Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Call from an Old Friend...

brightened my day, today! I used to live in Maryland and I met my girlfriend, Doris when we worked together. She would come visit our apartment with her two kids and we'd spend days at the pool. We became the very best of friends the five years I was in the D.C. area. We have continued to keep in touch. Our families have met in Tennessee and spent some time together, we've gone to visit in West Virginia, and they have been here as well. Getting caught up on things via the telephone rather than just letters was so wonderful.

This has made me think about why I haven't called her. I have unlimited long distance, so there is no excuse! Sometimes I get so caught up in my day to day life, keeping commitments, working, writing, visiting family that I forget about the "sister" who has always been there for me.

Time to reprioritize!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Day in This Author's Life

This morning I slept in until 8:30am. I felt I deserved it because I had such a productive day yesterday. Since I wrote double my planned goal of pages on my manuscript, I decided to spend the day pampering me.

After dressing, I ate a leisurely breakfast at Bob Evan's, before meeting with my sexy hairdresser. He's sooooo perfect. Not only does he do wonders for my hair, he also does wonders for my body. Who couldn't relax under his scalp and neck massage? Especially after drinking a glass of champagne, which he always has cooling for me. I hated to leave. The day only got better when he told me today was "on the house." Imagine!

Next I drove to the dealership to try that key I received in the mail. Imagine my sssurprise when it opened the door to that shiny red Corvette! Yes!! I'm now the proud owner of a brand new toy. Of course, I spent the rest of the day cruising and waving at everyone I saw.

Had dinner at my favorite steak house, Longhorn. One delicious steak, baked potato, and salad.

After stuffing myself, I came home, took a long leisurely bath while reading Dean Koontz's latest novel.

Now, I'm sitting here in my silk negligee writing this blog.


Actually, this morning at 3:15am, a horrendous thunderstorm disturbed me from my sleep. I tossed and turned for an hour until it subsided. Then the cat jumped on the bed beside me. I petted him and tried to go back to sleep. Didn't work. Finally at 4:45am, I got up, went to the couch and read a few pages of a new Steeple Hill Love Inspired Romantic Suspense.

Hubby walked out and commented on me being up so early. He took a drink of water, asked me to get him up at 6:45 and went back to bed.

I took a quick shower, ate a bowl of shredded wheat, and got ready for work. Woke up hubby.

Went to my day job, where I pounded the keyboard and made my eyes cross with a tedious data entry job. At lunch, I sat in my car and edited the first three chapters of my completed novel while another thunderstorm thrashed my car.

Finished the data entry job. Five minutes before clocking out of the day job, another thunderstorm rolled in. Yep, a heavy rain, dark sky, and after waiting five minutes with no let up, I ran to my car.

Drove home.

Plugged away on my latest manuscript completing four and a half pages while being interrupted several times by hubby.

Now, with swollen ankles from the heat and sitting so long, I'm typing this blasted blog before heading to bed. The bed I put fresh sheets on earlier.

**sigh** I miss that Corvette already.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday - Bump in the Road

Horoscope for the day: It feels as if a million choices are lined up and waiting for your decision. Distill them down to their essence, then figure out for yourself whether it's yes or no. Listen to your heart, then make your move.


Not exactly a bump in the road, but a decision to make. Received critique of Joshua's Hope from one of my advance readers, who is a multi-published author with Harlequin and others. She gave me some wonderful feedback and suggestions to make the story stronger. Now, here is the decision. How do I fit this in and still make my five pages a day?

Authors have to learn how to juggle many writing projects at once, a dilemma in itself, but even more so when the author has a full-time job. I do work in the day, but I'm lucky and only have to work 8 to 5, and no overtime, no weekends. That gives me a firm schedule to work around. I've set my five pages to be accomplished in the evenings. I shoot to do 25 to 30 pages a week, so that allows me one evening when I don't have to write on my current project. However, I have this blog to keep up, and author interviews to schedule and put together, promotions on the internet, and now I've added edits to a completed manuscript.

That kind of makes the horoscope for today fit my life.

Nothing is impossible as long as you want to make it happen. And I do. So, I've made my decision. Instead of reading on my lunch hour, I will use that hour to work on edits. There's no set time I must complete these (which wouldn't be true if I'd received them from my editor). I'm waiting to hear back from Steeple Hill as to whether or not they want to read the manuscript. That will be a few months and plenty of time to do revisions.

Setting a schedule, and committing to it, is the key to success.

Today I finally got into Vox and had received an apology from the person who had published my work on her blog. She promised to take it down immediately.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Boring Day...

Today I finished six pages of my novel and revamped my My Space page. Other than that it was a non eventful day.

I did send a private message to the person who had my story posted on their blog politely asking that she remove it. I had to join Vox to do that. I received a response to her message, but now Vox is down due to a power outage in San Francisco, so I don't know what she has to say.

I started on an exercise regime last week, and I'm feeling a lot better. So far on track to complete my yearly goals.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Vox??? Copyright Infringement

Tonight I was googling my name, which I do frequently. I ran across a bunch of "vox" blogs that had my name attached. Why?

Someone had posted a story which Chicken Soup for the Soul contracted and published in three different books:

Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrates Mothers
Chicken Soup to Inspire A Woman's Soul
Chicken Soup for Mothers and Daughters II

The story was posted exactly as it was printed in Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrates Mothers, which is a small hard back book with pictures by Sharon J. Wolmuth. While I appreciate the blogger crediting the work to me, it is copyrighted material and permission must be granted by the publisher for it to be reproduced.

So now I must go join Vox so I can post a comment asking this blogger to remove the material.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sneaky Little Gremlins

Every time I go to My Space, I wind up with some of those "little risk" spyware things on my computer. I run my program and clean them from my computer. I probably know just enough about putting together a website to be dangerous, but when it comes to creating backgrounds and stuff for My Space...forget it! Don't have a clue. So...I have to go to those sites where there are premade layouts.

My daughter put her site up and I loved her background. She got it from a neat little place called Webfetti. I knew you had to agree to have their "toolbar" installed and I've always shied away from doing that. She said she didn't have any problem and it hadn't affected her internet explorer at all. So...I went against my better judgement and installed the darn thing.

I played around and added a new layout to my site, but I didn't like the color for the links being white. Couldn't figure out how to change the color, so I went back on the site and looked around at some other layouts. Somehow I closed down everything accidentally. My handy dandy little program began scanning and I had over 200 spy items on my computer! About 1/4 of them said "high risk". I managed to remove them all and restart my computer. That got rid of the Webfetti toolbar, too.

So, now I'm stuck with the layout I don't particularly like. I hate having to worry about which sites I can go to without having these horrid trojans and things invade my computer. I've been thinking of removing my My Space page because of all the issues.

Then a couple of days ago, I'd been receiving emails about some "book" thing that other authors had joined and invited me to join. I wasn't even curious. I've got enough to maintain now. It began sweeping interest through my various loops, and then...someone posted that it was full of spyware. So glad I didn't fall for that one.

**Sigh** The internet is a scary place.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Scene That Wouldn't Die

Before I decided to pursue writing as a second career, I would sit in my car during my lunch hour and write. I'd write a poem, or a journal entry, always something. One day a scene just popped into my head.

I saw a girl sitting alone on a rock looking out across a lake. She was lonely and bereft. Her name was Emily. I began to write. I captured all the sensory details in my mind and wrote that scene. Suddenly someone pushed her so hard she catapulted into the icy water. Before she overcame the shock and surfaced, hands gripped her legs and pulled her deeper. I finished the scene and some of her backstory. Her sister had been killed and the "killer" was pursuing her even though she had changed her name. She was on the run, but he wouldn't give up.

A few years later, after having several nonfiction stories published, I remembered that scene and decided to write "Emily's" story. I wrote a few chapters and decided something just wasn't right. So, I started playing "what if" and "why".

The story emerged into a totally different one. Emily became Beth, her sister became her twin, and the first chapters allowed the readers to see them together, feel the love, the bonding, and experience their "psychic bond." The story emerged into my romantic suspense novel, HIT AND RUN.

The scene appeared in the story, but it just didn't feel right. I tweaked it, and finally rewrote it. Here's the scene:

She sat on the dock, worn smooth from weather and age, and circled her legs with her arms. The sun warmed her back. She was at peace, wrapped in memories of happier times as she gazed across the water.

A fish jumped, creating ever-widening circles that ebbed toward shore. She turned her face up to the sky where fluffy white clouds billowed, moving and changing shape. When they were small, she and Jilly had been able to find shapes within the clouds. She could hear Jilly's juvenile voice calling, “Look, Beth, a dragon. See his tail and the fire coming from his mouth?”
So many pleasant memories surrounded her, filling her with a calming peace. She fished until the sun rose higher. Slipping off her shirt, she applied sun lotion as best she could in the areas her bathing suit didn't cover. She stretched out on a towel. The quiet lapping of the lake against the dock supports lulled her into closing her eyes. Though she didn't really fall asleep, her body relaxed and she drifted in hypnotic half-awareness.

Her stomach growled. If she weren't so comfortable, she'd open the cooler and eat lunch. The sun felt so good. The lapping against the supports increased a bit. Someone must be out on the lake in a boat, but she didn't want to open her eyes. Her muscles had totally relaxed and too soon she'd have to turn over to avoid burning. She drifted close to sleep, not wanting to move a muscle. Suddenly, an icy strong hand banded around her ankle and pulled her toward the water.

HIT AND RUN is available through my publisher The Wild Rose Press in both print form and ebook formats.

You can also purchase from Fictionwise in ebook format.

If you want print format, you wlll also find it available at Amazon.com

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Tips for Pacing Your Novel

For years I read novels without really thinking about how they were structured. I just knew what I liked and what I didn't. "Pacing" was something I thought you did when you were worried and making a path in the carpet.

The first time I became aware of pacing was in reading Stephen King's novel, IT. He began to shorten the scenes and flashbacks, as the novel moved to the ending. I felt the tension building and building! I was riveted, unable to stop reading. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it as a good example of pacing.

I use a "foreshadowing" in my romantic suspense novels, to build the tension. And I've incorporated King's faster pacing methodology into my novels.

It's important to remember not to throw a large amount of backstory into your writing. This slows down the pace and instead of moving the novel forward, it becomes suspended. A good method of giving backstory is to drop bits and pieces of into dialogue.

As the story continues, the intensity picks up, the stakes are higher. Keep the tension tight as you move toward the climax. This is my favorite part of the writing process, and also as a reader this is my favorite part of the book. This is where the brightest moment (that sense of euphoria comes to bear) and is quickly followed by the darkest moment (when all seems lost).

The climax is a good meets bad in a final standoff scene, which leads to the resolution or ending--the place where the main character has solved the problem and achieved the award.

And most important of all, don't disappoint your reader with a fast solution ending. And do remember to tie up all those subplots you've written along the way.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Author Interview with Evan Trevane and Shawn M. Casey

"Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time for....The Blog Studio!"

Applause, applause.

Band begins to play, and the curtain rises as Carol Ann enters the blog studio wearing an olive pin striped pant suit, her curly hair pulled back from her face with tortoise shell combs that match her glasses and earrings.

CAROL ANN: Thank you!!! It's great to be here today. Wow! What a wonderful audience! I think we'll lock the doors and glue your drawers and I'll have a great audience next time, too!


CAROL ANN: Seriously, I'm thrilled that I can bring today's guests out to meet you. Yes, that's right. Plural. Guests!! I've been looking forward to having this interview for a long time. These two authors collaborate together to put out some spectacular and very entertaining stories. I had the pleasure of reading their first book. But let's bring them out so they can tell you about it. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Evan Trevane and Shawn M. Casey!!


CAROL ANN: Welcome! It's such an honor to finally meet you both.

EVAN: The pleasure is ours, Carol Ann. Thanks for inviting us.

SHAWN: Yes, thank you! As usual, Evan tries to speak for the both of us.

CAROL ANN: **laugh** You know, Shawn, you remind me so much of another author I interviewed a while back.

SHAWN: **tosses her long black hair over her shoulder. Her smile lights up her beautiful face with the very distinctive high cheekbones.** Really?

EVAN: Oh, I assure you, there is no one like Shawn, Carol Ann. She's one of a kind. **Evan's twinkling, piercing eyes dance with amusement, and his smile lifts his mustache.**

SHAWN: **pats Evan's hand.** Thank you. You're quite the charmer.

CAROL ANN: The audience is anxious to hear about the book you wrote together. **Carol Ann holds up a copy so the camera can get a closeup**

CAROL ANN: Who wants to start?

EVAN: I'll start.

SHAWN: Figures.

EVAN: The Pickle, My Little Friend. This short story is published by The Wild Rose Press. There, was that short enough?

SHAWN: **laughs** Oh, this is going to get good, isn't it? **Evan raises his eyebrows** Our current published title is a short e-book with The Wild Rose Press, THE PICKLE MY LITTLE FRIEND. This is a romantic mystery set just post WWII. Yes, the story is as unique as the title.


The ninth victim in the Bicycle Chain murders is found dead on his living room floor grasping a paper bag containing a pickle.Detective Jack Carter is working on the biggest murder case of his life. Which means, the last thing he needs is to find out that the one woman he has feelings for might be involved in the murders. Vicky Peik knows things, and one of those things is that her boss, Detective Jack Carter, is in over his head. Vicky has stayed a step ahead of Jack in her private investigation. Only problem is, despite her ability to sense the killer, he has managed to stay a step ahead of her. Something's wrong, and it's closer to home than Jack can imagine. Can Vicky find the killer before things go too far, and Jack can't get out?

CAROL ANN: I must admit the title alone was enough to make me buy this. I loved the story. It reminded me of the old detective novels I used to read.

SHAWN: That was Evan's input.

EVAN: Are you trying to make up?

CAROL ANN: They are just teasing, audience, I promise. When you both co-author a book, how do you actually work that? Evan, you first.

EVAN: We throw some ideas around and come up with a rough theme and an idea of what we want to write about. Then one of us writes the draft and the other does the rewrite. As the book develops, we trade sections as we finish them. The draft usually doesn’t get finished until long after the first parts have been rewritten a couple times. We end up talking about the plot and characters a lot so they evolve as the book progresses.

CAROL ANN: Shawn, anything to add?

SHAWN: Verrrry carefully. HA! In all seriousness, it’s a complicated process. We feed off one another’s energy, which is a real plus, but every detail must be choreographed down to the core so that nothing gets off track.All writers walk a tightrope, what info to ration out where, what is the underlying theme, what leads to what, etc. When writing solo, that information is stored in a single brain, and the author needn’t give a second thought to another author’s style, likes or dislikes. In a collaboration the very opposite is true. In order to preserve a combination of the two authors’ styles each author has to think just a little more about every proposed change. The real plus is that story rules supreme. Ego can’t exist. The art of listening is an absolute must. Considering your partner’s point of view, especially when your inclination is to disagree early on, is a prerequisite.
It might surprise some to learn that a good collaboration thrives on the differing perspectives. After all, if the collaborators never bring differences of opinion to the table, they don’t need one another. However, the two collaborators must share a bottom line vision. Otherwise, the differences become all that exist, and a partnership is impossible.

CAROL ANN: Where do you get the inspiration for your stories? Shawn, you first this time.

SHAWN: **big laugh** Absolutely everywhere and anywhere. Right, Evan?

EVAN: Absolutely. You never know when an idea will strike or you’ll notice something that will make an interesting story.

CAROL ANN: Evan, what is your writing process? Do you outline, research, or just write?

EVAN: Shorter works, we just write. Novel lengths take some outlining to stay on topic, and to give direction in the rewrite seeing as the draft is usually not done yet.

SHAWN: That is the $64 million dollar question. The one constant is research. That is our lifeblood to situations that where we have little or no personal experience. Other than that, we have yet to discover a single process. We have both outlined extensively, and flown by the seat of our pants—more or less. The novels we’ve outlined do evolve beyond the outlines, and we’re constantly updating the outline documents. Our first completed novel, FOR HIS EYES ONLY, a romantic thriller, was written with no real outline, but we did rehash that book so many times it oozed out our pours!

Unlike most collaborations, we do not write every other chapter or separate characters. Instead, we rewrite one another’s work until the story becomes an entity neither of us could have written alone. Our collaborations are different then our separate styles. Yet, at the same time, our personal styles peak out in wonderful one liners and phrases. This delights both Evan and I, as we are one another’s most ardent fans. **laugh** How could it possibly be otherwise?

CAROL ANN: I love the way you play off each other. It seems, Evan, that you are a man of few words. Quick, short and to the point, while Shawn elaborates more. I can see how the two of you would be a great writing team. Shawn, which comes first--characters or plot?

SHAWN: Another good question! Like most authors, we’ve begun some stories with the ‘what ifs.’ That might sound like plot comes first, but sometimes it’s a ‘what sort of person would be in a situation like this?’

Our soon to be completed second novel, KNOT OF THE SLAIN, a paranormal suspense, began with plot. We had a situation that interested us, and had to create characters that fit within those parameters.

Another planned novel is built around two characters from FOR HIS EYES ONLY. Characters came first in this novel, but we had a built in parameter of plot based on their history in the first novel.

CAROL ANN: Evan? Would you like to add to that?

EVAN: For me, it’s usually plot or theme. Rarely, I get a character in my head and have to write about him or her, but it’s mostly a plot or situation.

CAROL ANN: See what I mean? You thought plot came first, and Shawn thought characters came first in For His Eyes Only. Yet, you write so well together, no one would realize two different people write your stories except for the authors name on the cover. Okay, here's a question that you will each answer differently I'm sure. What is the last book you read? Evan?

EVAN: Pursuit, by Thomas Perry

SHAWN: Christopher Whitcomb’s WHITE. Great book.

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

SHAWN: 40. I was young enough to still have the energy to stay up late writing, and old enough not to care what anyone thought about my eccentricities.

EVAN: It all started when I was 23, so I would like to go back and change a thing or two I did. Just kidding. I think 30. That way, I’ll have a few years before I have to start using reading glasses.

CAROL ANN: Ah, the man is beginning to loosen up! Okay, Evan, your life is about to become a movie. What would the title be and why?

EVAN: Me and My Friends, because I couldn’t have done it alone.

SHAWN: Aw, that's sweet, Evan.

CAROL ANN: Shawn, how about you?

SHAWN: It’s a Crazy Life. **laugh** That’s gotta be self-explanatory!

CAROL ANN: Let's see how you differ on this one. What is your definition of the word "romance"?

SHAWN: Never getting bored with your significant other. Sounds hokey, eh?

CAROL ANN: Not at all! That's a great answer. Evan?

EVAN: The most wonderful thing that can happen between two people.

CAROL ANN: Now that's a very romantic answer! Well, it looks like I'm getting the signal to wrap it up. One last question for each of you. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why?

EVAN: The pen because the written word touches more people faster.

SHAWN: Without a doubt, the pen is mightier than the sword—which is really lucky for me, as I can hold a pen much longer than a sword! A sword can reach but a few people at any given time. The pen can reach millions. It’s no contest.

CAROL ANN: Thank you both! This has been so much fun. **Shawn and Carol Ann hug. Evan kisses Carol Ann's hand. Carol Ann blushes and grins at the audience.** Isn't he a charmer?



CAROL ANN: Audience, I suggest you hurry and buy THE PICKLE, MY LITTLE FRIEND. You can find it at The Wild Rose Press.

For more information about this great writing duo, check out their blog.

Thanks everone! And thank you Evan and Shawn!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Cat in the Cabinet

We have a unique cat named Templeton. I swear he must have been a human in a previous life. He has the power to process what we do and replicate it. You can just see his mind churning. He loves to torment us by banging the kitchen cabinet doors. He'll sit on the floor, pull the door handle on the lower cabinets and bang it shut over and over and over again, until we go after him. Then he talks back. And he always has the last word. He's obsessed with doors. He tries to open the sliding glass patio doors. He just hasn't figured out how to unlock them or I think he'd manage. He's very strong. On our deck we have a large cabinet I used in my office years ago for storage. It's all wood with two doors in front. It's about waist high. I keep flowers on the top now, though it used to hold a printer. The doors are very snug. I have to tug to open them. But...Templeton has learned how to open them with ease. He starts by pulling with his paws on the round knob. He'll use both paws and then he gets his teeth into the action. Finally, he gets it open, and promptly jumps inside and lays on the shelf.

He opens the closet doors, and now he's taught Wilbur, his brother how to open closet doors. When Charlotte, his sister, wants in the action, he'll open the kitchen cabinet for her so she can climb on the shelves.

So many times I come home from work to find all my doors standing open.

**sigh** I wonder when he'll figure out how to turn on the shower?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

When I Grow Up I Want to Be A Cat

This is my cat, Wilbur, enjoying the cool breeze through the window while I toil away on my computer trying to finish my page goal for the day. When I grow up, I want his job.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Tragic Ghost Story

Today's headline story in the newspaper was about a nineteen year old girl who is recovering from a bullet that went through her skull. She is slowly regaining use of her limbs through therapy sessions. For a long time she had to wear a helmet to protect her skull until the surgeons could go in and repair it. The girl suffers from short term memory loss. She doesn't remember what happened to her.

The shooting occurred as a result of some girls out for fun trying to scare themselves by trespassing on property that is unkempt and overgrown with weeds. The house sits next to a cemetery. Thinking the house haunted, they decided to investigate as a lark to scare themselves before they started their senior year in high school. One girl remained in the car and honked the horn to scare them. They all ran and hopped in the car. As they drove away they heard popping noises. They thought someone was throwing firecrackers, so they circled around again. A sad mistake, for the firecrackers were gunshots.

The man who lived in the house with his mother had purchased a rifle for protection. The police no longer patrolled the cemetery and teens were constantly harrassing the pair. Twice in the previous few weeks, teens had tried to break into the house. He scared them off by firing his gun into the air. Just as he did that night. But one of the bullets struck a girl in the head.

A ghost story turned tragic. The man has been sentenced to nineteen years in jail. Debates go on about who was in the wrong. How far can one go to protect their property?

If you'd like to read the series of articles, you will find them at columbusdispatch.com

I tried to do the Snowflake method, but it seemed way too long a process for me. I did flesh out my characters and completed an outline for my newest story. I'm 44 pages into writing it now. Haven't come up with a title yet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Outlining - Day One

Today I began using the Snowflake Method to outline and plot my novel in progress.

Achievements today:
Step 1 - One Line Summary of Novel
Step 2 - Expanded paragraph describing story setup, major disasters, and ending of novel
Step 3 - Began storyline for characters

Since we'll be leaving tomorrow for a weekend camping trip, I won't be updating progress until my return.

JOSHUA'S HOPE - Day One - package hit post office today.

Suspense - The Beginning

I did it! I finally finished the "dreaded synopsis" and drafted a query letter. The entire package is now in the mail...heading off to Steeple Hill Books.

Now I'll be in suspense for several weeks or months until I hear whether or not they want to read a partial of Joshua's Hope. **sigh** I'll begin a countdown on my blog to show the number of days that pass until I hear. You can look for that beginning tomorrow.

So what does a writer do while they wait? They write! I will officially begin writing on my next manuscript immediately. Sorry, I don't have a title for it yet. It's a funny thing about titles. My books seem to name themselves, and no amount of pushing can force one to fit.

On Thursday, hubby and I will leave for a camping weekend where I hope to get lots of writing done. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Author Interview with Paula Stiles

**The camera pans across the audience and back to the "blogger band" as they wrap up a lively medley. The audience applauds and the curtain raises. Carol Ann enters center stage.**

Good morning, blog studio audience! Thank you for coming out today. I see we have a full house! I'm glad to see so many faces here, since I have a very special guest today. Please put your hands together for a very multi-talented lady...Paula Stiles!

**Audience applauds loudly. Enter Paul Stiles from left stage.**

CAROL ANN: Paula, how nice to see you! I've been waiting a long time to meet you, and I'm thrilled that you are giving me the opportunity to talk to you so the audience can learn more about your books.

PAULA: Thank you! I'm so glad to be here with you all.

**Audience applauds**

CAROL ANN: Please tell me about the book you brought with you today. **Carol Ann holds up a book and the camera pans in.**

PAULA: It's a mystery SF thriller called "Fraterfamilias", out as an ebook and serial (and print book later this year) at Virtual Tales. I cowrote it with my friend Judith Doloughan under the pseudonym "Peter Ferrer". Though set in the present day, its backstory includes shamanism, the Russian Gulag, the Knights Templar, Ancient Rome and even prehistoric Europe. The title stems from the main moral question of the book: how far would you go to help someone you love?The story begins when Paul Farrell, a Parisian architect, kills four people in Paris then walks into a hail of police gunfire at JFK. His eccentric "cousin", palaeoanthropologist Alan Kedward, steals the body. The investigators now have a triple mystery: what was Farrell's motive for murder, why did he commit suicide-by-cop and why did Kedward steal the body? And could Farrell still be alive?

CAROL ANN: Wow. Sounds like a great mystery! I love the cover, too. Tell my, Paula, what was your first publication?

PAULA: **Looks at the audience and smiles** A little poem called "What Is Grey?" in the fourth grade for our school's annual anthology.

CAROL ANN: **Looks at the audience.** Do you think we should have her recite her poem for us?

PAULA: **laughs** Please, not today!

CAROL ANN: All right. I'll let you off the hook this time. What do you consider your biggest challenge as far as writing?

PAULA: Revision. It's my bugbear. But I'm getting better at it.

CAROL ANN: I hear you! I hate revisions. Especially when I'm going through my story for the fourth time and all I'm doing is changing words around, then the next time I change them back.

**Paula and Carol Ann laugh**

CAROL ANN: Name one person who has inspired you and tell me about her/him?

PAULA: My friend and cowriter Judith Doloughan. We first "met" in 2001 when she emailed me a response to a story I'd written. From then on, we talked daily on IM, the phone or in person, trading stories and critiques and eventually collaborating on Fraterfamilias, until her death on June 5, 2007. I miss her.

CAROL ANN: I'm really sorry for your loss. Fraterfamilias must be very close to your heart with having Judith's collaboration.

**Paula nods and wipes at a tear**

CAROL ANN: When you begin working on a story, which comes first: plot or characters?

PAULA: Characters. Without characters, there is no plot.

CAROL ANN: How do you decide on a title for your books?

PAULA: Prosaically. Which sounds funny, considering some of my titles, but there you go. I look at the main theme of the story and then I try to sum it up in one catchy word or phrase. The oddness of some of my titles comes entirely from my personal definition of "catchy".

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

PAULA: A love story. But it can also mean a grand adventure somewhere beautiful and far away, where the true love story is between the reader and the author's world. A good romance should, like Calgon, take you away.8

CAROL ANN: Do you have any advice to a new author on how to balance promotion with writing time?

PAULA: Schedule time for both. Too many authors carefully schedule time and make goals for writing, but none for submitting, let alone promotion once they’ve sold. Selling is great, but not if nobody reads your book. And to avoid burnout, schedule the balance your own way and promote in your own fashion. Every writer has a different balance and different comfort levels.

CAROL ANN: Good advice. On the personal side, do you collect anything? If so, tell me about your collection and how you got started.

PAULA: I'm a lifelong collector, especially of books and rocks. But my current collecting passion is West Coast Native art, which I've found a great source for writing ideas. I'm especially fascinated by the artists' use of metals, though my collection of wood and metal artifacts is, for reasons of money, much smaller than my collection of prints.

CAROL ANN: Very interesting. I love learning about the things others collect. Authors are definitely eclectic collectors. Oh, no! I can't believe they are giving me the sign to wrap up. Our time together this morning went so fast. I've so enjoyed talking with you. But I have one more question to squeeze in. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

PAULA: Yes. A sword can only benefit one person at a time. A pen can be used to help or destroy millions. Ghandi was a lawyer, Stalin a secretary. I doubt either man used a sword in his life; the pen was their weapon of choice. But no one would doubt their respective influences.

CAROL ANN: Thank you, again, Paula. It's been my pleasure to have you in the blog studio. **Carol Ann looks into the camera** Be sure to tune in on July 19th when I'll have Trevane and Casey in the studio. Also, here is where you can learn more about Paula and where you can purchase her book.

**Camera rolls**

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Dreaded Synopsis - Take Two

I finally drafted a two page synopsis and shared it with my writing group. Got some great feedback, but mostly all felt too many questions were left unanswered in the synopsis. So, back to the drawing board tonight.

I started working at 9pm and finished just a few minutes ago, after 1am. I now have a synopsis which answers the questions, and I like it.

One big problem.

It's now three pages long.

Guidelines for Steeple Hill are to send a query letter and a synopsis of NO MORE THAN TWO PAGES.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Day to be Forgotten

Chalk this day up as one I sure want to forget ever happened.

My dreaded day job was the most stressful I've had in years. You would have thought I'd been gone for a month instead of one day. Every five minutes or less I received an email, telephone call, or personal visit bearing another "fire". By the time lunch rolled around, I didn't even want to eat...just needed to get away and take a deep breath. The afternoon continued much the same way, so by the time I left tonight I felt like I'd been run over by a semi and then had it back up and get me again.

But no rest for me when I got home. Time to fix dinner and then do all the clean up. Finally made it into my home office to turn on the computer. Opened my calendar and realized I'd forgotten to send questions to Paula Stiles who was supposed to be interviewed in the blog studio this morning. **sigh** So, barring no catastrophes, you'll get to view her interview on Monday morning, July 9th. My apologies to all.

Now I have to finish the synopsis for Joshua's Hope. I HATE writing a synopsis. It's the absolute worst part of writing for me. For some authors it comes easy, but for me it's like a big mental block.

But my goal is to send off the promotion package to Love Inspired Supsense no later than Monday, so I have to gnash my teeth and crank it out tonight. That allows sleeping on it for a couple days and then revising.

For anyone who might not like revisiting their writing time and time and time again, you better give it up. A writer's life is one of constant revision.

Hope everyone in the U.S. had a safe and happy Fourth!!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Thank You Zanesville, Ohio....

...and John McIntire Library...for your wonderful hospitality on June 30th at the Romance Readers Celebration. I had a wonderful time speaking with the staff at the library and the audience of romance readers in attendance.

Booksigning after event

Answering reader's questions

Listening to fellow author Marcia James (out of camera range). From left, author Tina Wittich, Author Toni Leland, and me