Monday, March 12, 2012

Good News, Good News, Good News, and Bad News

Good Morning. As you can see from the title of this post, I am overwhelmed by Good News this week.

Good News #1. As some of you may know, I've been toying with the idea of putting my books out to paperback version. Well, I've made my decision. THE DUKE'S DIVORCE is almost ready. I uploaded my files and received the proof copy last week. Let me tell you right now, there is nothing, absolutely nothing in this world like holding a copy of your book in your hands. I've still got a few tweaks to make, but it should be out, by the end of March.

Good News #2. Also, I've been accepted into the third Anthology presented by The Literary Lab. VARIATIONS ON A THEME will be out in publication around March 19, from what I understand. My short story Reversal of Fortune will be included with some stellar writers and to say I'm humbled is an understatement. I hope you'll look for it.

Good News #3. Well, in light of the fact I'm now putting out paperback versions of my books, I will be holding a give-away. I'm also in the process of getting THE LADY'S FATE converted, and if I get my act together and finish the rewrites, THE LADY'S MASQUERADE will soon be joining them. So look for that party to come floating by sometime around my birthday, which is EARTH DAY. (All caps, so you don't forget.)

Now, for the Bad News. Some of you know that my father hasn't been doing well. He's been to all the doctors and had all the tests, but they can't seem to figure out what's wrong with him. It's pure speculation on everyone's part at this stage. However, he's now starting to fall down. Once in the parking lot at the Tractor Supply Store, once outside the garage at home, where he twisted his ankle, and once in the basement. Believe me, we're all pretty scared at this point. He refuses a walker, can't stand to use his cane, and is just slowly melting into madness because he can't wrap his mind around the idea he's not as young as he used to be.

Needless to say, I've been over there more in the last week than I was at my own house (As I'm sure you could tell from my lack of commenting and blog post last Friday). Decisions have to be made and as I am the oldest, the only daughter, and the only child living near them, I get to sit in on that process. Because of these latest incidents, they've decided to look for another house, on one level. (About freaking time I say.) However, in order to put theirs on the market, the changes they wanted to make slowly over time, have now been amped up, and guess who's been relegated to the gardens and the painting and the fixing of broken things, wallpapering the front hall and the cleaning out of various closets. Yup, you guessed it.

So, in light of that fact, and the fact I'm trying to get my books finished before The Monster gets out of school, I will no longer be around much here on the blogs anymore.  As you all know, when life gets tough, something has to give and unfortunately, my dearest friends, that means you. I've been round and round this issue, thinking I might be able to post on Monday so you wouldn't forget me, or just say I'm taking a hiatus and come back, but at this stage of the game, my time constraints are really up in the air, literally, depending on the weather. When it's nice, I have to make hay while the sun shines, and gardening and painting is better done in nice weather.  (Gee, for a writer you would think I would limit my use of cliches.)

Also, as some of you know, I've been generous with my time in the past with critiques for queries, and manuscripts, but at this time, I'm sorry to say, I can no longer help you. Perhaps when all the craziness dies down I'll be able to take on some projects, but for now, I have to let them go.

So there we have it. You may see my little pixelated face roaming around from time to time, but it's going to be hit or miss.  The only thing I can say for certain is that I will be here on my birthday, April 22, EARTH DAY, because I will be celebrating a milestone (50, egads where did the time go?) and I can't think of any place I'd rather be than with you to help me.

I wish you all the good fortune you deserve in your writing endeavors whether an agent or a publishing contract or a million sales in your indie-pubbed adventure. I know I'm not leaving for good, but damn, it sure feels like it.

I'll see you when I do.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Killing Barthomolew Wood

Now in the writing world there is the phrase, "Kill your Darlings." Now for some, this means don't be afraid to put your characters through hell and back. Sometimes this means we have to actually kill them off.

In one of my books, THE CAPTAIN'S LADY, I am going to have to kill off one of my characters. Barthomolew Wood. He's the heroine's (Amanda) husband. And in Regency romance, the heroine is typically not married, and  if she is, she's certainly not supposed to want her husband to die.

However, Barthomolew Wood is an evil man. He's lied, beaten her, kidnapped their daughter, left her penniless and alone in Boston, sold slaves, beaten them, and is just a nasty piece of work.

I can honestly say it's going to be fun when I get to off his sleazy hide.

Now, the problem I'm having is, do I allow Richard (the hero of this story), a man of honor and integrity, a former Captain in the Royal Navy, do the deed?

This causes all kinds of repercussions for me. Although I think the readers won't care, (and might actually be thrilled this toad of a man is dead and Richard did the right thing) however, Amanda may care a great deal. Barthomolew is the father of her child, despicable cad that he is. He does love his daughter, and has given her everything money can buy. He's treated her well (despite the fact he took her away from her mother) and has shown great affection to her.

How is a mother supposed to tell her daughter that her new love interest has killed her father? See where I'm going with this. The daughter only knows her father to be a loving and generous man. If Richard kills him, the child will never love him no matter what.

Now I also know this is all very heavy and deep, and may not even be something any of you think about for your characters. But every action has an equal reaction. What if Richard's killing of Barthomolew does have a negative reaction from my readers? How many will I let down?

And unfortunately Barthomolew does indeed need to die in order for Richard and Amanda to be together. I can't just let them get divorced, I've already played that card.

Tell me -- Do you really think through the actions of your characters before writing a major scene like this? Do you delve into their psyche or just write how you want the story to go?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rags on the Clothesline

Good Morning.

Backstory -- When we moved to NC, I had numerous things in storage. Practically a whole house. In the boxes marked "kitchen" I had wrapped my good glass bowls and platters in kitchen towels. All kinds, colors, textures, 99% of them brand new, never been used. When I finished unpacking I probably had around 30 kitchen towels.

A year after we moved in, we got 2 chihuahua's. Cute little things no bigger than my palm. Fun times. They slept in a box in the kitchen. As they grew, for some crazy reason, they took the kitchen towels off the oven door handle where I hang them, and not only slept with them in the box, but chewed them. I guess they were teething and kitchen towels were cheaper than leather shoes.

Present Story -- The other day it was really nice, so I did some laundry and hung it on the line. My ex took it all in for me. I asked if he had folded it before he put in the basket (because the last time he took stuff off the line he just threw it in there and I had to iron everything twice to get the wrinkles out.) He said he had except for the rags. I asked, "What rags?" I hadn't washed rags, I hadn't used rags. (Those I keep upstairs in the rag bag in the linen closet.) He said, "You know, all those towels that are ripped to shreds because of the dogs."

Ahem. Those are my kitchen towels. How dare he call my kitchen towels rags.

Unfortunately, I finally have to admit to myself they are rags. Ripped, shredded, frayed, stained, sorry looking rags. But I can't put them in the rag bag because then I won't have any kitchen towels. And some of you might say, "Geez, just go buy some." But to me, it's not all that easy to just go and buy new kitchen towels. I was a chef. I look for something special in a kitchen towel. It has to be 100% cotton, it has to feel soft to the touch, it has to absorb water quickly, it can't fade, or shrink, and most especially, I just have to like it. I know, picky picky picky. Besides, unless the old kitchen towels are completely threadbare, I refuse to part with them. I'm a big recycler and unless it's absolutely useless, I can use it somewhere else.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

I've been reworking THE LADY'S MASQUERADE. This was the first book I ever finished. I love this story. I love the plot. It's sweet, and fun, two cousins fight over a woman, it has a little mystery, and Lady Olivia, and the ending is just such a surprise. When I finished it 4 years ago, it was beautiful, brand new, and I was oh-so-proud of it.

But let me tell you what, working with an original 4 year old manuscript that is horribly formatted and horribly executed is about to make me crazy. What was once a beautiful new kitchen towel, is now a big old stained, frayed, ripped rag. If I told you half the mistakes I made with this ms. you'd probably gasp, and then laugh your head off.

Now most people say throw your first book under the bed with the bunnies and leave it there. Never let it see the light of day. I can see why, which I probably should have done. Compared to what I'm writing today, it's a rag. But I couldn't. I loved this story too much. Besides, as a recycler, I have to try and do something with it, right?

Tell me -- Where's your first book? Is it snuggling with the creatures under the bed, hiding in a drawer, or have you revived it, put it the laundry with lots of bleach and hung it on the line?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- Eggs, Bacon, Toast, Fried Potatoes, Juice

Notice the menu is just a little plain. That's because I don't know how you eat. So you may fill in the blanks however you wish today. I know I wanted breakfast, and this is what I always order.

Two eggs over medium, extra bacon extra crispy, wheat toast w/ butter and jelly on the side (I eat it like dessert) home fries with onion not hash browns, and a small tomato juice.

I don't care what anyone says, adjectives are my friends. Especially for breakfast.


I wanted to say thank you to all my new followers and friends. I'm in the process of deciding where people will go. Because I have two blogs, I follow some people over there, and most of you over here. So If I haven't followed you back yet, it's just because I'm deciding where to put you, or someone else. I try to stay somewhat organized or all chaos breaks out (as it is now.) So don't fret. I'm just in the process that's all.


I don't know if you'd be interested or not, but I put up an excerpt from my latest book THE DUKE'S DIVORCE up on my author blog. It's from page 134, and is a little past the mid-way point. It's a quiet scene in itself, but put back in context with the whole book, it's actually quite climactic. You can find it here. (And I love this part of the new Blogger -- you can click the link and it opens the page in another window so you don't have to click back and forth. Fun stuff. What will they think of next?)


I've been hard at work trying to piece together the remnants of THE LADY'S MASQUERADE. This was the first book I ever finished. Notice I said finished and not wrote. When I first started blogging, I think I posted some excerpts from it, and for those of you who've been with me since then, it's gone through about a bazillion rewrites. It's still about Penny and William and how they get together, and I still love the story, and although nothing much has changed in the plot, the writing is soooo much better. I'm ashamed that I let it go out into the world (to betas and eegad, even to agents) looking the way it did. But hey, 4 years later, I've learned an awful lot.


And this last bit of news I'm sure will thrill you as much as it thrilled me. My father built me a compost tumbler, you know, the barrel shaped things where you put all your eggshells, and banana peels and veggie skins. I can now make dirt. I am beyond excited as in NC all we have is red clay and although stuff grows in it (don't ask me how) I can't dig in it because my hands turn red and it takes forever to get them clean. Gardening gloves are not my thing, I like to feel the dirt between my fingers. So now I'll be able to make all the dirt I want and have the best garden on the street. Yay!


Have a great weekend everyone!