Friday, July 27, 2012

Do you believe in soul mates?

What does soul mates mean to you?  For me, I guess I have a rather idealistic view of soul mates.  I imagine two people who have a "longing," and that "longing" leads them to each other.  No matter what or who may stand in their way.  I imagine them incomplete or unsatisfied until that "one" person walks into their lives.

I always like to poke around the web when I think about things like this, and this is what I found:

Websters : a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament, a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs.
Wikipedia: a soulmate is believed by some to be the person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity, similarity, love, sex, intimacy, sexuality, spirituality, or compatibility. 

Next time you're in the grocery store, scan the magazine covers, you'll find any number of magazines that have some sort of quiz to rate you and your soul mate.

I remember a movie from years ago (can't remember the name or who was in it,) but it was about split aparts, which seems to date back to Plato.  Can you imagine us with four arms and two heads?  I can't, but at some point and for some reason, we were slit apart, and as a result, we are all on endless searches for that other half.  And the more I searched the more I found various variations of this belief.

As I work on the characterization of a piece I'm hoping to submit before the end of year, and I flip through my pages of notes, the conversation I find myself in (yes, with myself) is does every story boil down to this one thread. 

For those of you who read multiple forms of fiction, or different genres of romance...what do you think?  If you stripped away everything else in your own manuscripts, or in one of your favorite books, would the story hold up without the soul mate?

More often than not, my writing is classified as Women's fiction v Romance, but every story I write has a strong romance thread, and I don't think the stories would work without that thread.  

As I gobble up the pages of one of my favorite authors who seems to have found the magic formula for me, I can't help but wonder about the search for the "perfect" soul mate.  As authors of Women's fiction or Romance do we do it justice?

What do you think?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reviewer Top Pick--Savage Hunger--NOR

Having a new cover is so exciting! Finishing the manuscript! Writing a new one! Editing the manuscript! The final, final read through! But the best is when readers can get their hands on the book. Then the real worry begins! Will readers like it??? Love it????

This is a preview of a review coming in Sept. It's my first for SAVAGE HUNGER, and I was thrilled!


Night Owl Romance, first review preview!!! Coming Sept 24, 2012

by Terry Spear

Reviewer: Debra Taylor

Score: 5.00 / 5 - Reviewer Top Pick
This is an awesome new series from Terry Spear and a sizzling page turner. Terry Spear is wickedly talented when it comes to characterization. Her characters seem to take on a life of their own.... seeming to step right off the page. Or rather, to jump right out of my Kindle! LOL!!!
As with the wolves in her awesome "Heart of the Wolf" series, the Jaguar shifters take on the actual characteristics of the predators in the wild. Her vivid descriptions of the Amazon jungle pulled me right into the scene along with the characters. The chemistry between Connor & Kat was explosive and you get very sensual love scenes. I was hooked from the opening paragraph. The story kept me riveted throughout the entire book. This book is fast paced with nonstop action. Plus you get snappy & realistic dialogue between the three muskateers (Connor,Kat & Maya).
I am looking forward to reading about the extremely spunky Mayas' search for her very own Jaguar mate. I recommend this book to any fan of the shifter genre. I enjoyed every minute of this story.

I hope you all love it, too! Right now, I'm off to work on Maya and the twins because she deserves to have fun also!!

Hope your Saturday is great! I overdid it in the heat yesterday and it wasn't with any of these jaguar hunks either!

It's amazing how he really blends into the ground, except for the eyes!

 Time for some kitty cat loving!

And this is what one female jaguar shifters wears under their clothes!

 Have a super wonderful Saturday!

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ah, the yesteryears

It wasn't that long ago (maybe 3 or 4 years) that right about now I would be gearing up to go to RWA's National Conference. I think the last one I attended was maybe 2009. I don't go any more. For one thing, it's pricy. For another, the workshops are very repetitive. And most of my writer friends go to the RT conference, and let's face it -- that's why I go, to hang out with friends.

I'm not saying there's nothing to be learned from the RWA con. There always has been and there continues to be lots of good workshops, parties, presentations, etc. But after my 3rd or 4th one, I found myself thinking, "been there, done that." It was great to be with friends, but I found the whole experience sort of draining, like a huge energy sink.

So I don't go anymore, but I still miss that feeling of excitement, that "ooh, can I get a pitch appointment with so-and-so?" and "let's meet for drinks, there's so much to talk about!" RWA has been slow to change and accept authors with smaller publishers (I was thoroughly snubbed one year by a group of authors who all but turned their backs on me when I explained I was with The Wild Rose Press), so for me there's still a feeling of being the odd person out, even though I have 20-some books under my belt.

I think what I miss is that excitement of being a newbie, of feeling as though each conference was A Chance -- a chance to connect with the right agent or editor, a chance to rub elbows with the Big Ones, a chance to hang out with others who care about writing as a career. Now that I'm 5 years into my writing adventure, most of that excitement has worn off. I'd love to recapture it, but I suspect it's not easy to do.

So those of you going to National, have fun! Enjoy your adventure -- I enjoyed my times at the conferences and who knows, maybe I'll show up at another one again. I know I'll be at RT next year (Kansas City -- my back yard, so to speak). And maybe there's an RWA conference in my future ... you just never know.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


SAILING WITH YOU A story full of passion, humor, and emotion, set in the Greek Island of Mykonos. Offered as a FREE PROMOTION for 3 days at Amazon. ]


Have you ever been witness to a crime?
Or been present during a traumatic accident?

I bet that if you did, you may have had trouble forgetting it.

Several years ago, a man drowned in the Jacuzzi of my building. Although I wasn’t present, several of my neighbors talked to him a few minutes before the incident happened.
A person standing on her balcony saw him sprawled under water and called 911 and the front desk security.

The man was in his late thirties. Athletic and handsome. He had a few drinks and was kind of drunk as reported by those who talked to him while he was on his way to the hot tub. Apparently, the alcohol and heat made him sleepy and drowsy. The report said he slept and slipped under the water.
They closed the hot tub for months, but even after they cleaned and disinfected, I never, ever stepped in it again. And then we moved. I never forgot that story.

Coming soon at, NEIGHBORS and MORE...
A romantic suspense, the first book in High Rise Series.

Blurb: High Rises are like large families where members face love, hate, meddling, and gossiping. When the neighbor who was harassing her is found dead in the Jacuzzi, Alexa is a suspect. Can she count on her dear neighbors for help?
The lawyer she loves, a mafioso's grandson; her overbearing ex-husband who is trying to keep her to himself; her former friend, the victim's ex-wife, who blames Alexa for her husband's infidelity; the ex-husband’s new girlfriend; the widow's secret lover...

All dear neighbors who may help save Alexa...or incriminate her.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


by Rolynn Anderson
When I was a high school principal in a suburban, predominately white neighborhood, my teachers would come to me with a concern:  Why do the African-American students always group up?  I’d usually come back to them with another question:  Why do white students group up?
Grouping is an interesting phenomena, something I’ve observed in education and in my summer lifestyle, boating.  As some of you know, Steve and I live on our trawler, INTREPID, for the four summer months.  We’re alone in anchorages often, but we also enjoy meeting up with other boaters.
Steve and I usually make fast friendships with people who own boats the same make as ours-a Kady-Krogen.  Even tighter is our tie to owners of 42 foot Krogens, the size of INTREPID.  Boaters with single diesel engines have more to say to others with the same power plan.  INTREPID has a Ford-Lehman engine…you guessed, it: we have deeper chats with F-L owners than boats powered by some other engine. 
Advance that concept: we get along well with vessels cruising a similar speed to ours.  When we owned a twin-screw, gas-powered Tollycraft, sailboaters gave us the finger as we raced by them at 13 knots, our wake causing havoc to any boaters going the same direction as we traveled.  Today, in our round-bottomed trawler, sailors send us friendly waves as we chug past at 7.5 knots to their 6.5 knot speed. 
Of course, this affinity pattern is common in any social structure, a matter of not so much keeping-up-with-the-Joneses as sticking-with-the-Joneses.  All in all, it’s a comfortable place to be.  When boaters have so much in common, friendships gain a head start, and in no time at all, you’ve made friends with owners of a boat similar to yours, and because you cruise at the same speed, and have a similar draft/beam, you end exploring a new bay together.  More fun.  Safer.
As I think of it, maybe this ‘grouping together,’ is more of a preservation technique than a ‘I hang with boaters like me,’ thing.  Perhaps, down deep we’re keeping up same-boat relationships, because one day, when INTREPID is in trouble, it would behoove us to have a similar boat around to borrow a much-needed part.  Will they help?  Absolutely.  Because another day, when their boat founders, we’ll have a part they need.
Now, back to my grouping-up scenes in my high school cafeteria or during a dance.  Are humans smart to group up?  Absolutely.  We writers group up for all kinds of good reasons!
Want to find INTREPID?  Here she is on our SPOT locator:

LAST RESORT on sale now, print & download
Wild Rose Press:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Preparing for the RWA National Convention

The RWA National convention is coming up pretty soon and I’m sure there are a lot of questions about it. I’ve done articles before on how to pack for the convention ( since one of my obsessions when it comes to any kind of trip is minimizing the amount of stuff I’m going to haul. With the airlines cracking down on overstuffed luggage and charging high fees per checked bag, my obsession is even more useful than it used to be.

Since once again this trip will include a trip to a theme park during warm weather, my staples of shorts, t-shirts, and good walking shoes or sandals will be in my one roller bag along with my conference clothes. I’m flying Southwest Airlines so I don’t need to worry about paying for checked luggage, but I still need to haul my suitcase around the airport, in and out of cabs and shuttles, hotel lobbies, etc., so less is better. Making sure I can pack everything I need for a six-day trip requires knowing just what those needs are. That way I don’t over, or under, pack.

Which brings me to the point of this post, preparing for the convention. Not just figuring out what clothes I want, but what I’m going to do while wearing those clothes.

The RWA National Conference can be pretty overwhelming for those who haven’t been there before. Actually it can be that way for anyone, even those who’ve gone many times in the past. But it doesn’t have to be that way and preparation can help avoid conference overload.

First of all, understand what your goal is for the conference. If you don’t have a goal already, come up with at least two things you want to accomplish. These can something like meeting at least one editor from a publishing house that interests you, learning a craft like managing point of view, or understanding contract clauses and which ones to watch out for.

RWA is all about learning and opportunities, and the conference can provide huge amounts of both. That’s why it can be overwhelming, like sticking a fire hose in your mouth. You want to prioritize to make sure you aren’t trying to learn everything at once.

If you are brand new, or have never been to a conference before, I recommend going to the RWA website and printing off the schedule of events and the workshop schedule. Events of note are the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing, and the First Timer’s Orientation on Wednesday evening, the two Luncheons that have speakers on Thursday and Friday, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) Thursday afternoon, and the RITA and Golden Heart awards ceremony on Saturday night. In between all these events are workshops, publisher sponsored book signings, which are free book giveaways, and Editor/Agent appointments.

If your interest is in meeting an editor or agent for whom you don’t have an appointment, I recommend hanging out where the appointments are being held with the hope that someone won’t show up and an appointment will free up. That frequently happens and it can be a productive way to spend a few hours of the conference. Also you can often speak to an editor or agent at their publisher’s spotlight (listed with the workshops) or sometimes even at the publisher-sponsored book signings.

It is also possible to find industry professionals during social events, such as at the luncheons, at a party they sponsor, or even sometimes in the bar. This can be a good way to get a quick discussion in, particularly if you ask them what they are looking for. Just remember to be polite. These are working events for them, a dozen other authors have probably badgered them by now and if they’ve taken off their badges they probably don’t want to be disturbed.

The RWA National conference offers a huge number of workshops in as many as eight tracks. Obviously it is not possible to be at 8 workshops at once so you want to plan a strategy for them. You want to focus on the ones most likely to meet your defined goals. Since many workshops are recorded, you can focus on the ones that are not, or that have visual components that an audio recording won’t capture. Afterwards you can catch up on anything you didn’t hear by way of the recordings. The recorded sessions can be ordered for around $100 at the convention and are great to listen to in the car.
If you belong to either PAN or PRO there are retreats for each group on Thursday morning starting at 8:30 AM and going until the Keynote Luncheon. These will have special information targeted at authors in these groups.

So now that we’ve discussed what events at the conference you will likely go to, let’s talk about what clothes to bring. You will want business casual for workshops and luncheons and most other events. That means a skirt or nice slacks with a tailored top, possibly with a sweater or jacket layered on top if the meeting rooms are their often-frigid selves. If you have a meeting with an editor or agent, you can go even more tailored although how you dress won’t be nearly as important as having your pitch put together.

You will want comfortable shoes. I cannot emphasize that enough as hotels and convention centers are sprawling affairs and you will be on your feet a lot. You will likely need a shawl or sweater if the rooms are cold. You will probably want business cards although I’ve never given out more than a few at each convention. They should have your website, contact information, and some hint of what you write on them. You can get cheap ones at Vistaprint using one of their designs for the cost of the postage.

The dressiest event at the convention is the RITA/Golden Heart award ceremony. You can pull out that formal gown you haven’t worn in ages, or you can bring some dress slacks and a fancy top. I’ve done both and didn’t feel over or under-dressed either time. It all depends on what you have available in your closet and feel like packing.

So in short, the way to prepare for the convention is to set one or two simple goals, plan your time at the convention to satisfy them, and select your most comfortable shoes to wear with your business casual outfits.

Just remember to have fun. I’m already planning what kind of Disneyland park-hopper passes I’m going to get for me and my family, and you can bet I’ll be packing one of my Tigger t-shirts to wear to the parks after the conference is over.

Today (Saturday), Sunday and Monday I have my short story, The Girl In The Box up for free over at Amazon so if you haven't already downloaded this short story, be sure to get a copy this weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Make Me Care

Right now, Kat Duncan is teaching a workshop for the chapter called "Make Me Care." What a brilliant title and concept!

When a reader picks up a book, an implicit agreement is established. The reader assumes that the author has created a story that will make the reader care enough to read until the end.

I've been reading a lot lately and I've been thinking about this idea of "make me care." Some books we open up and they grab us from the start. We immerse ourselves in the characters world and when the book finishes they linger in our minds. We're still thinking about them. Then there are other stories that we enjoy well enough to read all the way through, but for some reason once the book ends, we can barely remember the main character's name.

What's the difference?

Well it would be great if there were some check list that every writer could tick off to make sure they had all the right ingredients to make the reader care. Face it, though, we all approach books with our own biases and set of likes and dislikes. Some characters simply hit all the right notes and get us wrapped up in their lives. Other characters might trigger one of those biases and never move beyond an average experience for the reader.

All an author can do is write the best damn story they can. Dig deep into your characters. Give them believable baggage that isn't so overwhelming that they can't possibly function. Make sure their behavior is consistent with their values. One character that sticks with me right now is a woman who was a former Iraq war vet. She'd served two tours in Iraq and was not adjusting back to civilian life. She'd lost her brother to illness and starts the story dealing with her grief. She discovers her ranch might be used for illegal activities and takes a stand. She's a warrior at heart and she fights because that is the woman she is. She isn't one of these kick-butt heroines that are popular in a lot of stories. She fights to defend and protect and because it is the right thing or the only thing to do at the time. I cared about this character and days later she's still in my head. Kudos to the author, Dana Marton, The Spy Wore Spurs (Harlequin Intrigue) for getting it right.

Now I have to back to revisions and as I review my story, you can bet I'm thinking have I done enough to make the reader care?

I'm definitely going to try.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Dave Barry blog

Hi everyone,

It's the 8th of the month, and time for another chuckle at Dave Barry's humor. This month, he explores the idea of planning a summer picnic, Martha Stewart style. Enjoy!

"Step one in planning a picnic is to decide on a menu. Martha Stewart has loads of innovative suggestions for unique, imaginative, and tasty summer meals. So you can forget about her.

"If Martha Stewart comes anywhere near my picnic, she's risking a barbecue fork to the eyeball" should be your patriotic motto. Because you're having a traditional picnic and that means a menu of hot dogs, charred into cylinders of industrial-grade carbon and hamburgers so undercooked that when people try to eat them, they leap off the plate and frolic on the lawn like otters.

Me again: Please share some of your favorite summer picnic menus.

I'll go first. :)

One of my favorite summer recipes is cooking shrimp soaked in lime juice on the grill, then serving it over a crisp green salad. Easy and light for those hot summer days.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Self-Editing: Words That Are Almost Right, But Not Quite

I've been doing a lot of self-editing, critiquing and contest judging. One thing that seems to trip up many writers is words that are almost right, but not quite. Some are homophones, words that sound the same, but have different spellings and/or meanings. Others are words often confused.

I use an edit checklist while self-editing, including a confused words list. Here are some from my lengthy list:

altar – religious table
alter – to change

bridal – relating to a wedding
bridle – for a horse

council – elected officials
counsel – give advice

fair – treated equally
fair – an event
fare – sum charged
fare – food
fear – frightened

incite – provoke
insight – understanding

rain – wet weather
reign – period of rule by king or queen
rein – for a horse

team – group of people
teem – a lot of falling rain

their – belonging to them
there – that place
they're – they are

weak – not strong
week – seven days

affect - to change
effect – result of change

farther – distance
further – figuratively

than – rather
then – time

loose – not fixed in place
lose – misplace
lose – be defeated

fiancé – male
fiancée – female

What words trip you up?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What Grabs the Eye and Heart

In the world of boy meets girl, you ever wonder how the points of attraction changes? What matters? According to Dr. Joyce Brothers, in her book, WHAT EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MEN, she explains how the initial physical attraction works and why.  

Ever wonder why the girl who developed breasts first suddenly became the most popular girl at school with the boys? Most of us thought it was because she was easy or at least that was the rumor, which may or may not have been true. This particular girl epitomized the basic differences between male and female by being the first to display secondary sexual characteristics (i.e. boobs.)  No matter how dweeby the boy, he felt more manly around her. That was her allure.  Boys, still somewhat confused about their sexual identity, found some clarity standing next to her.

Dr. Joyce Brothers believed that instinctively the men were drawn to the breasts on a primitive level because they felt she would be able to bear and nurse children.(All thirteen year old boys think this.) On the other hand, they felt assured of their masculinity by just standing beside someone who wasn’t male. In short, men who need to compensate for their lack of true manhood prefer to only date your D-cup girls.  Psychology Today magazine also shows a parallel that the better socially adjusted a man the less he needs to date a supermodel-like woman for esteem issues.

Dr. Joyce Brothers explained that women used to be drawn to big shouldered men with powerful, hairy chests. On the primitive level, this man showed he could protect her with his powerful physique. His level of hairiness demonstrated a high level of testerone flowing through his body indicating he’d have a decent sperm count. You may have noticed women don’t really like the big, hairy-chested guys anymore. Wonder why?

The media influences tastes by showing slender, hairless men in commercials, magazines, and movies. Hairy guys are getting waxed in droves in hopes of finding a mate. Many guys are shaving all over convinced that hair is the opposite of attractiveness. This explains all the bald men currently walking the streets.

What do men first notice about women? According to a survey taken in South Florida, it is their butt, their legs, their eyes, their face, and breasts. The survey taker pointed out because of a strong Cuban presence, the men preferred a fully rounded derrière.  There is no mention of hair, but in all other Southern states, long hair is the number one attraction. One man described long hair as hiding a multitude of flaws, everything from jughead ears to a lack of a firm chin line. As far as color, men want what they don’t have. If they are brunettes, they prefer blonde, but all like redheads.

An unusual study in Australia showed single men pictures of women that had their arms photo shopped. No matter what the woman looked like they always picked the women with the longer, proportioned forearms. It appears the men were responding to symmetry in nature. That means when my hairdresser told me I had great forearms that really was a compliment.

What do women want in men? The number one item is height. If your sweetie or husband is around your height or shorter, than you are a rare woman, but it may be you’ve netted a great guy that other women overlooked. On dating sites, women will put 6’ or taller as their first requirement. Only 13% of the US males meet that standard. Some of those men are married, old, gay, or just plain jerks.

Another thing women like is hair, a full head of hair. Bald men are becoming less popular. Men with thinning or receding hair are usually considered after the thick haired men, or bald men fail to pan out.

What do you think the third most desirable male quality is? Is it his smile, his eyes, his trim torso? Nope. it’s income.  A woman can tell what a man is approximately worth by where she meets him at. Plenty of money guys hang out at the county club, golf course, or opera house. She notices what he wears and is very cognizant of labels and tailoring.  By the company he keeps, he tends to hang out with other high wage earners. Before you classify the woman as a gold digger keep in mind she might want to start a family and needs a good provider. Income is the new broad shoulders and hairy chest.

After the wallet test, a woman likes a man who smiles. He makes her feel good about herself. He also gives the appearance of having things under control, and that’s attractive. If he can manage his world well enough to smile about it, then he can also manage their world.

Trends change as noted by men engaging in waxing, and full figured women coming back in style. Yes ladies, men are saying they prefer women with meat on their bones. A rather odd change is coming about due to the youth-oriented culture that is rather narcissistic in nature. Think of the thousands of pictures your son, daughter, niece, etc. has posted on Facebook, or the endless videos they posted on Youtube.  These are people who enjoy looking at themselves. It makes sense they’d prefer someone who looks like them. Enter FaceMate, a dating service that matches up your face to the most similar face it can find of the appropriate sex.

Apparently seeing your face on someone else’s body encourages trust, comfort, and happiness. Just take a gander at Jerry Seinfeld and his wife.

Next time you have your hero spot your heroine, what will he notice about her? Even though I read what women do notice first, I tend to notice a man’s actions. A man being patient with children, pets, or even incompetent salespeople impresses me. Next, if I am close enough, the voice. Is his voice under control, free of anger and tenseness? Is there a hint of life, or humor in it? I guess it goes to show people like different things.

What do you notice first? What attracted you to your DH?