Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 4 of my Writing Vacation

I haven't been sleeping well but I have been writing! And OK, I admit, I've been napping in the afternoon, too, which is so so nice. And yes, all right...I've been out by the pool every morning. I hope to go back on Sunday with at least a faint tan!

As for writing, I'm so excited about my progress! I've done maybe 5 chapters, am really starting the heavy part of the romance now. Lots of angsty unfulfilled lust. I love it. I've done a bunch of marketing, too, which is always a time suck but kind of important.

My goal today is another 6 chapters. I know, crazy, but it IS a writing vacation. If I can't write here, I'm never going to be able to do so home with another snow storm or 3 barreling down. Maybe that was it. I had snow-freeze. Couldn't think about the story with nothing but white as far as the eye could see.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 3 of my Writing Vacation

As promised, though I'm sure you'd rather not see this. Pictures from my view:

One day I'm going to see that stupid rain forest on this island. El Yunque. I've said that for going on 4 years now. However, that trip is not going to be today. For today, I'm diving back into my ghostly hero's head and seeing what fun I can stir up.

Yesterday I managed to keep my sanity and write about 5,000 words. Words I like, mind you. Words I'm keeping. I've never been one for the 1st draft, 5th draft writing, but with this story I'm finding I need to keep moving forward and not revise until I like it. So I'm writing forward, jotting down what I want to fix later, making notes to add in this about Marcus (my manly ghost) or Sydney (my lovely heroine who frees my ghost) or what to take out in terms of secondary characters. I don't want them overrunning the story, and I realized just before I left that they are.

I hear the north east got more snow. Anyone up there still talking to me. :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 2 of my Writing Vacation

View from my window: Picture not yet taken. Will upload tomorrow. Promise. :)

But the view, despite having a laptop in front of me, is beautiful! It can be distracting. Especially when Horatio the pelican flies by with his family. Two years ago there was a pelican I named Horatio. He was a loner, always flying by at the same time. Last year he acquired a family! Who don't have names but that's because naming is so darn hard. So it's now Horatio and Mrs. Horatio. I do feel bad, she should have her own identity and name, but honestly, what goes with Horatio?

Yesterday, after crashing for several hours from a long midnight flight, then crashing some more outside so I can say, Yes! I was on a tropical island! Look at this tan! I booted up the laptop. What did I do? Looked up times for Percy Jackson & The Olympians. I'm 1/4 way through the book, but saw the movie anyway. Yes, I will finish the book.

Taken for what it was, I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. And yes, that might have something to do with Sean Bean playing Zeus. Deal. Overall, however, I think the book will be better. They usually are.

Today: write at least 3 chapters (+/- 6,000 words) It IS a writing vacation, after all!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 1 of my Writing Vacation

Am I writing? Sure! I'm writing! I'm sitting in the sun with my laptop. HONEST! :) OK, maybe not yet. I am sitting in the sun. Just not writing. I posted this blog early so technically I'm not even in front of my computer!

But I will be. Why am I doing this on vacation? It's a writing vacation. One week in Puerto Rico to relax and have uninterrupted time to write. I know I can do this because 2 years ago I wrote the entirety of my werewolf story, Shadow State, during this vacation. It was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.

While I don't plan to write all 50,000 words I need to write to finish this story, I do plan on a hefty chunk. It's plotted, planned, and scrutinized down to the last scene. Who knows, maybe 50K is possible, I'd settle for 30,000.

Tomorrow: Pictures from my window. Not that it's changed since last year, but since I'm here I should rub it in. There's no snow in PR! I wonder if the Farmer's Almanac has anything to say about that...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Guest: Denise Eagan

Denise is the force behind the Scandalous Victorians. Without her, I wouldn't know my fellow Vics, wouldn't have set my Druids series in the Victorian Era, and probably wouldn't be writting what I am now without the group. I have a lot to thank her for.

Without further ado, Denise--who named her photo on her site 'shit'. How can you not love someone like that?

What made you decide to write Wicked Woman and The Wild One?

This may sound strange, but I didn’t really decide to write either one of those. They just came to me. I think it was November 2002, I was trying to get a completely different manuscript in quick shape to send out the door. The economy was bad and my husband and I were thinking it might be good for me to get some temp work or a part time job. So there I was working on the manuscript between checking out jobs on the internet, and this scene came to me. Out of the blue. Two people talking. I saw them as clear as day, knew their personalities, their relationship, everything.

I tried very, very hard not to write it—I didn’t have time!—but it kept nagging at me. After a couple days I thought maybe if I just put it in a file quick-like, I could get back to the two things I really needed to focus on. But as soon as I wrote that scene, two more popped into my head. So I quick-like wrote those. . .long story short, three weeks later I had the first complete draft of The Wild One.

It came so fast and furious and I was just so insane getting it all down, that my husband was bringing me dinner at the computer. At one point he and my two sons lined up behind me. I asked what they wanted, and they said “We just wanted to see what you look like. We’d forgotten.”

Anyway, when I was close to finished with The Wild One, another scene popped into my head with the father of the main character in that book. By the second week in January, I had the first draft of Wicked Woman too. The holidays that year are a complete blur.

Needless to say I never did get that job.

What else are you working on?

Well I’m back to getting that original manuscript in working shape! It’s tentatively named Heart and Soul, but I’m not particularly happy with that title. It’s historical, with a serial killer in a small-town farm setting, complete with a telepathic relationship between a very tortured hero (who is suspected to be the killer) and a sort of off-kilter heroine. I’m also working on a western which has characters from The Wild One in it and leads to your next question...

What’s your dream story? The one that becomes a New York Times runaway bestseller, the one you hope to one day write?

The book I’m writing now, Westwind, it’s one of my favorite of all my books. I’ve finished it several times, but I just can’t let it go. It was written when I was working on The Wild One and it seemed natural to take those characters, who were already in Colorado, and send them on down to a ranch that I’d already created, with “people” I already “knew”. It was a blast learning how they turned out 10 years later! Now, though, I really want their story known.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Yes—I love the American Victorian Period—19th century America. I just really love how the country and society (women’s movement, slavery and the end of it, agricultural to industrial society and more) changed and I wish, wish, that we could get more books out about it. So much change, which creates so much great conflict!

Wicked Woman is now out of print, but it’s still available in the kindle edition, and used copies are being sold on E-bay, at Amazon and Barnes and Nobel. The Wild One is in print and available new at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and several other sites, as well as in the kindle form.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Progress

It was a close call this weekend. Nearly 40,000 words almost went out the window when I decided I hated this story with all the passion of a burning sun. Yes, hate. Loath. Utterly despise. Seriously, I almost dumped all I had written and started on something else.

I watched the Olympics (go Team USA! And those single member teams like Team Ghana's Kwame whose last name won't copy from BBC to Blogger.) Did my taxes, glared at my screen, and hoped for inspiration... watched more Olympics. Yes, I love the Olympics, winter or summer, I'll watch just about every sport. Took a nap.

I still hate this story. Seriously, I don't know why, maybe because it's giving me so much trouble. But I don't want to work on it. I dread it. I want to work on anything else. Everything else! I have other stories I want to get to, but I thought I had to finish this one before getting to them. Since I can't seem to get through this one to get to those, what's a writer to do?
Still, it's all about perseverance. If Kwame can qualify for the Olympics, I can get through this story, right? RIGHT?! How do you get through tough stories like this?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Reviews: The Wild One

Even though my fellow Victorians have written plenty of stories, all of which I've read, I think that to review all of their books would take me through April. And there are so many stories out there to read! This is Denise Eagan's 2nd novel, The Wild One, her sequel to Wicked Woman. Booklist reviewed it, and while I can't seem to find that review, I remember reading it. Not too shabby!

But what do I think of it? I think it's seeped in history, the research was utterly fantastic and believable. Makes me want to set a book along the Barbary Coast the red-light district in San Francisco that is, not Morocco though that does sound interesting now that I say it. :)

So Jessica is an everyday woman trying to make her way quietly through life when that track is derailed by Lee Montgomery. Lee is a sexy rogue, all darkly mysterious and aggressive. Yum. She resists, he advances, and it's a wonderful, sensuous dance between them.

Reformed (or reforming) rakes who finally fall in love are a favorite of mine. Do you think chocolate will bribe her to tell a couple supporting characters' stories? A girl can hope, right?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Coming and Goings

Taking it easy blog hopping this week. Thursday I'll be over at Lana Griffin's blog talking about my Druids. A favorite topic. :) Stop by and check it out.

I'm focusing on updating my website, I have a graphic artist doing a banner for it, I think it'll come out really nice. Trying to simplify it and really work on the whole collapsible columns on the sidebar. I'm also toying with bookmark designs.

I was interviewed in Suspense Magazine's February issue! It's a great article about romantic suspense and the women who write it. OK, they really focus on best selling authors, but I'm listed as an new author. And that's the most exciting part.

I'm heading to the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference on Saturday with a friend who's tentatively delving into the screen writer's world. I'm there for moral support mostly, but I also plan on using my time to take a workshop or two. Am lugging my laptop there so I can write, too.

Then on Sunday I'm heading to Puerto Rico for a week. I look forward to sun and sleep. I mean uninterrupted time to write! Yes that's what I meant. And will probably accomplish much, but wow will it be nice to be warm and not snowed in! Can I tel you how tired I am of the snow? This is the snowman I made with a friend from work. We call him Dude. Actually his head looks a little like Darth Vader, but Dude is better. (Dude, Darth Dude...check out Eddie Izzard's Death Star Cantina for the reference.)

What's on your agenda for the week?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Excerpt Monday: In the Shadows

I realized, as I wrapped up Northern Roses and Southern Bells reviews, I didn't do anything for my story. No, still no review--that really is beyond needed. But a short excerpt. Also, in the annual Predators and Editors awards, we placed in the Top Ten--#6!!

I loved writing this story, most especially working with my fellow Victorians. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the time period immensely! Hopefully one day I'll get back to the era. I have plans for Marion's sisters. *G*

In the Shadows Charleston, South Carolina, 1861

“Jack,” she murmured.

She warmed at the thought. Ned Calhoun looked at her as he would a meal. Jack looked at her as if she was life.

He’d be in the garden. Time slipped by while she stood trapped in the conversational circle. Taking only a moment to breathe the scented fall air, she hurried out of the crowded rooms and into the darkness of the gardens.

Jack slipped out of the shadows.

Yelping, she scowled at the runner.

“You take entirely too much pleasure in emerging from the shadows, Jack Harrison.” Marion placed her hand over her heart and glared at him.

“Only with you,” he offered. Taking her hand, he kissed the back of her glove. His touch tingled from her hand to her head, making her dizzy. “It’s the look in those big brown eyes when you realize who is surprising you.”

“You think quite highly of yourself don’t you, Mr. Harrison.” Marion lowered her eyelids and stared at his large, calloused hands, one still clasping hers.

“I have to. There’s this woman.” His English accent deepened somehow as he tilted her chin so she looked at him. “I want her. Her beauty would cause Byron to weep. So you see, I must think highly of myself so I may be worthy of her.”

Marion took Jack’s hand with the tips of her fingers. She ran them over the rough skin between his thumb and forefinger then turned his hand and traced his calluses. Simple and yet very provocative, the gesture felt intensely intimate and natural.

“I wondered if you’d forget about me,” she stated in a low whisper.

4.5 Books from Long and Short Reviews:
Excerpt:The plot and the scenery were great. I felt like I was in the story, which seems to be common with this anthology. Isabel Roman did a great job.

4.25 Hearts from Night Owl Romance:
Excerpt: Knowing you or your lover may not live to see the next day tends to throw decorum out the window. These were all entertaining, informative stories that I enjoyed reading.

4.5 Lips from Two Lips Review:
Excerpt: I liked Jack immediately for his ability to protect and pursue Marion without compromising her enthusiasm. I found Ms. Roman’s tale a fantastically enjoyable story.

From Reviews from Innisfree:
Excerpt: This well-written story was hot enough in spots, and it's more sexy not to reveal everything and allow the reader's imagination to take over.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love Birds

Love is in the air! And it's FREE! My short story, Love Birds is free in time for Valentine's Day. It's the 2nd in my Birds stories, the first being the Christmas story, Four Calling Birds (I know it's not how the song goes, but just go with the title. *G*)

Lark Summers, Paige Nightingale, Megan Cardinal-Walsh, and Eva Robin are four best friends with a mission. To spend Valentine's Day with the men in their lives no matter what the day throws at them.

Lark has been in lust with her professor since she started her Ph.D. program. Now that she has her degree, she also has Professor Seth Turner as her lover. Unfortunately, he has to work on Valentine's Day leaving her alone. Or is that part of the surprise?

Nightingale seduced her downstairs neighbor right before Christmas, and now finds herself in what others might consider a relationship. She's not sure but when Adam Forrester surprises her on Valentine's Day, she's forced to admit there's more to their relationship than sex.

Cardinal's husband is full of surprises. In the past months, they've rekindled their sex life and have grown closer despite their super busy jobs. Ethan has planned a surprise weekend for her and she must follow the trail he's carefully laid out.

Robin's fiancé whisks her out of town to historic Gettysburg. Despite the coldness of the day, the antique show they attend is just what she loves. But it's later when she shows Alex just how much she enjoyed her weekend.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Guest: Nicole McCaffrey

Hello Nicole! Thanks so much for stopping by today! What's that? There are people out there who don't know you? Shocking I say! They don't know what they're missing. :) And have you seen her cover for her newest release? *To Die For* Check it out here.

What made you decide to write The Model Man?

I couldn't not write it. The characters came to me so strong and insistent, and kept nagging me to tell their story. They just wouldn't leave me alone, LOL. Even though I knew nothing about cover models and had no real desire to write a contemporary story. Never mind the fact that an over-40 heroine with a younger guy—no way was that ever going to sell! But I had to write it—if only to find out what would happen next!

And ultimately, that’s what I did—I wrote it for my own pleasure, never dreaming anyone other than me or my critique partners would ever read it. Speaking of my CP’s, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the encouragement of my critique partners, who loved the story from day one. Darah, especially, was instrumental in that. She brainstormed with me in the wee hours of the morning until she had me convinced “I can write a contemporary!” LOL. And hearing Kat whoop out loud with laughter every week at our critique meetings was powerful motivation, too. A good CP truly is worth her weight in chocolate. Nah, twice her weight! *G*

What else are you working on?

There is a character in Wild Texas Wind (the historical western I recently contracted with TWRP) who made it very clear from his first few moments on the page that he wanted his own story. He’s a little different than most of my heroes, very beta, and in WTW, he really isn’t terribly heroic—he’s a con and a cheat. But in his own story, he’s trying to turn his life around and make up for some of the rotten things he’s done. He finds himself forced into the position of helping a plain-Jane spinster catch the man of her dreams. He just doesn’t realize it’s him. And there’s a certain sheriff in this story who is causing some drooling among my CP’s, LOL, so it’s quite possible he’ll get his own story as well.

And I would dearly love to pull my first historical western out from under the bed and re-work it. I loved those characters and it’s actually sort of a prequel to Wild Texas Wind—the hero from WTW was the hero’s best friend in that story. It had a strong Native American flavor to it, though, and so I tucked it away after hearing one too many times “it’ll never sell.” (Hmmm, where have I heard that before???) But I’d love to dust it off and re-work it. Someday, LOL. Someday.

What’s your dream story? The one that becomes a New York Times runaway bestseller, the one you hope to one day write?

LOL all of them. But of course once something becomes a runaway best seller, Hollywood comes calling and honestly, they haven't done a decent western since John Ford stopped making them, LOL. I'd hate to see what they'd do with my babies.

As for dream story, I don’t really know. I have a lot of things sort of flickering in the back of my mind—not really full fledged story ideas, but sort of the glimmer of an idea. I just need that little spark that turns one of them into a story.

For example, I love the show Burn Notice and would love to write a story about a spy, like Michael Weston, but I want it to be an historical setting. I touch on that a teeny bit in my upcoming Civil War time travel, This Moment in Time--the heroine is a spy. But I don’t delve into it nearly as deep as I’d like to. One thing I learned from my research for that story was that it was easier for women to be spies because men just didn’t believe women were capable of such deception (as in they couldn’t hold all that important information in their silly little heads!) and the constraints of the time kept them from truly searching a woman when they did suspect her, so female spies were able to easily hide things in their hair, their shoes, their bosom without being discovered.

Which means that Michael Weston-type spy would have to be a female, just to make it fun, LOL. So even though the research intimidates me a bit –breaking out of my comfort zone always does--when the idea hits, it will probably come at me so strong I’ll have to do it, LOL.

I also really like love triangles—love seeing a heroine have to decide between the man who is right for her and the man she wants. But I think it’s a difficult tightrope to walk because both love interests need to be heroic, but only one can be the hero. Hmmm. So those are things that go through my mind when I’m “what ifffing.”

Anything else you’d like to share?

Sure! As I mentioned above, I recently contracted a Civil War time travel This Moment in Time, with The Wild Rose Press as well as an historical western Wild Texas Wind. I'm hoping to see both released later this year. You can hop on over to my blog to read an excerpt from either one. I'm also very proud to say that The Model Man was chosen one of the top ten books of 2009 (even though it was released in 2008, LOL) by reviewer Faith V. Smith over at Not bad for a story that was never going to sell!

Thanks for stopping by, Nicole! I can't wait to read Wild Texas Wind, and hope you'll stop back when it's released.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Progress

However, I did have off last Friday because I worked Saturday. And then, because I do have a reputation at work for being an emergency closing magnet, we closed on Saturday when a state of emergency was declared before a flake of snow even fell. SWEET! Two days in a row to write, write, write.

It was lovely.
But then my laptop died Monday night. *panic* Immediately called IT guy from work/friend who is STILL working on it and thinks it may be on its last, er, lap. Breathing through the panic. But all day yesterday another snow day and I managed to keep the laptop running and enjoy my wood stove!

I got so much done. Another 8,000+ words on my current WIP, plus some marketing strategizing, which is always fun. (Though I'm no James Patterson I think I came up with some ideas, including a new banner for my website and some bookmark ideas.) And 4500 words for a short story I plan on posting for free on my website. I'll let you know when it goes up--it's not finished yet.

What did you do this last week? How are your goals progressing?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Review: The Model Man

Let's face it. When confronted with the unbelievable in a totally believable situation you, too, will believe. Take one romance author single mother and the hot, younger male cover model and what do you get? Yumminess.

Kelly Michaels wants nothing to do with the hotness that is model Derek Calavicci, but when he sets out to seduce her, what's a woman to do? I'd "melt like ice cream on a hot sidewalk" every time he touched me, too. Yum....Age is no barrier, which I really dig about this story. Though I do have to say, I've never seen a sexy cover model at any romance conference I've been to. Maybe I'm going to the wrong ones.
Check out The Model Man, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesdays Comings and Goings

Monday I am (or was) at Unusual Historicals talking about this month's theme, Love Affairs.

Tuesday (being today lol) I'm over at Fang-tastic talking about the ever sexy and sarcastic James Blackthorne and his story, Dark Desires of the Druids IV: Temptations and Treachery. I do hope you'll stop by!

Wednesday I'll be at Slip into Something Victorian with a brief bit on Alan Pinkerton, the Scottish American detective and spy best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

Hmm, noticing this maybe I should move my excerpts from Mondays to Tuesdays so I'm not behind with this. Ah, well, I still recommend checking out Unusual Historicals, lots of great authors over there!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dark Desires of the Druids IV: Temptations and Treachry

The final in my Druids series. Though I'm never opposed to adding more to the verse, the arc I set for myself is finished. If I did another story centered around this time and place, it wouldn't have much (if anything) to do with my core characters. I won't rule out to a story set in contemporary times, however. *G*

The story arc was 3 books, this one was added because, well...I wanted Isadore to have a story. Poor woman deserved a happy ending of her own! She deserved love and passion and adventure. James Blackthorne is perfect for her. He's sexy, moritvated, and needs her, which is what Isadore wants to be-needed.

Temptations & Treachery: Philadelphia June, 1884

Lady Isadore Harrington is a well-bred English lady. She's traveled the world in search of magickal artifacts to help her people and has seen the best and worst of humanity. But she's never taken time for herself-never done just for herself. Going to Philadelphia as the magicker emissary between England and the Americas, she intends to rectify that.

Then she meets James Blackthorne. Tall, handsome, witty, commanding, he brings out feelings in her she's always wanted to experience but never has. He makes her want him, makes her forget all else but him. Virginal, but far from naïve, Isadore is tempted to experience everything James has to offer. Cautious by nature, she offers her body to him and discovers all her sexual desires fulfilled.

But the magicker world is far from safe, and Isadore is threatened from many who are jealous and distrustful. Temptations abound, but treachery is never far behind.

With a last look at the door, and fighting the urge to race after the man, James moved next to Lady Isadore.

“Are you all right?” He leaned against the archway, the room spinning around him.

Takoda entered with a light. Jacobs, the butler, looking disheveled, moved behind him already lighting the downstairs rooms.

“I have to admit,” she said moving closer to James. Her hair tumbled down her back, her eyes were grey-blue again as they gazed steadily at him. “I hadn’t expected this kind of welcome.”

Offering a weary smile, James’ hand touched the back of his head, but no blood coated his fingers. Looking concerned at his movement, Isadore circled him and moved her gentle fingers onto the back of his head.

“Were you injured?” she asked, exploring his scalp. “What happened upstairs?”

“Just a bump,” he said. And winced as she tilted his head forward, causing the room to swim again. “I caught him snooping upstairs, for what I don’t know.”

The companion—what was her name—said something to Lady Isadore, who answered in the same language. James had never heard it before, but then her
fingers massaged his scalp and he forgot about it.

“Morgana’s been out of residence over a year,” he said as her fingers moved over his neck.

“Yes,” she laughed, her breath soft on his skin.

Taking her fingers in his hand, he half turned and smiled. He leaned down to help the other woman stand. Takoda appeared, then, with a cloth wrapped around ice. James started to reach for it, but he handed it to the companion instead.

Snorting in amusement, he looked around the area. Smashed bit of pottery and ceramics, broken slabs of furniture; Takoda stood to one side, the companion next to him.

“Not the welcome I expected to give you,” he offered. Her hand was soft in his and James rubbed a thumb over bare knuckles. “I can’t let you stay here. Not tonight at least. It’s probably best for you to stay in my house this evening.”

5 Cherries from Whipped Cream Reviews:
Excerpt: In this fourth book in the Druids series, Isabel Roman takes us back to Philadelphia of the late 1800’s. The characters are superb and complex. Isadore is a strong woman, much like all of the heroines in Ms. Roman’s Druid books. But unlike the others, Isadore is an innocent.

4 Nymphs from Literary Nymphs:
Excerpt: Isabel Roman has done a wonderful job of telling of the treachery by the characters that felt they needed the control. There is a joint effort of the council to staunch the problems that arose so they could try to live peacefully. I am hopeful that this is not the last in this series, and I am looking forward to the other books written by this author.

4 Cups of Coffee from Coffee Time Romance:
Excerpt: Passion, jealousy, greed, power and many more corruptible feelings are all present in this story. The bottom line of the story is that ultimate power corrupts and the author explored the idea that maybe no one person should hold the knowledge of such power. The storyline moves very well and drew me into the plot right away. Worth reading for someone who loves the mythical world of magic.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Guest: Caroline Clemmons

Today Caroline joins me. A Texan, she writes the kinds of stories I gobbled up in high school and college, when I had time to indulge in romance books. Who needed to study? ;)

What draws you to the Civil War/post-Civil War era?

Write what you know. I positively love American history, but especially that of the South and West. No matter where my books begin, the characters end up in Texas. I am more familiar with my own family's history during the mid to late 19th century, and that makes this time especially interesting for me. My family lived in the South moving West at that time, so that's why my books are set in those locales. My dad told stories of his family most evenings at the dinner table. The tales fascinated me then, and still do. Since then, I've learned much more about our family through genealogy and gleaning other relatives' stories. This stuff is better than fiction, believe me! One branch of our family was, um, shall we be polite and say eccentric? Like my friend, Jeanmarie Hamilton, I use a real family setting and/or incident in my novels and then make up the rest to suit my characters.

What else are you working on?

Am I ever glad you asked! I am working on several books at once:

My WIP (what writers call their work in progress) is a time travel, TEXAS SHOWDOWN, set in Central Texas and aimed at The Wild Rose Press' Faery Rose line. In it, a woman from 1896 travels to present day to find someone else living in her home--but it's not her home any longer. The heroine is named after my brother's fiancee and has Penny's red hair, and I'm eager that the book turn out well. Of course, my brother's fiancee is not a time traveler--at least not as far as I know. No, I'm sure she's not. They were childhood sweethearts, so I know she's been around the same length of time he has. Unless . . . no, I won't go there.

I'm awaiting galleys [for non-writers' info, that's the final check of the book text before release] on a western historical, THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE, set in Central Texas. The cover for this book is so great! Nicola Martinez designed the cover and it turned out better than I could ever have hoped. This story is about a rancher who delivers horses to a buyer. On the way home, he rescues a young woman from two kidnappers who are attacking her. In the rescue, he kills both men but is severely wounded himself. During his recovery with her family, he is forced to wed her. He ends up taking her eccentric family home with him. His bride is the most superstitious person he's ever met, her father never uses two words when a thousand will do and has a blessing or toast for every event, and her mother is ill and hooked on laudanum. The heroine has two brothers, and one is a major mischief-maker and thorn in the hero's side. It was a fun story to write and is set in my favorite time, 1885. I can hardly wait for readers to see this book!

I am also involved in edits on a sweet contemporary, TEXAS FIREWORKS, set in West Texas for TWRP's Sweetheart Rose line. In this book a struggling woman in Dallas inherits land and cash in West Texas and must live there for a year to make her inheritance final. The hero and heroine don't have sex because they keep being interrupted. She has a teenaged brother for whom she's guardian, and the hero is a widower with two young children. This one is set near Lubbock, where I grew up, and in the area where my uncle lived and my cousin and her husband still reside. Of course, the characters have no resemblance to anyone in my family, but the setting makes me nostalgic. The name of the small town has been changed. Writing about a fictional town is way easier than using an actual town or city. The make believe place can have whatever businesses and residences I decide! I may make this a series by writing two other books in the same locale with the same extended family because I have the books already plotted.

I'm kinda, sorta, thinking about revising a contemporary, SNOWFIRES, set in West Texas and Dallas for the Champagne Rose line of TWRP. It needs a LOT of revisions, so I'm not certain I can salvage it, but the editor was kind enough to make detailed suggestions. Sometimes, though, it's easier just to ditch a book and start a new one instead of beating a dead horse. I like the characters in this one, so I'll probably persevere in whipping it into better shape. Maybe. We'll see.

Oh, I agree. My first serious uncompleted ms is languishing and I think I can turn it around, but I'd only be able to salvage maybe 3 scenes. THREE scenes from a 75,000 story! Breaks my heart.

Now might be a good time to say I have a book due to be released on June 4, 2010 from The Wild Rose Press, OUT OF THE BLUE. This story is a time travel from TWRP's Faery line. It's set in North Central Texas. In it a clairvoyant young woman healer from 1845 Ireland jumps off an Irish cliff to escape a mob that blames her for their rotting potatoes. She lands in present day Lake Possum Kingdom near the bass boat of an injured detective. He won't let her out of his sight until he discovers how she knows details about his late partner that no one but he knew. He believes she may be in league with whoever shot him and killed his best friend partner. That cover is also great and also from Nicola Martinez.

I certainly hope you'll stop back in June!

What’s your dream story? The one that becomes a New York Times runaway bestseller, the one you hope to one day write?

My favorite story is usually my WIP. Yet, in the back of my mind, I have this BIG story set at the end of the Civil War in which two cousins travel from Georgia to Fort Concho on the Concho River near San Angelo, Texas. Maybe I'll get around to writing it someday. Since the cousins are both female and are going to visit the brother of one, it's more a saga than a traditional romance--although both women find love while they're rescuing the one's brother. There are murder, mayhem, and major struggles in this one. I love books with danger in them, don't you?

And in that vein, I've also written a couple of mysteries that I have yet to market. One is about a young woman who manages her family's garden center and landscape company. The other is about a deputy who becomes sheriff (it's not a police procedural, but more a character study involving a sheriff). I've started a third mystery which actually seems more promising than either of the other two. But what do I know? Impossible to be objective about one's work. I've searched for an agent, but haven't found one. Wrong, I had a BAD agent once who pretty well ruined my career. Now I'm searching for a GREAT agent. I think it's easier to get struck by lightning.

Anything else you’d like to share?

As you can tell, I love writing--even when I am having trouble, even when I'm revising, even when I have to open a vein and bleed my soul onto the page. I'd write even if no one paid me [which is almost true now]. At least with TWRP, my books have great covers and the editors are also great! I guess I'd write even if no one read my books. Oooh, wouldn't that be sad? No, I'd probably print them up myself and give them away if I couldn't sell them. Hopefully, it won't come to that.

I will have to pay for the printing of a book about my father's Johnson/Johnston family that my brother and I are working on. Our dad asked me to do a book about his family. Even though he's passed away, my brother and I want to honor his wishes. Besides, this stuff is fascinating to me. My brother has helped me track down people and facts and we hope to have the book printed late this spring or early summer. I'd already done a book on my mom's family and one about my mother-in-law. I don't publish just boring and dry charts and names. Yawn. My family books include as many anecdotes as I can collect as well as lots and lots of photos. As you can imagine, family history is important to me and I want to preserve it for posterity!

Thanks for having me as your guest.
Thank you, Caroline, for dropping by!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday Progress

Stumbling block overcome! Wrote close to 10,000 words since this time last week. It really is all about the breakdown. I'm closing in on the halfway mark for the chapter-scene breakdown and know this is the reason I had so many difficulties getting to this point.
Overall plot, Act breakdown, Cliff for each act, Chapter breakdown, Scene breakdown, Write.
I'm trying for a chapter a day, or 3-4 chapters during the work week. If I have the weekend set aside for writing, 3-4 more on Saturdays and Sundays.
What about you? What are you working on? Are you stuck on a chapter/scene?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Review: Northern Roses and Southern Belles

No, I'm not reviewing my story, In the Shadows, this week. I'm all for self-promotion but that seems beyond the pale. This week's review is Caroline Clemmons's Long Way Home.

This story starts with action and doesn't stop. But the romance between Parmelia and Derreck is what really makes this story. I love a good betrayal story, where the past needs to be explained and the hurt of abandonment overcome. I don't know why, but it's always been a favorite. Maybe because they have to work doubly hard to have that happy ending. Caroline's story comes through.

Have I convinced you? Will you go buy the anthology now? It's well worth it, not only for the historical aspects, but for the very different stories you'll find here. Trust me. And if you don't, check out James Miller's review. Jim has a Civil War blog and is passionate about the era.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesdays Comings and Goings

No guest blogging this week, but if there are any Victorian writers out there (meaning any story set between 1837-1901 in any part of the world) and you'd like to guest blog on Slip into Something Victorian, drop me a line!

If you'd like to promote any other book, and want another spot for a blog tour, you can do so here. I'm always open to hosting fellow writers.

As for the rest of the week, I have several guest spots next week and need to get cracking on those blogs!

Happy Writing!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dark Desires of the Druids III: Desert & Destiny

The third of my Druids stories and the final one in the Witch Hunters arc. I really had a lot of fun with this story. The research was intense, but Egypt during this time was so interesting!

And Arabelle, she has issues, but isn't weak. Far from it. Gareth, he has more issues, lots of bitterness and resentment but grows--evolves. Remember, he's Raven's jilted lover from Murder & Magick. He resents every second he has to be near Raven's husband's Malcolm but the all need to pull together to defeat the Witch Hunters and find the Repository of Knowledge.
They came together out of need, helpless to resist the passion between them. but when an old enemy tries to kill Arabelle, will Gareth realize the depth of his emotions? Or will the desert swallow them all?
Desert & Destiny: England, April 1883

Following the treasure-lined path he had earlier, he found Arabelle Bahari exactly where they’d left her, standing before her father’s now-empty desk.

Not entering immediately, he remained in the shadowed hallway and
studied her. Her shoulders were slumped and head bowed, and Gareth didn’t think it was the overwhelming presence of six powerful magickers who invaded her sanctuary that caused this display of emotion.

A single tear dropped from her cheek to the desktop.

Although she was the most exotically beautiful woman he’d ever seen, Gareth was surprised at his reaction to her. He wanted her with a fierceness he’d never experienced. Never expected.

“Are you going to stand in the shadows for what’s left of the night?”

Her voice was even huskier now, putting him to mind of moonlight on her skin as that golden skin wrapped around him. When she looked up, her eyes were clear as glass, the blackest of glass.

“I was worried about you,” he said, stepping into the brightly lighted office. “You lost a friend tonight, that could rattle anyone.”

“I’m not rattled,” she said, voice melancholy. “I’ve lost friends before. As magickers.” She tossed her head and her long black hair whirled about her. He hadn’t noticed it before, the silk of it, the length. It added to her allure. Gareth wanted to feel its weight, feel it against his skin, wrapping around them as they made love.

“We grow all-too accustomed to losing those we care for.”

Making the effort, he rounded the desk to stand before her. He debated
taking her hand, uncomfortable with such displays. “Yes. We’ve lost too many, to
the point where our grief has hardened us.”

“I’m surprised,” she said, leaning a hip against the desk.

“That I understand grief?” Gareth offered a short bitter laugh. “You’re not the only one who’s lost those she loves.”

“No,” Miss Bahari said, “I’m surprised the grief of those outside your circle affects you.”

Angered with her callous remark, Gareth grabbed her upper arms and shook her. They were slim and muscular beneath the loose white top she wore. “I didn’t ask for this, Miss Bahari. I was born to it and have done the best I could under the circumstances in which we live. It’s never been just my life at stake.”

“You’ve protected yours,” she snapped back, “but what about the rest of us?”

She didn’t try to break away but her voice fought him, her eyes blazed fury at him. Some small part of Gareth thought he shouldn’t be so attracted to her anger, but it was soon drowned out by his own anger, anger and desire.

“You denied us the chance to learn from you. Even now, I can feel my own magick increasing with your nearness. Yet you’ve left us in the cold.”

“It was not,” he said softly, still holding her, “my intent.”

The air shifted between them, then, sparked around them. She hadn’t moved, hadn’t tried to break free since he’d grabbed her. Suddenly her hands were on his face, pulling him forward. Her mouth was on his, hot and greedy. The spark turned to an inferno and he embraced it.

5 Cherries from Whipped Cream Reviews: The location this time, Egypt of the late 1800’s, is one of contrasts. There are luxurious hotels catering to the tourists and crumbling hovels that the native people live in almost next to each other. The characters are, as always, richly charismatic and superbly detailed. The women are strong and intelligent, and as willing to jump into the fray as the men are. The action is fast and exciting, the mystery engaging, and the romance is searingly hot.
4.5 Nymphs from Literary Nymphs: Isabel Roman has done a wonderful job of writing about ancient Egypt, the Magickers power to control the flow of life, and how love will survive. I especially love the fact that she added a twist to the couple’s lives without their knowing. Once the group retrieved the book they were looking for, I felt as though there should be something more, and hope that Ms. Roman will make me a happy camper continuing this series.
4.5 Tombstones from Bitten by Books: The romance develops so naturally. Especially when considered how the foundations were purely physical, Ms. Roman does an excellent job of developing the passion into true romance.

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