I came up with.

In my father's house resides a mystical aura, one which enshrouds each visitor, changing forever, that which they believe. Those who would enter are enchanted with the sunset seen through the tower window. Prisms of light shine through its gleaming glass, making the crystal statues come alive. The eyes of the unicorn gleam brightly, as if knowing the secret -- the secret of the house. The wizard speaks, but there is no dialogue. His mouth sparks in the glowing sunset, and the stranger who partakes of this phenomenon hears his words. As the sun descends, a darkness falls, bringing a silence that is louder than the death blow of a hammer. And with great difficulty, the visitor descends the stairs, changed forever.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Changing and Rearranging

What fun with the new blogger to be able to change the look with the click of a template. So now I'm into blues, which kind of mirrors the color of my website. I know there is a way to make this look just like my website, but, alas, I'm not adept at that kind of remodeling.

I was thinking about how I used to change furniture around in my house. I used to love to rearrange the bedroom furniture and the living room furniture. The rooms just felt cleaner and it was like getting a new face lift! Then, I learned that my husband detests change! One night he came home and made the comment, "It's a good thing I don't drink or I'd think I got into the wrong house." And he was serious. It must be something in his childhood. **shrug**

So, I resigned to never moving the furniture in our house. In fact, I rarely ever change the drapes or curtains. It's boring, boring, boring.

Therefore, I change what I can. The things that are mine website, my blog.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The King's Burden

Whenever life may get you down,

And you want to smile, but wear a frown,

And burdens heavy on you lay,

Your headache just won’t go away,

Just fall upon your knees and pray.

Beaten with a lead-tipped whip,
Skin laid bare in criss-crossed strips,
Fists of iron struck His face,
They mocked to put Him in His place,
A crown of thorns to add disgrace.

A wooden cross He bore alone,
Stumbling through the streets of stone,
They nailed Him to the cross that day,
He, who was born in a bed of hay,
“Forgive them Father,” he was heard to say.

They laid Him in a tomb so dark,
And rolled a stone upon its mark,
To seal His tomb would be in vain,
On Easter morn He rose again,
Leaving behind the earthly pain.

So when your life you start to dread,
Remember the whip with tips of lead,
The crown of thorns upon His head.

And when your heart is full of pain,
And you feel your life has been in vain,
Remember how He rose again.

And when your burdens heavy lay,
Remember the cross He bore that day,
Then fall down on your knees and pray.

©Carol Ann Erhardt, 2000

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter Everyone!

Here in overcast central Ohio it has been snowing and blowing for the past two days with no letup in sight. It isn't accumulating though, thank goodness. But it sure makes it hard to believe it is Easter...the time for sunshine and easter baskets, bunnies, and colored eggs.

We attended a drama last night at our church on the life of Christ to his death. It was awesome! Tomorrow we're looking forward to the finale which is the celebration of the resurrection. I'm so excited and looking forward to this joyous occasion.

Tomorrow we'll have a quiet dinner, just the two of us. All the kids are scattered in different directions and having celebrations of their own. Sometimes I feel sad when I think of how things change as you get older and become empty nesters. It is bound to happen to all of us, but sometimes it makes me melancholy.

So, enough about me and my maudlin thoughts. I just want to wish you all a blessed and glorious Easter.

What wonderful plans do you have? Care to share?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Author Interview with Devyn Quinn

Good morning, blog studio audience! Can you believe how cold it is? I had to wear my fur lined underwear to keep my tush from freezing this morning! **audience laughs**

Well let's get started. Why don't we warm up the studio by putting your hands together to welcome my guest author for the day...Devyn Quinn!!

**applause, applause**

CAROL ANN: Devyn, that's a striking book cover. Tell me about your most current release.

DQ: Flesh and the Devil (Kensington Aphrodisia) was just released March 27. I'm so excited, as it's my first New York book and mixes my two favorite genres - vampires and witchcraft.

The blurb: Vice cop Brenden Wallace has walked on the dark side for too many years. Now, newly divorced, he’s smoking too much and sleeping too little, and the empty darkness in his soul is the blackest part of any night—until he’s assigned to investigate an escort service called Exotic Jewels and meets Líadán Niamh. Lushly beautiful, she is the embodiment of seduction and thrilling control. She arouses Brenden’s most feral desires—fierce, bone-deep needs they explore together, mouth to mouth and skin to skin. But Líadán’s hungry kiss is more dangerous than Brenden could have imagined. Women are turning up dead, and every clue leads Brenden back to Líadán—and a raw, brutal passion that could cost him his life…

CAROL ANN: How long does it take you to write a book?

DQ: That really depends on a lot of factors, like job, family and general daily stress. Sometimes it takes me a year to write a book, sometimes I can whip one out in a couple of months. Since being locked into NY deadlines, I've learned to write a lot faster. the usual 5-10 drafts have been cut to 2, max!

CAROL ANN: Writing fast is key to cranking out the books. That's something the bestsellers are really good at doing. What is the first step in your writing process?

DQ: The first step is sitting, LOL. I take a lot of time to think and makes notes about a story before the first word is written. I watch movies, listen to music and just let it percolate in the back of my mind. When I am ready to write, I sit down and do the dirty deed.

CAROL ANN: In talking to you backstage, you told me you are also an avid reader. What are you currently reading?

DQ: Red Carpets and other Banana Peels by Rupert Evertt. A charming biography and thoroughly enjoyable.

CAROL ANN: I alwasy like to learn more about my guests by asking some personal questions. Here's your first. You are on a sunny warm beach. Do you stretch out in the sun or run into the water?

DQ: Eek! Neither. I am severely allergic to sunlight (seriously) and I have to stay in shade as much as possible or my skin turns beet red. My skin is so baby fine that prolonged exposure does months of damage.

CAROL ANN: Oh, that's terrible. Guess I should ask a different question then. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go first and why?

DQ: Having been to England, France, Germany, Holland and Belgium, my next stop is Ireland. I love everything about the Irish/ Celts and their culture. I secretly think I was born Irish and switched at birth, LOL.

CAROL ANN: Lots of people think that, you know. You aren't alone. Okay. You walk into a room where you expect to be alone, but a man is standing in the light of the window. What do you first notice about him?

DQ: Hair! I am a nut for men with terrific hair. If it's black, shaggy and messy looking, count me in!

CAROL ANN: **laugh** If you could be any age at all, what age would you choose and why?

DQ: I would love to go back and be 21, but only if I knew at that age what I know now. I pretty much p***ed off my twenties and thirties with two bad marriages, so I'd avoid those and concentrate more on my education and writing .

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

DQ: Restraints.

CAROL ANN: Uh-oh. Remnants of those bad marriages, maybe? So, tell me is the author's life anything like you envisioned before you began the journey?

DQ: Heck no. It's still hard work. Harder now that I am publishing in New York. I still have to work, clean house and keep up with family commitments--and produce publishable writing. If nothing else, it's become ten times more difficult. I no longer have years to potter around with a book. It has to be ready to go at deadline time.

CAROL ANN: And a final question I ask all my authors. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why?

DQ: Those who wield the sword are usually the ones who get to write their version of history.

If you are interested in learning more about Devyn Quinn, check out her website.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

An Interesting Evening

Last night I posted about "the silver lining". Well, things kept getting worse.

First, while watching the OSU-Florida basketball playoff, our cable went out! We could get a snowy black and white picture on the small tv upstairs...but also my internet connection was gone and...our telephone. That's the problem with bundled products.

Went into the bedroom to set my alarm and the clock radio was flashing 7:34 am. Weird, none of the other electric clocks had a problem, plus my computer hadn't rebooted during the day either. So I set the clock for the correct time (but forgot to go ALL the way around so it thought the time was am). Need I tell you what happened next? You guessed it, my alarm didn't go off this morning. I awoke at 7am, which gave me one-half hour to shower and get my butt ready for work.

It was after 4pm before the cable connection was fixed. Nope, not a fiber cut. Someone had broken into the cable box, removed our cable and plugged in theirs (which wasn't even with our carrier!). The technician ordered a new locked cover, so hopefully, our connections won't go out again when it gets dark. Wish I had a big bad dog to let loose in the back yard.

Writing progress was nil today. Was very busy at work. Usually when I have nothing to do, I work on my manuscript. I carry it on one of those USB removable keyring drives. I just can't stand to sit with nothing to do. I have some major projects to accomplish over the next few weeks, so I'll only have my lunch hour to write on my AlphaSmart. I'm humming along with Joshua's Hope. Hoping to have it completed before Mother's Day. That'll be my present to me!

So what is happening in your life? Have you found any silver linings?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Look for a Silver Lining

I remember that old song that my mother used to sing...
"Look for the silver lining
When e'er a cloud appears in the blue.
Remember some where the sun is shining,
And so the right thing to do,
Is make it shine for you.
A heart, full of joy and gladness,
Will always banish sadness and strife.
So always look for the silver lining,
And try to find the sunny side of life."
So, tonight when we came home to the ceiling in our family room being drenched and leaking water, and the carpet in the living room bordering the kitchen being drenched through, we were really upset.
Shut off the water...which to me was an issue...and then (eek) punched a hole in the ceiling. The water poured out.
After it finally stopped, we knocked a larger hole to find the leak.
The silver lining? We didn't have to tear out the entire ceiling. The leak was coming from the plastic line leading to the refrigerator. The ice maker hasn't worked in years and we'd shut off the water to that line, but evidently the shut off valve was broken...and somehow the line developed a leak.
We put on a new shut off valve and turned on the water. Tomorrow poor hubby has a day off and will have to spend it working on installing a new line. Then once the ceiling is completely dry, we'll have to put up new dry wall and fix the ceiling.
Could have been much worse. So we're grateful for the "silver lining" in the middle of the mess.
Hope your day went better!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday. I was moved to tears at church this morning. Our choir has been putting on a musical drama in parts since the first Sunday of Lent. Today was the Palm Sunday celebration. The man who has been portraying Jesus (and really looks the part), stood in front of the congregation while the other members came in waving palm fronds and singing Hosanna. Then Jesus walked around the pews to the back of the room and came up the aisle touching people and holding hands. It was so moving that even writing this has brought tears to my eyes.
I'm so looking forward to Good Friday when we will have the entire thing put together in one presentation, then on Easter Sunday, the final act will also be included.

Just had to share this with you today. May your lives and hearts be blessed this Easter season.