Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Remember when Prom Season rolled around? If you weren't dating someone exclusively, you had a 50/50 shot you'd get asked to the Prom. Now, some women had nerves of steel and (remember I'm old and women's lib was just starting out when I was in high school) would ask a guy instead of waiting for him to ask her. I wasn't one of those girls.

Now all through high school I was in love with Ricky. (I think I still might be 40 years later.) We dated sporadically, he was All-American in football, wrestling, baseball. He didn't have time for a serious girlfriend. I respected that.

Junior year I waited nervously through April and May for him to ask me. I faithfully went to every one of his sports games during the year, helped him with his Lit thesis (he wasn't very good in English), and basically prayed nightly for him to ask me. He didn't. He asked Kathleen. To say I was disappointed was an understatement.

Senior year was a little different. As luck would have it, we went to a football party and ended up hooking up. (No, there was no sex involved.) We were "together" (although back in those days, if he didn't give you his school ring or his letter jacket, you really weren't). So, I waited patiently. Sometime around the last wrestling match Debbie made a play for him. And it stuck. She had his ring AND his jacket. To say I was devastated was an understatement.

(They've been married for 40 years now. But I'm still not over her underhandedness. EVERYONE knew I liked Ricky. A LOT. And I thought he liked me too. Guess I was wrong.)

You may be asking -- What in God's name does Prom have to do with ANYTHING? Well, ever since I made the announcement I'm going to self-publish, that's how I feel... like it's two weeks before the dance and I'm still without a date.

I've queried my brains out with my three books. Every agent, like a prospective date, and they've all turned me down. Sure, I've had one or two partials and even a full request, (Which is like dinner and a movie) but no one's said, "Sure, I'd love to take you to Prom."

Now back in the day, there was a group of girls who couldn't get dates and decided to chip in and rent a limo and all go together. That wasn't really done in those days. We looked on them with more than a little pity. Not that there was anything wrong with them, they just hadn't been asked. Let me tell you, looking back, if I knew then what I know now, I would have gone to Prom with them.

With this whole self-publishing thing, it seems I'm feeling those same feelings all over again. No date for the Prom -- do I want to scramble for a bad date, or do I want to go with the girls?

Do I want to keep scrambling to try and get an agent? Or do I want to go it alone and join a group of indie authors who seem to be having all the fun?

I've run through both sides of the spectrum, pro's and con's. I've gnashed my teeth, wrung my hands, spent many a sleepless night, pored over blogs and articles. Yes, I have decided to self-publish, but the knot in my stomach is bigger than any I had about Prom.

Tell me -- Is there a situation in your life where you feel like it's Prom all over again?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Heavens to Murgatroid!

Well, Good Morning. Finally. I know I'm late with my post today. I'll bet you can't guess why. I'll tell you. I slept late. I slept until eight o'clock. Which I haven't done since -- I can't remember. And do you want to know why I slept until eight o'clock.

Monster Child slept in her own bed last night. For the first time. (Actually technically, it was the third time, but this was the first time she initiated it on her own.)

I made the decision of keeping her, first, in her bassinet in our bedroom, when I brought her home from the hospital. Breast feeding and all that. And then in our bed when she went through growth spurts, and then, well, she wouldn't go down in her crib and would scream bloody murder, and I just couldn't stand to listen to the poor thing so in our bed she came. When her father and I split up, naturally she wouldn't leave me, and I didn't bug her about it.

What precipitated the change of sleeping venue, you ask? I'm not exactly sure, but I think it's because her bedroom is finally finished. Sure it's always been inhabitable, bed, desk, chair, teddies (bears not pj's), dressers, tv/vcr (spoiled rotten), but I've never been happy with it. There's always been something wrong -- the curtains, the bookcase, the lamp, the chair. So last week I bought two (better) bookcases for her room, new curtains, rearranged the furniture and BAM! Her room, in my eyes, was finally done.

And I guess in hers as well.

I've read the child rearing books, I've had other parents turn their nose up at me for saying I raised Monster Child in a family bed, our doctor even questioned my choice. They all warned me about the possible outcomes, all bad, all negative. I don't think it's fostered anything other than a loving comfortable stable atmosphere at home. No matter how much we scream and yell (she soooo takes after my Type A personalilty and challenges me on EVERYTHING) there's always a giggle and snuggle in bed. I always know where she is, can hear her breathing. (When she was so sick for so long I would stay up all night and just listen to her breath. I had a lot of conversations with God on those nights.)

I knew it would only be a matter of time before SHE decided she would sleep in her own room. I have the patience of a saint (or so I've been told.) Last night, she went up to my room (with the DVD player) and I stayed downstairs to watch Masterpiece Mystery. I figured she fell asleep like she always does. At 10:30 she was still awake. It's summer now, I don't really care what time she goes to bed -- sort of.

She said, "I want you to put up my Princess tent on my bed. I'm going to sleep in my own room."

It's 10:30 on a Sunday night. I DO NOT want to fuss with the Princess tent. I'm tired, I have a lot to do on Monday. However, who am I to turn down spreading out in my own bed for the first time in six years. I snapped that tent together in record time, tucked her in, kissed her good-night, and jumped in my own glorious queen size bed all by myself. I sank blissfully into my pillows, not worrying about if she's cold, or moving an ankle or elbow, not wondering if one of us was going to fall out of bed.

Did I sleep the sleep I've been longing for? NO! I tossed and turned, had horrible, horrible nightmares, got up 3 times to check on her. She came in and woke me up at six a.m. I told her to go back to sleep, it was too early. That's MY usual time to get up. I laid there after she left and debated about getting up. Next thing I knew, the sun was streaming through the windows. I glanced at the clock and to my horror, it was eight a.m. I lost two hours to my Monday. Oh well.

Now I realize my Monday posts are supposed to be about love. I guess today's post is about unconditional love.

Tell me -- Have you bucked tradition where your kids are concerned? Have you done anything for them that other parents might raise an eyebrow over? Do you allow them things or freedoms that you didn't have as a child?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Personal Choice

Last week I proposed what The Ultimate Novel means to us, and it seems we were all thinking along the same lines. In describing our books, we all just want them to be read.

Anyway, I've been doing a lot, and I mean a LOT of thinking these last few weeks about the state of the publishing world. I know, most of you have been as well. It makes one's head spin. Well, mine anyway.

And I decided that I am definitely going to give e-publishing a try. I know, I vowed I would never e-pub, I vowed I wanted an agent and all the NY hooplah, but as an artist, I'm kind of feeling like I'm trussed up in a straight jacket.

Dancers dance. Singers sing. Actors act. Writers write. But I have no audience. I've been holed up in my little office writing away with no one to read what I've written except for my critters and betas. It's frustrating. I want to have an audience. Call me a narcissist if you must, but I want to share my writing with people who want to read a book about love and longing. I have these great stories (well, at least that's what my betas and critters tell me), but no one can read them.

And most of you are doing the same thing. You're writing books for an audience, but no one can read them. Yet, how can they read them if they aren't published? Even if I got an agent and a publishing contract tomorrow, the book still wouldn't come out until 2013. By that time, I'm sure you'd have forgotten all about Genna and Tony and Pete. Maybe you already have. And sure, I could put the whole thing up on my blog for free, but you know, writing is a job and I would like to get paid for it at some point. (Monster Child wants a pony.)

I still have several queries and a partial out on two different books, so I'm not officially in the e-pub club yet. If I did my calculations right, by the end of July everything should be in from agents. And I think if I play my cards right, maybe by September, I could have an e-book out there. I think there might be one or two of you who would drop $2.99 to find out what happened to Ellis and Violet, or Penny and Will? Wouldn't you? How about 99 cents for Genna and Tony?

So, that's what I've been thinking about. I know there's more to the whole e-pubbing phenomenon than just formatting and uploading, and I'm not especially computer literate, so I'm kind of scared. But I have to say, I really think my mind's made up. Even more so since I received a lovely rejection letter from an agent who wrote -- "This story does sound intriguing, however, I'm just not sure I can place it." (Can't place a single-title sweet Regency romance? Hello Harlequin -- Avon -- St. Martins. I've done my homework, how about you? Sounds like a brush-off to me.)

Tell me, have YOU given e-publishing some thought, or more thought than you used to?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sexy Blue Toenails

Good morning. You might wonder what sexy blue toenails have to do with the topic of love. Well, I'll tell you.

Now, I was never a Christie Brinkley, Elle MacPhearson kind of girl but I had my own mojo when it came to being attractive. I was Rubenesque, Zoftig, pleasingly plump in all the right places. I had curves. I was also toned and had great muscle placement. I could turn a head or two in my day.

Hitting middle age has definitely shown me what gravity is all about. Trying not to be too pessimistic about what I look like these days, I try and remember the old adage -- what I lack in beauty, I make up in wisdom. Most days it doesn't matter what I look like. Although now it's summertime, I would like to get into a bathing suit that doesn't have triple digits for a size.

My one consolation, I've always had great feet. I've always painted my toenails a deep red in summer. What is it the make-up gurus say, "Show off your assets." While at the dollar store, Monster Child spied some nail polish and I consented. Her choice of colors were florescent chartreuse, navy blue with sparkles, and a pink that I did not care for. We got home and she happily painted her toes chartreuse and her fingers pink. (Matching her dress for church -- my mother was aghast.)

Any-hoo, she kept bugging me to paint my toes. My red was chipped and fading, so I decided, on a whim, to paint them the navy blue with sparkles as a lark. Why the hell not? It's not like the fashion police were going to arrest me.

They actually looked quite sexy, if I do say so. A couple of days later, I had to get gas and walked into the Hess station, not even aware what I looked like. Same old me, navy blue shorts, pink top, white Dr. Scholl's (the wooden ones from 25 years ago). The Pepsi driver was standing in my way, so I said "Excuse me," and tried to sidle by him. He looked me up and down, flicked me a weird expression, and looked down again at my feet. And then he smiled at me, I mean really smiled and said, "No, excuse me." And looked down again at my feet . Hmmm.

I suppose one can never really tell what another person will find attractive. It's said you make up your mind about someone within 3 seconds of seeing them. I wonder what he thought about my toes. (Then again, maybe I don't.)

Tell me -- What attracts you to another person? Is there one definable aspect you look at first? What grabs you in 3 seconds?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Ultimate Novel

Good Morning. Today I want to discuss The Ultimate Novel. The one book in the whole world that you would go through hell fire and back again for. The one that makes your heart race and keeps your fingers turning the pages. The one that you cannot put down, no matter how much the kids, the hubs, the dogs are screaming for dinner.

I'm talking about yours. Your book. The one that's kept you up well past bedtime going over that one niggly scene. The one that's fried your brain trying to find all the 'thats' and 'was' and 'just' and 'reallys'. The one that drove you to go to the optometrist for a new prescription because the dollar store cheapies just weren't cutting it anymore.

The Ultimate Novel that is either going to make, or break you.

I've written three. So far. I'm not broken, yet, but I'm also not made. It's been an ongoing battle to find the right words, to hone my craft, to distinguish between good writing and lazy writing. This writing thing I do keeps me up at night fine- tuning my scenes, my plot lines, my characters. It gives me ideas at the most inconvenient times, like a funeral, a graduation, Home Depot, and I'm usually without a piece of paper, so any scrap will do until I can get home and type away at the keyboard.

The Ulitmate Novel. I know when I let my beta readers finally read it, my stomach turns itself inside out a thousand times before I hear back from them. And you know, it's not about if the book is good or bad or needs work, it's about them reading it. It's about finally having an audience for something I've written.

That to me is what The Ultimate Novel is. It's not really about being published, or getting an agent, or even making the NY Times best seller list. It's about being read. It's about having someone tell me, "Hey, that was a pretty good book." It's about knowing that I touched someone else with something I've written. That alone is worth the hours struggling, writing, deleting, rewriting, editing, formatting.

What does The Ultimate Novel mean to you?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Good Morning. Remember that old Bobby Darrin tune?

Somewhere beyond the sea,
somewhere waiting for me,
my lover stands on golden sands,
and watches the ships go sailing.

Okay, for those of you who have no clue, well, let's just say, it's an oldie but goodie. Like me.

This song has haunted me, haunted me I tell you, for years. This is my theme song. If a person could have such a thing, this would be mine.

Because it's Monday, and I'm talking about love today, this is my theme song for love. Somehow, I've gotten it stuck in my head, that my One and Only, Soul Mate, Other Half, Significant Other, is on a distant shore somewhere, waiting for me. Why he hasn't found me yet, I haven't a clue. I mean, am I supposed to look for him? Are we supposed to meet half-way? Don't know.

And literally, I've had this song in my head for decades. DEC-ADES people. I keep telling my mother I want to go to Ireland. She thinks it's so I can find the family tree and all that, but really, it's so I can cruise the beaches, or boat yards, and see if there's a sweet red-headed Irishman waiting for me. Yeah, I know, I am a little nuts.

Why I think he's on a distant shore is beyond me. I mean, really, he could be in Florida, or Oregon, maybe even Texas. I think it's the accent. Irish, Scottish, British. That's why I watch so much BBC telly.

Okay, enough soul baring for one day.

Tell me -- Do you have a theme song for love? Not "our song" or your wedding song, but a song that you feel best describes how you feel about love?

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Piedmont Grille is Now Closed

Good Morning, my darlings. Sorry to say, the Piedmont Grille will be closed for the summer. Monster Child is getting out of school today, my mother and I discussed the plans for our upcoming vacation in July, and I have not one, not two, but three books to write over the summer. (Gotta love that pressure.)

I think with summer, we all take a break. I remember last year, there was hardly anyone around, with vacations, kids, and the unrelenting heat, I know I was hardly coherent when I was here. And then, sometime around the second week in September, it was like the swallows in Capistrano -- we all came back full force. And that was nice.

I will still be posting on Monday and Wednesday for awhile. I leave for Rhode Island on July 18 and won't return until the 30 (if you really wanted to know my itinerary) and then Monster Child returns to school on August 10, so you know the drill, shopping for the various resources. I have to say a hiatus does sound imminent. There will be no internet in RI and as it is a vacation, I think it would behoove me to be unconnected.

I have been trying to keep my posts regulated to a stricter schedule - Monday for Romance issues and Wednesday for Writing issues and I think that was working really well for me. I may still try and do that, although, who knows what my mind will come up with.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Friday's here at the Grille. But for the summer, I think it would be better for me to let them go. At least until September.

I hope you all have a great weekend. I'll see you on Monday.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

George Clooney Does Not

Good morning. Last night on Entertainment Tonight I found out that George Clooney does not do social networking. He is not on Twitter or FaceBook. Neither am I. Who knew I would have something in common with good old George. Besides our ages. (Although he is a lot better put together than me.)

It's only been recently that I've given a thought to Face Book. "They" say you need to be on it to sell your book. Really? I've heard people, writers, authors and readers alike, say how annoying it is to be bombarded with -- "Oh, look at me, I have a book, would you like to buy it? Tell your friends and family to buy it too." However, that's not the way I buy books. Nor the way I would really conduct my business dealings.

As for Twitter -- well, come on, that's a no brainer. You've been here, you've seen my posts. Do you really honestly think I could possibly get anything I want to say down to 140 characters? Not. Going. To. Happen.

But, I will share with you, I am on Linked In. I don't know why, probably because Francine asked me to be on her network. Which it actually is more of a business network rather than a social network. So I did. And then another friend linked, and I said, holy cow, how did you find me, and she said, Francine, and I just thought that was the coolest thing. So THEN, I found a whole bunch of other people who are on and I asked them to link to me and you know what, they did. I mean really, how cool is that. I'm on a business network.

Okay, here's the thing. I don't know what the hell it all means. I'm linked to them, they're linked to other peopple. There's some sort of group but I don't know what it is. I can leave messages and stuff, but I have no idea what to say. Now if we were at a network meeting, in person, that would be a whole other story. But you know, baby steps. Baby steps.

So, there you have it. I'm on Linked In in case you were interested. That's my one little bit of social media I do. Are you proud of me? I am sort of. Now, let me see if I can find someone who knows someone who knows George.

Question -- Do you really think FB and Tweeting and even Linked In, is going to help you sell your book? Or do you do it for the fun and social aspect of it?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Guest Post Today

I'm guest posting today at The Las Vegas Writer. Natascha's asked me how I query so if you'd like to know, pop on over.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Love and Marriage

Good Monday Morning. And because it's Monday and I now write about romance on Monday, I thought I'd give love and marriage a go. It seems I got hit with an S.N.I. (shiny new idea) last week and it pertains to our topic.

Now, all of the books I've written so far, the hero and heroine (or H/H) have found their way through love, to marriage. In this latest book, Robert, (our hero) finds himself at gunpoint (literally) and must marry Fiona (our heroine). The reason -- well, it's a compromising position that wasn't intended as such. Fiona was actually trying to keep Robert from killing himself (accidentally). Unfortunately, her father found out and well, let's just say that Laird Fionnghall Stewart was not a happy camper. Hence the shot-gun marriage.

Robert's intention is to have the marriage annulled after a time. And if that doesn't work, then he'll get a divorce. He's rich, he's a duke, he could do it. Now, being a romance, you KNOW that's not going to happen. We need a Happily Ever After. And I'll get it. After all, this is a book.

However, in real life, since my last birthday in April, I've been giving a lot of thought to marriage. I have never been married. In my 20's and 30's, I thought I had all the time in the world to find Prince Charming, Mr. Right, or The Soul Mate. Then when I hit my 40's, I was despairing of ever meeting THE ONE. It was easier to get struck by lightning in an airplane, than a woman in her 40's to get hitched. My biological clock was ticking, faster and faster and well, you can't make a baby by yourself. (Well, you can, but not without a trust fund.) When I met Monster Child's father, and without getting into it, I thought I found HIM. For all intents and purposes I THOUGHT he was a good man. And he was, still is, sort of. His family had a lot to do with our break-up. We had intended to get married before Monster Child was even conceived, but that didn't happen. (For reasons too numerous to mention.) And then again, after she was born, but well, it's a long story.

I don't know if this is a subconscious idea or not, but I truly don't think I was ever supposed to be married. Sure, I've fallen in love, I've been engaged four times. But the one question that always brought me crashing back to reality was -- Can I look at this person for the rest of my life over breakfast every morning? Yeah, that's it. Sounds stupid, but that's how I think. And my answer, every single time was no. So, I remain a spinster.

I envy those of you who have found your hero and have been married for EVER. I do long for that closeness, yearn for that synchronicity of familial bond. I miss having a man around the house. Even if he does watch football every single freaking Sunday from August to January. Even if he does leave wet towels on the bathroom floor, and never puts his dishes in the dishwasher.

I miss the shared smiles, the fleeting touches, the phone calls at noon, just to see what I'm up to. And well, truthfully, I miss the sex. Orgasms are a dime a dozen, but making love to a man you love is just truly mind-blowing. It transcends everything.

Yes, love and marriage are hard work. And I've never been afraid of that. What I was always afraid of was divorce. I never wanted that. And going back to the breakfast thing, if there was ever any question in my mind that it would come down to it, then why bother getting married in the first place.

Do I regret not being married? No. Do I want to be married? I don't know. I suppose if I met the right man, I wouldn't say no. I deserve to find a good man. I'm a good woman. I think I deserve a Happily Ever After.

Tell me -- Did you know you would be with your significant other for always? Do you believe in Happily Ever After? How hard is it really to make love and marriage work?

PS My guest post will appear on Natascha's blog The Las Vegas Writer, tomorrow, Tuesday if you want to swing by and take a look.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- Watermelon. That's it. Just Watermelon. It's too dang hot to eat anything else.

Okay, first up, as you all know, Blogger has been giving me fits. Fits, I tell you. And I just found out, not only can I not sign in, I have lost blogs I follow on my blog roll. I don't really keep track, because I follow so many of you, and a bunch of you are on hiatus -- BUT I got a letter from a friend the other night who said, "Where have you been? I see you all over everyone else's blogs comments, but you never come here anymore. Did I do something wrong, or offend you in any way?"

OMG. I had no idea. No, no one has offended me. I am not mad at anyone. It's stupid Blogger. I have no idea how many of you I obviously have not been around to lately, so please, please, please, if you haven't seen me in awhile, let me know in the comments and I will try and rectify the situation. (It seems I have to reenter you back into my blogroll. But you're already there.) Stupid Stupid Blogger!!!! And if I don't follow you and you've been following me for awhile, it may be because you don't have a link to your blog on your Friend Connect thingy. So leave me your blog address in the comments and I'll get on it. I follow everyone back.

Okay, second up, I got hit in the head with the opening to Robert's story the other night as I was going to bed. I memorized the first 3 sentences and actually remembered them the next day, wrote them down, and came away with 2600 words. Robert is the Duke of Cantin, for all of you who may be wondering, cousin to Ellis and William, and the Regency hero who I haven't been able to find a story for for the last 3 years. Everyone else has their story, even the new guy, Rory has a story, but poor Robert has been languishing. I thought for awhile to make him a spy, but since I've been rewriting MASQUERADE, I gave that story to William.

I've also put a little spin on this book -- Robert and Fiona (that's the heroine and a fiesty Scottish lass she is) get caught in a compromising position right from page one and have to get married. Their journey is all about finding their way to love (well, naturally, but being married and all, it's not going to be as easy as they think). Because Robert doesn't want to be married to her and intends on an annulment. And that means he can't have sex with her. And let me tell you, how much fun is this going to be to write. Because Fiona is gor-ge-ous and she's his wife, so he's allowed to sleep with her, but he won't. And then, and then, oh, I can't tell you anymore. You'll just have to wait for the excerpts.

And third up, I was asked to do a guest post on how I query. I don't know when it will be, but I will keep you posted.

And so that's all I have from the Grille today. Here's a little tip. Remember to change the water for your pets if they're outside. I found out the hard way, when it's 95 outside, the cold water in their bowl heats up to 95 in about 2 hours. Yeah, I didn't know that either. My poor babies. Such a bad Mommy.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Beta Crits

Good Morning. I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. I was at my parents, naturally, dealing with the garden and the grass. I'm halfway finished with the garden, but now it's going to be in the high 90's until October, so it will stay half finished for now. Unless of course by some miracle it goes back down to the low 80's. Ha! We only have 3 seasons here in NC -- winter, monsoon, and hell.

Thanks for all your comments on the decision for Monster Child to go to summer camp. Alas, she is adamant. "Mommy, I will miss you too much to be away from you ALL DAY." Yeah, I can't fight that. And I mentioned to my mother I found cheap flights back to Rhode Island (non-stop 2 hours out of Charlotte for less than $200- each round trip) so I guess we're going home for 10 days in July. Can I tell you how excited I am. 10 days is not nearly long enough, but her friend has a house right on the water and has extended us an invitation, so who am I to say no? Yay! Pray for me that the plans go through.

Now, onto my post. (Finally, you say.)

Katie over at Creepy Query Girl, had a post about beta readers...what they are, what they do, why we need them. And of course, I don't think I've ever covered betas or critters before so thanks for the topic Katie.

Now, for some people, they send their WiP out to their betas to read while they write and make sure the story is moving along at the right pace, following the storyline/plot, the POV is on target. I don't do that. I don't generally let anyone read my work until I'm at the final editing stage of my last draft. I want to make sure it's done without mistakes, typo's, and crappy crap crap writing. I guess you could say I'm anal like that. Also, if someone is reading what I haven't finished and they suggest an improvement to the story, it throws me off. I lose my own plot and I go off on tangents. The story isn't mine anymore.

However, I use betas to read the completed work to see if they like it, if it gels, if there is something I missed (in the story, plot, character arcs). I use them for coherency and a general rating of the idea.

Critters are different. Critique partners, for me, are used to find the grammar, punctuation, POV gaffs, and any holes I may have in my plot. They question everything. Even something as innocuous as a word choice. I've been lucky that I've had critters who are so awesomely awesome covered in chocolate sauce I wish I could bottle it up and sell it. I also don't let them read my book until I am completely done with all the drafts. What they read is generally what I like to think of as my finished product. And for the most part, I've had very little to change when I get these manuscripts back. Which is nice for me. And for them, or so I've been told. They say they like to be able to read a finished product, therefore when something is amiss, it JUMPS out at them and they can pinpoint it, whereas, if they read it while it's still dirty, they just get bogged down by all the glare.

When I've been asked to beta read, unfortunately, I have to crit. When things jump out at me, I can't let them go. I've had the honor and privelege of reading some FANTABULOUS books over the last few years, and I'm still stymied why they're not out on book shelves across America. I love critting, (when I'm not involved in my own book) it allows me to think I'm paying it forward in some small way for all the help I've received over the last years. It's not easy sometimes, I hate saying something isn't working, but I hope I do it with grace and tact. And I always assure the writer that whatever I say is always a SUGGESTION, never an absolute. (unless it's a 'that'. I despise 'that'.)

And for those of you who I have read, I want you to be assured that I delete the manuscript you send me out of my files and email 60 days after I'm done with it. I don't think it's right to hold onto something that's not mine.

Tell me -- How do you use your betas and critters? Do you have them? If not, why not? Is there a difference to you in what they do? Do you allow them to read a dirty manuscript or do you give them a finished product? Do you allow them to read while you write, or do you wait until the end?

And I'm still having issues with Blogger. Yesterday I couldn't comment at ALL and I still can't sign in. I'm doing some things to hopefully rectify the situation, but if you don't see me, or I don't respond to your comments here (and I really want to) you'll know why.