Back to Autumn's post. Read it and comment!

The end of the RWA conference is drawing near. From all the reports coming to us who stayed at home, it was a fabulous event. You didn’t have to be in Orlando to feel the energy. It sizzled across the net.

Kudos to the RWA staff for pulling this super conference off after the tragic flooding in Nashville. You are amazing and thousands of RWA members are truly indebted to you for your dedication.

Tonight we will know the names of the published and unpublished RWA members who’ve been chosen as the best of the best by their judges. I can’t wait to see if a few of my friends will reap the title winner, but even if they don’t they can be assured they are indeed winners. They’ve achieved a level many only dream about.

And speaking of dreams, I’m sure many have come true on the magical grounds of Disney. Over the next few weeks we will hear squeals all over the loops, spawn by the success stories. Congratulations to all who threw off their introvert capes and shined and brought home the requests.

If you have a story and want to share, the Pink Fuzzy Slippers will squeal with you.

Now in the wake of the RWA energy, I’m going to work on my next wip. And, I
promise to stash away $3.00 a day so that I can go to New York next June.


Photographs of the primary inspiration behind my work.  The colonial garden pic is from Williamsburg which also inspires me, as does my own garden included in several pics taken by my gardening assistant, artistic daughter Elise. The majority of these shots were taken by my mom.  The lovely old home (circa 1816) is the family homeplace in Augusta County, Virginia.  I don’t live there but visited much over the years particularly as a child.  The rustic mountain home photographed in fall and summer was shot by my hubby and speaks for itself. :)

Yep, we are all in Orlando and having a blast. I saw Mona and Barbara sign their books in a mass book signing this afternoon. I have pictures to share, when I figure how to upload them. We're staying in the Swan hotel, a long trek from the main events.

I'm rooming with the president and president elect of the Kiss of Death chapter. Think anyone would bother me?

More later!

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My father passed away last October and the family of six gettin' up there children gathered for his church service at my Mom's house. She was doped up by the doctor because she was a wreck. After a bit they slowly stopped the tranquilizers. My Mom was only on her usual medications, of which there are quite a few.

She started to see my Dad and hear him breathing, feeling his presence on the bed. By morning he'd be gone.
She saw him several times and he rarely looked at her. But she kept talking to him and one time she asked what was wrong and he answered that he didn't know. That was freaky. But my Mom was not scared. She was strangely comforted.

My Mom continued to see and very occasionally hear a word or two from my Dad. He joined her every night to sleep, just like he did in life. She continued to hear him breathe.
I went to visit my mother for about ten days in January. We hit the grocery store where she would smash into people with the electric cart she drove. The beauty parlor where they would curl her see through thin, white, hair, in the same style she'd had for as long as I can remember. We went to a doctor almost every day for some thing or other.
She tuckered me out.
One night I went into her bathroom attached to her bedroom to use her mirror and pluck out granny hairs. And I heard it... Breathing...Slow. Steady. Breathing. I sat us straight and listened. I still heard it, in and out, so I held my breath. It couldn't be! Yes! I still heard breathing!!!
I yelled out, "Mom, who's in here?" No answer. My Mom was in the living room, quite a ways away, when I last saw her.
Still I heard breathing, so I walked out of the bathroom. I looked at the bed. Holy Moley! It looked like it was indented. And I still heard breathing!!!
I ran outta there so fast I'm lucky I didn't break my neck. I flopped down on the sofa and looked at my mother. She asked what was wrong and I told her. She was actually happy! She was vindicated! My sister went into her bedroom and came out as fast as I did. We looked at each other and started laughing. While she did the sound of the theme from Twilight Zone, I shook my head. I couldn't believe it, but there is no way in hell I will ever go into that room again!


A couple of weeks later my Mom stopped seeing my Dad. They'd taken her off of one of her medications, and it just could be a coincidence. It was a disappointment for her, but at the same time she wanted my Dad to find peace where he should be. She still feels that he has not passed on and listens for him every night. But hopes when we put his ashed in the grave in Vermont. That he will be.
Me, I never go in there and I have no desire to. My Dad would surely tell me what I was doing wrong if I went back in there. And I'm still a bit afraid of him. Which he would like hearing.
Strange Huh?

Monsters Comments

Note-Not pics of my family.

How I Destroyed the Neighbor’s Nice, New Mailbox

Posted by Scarlet Pumpernickel | 12:12 AM | 13 comments »

Ever had one of those days? I did yesterday. It started out early, I was out of bed by seven-thirty. Now folks, there is definitely something wrong with that, this is summer break and I'm up late and in bed late. Still, I was up early and ready, I thought, for a great day. Our lovely little Pomeranian wanted to go potty. The cat jumped out the door when I let the doggie out. We've recently moved to a new house, so the cat isn't allowed to go out. Besides, she is a house cat and has been declawed in front. I struggle to catch the kitty and get her inside. Doggie potties, cat back inside, we're good to go.

Thirty minutes later, doggie has to go again. Same routine, open door for dog, cat jumps out. This time when I try to get the cat in the dog jumps on her and the cat takes off. Get the dog back inside and work for thirty minutes to lure the cat back into the house.

Make French toast and coffee, by now it's nine and I haven't written a word. Cat jumped on table while I was eating my breakfast, encouraged her to jump down. Must have pissed her off.

Doggie reports to back door wanting to go potty again. I get up to let her out, the cat lurking in the background after being shooed of table, jumps past me and out the open door. House cat makes a daring escape. Tried to lure her back inside, but she's pissed with me about the table incident, remember? She lounges on the deck. Phone rings and I go to answer it, cat forgotten. Besides, she always stayed right around the back door, no problem. I left her and forgot she was outside.

Enter daughter around eleven, it's her day off, so she slept in. She makes more French toast, only hers is made with really neat bread containing dates and nuts, mine was plain. She adds vanilla and cinnamon, the first impression of it is going to be one of those days hits me when I realize I've had breakfast and she is fixing toast much better than mine.

"Momma, where's the cat?" Daughter asks as she sits down to enjoy her French toast.

"Oh no!" I say, "She went out and I forgot her."

We both rush to the back door. No cat.

I put on my shoes and go out to the deck. Here kitty, kitty, kitty. No kitty. She's isn't on the deck. I go back inside to exit by the door without steps.
I'm step-challenged, bad knee, hip problems, which was the reason for the new house. Previous one had three levels and all bathroom were upstairs.
One time when the cat got out, she hid in the garage until we got home. I check there first. No kitty. Backyard is next, she likes to hide under the deck. I check, no kitty. By now I'm beginning to panic. Did I mention the cat, Bonnie Blue, belongs to my ten-year-old granddaughter?
Daughter gets dressed and goes outside calling the cat. I go back inside suffering from near heat exhaustion. It's 90 degrees in Georgia and the humidity is very high. Cat should have taken that into consideration, she didn't.
By one o'clock we are resigned to the fact that the cat has run away. We decide to canvas the neighborhood. We get in the car and start around the block. We stop at the house next door, they have cats! Maybe Bonnie is there. Daughter gets out and knocks, the lady of the house comes to the door. Very nice lady, most concerned about our lost cat. She has several of her own, if she sees Bonnie she will call. Daughter returns without cat, but says the new neighbor is very nice.

We continue around the block. No cat. When we get to the back side of the block, Daughter suggests we pull up in the driveway of house that should be right behind our house. I pull in, the house is vacant with a for sale sign in the front yard. We look in the yard and the woods behind the house, no cat. Here is where the problem started.

When I started to back out of the driveway, I realized that it wasn't straight, but curved, like ours at the new house. Ours is so curved that we back into the front yard and turn around, then drive out forward. I didn't want to drive on the front lawn of this house, so I crept back, watching the side of the driveway in my mirrors. Finally I made it to the street, heaved a sigh of relief and backed out.

It sounded like a bomb exploded at the rear of the van, yeah, I drive a van, another challenge to mailboxes everywhere. The entire van shook. I put the van in drive and pulled forward looking behind in the rear view mirror.

"What was that?" Daughter exclaimed. "There's nothing behind us, what caused that?"

I pulled a little forward and there, lying over in shattered disarray, was the remains of the beautiful brick encased mailbox. It lay broken and battered, the black mailbox at the top of the heap of brick, block, and red dirt. The beautiful little flower garden that had framed it now looked like a demolition site. "----!" (I'll let you add the expletive of your choice here, I'm sure you get the idea.

Had to stop the car, get out and go inform the owner of my "little accident."

The gentleman who came to the door was very gracious. He took the information I offered and didn't appear to upset.

We continued around the block, no cat. But now I had to report an accident to my insurance company. Reminder, do not pull into anyone's driveway in this new neighborhood. They are aligned directly across from one another and it's a safety hazard.

We continued to call the cat, walked around the yard, looked for her everywhere. It was so hot in the afternoon you'd be soaking wet by the time you walked halfway around the house. We gave up going outside, just peered out the door and called Kitty, Kitty every few minutes. Late July in Georgia is not the time to be outside searching for a cat.

When the sun went down, Daughter picked up a friend and they decided to walk around the neighborhood calling the cat. Since the dog was partly responsible for the cat being MIA, Daughter put on the harness and leash and made the little doggie walk, too.

Coco Chanel, thinks of herself as a lap dog. She does not like to go for walks. Especially when it is in excess of 90 degrees outside. They walk around the block, telling neighbors about the missing cat as they go. Good way to meet the new neighbors. Everyone was very kind and promised to call if they saw her.

Daughter wants to print flyers and poster the neighborhood with pictures of Bonnie Blue. I hedge, because it's my ink she's talking about.

We check the deck every thirty minutes, no cat.

Hubby arrived home from work and I had to give him the bad news. The cat is gone, the car is damaged and I've trashed a neighbor's mailbox! He was not a happy camper, but he took it well, all in all.

"No more cats!" says he. "If Bonnie's gone, no more cats!"

Daughter starts making plans how Nana is going to tell granddaughter that she lost her cat.

"I didn't lose her," I defend. "She escaped! It's her own fault, she shouldn't have jumped out the door. Besides, Coco is the one who ran her off! It's Coco's fault."

In a last ditch effort to avoid having to tell my grandchild that I lost her cat, I said a little prayer to my guardian angel and asked for help locating the missing feline.
Eleven o'clock rolls around. We've been watching our favorite shows, NCIS and Covert Affairs, when the show ends, I tell Daughter to go check the back door. She grumbles about going, but goes anyway.

I hear her talking to someone at the back door, Coco's ears perk up, she starts barking. Stop her I tell the friend who had walked with Daughter earlier and stayed to watch TV. She catches the Coco. Daughter comes in the door with Bonnie cradled in her arms. Cat hurries upstairs to the sandbox and water bowl as soon as she puts her down. She appears scared, but unharmed. This morning she was lying in wait to jump out the door when Coco went out, so I picked her up and held her as I opened the door for the dog. No more mailboxes will die today!
Thank you, George Thomas!


Posted by Patrice Wilton | 1:57 PM | 15 comments »

Hi everyone,
Little late posting, but here I am. So, I'm curious as to what everyone does that's a little out of the norm to get ready for the big conference of the year. As we all know, the RWA is a huge, and very special event, with around 2000 attendees every year, the major and the small publishing houses, agents, parties galore, Awards night where everyone puts on their finest gowns, and prepares to shine. We all have an opportunity to honor our special writers that achieve their very deserved recognition, Lord knows, we all get very little of that!
So some of us go out and buy a nice new dress, get our hair newly colored and styled, put on high heels for the first time in months, and meet and greet editors, agents, and all our good friends. Along with the gazillion workshops, there are very nice luncheons to attend, and dinners, and parties thrown by the big publishing houses and dinners which the agents host to thank their authors. I have been invited to attend such a dinner, and I thank my lucky stars every day for the support, the guidance, and kindness shown to me by Pamela Ahearn, my dear, sweet agent. This year instead of getting a new dress, I went to my dermatologist and had a little laser surgery to take care of some spider veins on my cheek, and now I'm sporting a big, ugly purple bruise to take to the National! Oh, me or my. I think I may go out to buy a burka, for that special event.
How about you? Do you have any funny, or happy, or woeful stories to tell? If so, let's hear them!

Today's guest is Jennifer Echols, one time GRW member and brave person. The girl is funny! She has a book out today and she's with us. How cool is that?

The bug stops here

I live in Birmingham now, but the story I am going to tell you takes place in Atlanta. In 2004 I was a member of GRW, and a fellow writer you may know named Mary Marvella explained to me how to get to the one and only meeting I ever attended, at a steak house way up on the northern edge of town. I lived way down on the southern edge of town and it took me fourteen hours to get to the meeting and fourteen hours to drive home, by which time my husband was hysterical that he had been left alone so long with the toddler. I moved back to Birmingham soon after that. I actually got my agent the same week we sold our house in February 2005, and I sold my first novel in June.

But in November 2004, I wish I’d known what was just around the corner for me, because I had an experience that threatened to derail my writing career. I had spent a long hard year making a big push to get a novel published. I worked at home as a freelance copyeditor, I had to get that work done while the baby was at Montessori school, and my husband worked the night shift at the Yamaha plant in Newnan. The only time I had to write was before bed—my least creative time of day, believe me—and during my daily workout at the YMCA. Yes, I wrote huge tracts of books WHILE EXERCISING ON THE ELLIPTICAL MACHINE. Looking back I find this a little hard to believe too.

By November my completed manuscript was ready to go. It was a hilarious and sexy romantic comedy (if I do say so myself) set in the Birmingham neighborhood I was homesick for, and I just knew it would be snapped up for representation by an agent. I had particularly high hopes of being represented by the agent of an up-and-coming Atlanta novelist whose first book had just come out. You may have heard of Emily Giffin.

By November my daily routine had become more difficult because my husband had taken a job back in Birmingham and had moved ahead of the baby and me. I stayed in Atlanta with the house. So it was basically the same routine as before, minus husband, plus realtors showing the house three or four times a day. We thought the house sale and the move would be easier if we got rid of some of our baggage, so one Saturday when my husband was home, we held a yard sale. These things start at six in the morning in the South, you know, and I had endured an entire work day’s worth of strangers talking me down on my twenty-five-cent prices and maligning my baby clothes when the mail came.

2004, remember? We had e-mail, but a lot of us still didn’t know how to use it, and few were the agents who insisted on e-queries. Emily Giffin’s agent was one of the many who did everything by snail-mail. I had a feeling about the mail that day. I watched the truck come down the street and stop at my mailbox. I watched it go. I walked down the driveway as quickly as possible without frightening the garage sale shoppers. O joy, here was my letter from the agent!

I held it in my hands and pictured success. You know how the self-help books are always telling you to picture yourself successful but it never seems to work? That’s what I did for a moment, hoping for the best, and then I opened it.

Revise and resubmit.

Revisions that I didn’t agree with.

And then, just to add insult to injury, a yellow jacket flew out of the mailbox, zoomed down the back of my pants, and stung me on the butt.

Did I face this crisis alone? Did I whine to my unsympathetic husband who never really understood why I wanted to be a published author? I didn’t have to do either, because I had RWA. I went inside and typed a whiny message and posted it to the RWA PRO list. I got all the sympathy I wanted, plus advice on how to deal with the revise-and-resubmit letter, plus advice on treating a yellow jacket sting.

I could very easily have taken the sting as a sign that I should stop pursuing the goal I’d worked toward so long, an easy way out. But I did not, and today is the release day for FORGET YOU, my seventh published novel.

Let this be a lesson to you, my friends. You can’t let a sting on the butt get you down. This is the South and the South is full of bugs.

ENDLESS SUMMER - Simon Pulse - In stores now!
FORGET YOU - MTV Books - Coming July 20!

Can you beat that story? Ask the woman questions! She loves them!

If you would like a chance to win FORGET YOU, comment!

I love attending writing conferences! Local chapter conferences tend to be smaller and more intimate than National ones. Moonlight & Magnolias, Georgia Romance Writers' conference usually has around 300 attendees and more than a dozen editors and agents, as well as big name authors. The energy level for workshops and other activities is wonderfully tiring and satisfying. We always meet in Atlanta, Georgia and have a blast.

RWA National is the once a year big bash for Romance Writers of America. This year there should be around 2,000 writers in attendance. (Can you say overwhelming?) This year we will meet in Orlando, Florida. The energy level there will keep us moving well past tired. There will be workshops and opportunities to socialize with people some of us see only once a year. We will be able to walk the halls with Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich, and other wonderful authors.

I'll return in a few to add comments about DragonCon and more!.

Tell us about your favorite writing or fan conferences!

The novel was to be a stand-alone and nothing more.

Bargain with Lucifer was the story of Lucifer Deveraux, handsome, spoiled, and willing to marry a stranger to inherit a multi-million dollar Trust only to have his scheme ironically backfire when he falls in love with his pretend wife. When he takes Julie too his Louisiana home, San Souci, all Hell breaks loose as his ex-girlfriend, Clarice, now married to his brother Michel, once again begins a campaign to win him back. The story ends with Clarice attempting to kill Luc and ending up accidentally killing herself, sending Luc back to Dallas and into psychoanalysis to determine how much of the tragedy was his fault and how much just plain bad luck.

After completing the story, I showed Bargain with Lucifer to my cousin, also a writer. She read it, and said, “I only have one question: "What happens to Michel?" Of course, I had to write a sequel to answer her question. So…Brother Devil emerged…

Brother Devil explores Michel’s psyche and his violent relationship with Luc. All his life, Michel Deveraux has been bested by his older brother Lucifer, especially where women are concerned. Frustrated and jealous, and terribly naive, he was easy prey for a vengeful ex-girlfriend who married him to punish Luc for jilting her.

When Michel finds himself a widower at the age of twenty-eight, the shock of his newly-found freedom sends him into sexual overdrive and excesses his brother would have envied, if Luc--now recognizing his own weaknesses--wasn't seeing them repeated in his younger sibling.

The women of Orleans parish may have called Luc a devil and Michel an angel but now the angel is falling fast...

...and he’s enjoying his downward spiral to the limit!

Icy Snow Blackstone's Brother Devil will be released by Class Act Books ( on August 15, 2010. Bargain with Lucifer was released in January, 2010. http:://

In approximately ten days, two thousand romance writers will travel to Orlando, Florida for the RWA National convention in hopes of learning more about the craft and industry, networking, and or gaining an editor or agent’s attention. Many seasoned authors have blogged or added posts on their websites advising first time attendees of what to expect at the huge event, what to wear and what they need to bring, such as business cards, but I’ve yet seen a post telling them about the most important element--confidence.

Confidence is defined as the quality or state of being certain. As you walk among the other attendees, be certain that you are a writer too, even if you’ve yet to publish. If you have put words to page, you are a writer. If you have a burning desire to learn the craft, you are a writer.

Hold your head high. Be a sponge and soak up all the knowledge you can. The conference has an amazing list of speakers from which you will learn tons. Focus on workshops that target your weaknesses and remember the only question that is stupid is the one not asked.

Don’t be afraid to talk to people, including editors and agents. They’re people too and they like to talk about other things besides books, which is their work. We all know there is more to life than work. Make a connection.

Smile. Be yourself. I’m sure you already have a boat load of friends. Attending a conference is an opportunity to make more. I’m truly grateful for the hundreds of friends RWA has provided me.

Have fun. Yes, attending a conference is considered work, it's tax deductable, but who says work can’t be fun.

Now repeat after me. I AM A WRITER who can learn more about my craft. I AM A WRITER who always has room for another friend. I AM A WRITER who will pitch with confidence!


A couple of weekends ago, I took a walking tour of Wyuka cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska. It took over three hours of walking along ancient brick-cobbled roads through acres and acres of pine, cottonwood, and cedar trees with the sun filtering through leaves and dappling the ground. At the end of that time, I was a so tired I was ready to tell my guide to just dig a hole, stuff me into it, and leave me there. He didn’t; so in spite of that, I came away informed and a little awed by what I had seen.

Wyuka has been around almost as long as the city. In 1869, two years after the founding of Lincoln as the state capital, the Nebraska legislature passed an act to provide the city a State Cemetery. The first site was along Salt Creek near the State Asylum but because there was a danger of flooding there, 80 acres were purchased east of the city.

The first thing one notices is the fence surrounding the cemetery, black, wrought-iron pickets with spearhead points. This fence once surrounded the entire University of Nebraska campus and its gates were so narrow that on a night when a fire blazed, fire equipment couldn't get through. Many building, including that which would become the Nebraska State Museum housing Archie the Mammoth, were destroyed because of this. Needless to say, the gates were enlarged; later as the campus grew, they were moved to Wyuka.

Wyuka hold a vast number of personages, known and unknown, of all races and creeds, infamous and famous. Here can be found a friend of Charles Lindbergh, killed in a plane crash, his tombstone a wooden airplane propeller, along with a letter written by the famous pilot, embedded in a stone plaque. Actor and singer Gordon McRae makes his final resting place here, the opening bars of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” inscribed on the stone. A black soldier who fought with the Union army during the War Between the States shares the ground with a loving couple who have a stone bench near their site, inviting people “to Sit,” nearby a picnic table and benches do the same. A 4-ton granite monolith in the shape of a tree trunk, symbolizing death and resurrection marks a family plot. Mass murderer Charles Starkweather and several of his victims rest in the same hallowed ground. An American soldier who died fighting in a regiment sent to fight the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution rests under a shady shrubbery.

Angels, shrouded figures, and animals hovered over markers. A Grecian monument marks the grave of Robert Allington, engineer, chemist, inventor, and entrepreneur, who entered the University of Nebraska at age 16 and went on to become a multimilliionaire though paralyzed with polio. Many victims of the 1917 Spanish influenza, as well as three governors are buried here. Other stones bear a single word…”Mother,” or perhaps the most poignant of all…”Our Baby.” There’s a memorial to the Holocaust, firefighters, 9-11, as well veterans of other wars and conflicts. Mausoleums and crypts, built into the hillsides, their walls covered with soil, gather in little communities all their own, and a water tower, which was used to irrigate the grounds, looms as round and imposing as an ancient Norman castle.

I didn’t finish the tour so I'll have to go back for the rest. As soon as I get the energy.

(PICTURED ABOVE: Baby marker; BELOW: Bronze door wreath; Mother; Hathaway tree; Gordon McRae's stone; Oldest stone in Wyuka (1869); propeller; mausoleum; Allington monument; Sawyer orb; Witte stone)

Whenever people find out I write romance novels the first question they ask is ‘Have you always wanted to write?’

I never know how to answer that query. Because, honestly, until five years ago I had no interest or desire to write - to read - definitely, but to actually pen a manuscript - no way.

My day job is implementing computer finance systems.

I’ve always enjoyed my work and still do. I like the fact that it’s either win or lose. Either the system works or it doesn’t. No nebulosity, nothing intangible there. I hate gray areas, relish black and white definitions of what’s wrong or right.

But I’ve always loved to read favoring the classics of course. I read my share of Mills and Boons in high school (at an all-girl convent high school what else was there to do?), but I hadn’t picked up a romance novel in years.

In 2005, we receive an invitation to a wedding in Wales, which we declined. Two days before the wedding my DH decided for business reasons he had to make an appearance.

You may have guessed by now that I like things in place. I organize my todo lists ( I know, why bother?) So this threw me for a loop.

The DH always throws me off-kilter. I think he lives for the horrified expression on my face every time he drops a bombshell.

Think about it; different voltage, last minute presents (sure to be too expensive because everyone else got the moderate stuff on the list), not to mention a dress that won’t show off every single one of those fifteen pounds added by each child.

We arrive at the airport and I don’t have a book to read on a ten-hour trans-Atlantic flight.

Not going to work.

We’re late, the flight’s boarding, and I grab the first book I find, pay for it, and board.

It’s Christina Dodd’s Once a Knight.

I’m still reading when they wheel the breakfast cart in, so totally enthralled I almost forget to wake the DH (snored through the whole affair - cute little puffy sounds) for food.

When we get to Clearwell Castle, the site of the wedding, I am enchanted. I’m still living in the past, in the medieval days of chivalry and honor that Christina painted so perfectly.

The wedding is amazing; the castle, built in 1735, is magical. Picture sunny weather in the UK (!!!!), croquet on the terrace, an arched chapel, a string quartet playing classical music, bubbly flowing, canap├ęs to die for, the most perfect setting for a marriage ceremony in the world.

For three days we explore the area and immerse ourselves in history, and then we return to London to journey back to Florida.

The plane’s accelerating down the runaway, I turn from the window to face the DH and say, “I’m going to write a romance novel.”

He frowns, cocks his head to one side, and asks, “How much champagne did you have?”

So do I know why I decided to write a book? Not a clue to this day!

Yet I've published seven books with two more scheduled to be released this year, and I have at least five more in the works.

Go figure.




Posted by Judy | 7:51 AM | 8 comments »

Waiting for something to happen is difficult for me, and it seems I’ve been doing that a lot lately. I’m presently in Seattle, about to return on a lo-o-ong flight home to Florida tomorrow after waiting for my second little grandson to arrive. Max, however, is not about to make an appearance just yet. More waiting…

Oh, wait!! I started this in Seattle and I am now in South Beach, still waiting for Max! Hmmm, Waiting for Max sounds like a title for one of my children’s stories… But seriously, I do want to address the issue of waiting. As writers, it’s something we’re all forced to do.

At the moment, I’ve got manuscripts out to an agent and three others out to editors. Again, I’m waiting. The agent has truthfully told anyone submitting to him that it will be 3-4 months and probably longer before an answer will be given. It’s been over five months and I’m still waiting. Others tell me that’s good news, but I will have to wait and see.

What you do while you’re waiting is crucial to the game of writing. I’m lucky because I have several manuscripts I’m working on for both Women’s Fiction and Children’s novels. Without them, I think I’d go crazy. As I work on one, the others sit and gather a bit of waiting time, which, I’ve discovered, is very precious. I can go in, see silly mistakes, tighten passages and produce a better product…all while I’m waiting.

What do you do as you await responses from publishers, agents , contests, and others in the business who will help you succeed? Any tricks you want to share?

Self publishing EBooks

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 7:53 AM | 12 comments »

Hi everyone,
I would like to open up a discussion on the benefits or downside of publishing your own books, either stories that have been previously published and now you have your rights back, or stories that have not previously sold. This seems to be a new wave in publishing, and with the market tighter than ever, and the big houses not so willing to give new authors a chance, this seems like a viable solution to getting your books read. I have a story that I sold a couple of years ago, but before it could be published the fledging publishing house closed. I also have another book that was previously published with Wings and I now have my rights back. I am considering this option but would love some feedback from those that have done this, or know how it can be done. I do know that Amazon will pay 70% royalty for books that are listed between $2.99-$9.99, which seems very good indeed. There is also Smashwords, Sony, B&N, and other sites out there which require their own formatting, etc. Also, I learned that royalty free covers can be downloaded from sites such as Photoshop and Shutterstock, but finding the right photo can be tricky, and we all know the importance of an eye catching cover. Does anyone know whether you can use the original cover of your book if the rights have been returned to you, or is that copyrighted?
Oh, the tangled web that us writers must navigate to follow our dreams.
I'd love to hear from anyone with an opinion or superior knowledge on this subject.

A Singing in the Blood is the third book in the Chronicles of Riven the Heretic. It's a romance, a partial fantasy, and a family saga as well, because in these stories, the characters grow and change, in appearance, age, and their beliefs and convictions.

In the first story, Bloodseek, the hero Riven kan Ingan is a heretic, a disbeliever in the gods. He is in his mid-twenties, an arrogant young man aware of his lowly birth. Having been raised by the king after his father is killed in His Majesty's service, Riven is also privileged. A schemer, he decides to marry the king's daughter so he can pay back those who've looked down on him for being a foreigner...a barbarian's child. As will happen, however, his plans go awry, and those very gods he denies send him into the arms of the woman he will love forever...Barbara, a very young, very brave barbarian barely in her teens.

In the second book, Blood Curse, Riven is in his mid-thirties, Barbara her early twenties. He marries the woman of his heart and for her sake, resigns from the army and accepts a title from His Majesty. Now the Barbarian's Whelp is a Noble of the Realm and with it come all the responsibilities and griefs, for Riven is now responsible not only for himself and his wife but for a manor, an estate, and a village full of peasants. Tragedy involving Barbara's death sends him on a quest which will change his life forever and make him accept those gods whose existence he's denied. He's injured and blinded, captured by barbarians and tended by a barbarian woman. Miraculously cured, when he's at last allowed to return him, he brings with him a son, the child of his union with his gentle nurse. Back at his manor, he discovers another miracle--Barbara is still alive and he has another son. With his new family, he seeks forgiveness from those whom he wronged.

A Singing in the Blood opens on a Riven now in middle age, a man loved by servants and friends alike. He's negotiated a peace with the barbarians; his wife's people now come into Francovia and have settled there and intermarried, some actually becoming nobles themselves. Oh, there's some strife...what household doesn't have it, with four teenaged boys and one daughter? Son Val seems determined to be at odds with his father no matter what the subject, second son Ilke wants to become a priest, the twins are forever into some mischief or another, only daughter Llani does what he tells her. Plus Val is jealous of Ilke because he's the son of Riven's second wife. Nevertheless, Riven is happy, and as much in love with Barbara as ever, and then, everything changes when Meraud, his good friend, drinking companion, and now ruler of Francovia dies mysteriously, and his son, whose sanity has always been questioned, comes to the throne. Morling hates foreigners, of which there are a goodly plenty in Francovia, thanks to Riven's peace efforts, and the mad young king is determined to get rid of all of them, beginning with his father's and his grandfather's favorites...the kan Ingans themselves.

That's the story of the third novel. Called to once again make his pledge of loyalty to the king, Riven has to choose. Will he give back this madman and persecute those people who have become his friends or will he refuse and become one of them? One choice means safety for everyone he holds dear; the other means destruction and death as a traitor to the crown. On a bright winter day with the snow covering the trees, Riven, with son Val beside him as an untried knight, makes his way to the capitol city, to announce his decision--and change the fate of the entire planet forever.

A Singing in the Blood as well as Bloodseek and Blood Curse, are available from Double Dragon Publishing (, as e-books, in print, and Kindle.

Quantcast I’ve long been an enormous fan of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, that dark, powerful, hauntingly beautiful romance.  My favorite lines are uttered by Catherine:
“Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.”
- Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights, Ch. 9

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.”
- Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights, Ch. 9

But there are many other fabulous lines in this brilliant novel.  One of the most famous uttered by Heathcliff:
“‘And I pray one prayer–I repeat it till my tongue stiffens–Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you–haunt me, then! The murdered DO haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts HAVE wandered on earth. Be with me always–take any form–drive me mad! only DO not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I CANNOT live without my life! I CANNOT live without my soul!’”
- Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights, Ch. 16 

I break my heart for Heathcliff.  At least he and Catherine are together in the end, I have no doubt.

I’ve included an excellent review of Wuthering Heights below:

A Drama Ahead of Its Time
When Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights was first published in 1847, under the name of Ellis Bell, it received mixed reviews. Although some critics saw the potential evident in the cyclical plot and other literary devices, many others were shocked and dismayed by the unashamedly dark storyline.
To be sure, Wuthering Heights was a very different book than what was generally considered acceptable during that era. In direct contrast to Emily Bronte’s novel, Susannah Rowson’s Charlotte Temple (1828) tells the story of a young lady who permits her beau to steal her away in the middle of the night. Predictably, he impregnates her and then abandons her, after which she dies of a broken heart. As was common in novels of the era, Charlotte Temple used a fictional story to instruct its readers–primarily young ladies–in what was expected of them.
In Wuthering Heights, one of the main female characters dies of what could also be considered a broken heart, but the effect is a very different one from that of Charlotte Temple. Instead of presenting an overly sentimental worst-case scenario meant to frighten its readers onto the straight-and-narrow, Wuthering Heights seduces its readers with its dark passion and misguided characters. Both Heathcliff and Catherine are flawed characters, but their flaws intrigue the reader just as surely as they repel. If there is any lesson to be learned in Catherine’s death, it is the folly of denying your heart’s greatest passion–a mistake completely at odds with the cause of Charlotte Temple’s downfall.
Controversy & Obscurity: Wuthering Heights
Due to the novel’s tumultuous passion, the book received a mixture of responses. Eventually, those who were scandalized by the book’s inappropriateness won out, and Emily Bronte’s only novel was buried in literary obscurity. Decades later, when Wuthering Heights was revived by the interest of modern scholars, the unique literary devices used in the work began to earn more attention than its soap opera-like tale of obsession and loss.
Although the second part of the novel–the part that chiefly concerns Catherine and Heathcliff’s respective children–is frequently overlooked in retellings and screen adaptations, many contemporary critics believe it holds the key to Emily Bronte’s real literary genius. The first generation of children–Catherine, her brother Hindley, and the gypsy child Heathcliff–had led miserable lives, and both Catherine and Hindley died young as payment for their misguided passions. As a result of Heathcliff’s scheming prior to Hindley’s death, he has inherited the Earnshaw home, as well as the care of Hindley’s son, Hareton. After the death of Heathcliff’s estranged wife–Catherine’s husband’s sister, his own son, Linton, comes to live with him as well, setting in motion his final push for revenge.
Generations: Wuthering Heights
The highlight of the second part of the book is when Heathcliff effectively kidnaps Catherine’s daughter, who is called Cathy. With the three children now all under one roof, the latter half of the book parallels the beginning, when Catherine, Hindley, and Heathcliff were all children together in the same house. However, whether by a twist of fate or Heathcliff’s mistreatment of the boy, Hareton’s demeanor and place in the household resembles Healthcliff’s childhood persona more than that of his own father, while Linton is so weak and sickly that he is the perfect opposite of Heathcliff.
Despite the clear similarities to the old rivalries, though, the children begin to converge, rather than to follow in the footsteps of their parents. Maddened by a desire for revenge, Heathcliff attempts to play them against one another, forcing Cathy to marry Linton so that he may inherit the neighboring property that belongs to his rival, Catherine’s widower. Linton dies soon after. After Heathcliff’s own death, the tale comes full circle: the estates return to their rightful heirs, Hareton and the younger Cathy fall in love, and Heathcliff’s legacy of revenge disappears almost without a trace.

Despite its early reception, the combination of unbridled passion and a complex storytelling form makes Wuthering Heights a favorite in many modern literary circles. The darkness of the story and the lack of accompanying moral teachings shocked many of its contemporaries, while the intricacies of the cyclical plot–the destruction and ultimate reunification of the families–were overlooked until recent decades. A novel that combines masterful literary devices with all of the scandals of a soap opera, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights was a drama far ahead of its time.
I was particularly taken with the 2009 Wuthering Heights production but there are many excellent versions of this timeless classic.
A lovely tribute to the film:

Another beautiful Collection of Film Clips: