Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays!

As a child, I loved summer, of course.  There was no school.  I could sleep late and do whatever I wanted.  Fabulous!

While attending college, I loved the holidays.  During the semester breaks, I worked internships, so I didn't get to spend time with my family, and I was stuck in the "grown-up" world, so no real summer fun.

As an adult, I have grown to love the entire holiday season--October - April (my birthday is in April.)  I love everything from the food to the people to the movies and music.

One of my favorite songs this season, is CeeLo Green's remake of "Mary Did You Know."  It's beautiful!  I hope you all enjoy it, and I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and that you bring 2013 in with a bang!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An Early Gift from My Editor! And Salado at Christmas!

What more can I say than that????

Now that's what I call a CHRISTMAS present! Snow, wolf and Tom, and all.....

Where's the mistletoe? Don't need it!

Just one hot body to keep us warm.

He's coming!!! February 1, 2014 in time for Valentine's. Happy Merry Jolly Christmas, Early!

Thanks to Sourcebooks and their wonderful art department and Deb for sending him to me in time for the holidays!!!

What do you think? Are you ready for Tom?

I loved the old buildings in Salado decorated for Christmas. We walked all over and saw many of the homes/shops that are on the historical tour. Many of these were built in the 1860's. It seems a long time ago, until I think of visiting the Scottish castles!!!

Here are some more of the shops and their wooden walkways.

Inside one of the old buildings that once was a residence and now a shop I took a picture of the rock work and pretty mirrored chest, and caught myself in the mirror! I didn't realize I had. Debbie, poor thing, was my coat bearer while I took pictures. It looked like it would rain, but it never did, so we finally ditched the coats in the car. I kept apologizing to her for having to be the workhorse on the trip, and if I had wanted to hide the fact she was carrying our coats, I captured it in the picture. So no tall tales there...

I loved the stone work in the buildings, and in the mirror, you can also see how the glass door has a glass window above it. Many of the buildings had these. My friend kept saying, "Can you imagine dusting all this stuff?"

My mother used to say, "They aren't collectables. They're dustables."

But it's hard not to walk away with something cute from Salado. :)

The little guy in the middle who is playing his music? He came home for Christmas with me--my gift to me from Salado, my muse. :)

A dust collector? Surely not!

How about you? Can you resist collecting those collectables?

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Nothing to say but Happy Day!

I hope it's a holiday where you are -- if it is, please celebrate it with friends and loved ones, because they truly are the gift we give ourselves.

If it isn't a holiday, please make one for yourself -- relax, have that extra special coffee, do a bit of shopping, spend some Me Time. You deserve it!

Here's to the new year and, if the Mayans are to be believed, the beginning of a new age of enlightenment. Heaven knows, we can use it!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Meet My Friend J. Morgan

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
It's me. J. Morgan. Yep, I'm here again. Paisley kindly asked me to come back for another dose of me. Between, me, you and that suspicious looking Christmas tree over there, I think she just wanted to get out of blogging this month. She said something about fruitcakes and oven humidity making her dizzy. I'm not buying it though. But, since one of those fruitcakes rested on a very large plate for all of five minutes before someone ate it, namely me, I'm back for another visit talking about my just released Immortally Damned.
With Christmas only a day or so away, I should be talking about my Christmas short, Claus…I love you. It would be easy to chit chat with you about a story that screams Christmas -- love. Like I said, real easy. But, I'm not. Why? Because, I have decided to shock you with a revelation so mind blowing Paisley will wish that oven humidity had made her pass out!
Caern from Immortally Damned is loosely based on me! Yes, that's right. I am really a failed priest. Bet you thought I was going to say vampire. Failed priest you say? Yes, at one time in my life I wanted to be a priest. Being raised Catholic, I'm sure a lot of boys in a Catholic run school have the same idea. I would have followed through with that holy vocation if not for one thing. No, not chastity. Wait, make that two things. The second one being puberty. The female of the species puberty, not mine, though it figures heavily in my change in life pursuits.
As I enter my forties full on, I've often wondered what would have become of me, if I had gone through with holy orders. Again, puberty keeps derailing those thoughts. Like Caern, I didn't and I have lived with the consequences ever since. I'm sure God didn't like it much, or breathed a sigh of relief. In fact it wasn't until I finished Immortally Damned that it dawned on me just how much of myself I'd pumped into my half vampire. I know that authors do it all the time, but this time I was really channeling the old noggin into the project. That's not saying that all of Caern is me. That'd be insane. Well, more insane than I normally am.
Still, when it comes to crafting characters you have to empathize with them. You absolutely need to crawl into their skins and come to know them, inside and out. Otherwise, you're just tossing meaningless works onto a screen. Saying that writing is cathartic is stating it mildly. Given half a chance, I'm pretty sure authors subconsciously reveal more of themselves than they'd do to an accredited therapist. It's up to you the readers to wade through the fiction to find a glimmer of fact. I firmly believe that if a writer has the power to fully draw you into a story, he or she has just invited you into their lives. Like I said, I doubt we realize we're doing it, but hey, it's cheaper than that visit to the psychiatrist.
You know, I probably shouldn't even finish the blog. You're calling the men in white coats right now aren't you? They're coming to take me away. Ha ha! Oops, I didn't mean to write that. So, before they get here, let me wish you a Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years. To distract you while I make a hasty retreat out the window over the kitchen sink, please enjoy the below excerpt. Have those men in white coats read as well. I run really really slow.
Amor Immorati
Book Two
Immortally Damned
Caern swore to never return to New Orleans, his death warrant making the choice easy. Well, easy until his past returns to smack him around. Now, he has to return to the one place where death isn't a possibility, it's a guarantee. And only a matter of time. Searching to find a murderer out to kill the grandchild he never thought to meet, he finds himself falling into a hell he just might not be able to crawl free of. His only hope lies in Detective Eliza Marrone. Falling for her isn't in the cards, but his heart tells him it might be the only thing he can't escape. Zombies, old lovers and psychopathic vampire clergy, yeah those are things he can deal with. True love on the other hand is the one thing he's always avoided. This time there's no way out. It might get him killed, or end up saving his wretched soul.
"Yeah." Caern winced at the shattering of glass. "Let's go before they break through. I don't like the idea of facing them in this enclosed space."
"Me either," Eliza agreed. "If I'd known this day would end with a zombie apocalypse I'd have packed an extra clip or five."
"You aren't the only one." Caern thought his nine hour sadly inadequate for the job at hand. He hoped Raiz had thought to grab his bag. In all the rush, he'd forgotten all about it. "Eliza, take point. Steph and I will play cleanup. If it moans, shoot it. Don't think twice."
She set a round into the chamber. "Head shots, I presume."
"Sure, it might work. These aren't your movie zombies. Dupres controls them. Head shot might sever the connection, but if it keeps moving, go for the knees. A disabled zombie is just as good as dead one." He set his own round. "Bites won't turn you into one, but it'll give you crap amoxicillin won't touch. Think Ebola and leprosy all wrapped into one."
"Nice." Eliza bent in and kissed him on the tip of the nose. "Caern, you take me to the nicest places. By the way, that was for luck. You get me out of this alive, and I'll show you how lucky."
"Were you just flirting with me, Detective Marrone?" He wondered what type of lucky that might entail.
"If you have to ask, you're not old enough to find out." She pinched his cheek. "We better play nice before we make somebody upchuck."
"Meet you on the other side." He threaded his fingers through hers. "Don't be a hero. Things go FUBAR, you grab Deborah and fort up somewhere until it's safe."
"Same goes for you. Just because you're half vamp doesn't mean you're indestructible." She bent close and whispered. "Or irreplaceable. Don't make me regret not killing you when I had the chance."
Caern brushed his lips across her cheek. "I think that's the most romantic thing I've ever heard."
"Yeah, I'm a sweet talker." She pushed him back. "I'm through being mushy. Let's go kill something."
"As you wish, milady." Watching her walk away had to have been the hardest thing he'd ever done. Just knowing what they were about to jump into, it took every thing he had to stop himself from going caveman and shove her in the nearest broom closet and lock the door. The fire in her eye told him what would happen. She could handle herself. Like the rest of them, she was a warrior born.
That didn't keep his heart from skipping a beat, as she led them down the narrow hallway to the rear of the hotel. Each open doorway they came to sent another pang of fear racing through him. The shouts echoing behind them only made it worse. If he could have got his hands on Dupres, Caern would have gladly throttled the life out of the undead bastard. He settled for killing some of his pets. If anything happened to Eliza or Deborah, all bets were off. Caern would pile corpses around him and burn this whole city down around his rotting ass.
Available Now From Desert Breeze Publishing
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and other fine online book sellers.
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Continuing My Education

I have always been an avid reader. "Nose in a book" could have been my middle name. When the itch to write needed scratching, I thought a love of reading equalled the ability to write. It didn't take long to discover I had a lot to learn.

Fortunately I also like to take classes. I'd take them in person, but I don't live near a city or community college. I can't find a romance  critique partner I to meet in town for coffee. So online classes are a godsend. Through them I have learned about POV, characterization, plot development, and power-loading sentences.

I am taking an interesting class right now: food writing for historical novelists.  We just had our first homework assignment-- a first-hand account of a real-time food experience. I wrote 512 words about cooking and eating fried eggs and toast.  I had to compose details that showed:  Taste. Touch. Sound. Sight. Scent.

The next assignments will be trickier: incorporating them into my story in a way that "creates an important pause in the emotional arc."

Interesting things happen to me in the shower-- it's where I often get ah ha solutions to what happens next. So, to compose sensory details of taking a shower, I could describe how the water feels--its temperature, the spray, is it slippery soft or hard. The shower stall--walls smooth, shiny hard. How the water tastes; the shampoo tastes--and smells. How it looks and sounds on the shower curtain or door before we enter. Once we are inside, how the water and shampoo bubbles run off my body and down the walls, down the drain. The scent of the soap. The texture of a washrag. The squeakiness of my hair after it is fully rinsed.

Once I have these options, I would pick ones that mesh with the emotions of the scene. Is the heroine distraught over a lost love--the spray could feel like knife cuts.

Or an essential memory. What if my character as a young child was scrubbed harshly by a mother whose husband had just smacked her around?  What if she remembers playing happily with her younger brother in a tub--and now she'd just learned he drowned?  What if she is in the shower with her lover and he slips on the soap--something she has always feared could happen.

I am still learning to write deep POV, but it is becoming easier to  write evocative details. I can see that I can't just list five or six descriptions and create a mood in my setting. I need to use a few sensory details that link directly to the emotion in the scene.

More good stuff to learn.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas in Florida

For many Christmas is synonym of snow, cold, a fire in the chimney; indoors decorated Christmas trees; evergreen wreaths and garlands; red ribbons to accent the Christmas look; twinkling lights decorating the doors and front yards; and a spicy hot punch; or hot chocolate to warm you up.
Yes that’s the Christmas I remember having when my children were growing, in school and in college.It was so cold outside, and so warm and cozy inside.
My present Christmas is so different. How do you celebrate Christmas in Florida? In church, nothing is changed, but all the rest is different. Our Christmas trees are often smaller. We decorate palm trees and take advantage of our clement weather. You can find us at the beach if the temperature is in the seventies.

My latest book, CHRISTMAS BABIES, is a heartwarming holiday story, set in South Florida.

Dedicated to her patients, the serious Dr. Madelyn Ramsay never had time for fun. An unexpected health problem jolts her into the realization that there’s more to life than just work. She longs to surrender to the magic of Christmas.

But can she handle the charming and secretive Dr. Nick Preston who carries his own package of disillusions?

Can she allow two newborn twins to worm their way into her heart?

CHRISTMAS BABIES is a bestseller at Amazon.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

And the winner is... ME!

Today’s post is just before the biggest holiday on my calendar, which is Christmas and the week until New Years Day. This is a time I’ll spend with my family, and eat, drink, and be merry to my heart’s content. At least that’s the plan and most of the time we manage to enjoy ourselves. 

While I'm celebrating I’ll also try to finish up the book I worked on during NaNoWriMo, for which I wrote my required 50K words during the month of November, in spite of dancing Nutcracker for the nineteenth time and having family around for Thanksgiving.

The Girl In The Box coverSo I did finish NaNoWriMo, hence my winning status. I also managed to get my short story, The Girl In The Box price-matched at Amazon as free... which is generating a lot of interest as people download it and then go off and purchase one or more of my other titles. So that makes me a winner as well.

My next goal is to get the NaNoWriMo project finished: Girl Unboxed. It is sort of a sequel to The Girl In The Box, meaning that it continues the story into the time just after the short story ends. When people kept saying the story was too short, they seemed to be talking about more than just the fact that it was 5000 words. They also meant they wanted to read more about Ammi and Ganth and how their life was going to work out. I'm working on the end scenes of the story now, and I think people will like it.

The goal is to have it up at Amazon by the middle of next month. I hope I make it because it sure seems like it would be nice to have a new book in January.

In the meantime I hope everyone has a happy holiday and will enter the new year as stress-free as possible.

Janet Miller/Cricket Starr

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Many of you know that golf is a hobby of mine which means Palm Springs is a mecca for me.  Ah…the warmth, the beautiful courses backdropped by massive mountains.  In fact, now that I’ve updated my golf bag with a new driver and three wood, I’m really happy with my game.

But I golf alone, the rare wife whose husband is not interested in the sport.  I sign up as a single and I’m placed with strangers for the four to five hours it takes to conquer eighteen holes.  You guessed it, I’m usually playing with men.

I am always pleased with my blind-date golf partners.  They are gentlemen, supportive of my game and life-style (they’re enamored by the four months I live on our boat), and supremely interested in my life as a published author.  Most have never met a professional writer before, much less played golf with one.  By the nineteenth hole, I’m handing out my postcards and getting promises from my new friends to buy my books.  Frankly, it’s become a lot more fun to be a golfer and writer.

Now listen to this.  Last Wednesday, at Mission Hills, I played a round with two women from Long Beach.  Good golfers, exuberant, adventurous types.  It gets better.  They are retired LAPD.  Worked sex crimes and homicide.  (You remember I write suspense!)  Even better?  They’re working cold cases as consultants in their retirement; I’m writing about a 1932 murder in Petersburg, Alaska.  Are you sitting down?  They want to help me look at the case, offering to fly up to Alaska and walk the crime scene with me.  I got a follow-up e-mail that evening from them to underline their serious interest in helping me.

I say again.  I’m one lucky writer.  I meet the nicest people on the golf course! 

Remember, my action-packed SWOON, from the Funeral Planner Suspense Series is out now.  Here’s what Brenda Novak says about it along with a blurb. 

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?  

Print version Amazon

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I don't like to read...

I had a totally different post planned for this week, but I've heard the words "I don't like to read" so many times, lately, that I had to take a minute and just say, "What?"

The holidays are such a great time to read.  So many great holiday specific books are available that I personally don't know where to begin.

Even if people don't want to read four hundred page books, there are great some great novellas or short stories. (Hint, hint!)

Some people that I love and truly admire frown when I mention some of the books I'm currently reading, not because of the books, but because they have no interest at all in reading.  My question to them is how do you escape?  They responses differ, but they tend to lean toward sleeping, or in the case of my male friends, something "manly" playing sports or riding motorcycles.

I play tennis--not well, but I play.  But, I'd still miss holding a book, or grabbing my Kindle.

I've tried to sneak books and magazines into the hands of people I love, but I guess that would be like them trying to get me on a motorcycle.  Sometimes I'll take the ride with them, but it's just not my thing.

But, they still can't stop me from stuffing their Christmas stockings with books...lots and lots of them!

Monday, December 10, 2012

A time for everything ...

My writing process is this: I write a first draft of a book in about 2-3 months. Then I set it aside for a few months while I start a new book. Then I'll come back to it and do editing. I look for repetitive words, throwaway words ("and" "then" "up" "down"), I look at sentence length and paragraph size and what I call Mechanics.

Then I read the book. I mean, I actually read it. After a month or two I've totally forgotten it, so it's like reading a new story with fresh eyes. I read it and work out inconsistencies, plot gaps, and weak points. Once that edit is over, I ship it off to my beta reader for her review.

I haven't felt very creative lately. In fact, I've been sort of at loose ends. I've had to spend a lot of energy on Legal Nonsense, and it sapped my creative side. But I finally got a break, and I sat down at the keyboard ... and realized I don't have a book in progress. I have a few I could start. I have another story I could work on. But I don't have that One Focus Book right now.

What an odd feeling. The first time in maybe 6 years I didn't have a focus. What to do?

I did Mechanics. I dragged out that book I had finished back in the late summer and I started on mechanics. And you know what? That action got me back into the flow of writing.

So don't gripe about the grunt-work of writing. Sometimes it's JUST what the doctor ordered!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Josie Riviera--Dave Barry Christmas tree adventure

Hi Everyone, Well, it's the 8th of the 9th (OK it's really the 9th), and I want to share a Dave Barry excerpt. Ready for a chuckle? "We should be grateful that the early Germans, who thought up the Christmas tree tradition, didn't decide to drag home some large foreign organism that is even LESS appropriate for interior use than a tree. Imagine what Christmas would be like today if they had used, for example, a moose. We'd have millions of families driving home with a dead Christmas moose strapped to the roof of their car; and then Dad would spend hours trying to get the moose to fit into a cheesey $4.99 drugstore moose stand; and then thhe whole family would decorate it, and then, as everybody gathered around in admiration, it would topple majestically to the ground. So it would be essentially the same as what we do now, except that Dad would not get sap in his hair." LOL! Please share your own Christmas tree adventures, which hopefully will not include a dead moose! While you're enjoying the holidays, I'm thrilled to announce my debut Inspirational Regency romance is available on Kindle. SEEKING PATIENCE. Check out the emotional and heart-wrenching romance between a Rom (Gypsy) and a dowager countess. SEEKING PATIENCE

Friday, December 7, 2012

2013 Golden Heart Contest

I took the plunge again this year and entered the 2013 Golden Heart Contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America. I've submitted a manuscript previously entered and one I'm entering for the first time.

The contest is much different for this go around. For the first time, the entries are submitted electronically. Kudos to RWA for the appreciated change. I'm so glad there was no need to print up multiple copies of the partial manuscripts and synopses and burn CDs with the full manuscripts, pack them up, and then lug them to the post office for mailing. And I'm very happy to save the postage expense.

The other major change this year is in scoring. Instead of using a single overall score with 9 being the top score, the new scoring model requires a judge to rate a manuscript separately on the romance, the plot/story, the writing, and the characters with the romance having a greater weight. The total possible score is 50.

I'm eager to see how my manuscripts do with the new scoring method.

Are you entering the Golden Heart this year? How do you feel about the new scoring method?

~Dawn Marie

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Making the Belle of the Ball a Sympathetic Character

         Were you the most popular girl in high school? Perhaps you were the prom queen or head cheerleader. Most romance readers never had that experience. It is no wonder they enjoy a down and out heroine, the wallflower, or the overlooked bookworm. How about a heroine who is the bell of the ball? The girl all the other girls hated because she snatched up all the available men. Who would make such a woman the heroine? Not me, that’s for sure, not until I attended New York City RWA conference where I found out the head cheerleader can be a heroine, if she suffers enough first. Pays her dues so to speak, is broken in a major way, and grows through the experience.

            This is how I came up with the idea of Eileen, Emily’s older sister from Undercover Rebel, a beautiful heiress who refuses all the men who want to court her. To those on the outside, it appears as if Eileen is an arrogant female by her behavior. Her only redeeming feature in the first book, Undercover Rebel, is she genuinely loves her family, especially her little sister. This keeps her from being a total witch, but Eileen hasn’t suffered, yet.

            Eileen suffers physically through the Civil War, but her major suffering comes from the realization she’ll never married or have children in the post war South. Eileen wanted someone special, a man who would stand up to her, a man she’d dreamed about, but she wasted her time waiting. Her future as a spinster aunt looms before her. In desperation, she becomes a mail order bride by writing letter after letter about yearning to be an obedient, doting wife to an unknown man. On her way out to her fiancé, she witnesses a train robbery. Enter Marshal Colt Shepard who believes Eileen might be in cahoots with the bank robbers.



“What has your pretty little brow all furrowed up like that?” he asked with a touch of laughter in his voice.

“Well-I-well…” This was her favorite type of man, one who would flatter her with words of her beauty. Without thinking, she fell into her normal flirtatious attitude, batting her eyes coquettishly. This should be easy.

“Maybe you’re deciding which lies will work on me best. Is that it?” He put one hand on a seat and leaned forward, closing the distance separating them.

He called her a liar. “How dare you!” She hissed the words, pulled her back ramrod straight, and narrowed her eyes. She learned how to project indignant from the best, her mother. Never mind the fact she’d been contemplating which lie to use on him.

His laughter unnerved her, but not as much as his hand touching her cheek. She looked up into his suddenly somber eyes. What was he thinking? He looked so serious. She blinked twice. Her eyes must be playing tricks on her because his face seemed closer, closer still, until he grew unfocussed. She closed her eyes briefly, hoping to clear up her vision.

Lips landed on hers, warm and firm. Her eyes popped open. Sure enough, his slightly out of focused nose and a hunk of blond hair filled her vision. Once she conquered her shock, she decided to let him kiss her. It wasn’t as if she could stop him. Unlike her previous beaus who made awkward attempts she naturally foiled, this was nice. Her skin felt warm despite the wind seeping around the window. Her heart kicked up in an odd flutter, and her toes curled. Could this be what her sister talked about when she described kissing Gray? To think she scolded her sister, calling her no better than a light skirt. Did that make her a light skirt too? She couldn’t afford to be one. She pulled away from the kiss.

“Unhand me sir!”

His eyes crinkled in suppressed laughter. “Look at where my hands are.”

She looked at one large hand still rested on the back of the seat, the other hung lax against his side. Hard to argue with him on that, but still he kissed her. He shouldn’t have done that. “You shouldn’t have kissed me. It was unpardonable of you to take advantage of a war widow.”

Colt crossed his arms and shook his head slowly back and forth. “War widow, my foot. I doubt that very much. Don’t know why you’re parading around in weeds, but I am interested in finding out.”

“What makes you think I am not a widow?” Eileen was miffed over her costume not deceiving him. It could be widows did not go around kissing strange men or at least recent ones didn’t. She’d heard there were some friendly widows in town, but their deceased husbands served only as a name, making her wonder if they ever existed.

He eyed her up and down, smiled, and then let loose a bark of laughter. “Ah, if you were ever married, then your husband should be horse-whipped for his failure to kiss you properly. You do not kiss like a woman with experience. You are more like a love-starved virgin than a widow.”

Eileen stiffened her spine. His words were true, but she resented them just as the same. “Sir, I beg you not to speak poorly of my husband.”

“Ma’am, I can’t speak for a man who doesn’t exist. If you were my wife, you would be well kissed, well handled, and well pleasured.” He said the last word in a suggestive growl.

Ready to read more? A lucky commenter can have a free copy of Rebel Bride.

The Ticking Clock

Recently a well-published author complained that all he could think about during book signings that he should be writing. I attended a workshop put on by Jane Porter, Harlequin author, who bemoaned writing blogs and promoting work because it took time away from writing.  The refrain I heard from them is the ticking clock. Does the clock bother you?

Sometimes, when I wait at the doctor’s office, or hang on hold I think of everything I could be doing. Do you do this? Every minute is important. Especially in November, I am trying to write a book in a month, release one book, do a book tour for another, and try to polish up two other tales for submission. Add to that, two Thanksgiving celebration and Christmas shopping along with the everyday work. My clock is a grandfather clock that is donging incessantly.

My husband came up with a clever idea to take a break. At first, I wanted to remark what a crazy idea it was, but there is some validity to his statement. The day before it took me most of the day to pop out 2,600 words because I kept researching. My heroine is a scientist. Still, scientific research shows people who take frequents break, and even naps at work perform better.

Sometimes the break is exactly what I need. My literary meltdown happened on a Monday, which is also my belly dance day. You guessed it I made my plot breakthrough while working on a new turning step. Often physical exercise stimulates our brain helping us work through sticky problems. I also heard chocolate and caffeine helps too. Taking a break might be the best thing for you.

Getting away from writing for a day or two will give you more of an appreciation when you go back. It won’t be a duty, but a joy.  Now, I can’t do it too long or I’ll feel like I am going cold turkey. Do you take breaks? Do you feel like it benefits you?

Sunday, December 2, 2012


There’s a delightful bookstore in Paris called Shakespeare and Company. It sits on the Left Bank, within steps of the Seine and in view of the Notre Dame Cathedral. When we were in Paris, Calvin insisted I had to see it. He claimed it was the most unusual bookstore in the City of Light. I wasn’t prepared for the maze of narrow hallways leading to more alcoves of dust-covered books.

This Paris institution has an interesting background. Shakespeare and Co. was first opened at another location by Sylvia Beach, an American expatriate, in 1918. During the 1920’s, it was the gathering place for writers of the “Lost Generation” -- Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Man Ray and Ezra Pound. During this period, the store was the epicenter of Anglo-American literary culture and modernism in Paris. It is featured in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris.”


When the Nazis occupied the city, the store was closed down and never re-opened until another American, George Whitman, opened a bookstore in 1951 in a building that was once a monastary. Later he renamed his English-language bookstore Shakespeare and Company in tribute to Sylvia Beach. This store became a focal point for literary culture in bohemian Paris.


Now here’s where it gets really interesting to me. Whitman, in his youth, had hiked his way through Central America and Europe. He was deeply touched by the generosity of citizens who opened their humble homes to him and shared all they had. This universal-family-ideology stuck with him and, as a result, he opened his bookstore to starving artists and writers. The bookstore includes sleeping facilities, with 13 beds, and Whitman claimed as many as 40,000 people have slept in the shop over the years. His only requirements were that his guests, whom he called “tumbleweeds”, read, work at their art/writing and help out in the bookstore for two hours a day.
A delightful book, Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare and Co. by Jeremy Mercer, tells of a writer’s month living in the famed bookstore. Imagine! Free room and board in Paris. Granted one had little privacy. Bathroom privileges were on a scheduled basis. You had to be up and moving about when the store opened. But this is Paris, y’all!
Here’s the book’s description that reinforces what I’m sharing about the place. “Wandering through Paris's Left Bank one day, poor and unemployed, Canadian reporter Jeremy Mercer ducked into a little bookstore called Shakespeare & Co. Mercer bought a book, and the staff invited him up for tea. Within weeks, he was living above the store, working for the proprietor, George Whitman, patron saint of the city's down-and-out writers, and immersing himself in the love affairs and low-down watering holes of the shop's makeshift staff. Time Was Soft There is the story of a journey down a literary rabbit hole in the shadow of Notre Dame, to a place where a hidden bohemia still thrives.”
Regular activities that occur in the bookshop are Sunday tea, poetry readings and writers’ meetings. George Whitman died there at the age of 98, nearly a year ago. His daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman, now runs the shop and continues to allow young writers to live and work in the store.
So, of course, I just had to include a scene at Shakespeare and Company in my recently released romantic suspense. AND TO ONE LUCKY COMMENTER, I'M GIVING AWAY A PDF COPY OF MONA LISA'S ROOM--Make sure you leave your email address in your comments. ~ ~ ~ To introduce my excerpt, I must tell you that because my heroine Alyson Moore has unwittingly foiled a terrorist’s bombing attempt, she’s been placed under the protective custody of French agent, Niko Reynard. They’ve argued outside Shakespeare and Company and are now inside the store. Niko’s looking for a little gift as a making-up gesture to his charge, who is pretty upset with him…
“Where are you from?” Niko detected an Aussie accent.
“Australia. Brisbane. I’m here to experience Paris, study art and do a bit of poetry writin’.” Eddie’s eyes were scanning the shelves. “Ah, here we go, mate.” He climbed a stepstool to reach what he was after. Turning, he leaned down to hand the two books to Niko.
Thanks. Sketches of Parisian Rooftops and Sketches of Gardens of Paris.” He quickly scanned through the pages. Aly would love these.
Eddie hailed a greeting at two men, dressed in suits, when they entered and ambled through the narrow store, quietly talking as they climbed the few wooden steps to the next section.
Niko briefly glanced at them before flipping the books over to check the prices. “I’ll take all three.” He waited for the total and paid his bill. “Wrap them please so my lady friend can’t see them. They’re a surprise.”
“Oh, lucky her. I just love…”
Suddenly, screams followed by loud thumping and books falling filled the bookstore. Niko sprinted in the direction of the high-pitched shrieking, gun in hand. He bounded up the steps and rounded the corner. “Aly! Aly! What the hell.”
He skidded to a halt. One of the well-dressed men he saw entering the store earlier was on the floor, books covering most of his body. His companion was staggering, holding his hands over his eye and screaming like a banshee as blood ran down his face.
In the corner stood a pale and trembling Aly, her frightened blue eyes dominated her face. “They…they grabbed me! Said they’d kill me if I resisted. I…I karate kicked them.” She swallowed, obviously trying to gain control. “Kung…kung-fooed the hell out of them, too. And…and…”—she pointed to the screaming man still on his feet—“I think I poked his eye out with one of my stilettos.”
Niko ran a hand down his face, keeping it over his mouth to hide the smile. What a piece of work. He wanted to laugh. He wanted to hug her. And damned if he didn’t want to shake the daylights out of her for stepping out of his sight. Hadn’t he told her to stay with him?
“You okay?” Niko’s gaze swept over her, looking for injuries. He fought the urge to pull her to him and embrace her until her trembling stopped. Frankly, if he were honest, his nerves weren’t the greatest right this moment, either. When he heard her scream earlier, cold fear did a free-fall straight through his system.
Some professional he was. While buying books, Aly had to defend herself. His gaze took in the shambles. By the looks of things, hell if she hadn’t done a damn fine job. “Answer me! Did one of these bastards hurt you? Are you okay?”
“I…I gotta pee.” She was shaking violently. No doubt going into shock. Today’s events finally took their toll.
“I’ll show her to the dunny,” came the Aussie accent behind him. “Ain’t no wonder she’s gotta use the loo. The woman beat the bullocks out of the blokes, she did. Gobsmacked ’em, I’ll wager. Shall I call the police or will you?”
“I am the police. Counterterrorism unit.”

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THE WILD ROSE PRESS (digital) --
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AMAZON (paperback) --

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Alpha Wolf Won the Cheese-Its! by Terry Spear

When we first arrived at the wolf pen, we saw this funny little fur-covered boxy-looking "toy."We wondered what it was. We saw the wolves way across the exhibit and I was taking pictures and we forget all about the furry thing.

Then we walked around the exhibit to the other side where we could get closer. At first, the wolves stayed far away from us, but then after we'd been there a while, they came right up next to the fence.

But trying to take pictures through the fence wasn't that great as I haven't learned yet how to not focus on the fence! So we walked all the way around the exhibit again and stood where the observation deck was. And this time they came close to the observation area. Well, I was taking pictures of other wolves, and not ready when the wolves found the "food."

Here is what was underneath the fur--cheese-it boxes and I'm sure it was filled with something to eat. This is the alpha--because that's the wolf that got the prize!

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

I've got to retreat to my cave and do edits on Jaguar Fever as I've got a really short deadline!

Then it's back to Silence of the Wolf!

Happy Saturday!

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