Love is in the air!

The days are getting longer and the outdoors call to those of us who live in the northern hemisphere.

Be sure to keep a book handy. You still need quiet time and what better way to fill it than with a book?

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?




Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Motorcycles, Accidents, and Fate

Saturday was a wonderful day! I participated in a friends book release event, went to a Rhode Island Romance Writers meeting, and then dinner and chit chat with a wonderful friend visiting from Florida.

On the way home from dinner I realize my old ten dollar flip phone needed to be replaced. I had planned to jump off the highway to grab another cheapie, but I missed the exit. I considered getting off at the next exit and back tracking, but decided the new phone could wait until the next day.

I arrived home only to find no one there. I went upstairs and put my stuff away. I was in the process of talking to my daughter's voice mail when she and the two Little Guys came in all excited about their day of apple picking. (This was no longer than five minutes after I had arrived home.)

They hugged and kissed me and went directly into the bathroom for a bath. I was just turning on the television when I heard a crash right outside my house. I looked out my window and saw a huge pick-up truck in my garden and about two feet from the side of the house. A police motorcycle was standing next to it, and the police officer was hovering over a man's body that was trapped under another motorcycle at the end of my driveway. (This was less than five minutes after my daughter and the Little Guys had arrived home.)

From what I learned later, the motorcycle had crashed into the truck across the street and knocked it up and halfway across the sidewalk. The truck in my yard had been coming up the hill when the motorcycle hit the other truck and the bike and rider were now heading directly for the new truck. He swerved and drove onto my sidewalk and into the yard.

Fortunately the driver had great reflexes and not only avoided hitting the motorcycle and rider, he also missed hitting my house. (Some of my flowers were hurt, but they'll come back next year.)

Now you are wondering what this all has to do with you and why I mentioned Fate in the title.

1.  If I had gone to buy the phone instead of coming right home I would have arrived in the middle of the accident.

2.  If I hadn't been home I wouldn't have called my daughter. True the phone went to voice mail, but she knew it was me, and instead of staying in the car talking to her friend she brought the boys in to me. If they hadn't rushed to get the boys to me, they would have been involved in the accident.

I was still a young psychic when I worked at the House of Zodiac. One day I couldn't find my car keys and I was a few minutes late getting to work. Sandy, one of my mentors, pointed out that those missing keys were Fates way of leading me down the road I was meant to go. 

And she was right. The road I would normally travel had a major accident on it at the time I would have been at the intersection. But because I was getting a later start I jumped on the highway.

So the next time your car keys are playing hide and go seek with you, little Bobby or Susie spills breakfast all over the dress you planned to wear to work, or you forget an important file and have to go back for it, it could be the Fates way to lead you either too your Destiny or away from a Fate that is not yours.




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

National Library Month

September is National Library Month.

I am in my local library several times a week and I love every minute of it.

There will be at least two blogs during the month of September about the important role the library plays in the life of the community.

I hope you will come back and sit for a spell.


Monday, September 2, 2013

A Faerie Tale for the First Monday of September

Once upon a time there was a beautiful blue and green planet known as Earth. It was rich and flowing with life. 

The world had enough to sustain them all.

In the early years the people of the world learned to adapt the environment for their use. They apportioned jobs according to their skills. Those who were good at hunting brought home the meat and those who were good at gathering collected the berries, grains, and vegetables. 

The abundance of the world belonged to all.

Then one day someone decided to build fences around some of the land and and call it his own. If others wished to remain on the land and sup on its bounty he forced them to work for him and give him a large portion of their harvests. The deal was that the person who claimed the land would protect those who worked for him, feed them, and provide them with shelter.

The owners wore the best skins and ate the best pieces of meat. Eventually they even owned the people and fed them less. Their care of the people they owned was atrocious.

Eventually people said, hey, I'm a person just like you. You cannot own me. I will stay and work for you, but you must pay me.

The owners were reluctant to part with any of the goodies they hoarded in their store rooms, so they paid their employees only a pittance and demanded the young to work for them as well.

The children were forced into the dark depths of the world to dig out sparkling gems and metals and black coal to warm the feet of the overlords. The children lost limbs and life. All for pennies.

Other children were sent into the mills to spin the cotton and weave the cloth. They lost limbs and life. All for pennies.

The workers worked every day and long into the night. They lived in hovels, had little to eat, and no medicine when their lungs began to fail.

Mothers wailed and Fathers cried silent tears.

Eventually the workers' grumbles became louder and they gathered together and formed groups to demand better working conditions and a living wage.

The workers gathered outside the mills and mines refusing to work until there were better conditions. They were beaten on the public sidewalks, their leaders were killed, but the workers stood their ground. They wanted a better life and deserved safer working conditions.

It took years, but eventually their efforts were recognized. The government made laws that children were not allowed to work in the mines and mills. The owners were forced to pay their employees better. The smart bosses paid their employees more than required to make sure they would continue to work for them and not the competition.

The first Monday of September was designated by law as a day when the workers did not have to work and they could celebrate the freedom they had fought for and earned by standing strong.

It was a day of outdoor cooking. A feast shared among friends and neighbors. There was music and dancing. Water sports and much travel on the roads. All businesses were closed so that all the workers could appreciate the day that their forefathers efforts had brought to them.

But the greedy corporate masters did not like this. They found ways around the laws and even managed to void many laws that had been in effect since before the formation of the country. Laws that were not there to protect the workers, but rather to protect those that worshipped a deity. Those were the "Blue Laws".

The corporate masters wined and dined the law makers and "convinced" them there was a need to sell fast moving vehicles, food, toys, knick-knacks, and booze on the days which had been previously set aside to fulfil the promises the people had made to their deity. This also allowed the corporate masters to say, "Uh-huh! If you can forsake your deity to work, you can throw aside the promised day-off. Why should you have rest from your day of labor when others may need a bottle of beer or a bag of chips because they did not buy enough on one of the six other days that available to them. Instead for their convenience the lowly worker must work in his master's business while others who serve another master, doing different kind of work, can party.

And so, my precious ones, that is the story of the First Monday of September.