Love is in the air!

Summer days! Short shorts, tank tops, iced lemonade, and books! Who could ask for anything more?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Redux

I am giddy. Daughter #3 just came home from work with presents for moi! 

I must admit, I usually receive Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook for Christmas and this year I didn't receive one. I was gravely disappointed.

True, I start off the year putting my appointments into the book, but gradually I forget to add them in or I forget to check the book to find them. My mind is usually buried deep inside a story, either one of mine or one I am reading, and mundane things like a check-up just doesn't occur to me.

While my alter-ego was publishing her Totems and monthly horoscope books, the Witches' Datebook was crucial. And it still is!


(Please ignore the dates on the pictures, I haven't figured out how to change them or get rid of them yet!)

However, last year I remembered the joy I had when I was a list maker. (Only on projects, not on life or ~gasp~ cleaning!)

When I used to earn money from my needles, (knitting, crocheting, and sewing) I always had a project list. It always gave me great joy to cross a project off the list and date it. It helped to see the finished products listed so that when I was feeling like I was floundering rather than treading water I could see that I had actually achieved goals I had set.

(I always set the bar high. If the goals were too easy than I wouldn't really be accomplishing anything.)

After decades of writing, it was only in 2013 when I decided to write the Boundless Billionaire series and I compiled a list of possible titles for later books. That was when I realized I was back to list making.

I also know myself well enough to realize that I am a deadline person. The closer the deadline the harder I work. (You don't want to know when I decided what I was making everyone for Christmas or when I began making them!!!)

Daughter #1 lives in a rural part of another state, so when I go to visit her we always make a trip to the local stores to load up on things we both might need. It was while we were there that I saw a pretty little desk calendar blotter. 

I didn't buy it that day, but I went home and obsessed about it for weeks before I finally found the same thing in my closest store with a big blue sign. (They get enough business so I'm not naming them here, but they use a yellow smiley face in their commercials!)

I needed that desk planner to post my goals in writing. In INK!!! I ignored the fact that my desk is just a catch all surface and doesn't have a chair. I usually pile the pillows behind me and work on my bed or go to the library when I want to sit like a grown up.

Anyway, the pretty pink blotter was hung on my door with the schedule of children's events written on it. In ink!

In the meantime, before I bought the pretty pink blotter I was whining to Daughter #3 about how I had to find a planner that was set up with each week set across the page and a place to write the weekly goals. I wanted to know if B&N still had any for 2013 in stock. Finally she pulled out the one she had bought for herself and had only used for the first week of the year and gave it to me.

A page from the 2014 planner. (Not yet used.)


I was thrilled and overjoyed. I didn't know she had one, but suddenly it was mine.

I had a goals partner, and I am very good at cracking the whip and giving out advice, but very bad at taking my own advice. I needed that planner to hold my feet over the fire.

So, beginning in June I began writing my writing totals for the day on each day. It even involved math, because I would write the entire amount written to date on the project and then find the total amount of new words for the day. 

If I did not write that day I had to write in "0" and write the reason for not working on my story.

I set weekly goals and a completion date for each project. I might not always reach my goals, but I do my best to finish on the completion date! (Afterall, I am a Deadline Ho!)

The new planner has a month at a glance feature.




I have since expanded the tracking to include when I write a blog, newsletter, or work on my website. (It is so easy to lose track of time.)



In December, courtesy of the Christmas rush to make gifts, I added when I finished each gift. I have decided to continue the practice throughout 2014. Perhaps I will get presents done in a more leisurely manner. (Yeah, right!)



The presents also included a new crochet book.

 

It's amazing where you can find some good patterns. Some of the best come in the "How To" books.

The fourth gift she brought home was this pretty felt tote bag. I am a bag lady and proud of it. The felt has nice stiff sides, so it should be hold a couple of skeins of yarn without collapsing.



If you don't already make lists and you are searching for a way out of chaos, or at least to get something done, try making a list or adding a break down of what you have to do to your agenda. It not may help, but it might, and it won't hurt.

You'll also be in great company. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and Martha Stewart made lists, and look at all they have accomplished!

Now I hope you will all excuse me, I have my goals to set for next year. I'm going to put them into my planner . . . in INK!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

New!!!

I just sent out my very first newsletter!!!

If you haven't signed up for it already, just send me your email addy and I will be happy to add you.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

More Holiday Ranting

I remember when I was little and I would watch Miracle on 34th Street every year. I've watched all the incarnations and none are as good as the version with the adorable Natalie Wood, the beautiful Maureen O'Hara, the handsome John Payne, and the quintessential Kris Kringle . . . Edmund Gwenn.



I grew up believing that Macy's was the best! After all, it had the only Thanksgiving parade worth watching. (It was the only one network television showed!) They had fabulous balloons and the Rockettes. 

Macy's was the store with a heart and the true spirit of Christmas.

On my very first trip to the city, as a young adult, I made a special point of going to Macy's and purchasing important items there. After all, it was the miracle store and a landmark.

I had innocently kept this view of Macy's well into adulthood. 

In Boston we had our own landmark store, Jordan Marsh, which was actually older than Macy's. 



Every year my grandmother would dress me in my best party dress. We would get on the bus in front of our house and go to Newton Corner, transfer to a trolley that would take us to Kenmore Square, go below the surface to the subway, and take the subway to downtown Boston. I shivered in delight at the thought of going into the city to see Santa Claus. It was a major undertaking for an elderly woman and a shy little girl.

Jordan Marsh also had a Christmas tradition which began in the 1940s. It was an Enchanted Village. It occupied an entire floor and people would come from all over to stand in line to see the village and end their pilgrimage with a visit with Santa and a photo. Then they would shop. You couldn't go to Jordan Marsh and not shop, and then end the day in their bakery with a fabulous blueberry muffin and a hot chocolate!


The Enchanted Village was an incredible draw, until for some reason, Jordan Marsh did away with it in the 1970s. 

It was revived again in the 1990s and masses of people once again stood in long lines to view the Village and to purchase gifts they could just have easily obtained at their local mall.

Then in 1998 the dastardly Macy's took over the iconic Jordan Marsh and said, "There will be no more Enchanted Village, we want to use the space for offices."



People were devastated. Why would the legendary purveyors of Christmas, the store that was made famous by the best of all Christmas movies, Miracle on 34th Street, why would they want to destroy a Boston Christmas tradition. 

What would they do next? Replace Santa in the parade with a robot?

I may be too sensitive, but I have not been able to watch the parade nor the movie since.

After the demise of the Village in the department store, it was moved to City Hall Plaza and the city sponsored it until they decided it was something they could no longer handle and sold the Village at auction on June 16, 2009. At that time it was bought by Jordan's Furniture (no relations to Jordan Marsh - it is a unit of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway and still operated with one of the original owners guiding the business) and moved to their Avon store.





Now when I go to visit the Village and see Santa I am tempted to buy a new desk or living room suite instead of a porcelain doll or a cashmere sweater.



It may be unreasonable, but I still blame Macy's for killing a local tradition. They could have found another space for their offices!

What holiday traditions in your area have been destroyed in the name of profit?


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

We are in the season of giving and all the stores and advertisers intend to take full advantage of this. 

Usually the big sales begin on "Black Friday". So named because it is the day the stores' books magically turn from red ink to black. Or so they hope.

This year many retailers hoped to cash in early and began their "door busting pre-black Friday" sales in early November. Which meant the advertising began before Halloween.

Was this too early for you?

I had a new romance novel out this year titled Christmas Lights. I agonized over the release date. 

If I release it before Thanksgiving will I offend all the traditionalists that hate to see the season rushed? If I wait until Black Friday will my window to sell the book be too short?

Amazon settled the problem for me by sending me a letter saying they expected a glut of books to be uploaded for release over Thanksgiving weekend and if I intended to release a book at that time I should do my best to plan accordingly. 

That was it. I decided to release the book on November 12th. 

I did not hold an "event" or a "release" party. Too many others had them planned and they have bigger names, bigger reader bases, and much, much bigger prizes to give out. I decided my time and money was better spent with my family.

And isn't that what the holiday is really about?

As a reader, how do you find new books to read? Do you attend the events? 

Writer friends, how do you promote your new book? 



Monday, December 9, 2013

Ugh!

I cannot believe how time is flying past. I am enjoying the time and making the most out of it, but it seems like only yesterday when I wrote the Thanksgiving Fast post.

I have not forgotten, not forsaken, you. But I must admit . . . I do lose track of time.

Where is a Time Lord when you really need one?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Yesterday I Fasted

That's right. You read that correctly. Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I fasted.

It was not for medical reasons. It was in support of the poor people in America.

In the past I have run a food pantry and assisted at a food kitchen. I know the face of hunger, and I know it well.

It can't always be read in the lines on a person's face nor in the body fat, or lack thereof, that they carry. Hunger may be affecting the cashier who gives you attitude at that store that underpays its employees. It may be hurting the man in the cubicle next to yours. Or the woman riding on the bus, maybe the woman driving the school bus you so lovingly entrust the road safety of your child to.

It could be affecting the child sitting next to your child who is taking a standardized test. The overall scores of all the students in the school are used to set a school's ranking. Hungry children cannot concentrate, so a child who is missing meals or not eating enough at each meal could be hurting your child's education and chance of getting into your dream college.

(My children attended a school where they had all the students bused in early when testing was being done so that every child in the school was fed a free breakfast on the mornings of the tests. They wanted to make sure there were no hungry bellies and distracted children taking the test. They wanted high test scores to keep their high ranking.)

If you are still with me you are probably wondering what any of this has to do with me fasting on Thanksgiving.

My family was scattered yesterday, so I was not tempted by the smells of delicious food being cooked. I did not sit by, salivating, while others enjoyed the food I denied myself. Yesterday was the ideal day to fast.

In the last few years the United States Congress has cut funding to school breakfast and lunch programs. It has cut food stamps. It has not raised the minimum wage, not has it given itself a pay cut.

This year when the supermarkets put the turkeys on sale, the sale price was ten (10) cents a pound higher than it was last year.

In months with major holidays, people on food stamps do not receive anything extra. 

Food stamps do not feed an individual nor a family for the entire month. (Check out Cory Booker's social experiment.)

Most food pantries limit food stamp recipients to once a month.

Too many people do not live close enough to a food pantry or soup kitchen to be able to utilize them. And in many areas it is a humiliating experience.

Fact: One in six people in America do not get enough to eat.

One in six people in the richest country in the world go hungry everyday!!!

I went hungry yesterday for the people who couldn't afford to do the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

I went hungry yesterday for the people who missed meals over the course of the last few months in order to save to have the traditional feast.

I went hungry yesterday to silently show my solidarity.

Did I miss the food? Hell yes!

I suffered with hunger pains that woke me up in the middle of the night. I suffered from a headache brought on by hunger. I suffered every time I thought of a child who had to go without.

Please remember when Congress takes away money from school food programs, they are actually taking the food right out of children's mouths! 

Another thing to remember, when Congress cuts food stamps it is taking food out of the mouths of children, elderly, working poor, veterans, and the families of active military personnel. 

Also remember, it is cheaper to feed your family macaroni and cheese, Ramen noodles, Little Debbies, and soda than it is to buy fresh produce, whole grain cereals, and milk. The thinking is, a full belly is better for the soul than an empty belly with little bits of apple passing through it.


Tis the season for giving. I say give your Congressman hell. Tell him or her that you want funding returned to the school lunch and food stamp programs. 

It is time America fought the war against poverty the way Lyndon Johnson wanted it. The country was never able to fulfill Johnson's vision of a "Great Society" because of a little conflict known as Vietnam. 

What started as an advisory position turned into a "police action" and then an undeclared war. It ate up the Federal budget and the War on Poverty has never been fully funded. Instead of being a cure, the social programs became a bandaid.

Ever since we left Vietnam each President has presided over some kind of conflict, whether it was part of the "cold" war or a flaming conflict, the industrial-military complex has continued to eat up the Federal budget. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, (a former General) warned us about the industrial-military complex, but it is a major part of Congressional pork. (And Congress never goes hungry - just look at their fresh donut budget!)

Even one of our Founding Fathers, President (and former General) George Washington warned us about getting involved in foreign conflicts.

It is time to fully fund the War on Poverty and stop the War on the Poor!

The politicians are blaming the poor because they don't want to tax their corporate sponsors. They are turning brother against brother. Blaming the poor for the middle class slipping into the ranks of the poor.

The poor don't have that kind of power.

The people with the power seek to divert our attention away from those that are really to blame for the monetary iniquity. (And it is not the person who is holding down two or three jobs just to survive.)

Sorry, I have digressed into a rant, but I am not going to erase it. I usually keep politics out of this blog and off my Facebook page. I have another persona who is the activist. However, as we are going into the "giving season" and there are so many more people who need a helping hand, I can no longer be silent. (At least today!)

If you are able, donate to your local food pantry or soup kitchen. If money is tight, then donate your time. A warm body is always appreciated.

Happy Holidays, my friends.








Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gone too soon

I had a strange childhood, never quite fitting in, but never completely ostracized. I lived in one town, but had to go to school in another. Having to keep my true home a secret. This made maintaining friendships difficult. (I was also a latchkey kid long before anyone had ever heard the term.)

I had a few friends, at different stages of my life and limited to the circumstances of our environments, but due to changing circumstances and differing life paths we lost touch. Over the years I have tried various methods of finding some of them. 

Today I finally tracked down another friend. Unfortunately it is too late to reconnect with Beverley, because I located her through her obituary. The obit didn't list her cause of death, but whatever it was, she was much too young. She was an extraordinary girl, clever and generous, I am sure she maintained those qualities as an adult.

Beverley and I met through our part-time, after school jobs, back in the days of old Ma Bell. We went to different schools, but we didn't live that far away from each other. Beverley not only had her license, she also had a car, and a father who was a policeman! He used to get us movie tickets. We were able to go to three different movie theaters in our town (only one of which still survives today). Where we went depended on what movie was playing.

After we graduated, I went on working for the phone company, moving to a Boston office while Beverley went away to college. We lost touch, but I thought of her, and still do, whenever I go to the movies.

Another friend I met through the job at New England Tel & Tel was Mary Ellen. She also lived within walking distance, and although we went to different schools, she would invite me over to do homework together. I still remember sitting at the counter in her kitchen and watching The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits with her and then having to walk home alone. Always hoping the street lights wouldn't flicker or go out when I passed them. (My history with street lights is the fodder for a future blog.) 

After graduation Mel went on to Nursing School while I went on to that full time job with the telephone company in Boston. We stayed in touch throughout most of her years in nursing school. She would invite me to go clubbing with her and her friends from Saint E's. She also introduced me to the first love of my life. (Unfortunately, he broke my heart, and Mel was still seeing his friend and things were too awkward for a couple of young naive teenagers to handle, and we drifted apart.) I also found her through her obit. 

I had been trying to find Mel to reconnect for years. When I had last talked to her, Mary Ellen had just earned her nursing degree. She had applied to med school, but had been denied. She wasn't giving up, though, she had every intention of re-applying. I don't know if she ever did, but according to her obituary she was a medical director and much respected, and she lived only a few towns away from me!

Then there was Anne. She was wonderful. She came along at a down point in my life. We were both dating losers, and when we ditched them our friendship continued. We paid a visit to her old college roommate who lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a borough of Brooklyn. Alice lived in a large apartment building, in a comfortable one bedroom apartment, with a tiny kitchen and no character, except for the artwork Alice had put on the walls.

We ate at some fantastic restaurants and I got to see my first two Broadway musicals - on Broadway. It was a wonderful visit.

Anne introduced me to the world of Kathleen Woodiwiss and I still thank her for it. We also had a lot of movie nights where a bunch of us would gather for old black & white comedies. You know the type where the lines are funny and it is not all about projectile vomiting.

Anne had a dream. She quit her teaching job and moved to New York City to become an actress. 

I understood Anne's dream. I had never wanted to be an actress, writing was my passion. 

Unfortunately, Anne's dream was never actualized, she worked as an insurance adjuster while studying acting in NYC, eventually coming back home to another teaching position. 

And as with my other friends, as our lives went down different paths. We lost touch until a few months ago when I found her obituary also. (I found both Mel and Anne on the same day.)

These three women had all touched my life in unique ways. They helped me through difficult and/or awkward stages in my "growing up" years. They showed me that there was always a light burning somewhere, and good people who offered healthy friendships.

I wish I could have reconnected with them before they left this world. I'm not sure if they needed to hear the words, but their friendship meant so much to me, that I have never forgotten them.




Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Today I released my first Small Town Romance, and not the Greek Billionaire everyone has been waiting for.

I have been as nervous as a young man in an old black and white movie. Pacing around and worrying. Even after the nurse had assured me that things were going well, I couldn't stop worrying.

Then late tonight a reader wrote to tell me she had just finished the book and would post a review tomorrow.

She "LOVED" it. 

The relief was overwhelming. I had been so afraid no one would like the hero, the heroine, or the story, and here was a woman who had read the book in one night and couldn't wait to tell me how much she liked it. 

The kind words of the reader made all the labor pains worth it. After all, we always feel better when someone admires out babies.




Will he leave with her heart or her heritage?




Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1j2BV2m





Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Okay, I admit it. I have already fallen behind in my NaNo goals. (My birthday and other work commitments should not be allowed to get in the way!)

However, today I met with my Crazy Crew for lunch and author J. M. Griffin surprised me with a notebook/calendar from NaNo. JM is also participating in the challenge.

She has recharged my enthusiasm and challenged me to catch up with her. 

Writing can be a very lonely occupation. Sure we have our characters, but I write romance and my characters seem to be more involved with each other than they are with me. 

It is nice to have a writing friend to push and challenge. 

Thank you, JM.

My friends, we all have stumbling blocks in our lives, but if you persevere you can get real close to achieving any goal you set for yourself! 


Friday, November 1, 2013

National Novel Writing Month

Today is day one of NaNoWriMo. Many of my friends, well a couple anyway,  (Liz Decaf is the only one who comes to mind at the moment) have been successful at completing their first drafts during the month of November thanks to NaNoWriMo. 

I have never participated in the annual November event before. (I'm afraid of commitment.) This will be my first year with NaNo. And as of 1:30 AM I had already completed my first day goal!!!

This is a big mental boost for me. This past summer I participated for the first time in a NaNoWriMo event. I went to summer camp in July. 

There are many valid excuses I can give you for not completing my work in July, but you don't want excuses you want to see the finished product . . . The Misplaced Bride. And you shall, but unfortunately not as soon as I had hoped. Ajax's story will not be for sale until Spring of 2014.

If you are a writer and procrastination is your usual MO, I would advise you to sign up for NaNo. It's not too late. Even if you do not complete your project or meet your goal you will still have made progress. If you do complete your project, then you have hit the jackpot!!!

If you are a friend of a writer or a reader, you may be seeing a lot of FB updates. Encourage your friends along their road to writing.

The path can be fun, intriguing, mysterious, scary, and/or difficult, but having a friend to hold your hand, or pat your shoulder and encourage you to keep going will go a long way to helping someone to meet their goal.

I look forward to seeing you throughout my journey.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Just Hit Send Special Guest Amber Skyze

My friend Amber Skyze has dropped by to give us a Treat for this special season!

Just Hit Send…

You create your masterpiece. Polish it to within an inch of your life and then you do it. You hit the send button. Let the waiting begin. If you’re anything like me you want instant gratification. After all, with technology the way it is anything is possible. But is a response in a few hours realistic? No, definitely not. Yes, to say the very least. LOL I have to take a step back and realize I’m not the only writer my editors are receiving submissions from.

It’s not easy being a writer. When you send your baby off into the big bad world it’s scary. Just thinking about my story being under a magnifying glass, viewed by a critical eye, gives me the chills. With each page that the editor examines I know she’s scanning every word looking for errors. She’s wondering if you have a unique plot. She’s looking to see if you can weave a riveting tale?

As time goes by with no response a million questions form in my mind. Will the editor like the story? Will she think – what the f%^& was this writer thinking? Is she laughing at my attempts to write? These are questions I ask myself every single time I send a manuscript out.

I’ve published 33 books since December 2008, but it doesn’t ease the fear of rejection. And truthfully in between those contracts I’ve had rejections. It’s just a fact of life in this business. It’s sucks though! :o)

One thing I know is that it’s better to Just Hit Send and be rejected than to let a manuscript sit unread by an editor never knowing if it has possibility.

I am happy to announce that Going for Broke is being released today from Ellora’s Cave. This is a revised and expanded version of the book Hit Me, published in 2010.

Here’s a little taste…

Blurb:

Deacon Burke has a singular goal—to win back the Las Vegas casino swindled from his father years ago.

Businesswoman Holly Perkins is equally determined to gain control of the Pleasure Palace, the decadent casino where anything goes—including exhibitionism and master/slave play. A corporate raider, she’s eager to put down roots in one location while running a business she loves.

When Deacon spots Holly in front of the casino it’s lust at first sight, and soon she’s submitting to him during a blistering-hot encounter. But how will he react when he learns of Holly’s agenda? All bets are off in their high-stakes game of carnal cravings and ultimate control.

Publisher’s Note: This title was previously released elsewhere under the title Hit Me, and has been revised and expanded for Ellora’s Cave.

A Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Excerpt:

Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking through the door.

Deacon rubbed his eyes. They burned from being sleep deprived and the bright lights didn’t help. It was nearing midnight, but who could tell in the city that never sleeps? He stopped to glance up at the majestic building. The four golden caps made it appear as if it were a true Palace. The design had been created with that in mind. Darius Burke had a dream. He’d wanted to build a casino that reminded people of royalty. He’d wanted them to feel like they were special when inside. For years he’d succeeded.
 
Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking through the door.

The one verse of the incessant Christmas song filled his mind as Deacon climbed the stairs to casino. Sure he changed it a bit to suit his needs, but that was his prerogative.

The flight in from Hong Kong seemed to drag on longer than it should have, but he closed the deal. They would gain a foothold in Hong Kong with their latest fragrance. The time had arrived for him to close another deal. The most important one.

Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking through the door.

Deacon adjusted the laptop bag dangling from his left shoulder. He lifted his right foot and placed it on the concrete stair. Gold speckles glittered the front staircases leading to the entranceway.

Each step he took was painful to his weary feet and heavy heart. He hadn’t stepped foot inside the casino or Vegas for that matter in nearly ten years. The day had finally arrived. He was coming home after many years away. Deacon Burke was one step away from reclaiming what rightfully belonged to his family – the Palace of Pleasure.

Though when his father owned the Palace the top floors known as the Pleasure part of the casino didn’t exist. Deacon could see his father rolling over his grave imagining the things that took place in the Pleasure area. Not that Deacon minded. Sex was an enjoyment of his. There was something about cherishing a woman’s body that brought out the animal instinct in him. He also didn’t mind doling out a spanking or two. Having a woman bent over, hands tied behind her back getting spanked, got him overheated every time.

He stifled a moan, while fighting the hard-on that grew in his black slacks.

Maybe he’d partake in a little fun before meeting with the current owner. Why not try out the merchandise? Not that it would change his mind on reclaiming the casino. It belonged to the Burke’s and Deacon would stake his claim, no matter what stupid stipulations they put on him.




Website – www.amberskyze.com
Twitter - @amberskyze






Sunday, October 27, 2013

Special Guest Christina Tetreault

Christina Tetreault has dropped by the Spell Room for a little visit. The weather has taken on a bit of autumn chill so I have some nice hot mulled cider and gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes. (Ummmm, I love autumn foods!)

First I would like to say thank you to Liberty Blake for having me on her blog today.  Now I want to give you my opinion on Why Romance Novels So Popular and if you have a minute I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

Whether a sweet contemporary or a steamy historical, romance is in my opinion the best genre out there.  By why is that, you may be wondering?

Romance novels unlike other types offer you a chance to fall in love with the characters while they fall in love with each other.  Despite whatever events occur during the novel, you the reader, know that in the end there will be a happy ending.  And everyone loves a happy ending.  Didn't all of our favorite Fairy Tales end with “And They Lived Happily Ever After”. 

I also believe that romance novels are so spectacular and popular because there are so many types of romance novels available.  Readers can find everything from sweeping historicals, to sweet contemporaries and paranormals to steamy eroticas. 

Every romance readers journey and tastes are different so I am going to take a minute and tell you a little about mine. 

An avid reader and writer since about the age of 10, I discovered the world of romance novels a little late.  I picked up my first romance novel A Gentle Rogue by one of my all time favorite authors, Johanna Lindsey during my freshman year of college.  And I was immediately hooked.  Soon I found myself scouring the book shelves at Walden Books and Walmart looking for another great romance.  In no time I fell in love with other historical romance authors like Julie Garwood, Stephanie Laurens, Julia Quinn, and Hannah Howell.  Not long after that I discovered great contemporary romances by authors like Jessica Bird, Kristan Higgans, and Christine Flynn.  Next I found the whole paranormal world of romance by authors like Lynn Kurland and Jessica Andersen.

Today I read almost entirely romance romance novels from various sub-genres depending on my mood. 

In addition to reading romance, I began writing them around the time I got married.  For me it was just a natural progression.  Besides what could be better than writing about two people meeting, falling in love and living happily ever after?  Nothing, right?  My first romance, The Teacher's Billionaire came out in March of 2012 and is Free for all ereaders.

While getting published was always a dream of mine, it never would have happened with out the support of my family and OTHER ROMANCE AUTHORS.  I don't know about authors from other genres, but those who write romance are the best.  They are supportive and giving.  They are always willing to offer helpful advice or a kind word.  And I am thankful to every romance author I have worked with along the way.

Thanks to all the support and great friends I have made along the way I published the 4th book in my series The Sherbrookes of Newport last week titled The Billionaire's Best Friend. In my latest book we again see Lauren McDonald who we first saw in The Teacher's Billionaire.  In book 4 the one man Lauren never stopped loving returns to town and she must decide between the man who promises her the world and the man who has the power to crush her heart again.






Be sure to get all four of Christina's books. They are a great read. Especially on a chilly night when you wrap up in an cozy afghan with a steaming cup of hot chocolate or mulled cider to sip on.

Enjoy!





Thursday, September 26, 2013

I am a television baby! 

Not to give away my age or anything, but I grew up watching Mickey Mouse, The Rifleman, and Clint Eastwood in Rawhide.

I love television!

I moan at the loss of good scripted shows while watching The Amazing Race, Project Runway, and So You Think You Can Dance.

I also enjoy the serial dramas the cable channels excel at doing.

Over the past several years I have been reluctant to watch any new shows on network television. They hook you in and then drop the show without giving it a fair chance. Or like Kathy Bates series, Harry's Law, they cancel it because it because it isn't the right demographic. (I don't know how to break it to you NBC, but I spend money!!! And I no longer watch anything other than Law & Order on NBC. You don't want my demographic, than you're not getting it. How's that youthful audience working out for you?)

This week I have watched many of my favorite network shows return, but I have seen a trend which I'm not liking very much . . . The words "To Be Continued".

If it takes two hours to give us the season's first episode of NCIS, Criminal Minds, etcetera, put the damn show on for two hours. Those of us who like the show are going to tune in next week anyway. There is no need to make us come back with a "Guess who killed JR" ending. 

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit gave us a two hour premiere, and though we watched Benson trying to come back from the horrors she faced over the summer break and in the first hour, the criminal cases were not connected so NBC could actually have aired the shows separately. (Do you think NBC did it that way just to keep me for an extra hour?)

If I want to be left with a cliff hanger on a continuing drama I will watch General Hospital or The White Queen. However, when I want to sit down and knit for an hour or two while watching a procedural that doesn't encourage my thinking, do not leave me with a "To Be Continued".

As much as I love my Gibbs, Reed, and Morgan, I was not a happy camper and my daughters who had looked forward to watching the shows I had DVRed for them have decided to wait until all the pieces are ready to be viewed.

And the networks wonder why they are losing viewers!



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Welcome to the Spellroom. 

Today we having a new rising star in romance! Dana Stone has stopped by to say hello! 
A hostile takeover, an irresistible adversary and unexpected lust. What else could go wrong for Erin Cameron? Find out in To Catch a Billionaire


Thanks for inviting me to stop by today, Liberty. I enjoy visiting you and your readers who love romance.

Since you’ve given me permission to talk about anything I’d like, I must warn you, I could be all over the place, like a cheap skirt. Seriously, though, I’d like to talk about romance and the book I just published. To Catch a Billionaire…sounds like fun, right? First off, I’d like to say that I hadn’t realized another (prolific) author had used that same title. You can be certain that my novella has nothing to do with that one. I should have researched the name before I got started, but it seemed to fit my story so I rolled with it. There was no intent on my part to minimalize Xenia Ryder’s novel.


I worked out the story by using my art background as a beginning. The heroine, Erin Cameron, owns an art gallery in Greenwich, CT. The hero, Tristan Forsyth, is a billionaire who takes great pride in acquiring art galleries all over the world. Why? Because he can, will, and does, no matter what it takes. This time around, he’s focused on Erin’s gallery, without realizing how stubborn she can be, until he learns her secret and threatens to use it against her. Will he win this fight or will she win his heart? Find out in To Catch a Billionaire.


Planning out a story takes time and effort, often with little return at first, but then wham…the book takes off and the ride begins. I enjoy fast cars, and racing, as long as the ride is fun and fast, I’m in for the long haul. You never know what readers have in store for you. Some like a book and others, eh it’s so-so. I’m happy with that, either way. The like part is enjoyable, the eh part makes me wonder if I could have made the book better and how I could have achieved that. When someone writes a scathing remark (tirade, etc.), I wonder what joy they get out of it. Suffice it to say “I read the book, but didn’t care for it” instead of writing a load of drivel. (Getting off my soapbox now…) The story planning part for me is like watching a movie unfold. It runs like a video in my head, nagging me until I get it onto the computer. While it’s great fun to write and still the voices in your head who beg to be front and center in your life until the story has come to fruition, it’s still hard work. Writes, rewrites, and more rewrites are the life an author leads. Not complaining, just saying… :~)


I remember years ago I couldn’t seem to find a readable book. One that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go until I stayed up until four o’clock in the morning to finish it. I complained (whined, really) to my husband about it. In typical man fashion, his response was “Then write your own if you think it’s that easy”, thus began my career in making up stories, enjoying the characters and being able to do and say whatever I wanted without censure. Nice, right? I think so! My editor does pull me up short every now and then with words of warning concerning my attitude, so I don’t always get to be a twit.


My siblings were much older than me and went to private schools, where they lived most of the year. It felt like I was an only child most of the time. We lived in the middle of nowhere, no neighbors close by with kids to play with, so I made up my own friends. Invisible ones who had great adventures and did as they pleased. I now know that’s when my storytelling days began, but I didn’t realize it then.


If you have stories in your head that are bugging you to get down on paper, then I say “go for it” the trip is fun while you twist and turn in every direction. You won’t want to get off when the ride ends. Try putting your story into Nanowrimo which is a great place to start your writing career. www.nanowrimo.org


Thanks again for having me, Liberty. See you soon for a cuppa tea!

 



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Slacker

I admit it, I have a tendency to be a slacker. 

We all have busy lives. There is always something that takes precedence over all the other things we have to do. If you have to walk the dog, that takes priority over reading a book. Feeding your family is a must, cleaning your car drops down on your "honey do" list.

With most of the bloggers I know, the blog is actually very low on the must do list. Once you miss a blog deadline it is much easier to miss another and another. Have you been following a blog that suddenly hasn't changed for several weeks, or months.

I myself have been guilty of neglecting my blog.

I am busy with the kids, my meetings, writing my books, reading other books, research, watching television, and before you know it, months have gone by and no new blog. 

When this happens it is worse than starting a new blog. You have lost the trust of those who had previously read your blog. How do you get it back?

I'm not sure. I'm still working towards that end. 

In the early days of this blog I concentrated more on craft (writing craft) articles. When I decided I had ignored this poor baby long enough, I realized that writing craft articles was one of the reasons I had stopped blogging. I would read a book and see all the same problems I had already blogged about, and it was much too early to start repeating subjects.

Now I write about whatever crosses my mind. And it is working. I have plenty of subject material and a new joy for the blog.

By now I hope you are wondering the reason behind today's blog. 

I scrolled down the sidebar to check out a few of the blogs I have loved reading in the past, mostly by other authors, and I found that they have suffered from the same malaise.

They haven't posted a blog in months. Some of them have been silent for over a year. It broke my heart, but I deleted all those blogs that haven't posted since 2012. (With one exception, my friend Hannah Howell. She has been talking about reviving her blog, and I decided to give her a little more time.)

I urge you to check out some of the blogs I have listed on the sidebar under "Favorite People With Blogs. If you have a favorite blog, or an active blog of your own, please let me know about them and I will add them to my list.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Writers Groups

(Sorry, I must add a disclaimer at the beginning. I am not picking on any authors. You do not have to belong to any writers groups, to be a good writer, but it doesn't hurt.)

Autumn is here and so is my return to writers groups. 

I am a glutton and belong to both the New England Chapter of RWA (NEC for short) and Rhode Island Romance Writers (RIRW), which is not affiliated with RWA although many of our members do belong to the national organization.

It is important for writers to belong to a group. A good group will keep a writer informed of the latest trends, celebrate the writer's ups and downs with her, and advise her on where she can get the help she needs.

A good group also has a guest speaker or a workshop every month for a writer to learn her craft.

Craft is very important!

It is almost impossible to write a book today without attending classes and/or workshops. High school English classes can teach you punctuation, although I have seen many novels that raise my doubts about that, but they cannot teach you how to build and grow a character. 

High school English classes do not teach you how to have a main plot and how to intersperse subplots along the way that will support the story and not cause it to implode within itself. 

Do you enjoy watching a ping pong match? Does your head swivel and turn every time the ball crosses the net? When the volleys get fast and furious do your eyes stay with the ball, or do they get lost?

When an author bounces around with their characters' point of view from one person, to another, to another, none of the characters can truly show the depths of their emotions. The story is superficial and the readers will be lost to an author who can wring the emotions out of both the character and the reader.

High school English classes do not teach you how to avoid back story dumps. When you walk in the woods and come across a bear's dump you do not plow through it, you avoid it, so to, does your reader when you artlessly plunk every bit of research you've ever done, in your entire life, into your story.

Did you enjoy that last run-on sentence? You can learn how to avoid those in high school English classes.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Telemarketers

As I was trying to rest my poor concussed head the phone started ringing. I had the phone on the bed next to me in case any of my children called. (You never know. Sometimes they miss me.)

Due to the swelling in my face I didn't have my reading glasses on. They hurt me too much. So I answered the phone, not knowing who it was.

I could tell right away by the white noise in the phone that a telemarketer was about to come on the line. Spending a lot of time resting gets boring, so I thought I would see if they were trying to pitch me insurance, home security, credit cards, or newspapers.

My short hope of rest was destroyed. I might as well have some fun.

A woman with a very thick accent began jabbering in my ear, "The New York Post is expanding home delivery to your area. You will get the Saturday and Sunday editions including coupons that will save you a lot every week when you are shopping in the New York area."

"Do you know where you are calling," I interrupted.

"Yes, mam, I do," she said.

"Then why are you offering me coupons to use in New York? I live in New England."

"Let me check and see if the coupons will be good where you are." She came back a moment later. "The coupons are good everywhere."

"In that case you should change your script and leave out any mention of where you can use the coupons," I continued to interrupt.

"I don't use a script."

"Yes you do, otherwise you wouldn't have told someone in Massachusetts that they will get coupons good to be used in New York." 

What kind of idiot did she think I was. I had trained to be a telemarketer, until I realized I didn't want to trick people into getting things that could hurt them financially. 

All telemarketers use scripts. The scripts are carefully written and you are not supposed to go off script. If you can keep to the script and keep the pacing right you will make the sale. It is all in the spiel.

(The people who work as telemarketers are not bad people, they have to make a living, but the robocalls have to stop!)

"Mam, please let me finish," she pleaded. I could hear I had rattled her.

"Who owns the New York Post?" I asked.

"What does that have to do with anything?" she asked. Now she was beginning to sound a little contentious. 

I was having such a good time!

"When I know who owns a paper, then I know what kind of news they print."

No response so I continued. "Who owns the paper."

"Rupert Murdoch," she mumbled.

"I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you," I said.

"Rupert Murdoch. Rupert Murdoch owns the New York Post," her voice was almost a shout.

"Thank you for calling, but I don't want the paper," I said.

"Why not?" She shouted before I could disconnect.

"Because I don't want the paper." I hung up.

And how was your day. Did you find anything amusing to do?