Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cupcakes -- Good to the last Crumb

There is nothing better than starting your day with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. In searching through my photos to find something that might make you smile, I found this. Our family had gathered to celebrate a grandson's birthday at the park. One of our grandsons found the best way to eat a cupcake is to just dive right in.


I wish you many smiles and much laughter today! It's happy, it's healthy, and calorie free! Indulge.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Muse Therapy - D. D. Scott Style

I'm so pleased to have D. D. Scott join me today on my blog. D. D. Scott’s romantic comedies are all about sexy, sassy, smart, career-driven women and the men who complete them. They're a bit chick lit with a gone-country twist. She’s agented, and her series BOOTSCOOTIN' BLAHNIKS - think Sex and The City meets Urban Cowboy - is under consideration by several NY publishers.

She writes stories with big hearts and a bunch of sass. Once a small town newspaper crime reporter and now a HarperCollins Publishing Returns Center Executive Assistant, she's learned great fiction comes from the street as well as which jacket covers meet early deaths.

She's a member of Indiana RWA as well as RWA's Chick Lit Writers of the World Chapter and ScriptScene RWA. She's been featured in both Indiana RWA's and ScriptScene's chapter newsletters and been a guest blogger on Romance Writers on the Journey. She is linked to on Romancing the Blog and also has an active blog of her own on her website at

Currently, she's driving her darling hubby nuts waiting to hear whether or not she'll be providing Muse Therapy for the 2010 RT BookLovers' Convention in Columbus OH and for RWR in an article-based Muse Therapy series. (Update: Woot! Just got notified she was accepted to teach at RT Convention!!!)

For updates on her books, her sexy, sassy, smart neurotic writer’s life blog, and for a schedule of future muse therapy sessions, visit her website While there, sign-up for her mailing list for chances to win fabulous tchotchkes.

Are you all settled down and ready for a therapy session? Well, get comfortable and I'll turn to blog reins over to D. D. Scott!


Welcome to a mini blog bit of Muse Therapy – D. D. Scott style – where it’s all about injecting life into tired and/or stressed out muses.
First, a huge thank you to Carol Ann and her Inside The Writer’s Mind for inviting me to do a mini Muse Therapy Session!
I take it many of you may need a writer’s go-to-gal for your muse “disorders”. Bravo! Me too...and I’m the “therapist”! LOL!
Being Queen or King of your creative domain may require “therapy” – Muse Therapy that is!
Congratulations, though, on being at the top of the writing game. No denial. No shame. You’re in the writing business for fun, fortune and fame. Right?
Okay. Okay. At least that ideal looks and sounds fabulous on our screens. LOL!
As a Muse “Therapist”, I give writer’s fun and fabulous tools to analyze their muses’ funks, rein in their creative divas and up their page counts.
Together, we discover what makes your muses tick. What ticks them off. And what makes them dance like nobody's watching.

So if your muse is in need of a tune-up, grab a comfy couch or chair and put up your feet. You're in the right therapy session. You’ll have a terrific time conquering your creative divas and taking back the crown of your personal Muse-ville kingdom. It’s soooo good to be Queen (or King) of your creative domain.
But how do you know if you’ve been dethroned? And how do you take back your creative sovereignty? Here are a few clues. You know you need Muse Therapy When...
1. Your muses aren’t ticking. They’re ticked off.
2. Your muses are in a funk saying “up yours” instead of upping your page counts.
3. Even great sex or a new pair of shoes can’t rein in your creative divas.
4. The following sessions sound appealing:
** Unleashing Your Inner Sybil
** Writing Bi-Polar: I Suck vs. I'm a Genius
** What Do You Mean I'm Neurotic? No, I'm Not. Well, Not Exactly. But Okay...There Are Times When. Like You Need To Know That. Anyway, I Was Thinking, My Jeep Is Red
** Rorschach For Writers: I See Dead Lines
** Stimulants: When Coffee, Chocolate, and Martinis Aren't Enough
5. Your word witches are on their way to publishing Oz but the Yellow Brick Road they’re bootscootin’ on...well...the damn thing never ends!
6. Everyone says your writing is a waste of time, a “hobby” that will never “pay-off”.
7. You feel the urge, however, to tell everyone in reason six to (I’m thinking of a phrase that starts with a 4-letter-word and ends with a ‘you’, ‘off’ or ‘me’).

Here’s the scoop...the secret to upping your page count isn’t done by hurling nasty insults at your muses. Oh no. You’ve got to wine and dine those divas. Whether it’s with coffee, chocolate, fabulous finds in some chic boutique, or with what I call Muse Therapy Trips, it’s all about pampering those chicks and chucks ‘til you get out of them exactly what you want...and then some.
Let’s begin by exploring your word witches’ inner divas. Note I said “divas” plural, not singular. You may have tuned-in to the creative energies swirling in your head, but have you noticed and perhaps worried a bit because there are multiple voices shouting between your ears?
Just like Carrie Bradshaw of SEX AND THE CITY would welcome a new, potential leading man into her life with a seductive “Hello, Lover”, we’ll be seducing our new, potential leading characters to join us on our pages by saying “Hello, Sybil”.
Sybil? As in:
***Multiple personality disorder/Dissociative identity disorder, as in the character played by Sally Field in the 1976 movie which won Field an Emmy?
***Sybil, of thirteen different personalities?
***Diagnosis of a condition in which a single person exhibits multiple distinct personalities, each with its own, unique behaviors perceiving and interacting with the world around them?
YES!!! That Sybil!
Take a look at this definition from (yes...I’m not in denial that as writers, we need mental help...LOL!):
“Those with a personality disorder possess several distinct psychological features including disturbances in self-image; inability to have successful interpersonal relationships; inappropriate range of emotion, ways of perceiving themselves, others, and the world; and difficulty possessing proper impulse control. These disturbances come together to create a pervasive pattern of behavior and inner experience that is quite different from the norms of the individual’s culture and that often tend to be expressed in behaviors that appear more dramatic than what society considers usual. Therefore, those with a personality disorder experience conflicts with other people and vice-versa. There are ten different types of personality disorders that exist, which all have various emphases. Antisocial. Avoidant. Borderline. Dependent. Histrionic. Narcissistic. Obsessive-Compulsive. Paranoid. Schizoid. Schizotypal...For more information on each of these Personality Disorders, as well as other mental health topics, visit Cause mental health matters...”

You’re darn right it matters!!! Could we not substitute (Those with a need or desire to be a published writer) for (Those with a personality disorder)? LOL! I mean come on...I personally exhibit at least half of the traits in that definition! How about you?! And just ask my mental health (and his for putting up with me) matters!!!
So how do we as writers/creative Sybils take stock of all the voices/characters talking to us?
My solution? Collaging: A WIP of Your WIP
How many of you collage now? If you do...terrific! If you don’t...perhaps give it try. Let’s see if we can make this technique work for corralling your muses OR make it work better (if you’re already using it).
Visual arts always trip my muses’ triggers. Interesting though, I didn’t think of applying the collage technique to my writing process ‘til I stumbled on Jennifer Crusie’s 2003 RWR article “Picture This: Collage as Prewriting & Inspiration”. You can find the article at
Like Crusie, I panic when I’m starting a new book – but, for me, it’s a good kind of panic. I make good on the challenge of creating my next book by finding the images, words and phrases that send my muses into hyper-drive production mode.
RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and author of over 75 books in the contemporary romance genre -- including BLAME IT ON PARIS and numerous bestsellers in over 20 languages around the world - Jennifer Greene aka Alison Hart says she doesn’t have an “artistic bone” so she’s “not looking to set-up anything fancy or gorgeous the way Jennifer Crusie does.” But before she starts a book, she “sits down with a heap of old magazines” and then “just plays.”
She picks out a house for her hero and heroine. Key room decors for each. Giving herself a visual of how her characters live, the colors they live with and how that works for their characters. Anything she’d have trouble remembering later, she gets a kind of “snapshot” of. She explained further:
“I find that something that slows us down is often filling in the details as we if I have the book in mind, when I’m doing this collage – creation, I can pick up details right then. A picture of the heroine’s ‘mom and dad’. A treasure of hers. Something that typifies what her childhood was like, a picture from where she grew up.”
Jennifer puts all this on a corkboard then takes it down and “tosses it” after the book’s done. (Note: I keep my collages. I think Crusie does too.) Jennifer, however, doesn’t collage for every book, “but especially if (she’s) coming into a tough writing stretch, (she) finds it helps push the muse into gear.”
To understand my characters, I’ve got to first “see” them and their world. How do I do that? I’m a Magazine Ho! My mailman hates me! LOL! But while he’s stewing, my story is brewing thanks to the glossy-packaged images he stuffs to damn near shreds into my mailbox.
As I’m cutting, tearing and pasting these images to a foam core board, my muses are busy making sense of and connecting these fabulous fragments.
But here’s the thing. Somewhere between the collage for my last two manuscripts, my muses got overwhelmed. We’re talking complete sensory overload! Yes, they had every conceivable image they needed for my story, but they were at a loss as to how the hell sooooo many pieces fit together.
I stopped right there and put down the glue! What exactly did I have so far?
Well...I’d collaged a tad about my hero and heroine’s characterization and my Music City setting and my opening story question/hook “How can you build and run a celebrity empire with a baby on the way and paparazzi snapping away at your every success, misstep and dark secret revealed?”.
That’s it! That’s all I had on that board. Basically chapter one and two and part of three. I wasn’t overwhelmed. My mind wasn’t cluttered with fabulous, sparkling crap. My muses were relaxed and happy.
I actually heard their voices whisper between my ears “Okay, Sybil, pick out the images to finish chapter three, then show us your choices and inspirational pieces for chapter four, now we’ll help you get from one set of images to the next. We’ll use your collage as a WIP of your WIP.”
After listening to my muse squad (as you can imagine, listening isn’t one of my former strengths), I made myself a gin and tonic. Vermouth and voices. My kind of Muse Therapy! LOL! I chose my next chapter’s images as my muses instructed. I let the multiple personalities manifesting themselves with gusto in my mind show me the behaviors that would create my story plot and get my characters off their butts and benches. I unleashed my inner Sybil.
Now it’s your turn! Collage your way to your inner Sybil. Unleash the magic of your creative divas.
Get out your scissors, magazines and glue and be nice to your mailman!
You now know what makes your muses tick and what ticks them off. You’re indulging their word-producing whims.
But what if the feisty glam girls of your next bestseller are still pouting? What if they’re demanding you dig deeper to uncover their inner conflicts, make them work-it harder for your characters?
Perhaps you suffer from a few of the muse “disorders” I previously listed in the sessions that may sound appealing to you.
If any of the above has you written all over them, don’t worry. You’re among many creative goddesses battling the same devils...regardless whether or not we’re wearing Prada.
Throughout my Muse Therapy sessions, we explore each of these disorders. We divulge each disorder’s preferred behavioral manifestations then discover fabulous tricks to banish them from our writing kingdoms.
I hope to see you “in therapy” either during my online class sessions or live workshops. Check my website for dates and locations.
‘Til then...keep your muses happy. Pamper them silly. They’ll be glad you did and so will you.

Sexy, Sassy, Smart Muse Therapy Wishes --- D. D. Scott

P.S. If you post a comment and join my website mailing list and/or follow me on Twitter, you’ll be eligible to win a fabulous Muse Therapy treat!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happiness is "I Cried..."

Earlier this week, one of my favorite out of town directors, came into my office to say hi. I love chatting with her. She has a little girl, a beautiful little girl, and many funny, sweet, and endearing stories to tell. Well, that and photos. However, this time, she popped in for a different reason. She had finally had a few spare minutes to read JOSHUA'S HOPE.

"I loved it!" She sat in a chair across from my desk and clasped her hands. "I cried for little Joshua. If it had been anyone else who wrote the book, I wouldn't have continued reading, because it tugged at my heartstrings so deeply. But, I knew that you would make it have a happy ending. I loved it. I really did. And, I wanted you to know how much it touched me."

Now, what's not to love about that?

If you haven't read JOSHUA'S HOPE, you can find more info on my website.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you find something to love today!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In An Envelope of Treasures

When my mother moved in with us, she brought a bag of cards which had been given to my father over the years. Some from her, some from me or my children. I found letters written by the kids and they were so adorable.

One that really made me smile was a letter from my son. He had asked, "Do you like riddles?" He proceeded to write the riddle and off to the left side he drew a picture. The picture depicted the answer.

What is red and can walk through walls? The picture was a red ghost...a sunburned ghost?

The one that stumped me was: Why did the elephant sit on the marshmallow? He had drawn a cup with a spoon sticking out and all I could think was it had something to do with hot chocolate.

If anyone reading this knows the answer, please post it! I'd love to know.

Hope you have many reasons to smile today, and be sure and share that smile with others. How can you feel sad with a smile on your face?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Central Ohio Fiction Writers Present Readers and Writers Holiday Conference

What an exhausting weekend! The conference was a huge success!! Many authors and readers gathered together at the Holiday Inn in Worthington for the annual Readers and Writers Holiday Conference.

The evening began with a "come as you are" reception, followed by a book signing hosted by Barnes and Noble with local authors meeting, mingling, and autographing books.

Donna MacMeans, recipient of the Golden Heart Award for her debut novel, THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY, gave a workshop "Analyzing Your Way to a Bestseller" following the book signing. A CPA by day, Donna employed her analytical skills on everything from dialogue to market trends to assist her along the journey toward becoming a published author. In the workshop, she disclosed meaningful and generally humorous observations accumulated in her research.

Saturday, the conference began with our editors and agents telling a little about themselves and their houses: Stephany Evans, President of FinePrint Literary Agency; Elaine Spencer, Subrights Manager/Agent for The Knight Agency; Lori Graham, Senior Editor for The Wild Rose Press; Lindsey Faber, Editor for Samhain Publishing.

Roxanne St. Claire, Keynote Speaker, gave a humorous and inspirational speech which ended with everyone in the room wiping a tear.

After lunch, Roxanne and all the agents/editors formed a panel to interact with the attendees on "What's Hot and What's Not in Romance."

The group presented an award to Annette Fitzgerald, The Book Exchange, in Port Clinton, Ohio, for Bookseller of the Year. Karin Shah received a first sale pen for her debut novel, Starjacked, published by Samhain.

The afternoon had a choice of two separate workshops. Leanna Renee Hieber presented "Direct Your Book" using theater techniques to write the next blockbuster; and J.C. Wilder and Jules Bennett presented "Build a Hero."

Raffle baskets winners were announced amid cheers and excited shouts of joy. Among the items won were a Dell Notebook, a $100 Amazon gift certificate, and a free admission to RT Convention.

Everyone left with a happy glow and a determination to finish the next manuscript.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What's Not to Love About Books?

Ten Things I Love About Romance Books

1. They keep you company when you are alone.

2. They transport you to another world.

3. They look pretty on your bookshelf.

4. They make great gifts.

5. They can be enjoyed over and over again.

6. They can make you smile, cry, and fall in love.

7. Somce can scare the britches off you.

8. They are fun to trade and share.

9. They have a happy ending.

10. The big ones can squish spiders!!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Smiling is Healthy...

How can you keep from smiling when you see this picture?

My mother is a cat mother, like daughter. *grin* She chose to leave her beloved cats behind when she moved in with us because they were older cats and she feared they wouldn't make the trip. I worried about her leaving them behind, and she had a lot of moments when she teared up and I'm sure she cried in private. But, our three cats have given her a lot of happiness. They've adopted her and now they spend more time with her than with us. Templeton waits patiently on her walker for her to "give him a ride" each day.

I hope I've given you a smile with my picture today. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 14, 2009

In July, I attended the RWA National Conference in Washington, D.C. Being my very first national conference, I didn't quite know what to expect. No one could have prepared me for the experience!

I thumbed through the conference program with my mouth wide open reading about all the fantastic workshops! How could I attend all of them? Or even all of the ones I really wanted to absorb? Honestly, I can't even tell you how many times I changed my mind. I fell asleep the night before, tossing and turning, and mentally making more changes. **sigh**

What can I say? I went to back to back workshops and at the end of the day headed to my room with everything spinning around in my head. I took notes...but I'm not good at it.

On my long drive home, I couldn't remember much of anything, and even worried that the whole experience had been too intense and not worth the expenditure, especially since I wasn't pitching anything.

Before I left though, I stopped at the recording table and ordered the full set of conference tapes. They arrived just a week ago. Three cd's full of so many workshops it would take me a month to listen to all of them! I put in the first disk and chose a workshop which sounded good, one I hadn't attended. Without the distraction of sitting in a room full of people, and with a tired mind, the workshop fueled my creativity. I am looking forward to learning more about the craft and tools to help my problem areas through the various workshops in the comfort and quiet of my own office.

In future, even if I do attend Nationals, I won't stress about attending so many workshops. Instead I will enjoy the experience knowing I can bring all the workshops home with me.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fall Contest - My Cup Runneth Over

A group of White Rose Publishing authors, myself included, have decided to hold a contest to give away free books. The contest began on Saturday, September 12 and runs through Saturday, October 31st. Each week we'll be giving away a free book and everyone who enters has a chance to win. At the end of the contest, all entrants will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing for a lot more books and more.

Check it out at our White Roses in Bloom blog.

I'm proud to be a White Rose Publishing author. Our books are full of heart, wonderful characters, adventure, suspense, and coping with real life situations. All the books offered are sure to please readers who love character based romance.

Check us out!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Writing in Circles

I have known writers who work on one manuscript for years. They write, edit, revise, edit, revise, edit...a neverending cycle.

Sadly, most first manuscripts never get published. Writing is a learning process...a continual learning process. In order to improve the craft, a writer must write new material--each and every day.

Don't get caught up in perfection. Nothing is ever perfect. All you can do is your very best. Make sure you have no plot holes. Rewrite passive sentences to make them active. Use deep POV when possible. Check for spelling errors. Once you have done all this, then it is time to submit...and write the next book.

Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Scavenger Hunt for Free Books

Do you like to read? Want to win free books and more? Check out the White Roses in Bloom blog on Saturday for full details.

Sixteen authors, including me, will be hiding a beautiful mug somewhere on our blog or website. We'll give you the list of sites. All you have to do is find the different colored mugs and submit your answers to be included in the drawing for free prizes. Check out the details on Saturday, September 12, at White Roses in Bloom.

I've been so busy over the past week or so that I hadn't written any new pages for my manuscript. Yesterday, I entered the fictional world of my characters. What a blessing! It's amazing how I lose all track of time and place when I walk in my characters shoes. This transformation is rewarding. Nothing makes me more sure that I was meant to write than moments like this.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Today is a bad day with the headache. Yesterday it started again and it hasn't really let up yet. I'll be glad to find out next Monday what the CT scan shows. I'm pretty sure it's just sinus infection, one that won't let go. I hate drugs, but at this point, I'd be happy to receive something to give me relief. The headaches aren't constant. Instead they come and go, come and go. Sometimes behind my eyes, sometimes at the base of my skull, sometimes on top of my head, but never across my forehead. Weird, huh?

Maybe stress is causing it.

I hope you all have a wonderful day. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Spontaneous...That's My Family

What a spectacular weekend. I took Friday off work which gave me a nice long four day weekend. Saturday our son planned to get married in our yard, so I wanted a little time to prepare. Imagine my surprise to get a phone call from my brother telling me he was on the way to our house and would arrive before I got off work!! I haven't seen my brother in nearly five years. He was in Indianapolis with the race car crew and they told him to take the rental car and come visit since we were only 3 hours away. Woo hoo!!

I love my brother soooo much. We're like the true yin and yang. He's so much fun, keeps everyone laughing and is one of the most patient and loving people in my life. He's overcome a lot and is my hero.

We had a wonderful time visiting and running around looking for a Harley Davidson shirt from the area. Yeah, he's a bike man, but trust me...he's just a little bitty guy. I tease him all the time about being a little pipsqueak. I think his biker friends call him buzzard bait. LOL!

Saturday the wedding was set to take place at 12:30 pm in our back yard. While we were setting up the reception at the church, we decided to have the wedding at the church in the gorgeous prayer garden. Good thing it was only family. We made some quick phone calls. At 12:25 one daughter and her hubby still hadn't shown up and they were not answering their cell phones. So, my brother and I headed back to my house and...yep, they were waiting in the back yard wondering why no one had shown up yet. LOL! We got back to the church and were getting ready to move the wedding party to the garden when another family member from out of town that we hadn't known was coming actually found us at the church! He'd been to our house, too. Yep, we have a very crazy family and we operate on spontaneity!

The wedding was beautiful, and I know have a wonderful new daughter-in-law. My brother headed back to Indianapolis at 8PM on Saturday evening.

My Brother and Me

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

When All IWant to Do is Go Back To Sleep...

...but I have to get moving and go to work, there is only one thing for me to do. Read my horoscope. My horoscope for today:

New ideas are coming your way today -- maybe too many of them! It's a really good time to take a break from your preconceptions and see if you can get a jump on the next big thing.

I sure hope this applies to my writing, not my job, although I am ready to move one. Just four more months.

Thanks for stopping by!