Friday, December 30, 2011

Discover wonderful ROMANCE from these AMAZING authors.

To help spread the word on new and old titles, a group of authors are opening up their blogs to other authors, allowing them to post blurbs and buy link information on their various titles. If you are a guest blogger and would like to post your blurb in the comments section, feel free but please keep the blurb PG13 and for those that do post, your submission gives me permission to reciprocate in kind. Think of this as a day-long massive blog hop. What I need: your PG13 blurb, a buy link and your blog url.

For subscribers and readers, what better way to ring in the new year than to introduce you to a wonderful cast of writers with a varied menu to choose from. Bon appetit!

To begin the blurb hop, I am posting two of my most recent books. I look forward to seeing whate everyone else will post. Enjoy:

On Timeless Wings of Gold:

They say an eclipse yields a powerful force, an energy that can be harnessed by those with magic in their souls. On such a day when the sun disappears behind the shadow of the Earth, a mighty wizard evokes the elements of nature. With ancient, Celtic incantations, he sends an angel upon the wings of time to tempt a fallen king.

Angel Cashion is struggling to make ends meet and saving for when she can own her own repair shop in hopes of fighting her ex for custody of their daughter, but she is whisked away from home by a quirk of fate. Torin O’Faelain has spent the past two years enslaved by Vikings. A man of strong principles, Torin is committed to finding his way back to his native land and nothing will stand in his way, not even an angel from the future, but love and fate intervene.
BUY LINKS; Kindle or other formats
The Keeper of Moon Haven
On the southern fringes of the Mendip Hills sits the Castle Hamingjur, an abandoned structure most fear haunted. Yet, on the rare occasions when the Hunter’s Blue Moon occurs, the Keeper occupies this mysterious castle where he guards the bridge to Alfheim Haven.
Noreen Willshire discovers more than fairytales hidden between the pages of Beletania’s diary. She opens the ancient book and finds a pathway to a Faery Realm where all manner of mythical creatures reside. In her naïveté, she summons the Keeper before his scheduled time in the human realm. In that brief moment, the mysterious wizard touches her soul with more than magick. She promises to return the diary during Mefylleth, a time when the barriers between the two realms melt away, but danger stalks her path. Torn between her desire to make a new life for herself in America and her growing love for the Keeper, she must bridge the gap between magick and time to follow her heart.
BUY LINKS: Kindle or other formats

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sagging Middle Woes

And no I'm not talking about my spare tire though I probably do need to make dieting top priority on my New Year's resolution list. Ugh.
I'm talking about the middle of the story that usually has writers pulling their teeth, their hair and anything else worth pulling. I'm a pantser, a term fondly applied to writers who pen manuscripts by the seat of their pants with little to no structured planning. Yep, that's me.

I'm working on a book now that has my muse screaming in frustration, but I know why. This is the first book I've done where I've written the sagging middle before the lead-up that follows the beginning. In essence, I wrote the beginning with no trouble. And then I rewrote the beginning. And then I rewrote the beginning again. I've rewritten the beginning five times now. But I'm happy with the fifth attempt. However, in doing this, I jumped into the sagging middle and floundered.

To make the story flow better, I just kept adding meat and cheese, sandwiching in scenes that happen before the middle. When I finally got it all put together, I realized I'd written that middle section first. Doing so kept this part far from sagging. I think the flavors all mesh now and I've written the perfect hamburger. I just need to put the ending bun on top and I'll be finished. Dinner served.Yay! (oh wait, what happened to that diet I just talked about?)

So what do I do to keep the middle from falling flat? First, I try to include foreshadowing and hooks throughout the beginning that have to be addressed along the way. Second, when I put my characters into situations where they have to react, I try to figure out more than one direction for them to go. I try to throw out the first solution because if I thought of it right off the bat, it will probably be the solution readers are expecting. I want to give them the unexpected if possible. Third, I try to keep those pages full of action. If it sags too much, kill a character. Ha ha. And if you can't kill 'em, put your hero or heroine into yet another impossible situation. But in all honesty, to sustain a story from beginning to end without the sagging middle, a writer has to have well developed characters with internal and external conflicts that drive the story forward. Without goal, motivation and conflict, it's hard to have a story at all.

I have 47,000 words written and am pretty much done with the middle. I'm now at the crucial black moment. This will be a difficult section to draft. My story takes place at the beginning of a hurricane and while I want to keep the facts as true to the real event as possible, I don't want folks to die. Unfortunately, folks did die in this tragic hurricane. I'm currently doing a ton of research on Indianola, TX, a ghost town that was once a city to rival that of Galveston. At the time my story takes place, the port town boasted a population of about 5000.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What makes a hero?

How many times have you studied a friend or an acquaintance for certain characteristics and thought - dang, no one would believe a character could be that flaky? Or maybe you've read a character that just couldn't possibly exist in real life. Funny how truth is often stranger than fiction. I love watching TV shows that work with criminal profiles, but I find it hard to believe that there are that many folks out in the world that are seriously messed up. I know. I tend to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, hense why I write romance.

When I first started writing, I went to several workshops on character development. One of the key points mentioned was, "You don't want to do that. It won't endear your audience to your hero or heroine." Okay, so most readers love a tortured hero, but he can't drink to excess, sleep around, or smoke. Now granted, in real life if someone has a violent background, no family love, or has been betrayed in some way, he/she is likely to turn to a vice for solace. It's human nature.

I think rules have changed with the popularity of e-books. Authors have come a long way to break these steadfast rules set by the 1980s and 90s romance authors. There are still some taboo areas. Most authors avoid putting a cigarette in their hero's hands. For a contemporary book, it just makes him seem stupid (unless part of his growth is his willingness to break the addiction). However, for a historical, to have the hero smoke is true to the times.

So - what makes a hero? For me, heorism comes when unsurmountable odds are surpassed in his/her bid to do the right thing no matter what it might cost. Personal sacrifice makes him/her that much more memorable. In order for this to occur, though, the author has to have put in place internal as well as external conflicts. The character has to have believeable reasons for making those sacrifices. Otherwise, what's the point?

Friday, December 23, 2011

B is for beets

Beets are an odd vegetable root that are pretty much an aquired taste. Did you know you can make wine from beets? Not sure I want to try, but ...

So what do beets have to do with writing? Writing is like art. Readers have different tastes, different standards for appreciating an author's work. I know there are a lot of "best sellers" out there that were simply not my cup of tea. I couldn't make it past the first three chapters and yet others raved over the work.

For the author, when composing a manuscript there are many craft issues that help the piece flow better. While a lot of these craft issues definitely make or break an author's chance for success, many of them are very subjective. Like beets, some of the things are just a matter of taste.

World building is one of them. Too much description slows the pace in my opinion while not enough leaves the work flat and unappealing. But who's to say what's too much or not enough. See what I mean? Subjective.

Then there's passive versus active writing. I strive for active writing, but I've seen a lot of books make 5 star reviews that used a lot of passive construction. Again, I guess this is all a matter of taste.

In art, the most successful artists are those that know the rules of good composition, color theory and use of media, but break them with exciting results. Gotta love the rebels of the world.

So yeah, barkeep, pass me another shot of beet wine, while I ignore certain rules and embrace others. I've a book to write.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rats in the Belfry

Okay, maybe not the belfry, but definitely my pseudo attic. I appreciate the beady-eyed monsters need to stay warm and cozy when winter arrives, but seriously, they could have chosen someone else's home.

Their are several tools that a writer can't live without. Two of them? The computer and the Internet. My lovely houseguests dined well last night on my Internet cable. Toucha my cable and die! I would make a lousy hit woman, but I do declare that these miscreant's days are marked.

Yesterday I was given the task of creating a 16 page publication that had to be in the printer's hands by 8 this morning. I had 5 files to upload to an ftp site, the largest of the files was 45 MB. I didn't go into panic mode until around 8:00 PM after I called my Internet provider and even she wasn't getting a signal. It took another hour for my husband to discover the source of our Internet woes.

I went next door and begged the password from my neighbor so I could use their wireless. I found a spot in the kitchen that was closest to their house and opened up the laptop. I was able to get e-mail and basic service but the signal wasn't strong enough to sustain a hold on the ftp site. In trying to finish the layouts, I had to refer to the information on my e-mail by going to the laptop in the kitchen, writing down the corrections and returning to my main computer in the office. What a pain.

Geek son to the rescue! Being very tech savvy, he just happened to have more cable in the house. He was able to rig a single line for my husband. When DH finally realized that I needed the computer worse than him, he took it off his and hooked me up. Saved. I was able to upload my files. By that time I was exhausted. Today, DH ran new cable and called the exterminator.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A is for Acting

I do something sorta strange with my art students that helps them with a difficult pose. When they can't nail down a figure's pose the way they want it, I have them get in that position and "feel" the pose. Often times, they discover that why the drawing looks odd is because there's no comfortable, physical way the figure can move like that.

I tend to write the same way. When I come up with a difficult scene, I actually get up and go through the movements each character might make. Where are their hands? What are their facial expressions? I mumble lines while I'm walking. Of course, it's rather humorous to be caught doing that. My friends think I'm in pain when they pass me and my face is all scrunched up in a wierd way. Too funny.

I reserve the physical acting part when I'm alone at my computer. Otherwise, my family might have me committed. This trick does work to help solidify a scene, though. I'm a true believer in visuals.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ciara Gold's Date Nut Cookies

I remember many things about my grandmother. One, we always visited her during Christmas or Easter. Two, she always made the most fabulous cookies. Below is one of the recipes she made during Christmas and one of my favorite cookies. She was a special lady who always believed in me and I miss her a lot.

Date Nut Cookies

In a skillet, combine the following ingredients. Use medium to low heat and stir often until a thick, spreadable paste forms.

1 lb chopped dates

1 cup pecans

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

Cream the following ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1 cup shortening

Add to the creamed mixture and mix:

3 eggs

2 tablespoons molasses

Add dry ingredients and stir until soft dough forms:

4 cups flour

1 tsp soda

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

Divide dough into thirds. On floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. I use floured wax paper as I use the paper to roll it up later. I roll it so it forms a shape that is about 14 - 15 inches long and about 6 inches wide. Scoop one third of the date mixture onto the dough and use a knife dipped in water to spread evenly over the dough. Gently roll dough over mixture until a long log is formed. I use the wax paper to help me do this. Then, tuck in the ends of the wax paper, roll wax paper around the cookie log, and place it in the freezer. Repeat these steps twice more for a total of three cookie roll logs.

After it freezes hard, slice the roll into 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake at 350̊ for 9 - 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I'm the world's worst at keeping up with this blog, but I thought I'd start something new. Let's see how far I go with it. Anyway, thought today I'd talk a little about researching since I'm deep in the task as we speak.
Research is one of the key ingredients for taking your novel from humdrum to engaging. True, there are so many factors to consider when writing, but without those little juicy tidbits that come from hours of research, your novel is likely to fall flat.

I'm going to use my newest novel as an example. On Timeless Wings of Gold is a time travel that takes place in both the past and the future. For future events, I had to use my imagination as the future I envisioned happens in 2024, which is not to far distant. Technology is moving so fast, it's a bit overwhelming to predict just how advanced society will be so I blended what I know now with what might possibly be in the future.

The past was easier to deal with because I had a lot a research on which to base my vision. I bought several books on Viking history and summer before last, had the wonderful opportunity to visit Scandinavia. Four years ago, I also spent time in Paris where I got to tour a wee bit of Normandy. The Vikings came to Normandy so I felt this was the perfect setting for my story.

When digging for facts, a lot of the information posted is basically the same. What I desired were the little known facts, things that can enrich the story. I found two things that thrilled me. The first was an obscure mention in a forum of how the Viking people cared for their teeth. True or not? Verified? I don't know, but it was plausable enough that my group of people could use it and not raise any red flags with historians.  The next bit of information that sparked my interest was a detailed account of how the Viking people put on their shoes. The shoes were in fact flat pieces of leather that wrapped around the foot then secured by ties.

So how does one go about finding these tidbits as I call them? For one, you can't just stop at the first article on a given subject. Second, you have to use different key words when searching for information.

I'm researching the hurricane of Indianola that occured in 1875. Doing a search on the hurricane yielded some information but when I typed in weather for Indianola, 1875, I got a whole new batch of articles that yielded even more information. Be tenatious in your search and don't forget your local libraries. I also spend a lot of time in Half Price Books and I now have a fairly large collection of resource books to supplement what I find on the web.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sharing a wee bit of my Christmas

Thought I'd share my Christmas tree with you. The house smells wonderful since putting it up last weekend. We put the tree in what we call, the Buffet room. The wall behind is a painted mural I did when my son was about 3. He's 22 now. The floor is painted cement but I plan to carpet or tile it soon. The paint is old and chipped. It used to be a back porch until the previous owners walled it in and made a room out of it.

Each year, I pull out the ornaments I made when I was 16. They're almost 40 years old now and I need to some mending but all in all, they've weathered the time well. I made them from blown eggs. I cut out an opening and inserted a small picture, then beaded the outside. I had more fun doing these. The top is from a goose egg.