Monday, May 31, 2010

Some Gave All

I'm thinking: The lawn and flowers are grateful for the rainy day.

What I'm Reading: Cup of Joe, by Teri Wilson

Picture for the Day:

Thank you to all the brave men and women who served and are now serving in the military. Because of you, I can sit at my computer and be proud to honor you. Without all of you, my life might have been totally different. God bless you!

My father was killed in World War II when I was just a baby. I never had the chance to meet him except through letters he wrote, which my mother gave me a few years ago. The picture above is of the man she later married, who became my father when I was seven years old.

My husband served in the military, as well as my brother, my step-son and my grandson. Today is a day to honor the brave men and women who committed to give their lives to protect ours. Some gave all.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Writing for Kindle

Thought for the Day: Friends are blessings

What I'm Reading: Cup of Joe, by Teri Wilson

Picture of the Day:

I'm working on revising my book, Hit and Run, and converting it to be read on a Kindle e-reader. One of the things I need to do is make my own book cover. Since the book is set in Tennessee, I'm planning on using one of many pictures I've taken over the years while vacationing in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Revising the book is fun. I haven't read any of my books after they were published. So, reading this one was my first experience. I found a few places that needed altered, but now I'm upping the tension and adding layers to make it an inspirational read. I'm hoping through this project, I'll learn to love revising manuscripts which haven't yet been sent to publishers.

I have another book, Foxfire, which I've also received the rights back on and it will be next. This one is deeply set in Tennessee, so finding the perfect picture for the cover will also be a lot of fun.

Browsing through old pictures brings back so many happy memories.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Decision -- A Laughing Matter

Today's word: Decide -- To arrive at a solution that ends uncertainty or dispute about; to bring to a definitive end; to induce to come to a choice; to make a choice or judgment.

What I'm Reading: Cup of Joe, by Teri Wilson

Picture of the Day:

I've been tossing around the meaning of decision this morning, so when I came cross this picture I took of my daughter's cat, I just had to post it. Why? Because so many times I have to laugh at the results of decisions I've made.

Making a decision does not mean a thing without action. A person can decide to perform an act, but without acting, the decision is meaningless. I can get up in the morning and decide to lose weight and go on an exercise regime. But unless I take positive steps to do that, my decision is like a leaf blowing away in the wind.

Likewise, I can make a decision to write. I can make the decision more clear by adding a page count, or word count, or time limit. But, unless I actually follow through, what good came from making that decision?

A clear example are New Year's Resolutions that are broken a few days into the year, or time-line established goals that are never fulfilled.

So, next time you make a decision, think further. Think about the laughing cat. Think about that finished product you've made a decision about. And, take it one step further. Take action on that decision!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Beautiful Sunset

Worry of the Day:  I'm getting my hair permed at 9:30.

What I'm Reading: Teacher's Plans, by JoAnn Carter

Picture of the Day:

I took this picture in Muskegon Michigan one evening as we watched the boats come through the canal to the marina.  I've always loved visiting this area, especially since hubby's relatives live in areas nearby. There's just something peaceful about the scene. It has inspired me to write a scene in my book.

Pictures are a great source of inspiration, especially personal photos. Why? Because you can attribute the meaningful emotions to them through experience. Get into the moment and write down what you felt at that particular time. Close your eyes and relive the time. Now go to your character who is experiencing the same thing and write it. You'll be utilizing "show" without even thinking about it!  This, dear friends, is what is meant by write what you know.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Make a Face to Chase Away the Blahs

What's on My Mind: Lunch today with my very best friend

What I'm Reading: Teacher's Plans by JoAnn Carter

Picture of the Day: Making faces with the grandkids

Don't you just love having fun with children? I love my grandkids, especially when they are young enough to want to act silly with me. On Mother's Day, I had so much fun playing with the kids. They can tire me out, especially the boys who want to wrestle with me like they do their dad. My poor body doesn't do well with rolling on the floor any longer.

I absolutely love being creatively silly. I remember having so much fun with my girls when they were growing up. And even after they were grown. A few years ago, my daughter (who has kids of her own) wanted to have a Build-a-Bear birthday. So, her friend, her sisters and I all went to Build-a-Bear after work. We had sooooo much fun and laughed so hard. I really thought we were going to be asked to leave and never come back.

My girls reminded me not long ago about the song I made up when they were complaining about an English teacher whose last name was Twynam. It went something like this:

Oh, twine 'em round your fingers, and twine 'em round your toes. Twine 'em round your shoulders and twine 'em up your nose!

Once when my youngest daughter was having a grumpy fit, I started singing the Star Spangled Banner and running around the kitchen opening and slamming the cabinet doors in time with the beats. Needless to say, she had to laugh.

Laughter is so good for the soul. It can chase away the blues, energize the system, and make the complexion glow. I don't plan to ever get to be a serious, frumpy old lady. I want to laugh and be silly and have fun until the day God calls me home.

I hope you take the chance to laugh whenever you can! Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Today's Question: "Why did my favorite outdoor cat just urinate on my window screen?"

If you look behind the arbor, you can see the lower level windows almost at ground level. My office is on the other side of the front door, and the flower garden extends completely across the front of the house. So, this morning, I'm sitting here looking out the window and thinking about what I'll blog about. And suddenly, Little Britches, my favorite outdoor cat backed up to the window and just...well sprayed!! How disrespectful!  *sigh*

This is the little cat that meets me at the top of the landing every morning and refuses to move from between my ankles while I'm walking down the stairs. He loves being petted and he loves me. Um, or so I thought.

Now, I'll have to go outside and turn on the hose and clean the screen. Suddenly I don't feel like blogging.

What I'm reading: Teacher's Plans, by JoAnn Carter

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm a Turtle...

Quote for the Day: I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~ Elmore Leonard

What I'm Reading: Teacher's Plans by JoAnn Carter

Picture of the Day:

This is one of the rocks I painted. When I paint a rock, I look at it and envision the creature inside. This one clearly spoke to me. No dallying around. Just..."look, I'm a turtle waiting for you to bring me to life." So I did.

That's what writing is like for me as well. I envision a character in a setting and then I'm magically inside his or her head. I know what mood they're in, what they are thinking, what is troubling them. From there my story becomes clear.

When I read, I don't want to read all the details that detract from the action of the story. I'm one of those "Give me the facts and cut to the chase" kind of readers. I guess I'm like that in real life as well. I told you how my hubby can draw out a story, going off in tangents that have nothing at all to do with the punch line. So, when I'm reading and run into a bunch of words that are meaningless detail or description, I pull my head into my shell. I hated history in school. There were way too many boring dates and things that to me were meaningless. Hmm. Maybe that's why I don't write historicals!

And, since I like fast moving stories that suck me into the pages, maybe that's why I write romantic suspense. My books are full of dialogue and action. They are character driven. I admit it...I'm plot challenged. I can't sit and plot out my story. If I do that, I can't write. I allow my characters to draw me in and lead me through their life. I love it. I never know what's going to happen next. I know the basics, but the exciting things I discover on the journey of writing. And, I do try to leave out the parts that people skip.

The reviews on Amazon for Joshua's Hope all seem to reflect that I've succeeded in my goal. If you haven't yet read Joshua's Hope, hop over to Amazon and read the reviews. Maybe you'll be tempted to find out what happens in the journey of a stepmother who needs to save her son--at any cost. Read Reviews.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reading, Writing, and Mingling...Oh, My!!!!

Today's Quote: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit. ~ Aristotle

What I'm Reading: Teacher's Plans by JoAnn Carter

News: I have uploaded children's stories to my Free Reads page on my website.

Picture of the Day:
The above picture shows the COFW members who attended Lori Foster's Readers and Authors Get Together three years ago. This event allows readers and authors to spend a day mingling and chatting and just having a great time! It's a laid-back event with lots of basket raffles, good food, and a ton of laughter and new friendships formed. And, the best part is that you don't have to mortgage your home to attend.  : ) This year's event begins on Friday June 4th and ends on Sunday June 6th. However, if you live in Ohio and don't want to stay overnight, consider driving in on Saturday morning and leaving after the booksigning. : )

Being a very shy person, it is hard for me to "mingle" with people I don't know. However, once I became a published author, I had to learn how to speak with strangers without having my teeth perpetually stuck to my lips. One of the first events I attended was Lori Foster's. What a wonderful experience. I'm so glad I ventured outside my "comfort zone." It allowed me some experience in talking about myself and my books. Since then, I've participated in writing panels at libraries, book signings at various events, and I've even learned to do some promoting when the opportunity presents itself at the grocery store!

I will never be the salesperson or social butterfly that my counterparts are, but I'm working on it. So, instead of staying cooped up in my writing zone, I'm venturing out. My goal is to make that a habit. : )

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Synopsis Epiphany

Quote for the Day: Greater happiness comes with simplicity than with complexity. ~ Buddha

News:  There are two free reads available on my blog. These are previously published short stories for which I have received back the rights.

What I'm Reading: Daniella, by JoAnn Carter

 Picture of the day:
The one thing my hubby loves more than eating is talking. The main problem is he can drag out a story forever. If he is recounting the tale of someone pulling in front of him and cutting him off, he includes what time he left the house, which route he took, how many stoplights he encountered and what sights he saw along the way. All this before he gets around to telling me what actually happened.

My patience is not as good as it should be because I've tuned him out way before he gets to the good stuff. That got me to thinking about writing a synopsis, the one thing I truly dread to  write. To me, everything that happens in the book is important. It's all vital to the plot and to what happens. Unfortunately, an editor isn't interested in all that extraneous stuff. They want to cut to the chase. Give them the stuff that really matters.

In my husband's case, if he simply told me that someone in a red pickup truck cut him off and nearly caused an accident, that would tell me everything I need to know.

So, in the future when I'm writing a synopsis, I plan to remember the way my husband tells a story and cut out the unimportant stuff!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Unicycles, Rubber Boats, and Free Reads!!! Yes, FREE!!

Quote for the Day: Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes. ~ Oscar Wilde

What I'm Reading: Daniella by JoAnn Carter

News:  My new website is live! I am so excited about the new look. And, I'll be adding some free reads very soon. Be sure to stop by and grab a few!

Picture of the Day:

I purchased a rubber boat for my hubby for Christmas about 12 years ago. He loved to go fishing, and I thought a rubber boat would be something he could enjoy and be able to handle by himself. WRONG! It took about six years for him to decide to take it out, but he decided after that "experience" he couldn't handle it alone. The battery for the trolling motor was heavy. The boat itself, with the wooden floor and seat which he built was HEAVY. However, he assured me the boat would easily accommodate both of us. So, one weekend, about three years ago, I took pity on him and decided to give it a whirl...or should I say float. I gathered up my book and supplies and off we went to a nearby fishing lake. After the boat was finally floating in the water, he told me to get in. Um, okay. I had to wade into that murky water and climb (um, fall) into the bouncy boat. Room for both? Ha! Hubby sat quite nicely on his seat while I had to scrunch myself into the other end hanging my legs over the edge and well, you can see the result. Hard to read that book I'd taken along. I called this a mistake on my part, but Oscar Wilde would call it experience.

My youngest daughter learned to ride a unicycle by holding onto hubby's van to launch herself. She fell so many times, bruised and scraped her knees, cried, and continued to get back on and try again. She made mistakes along the way, but ultimately she gained experience that led to success.

Such is the life of the writer. We gain experience by submitting our manuscripts to editors, agents, and publishers. Even though we receive rejections, we cannot look on our work as a mistake. We have gained experience by writing and submitting. And we will gain contracts by continuing on the same path.

Thanks for visiting today!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stop Looking Over My Shoulder!!

Quote for the Day: You must be unintimidated by your own thoughts because if you write with someone looking over your shoulder, you'll never write. ~ Nikki Giovanni

What I'm Reading: The Inheritance by Pamela Thibodeaux

Picture for the Day:

My talented hubby built this wishing well for our church prayer garden in memory of one of our friends who passed away unexpectedly. My hubby does not use patterns. He designs in his head and then created with his hands. I do not look over his shoulder while he's working, but I check in on his progress which makes him very happy. He loves to explain and he can look at the unfinished work and visualize the wonderful finished product.

When I write, I don't like anyone checking in with me. It makes me uncomfortable. And interruptions pull me out of the story and it's hard to get back in. I need quiet and solitude to perfect my craft of writing. Sometimes my inner critic comes to call and if I allow that voice to continue whispering in my head, I'm apt to just walk away and give up. So, I've learned to push that voice out of the way and not allow it to take control. Some days that's harder than others!

Before my mother passed away, she would let me read my finished chapter to her aloud. She loved having someone read to her, and I've found reading aloud is the easiest way to spot problems with sentence structure, cadence, and dialogue believability. I miss her. Somehow reading aloud to myself just isn't the same.

So, how do you handle your inner critic looking over your shoulder? Do you have any unique ways of handling interruptions? Do you read your work aloud to anyone?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yes, YES, YES!!!!!!!!

Quote for the Day: Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thus, my subject title was filled with enthusiasm!!

What I'm reading: The Inheritance by Pamela Thibodeaux

News for the Day:  Next week, my website will have a brand new look!

Today's Picture: Feeding the Ferals

Today is the monthly meeting for Central Ohio Fiction Writers (COFW). We meet in local libraries each month. Our group has grown to nearly 100 writers! When I first began writing in 2001, I thought I was the only person in the area who sought such an elusive career. I believe most writers start in a vacuum. It's a lonely venture, because writers need time away from the world to become creative and weave words into vast worlds of adventure.

When I learned about Romance Writers of America and then the sub chapters, one being COFW, I was so excited! Imagine! I could hook up with other people crazy enough to be writing. Becoming a member of a writing group is essential to a budding author. The bonding with other like souls is priceless. And, with the diverse group, there is endless information to be gained...and support. Support is the best thing we can find for ourselves in every walk of life, but an integral need for a writer.

Friends and family don't get it. They know you write and what they ask, if you aren't yet published, is "Is your book published yet?" And if you are already published, the question is "When is your next book coming out?" How do you explain the publishing business to someone who doesn't have a clue? Trust me, it's hard. So, you need the support of other writers who suffer the same thing. Commisseration is priceless. When I leave our writing meetings, I'm so pumped up that I can't wait to get home and sit at the computer.

So, I'm off to do what I love to do...with enthusiasm, just as Ralph Waldo Emerson said.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 14, 2010

What in the World is That?

Yesterday I went out to check the grape vines hubby planted to grow on the arbor over our backyard swing. Look baby grapes!!! Aren't they cute? There are a lot of them, too. Last year we had one tiny little bunch, but this year looks like we'll have a great crop.

We've been talking about filling in the pond because it is just too much work to maintain. But yesterday, I caught this picture of the water lillies in bloom and the fish swimming around it. You can see the baby's breath, which is now in bloom.

I caught this beautiful rosebud on the knockout rose bush. Our kockout roses are really gorgeous this year, too. I think the rain and early warm weather have had a significant impact on all our garden flora. I love this picture with the moisture from the earlier rain clinging to the leaves.

Remember the beautiful wisteria? Well, sad to say all the blooms are gone now. Here is what it looks like now.

We had to turn on the air conditioner last night, much earlier than ever before. All day, we had been promised severe storms and the humidity rose so high that we were miserable by bedtime, so I turned on the air. I haven't ventured out yet to see what today brings, but again there is a threat of rain. Rain I can handle, but the humidity is a killer.

Hope you have a wonderful day. Thanks for stopping by and touring my back yard.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dreams and Castles in the Sky

Today I'm thinking of how much different my life is in reality than what I'd dreamed of as a child. Remember when you sat beneath a tree and let your mind wander to all the glorious things the future would hold? Remember wishing you could be a Princess or a Prince? Even today, sometimes I close my eyes and imagine a different future. I believe that's why romance is and always has been a great selling genre. People want to escape into a fantasy world where there is a happily ever after. Here's a poem I wrote a few years ago about the difference between our dreams and reality.

I dreamed of castles in the sky,
Gleaming turrets standing high.
Protected by a prince so fair,
Deep blue eyes and golden hair.
We'd ride on steeds across the lands,
And walk through fields while holding hands.
I never dreamed of endless chores,
I only dreamed of distant shores.
I never dreamed of baby cries,
I only dreamed of crystal skies.
I never dreamed of sleepless nights,
I only dreamed of soaring flights.
I never dreamed of growing old,
Of aches and pains, of chilling cold.
But we build our castles, you and I,
Upon the ground, not in the sky.
Thank you for stopping by today!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More, Better, Bigger...

I woke to another cloudy day, but looking out my office window I see one perfect beautiful red rosebud. Just beyond that I see buds on the orange rosebush. Wow. There is no flower more beautiful than a rose, just opening its petals to the world. It's amazing how fast all the plants have grown with the rain and warm weather. Our Hostas are huge. It seemed one morning the leaves were just poking from the soil and two days later they were growing so fast I could almost see it!

While sifting through some old pictures, I got lost in how quickly my children have grown. From tiny babies with fat chubby bellies to beautiful grown women and men. Time passes so quickly and so many times we fail to grasp the special moments in our lives. When I gaze at the pictures of my ancestors I try to picture what was going on in their minds at the time. The clothing was different, the hairstyles were different, even the poses were different. Yet, I believe their thoughts were the same as ours are today. The world around us changes with the times, but people remain the same. Inside we are all fragile.

I have always had a fascination with the life of the Native American Indians. They lived a different lifestyle. No, I'm not talking about living in tents, but more about the respect they had for our land and for their own. Their elders were respected and revered. In our world today, people toss trash from their car windows with no respect for the land. Old people struggle to get health care and medication, and are forgotten by the families they raised.

Sometimes changes in the world are not for the better. We forget about people in our quest for more, better, bigger...

And, on that word, I think I'll stop. Thanks for visiting today!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Newly Opened Rainy Day Door

Thought for the day:  When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. ~~Alexander Graham Bell

I had planned to mow the lawn today. But when I awoke I found no sunshine...only rain.

Today is a perfect day for writing. The sky is overcast, making the landscape dark and dreary. Rain is falling, nourishing the flowers, bushes, trees, and, and weeds.

Although I heard thunder earlier, now it appears this is just going to be a nice rainy day.

So, I plan to fire up the laptop and get lost in writing today. The weather is perfect for getting into my heroine Amy's state of mind.

When I started writing this novel, Amy didn't have a child. Around page 62, I decided the plot would work much better if I added in this extra layer of conflict. So, I've edited the pages, adding in her little girl, Megan. The only problem is, I already have another little girl in the story. Jenny is two years older than Megan. Keeping both of the girls active in the scenes is proving to be a real challenge. But, I'm looking forward to making it work. My goal is to write a new chapter today. Why not? If I go outside, I just might melt!!

I'm not going to look back at the closed door, but walk boldly through the newly opened one.

Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 10, 2010

What a Morning...Calgon Take me Away

Well, it's been an exciting morning. We woke to hubby's oxygen concentrator alarm. I thought it was the water bottle (which provides humidity in the lines) since it was low. I shut off the unit, filled the bottle, but then the alarm light started flashing. We tried all the troubleshooting suggestions, but it continues to flash. The supplier is sending out a new unit today.

I'm a little behind in doing all my morning chores! Poor outdoor kitties must think they aren't getting fed today.   *grin*

I took the weekend off of writing, but since it's Monday, I must get my word count in. The weather isn't nice enough to sit outside on the deck, so that's a bummer. But I may take my laptop upstairs for a change of scenery.

Egads! Hubby just called and the alarm was going off on the concentrator. I shut it off and hooked him up to his emergency tank, but then it wasn't working. Finally, found the problem. Whew. He is now getting oxygen again.

I think I've had enough emergencies for the day.  Now to go get dressed and feed those cats...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day...Moments in Time

Happy Mother's Day!!!!

I thought I'd share a poem I wrote when my youngest daughter had her first baby.

Moments in Time, I Remember

Ten little fingers,
And ten little toes,
A little cherub face,
With a little scabbed nose!

Always a blanket,
You kept at your side,
I bought you a new one,
When at daycare you cried!

Climbing the apple tree,
Against Mommy's rule,
Your dog bit your savior,
Now that wasn't cool!

From pierced ears to braces,
Your dimples stayed true,
From playing the flute,
To track running, too!

Riding the unicycle,
On hot summer days,
Keeping us laughing,
With your funny ways!

High school and homecoming,
Wrecking the car,
Blue jeans and prom dresses,
Following your star.

Graduation and modeling,
"Borrowing" my clothes,
From baby to woman,
How fast the time goes!

"Mom will you make me,
A white satin gown?"
"Pearls and lace,
And a veil for my crown?"

These things I remember,
And memories hold dear,
Smiling, and laughing,
And shedding a tear.

And now, you're a mother,
A new page begins,
In the circle of life,
Mother, daughter, friends!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Do You Have an Amazon Account?

If any of my readers have read JOSHUA'S HOPE and have an account at Amazon, would you please write a review on Amazon for me?

And, if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for? You can purchase it from my publisher, White Rose Publishing. The link is on my website. Or you can go to and search for the title, or by my name.

One of the ladies at my church purchased the book on Monday and on Tuesday morning she contacted me to say how much she loved the book. She started reading on Monday and couldn't wait to wake up on Tuesday to finish it. She said I should have issued a tissue alert with the book.  It really makes all the pain of writing worth the effort when you receive positive feedback.

Now, I've got to get these two manuscripts I'm working on finished and into the hands of my publisher.  : )

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Is the World Your Trash Can?

I'm so upset. What is with all these people tossing trash out their car windows? Don't they own trash cans, or do they believe the world is their trash can?

I remember when litter was a huge problem, and signs started being posted that people would be fined for littering. I remember the commercials where a stately native american cried over the polluted earth. Eventually, the world became a cleaner place in which to live. But, something happened over the past few years. The signs disappeared, the commercials disappeared, and the world became infested with inconsiderate litterers with driver's licenses.

Come on, people! Wake up! Don't you have a trash can at home? Dispose of your trash in your own yard.

Excuse me, I'm going to take my blood pressure pill now.  Thanks for stopping by today and listening to me vent.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Ah, If Only...

I've been sitting at this computer for an hour and forty-five minutes trying to get caught up on all my obligations. I had promised a critique to a friend who is entering a contest, so I had to write that and send it off. Then came emails. Lots of emails because of the RWA conference changing from Nashville to Orlando. That means I can't go as planned because it isn't in driving distance. RWA board did a fantastic job of relocating and keeping the same dates. All this was accomplished in just a few short days! Miraculous! I'd love to go to Orlando. I have so many fond memories of the last time hubby and I stayed at a Walt Disney resort. We had a blast. I've always dreamed of going back, but alas, with hubby's health he can't travel any longer. I could leave him for a few days, but there is no way I will fly. Well, I can't flap my arms and soar on air currents, but I mean I won't utilize an airline to transport me. I used to fly all the time in a previous job and I didn't like it then. Now that I don't have to fly, I'm not going to put myself through that. Driving for two days is not my cup of tea. That's too long on the road. I guess I've become a home body. I love my home, my yard, my hubby, my pets...I have no desire to leave the comfort of "my little world."

When our life circumstances change, it's hard to not long to do things we can no longer do. But, if we look for the beauty in what we do have, we make our own happiness or depression. I prefer happiness. I look outside at the sunshine, the beautiful green grass and trees, growing flowers, and neighbor's homes, and I realize I have everything that I need. Thank you, Lord, for your blessings.

Now, I still have a lot of obligations to tend to...

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Warm, Fuzzy Alarm Clocks and Good Things

I woke up at 6:30am this morning, thanks to my alarm clock cat who refused to go into sleep mode. But, after dragging my body out from under the bed covers, I'm glad to be up. The sun is shining and the world is a beautiful place. I really don't want to waste the daylight hours in sleep.

Today I have a busy day. I'm entertaining the Board for my writing group at noon. We have a lot to discuss, so it'll be nicer to sit on the deck and enjoy the weather while we eat and make decisions. Tonight is bible study and since it's the last night, we are having a pot luck with pizza, salads, and desserts. Pig out time!

I suppose it's a good thing that I've been running up and down the stairs so much the past couple of days.

On Writing:

I've been working with a new writer who has a great voice and really knows her characters. However, like a lot of new writers, she has a problem with POV (point of view). At one time, it was okay to do some head-hopping, but in today's literary world, not. The first thing an agent or editor will ding a writer on is incorrect usage of POV.

I woke up thinking about why writers head-hop when they begin writing. I did it, and so has most everyone else I've spoken with. Stepping back, my take is that the author knows his/her characters so well, that they know what they are thinking and what they are doing during every second of the scene. They are in each character's head so deeply that it is easy to write in both POV's. Is this a bad thing?

Not really. A good book is only as good as its characters. Story is driven by the characters, their thoughts, reactions, and actions. So, this is a good thing. The trick is to learn which character's POV is the one to stick with for a scene. Choose the character who has to most to lose or gain from the scene. Then show the other characters thoughts and emotions through their actions. Once this is accomplished, you'll have a winning story that will meet the editor/agents criteria for a great read.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Talking to Goldfish?????

I've always known my hubby has a soft spot for animals, especially cats. When he took early retirement, he spent most of his days with only the cats for company. Consequently, you can hear him say things like "Templeton, are you Daddy's little boy?" The cat responds with a quick "Meow." They carry on quite a conversation. Now that I'm home, I've experienced their long conversations, and I swear the cat understands him. : )

However, the other morning I had a shock. Hubby had discovered the fish tank water elevated. Somehow, the heater had gotten turned up (those pesky fish), so he needed to get it under control. These fish (which I call goldfish with fancy tails) have a special name. My hubby is quick to correct anyone who asks if they are goldfish. These fish are huge! We had one die not too long ago and it barely fit in the net. But I digress. Hubby stuck his hand into the water and one of the fish came up and nibbled on it. When this happens, he is elated. He thinks he's tamed them or something. So I said, "Well, they are hungry and wanted to take a little bite."  I went about my business and then heard, "You are Daddy's little babies. Poor little babies. Daddy will fix the water for you. Come on, come give Daddy's finger a kiss."

Ack!!!!  If the fish ever start talking back, I'm moving out. I believe he thinks he's Daddy Doolittle.

Have a great day! Thanks for stopping by. 

Monday, May 03, 2010

A Sneak Peek at My New Novel, Trapped

Here is an excerpt from TRAPPED, my latest novel. Would love to hear comments.


Rotten people. Rotten rain. Rotten day.

Jake Taylor’s day had started out bad and hadn’t improved. If he’d been a half-hour earlier, he could have saved the dog’s life. Poor thing suffered for a long time before Jake happened along. His heart cracked a little. This mountainous road left little chance of survival for the animals dumped by uncaring humans. Rotten people.

His sweat-dampened shirt clung to his chest when he climbed back into his vehicle. He started the truck and the blast of air conditioning raised goosebumps across his shoulders. Dark storm clouds had turned the late afternoon sky into night. No way would he make it home before the downpour started. No sooner had he thought it than the torrent pummeled his vehicle. He hunched over the steering wheel to see better. The slapping windshield wipers did little to clear his view. He’d had his fill of this wretched weather, too. Rotten rain.

Rotten day. First, his sister, Becca, had harped at him for giving her daughter, Jenny, a puppy. He wanted to give the last of the litter to his niece. She’d been bugging him for weeks to have the fat little black and white furball. How could he resist her sweet dimples and big blue eyes? He told Becca he’d help with housebreaking and training, though he didn’t understand why it should be a problem. The puppy would have plenty of room to run around in their huge yard, and every child needed a pet. It taught responsibility, something he wished the scumbags who abandoned their pets had learned when they were kids. That wasn’t the main contributor to his mood, though. He knew he could win Becca over.

He rubbed the back of his neck. He had to make a decision soon. Shelley wanted Jake to make a commitment. He liked her, maybe even loved her, but he wasn’t in love with her. They’d been friends for years. But, Havens Creek didn’t offer many opportunities for romance. He’d either have to marry her, or live his life as a bachelor. Neither choice seemed right. He wanted kids of his own. Someone to love and take care of. He couldn’t spend the rest of his life with only the animals he rescued for company. Another problem. Shelley couldn’t abide his tolerance for pet hair. She believed animals belonged outside. He, on the other hand, enjoyed sharing his home with the poor creatures who’d known nothing but abuse until they came to live with him.

Dolly, the orange tabby with the loud voice, could maneuver around his house with ease, despite having lost her eyesight. His stomach rode a roller coaster thinking about the pain she endured as a result of someone shoving a pointed object through both of her eyes. Yet, she retained the ability to love. Every night she curled next to him on the bed and purred contentedly until they both fell asleep.

Tires squealed as he rounded another curve. With the rain, it was a good thing he knew the road so well. Anxious to get home, he drove a little faster than normal. A hot shower and a meal would lighten his mood. So would Buck, the yellow lab who’d be sprawled across the foot of Jake’s bed right now. The dog never jumped on the bed when Jake was home, but the telltale hair trail told the story of what happened while Jake patrolled the county roads. He didn’t care. In his opinion, the three-legged dog deserved a little comfort in his life. “Steaks tonight, Buck,” he said, as if the dog could hear him. “And a can of tuna for Dolly.” They all deserved a treat. Maybe it would help relieve the pain he felt from finding the dead dog. A good meal, a friendly tail wagging, a purring cat weaving figure eights between his legs. Home. The picture melded on his mind.

His headlights speared on the sign depicting the sharpest set of curves along this stretch. Slowing slightly, he reached for the radio knob. Static filled the vehicle. Would nothing go right this day? He needed music, sound—something to take his mind off the rain. He popped in a CD, taking his eyes from the road for a moment.

Suddenly, headlights speared through the rainfall from the opposite direction.

He yanked the wheel to avoid a collision. Heart hammering against his ribs, he felt the bump when his vehicle clipped the other car. He stomped hard on the brake pedal. The wet pavement proved to be too much, and his truck spun one-eighty. He spied the other car spinning in front of him, and then his throat tightened as the vehicle slid off the road and down the mountain. Lights flashed, metal crashed, and then silence scratched fingernails down the chalkboard of his soul.

He rested his head against his trembling hands, sickness churning in his gut. “Oh, God, help me.” He pried his hands from the death grip on the wheel and reacting on training, he called for an ambulance. Seconds later, he placed flares in the road. If only he could hear something…anything from the wreckage below. “God, please protect whoever is in that car.” The sound of his voice brought little comfort.

He moved his truck as close to the berm as possible, grabbed his flashlight, and began the tedious descent down the mountain. The car had lodged against a stand of trees. The skewed hood had popped open, and though all four tires appeared flat, the car had come to rest upright. Thank God. He beamed the light over the wreckage with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He couldn’t see clearly through the splintered glass, but it appeared the driver was female. Long dark hair hung over one shoulder, obscuring features.

“Hey, you all right?” he asked, tapping lightly on the door.

No response. The woman didn’t move. He wasn’t sure if she was unconscious or…dead. The driver door hugged the tree, making it impossible for him to get inside that way. He wiped the rain from his eyes with his soaked shirt sleeve. Where was that ambulance? And his deputy? He needed help, and he needed it fast.

He turned off his light, placed it on the ground by his feet and began tugging on the back door. Metal groaned and his muscles screamed, but finally he created an opening large enough to stuff his body through. This was one time he wished he’d inherited his mother’s diminutive frame instead of receiving the genes from his dad’s pool. He ignored the pain in his shoulder and forced his way inside the car. The front seat had shifted back, leaving little room for his long legs.

Then he caught sight of the carseat...