Monday, August 27, 2012

Stuck in a rut?

Without trying...have you found yourself and by default your writing stuck in a rut?

I recently finished a short novella, and at this moment it is in the hands of my trusted critique partners for their much needed evaluations.  One of my critique partners sent me a comment after reading the first few pages saying that this new piece felt a lot like one of my pieces from two years ago.

What?  How?  No way...right?

I had to take a quick look at my two stories because I don't really outline (I jot down story structures, but not full-blown outlines) there could be the possibility that something overlapped.

In one story--Sweet Victory, my heroine relocated from one city to another, she quit her job, and rebuilt her life by reconnecting with her family and starting her own business.  In the other story--no cover art, yet :-)--the heroine relocated from one city to another, hadn't worked since meeting her husband, and was now faced with finding a job which she did, but it became complicated by the fact that unknowingly she'd slept with the owner of the company after one night of partying and club hopping.

No one else pointed out the similarity, but the initial opening of the story is what caught her eye, the heroine relocates.  Of the other pieces I've written, I've had characters relocate for jobs, college, or just to runaway. I tend to use cities in the Mid-Atlantic or Southern regions because I love those areas.  But, now with this new revelation, I'm, am I stuck in a rut.

The characters never feel the same to me, and the stories don't read the same, but as a rule for me one reason I don't like to outline is because I like to let go as I write, and see what happens.  So, is this what heroines relocate in order to have self-discovery of some kind.

I remember reading something somewhere where the person interviewed was either an editor or an agent, and they discussed one of their clients who seemed to have a story format that fell into Asian woman falling in love with White male (Western world) set against a historical background.

Regardless of which genre you write, if you analyzed your plot and really took a look at your hero/heroine do they have similar traits from story to story?  And how do you stop it?

For my wip, I'm trying to decide if removing the relocation piece of the story will weaken the story.  At the moment, I think it will because it's a part of the reason my heroine is isolated.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

First There Be Scorpions

When writing books, it's important to feel the scenes. When I was writing Legend of the White Wolf, set in winter time during a snowstorm in Maine, it was cold, frigid, the house freezing. Perfect for feeling the cold.

Now, my cold isn't like...Donna's Minnesota cold. But then I'm not used to "real" cold, so it's all relative. Not that I haven't been in that kind of cold. I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, Boulder, Colorado, skied in Killington, Vermont (where you couldn't have one inch of skin exposed or it would have frozen), and Colorado, though it wasn't as cold when I went up there as it was in Vermont. And St Louis was one of the coldest places I've been in, a really wet cold.

We can't always have the "right" weather when we're creating the stories though. Often I'd be writing about pouring rain in Oregon when it was drier than a desert in Texas. It's humid and hot now, so perfect for writing about the jungle in Jaguar Fever. But to "really" get the feel for it, I needed to throw in some more jungle ambience.

I listen to jungle sounds that were actually recorded in the jungle, none of this jungle sounds to wild and crazy music kind of stuff. I scour tons of blogs about visits to the Amazon or Belize, watch videos about jaguars and their hunting habits and other behaviors, learn about the kinds of plants and animals that live there.

Did you know that Tarzan didn't swing off vines? They look like vines, but that's not what they are.

But what I needed was to bring the real jungle life into my own surroundings. Not. It's happened without my express approval though.

First came the scorpions. I've never ever had them in this area since I lived here, nor since my parents had. Not that they don't live in other surrounding areas that are more rocky than this. Sure, they're around, but I've just never had a problem with them, either while gardening or in the house.

Then came the snake. And yes, I've had one in the house before. My daughter-in-law found a snake skin in the bottom drawer of my master bathroom! Ack! I never knew! At my old house, my dog let one in while I was trying to get her into the house. We NEVER found it!

So I'm out watering yesterday and the snake (big, green and yellow, narrowed eyes...okay, so they were wide-eyed like mine) and I scared each other half to death. He slithered away and I ran inside to get my camera. He's gone. Not sure where he's hiding but because I'm watering, he'll hang around.

Hopefully, he won't come inside.

A friend of mine found one in her bathroom...her husband was naked and yelling for her to save him! He was in the shower, the snake on the bathroom floor. Okay, now what's wrong with this scenario? Nah, it's okay. Sometimes the heroine has to rescue, hero. :)

So that's it. My pseudo jungle world. Perfect for creating Jaguar Fever!

I quit my day job 3 weeks ago and I'm inundated with deadlines! Isn't that terrific! But I wanted to share some neat covers! First, The Highland Werewolf Wedding is coming out in May, 2013! This is Cearnach's story from the Heart of the Highland Wolf pack in Scotland! A Highland Werewolf Wedding is listed on Amazon now!

This is Duncan's story from the Heart of the Highland Wolf pack, coming Feb 2013!

Savage Hunger received 4 Star Review from Romantic Times Magazine! This will be released Oct 2013, just around the corner!

Next on the agenda is writing 40,000 words worth of blogs for SAVAGE HUNGER for the last week in Sept and all the month of October. That means free books daily on each of the days I'll be at a blog site.

Then??? I'm working on Highland Rake! This is the third book in the Winning the Highlander's Heart series. It's started and I can't wait to work on it again! I've been asked forever about Dougald's story!!

So am I bored yet? Not even when I dream.

Have a super great weekend! And may your world be wild and nasty critter free! Ever had a snake in the house???

"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality!"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A gift you give yourself

I have friends coming to visit over the weekend (so this blog is being scheduled since I can't be at the keyboard). This is the first visit of friends since we moved to our new house, and I am so looking forward to their arrival.

I think friendships like this are a girl thing. The 2 women visiting us are a couple I met in the mid-90s, when I worked at a company with one of the women. Over the years I got to know her well and her partner, and we, along with 7 other women, met regularly for lunch or dinner. Through good times and bad, we've been friends. People have had heart attacks, cancer, deaths, divorce, job upheavals, kid upheavals and because we don't get together often, we usually get the summary of what happened.

I think it's important to stay connected to people. I don't know many men who have such a robust circle of friends as I do, and I do think of them as "circles" -- the writing friends, the work friends, the hometown friends, the family friends. None of them intersect in classic Venn diagram fashion, but they are all out there and all related to me through amazing ties of shared experiences.

As I said, I used to get together with a regular group at least every other week. One time my husband said, "You're meeting the Red Shoe Gang again? [We always wore red shoes when we got together] You just met them a month ago."

I said, "Yeah, but Emily has a teenager and Janet started a new job and Nancee has cancer and Laraine just got divorced. A lot can happen in 2 weeks."

I've known these women for 20 years and counting (and some of them, my hometown friends, I've known for 50 years and counting!)

Here's to many, many more decades of fun and frivolity together!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why I Chose the 1849 Gold Rush Time Period

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Digging for gold from early dawn until dusk was definitely a backbreaking job, but those men who traveled across country and from around the world had the fever. They wanted their chance at that BIG gold strike. My great, great grandfather was one of them. Luckily for us, he kept a journal during his journey. It was so well written that it rests under glass in the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.
Can you imagine a miner had to find an ounce of gold a day to just break even? Most miners barely found enough for daily expenses. The peak production of placer gold occurred in 1853. Every year after that, more and more men arrived in California, but less gold was found. Thousands of disillusioned gold seekers returned home with little to show for their endeavors, glad to escape with their health. A fair share remained, searching for a job. They became the backbone to the settling of California. My grandfather ended up not going for the gold, but setting up his medical practice instead. A lot of fortunes were made not in the gold fields, but in supplying goods, meals, and comfort.
I found this rebuilding of the lives and communities an exciting time in history. My story Paradise Pines Series: Night Angel is set after the boom, when many miners, broke and looking for wages, stayed in Paradise Pines, a town developed during the gold rush. Some let disappointment send them into lives of drink and gambling. Others pulled together to rebuild their town and setup businesses, some of which still stand today in Placerville, the town I fashioned this community after. My hero anonymously gives aid to these downtrodden townsfolk by traveling through abandoned tunnels under the town. When the heroine comes to town with hopes of rebuilding her life, he wants to keep her in town and promises he'll make her dream of having her own music hall a reality.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The new direction in publishing

A few days ago, a fellow author, Janet Miller posted some very interesting thoughts on The New Publishing Paradigm, and she reported USA Bestselling author, Stephanie Laurens' presentation at the RWA National Conference. I wasn't present at the conference, but I read every line of the famous presentation. Extremely interesting and so right. I decided to comment here.

"If you have a big name already, you might be able to just throw up your work on Amazon and most likely your fans will find you."
So true. Previous Bestselling authors such as Gemma Haliday or Kathleen Long, and many more, hit the bestseller lists again as indie authors, but what's even more encouraging is that many new authors managed to achieve the bestselling status with their self-published books that were rejected by traditional publishing houses. 

"If a publishing house has a reputation then people flock to it on release day to shop for new books and even if they don’t buy the book on the publisher’s website, they will look it up on the various online ebook stores associated with their favorite ebook reader and buy it there. The publisher’s website becomes the virtual bookstore to browse through."
I have been there with two publishers. Release Day is a big party with good sales. The trail lasts a week, a month, and then the new book falls into oblivion and is replaced by newer books. The author is left with the task of promoting her book. For months, she exhausts herself at gaining visibility through blog tours, contests, posting comments and emails on various loops, paid advertising, and hopefully a few good reviews posted on Amazon, Goodreads, and others.

I've experienced first hand the gamut of emotions that hit a new author: elation at seeing your book cover with your name, incredible satisfaction at holding your first printed book, and so much expectation. And then the disappointment and frustration set in, and the high and lows while struggling to increase the sales. To no avail.

As Janet specifies in her post, "I see a publishing house offering three things of importance: good editing, good distribution, and a name for quality."
 I agree with her, and I did concentrate on a good editing and a name for quality. As for the good distribution, Indie publishing gave me the incredible chance to set my own price and prepare my book cover the way I wanted. In addition, the Amazon KDP Select program offered me the visibility I so badly needed. My stories did the rest and gain the readers' approval.

Between October 2011 and now I published five ebooks, the last one only two three days ago.

August 2012 NEIGHBORS and MORE


November 2011 RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN,

October 2011 NO MORE LIES

My only regret is that I hesitated for four months and didn't plunge into self-publishing earlier. Now even self-publishing is becoming more difficult than last year, but authors support each other through promotions and reviews.

Like any type of publishing, self-publishing involves a lot of work and stress, but you can do it and succeed if you put your heart in it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

FTHRW 2012 Golden Gateway Contest is Open for Entries

From the Heart Romance Writers [FTHRW] is pleased to announce the 2012 Golden Gateway contest for unpublished and published writers is open for entries. Don't delay! Get your entry in early.

Deadline: Sunday, September 2, 2012

Enter the first 50 pages of your unpublished manuscript plus an up to 5-page synopsis.

Categories & Final Round Judges

Unpublished Golden Gateway:
Long/Short Contemporary Series Romance - Rachel Burkot, Love Inspired
Single Title Romance - Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks
Mainstream Fiction with Romantic Elements - Katherine Pelz, Berkley Editorial
Historical Romance - Erika Tsang, Avon Books
Romantic Suspense - Latoya Smith, Grand Central Publishing
Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Time Travel Romance - Liz Pelletier, Entangled Publishing LLC

Published Golden Gateway:
All genres and length of manuscript may be entered and will be judged together, alongside entries of other genres. Final-round judges will consist of a panel of industry professionals, including:
Laura Barth, Harlequin Heartwarming
Tessa Woodward, HarperCollins/Avon
Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency

Entry Fees

The entry fee for FTHRW members is $20. For all other RWA members who are not members of FTHRW the entry fee is $25, and for all non-RWA members is $30.

For all RWA Members who would like to also join FTHRW, send $45 for membership and the contest at the same time ($25 membership fee + $20 contest fee = $45) and enjoy the many member benefits.


UNPUBLISHED: First Place in each category will receive a plaque and choice of a free FTHRW contest entry fee or a year's worth of FTHRW dues. Second Place in each category will receive an e-certificate and choice of FTHRW dues paid or a free FTHRW contest entry. Third, Fourth, and Fifth Place in each category will receive e-certificates.
In addition, a Grand Prize of $100 will be given to the highest overall scorer based on first round judging.

PUBLISHED: First Place will receive a plaque and the choice of $100 in cash, or $200 put toward a future writing conference of the entrant's choice. Second through Fifth place will receive e-certificates and logos celebrating their placement.

Complete contest rules for unpublished and published divisions are available at

Good luck to everyone!

HiDee Ekstrom
2012 Golden Gateway Contest Coordinator

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Surprise Review by Rolynn

I am one nervous Nellie right now, hoping my second novel, published by Wild Rose Press (FADEOUT-to be released 10/12/12) is a story readers will enjoy. It’s nail-biting time as I wait for the first readers to tell me what they think of my plot and characters, and then, palms sweating, I wait for the first official reviews. True, reviews come from individuals, yet I weigh those lone reviewers as if their opinions represent at least one hundred people.
Everyone knows that reviews are hard to get these days with so many novels out there. My first novel, LAST RESORT, got two reviews from the big guns,
While I was happy with them, I had hoped for more reviews. Then, out of the blue, more than one year after my novel’s release date, when my sales are tanking, I get another review
Does anyone understand why books get reviewed a year after release?
Will good reviews spur sales even if they come out a year after release?
If so, I’d have to push for more reviews long after my novels are published, perhaps to different reviewers than my publisher sent to originally. Is that what you do?
All of this is a puzzle to me. Thanks ahead of time for your input! Rolynn (On her boat up and B.C. with only e-mail access...I'll be back on the grid in one week to read your comments!)
LAST RESORT on sale now, print & download
Wild Rose Press:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The new publishing paradigm

A couple weeks ago I was present at the RWA convention when Stephanie Laurens made her amazing keynote address on the changing of the publishing world. In case you missed it, she’s put the text and the slides up here: To summarize what Ms. Laurens said, the publishing world is changing but our role in it stays the same with respect to writing the best book we can. We just have a lot more options now when it comes to publishing and can choose to take advantage of pieces of the publishing world rather than contract with a publisher.

Since pretty much anyone can take their written material and put it up on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or some other online store, the question is why trade the 60+% of the profits of a book for what a publishing house can give you? This is question a lot of authors are asking right now, and with good reason. I don’t have experience with the traditional publishing world, but I can tell you in the small-press world it is a really big question.

I see a publishing house offering three things of importance: good editing, good distribution, and a name for quality. A do-it-yourselfer can hire a good freelance editor, and contract cover art that, if not the best in the world, at least they have control over. And the distribution isn’t that hard to manage with KDP for Amazon, Pubit! for Barnes and Noble, Kobo’s Writer’s Life, and Smashwords for everything else. But the last item, the reputation of the publishing house to attract readers, that is something a lot more difficult for an individual author to manage.

If you have a big name already, you might be able to just throw up your work on Amazon and most likely your fans will find you. Price your book a dollar or so below your traditionally published titles and your voracious readers will snap it up as a bargain.

If you don’t have a massive fan base, then you need to have some way to get the reader’s attention. There are so many books released at online book vendors every day, if not every hour, that it is easy to overlook yours. If a publishing house has a reputation then people flock to it on release day to shop for new books and even if they don’t buy the book on the publisher’s website, they will look it up on the various online ebook stores associated with their favorite ebook reader and buy it there. The publisher’s website becomes the virtual bookstore to browse through.

I have a new title coming out today (8/14/2012), Beloved Stranger, which has already been preselling at Samhain, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble for the past couple of months. It is part of my Gaian science fiction romance series and is about a young woman sneaking into a Gaian prison colony to find her sisters by marrying one of the prisoners. It is a sequel to Beloved Traveler where we first meet Sonja Deems. She was so kick-ass as a character I decided I had to use her in another book, hence this one.

I’m very excited because this is my first title with Samhain and so far I’ve been very impressed with the editing, the covers, and the overall professionalism of the company and the people I've dealt with. I’m looking forward to seeing how sales are and if my publishing a book with Samhain gives me more profits than self-publishing.

Anyone else thinking about these things? How is the new publishing paradigm effecting you?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Writing the Sequel

Writing is my passion, a way to escape from everyday trials and get lost in my own world where conflict can be resolved with words. After I finished my first book, Crashing Hearts, I decided to write a sequel. Bridges Burned was begun.  Shortly after beginning it, I decided to go a different route and start something else.  So I set the sequel aside. After Crashing Hearts was released I had people asking me “What happens with Charlene?” “Where’s the money?” If you haven’t read Crashing Hearts you might want to pick up a copy to find out where these questions are coming from.

As I had finished my second book, I went back to the sequel I had already started.  Do you know how difficult it can be when people are expecting the story to actually turn it out? Trust me, it has moments where I struggle with it. However, the intense pleasure of knowing readers want this story spurs me to write, rethink, and write some more. Bridges Burned brings me back to where the whole idea for Crashing Hearts started. Crashing Hearts will always hold a special part in my heart as it is a story that brought healing to my own heart. As I write Bridges Burned I find that warmth and excitement for these characters returning, spurring me on to write Charlene’s story. Is she redeemable? Was she that bad in the first book?  Only questions you can answer by reading Crashing Hearts.

As I leave you with a short excerpt, I hope you will want to continue the journey through the second book. If you are curious as to what Mirrored Deception is about check out the books section at

Chapter 1
Kira Nichols pushed back her hair as the crisp salt air blew it across her face. She walked up the path—her sneakers leaving small impressions in the soft sand—to the cul-de-sac. At the empty lot across from her house, the foundation had been capped over and abandoned for about a year now. 

She sprang into a run at the rumble of a sports car arriving at a fast clip. She arrived at the cul-de-sac at the same time the vehicle skidded to a stop. She caught her breath as the lean, ruggedly handsome man exited his vehicle. The smile he flashed her was one she imagined had many women melting at his feet. 

Kira squared her shoulders and approached him. Her five foot two inch frame seemed minute compared to his at least six foot stature. She willed herself to appear calm and not give away that her senses had completely left her at the sight of him. 

“Grant Rutledge.” He extended his hand to her. His deep voice, like a shot of brandy, was warm and soothing. She swallowed hard, her anger forgotten for a brief second. Then it flared back and she ignored his hand. “Do you have any idea that there are children in this area?” she demanded, planting her hands on her hips. 

“My apologies if you felt I was going too fast.” He gave an exaggerated glance around. “There aren’t any children about now.” He smiled that smile again and in spite of her anger, her heart melted. She started with the realization he still had his hand extended in introduction. She tentatively shook his calloused fingers. Tingles shot up her arm and she struggled with not yanking her hand away. Heat flooded her face. She prayed he couldn’t tell. 

“Again, I apologize. I hope you wouldn’t think I have no regard for children.” 

Kira turned to go. “I just know the type.” She gestured absently at the car. She forced herself to walk slowly towards her house, feeling his eyes on her back. Her mind whirled. She had practically melted at the sound of his voice. Her cheeks reddened at the thought of him watching her walk away—thankful she had stayed in shape. 

The solitude of the cul-de-sac was the reason she originally loved this spot. Her house had been the only one in this two-lot area for six years. She hoped the new construction company would be considerate and not disrupt the serenity, and keep working hours to normal business hours, hours when Jared was in preschool. 

She thought back to the long hours they kept when they put in the foundation. Jared had been unable to sleep due to the noise and disruption of his routine. Hopefully this time around the noise wouldn’t disturb him. He was just beginning to sleep through the night. 

If only she could.

If you enjoyed this excerpt of Crashing Hearts and want to read more, you can find it here.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Music and Writing

I'm one half of a writing team. My partner loves to send me links to music videos that fit her writing mood. She has eclectic taste, so I always enjoy it. We've been revising our current project. As we redid our outline, for every scene in the beginning she assigned a song to it that she considered set the tone of the scene. The songs represented everything from rap to ballad to rock. Some I really liked, some I winced a little, but hey, if these speak to her muse, who am I to say anything?

My partner will turn up the music loud, get in front of that keyboard and type away. She thrives on the beat and the music gets inside her and loosens up those creative juices that gets her imagination flying.

I am totally the opposite. I cannot focus if music is on. It blocks me. I don't know why. I love listening to the links she sends, but I listen to them as music. When I'm ready to sit at the keyboard, the music goes off. No matter how many times I have tried, listening to music distracts me, makes it difficult for me to concentrate and to get my muse working.

How about you? Can you have music on when you write? Do you listen to a certain kind of music or do you match the music to your current project or scene?

Tell me in the comments. I wonder if there are others like me that can't write with the music on. ( :

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Joanne- Classic Dave Barry

Hi everyone, It's the 8th of the month and time to share another hilarious Dave Barry Classic. Today, Dave writes about opening a pickle jar. (yes, really!) "I found out from the Internet that when you get to be my age (old), you lose bone density and muscle mass. This alarmed me, because I never had any muscle mass to begin with. Men: You know how, when your wife can't open a pickle jar, she gives it to you, and you're supposed to smile in a manly patronizing way as you effortlessly twist it open? That's not what happens in our house. What happens is, after a grim struggle lasting several minutes, I wind up lying on the kitchen floor, exhausted and whimpering, while the pickle jar, unopened, laughs and flirts boldly with my wife. Sometimes it gives me a wedgie." Me again: OK, everyone, how "manly" is your man? Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One Week Post RWA2012 and Staying Motivated

I was a first timer at RWA National this year and the conference surpassed my expectations. Last Tuesday, I posted about by experience at Castles & Guns: Whew! Great Week. Great RWA Conference. Check it out if you have a chance.

The week since coming home flew by almost as quickly as the conference did. I had two blog posts to get out, a couple of requests from conference pitches needing polishing before being sent out, and had all the personal things you need to do after being out of town for a week requiring my attention.

I'm still mega-excited to move forward with my writing career and stay motivated. How will I keep up the momentum once I get caught up in everyday life? Well, I've accepted a writing challenge. Not a difficult one, but one meant to push me into the habit of writing everyday. 100 words for 100 days.

I'm not doing this on my own, but with a group of fellow writers from one of my RWA chapters. We'll be reporting our progress to each other, each day, starting yesterday. I'll recount my personal results from the challenge at Voices From the Heart in December. Wish me luck!

What do you do to stay motivated?

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Maybe I should be committed to an institution because I just quit my job. I’ve been a special ed teacher for the last twenty years. At the urging of my new husband, I quit my  teaching job to focus on writing. Now, I don’t think I am wonderful, and publishers will beg for my work. I do have a handful of contracts to fulfill, plus a wonderful editor in Larianne. I do know something has to change if I am going to get any better.

I get about five hours of sleep every night. Those of you who are teachers know school doesn’t en d at three.  I don’t leave until five after arriving at seven. Often I  have to return to help host some event. That left almost no time after fixing dinner, and sometimes squeezing in a trip to the gym, to write. I'd stay up past midnight trying to create content on my latest WIP, which made no sense the next morning. Like most women who work outside the home I let all my errands pile up. Weekends became a huge challenge to get everything done.

I walked into school with bittersweet feelings and resigned. I know Debbie Macomber’s story about she took three years off from work diligently putting out stories before anyone noticed. I don’t expect to be a Debbie Macomber, but I would like to improve my story-telling ability. I believe I will have time to attend workshops that before I never could finish. I pledge to be a better critique partner since I am finished moving, mostly. There are still several items I can't find.

It wasn’t too hard for me to quit since last year was the worst student population I ever had. Incidents included having my new glasses broken, my room vandalized, receiving threats from parents, and having my purse stolen twice. When I told my boss I was quitting he asked me why. I would have thought it obvious. Instead, I told him I had book contracts to fulfill, and one of the books hadn’t even been written yet. Who knew he would tell everyone in the school? Several employees are waiting for the first book in the series. I better edit it to death with my helpful editor. Now, I am truly, irrevocably committed.

 I am blessed in having a computer savvy husband who finds the book I've been editing all morning when it mysteriously disappears. I would love any advice from those of you who have undertook this route from time management to organization. I need your help!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Who or What Pulled the Plug?

I was missing in action last month, or rather my electricity was. So I must apologize for not posting on my scheduled day. A severe wind storm--what meteorologists called a land hurricane--blew through Virginia. We were without power for six days. Six days of hundred-degree heat. Here in Lynchburg, over eleven-hundred trees were felled, blocking roads, knocking out power lines and damaging buildings. We soon learned how much we rely on electricity and how disjointed we feel when we aren't connected to the Internet.

Like most everyone else, we were wilting from the heat and needed to recharge our phone, laptop and iPad batteries. Calvin called every motel in our area, but there were no rooms to be had. Everyone, it seemed, was looking for a cool place to stay.

The third night of no power, someone pounded on our door at eleven. Calvin reached for the flashlight on his nightstand. "Who would have the audacity to come knocking at our door at this time of night?" He was almost to the front door when someone pounded on our back door. Potential thieves looking to see if our house was empty and available for ransacking.
We lost our freezer full of food and the contents of our refrigerator; the food didn't take long to smell to high heaven. We used our supply of candles and kerosene for our antique lantern. We learned to take cold showers. But, still, we survived, and that's the important thing.

My novella Those Violet Eyes had released five days prior to the storm, so I was in the middle of a blog tour. We hunted for businesses with WiFi access that were open so I could log on to read comments and reply. Or write posts and email them to blog hosts. Through all that, I forgot about blogging here. Thank goodness the power is back on and life is back to normal. There should be a germ of a story idea in all of this, don't you think?