Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy Holidays

As the holiday fast approaches, I am reminded of how far behind I am.  This year has been a year of major changes and the last thing on my mind has been Christmas.  Yet, some as soon as Thanksgiving goes by, we seem to be on the fast track for Christmas -- and boy does the time go fast.

Every year it is a major ordeal in finding a Christmas tree as I am allergic to every kind except a Scotch Pine, which are very hard to find.  I know you are probably thinking just get a fake one -- I just can't bring myself to do it.  But after the long trek to find the needed Scotch Pine and the decorating, I love just sitting in the living room with all the lights off, but the Christmas tree.  Soft music in the background also brings me back to some of my best memories involving Christmas, whether they were from childhood or even more recent years.

This year we are cutting way back on presents.  It's not easy to do when Christmas has always been my favorite time of year.  But as I age I am finding the best gift is just to have my kids come home.  What is your favorite Christmas gift?  Stuck on what to give family and friends?  The gift of books is always the best way to go.

As always Crashing Hearts and Mirrored Deception are available for the avid readers in your life.

So, happy shopping and have the happiest of holidays.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I love all things holiday!

Thanksgiving disappeared in the blink of an eye?!  One day I walked into one of my favorite stores and it was Halloween, and in the next moment it was Christmas.   It’s a little sad because I love the holiday season.  I hate to see it moving by so quickly.

As a kid, my brother and I would have the best time playing in the snow until our fingers tingled.  My mother feared our fingers and toes would fall off, and she’d force us to come in the house.  We’d go inside long enough to warm up, but we’d hit the door running as soon as our mother allowed it. 

Eventually, we’d come home to find turkey, duck, macaroni and cheese, and tons of desserts: sweet potato pie, pecan pie, and chocolate cake waiting for us.  After we stuffed ourselves, we’d sit back and play cards, board games, sing…whatever we wanted to do.  We didn’t have a fireplace when I was a child (I always wondered how Santa found us,) so we made due with flipping the television to whatever channel ran the Yule log with holiday music in the background.  Except, we would mute the television and blast any group from Motown.

For many many years, I lived on the east coast away from my family who lived in the south.  So, traveling back home always filled me with excitement.  If anybody was watching, I’m sure I had a grin on my face every single time I boarded the plane.  Because I knew I’d see my parents, my brother, my niece, and my nephews.  Every year I spent away from them increased my joy when I did see them, and I cherished every moment.

I believe that’s why I love watching holiday movies, reading holiday inspired books, and can’t get enough of holiday music!  I won’t say that my home looks like the North Pole relocated to my address.  But, it definitely never lacks the vibe of the holiday.

Thanksgiving is always one of my favorites because it’s not about gifts, but about spending time with family and friends.  Thanksgiving is gone, but Christmas is on the way!      

Christmas.  I hate to admit it, but I think I’m hoping for a little snow.  I thought living on the east coast had broken me from my love of snow and all things cold J  But, nothing says holiday to me like spending time with my family with a little snow on the ground and egg nog in my glass.

My first holiday short story released last year. It's set in my hometown of Memphis, TN.  There's snow, family, love, and a little holiday magic.  I’m currently working on another holiday story that hopefully will be complete and submitted by the end of year.  Maybe you’ll see it out there next year!

I hope that everyone is enjoying the holiday season!  And I hope you and your families are safe, happy, and healthy.

Don't drink too much egg nog!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Autographed Books in Omaha, NE!

My son and daughter-in-law's lovely turkey dinner. :)


And my son took me all over to autograph books even to a Barnes and Noble in Council Bluffs 
 that is no more. But at least I signed at 3 book stores on Omaha! Enjoy!

Autographed copies of Savage Hunger are at Crossroads Barnes and Noble, Oak View B&N and Books-a-Million in Omaha, NE.

The following books are at Oak View Barnes and Noble: I promise I didn't sign Kerrelyn Sparks's book. Our books always hang together at the book stores though! :) And we're often next to each other at book signings.

 Books-a-Million in Omaha:

Highland Rake is available in print!

Kiss of the Vampire is available in print!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Killing the Bloodlust is in print!

Having fun watching Supernaturals. :) Have you watched them? 

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

Men in Kilts (Forget Get Men in Black!): Highland Rake! by Terry Spear

There's just something about men in kilts! Even if you're not from a Scottish background, wouldn't you like to tangle with one of these?

Did you ever watch Star Trek? I loved Scottie! :)

So after two years, and now that I'm not working a full time job also, I hope to have another Highland story out much sooner! I have the cover and I have the story started! :)

But for now, here is the 3rd book in The Highlanders Series: Highland Rake.

In book 1, Winning the Highlander's Heart, we get the 2nd eldest brother's story, Malcolm and Lady Anice. Then in book 2, The Accidental Highland Hero, we have the eldest, James, and Lady Eilis.

And now book 3, Highland Rake! They are stand alone titles, so it's not essential that they are read in order, though a couple of instances are mentioned in Highland Rake about the trouble Dougald got into in The Accidental Highland Hero.

Dougald is staying with James, and he's the third eldest brother of the four. But if you've read The Accidental Highland Hero, Dougald is known to have his own difficulties, and so...that continues. And of course his good Norseman friend, Gunnolf, is along for the ride. Cousin Niall wants to join in the adventure, but doesn't really understand what that entails. And youngest brother, Angus, joins the party!

So here 'tis! Those loving Highlanders!

Dougald's story, 3rd book in the popular medieval Highland series.
Dougald MacNeill is the next to youngest MacNeill brother and he's not about to settle down, until Lady Alana Cameron is placed squarely in his lap...and then, the trouble begins.

When Dougald finds Alana roaming the heather on the MacNeill lands, he takes her in hand to see his laird brother James at Craigly Castle to determine her fate. But who has sent her there and why? Her uncle, laird of the Cameron clan, that has warred with the MacNeills for years, has made a marriage arrangement with another clan and now that is even at stake.
Having witnessed her father's death, and even believing he had returned her home when all along he had been dead, Alana discovers she has the gift, or curse, of seeing the newly departed and sometimes those who should have long ago passed over. Her own deceased brother continues to plague her, the rake, and now another, who is very much of the flesh, Dougald MacNeill, has her thinking marrying a rake might just have its benefits. Dougald's sister, who is one feisty ghost, has offered to help Alana keep Dougald in line if he thinks of even straying.
But who sent Alana on a fool's errand in the first place to remove her from the Cameron's lands and set her squarely in Dougald's care, and who really killed her father and her brother, and what has it all to do with Alana? Will she and Dougald learn the truth before it is too late?
Barnes and Noble
ARe Books

Who wouldn't want a hunky Highlander??? :)

Terry, who was stung by a yellow jacket on Friday morning, and the redness and swelling are not going away! May have to see a doctor on Monday. *argh* Though not sure what they would do about it!
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

For the shopping-impaired ...

I dislike shopping. I'm the person who goes in a store, tries on clothes, and if it fits, I buy it in 3 colors and I'm out of there in record time. I used to shop for amusement (cheap amusement, focusing on five&dime stores for the treasures I could find). Some of those bargains are still with me. I have two $10 tables that I bought in the mid-80s, and I have a picture purchased around the same time for $5. I don't particularly love those items, but they're sturdy, serve their purpose, and I see no reason to get rid of them.

Nowadays I shop early (as in, early in the a.m.) so I can beat the crowds. I really dislike crowded stores, jostling people, and noise. So I go early, grab what I want, and beat a hasty retreat. I watched TV with the stories of Black Friday shoppers, and my sister & I went out on Thanksgiving night, driving around to check on those who were camping out, waiting for doors to open. Then we went home to our warm house, fire in the fireplace, and had a glass of wine. My idea of shopping!

I do quite a bit of online shopping, but I also try to shop locally. There are a couple of small towns near me and I go there occasionally to shop in the local stores, usually finding unusual items for gift-giving or use. Or I buy things in gift shops of local museums to give as gifts.

I've found as I get older that I am trying to get rid of things, not accumulate things. I hate having clutter around me, and every month I do a sweep through the house and try to fill a bag with items for Salvation Army or Goodwill. I used to donate regularly to the Vietnam Vets (but they aren't as active here in my new home town). Anybody who is convenient for donation: you get my stuff! I have a firm rule that if a pair of shoes comes in the house, a pair must leave (and the same for handbags, my downfall). This keeps the Accumulation Urge in check and makes it easier to me to weed out.

At this time of year I am always acutely aware of what is really important (food, shelter, clothing, safety) and what is just icing on the cake (stuff). All you have to do is read a few international headlines to develop this awareness.

This holiday season, I hope you get the chance to pause, reflect, and enjoy what's around you, to savor what you have in your life. Let's face it: that's the real gift, isn't it?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dear Santa Jmo's been naughty...Again!

Dear Santa,
I'm not sure who's in charge of your naughty list, but I think you need to recheck their job application. While walking on the beach, I happened to see one Julian Claus misbehaving in a most unClaus like way. I am quite aware that he is your son, but that doesn't change the fact the boy needs some home-training. Not only did he trespass on a private island, but he made googly eyes at my granddaughter. I don't care what cockamamie story he concocted about nearly drowning after his yacht went blooey. Trespassing is trespassing. In spite of what you might hear, I have no idea where that freak blizzard came from. The Bahamas have snow storms all the time, and I dare you to call me a liar!
Where was I? Oh, yes the googly eyes. I don't know how you folks at the North Pole do things, but down south, menfolk don't take advantage of poor widder wimmen with two innocent children to take care of. If I had a shotgun, there'd be wedding bells in the air and not those silver bells chiming wherever you go. Though, I do like those. That's not the point. Your son is a hair's breath away from becoming a buckshot filled in-law. So, if I were you, I'd load that chunky tummy in that sleigh and get your rosy cheeked self down here and deal with this before I do. Neither of us wants that. Now, do we?
M. Nature
P.S. If it wouldn't be too much trouble, could you pick me up some of those little chocolates they sell in Switzerland that I like? You know the ones I'm talking about. The little swirly shaped blobs with cashews and caramel. Can't abide those jelly filled ones, as you very well know.
The Family Claus
Claus…I Love You
By J. Morgan
Coming down a chimney near you December 21st from Desert Breeze Publishing
Julian Claus had thought to escape the family business this year. Being one of his father's little helpers had worn thin ages ago. It didn't help that his father just so happened to be the Santa Claus. A shipwreck derails his plans for a tropical getaway. Instead of wiling away his holiday on a yacht with a bevy of hot babes, he finds himself on a private island with possibly the woman of his dreams. Widowed Noel Greenway might not have been his first choice but after years of avoiding the marriage trap she might turn out to be the only choice that has ever mattered to him. Now, he just has to hope a Christmas miracle comes along to convince her that true love does strike twice in one lifetime. Good thing his family are experts in that department.
"He looks dead to me."
"Gran, stop poking him with your cane."
"I'm too old to give him mouth to mouth. Thought poking him in the chest might flush his lungs."
"He's a drowned man, not a backed up toilet."
"All the more reason to poke him. I don't have a plunger, or I'd try that. Besides, this a private beach and he's trespassing. Toss him back before we start getting tourists with flash photography fetishes. I can't abide either one."
Julian was sprawled out on his back on the beach, at least he thought it was a beach, letting the two women's voice lull him back to consciousness. Not that the old woman's cane wasn't reason enough to wake up. He'd considered letting them know he was back among the living, but the old lady's cane had him worried. Just slightly more worried than the fact he couldn't remember how he got here, or drowned, if the voices fluttering above his head could be believed.
"Mom, can we poke him too?"
"Jeremy, put down that stick. You may not poke him and that goes for you too, Beth."
"Moooooom, I told you to call me Dora," a young girl's voice chimed.
"I most certainly will not. You are not Dora the Explorer, in spite of that ridiculous wig." The woman slid a hand down her face.
Great, now the whole family was getting in on it. Julian wished he'd stayed in the water. At least then he wouldn't be drowned and being knocked around like a piñata. Staying unconscious wasn't working, unless assault and battery counted as doing fine. Seriously, this vacation was starting to suck big time.
Then again, what did he expect? Mom had cursed him when he left. Well, maybe curse was too strong a word. She’d slightly suggested that if he left the family high and dry during the holidays -- again -- he'd regret it. Of course at the time Julian thought she meant he'd end up with a raging case of Montezuma's Revenge. Nearly drowning wasn't Mom's cup of tea when it came to motherly curses. Having children just like you was tough and one of the reasons he avoided marriage and anything that came close to passing on the Claus family gene. That wasn't to say he didn't like the female of the species, because he most definitely did. A little too much if you asked his parents and several Inuit fathers he now avoided down at the grocery store.
Julian couldn't help himself from wincing when he heard the little boy whisper to his grandmother to "hit him again." The "him", Julian assumed, to be well him. Unless there was another nearly dead guy around here he didn't know about, which seemed highly unlikely or at the very least highly improbable. A shot to the neck told him he hadn't been mistaken.
"Owww!" This time nothing could stop him from sitting up. Julian was sure the old crone had pierced his jugular with that last hit.
"Ah, good. He's alive. Now toss him back in the water before he thinks we owe him a meal or something for being damn fool enough to drown near our beach."
"Grandmama, stop being so mean."
Since J. Morgan and Santa are through shanghaiing my blog time.... I want to sneak in here for a moment and wish you happy shopping and celebrating. But, try to stay off the naughty list, or just don't get caught.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Being Thankful

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
This morning hubby and I were joking around. I tossed ''I sure am thankful for having you in my life'' at him and then realized, in all these years - 44 years on December 8th - I'd never actually told him how thankful I am that he is in my life.
I met him at an Air Force picnic. My 'big' brother was his sergeant. Bob tried to arrange an introduction at our Uncle Bud's birthday two weekends before. I didn't attend the party so joined them for an Air Force picnic in the mountains by Yosemite. I took one look at Ken, leaning against an apple tree with a drink in his hand, and knew he was the one for me. People scoff at love at first sight, but it happened for me AND I am very thankful.
Four months after we met, I put him on a plane to Vietnam for 366 days. We got married within the week of him coming home and being discharged from the service. I knew then how thankful I was that he made it home alive and well. Now that we are growing older, I still know how lucky I am and from now on, he will always be the one I thank first. Sometimes what's important is so close we don't recognize it until it's too late.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and yours a very happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Have you backed up your computer lately?

Have you backed up your computer lately?

It is something I seem to do only when I hear someone lost everything in a crash, or my computer lady harangues me during annual tune-up time.

I am able to start up my old laptop still, so I have been emailing files to my new old computer as I need them. It would be faster to back up on a flashdrive, but truth be told, I am rusty. That's how often I don't do it.

My new old computer is a desktop Mac from my daughter's college days. She is on her third mac laptop, and they are definitely wonder machines. Except that a week ago, when she was upgrading her operating system, her hard drive locked. Tighter than Fort Knox.

She's home for a medical procedure and when she feels up to it, she has been writing character profiles and a plot outline for a new feature film. She hadn't backed up since she left New York.

She lost the work she'd done since she arrived and everything else. Music. Pictures. Old projects. Ideas. The latest version of Final Cut Pro--formatting software for scriptwriters. Hopefully, she will find in her i-phone a copy of the expense spreadsheet for the U-Tube show she recently produced. Tax time is always around the corner. (She kept all the hard copy receipts.)

It's been a week since I wrote the above. My daughter's laptop's OS reinstall said 'Welcome' after sixteen hours of downloading, so her hard drive does not need to be replaced. Whew. It is blank, though. Some software on her old Mac transferred to the new one. Word did not. 

I cheerlead that she has all the creative ideas in her head and will be able to reproduce them in an improved rewrite. Her subconscious is working with the ideas, and they will emerge better and stronger. Just like her body. 

Back up your files.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
I'd like to introduce my friend J. Morgan to you. He's so busy I had to hogtie him just to get him to sit down and talk a spell. Once he gets comfortable he'll share a little about himself and his writing, or I'll be forced to break out the spurs again. Male authors can sure be divas when it comes to kidnapping them out of their beds. I've read his books and can honestly say I can hardly put them down once I start reading. You're on J. Morgan.
J. Morgan: Paisley, thanks for inviting me, but was the chloroform really necessary?
Paisley: Yes, it was. No hush, so we can move this interview along. I've got some broncos to break and the horses need seeing to when I get done with this.
Who are you and how do you come up with these ideas about a world that exists only in your head?
J. Morgan: Who am I? Tough one! Seriously it is. I am a son, a husband, a daddy, and a little over 6 years ago I decided I wanted a new title, author. Like all that wasn't enough to give a guy split personalities. Well, it was about time to give the voices in my head some wiggle room to express themselves. So, I guess you can call me J. Morgan, the voices' talking monkey.
Where do my ideas come from? Really, that's an easy one. As a kid, I lived in my own little world. As I grew up, a part of me never left those worlds. Now, I have the chance to show the world through my writing, how great it was growing up in those worlds only I got to see. Yes, that does make me slightly crazy, but hey, nobody's perfect. Most especially writers!
Paisley: Does your fondness for science-fiction movies and super heroes influence the themes and characters in your stories?
J. Morgan: Most definitely! Science Fiction shaped my early childhood development. In a good way. Superheroes, I'm not so sure about, but they did teach me a valuable life lesson--with great power comes great responsibility. Now, I'm responsible for a lot of insanity. Seriously though, comics taught me the fundamentals of writing, and how to build characters and worlds. Science Fiction taught me a story, or a future, without hope isn't much of a story. That's what I love about Romance, you can do anything. Science Fiction, Paranormal, Westerns, Contemporary, and at its heart is true love, and that hope that each of us aspires to find.
Paisley: Most of your stories are written with humor. Immortally Damned is on a serious note. Would you rather write comedy or lean more toward the deeper side of your personality?
J. Morgan: Comedy vs Serious. There's really no comparison. They are two sides to the same coin. I like to make people laugh, feel good at the end of a really crappy day, but if you just focus on one genre, you're not a whole person, or author in my case. Comedy is great to write, and not as easy as you'd think. Serious books hit the same well, but at the other end of the spectrum. Both make you address parts of yourself and force those experiences to come to the front. If you can't use your personal experiences to fuel a story, you're not going to be able to draw a reader into your story. A 200 page comedy without substance isn't going to be anything but a B-Movie in book form. Likewise, a dark book with no hint of hope or redeeming qualities isn't going to make my books strike a balance between the two, whether you're laughing through them, or searching for that glimmer of hope inside the darkness.
Paisley: By writing in first person you make it easy to get in the head of your main character. Do you prefer writing your stories in first person?
J. Morgan: I love First person! It's like inviting readers into their very own Create Your Own Adventure book. It's the same for me when I'm writing them. For the length of a book, I become my main character, which is slightly odd, because all my first persons are from the female perspective. But, I see writing as acting only on paper. If I, as the author, can't become emotionally attached to my character, why should you as the reader? I think it all comes down to that.
Paisley: How do you choose the titles of your stories?
J. Morgan: My titles? Whoa, that's kind of a toughy. The Love Bites series I more or less used and twisted some of my favorite movie titles. The Southern Werewolf Chronicles, I'm not sure. Where Love Blooms just popped into my head before I wrote the first line. Were the Moon Don't Shine is self explanatory. The Amor Immorati books, again, the titles just came to me, before the story even took shape. The Bite Marks series, I'm delving in song titles for inspiration. It's up to you to guess what movie I twisted. Wink
Paisley: Your cover is amazing. With the bright colors and design you'll draw a lot of curious eyes.
J. Morgan: Thanks on the cover. Desert Breeze Publishing has some of the best cover artists anywhere. Jenifer Ranieri really blew my mind with the one for Immortally Damned. It is perhaps my favorite cover of all time!
Paisley: Can we share some links where people can find your books and learn more about you?
J. Morgan: The first is a link to Immortal Damned, which comes out next month. The second is to my author page on Desert Breeze Publishing's Website. You can also find me through my Amazon Author page.
These two are for my Facebook page, where I'm always goofing around, and the second link is for my yahoo newsletter.
Paisley, thanks for having me sit on your hitching post today. I've had a blast. Uh, now do you think you could unhogtie me. I can't feel my legs.
Paisley: Where did I put my Bowie knife? Oops, looks like you're stuck there, J. Morgan.

Friday, November 16, 2012

NaNoWriMo update

It is the middle of November which means that I should be just about hitting the 25K mark on my WIP over at NaNoWriMo. And I am... just under 22 thousand words. Actually 21760 to be exact. So as you can see from the below graph I'm a bit behind.

The reason I'm behind is that for the past couple of days I've had some interrupts to my writing time (those are the red days). For example last night we went to the opera in San Francisco and that meant no writing in the evening after work. The day job keeps me from working on my manuscript during the day, and I'm also in rehearsal for The Nutcracker in which I'm playing both Grandmother in the first act and Mother Ginger in the second, so I have two sets of rehearsals to be at during the week and weekend. Tonight is Party Scene rehearsal so today may also be red. That's life during NaNoWriMo.

But this weekend I'm going to crack the whip and get caught back up again. I'm just about two days behind at this point but I've done this three times before and was able to come up from behind each time. The whole point of NaNo is to remind the writer that creating a novel isn't a sprint, it is a marathon and a bad day shouldn't take you out of the race.

I'm going to see if I can't get 500K words done before I head into work this morning and write some more this evening after rehearsal, and then write extra Saturday and Sunday to not only get to where I should have been, but even ahead so that when the Thanksgiving holiday hits I've got some breathing room.

If you want to follow my progress, my NaNo handle is janetmfoo and you can see my stats here:
The Girl Unboxed

The big question will be not when I get this book done but when I'll get it on the bookshelves over at Amazon, edited, formatted, and for sale. I'm hoping for just after Christmas so keep your fingers crossed. Mine will by typing madly away.

WIP The Girl Unboxed
Falling in love was just the beginning of the story.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Roomba Saves A Marriage by Rolynn Anderson

Marriage-saving tactics.  I thank Josie Riviera for starting this conversation.  She talked about separate bathrooms as a boon to a good relationship.  I say that my Roomba, our tiny round vacuum cleaner, is one of the reasons I don’t grouse at my husband anymore.  

In our division (Ha!) of household labor, you see, my DH is “The Vacuumer.”  I say ‘Ha!” because I was lucky if my husband vacuumed once a month…and that took reminding, prompting, persuading…yes, even begging.  Part of the problem is MDB (Male Dirt Blindness).  Most men don’t seem to SEE dirt, much less worry about it. 

Desperate for a solution, we bought a Roomba several years ago for under $300 at Costco, gave him a name, Wall-e, put him on a timer, and set him to work.  The little guy, made by iRobot,, is smart enough to cover new ground to clean, hike himself onto area rugs, and stay away from stairs.  He scoops up a big handful of dirt every day in his hour-long tour around our house, returning on his own to his docking station to juice up for as many cleaning turns I want him to take during the rest of the day.

It’s true that Wall-e gets lost some days and he has a nasty habit of getting corralled between the legs of one of our coffee tables.  But for the most part, he does his job, goes ‘home’ and waits to work the next day.  No reminding, persuading, or begging necessary.

When Wall-e buzzes around our house every day, he makes me smile.  Why not?  He’s helped save our marriage.

Speaking of relationships, I’d like to introduce a fiery one in SWOON, my newest novel:

Don't miss SWOON by Rolynn Anderson! If you like an interesting cast of characters, a heavy dose of mystery and a lot of fabulous surprises, you'll be happily turning pages late into the night.ˮ
~ Brenda Novak, NYT and USA Bestselling Author of WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES

Her dead clients won’t rest in peace.
When the dead tell tales, Jan Solvang’s first reaction is to RUN!  But then she gets caught up in their mysteries.
Jan’s a boutique funeral planner, new to risk, hired to bury a missing woman and memorialize an infamous man.  Yet when she digs for clues to write their eulogies, she disturbs family secrets and unmasks killers.
Roman Keller, hard-driving documentary writer, is in complete control of his life and his stories, until he falls for Jan, a woman who trusts her dog, her faint-dreams, and her instincts more than she trusts him.

Can they make the sacrifices necessary to cement their relationship or will the mayhem caused by the dead ruin their second chance at love?  

Check out my website:
SWOON other e-pubs:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Research...what's your method?

I'm branching out a little.  For anyone that's read any of my pieces, you know my wheelhouse would be classified as Women's Fiction or Contemporary Romance.  Well, I've been teasing myself with a few pieces that will take me deep into other genres.

One of the pieces I've been researching will cross two: historical and paranormal.  Because they both will be new to me, I've been deep in research trying to lay the foundation for my story.  As a result, recently, I watched a PBS special titled "Death and the Civil War," which was inspired by Harvard President Drew Faust's book The Republic of Suffering.

Let me first say that while in high school and college, history class meant nap-time to me.  So, why would I decide to write this new piece.  I don't know.  It's been something that I've wanted to do for awhile, but I wanted to wait until I'd tackled a few other pieces, first.  Now, I feel like I might be ready, but I'm still terrified that I won't get the story quite right.

The only way to make myself feel a little more secure is by researching what I can about each piece of my idea.  After I have enough detail, then I'll tackle telling my story.

This documentary was so powerfully sad that it again made me wonder if my treatment of my story idea will work.  I don't know, but I can't quite let it go.

death and the civil warIf you haven't watched this documentary, I would definitely suggest it.  But, I would definitely warn that if you come from a military background, or the southern part of the U.S. touches your world in any way prepare to cry and feel like you owe somebody something.  I wasn't prepared for the overwhelming feeling of love I had for the soldiers that served. And I was thankful that the military members of my family weren't subjected to the conditions that the truly brave men of the civil war endured.

Amazingly effective and entertaining documentary!

What's your research method?  What tools do you use, and how do they affect you as you write?  Does it make you want to stop what you're doing or power through it to tell your story.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Where is normal?

I don't know about you, but I'm becoming inured to tragedy. It seems like every time I read a newspaper (which is daily), there is a little tragedy or a big one, tucked into a page.

Superstorms. Shooting sprees. Abandoned animals or children. Dire predictions of the future. I find myself skimming past it all. I've read it all before, right? We grow scabs over the wounds and pretty soon tough scar tissue develops there. It takes something very personal, very close to home, to make us remember that there are real people in there, suffering, real people/animals/creatures, who need help.

I've been involved in a forced evacuation (apartment caught on fire and we had to flee, taking our pets and a bag of clothing). We were able to salvage most of our belongings with minimal damage, but I'll never forget being homeless for a few days.

My town was involved in a massive flood, one of epic proportions. It didn't make the national news, not the way New Orleans did. But here we are, 4 years later, and the town is 90% rebuilt and all that remains are the memories and the high water marks on buildings, most of them near the second story. I wasn't directly affected but a lot of people I know were.

I've been in a blizzard, where I was snowed in for 3 days and had to walk to a grocery store for food because no plows could come through.And I've just been through a drought that had us wondering if there was enough water in the well.

I know someone who was murdered. I know someone who was raped. I know someone who was in war and came home badly scarred, mentally and physically. I know someone who was stalked. I've heard about their terror, the helpless feeling of rage that the authorities can't do anything, the feeling of hopelessness.

There is a human face to tragedy, but sometimes we have to pause and realize that it's there. It's not in a headline or a picture or an interview. It's sometimes as simple as remembering or putting ourselves in their shoes for just a minute. Then the scar tissue softens a bit and we realize that we're all on this boat called Earth together, all on a journey, and that there, but for the grace of ...

... goes I.

It really gives me pause sometimes, and puts my troubles into perspective.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Josie Riviera-- Dave Barry's secret for a happy marriage

Hi Everyone, It's the 8th of the month and time for a short and sweet Dave Barry giggle. This month he writes about the secrets of a happy marriage: "What's the secret of a happy marriage? Call me a romantic, if you want, but for me, the answer is the same, simple, beautiful idea that has been making relationships work for thousands of years: separate bathrooms." OK, everyone. Do you agree, or is there a tad more to a happy relationship? :) Please leave a comment!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Memories of Sandy Hook Bay

Super storm Sandy caused havoc along the east coast, devastating many coastal communities. I lived in a quirky NJ bayside town for five years before moving to Maryland. My heart goes out to my neighbors who lost so much in the storm.

Sunrise at the Edge of the Bay
Highlands and the Twin Lighthouse
Summer Concert at Sandy Hook Gateway National Park
Swans and Sailboats Sharing the Bay
Night Heron

Thanks for sharing my memories.
~Dawn Marie

Monday, November 5, 2012

Undercover Writer

Imagine my surprise when I found out I was blogging on the 5th of the month too. Who knew? Apparently, not me. I have a secret. It’s one all of you know, but not many other people know including my extended family members. It isn’t a horrible secret, but it is one I’ve been hesitant to tell people. I am a romantic fiction writer. Are you shocked?

I think not, but some folks would be. This year I didn’t go back to school to teach. I am taking the year off to write. My fellow teachers obviously have a clue, and they’re envious to an extent. They imagine me sleeping in, which I do. I get up when the school bus goes by.

Writing is pretty serious business I’ve found out. I try to put in a good six hours of just writing. Editing pretty much kills me because it has to be done immediately it seems. Sure, I’ll  just fly through the 70,000 words in no time. There is promotion too, which I am clueless how to do. Often I've signed up for various promotions courtesy of kind writers or tours, the same time an edit or deadline is due. This isn’t intentional it just happens.

Why don’t I talk about being a writer? I am afraid no one will take me seriously. It’s a shame really because I am doing more solid, true work than I ever did at school. There was so much filler time at school, and very little actual education. In this new venture, I am learning all sorts of things. The major one is you can learn from every writer. The second one is you have to improve. No writer can stay stagnant. Well, I guess they could, but it just wouldn’t be good.

Currently, I am editing an old story because a publisher requested a full. I have major problems with the POV. I pretty much let everyone have one. Argh! At the time, I didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t do that. I am learning.

I am also coming out of the literary closet, and telling people I am a writer. Next, I’ll start handing out business cards. Maybe even those postcards that have a picture of the book with a blurb.
Undercover Rebel is the first book in my Rebel Hearts series. I finished the third book yesterday. There was great rejoicing in the house. Emily is the Sewell family member who started it all.
Emily Sewell couldn't remember when she fell in love with her neighbor, Gray Masterson. He unfortunately didn't really notice her as a woman until the eve of his leaving to fight in the Civil War. A magical evening ensued with him asking her to wait for him. News that he's been killed on the battlefield propels her into action. She knows he is alive - she just has to find him. The only thing between her and her true love is miles of swamp land, a major war, and her own doubts. Emily wrestles with Gray's possible death, imprisonment, or that he's unwilling to return to her. Can a sheltered Southern Belle navigate the horrors of war to retrieve her fiancé? Emily is willing to try.
Interested in finding out more about Emily and Gray? I will send you a free copy to anyone who is interested in liking the book on Amazon or reviewing it for the tour. You can review it anywhere such as Amazon or Manic Readers. Thanks.

Are you in the literary closet too? Let me know.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Can Men and Women Be Just Friends

 A recent experiment took eighty-eight heterosexual pairs who claimed to be friends and invited them to a coffee experiment. The designers of the experiment did not want to risk any resulting data leaking out to the participants and destroying the friendships. With this in mind, the city where it took place remains anonymous, but the participants were English speakers. Are you aware in many non-English speaking countries the concept of platonic friendship between a man and a woman is a laughable.

The couples drank coffee, then, separated for an interview supposedly about their beverage. The interviewer digressed into an offhand conversation about the friend. Questions regarding their friend’s hotness factor, or if they would ever consider their friend in a romantic fashion. The females assured the interviewer their friendship was only platonic while the large majority of guys were very interested in becoming romantic partners. The few who didn’t confessed to an attraction to their female friend may have just been lying because they felt the question was suspicious.

Ah, ha, it is pretty much what every guy has ever told me, but I refused to believe. One male blogger grabbed this topic and told his tales of unrequited love where he stayed friends with a girl over thirty years in hopes he’d work his way into her bed. He did, after her last divorce, but then found he could no longer be friends with her. He has now entered The Twilight Zone of friendships. Things were good before they slept together. Truthfully, he was grooming her for romance. He had a goal, but once he reached it he had nowhere else to go. The things he did that made him such a wonderful friend from remembering her birthday to sending her positive messages when she was down, he no longer had any motivation to continue. Men are very goal driven. They are more about the hunt, than the eventual catch. Some men are more like catch and release fishermen. The two drifted apart after a thirty-year long friendship.

So can men and women never be friends? All the movies, magazines, and trendy books tell us we can. Women can be friends with men they don’t find sexually attractive. It is like having another girlfriend or a gay best friend. No man wants to find out he’s not attractive. His platonic friend will lie to him, and tell him he’s attractive, which he translates to having a chance with her.

My DH assures me that men do not talk to women they aren’t interested in. Even casual conversation with a stranger is meant as some type of hook to reel you in. The man who settles for the friendship role is playing the long game. Women argue that they have great male co-workers or long time family friends. The male co-workers are people you have to work with, but it does not mean there may not be some underlying flirtation there. That’s why people use the terms work husband, work wife, and emotional affair.

If you have a trusted male friend, keep in mind he may not want to hear your relationship tales. Well, he might if they’re bad. That way the two of you can gang up on your latest guy. Keep in mind; he may just have ulterior motives for disliking your most recent date.

What do you think?

Friday, November 2, 2012

I'm on the Journey to Promotion Overload -- by Vonnie Davis

I have three releases within twenty-seven days. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled--thrilled and incredibly lucky--but all the self-promotion ahead gives me pause. I'd sooner be writing. How do you handle the demands of selling yourself? Of pushing your work in a nonpushing way?

TUMBLEWEED LETTERS, part of The Wild Rose Press's Love Letters series released on Wednesday. In the historical Love Letters series, a life-changing letter must arrive within the first three pages of the story.


When rancher and single father Cam McBride finds a letter tucked in a strip of cloth tied to a tumbleweed, he is captivated by the mysterious author. Finding a second tumbleweed letter further pulls him under the lonely writer's spell. He needs a mother for his little boy and a wife to warm his bed. Could this mysterious woman fill his needs?

Sophie Flannigan is alone, scared, and on the run from a rogue Pinkerton agent. She spends her days as a scrub lady at Madame Dora's brothel and her nights writing notes to the four winds. Her life holds little hope until a small boy lays claim to her and his handsome father proposes an advantageous arrangement.

Can these three benefit from a marriage of convenience, or will a determined Pinkerton agent destroy their fragile, newly formed bond?

On November 9th, my first romantic suspense releases from The Wild Rose Press. MONA LISA'S ROOM is book one of a trilogy involving mahem created by a terrorist group called The Red Hand.

You won't believe this email. I'm sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with a handsome government agent, Niko Reynard. He's wearing nothing but silk pajama bottoms and mega doses of sex appeal. I'm in big trouble, little sister. He's kissed me several times and given me a foot massage that nearly caused spontaneous combustion. I'm feeling strangely virginal compared to the sexual prowess this thirty-year-old man exudes.
When I came to Paris for a bit of adventure, I never imagined I'd foil a bombing attempt, karate-kick two men, and run from terrorists while wearing a new pair of stilettos. I've met a German musician, a gay poet from Australia, and the most delightful older French woman.
Don't worry. I'm safe--the jury's still out on yummy Niko, though. The more champagne I drink, the less reserved I feel. What an unforgettable fortieth birthday!

I also have a short story releasing from Still Moments Publishing on November 27th. A TASTE OF CHOCOLATE kicks off their Matchmaker Series. A short, magical read.


Hope Morningstar has the worst luck with men. One boyfriend wrote her a “Dear John” letter while serving overseas. Her latest romantic interest broke up with her in a text. When a traffic detour puts her in an unfamiliar neighborhood, she stops at Freya’s Coffee Shop where she gets more than directions. She gets another chance at finding love.

Declan Fleming, scarred by a cheating ex-wife, has given up searching for love. He’s taken the route of a few other men and engaged the services of Freya, the matchmaker. Still, he’s been waiting for a year and he’s just about given up hope. Then Freya sends him Hope.

When feelings of insecurity and trust issues come into play, can finding love stand a chance? Can the magical influence of this matchmaker create a happy ending? After all, finding that one special love often involves a bit of special magic, does it not?