Monday, November 30, 2015

Cyber Monday

Do you do your Christmas shopping online? I know I do. I've always hated shopping, to the shock and amazement of some of my male friends. Yes, there are times when it is necessary to step inside a store to buy things, but those occasions are few and far between.

Begin the sales pitch.  Ahem....

To add to your cyber shopping fun, now that the Mist trilogy is completed, I've bundled them all together in one neat package. So if you're behind and want to catch up, or if you just want them all in one place, check out THE MIST TRILOGY. It's less expensive together than buying them each individually. If you loved them, maybe you'd like to gift them to a friend, but they're only available for your e-reader.  Find out why "Rosa" calls them "Freakin' Awesome!"

End the sales pitch.

Stay tuned for my regularly scheduled Wednesday blog post, free of sales pitches or promotion :-)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving, Sweetheart

Today, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Today is a time to set aside everything else, all the insecurities and unhappiness and look at the plus side, the silver lining.

I am thankful for my family.
  • My parents, who have been blessed with long life.
  • My husband, who regularly "shows" his love through all the little things he does, in addition to "telling" me.
  • My children, who I am so darned proud of each and every day.
  • My grandchildren.
  • Sisters and nieces and nephews and cousins and all the extended family who mean so much to me.
  • And let's not forget pets ...
I am thankful for friends, especially new/old friendships that have included me or have "come around again" 
I am thankful for excellent critique partners, who make my writing better.
I am thankful for my faith, which has gotten me through more difficult times than I'd care to admit. 
I am thankful for the job I often complain about, for the house that I live in, for the food on my table.
I am thankful for fans who love my books!

As I spend the next couple of days making the rounds, I wish for all of you the gift of "seeing" your blessings and remembering those who you hold dear.

Sharing my husband's favorite Thanksgiving dish with you today - Sweetheart Salad

2 cups crushed pineapple                        
2 tbsps lemon juice
½ cup sugar                                             
2 tbsps maraschino cherry juice
1 ½ tbsps unflavored gelatin                   
¼ cup water                                             
2 packages cream cheese
12 marachino cherries
½ pint whipping cream

Heat pineapple with sugar.  Soften gelatin in ¼ cup cold water; stir into pineapple mixture.  Add lemon and cherry juices.  Cool.  Mash cream cheese;  add cherries which have been cut fine; mix with pineapple, adding a small amount of pineapple mixture to cheese at a time.  Chill until slightly thickened.  Whip cream and blend with pineapple mixture.  Mold and set.  Makes 12 small servings.

As an alternative, you can substitute the whipping cream by omitting the sugar and using 2 cups of cool whip.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

True confessions of an introvert

A shout out to Firefighter Mike, who has so graciously answered my questions, pointing me in the right direction, given me ideas in previous books. His lovely wife is my pet sitter for those occasions when I take The Big Guy and run away from home.

I'm not always comfortable talking to new people, am not naturally outgoing by nature. As I work on this next book, I need more firefighter/paramedic information (I may have mentioned that last week), and I asked FF Mike's lovely wife if I could bother him with more ridiculous author-type questions.

True confessions. I'd feel comfortable chatting with Mike after past communications, but I always worry, as an author, if I'm "bothering" people, and I understand he is currently indisposed, so I'm even more apprehensive to bother him. Options? I have two fire stations very close to where I live and I've considered stopping in and making a nuisance of myself.

I was in the grocery store over the weekend and saw a contingent of firemen doing the shopping for the firehouse. But did I walk up to them and say, "Hey, can I pop over and ask some questions for this project I'm working on?"


Why not?

Enter Writers' Angst. What if the story I'm writing sucks? What if I make an idiot of myself in front of these guys asking stupid questions and I never go anywhere with them? Have I wasted their time? After all, they have more important things to do than talk to a "romance author." (Imagining male eye-rolls.) Then there's the whole "talking to strangers" thing, even though they are "good" strangers. (Have I convinced you that I'm a nutcase yet?)

Plan B. There is an internet loop of just these sorts of people who are willing to answer author questions. Yes, I'm going to tap them, too. Why not stick with them? Then I lose the personal touch, the same personal touch that scares me in the first place!

I follow another highly successful author's blog, an author who is painfully awkward with people, horribly introverted. I hate to think I'm like that, but on days like this, I can completely empathize with her. Fortunately, there are many days where I actually enjoy stepping out and meeting new people. Different personalities, different stories that feed my imagination.

Just not when I'm in the throes of writers' angst...

On Tuesday I went back to the grocery store (Thanksgiving is just around the corner, you know) and wouldn't you know it? Another batch of fireguys were also doing shopping. You'd be very proud of me. I went up to them and talked to them and everything! Made my trip to the station to fill in the details so I get it right...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Writing to Distraction

Plugging away on the new story. I may have mentioned this one is about Matt, the Paramedic from LIVING CANVAS and RETURN TO HOFFMAN GROVE. As such, I reached out to my firefighter/EMT friend for more information, and I'm considering a field trip to the firehouse to chat with everybody. Add a little realism to the story, doncha know.

Matt's counterpart in this one is taking over a family-run indie bookstore, and in line with that, I'm planning a field trip to visit my favorite local indie bookseller, +Judi Brownfield @Books at Sunset.

There are days when I can write all day and never leave my chair, and there are days when every word is a struggle. At the development stage, I'm hopelessly distracted by the details. I know what comes next, I know what I want to write, but I'm missing the authenticity. I need those field trips to fill in the blanks, and while I would not describe this as writer's block, it certainly does stall me out. The funny part is that a lot of the details end up on the cutting room floor. So what might be critical to me at the moment, getting something right for the sake of realism, might have little or nothing to do with the story, but it is ALWAYS helpful in rounding out the personalities of my characters. Part of what makes them relatable is seeing them in their everyday lives. What they do. Unlike a Regency romance, where the ton make a living at being idle, most of us get up and go to a job every day.

So I'm stuck. Because I'm distracted. I want to get the details to fill in the blanks, but because I, too, work a day job, popping over to chat with people (who also have work to do, by the way) isn't always so easy.

The good news? This story, while almost 1/3 written, is still technically in the development stage. A first draft. That means I can fudge it and fill in the details on the next go 'round. The same cure applies to writer's block. You can't fix what you don't write, and even if I don't have all the details yet, I can keep writing and fix them later.

At least that's what I tell myself.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Women Drivers

I'm currently writing an accident prone heroine - not unlike my own self. Seems as if I could come up with LOTS of trouble for her to get into.

The other day I went to visit my parents. They live in a retirement community, and the "regular" visitor parking lot was full, so I had to drive around to the side lot and parked in front of one of those cement stops (rather than in front of a small hill). When it came time for me to go, there was no one parked in front of me (you can see where this is going, right?), so I pulled forward.

Right over the cement stop.

Now I have a smaller car (on the outside, it's actually fairly roomy on the inside, but I digress). The good news, everything "seems" to be okay. I'm taking it in for my regularly scheduled oil change this week or next, and I'll ask them to check the undercarriage for me to see if I did any damage. I can already imagine the rolling eyes and the look that says "women drivers...."

Anyone else?

Oh, hey. Did you know the new book is out? Early reviews say people are linking it (just sayin', in case you haven't bought a copy/read it yet)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Contest Winners

Good morning! And how is everyone this fine Monday Morning?

Thanks to everyone who helped me make the release of RISING MIST a success, and for those of you playing along, here are the winners from the newsletter contest:

Congratulations to Rhonda Forbes, who wins The RISING MIST coffee mug,

To Rachel B who wins postcards, bookmarks, and a lighted key ring,

To Karen Dieffenbaugher, who won a copy of MIST ON THE MEADOW

And to Sharon Sommer, who won the $10 Amazon gift certificate.

Thanks for helping me celebrate my new release!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Premier Week

I'm really excited about the new release! You can buy the paperback now, but the e-book won't release until Friday. It's still discounted until then (links to the right).

I've scheduled snippets on my Facebook page all week if you want to read some of the highlights. Let me know which one is your favorite!