Sunday, September 30, 2007

Where I've Been...

Can't believe tomorrow it's back to work as usual. Friday I attended a booksigning party at the University Plaza Hotel. It was so much fun. The evening was the kick-off of my local RWA chapter's yearly conference. Lori Foster, NY Times Best Selling Author, was our key note speaker, and I had the honor of sitting next to her at the signing. I also had the privilege of picking up Rhonda Penders, co-founder of The Wild Rose Press at the airport earlier that day and driving her to the hotel. Rhonda is a very gracious, down-to-earth, and friendly person.

On Saturday, our conference began at 9am and ended at 6pm. I was very pooped, but inspired by the time I got home and crashed.

Before the end of the conference, the TWRP authors who were at the event managed to get together with Rhonda for a picture. From left are: Tabitha Gibson, Rhonda Penders, Jules Bennett, myself, and Sandra Wickersham-McWhorter.



A good time was had by all! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Where are Your Buns?

When my middle daughter was a teenager, we had stopped in McDonald's one evening and both ordered Big Mac's. I was going to blow my straw wrapper at her and she opened the "box" the burger was in and was moving it from side to side (like a shield) to avoid my aim. One particularly quick movement sent the top of her bun sailing to the floor...right in front of a guy who was sweeping the floor. I told her to "pick her buns up off the floor," and then we both burst into uncontrollable laughter. The little brat took off to the bathroom leaving me to sit at the table laughing and wiping tears while every "sane" person looked at me wondering when the man with the straight jacket would appear. Why am I remembering this?

I'm ashamed to say that I blew my diet tonight. Yep, I'm on the South Beach diet and I've been doing just great. In fact, I've been having to force myself to eat and I rarely eat the snacks in between the meals that are recommended. Anyway, today I picked up Rhonda Penders, co-owner of The Wild Rose Press at the airport. Skipped lunch. We made plans to eat dinner at 4pm. I had a salad. Then attended a two hour booksigning, which was great fun...but when I got home I was hungry. Hubby and I went to Frisch's and I ordered a turkey club wrap. I figured the thin red pepper wrap wouldn't be too bad, but I forgot to tell the waitress I wanted a "wrap". I received what I asked for a turkey club sandwich (on a sub bun). I was so hungry I decided to keep it and I actually ate half of the sub bun. Bad, bad, me. So, I've been thinking about buns. The too big buns that I carry around with me and one of the reasons I'm dieting, and the bun I ate that will surely adhere to my personal buns.

So, that's my story for the night. Now I'm off to bed.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Author Interview with Maggie Toussaint

The Blog Studio band has the audience on their feet, clapping to the beat of a lively show tune, "76 Trombones". From the wings the famous OSU Marching Band, emerges joining with the Blog Studio Band. The audience goes wild as the band forms the famous script "Ohio", and from behind the curtains Carol Ann comes out and dots the "i".

After the band marches back off stage, and the audience is seated, Carol Ann yells "GO BUCKS!"

**Applause and hoots follow**

Carol Ann takes a seat in the middle of the set and the audience hushes.

CAROL ANN: This is an exciting day for me. It is the last of my author interviews for 2007. And, I couldn't think of a better way to end the series than to invite a very dear friend of mine to come and share her warm personality and wisdom. Her upcoming book is called NO SECOND CHANCE and the cover is absolutely stunning. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, author MAGGIE TOUSSAINT!!

**Camera pans to the book in Carol Ann's hand**



**As the audience applauds, a slim beautiful shining auburn hair strolls out, waving at the crowd**

CAROL ANN: Maggie, thank you for coming all the way the Blog Studio today.

MAGGIE: Thank you for inviting me.

**Carol Ann looks at the book and once again holds it toward the audience**

CAROL ANN: This bookcover is absolutely stunning. I'd love to hear more about the story.

MAGGIE: I’m very excited about my upcoming release from The Wild Rose Press, No Second Chance. They say you can’t judge a book by the cover, but I sure hope the cover from my romantic mystery gets people to sit up and take notice. The cover artist captured the heart of the book, from the tender love story, to the evil villain, to the rescued horses.

People often talk about writing the book of their heart. That’s No Second Chance for me. I’ve been working on it on and off for years because the story of these rescued horses wouldn’t leave me alone.

The idea of the book grew out of personal experience. My oldest daughter rode horses throughout her youth. We spent our weekends doing horse stuff, spending time with horsey people. Eventually my husband and I served on the board of directors for a nonprofit that accepted horses for therapy for chronically ill children. It was so rewarding to help others, to see the improvement in the children each time they visited the farm.

I always said when I got this book published I’d use the proceeds to help horses. I’ve designated Day’s End Farm Horse Rescue in Lisbon, Maryland as a beneficiary of a portion of the proceeds from No Second Chance. This farm rescues horses all over the United States. Check out their website at www.defhr.org

The release date for No Second Chance has yet to be determined, but it’s looking like November 2007 for the e-book and April 2008 for the print release.

Check my websiteand The Wild Rose Press for the announcement in the coming weeks. And be sure to view my fantastic book trailer for No Second Chance. I uploaded it to My Spaceand it should be up on my website soon.

I have two other books coming out soon. Read more about Seeing Red and In For a Penny on my website.

CAROL ANN: Tell me a bit about your journey to becoming an author.

MAGGIE: How long do you have??? ((hearty laughter)) Stories have always captivated me. I listen to them or read them and I’m transported to another time and place. That love of stories and the fact that I used to write five page letters to my friends all the time fused as I matured into a burning desire to write. While my girls were little and I was stuck at cheerleading practice or the barn or wherever, I’d scribble in a notebook. I kept at it, whenever I could, on desperate little scraps of paper. Finally I had a book.

I darted into the world of editors and agents like an Olympic sprinter, madly waving my completed story at any and everyone. It stunk. I didn’t learn that until much later, not until I joined the local Romance Writers of America chapter.

I networked, took writing classes, and improved my craft, all the while raising my family and working as a scientist. Years passed. Rejections lined my file folders. I switched to writing mysteries. I landed an agent. More years passed. New York didn’t come calling. I decided to try small presses. My agent and I parted ways. Then within six months, I landed 3 book contracts, my first being House of Lies with The Wild Rose Press.

Unsolicited of advice for newbies out there: don’t do it the hard way, like I did. Write what you like and stick with it. Don’t keep chasing your tail or you’ll end up running in circles.

CAROL ANN: What do you find is the hardest thing about being an author?

MAGGIE: If you’d asked me before I sold, I would have said selling your book. If you’d asked me in the first quarter this year, I would’ve said learning the promotion ropes. Here in the third quarter of the year after House of Lies released, the hardest thing for me is finding balance in my life. Promoting my current book, editing my contracted books, gearing up for the next wave of published books, and writing a new book – all those things get squished into my writing time. Which means I have to be wickedly efficient at time management. I set goals each week and report them to my writing coach, another newly published writer. We keep each other moving forward, cheering each other’s successes, commiserating when we stumble.

CAROL ANN: It certainly sounds as if you have found that balance. You know, a friend of mine, Paige Cuccaro, has a site called The Cave. On it you can see what many author's offices look like. Would you mind describing your office space to the audience?

MAGGIE: I have the best room in our house. I have a sliver of a waterfront view over the top of a butterfly garden. My computer is positioned between two windows, letting in lots of sunlight, which I absolutely require. I have two six foot tall bookshelves crammed full of books and family pictures. There are stacks of papers for various projects. I work my day job as a reporter from my home office too, so there are lots of stacks. I have a loveseat sofa for lounging and the usual assortment of staplers, desk lights, paper punches, etc. My miniature bean bag frogs rest on my monitor stand and help me think when the writing is slow. I have a wind chime on the pull of my ceiling fan. I love hearing soothing sounds from chimes. My guitar leans up against my file cabinet, my yoga mats are propped behind the loveseat.

CAROL ANN: Now that sounds like the perfect all around office to me. I'm envious. My office, unfortunately, seems to be the room everything that doesn't have a place winds up to rest. I have soooo many books that they overflow the shelves in my office. Thank goodness I don't have any large collections or they'd land there as well. How about you, Maggie? Do you collect anything?

MAGGIE: Seashells. I have boxes and boxes of seashells. I was a dreamy kid who listened to the wind whistling through a conch shell and imagined I was one of Blackbeard’s pirates. I’d use flat scallop shells as play money, and I’d use thick clam shells as dishes when I played house with my dolls. I have those glass lamps that you fill with shells – two of them – and they don’t begin to hold all my seashells. I love the different textures of seashells and I love the smell of the sea.

CAROL ANN: It's easy to see why your books are so successful. You have a talent for "showing" by making great use of the senses. Let's pretend that you can go back in time and visit any period, any place. What would you choose?

MAGGIE: Are you nuts? I need flush toilets, antibiotics, shopping malls, dentists, hair color, and cell phones. Why the heck would I leave all that behind? I’d much rather read about history and imagine how it would be. I would have died in the first ten minutes on the Oregon Trail.

**audience roars with laughter**

CAROL ANN: I guess I deserved that! Okay, here's an easier question. What does the word romance mean to you?

MAGGIE: It’s the greatest adventure of all. It’s two people who act on their mutual attraction. It’s sixth grade clumsiness and eyes meeting across the room. It’s tingling skin and butterfly bellies. It’s push and pull until you are both truly caught in a web of passion. It’s the best magic of all.

CAROL ANN: Ah, magic. I love it. While we're talking about romantic things, who is the one person you can always depend on to make you smile?

MAGGIE: My husband of thirty years makes me smile. My best-ever cheerleader to follow my writing dream, my Mom, makes me smile. My kids, my sisters, my two best friends since childhood. My writing buds. I need all of them for smiles.

CAROL ANN: You are such a delight, Maggie. You seem to be handling "authordom" with great finesse. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

MAGGIE: Don’t assume that you know anything. Keep taking writing courses and learning how to do it better. If you let pride stand in your way, you’ll be stuck at the bottom of the heap forever. You can learn to write. It isn’t an inherited trait. But it takes practice and discipline to ride out the good times along with the bad. Build a strong support network. You’ll need help and advice along the way. And the best advice of all – treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

**The band plays a quick drum roll, signifying time is running out.**

CAROL ANN: Well, this interview has certainly gone fast. It seem like the OSU Marching Band just left the stage, and now it's time for us to do the same. Real quick, before we leave, do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

MAGGIE: The pen (actually the computer) gets my vote, and it has a worldwide reach. With words, people are entertained, enlightened, and enriched. That’s my goal, to entertain, to lighten someone’s day, to create a world where everything turns out happily-ever-after. Did I mention that I’m an optimist?

And then there’s the flip side to pens and swords, as my husband reminded me: “If a person’s in the pen, he isn’t allowed to have a sword.” See? He does make me smile!

**Audience applauds and laughs**

CAROL ANN: And he made the audience smile, too. Maggie, thank you again for spending this time with me.

MAGGIE: Thank you for having me stop in, Carol Ann. I’ve greatly enjoyed sharing my thoughts and experiences with you. Thank you for being my friend this year, and for sharing your time with so many fabulous authors through your blog interviews. I’m so glad to know you for the loving, giving person you are. I wish you well with your books, hoping that all of your dreams come true.

**Carol Ann and Maggie hug. They wave to the audience and walk off stage while the band plays the Blog Studio theme song (reminiscent of the theme for Cheers)

**the camera rolls to the credits**

CREDITS:

Maggie's Website: www.maggietoussaint.com

Maggie's My Space: http://www.myspace.com/maggietoussaint

The Wild Rose Press: www.thewildrosepress.com

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Latest News...and Off to Bed

I submitted the first three chapters of Joshua's Hope to The Wild Rose Press a couple of weeks ago and recieved a request for the full manuscript. I took one more read through and made a few changes that smoothed out the plot a bit. I really think this is the best story I've written, despite the rejection from Steeple Hill.

Tomorrow I'm sending the full manuscript to The Wild Rose Press for their perusal. Wish me well.

And tomorrow it's back to working on my newest manuscript Say Goodbye.

Oh, and don't forget the booksigning on Friday night. Sure would love to see you there! Check out my website for information.

******

Today I've been dragging from lack of sleep. I went to the store and purchased a sleeping aid on my lunch hour. I don't think I'll need it tonight. I'm exhausted, yawning, and heading to bed.

Thanks for stopping by.

Counting Sheep Again

For over a week, I've been going to bed really tired, only to end up tossing and turning and finally giving up about an hour later and getting out of bed. I read, I write, I try everything to get my mind quieted down so I can rest.

Nothing seems to work. I've even tried counting sheep.

I'm getting paranoid about going to bed because all I can think about is not going to sleep. And then, of course, I can't.

Sigh.

Anyone know of a cure?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Suspense...Romance...

It's been a manic Monday for sure. Very busy at work today and I forgot to bring my USB drive with my manuscript on it so I could write on my lunch hour. Bummer, so I just ate in my car and took a little snooze instead.

Tonight has been a night of suspense and romance. Started out with the season premier of Dancing with the Stars...suspense...who will win?

Now I'm watching The Bachelor. Romance in the making.

Well, I know I should be writing, but how can I tear myself away from great TV? I call it research. LOL!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Stuffing Without Turkey????

Wow, today was a loooooong day. After church I joined several members from my RWA chapter to prepare goodie bags and raffle baskets for our conference. You wouldn't believe how many promo items we received!

Spent 3-1/2 hours stuffing bags. Oh, my aching back.

But, I'm so excited about our conference. Our keynote speaker is New York Times Best Selling Author, Lori Foster.

Anyone in the Columbus, OH area, please come for the booksigning on Friday night (28th). It will be nice to see some familiar faces in the crowd.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Who Am I Contest

Have you ever tried to define who you are? It's really hard to step back and take an objective look at oneself. Well, that is if you aren't the world's biggest egomaniac. What one thing defines you? What makes you different from all others?

Frank Sinatra will always be "Old Blue Eyes"
Elvis Presley will always be "The King [of Rock and Roll]"
Lorretta Lynn will always be "The Coal Miner's Daughter"

There are tons of others I'm sure you could come up with.

So if you had to write who you are in just a few words, what would it be?

Me? I'm not sure. I've been working on this, and it's tough. Since I'm a cat lover who is caretaker for fourteen feral cats, and I love to read and write romances, I've been toying with a "purr"petual romantic.

So...who are you?

Tell me who you are and why in a comment to this blog and I'll enter you in a drawing to win a Sandalwood Home Fragrance Set.

Winner will be announced right here on October 1st!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Author Interview with Karen Anne Webb

The Blog Studio Band is playing a haunting version of the Star Wars theme as the curtains part and Carol Ann walks out. She's holding a handkerchief and wiping her eyes. The audience quiets as she loudly blows her nose. "Hey, how are you all doing? I'm having a bad morning. First, these allergies of mine have flared up and I'm feeling kind of low because I received a rejection from Steeple Hill on Josua's Hope."

The audience "oooohs" in sympathy. "Thanks. But," she throws her hands up in the air, "I'm not going to stress over it. It's just one rejection, and I'm sure I'll find the right publisher."

The audience claps. "Thank you!" Carol Ann smiles. "I have a very interesting author who will take center stage with me in just a few minutes. She's a fantasy writer, and I've had so much fun talking to her backstage and getting acquainted." Carol Ann holds up a book. Here is her book, and it sounds so intriguing."

The camera pans in.



"Please give a rousing Blog Studio welcome to my guest, author Karen Anne Webb!"

Karen comes onstage amidst audience applause and whistles. She sits in the chair opposite Carol Ann.

CAROL ANN: Karen, thank you for dropping by today. The audience is anxious to know more about THE CHALLICE OF LIFE. Tell us a little about the book, the characters, and the plotline."

KAREN: Boy, that’s a book in itself! My book is called The Chalice of Life, and it’s the first in an eight-book series entitled Adventurers of the Carotian Union. It was my attempt to write an engaging, lengthy quest fantasy. My aim was to make it distinctive in several ways. The people singled out to go on this massive quest are from a bunch of different walks of life, and I tried very hard to develop both their personal backstories and the cultural underpinnings of the worlds they come from. This meant delving deeply into the characters’ personal spirituality and into the theology and cosmology of the different cultures. I went for gender balance—half of the questing party are strong females. And I deliberately went for an upbeat tone and humor as well as (dare I say it?) pathos. You can’t avoid some darkness and conflict with fantasy or you don’t have a story, but I wanted people to get to the end of the book and feel hopeful about the future instead of suicidal! Also, I wanted to show people from all these different cultures working together to surmount their differences and achieve their common goal. It has Arthurian overtones in that the figure the quest is meant to rescue is a king-that-was-and-will-be. It’s not allegorical, but I’m hoping people may draw from it some lessons about today’s world and how we need to understand one another and cooperate. I think what I’m doing here is trying to create a new genre—Fantasy for the New Millennium.

CAROL ANN: Is this your first book? Are you working on anything new right now?

KAREN: I started writing about the Carotian Union way back in graduate school in the 80's as a result of four very vivid dreams I had about the worlds and the people who populate them. That’s my “interesting background story”—I’m not a teen like Christopher Paolini and not a mother of two on the dole like JK Rowling, I just have very vivid dreams. When I had four almost in a row about this place, I figured the Universe was trying to tell me something. So I finished the original novel and then found the characters just wouldn’t let me alone! I grabbed a minor character from the original novel and developed a bunch of time-travel oriented short stories with her, then ended those by having her recalled to the Union to be the central figure in this lengthy quest, which is the Adventurers series. They still wouldn’t leave me alone, so I was writing the sequel even as I was getting Chalice and the other novels typed, edited, and prepped for submission. I do have a true young adult fantasy series that grew out of a bunch of bedtime stories my son and I developed together when he was younger. My publisher has just asked for the next book in the Adventurers series (hooray!), so that and doing the publicity for Chalice (I publish with a small Canadian house called Dragon Moon Press, and you do a decent amount of marketing leg work with a small press) have taken precedence. But some day, I hope The Zayn Chronicles will see the light of day.

CAROL ANN: Staying positive will see you through to that goal. Tell me, what do you find is the hardest thing about being an author?

KAREN: Making a living! Seriously, when I’m not being a fantasy author, I’m a book editor for a small house and a freelance journalist, so I kind of have to hustle to generate income. On the other hand, it’s such a wonderfully flexible schedule that I’m able to stay home with my son, whom we adopted as an infant. I was our breadwinner for quite a while, but now that job has (fortunately!) shifted to my husband!

CAROL ANN: If we were to tour your house, where would we find your "office." What does it look like?

KAREN: Er– don’t want to get in trouble with the IRS here! We have one bedroom dedicated as an office (and it really looks like one, since three of us share it). We were able to jury rig a very nice room-length desk with a kitchen countertop and three kitchen cabinets from a home improvement place (plus keyboard trays). But I also have a kitchen nook with a second phone, and I do a lot of long-hand writing and hard-copy editing just sitting on my couch.

CAROL ANN: While we're talking about your house, do you collect anything?

KAREN: It’s informal, but I have an interesting collection of dance books and programs (largely ballet but a little of everything—my entree into the world of journalism was being a dance critic, which I do very, very well, since I have a strong dance background). My other big outside interest is comparative religion and mythology, and I have a big bookshelf that’s just overflowing with multiple translations of the Bible and Qur’an, texts on Native American legends and practices, theTao Te Jing, texts from the Buddhist, Hindu and Baha’i faiths and a whole bunch of stuff on mythology (you can definitely see the influence when you read the book!) I despised history in school, but when I got older, studying religious history became extremely interesting to me, probably as an outgrowth of my interest in the oneness of humanity and wanting to understand people—we have so much to learn from one another and our different cultures!

CAROL ANN: If you were speaking to the world on live television...wait, you are speaking on live television. Tell us one thing about you that isn't related to your writing.

KAREN: I believe that we must surmount our differences globally to find peaceful solutions to our problems, and I believe that a world commonwealth is not only in humanity’s best interests but is inevitable. And I feel the basis of that global commonwealth will not begin with the efforts of man but will be based on spiritual principles, or those of renewed religion (see where studying comparative religion and Arnold Toynbee got me?)

CAROL ANN: Heavy, stuff! I came on here today being a little depressed, but the audience helped me to put a smile on my face. Who is the one person you can always depend on to make you smile?

KAREN: My husband Paul, although if I got to name more I would include our dear son and our kitties (and, let’s face it, Terry Pratchett, whom I idolize).

CAROL ANN: I'm a cat person, too. What are your kitties' names?

KAREN: We have two cats called Bastet (after the Egyptian cat-headed goddess because she looks like a temple statue) and Princess (you can make the inference about her behavior). We lost one to old age this past summer—his name was Pepper, and he would have been 19 in August. I tell people I feel a little like George Bailey in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life when it comes to my kitties—he had great plans but kept getting pulled in by the daily realities. In my case, I’ve always wanted a purebred animal (Persian, Birman, Himalayan — something pretty and fluffy) but keep getting pulled in by the reality that there are so many homeless animals out there. We found Bastet and her nursing kitten in our garage, and I wasn’t about to turn out a nursing mother! And all the others (Princess is #5) have been shelter animals.

CAROL ANN: We'll have to talk about rescues back stage. I'm currently caring for fourteen outdoor cats that are considered "feral," although over the past two years some of them have tamed. I guess I'm a romantic at heart. What does the word romance mean to you?

KAREN: Hmm... Stuck between saying roses and chocolates and being realistic! I think true love (which, I guess, is or should be at the heart of romance) ends up being the result of a deep spiritual connection with another person that finally finds expression in the physical realm. But the roses and chocolates are nice—in a long-term relationship, no one should be taking anyone for granted.

**The band strikes up the Star Wars theme again.**

CAROL ANN: Oh, no! I can't believe our time is up already! **Carol Ann waves her hand at the band leader.** Stop, for just a minute. We have time for one more question. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why?

KAREN: Absolutely! The pen is capable of spiritualizing the entire planet, of bringing hope to people and enriching their lifes with humor and visions of a better world. That’s why I’m fond of the fantasy and science fiction genres (and why I’m not fond of the darker or post-apocalptic veins of either). Where else can you let your imagination roam free and actually build the world of tomorrow? Where else can you create a vision of a world where diversity is embraced and there is social justice for everyone? All the sword (or the light saber?) can do is keep people in line for a little while!

CAROL ANN: Thank you! I've enjoyed having you as my guest today.

KAREN: Thank you for having me!

Both ladies stand and bow, then walk off stage while the band plays the Blog Studio theme song.

The camera pans in on the credits:

Author's website: www.chaliceoflife.com

Author's blog on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chalice-Life-Karen-Anne-Webb/dp/1896944337/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-3438352-0433254?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173153197&sr=8-1

Virtual Tales Editor's Page: http://www.virtualtales.com/editors.html

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wacky Wednesday

Close friends and family know I can get pretty "wacky" from time to time. All it takes is one little thing to get something really funny and far out going. For instance, at a recent family gathering, one of my daughters and I were talking about exercise and she mentioned something about a "butt-master". Um, she really meant to say "thigh master", so that got us going. I won't go into the gritty details, but it was pretty "wacky." But that's not what the title of my blog is about. People who work with me see me as a kind of reserved, classy woman. I'm fairly quiet, smile a lot, and with closer associates we find things to bond with and laught about. However, this has been a horrid week at work. What happened today?

I work for a wine distributor and I coordinate four huge holiday wine shows for our state. Last week I handed off the list of inventory to be pulled by the warehouse. It should have been completely picked by today, but the person in charge hasn't been given the help he needs. He was grumbling about having to do this before our physical inventory on Friday, and went to a director, who is totally clueless, and who shall remain annonymous, and told him he needed to cancel the orders and reissue them after inventory. This totally clueless director told him he didn't care. Argh!!! I found out when the manager who keyed the orders came to me. I immediately placed a call to the warehouse manager and left a rather heated message on voicemail. Then another Director came to me holding out his cell phone for me to hear a message from the warehouse driver manager stating they were going to cancel the holiday show orders for now. I freaked out!!! I actually said a few cuss words, mild ones, and picked up the phone and called him. To make a long story short, the director in my office kind of quietly left and the manager on the telephone apologized and said they would definitely pull all the inventory required for the shows by tomorrow afternoon.

I received a few "atta-girl" phone calls, and some surprised expressions that I was able to "rattle somebody's cage."

I'm pausing to take a deep breath now. Sometimes it pays to "stand up" to those in authority. Take it from me, the Administrative Assistant to the President of our company, that even those lower on the totem pole can make heads roll.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Flirting Pays Off

RWA ran a contest called Libraries Love Romance. I participated in an author panel and booksigining at the Muskingum Public Library in Zanesville, OH on June 30th. Their romance promotion was called "Flirting with Romance." The library entered their promotion in the contest and they are one of six finalists! Woo hoo!

All participating libraries have contributed to bringing in new romance authors.

Check it out and if you are so inclined, and if you are a member of RWA, it would be so cool if you'd vote for the Muskingum Library. After reading the entries you'll see a link to vote. It will take you to a "survey" page. The survey is only 3 questions.

Click here to read the entries

This was almost as good as seeing my name in lights. **grin**

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday - Not a Good Day

What a bummer of a day! I can't believe I'm still smiling. Here are the events in order that they happened.

1. Couldn't sleep last night, just like Saturday night. Woke up at 2am and gave up. Sat at the computer and stared at the screen. Couldn't think of anything to write. Finally went back to bed at 3:30am. Alarm went off at 6am. Slept until 6:45am. Had to rush getting ready and to work. Clocked in 5 minutes late.

2. The office was freezing cold. Even the men were running around with heavy wool sweaters and fleece jackets. I shut myself in my office and turned on my heater to meal the icicles forming from my runny nose.

3. Since I'm on the South Beach diet, I brought a small container of tuna--one of those new no drain 2.8 oz containers. Drove to Wendy's to buy a Caesar side salad to go with it. Parked in the back of our parking lot at work because the long walk is good exercise. My purse flew open and I heard my Mary Kay compact hit the door. Looked at the floor and saw all my "stuff" that had fallen out. Leaned over to pick it up--and pressed my midsection across the top of the diet cola drink I'd purchased. Soaked the front of my top. Dried it with napkins. Sat it on the floor and picked up my stuff and stuffed it back in my purse.

4. Opened the Wendy's bag and found they had not given me a straw.

5. Opened my salad and sat it on my lap. Reached for the salad dressing. Spilled my salad across my lap and onto the console.

6. Had to walk out to the will call area toward the end of the day. No smoking building. Guy pulling product was walking around puffing on a cigarette. Since my allergies are so bad right now, smoke sticks in my nose and throat and I can't quit coughing and tasting tobacco. And I don't smoke. Those who smoke won't understand this, but those who do will get it. Coughed all the way home.

7. Opened the mail box and found my manuscript from Steeple Hill returned with a short rejection letter. It's been three weeks!! No way was that manuscript read. Even though I put "requested manuscript" on the envelope, I'm sure an associate opened the envelope and ignored that information. The pages are pristine, nothing out of place and the entire packet of information exactly as I had packaged it. Paperclip on the synopis, rubber band around the entire thing. **sigh**

8. Hubby had a piece of mail from GMAC. We paid off his truck a few weeks ago. I called and got the payoff. Made sure it was sent before the cut off date, and the check posted a couple of days earlier than the cut-off. Received the title and released paid in full loan papers. Well, today's mail was...a refund check for five cents!!! LOL!! Is that supposed to be the good news for today?

Hope I get some sleep tonight or I might have to do something drastic. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Reflection - Things That Made Me Smile

My week in review:

* Someone's cell phone going off during Pastor Dave's sermon.

* Finding the perfect drapes for my office windows.

* My cat watching and studying the sewing machine in action.

* My 'fraidy cat sitting on the stairs and watching me vacuum instead of hiding.

* Finishing a good book by Karen Harper, INFERNO.

* Sticking to my diet.

* Exercising with Richard Simmons.

* Talking to my "adopted" daughter in NC.

* Talking to my mother.

* Getting my Mary Kay order.

* Revamping my website.

* Changing my living room.

* Reaching the 62% completion on my novel.

* The sunny but cool weekend.

* Enjoying the beauty of the trees on my way to and from work.

Hope you found lots of things to smile about, too! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Changes Coming...

This past year, I signed up authors to interview on my blog and in two weeks, I will conclude my last Blog Studio interview. This has been a hard decision, because they are such fun, but I have to be realistic. I have writing goals to accomplish, and these interviews take hours of my time. I want to thank all the wonderful authors I've had the pleasure of interviewing.

Beginning October 1, my blog will be centering around other things. The tentative schedule is:

Sunday: Reflections
Monday: Something to Smile About
Tuesday: Something to Gripe About
Wednesday: Wishing on a Star
Thursday: Real Characters
Friday: Bookshelf
Saturday: Accomplishments

I'm excited about this new venture. Oh, I'm also posting a newsletter each month on my website. The first one will be up on October 1. Just click on the "news" button to view it.

On the homefront, I purchased a new Dyson vacuum cleaner. I've used it for two weeks now and I love it! Unbelievable how much dust and hair accumulate on the floors over the week. Yeah, I'm a Saturday morning cleaner. I keep things picked up, but my heavy cleaning day is Saturday. And then I do my grocery shopping...whoops, guess I'd better grab my list and run. It's getting late.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Remodeling - Take a Tour

I spent the last few days remodeling my website.

I am a big fan of Moon and Back Graphics and I purchased a webset from the company for my new look. The cabin reminded me of the cabins in my two novels set in The Great Smoky Mountains.

This blog has been remodeled to reflect the new colors of my website.

I'd love to have some comments on the new design. If you have a chance please stop by and check it out. Leave me a comment on my blog or in my guestbook on my site if you have time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Author Interview with Saralee Etter

The camera pans the beautiful Ohio morning where the sun is shining, but the air is cool, a foretelling or the coming autumn. As the camera pans closer, a figure in red is seen hustling into the studio. She waves at the cameraman, smiles, and...walks onstage.

"Good morning, Blog Studio audience!"

The band plays a short intro, the crowd applauds, and Carol Ann smiles and takes a seat on the set.

"It was so beautiful today, that I just had to walk here. I haven't had a chance yet to say hello backstage to my very special guest for today. Saralee Etter is also a resident of Ohio, in a small town outside Columbus. She's going to be telling us about her very first release, A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT. Saralee has been making news here in Ohio with her radio and newspaper interviews. So, I'm delighted to be the very first to interview her on national television."

Carol Ann picks up a book and shows it to the audience. "This is Saralee's book. It is a perfectly delightful romance...but I'll let her tell you all about it."

Camera pans in on the book.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for a fantastic author, my friend, Saralee Etter!"

Audience gives a standing ovation as Saralee walks onstage.

CAROL ANN: Saralee, welcome to the Blog Studio. I'm so thrilled that you finally made it to our show.

SARALEE: Thank you, Carol Ann. I'm just as thrilled to be here.

CAROL ANN: I've been teasing the audience about your novel. I think they've been in suspense long enough. Won't you please share what this wonderful story is about?

SARALEE: I'm happy to. My book, A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT, is the story of a young actress named Miranda Luce, and the dashing nobleman, Lord Justin Devereux, who hires her to play the role of his fiancĂ©e at a family dinner party. She needs the money she will earn to free her brother-in-law, the theater manager, from debtors prison; He needs to convince his family that he’s willing to settle down, so they will let him have his inheritance. When they fall in love, it’s just the first tangle in the web they are weaving—they are just no good at deceiving!

Theater is one of my favorite things. I’ve acted in a lot of high school plays and community theater and those memories hold a special place in my heart. Recently, I became fascinated by Georgian and Regency theater—and it was a treat to learn all about the lives of famous performers of the day.

I’m also a big fan of Georgette Heyer’s novels—she invented the Regency romance as we know it, and I love to re-read her stories. They’re so lively and charming, so full of love and laughter! So of course I wanted to write a novel that would take me back to that world and give me that same feeling of delight.

When Cerridwen Press announced that they were launching a revival of the traditional Regency romance with their Cotillion line, I was thrilled. And the Cotillions are a wonderful bunch of stories.

As an extra treat for people who love the Regency period and stories set during that time, I’m currently running a contest through Author Island. Anyone who is interested in entering a drawing for a DVD of the 2005 movie “Pride and Prejudice” plus some popcorn and other munchies can do so by reading an excerpt of my book and answering the secret question. Just visit Author Island , or my website, to find out how.

CAROL ANN: Great. My audience loves contests. **Audience applauds loudly** Saralee, can you share a bit about your radio and newspaper interviews?

SARALEE: One of the nice things about interviews is that local media people are all such fun to talk to. I think you really have to be a “people person” to do this type of reporting, because you’re really approaching it as one neighbor to another.

And I’ve done both types of interviews. The Pataskala Post reporter chatted with me over the phone, the reporter from ThisWeek in Licking County and I met for lunch, and the reporter for The Pataskala Standard came over to the house.

My radio interview was done at the station, too—it was fun being in a real recording studio and watching how it’s all done. The interviewer was great, and really made me feel comfortable. I almost forgot that there were a lot more people listening in to our conversation.

CAROL ANN: How great! Kind of hard to do that here in the television studio though. **Audience laughs** When you did the interviews were you nervous?

SARALEE: Well, the radio interview was the most unusual experience to me. Even though the host was really nice, I was still out of my element, so to speak. One of the things I like about writing is that I get to re-write! I have time to think about what I’m saying, and maybe tweak it a little here and there. Words come out a lot smoother when I’m writing than when I’m speaking—guess I’m not really a glib talker.

I know I stumbled a bit, but I didn’t say anything I wanted to take back. I didn’t feel too stressed either, but afterwards all I could think about was how much I craved a doughnut!

I found out later that after you have an adrenaline rush, your sugar can get really depleted, so maybe that’s what happened to me.

CAROL ANN: Are you nervous now?

SARALEE: Who, me? **Saralee's voice rises to high pitch and breaks. Audience laughs**

CAROL ANN: I know you're kidding, of course. So, tell me what you're currently working on.

SARALEE: Well, I’ve got a couple of projects in the works. One is a Georgian romance in which a theater manager and actress join forces to unmask a spy who has infiltrated their theater troupe in order to assassinate King George II, and the other is a Victorian murder mystery.

CAROL ANN: How cool! I love the fact that you can depict history so vividly. It takes a special talent to do that without losing the essence of romance, but you pull it off.

SARALEE: Thank you.

CAROL ANN: Speaking of romance. What does the romance mean to you?

SARALEE: I like the old definition of a romance novel—it was an adventure, full of heroism and excitement and the thrill of finding true love. The stories I love to read are the bigger-than-life tales that show people at their best, facing overwhelming odds and meeting the challenge with determination and cleverness, and triumphing in the end.

CAROL ANN: What do you find is the hardest part of being a published author?

SARALEE: Finding time to write! I know it’s a matter of balancing all of the claims on our time, but sometimes that can be challenging.

CAROL ANN: Amen to that! Now, you didn't think I'd let you off without asking you at least one offbeat question, did you?

SARALEE: **laughs** One can only hope.

CAROL ANN: Sorry! Here's the question. If you inherited an uninhabited island in the South Seas, what would you do with it?

SARALEE: Swap it for a spacious vacation home on the shores of Lake Michigan, or on a lake in the Adirondacks, where I could write in a room that looks out over the water. Well, I wouldn’t say “no” to a lovely place in England or France!

But I’m not a tropical-weather girl—I lived in Florida too long. Give me seasons, and give me rolling, tree-covered hills and tranquil little lakes. To me the finest season is fall, with the richness of the harvest, the crunchy leaves and crisp air.

CAROL ANN: You did so well with that one, that I have another one for you. Let's pretend this is a serious program and you are the only celebrity present. You have to make a speech about yourself, not your writing. Go!

SARALEE: “Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain!” No, just kidding.
I’d want to share with everyone the most important lesson I’ve learned—that the most important thing in life is to figure out what makes you happy, and do that.

Don’t waste time doing something you don’t like just because it’s a sensible career move, make sure you’re doing what makes you feel good. For so many years I didn’t know what made me happy, and I assumed that I couldn’t have what I really wanted because it wasn’t practical. The lesson I’ve learned is, “do what you love, and the success and stability you want will follow.”

CAROL ANN: You're a natural! **audience applauds** Now to get down and personal. Do you have any collections?

SARALEE: The one thing that I’ve always collected is—books! When I find an author I like, I buy all their books and keep them. I’ve got every book that Georgette Heyer ever wrote, except one. It was one of her earliest books, called “The Great Roxhythe.” It’s out of my price range right now.

I also have most of Charlotte MacLeod’s books, and all of Elizabeth Peters, Barbara Hambly, Robin Paige, Jayne Ann Krentz (in all her incarnations), Ellis Peters, Barry Hughart, Esther Friesner, Joan Hess, as well as lots of humor by S. J. Perelman, and C. S. Lewis’ novels as well as his Christian philosophy. I fall in love with new writers all the time, too.

I collect other things, too. For a while I collected fans—the ladies’ accessories—and the ones I have are mostly paper mounted on wood sticks, but some are made of celluloid, carved wood, or fabric.

Currently, I’m collecting Fenton Silvercrest—it’s a type of milk glass that has a wide ruffle all around, and the ruffle is edged with clear glass (which looks silver in comparison to the rest of the piece). I’ve got vases and candy-dishes and cake-stands. I’m fascinated by glass.

CAROL ANN: Oh, the fan collection sounds really cool. I adore those old fashioned fans. A friend made me some fans for my wall using the leftover wallpaper from my family room. I love them. I have a few glass pieces, but they are locked in my curio cabinet because I have three very curious and rambunctious cats. They are more destructive than a houseful of toddlers. **the band plays a quick scale" Oh, no! Not the dreaded "we're out of time" tune! Saralee, it's been such fun having you here today. Once again, I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. We've got time for one last question...the one I ask all my guests. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

SARALEE: The pen is mightier, because with words you can change a person’s mind. Then they will act willingly to support their new beliefs, rather than having to be forced by the sword to act against their will.

It’s like the parable of the wind and the sun. You remember that? The wind and the sun make a bet to see who can remove the heavy overcoat from this man who’s walking along.

The wind blows wildly, tearing at the man’s coat and trying to rip it right off him. But the man just hangs on tight, wrapping his coat around himself for warmth and safety.

Then it’s the sun’s turn. The sun comes out and shines on the man. That’s all. Soon, the man takes off his coat of his own accord, because he feels warm and safe.

CAROL ANN: Beautifully, said. Audience, what do you think?

**The audience stands and applauds, the band strikes up a lively tune, and Saralee and Carol Ann exit the stage**

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reflections - 2007 Goals

It's time for a check against what I planned to do and how I'm faring. Not a pretty picture, but there is hope.

Goal 1: Write/finish 2 full length manuscripts
I have completed one and submitted it to Steeple Hill. The second is a little over half finished. Still on track.

Goal 2: Write 4 short stories.
Zilch so far. Maybe I'll have time to squeeze them in after finishing my current full.

Goal 3: Read the entire Bible.
On track with this one.

Goal 4: Exercise and get healthy.
Nada. I've started exercising and quit. I did manage to give up my sweet tooth, so that's a major accomplishment. But now I must get down to focusing internally on my body. I hereby make a pledge, in front of the entire cyber-world, that I will follow a regular exercise regime. And beginning today, I will go on the South Beach Diet and stick to it.

How about you? Have you done a check-up on your yearly goals lately?

Tune in tomorrow for another "live" Blog Studio interview with author, Saralee Etter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Author Interview with Lauren Delaney

The crowd is getting wound up with the lively music anticipating another author interview. Clapping to the beat, they animatedly talk to their neighbors. Everyone is smiling or laughing. The music fades. The crowd quiets. The curtains part and Carol Ann runs center stage. The audience goes wild!

"Thank you! I know you are excited to learn who our guest author is for today. What a surprise that we will have not just one, but two interviews this week!"

Crowd hoots and claps. They sure do love books!

"Without making you wait, let me introduce a very dear friend and a wonderful author, who has traveled all the way from Kingston, Ontario, fantasy romance author Lauren Delaney!"

Crowd gives a standing ovation as Lauren walks onstage with a big smile, her long dark hair shining in the spotlights. She bows and takes a seat across from Carol Ann.

CAROL ANN: Lauren, thank you so much for coming into the Blog Studio today. I've been so looking forward to interviewing you. I'm glad we could finally get together.

LAUREN: Thank you for having me.

CAROL ANN: I have your book here. I love the cover.

Camera pans to the book Carol Ann is holding.



CAROL ANN: Tell me about Dark Encounters.

LAUREN: Dark Encounter, available as part of the Black Rose line at The Wild Rose Press, is about a chance meeting one night at a company sponsored fund raising gala – that goes both wrong, and in the end, very right - for two people, Criss and Rafe.
Rafe has admired Criss from afar but he has a terrible secret and has given up hope of finding a woman who could love him as he is. He is the victim of a long ago curse that changed him into a black panther shape shifter. The night of the gala is filled with surprises and it’s Criss’s courage and recognition of the good within Rafe that ultimately brings them together.

The story of Chris and Rafe is about two people who are destined to meet, though neither of them realizes it until it happens. It’s about being willing to take a chance on love and the acceptance of each other's flaws and secrets – all of the things that make a relationship real.

CAROL ANN: Sounds really intriguing. I assume the Black Rose Line is for paranormal romances at The Wild Rose Press, your publisher's website?

LAUREN: Yes, that's correct.

CAROL ANN: Being a romance writer, what does the word "romance" mean to you personally?

LAUREN: I think romance means that, despite place and circumstance, there is truth in the knowledge that love changes everything.

CAROL ANN: Spoken like a true romantic! **both laugh** Lauren, what are you working on now?

LAUREN: I have several new works in progress – two of which are almost complete – and of course, I think that Criss and Rafe’s story isn’t over yet. At least, that’s what they keep telling me. **Lauren grins**

CAROL ANN: People are always asking me a question that I now ask you. Where do you get your ideas and what process do you go through to turn that idea into a story?

LAUREN: I have lots of ideas and have to make sure that I capture them – at least in a rough outline – so that I can flesh them out later. I am by nature a ‘pantser’ in my writing, but have been working hard to discipline myself so that I work through at least a rough outline/synopsis at the beginning of the process.
Creating a rough story outline/synopsis has proven helpful in many ways, but especially when one gets temporarily waylaid from writing, by Real Life. That’s when the outline allows you to more quickly find a jumping off point from which to get back into the story.

CAROL ANN: Ah, the real life dilemma. It's so true that when you get your thought processess going full steam reality comes in and drops a hammer. Can you share a "typical" day in your life?

LAUREN: Sure – it’s rather dull, though. **Lauren gives a soft laugh** No matter what I’m doing, I’m usually thinking about the story that I’m currently working on and often jot down ideas or snatches of dialogue throughout the day. I find that the writing seems to come best for me first thing in the morning – but really I think that like most writers, as the story percolates, you’re mentally writing it throughout the day. I’m up early with my family anyways, and so I will often get up even earlier so as to have a few hours of quiet writing time before the day officially begins.

CAROL ANN: Oh, I wish I had your discipline. I try. I really do. I set the alarm for an hour earlier than I need to wake up, but I shut it off and go back to sleep. I'm more of a daytime person than a morning person. I'm crabby in the morning. **Carol Ann and Lauren laugh** Tell me, Lauren, how would you describe your personality?

LAUREN: I am an upbeat and friendly person, and I try to keep a positive attitude about whatever the day may bring.

CAROL ANN: I'm sure though that you have times when you feel down, not quite so positive. Who can turn things around when that happens to you?

LAUREN: I have been blessed with a wonderful family and friends – they, and my faith, are the cornerstones of my support.

CAROL ANN: That's wonderful. You couldn't ask for better support than that. What would you say is the hardest thing for you as an author?

LAUREN: I think that overcoming one’s internal editor is difficult for every author. Being a perfectionist doesn’t help either. **Lauren smiles** I think that it is important to train oneself to write no matter what the day may bring – everyone experiences good days and bad in their lives. There is a lot of joy to be found in writing, despite the fact that it is hard work and often lonely, and that is a great gift.

CAROL ANN: I know you like to read. How many books do you find time to read in a month?

LAUREN: I read a lot, although not as much as I used to – probably four or five books a month. Lately I have been reading Neil Gaiman. After reading American Gods and Anansi Boys, I’ve begun Neverwhere. In between, I’ve also enjoyed the older historical romance, Lion’s Lady by Suzanne Barclay, as well as the paranormal romance Master of Swords by Angela Knight. I have a very long To Be Read list.

CAROL ANN: How long have you been writing and what are your other published works?

LAUREN: I’ve always been a writer and a storyteller, but for many years I focused on the visual arts and it has only been in the past four or five years that I have sought publication for my writing. I currently have three stories published – Dark Encounter - a paranormal romance with The Wild Rose Press - and two stories, a police procedural and a fantasy, that were included in an anthology sold as a fund-raiser in support of a local hospital.

CAROL ANN: That's different! A police procedural as part of an anthology. And how great that the anthology was to raise funds for such a wonderful cause. Oh, fiddle, I see our time is running out. Just when things get fun, they give me the old hand slice across the neck. Okay, my last question. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

LAUREN: Always. A violent act has horrible and swift repercussions – and not for good. A powerfully written book has the power to change people’s lives – hopefully for the good - for generations. Even simple stories can bring us joy for a few hours, and that too, is a gift. **Lauren smiles, as the audience stands and applauds**

CAROL ANN: Lauren, thanks again for coming all the way to Ohio for the interview. It's been a pleasure to have you on stage with me today.

LAUREN: Thank you for doing me the honor of interviewing me, Carol Ann. It has been my great pleasure, and I wish you much success in your own writing endeavors in the future.

CAROL ANN: And to you, too! Ladies and Gentlemen, my friend, Lauren Delaney!

Lauren waves to the audience. Everyone hoots and applauds as she walks off stage.

Camera pans to credits:

Lauren Delaney

Romance that knows one true thing. Love changes everything.

http://laurendela.tripod.com
~Dark Encounter~ available as part of the Black Rose line at the Wild Rose Press. http://www.thewildrosepress.com

Monday, September 10, 2007

Aftermath of 9-11

As I ponder the coming anniversary of one of the most horrible dates in the history of the USA, I think back to what happened that day.

I was on my way to jury duty when I turned on the news and heard the tragic news that one of the twin towers was on fire. In shock, I listened as the announcer stated that a plane had crashed into the tower and also another one into the second tower.

Unable to believe what I was hearing, I parked and hurried to the jury waiting room. The huge television screen showed the devastation. All of us sat in shocked silence, tears running down our faces. One of the judges came into the room and told us that all trials had been cancelled for the day, but that the building was in lockdown. We could not leave. I wanted to go home and hug my family. Instead we sat there for hours staring at the television, watching all the horror play out as if it were a movie with spectacular special effects. But it wasn't a movie. It was real.

For days after, everyone drove the speed limit on the roads, even the freeways, and motorists were kind to each other. We waved and smiled when someone let us in line. And we spoke to our neighbors. Everyone seemed to be shell shocked.

I'm not sure when the change began to take place, but it did. Soon no one would let anyone into a line of traffic. Most people were out for themselves. Cars would cut others off, give lewd hand signals, or yell obscenities. Neighbors turned their heads without meeting eyes. Few people returned my smile in stores. Clerks were rude. America had returned to its former "it's all about me" state.

Why? Perhaps this attitude is what causes terrorists to target us. When did we lose our respect for ourselves and our fellow Americans? Will it take another tragedy to bring us close again? I pray not.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Faith and Trust--Sunday Reflection

In our Sunday School class we are studying Genesis. Today's class focused on the creation of humanity--in God's image. We discussed what that meant in our lives today. We focused on the word "dominion" and that it meant being a servant of the land and people, not a dictator. In our lives today, we run across many people who believe that being "in charge" means "bossing," "controlling," and "domineering." Come on, you all know someone who is like that, or perhaps you see it in yourself. We all act and react differently according to the situation. As servants of God's creation, we should be taking care of the land, taking care of each other, and leading by example rather than domineering others. We are all responsible for each other and the world around us.

I had another discussion this week about faith and trust. An analogy was given on a child standing on the side of a swimming pool, the parent in the water with arms opened, and that child's complete faith and trust that the parent would catch them when the child jumped. A child is born with the trust that the person caring for them will nurture them, love them, and protect them. Where do we lose that faith and trust?

As a vision for our church, we are being tasked to reach out to those who don't know Jesus, show them that Jesus loves them, and to pray for them. As christians, we tend to flock to other christians because we are comfortable with them. We all seek comfort in the "known" and "safe" zones of our lives. Why can't we be like that little child at the swimming pool and trust in God? In our society today, to try and befriend a stranger could mean putting our lives in danger. Do we trust God to bring us through that fire?

I would like to. I am created in God's image. He blessed me with the ability to think and to make decisions. He would like me to walk in the path He envisioned when He created me. But I fail. Daily I fail. I know that to do honor to Him, I need to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. I know, I care, I desire to do this. But I am not as strong in faith and trust as that little child.

How about you?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Branding Buzz

One of my writing groups has decided to focus on branding. Each of us is to focus on trying to find a "brand" for ourselves. For this blog, I've used "Inside the Writer's Mind" and I think it's fairly unique. For my website I chose to use "Love, Suspense and Happy Endings." However, the group believes this is "too generic" to be a brand.

I know branding is supposed to be something unique to each of us, something that differentiates us from the rest of the pack. Every day in commercials there's a new catch phrase that is picked up and suddenly everyone is saying it. I still believe that if a writer "brands" with something "off the wall" and "catchy", it won't mean a hill of beans if you aren't a best-selling author with a broad fan base. Who else is going to know about you unless they stumble upon your website by chance (or by brand?).

So, I've been tossing around this whole branding thing and the only thing I can find about myself that is different from a lot of people, but not all, is my love for cats. I care for fourteen feral cats, have three indoor cats, and derive great enjoyment from their personalities and "quirks." With a few brushstrokes, I can turn an ordinary rock into a gorgeous cat. So, with that in mind how does one brand with this in mind? "Crazy Cat Lady?" I don't think so!

Some people brand around a book, but I don't want to do that. Books come and go, names stay the same.

I tossed around using "Purr-fect" Romances, or "Purrfectly" Page Turning Romances,
or my favorite: "Purr-pet-ual" Romantic. I think this fits my image since I always write an animal into each of my romances. What do you think?

I'd be interested to know what you think of branding in general. Do you have a brand?

Thanks for hanging with me!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Oldie but Goodie

Yesterday, hubby and I went to the Millersport Corn Festival. Had some great junk food and enjoyed a free concert.

Since I was raised on country music and it's still my favorite genre for fun listening, we were thrilled to see that Mel Tillis would be giving a free concert that evening. We put up our lawn chairs to stake out our spots and wandered the food booths. Settled on a Bahama Mama sandwich with a diet coke. But before taking our seats for the show, I made hubby stand in line to get some of those fair french fries. You know, the skinny kind in a round cardboard cup that you can cover with vinegar and salt? Yummy!

Great deal. They had cups for $3.00 or buckets for $5.00. Hubby said he didn't want that many so he was going to order a cup unless we wanted to share a bucket. Share??? What??? No way! I had him buy me a bucket all for moi! I must admit that I was feeling VERY STUFFED before I finished that thing, but I had to make a good showing. I ate all but a very small handful in the bottom. I told hubby I could have eaten those, too, if I had vinegar and salt, but they were bland. (They were, but that wasn't the reason I didn't finish!)

Then Mel Tillis came on stage. Couldn't believe he is actually 75!! But man can he sing. He can croon with the best of them and rock the stage as well. I was impressed, and so was hubby. All in all a great show. He was supposed to be on stage for an hour and a half. Now that surprised me! I figured maybe 45 minutes to an hour, but believe it or not, he actually continued belting out the great songs until he'd been singing for nearly two hours! Great show. And it gave me goosebumps when his last song was "How Great Thou Art" and the entire audience, which believe me was enormous all sang along. I thought there might a a couple hundred, but there had to be thousands. From one side of the stage all the way to the food court all you could see was a sea of heads.

What a wonderful vacation I'm having just hanging around home and doing local things. Tonight we are taking two grandsons to see Tecumseh, an outdoor drama with live horses, guns, and indians. They are so psyched and I can't wait to see it with the boys!

Thanks for reading!