It all started when the image on my computer monitor blacked out and wouldn’t come back. And I couldn’t save what was on the computer if I had no way to view it. Result – New Monitor. After all it was 8 years old, which is a millennium in computer age. Grr.

Okay, I’d been talking about setting up a docking station because I have a desktop computer and a laptop, which I take to South Beach when we make our weekly trips for my husband’s work. Result – Purchase of a docking station.

I tried hooking up the computer to the docking station, but the new docking station and old keyboard were not compatible. Result – Purchase of new keyboard.

There was one last thing to do—hook up my good, reliable printer to docking station. But wait! There was no plug on the docking station to accommodate the printer. Another trip to Office Depot. (It had been three days of trying to get everything working and they knew me by now.) I was told that any new equipment wouldn’t accommodate a printer as old as mine. (8 yrs old) Result - Purchase new wireless printer, which isn’t that expensive because the printer cartridges are.

Everything is running now. Result -I’m still in the midst of setting up files on the laptop and making sure I’ve got all the stuff properly backed up on my external hard drive.

But wait! In order to accommodate the new equipment, some of which was sitting on top of the old CPU, I needed to get a new place to put it. Result –An evening of putting together a wooden file cabinet and the beginning of the huge job of going through all my hard copy files and reorganizing them and, thus, my entire office.

End Result – Frustration at wondering why it is that instead of being rewarded for taking care of equipment, we are punished because the manufacturers have deemed them to be no longer compatible with anything new.

Final End Result – The good news – old computer was given to charity, who happily accepted them. The bad news - our budget was blown to bits.

Final Final End Result –I am able to write again, something which is at the heart and soul of me. But damn… we sure are dependent on technology! And it’s sometimes a race to keep up!

Waiting, wishing, and hoping

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 7:39 AM | 22 comments »

Good morning everyone,
Today I'm blogging on writing through the dumps, when you feel that you're on hold, waiting, waiting, still hanging on to hope that something good will happen, your last book will be the one, and all that you've dreamed of will soon be yours. You walk in the door each day and the first thing you look for is the blinking light on the phone. Ah, you have a message. Before you take off your shoes, or go to the little girl's room, you hit the message button, wondering if this could be "the call" from your agent, or an editor has just finished reading your wonderful piece of work and wants to buy it right now before it goes to auction.
Okay, I know as writers we all have different expectations, but when I started out 20 years ago, I only had one. I wanted to be published and make people smile, and give them the same pleasure that I experiece when I read a good story. To me, being published meant and still does, being able to walk into a bookstore, see your book sitting there on the shelves next to all the other truly gifted writers who dreamed the dream and achieved their goal. It never meant reading a book on a computer, or trying to market it yourself on-line.
I have two books published with E-Pubs, and another one under contract, and yes, I am very happy about this, and feel grateful that my books will be read, but for me, if that's all there is, it isn't enough. Writing is too hard, it takes a great deal of time, effort, research, planning, and talent and dedication to create one single book, little alone, book after book, year after year.
This business is getting tougher, and it was always an extremely difficult business, now nearly impossible, and yet, some newbies still make it, and it's so hard to give up on something you've wanted for so long, and fulfills you. So while I'm waiting, I still plug along. No sense of urgency, but if I can manage five pages a day, or most days, then I do, I keep moving forward, trying to stay mentally strong and believe that one day my efforts will be rewarded.
We writers should not be writing for free. It is a job like everything else. If we do it as a hobby, then yes, hobbies don't make money, but if we devote ourself to the craft, if we do all the write stuff, networking, workshops, conferences, and put our money behind ourselves to put out the very best work we can, then yes, there should be some financial compensation.
That's my take. What's yours?

Springtime is coming

Posted by Scarlet Pumpernickel | 1:34 AM | , , , | 8 comments »

Can you tell that I've got cabin fever? It's beginning to feel like spring here in Georgia. The Pear trees are breaking out into buds and will be snowy white in a few more days. School is winding its way toward Spring Break and Scarlet is thinking of escape. Can't you tell? My mind goes a wandering to the two lovely Mediterranean cruises my daughter and I have taken. I would so love to go again, but the unrest in the world lets me know it's not going to happen this summer. So I have my memories and my pictures. The cruise ships to the right are at anchor off the island of Santorini. Below is a picture of a canal in Venice. Everyone will recognize the view of the Parthenon.













Here again is a view of Santorini from the ship. Below is a gorgeous view of Mykonos.













This is a port in Tunisia. The cruise lines have removed this port from their schedules. Perhaps we were wise to admire it from on the ship rather than going ashore. I hope you enjoy my little mini vacation, this is all I'm likely to enjoy this summer. The flower cart reminds me of spring and that brings me back to the beginning of my little ramble. Some where when the spring breaks through!




















Today, I'd like to discuss the element of time, in writing.

The statement below was made by a reader on a book discussion list to which I belong:

"After Paris it all began to fall apart for me. A lot of skipping around—unexplained time periods went by that didn’t make sense. He was in Puerto Rico, running for his life. Then he was beaten in New York. In the next scene, the heroine was upset because he was gone for months, but the timeline did not support her feelings.” (Disclaimer: The locations in this passage have been changed to protect the author.)

Did you hear her frustration with the author's work? I did.

Have you read a story which made you stop and wonder either how much time had gone by or how did a claimed span go by so fast? I’ve read stories where the time lines were totally off.

I remember in one book while the clock stuck midnight on New Year’s Eve the heroine wondered how she would provide for her unborn child. She thought this while stroking her flat stomach. Because of one missed period, she’d taken a pregnancy test earlier in the day. Pages later, it was spring and she gave birth to a full-term health baby boy. Spring stopped me. The seasonal identifiers didn’t fit the timeline of a normal pregnancy. The story, which had drawn me in, lost me right there. The author hadn’t done her job.

I’ve also read stories where the author didn’t use any time descriptor words or phases such as the next day, or later that morning, or years passed before. Which can leave the reader feeling lost.

Here's another example: Jonathan’s jaw tightened before he turned and slammed the door. (End of Chapter. Next chapter begins.) Jonathan didn’t know what to expect when he opened the door. The whole house was barren. Everything he’d owned was gone.

As the reader, do you know how much time has gone by? No. Jonathan could’ve closed the door and reopened it in peek-a-boo fashion for all we know. Which if he did, this story would have paranormal or psychological-thriller elements. But if our hero had been gone for days, weeks or months, we would see an emotional conflict.

How do you ensure a proper time flow for your story? Map it out. Draw a line. Write the important events that happen to your characters along the line and then chart in seasonal bits and pieces. If your hero is going to be gone for six months and he leaves in July, when he returns in January the weather, food, etc. should reflect the month’s setting in the area.

Also, remember to ground your readers by using time related phases.

Example: There was no more to say. Jonathan’s jaw tightened. He stalked out and slammed the door behind him. The next morning when he returned home the entire house was empty. His life had disappeared overnight.

See the difference?


So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it. ~Harold Acton, Memoirs of an Aesthete, 1948

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. ~Mark Twain


Don't be too harsh to these poems until they're typed. I always think typescript lends some sort of certainty: at least, if the things are bad then, they appear to be bad with conviction. ~Dylan Thomas, letter to Vernon Watkins, March 1938

Love Scenes - Two for the work of one?

Posted by Barbara Monajem | 9:12 AM | 19 comments »

Usually, I try to write two stories at once. That way, if I get stuck in one story, I can hop to the other while the first one percolates at the back of my mind. At the moment, I'm writing a historical short story as well as a long paranormal. All was going reasonably well until this past week, when I came to a sudden and very abrupt halt. Why? Because I reached a love scene in both stories at exactly the same time.


Groan.

For me, love scenes are the hardest to write, because along with the mechanical stuff -- tab Y in slot X, etc. -- there has to be character growth. The scene has to be meaningful in the development of the relationship between the hero and heroine, and also move the story forward without slowing down the action. (!) Not only that, this particular activity has to occur in a large proportion of romances these days. Not every story has a car chase or a gunfight, a ballroom scene or an abduction in a coach-and-four, but they all need love scenes. Sigh. My husband and I joked that maybe I should write the scene for one story, then switch the names and a few details and plug it into the other.

LOL. Nope, that would never do. So I worked my way through the scene in the historical, learning more about my characters in the process -- always a plus -- and also realized, to my great relief, that the last four chapters in the paranormal needed reorganizing anyway, so I could put off that love scene for a day or two. Whew.

Writers -- Do you find loves scenes harder to write? Easier? The same as the others? 

Readers -- Would you be just as happy with fewer love scenes, or is the romance genre handling them fine? Do authors succeed in making each one different, or do you find that a lot of love scenes seem "same old same old" to you?

(The picture, by the way, is of swans in Aquitaine, and has nothing to do with the post, except maybe that swans are romantic and so is love :))








Palomino horses can be found on ancient tapestries, paintings and other artefacts of Europe and Asia and in Chinese and Japanese art over two thousand years old. Royalty and warlords revered these golden horses.

Palomino is a color and not a breed. Breeding a palomino to a palomino does not guarantee a palomino foal. The offspring can be chestnut or cremello. The horse to the right is Saphiro, a handsome cremello stallion.

These horses vary in shade from pale cream to a rich golden color. The mane and tail is usually white but may be gold and/or have dark hairs. Like chestnuts palomino horses may be affected by the sooty gene, when they display dark dapples. The effect is not unattractive but is nevertheless considered to be “incorrect” when compared with an “ideal” palomino. The coat of many palominos changes shade from cream in the winter to golden in the summer (seasonal palominos).

Pale palominos are sometimes called Isabellas, after Queen Isabella de-Bourbon of Spain, who is much remembered for pawning her jewels to fund Columbus' voyages to the “New World”. The word Palomino is itself a Spanish surname, derived from a Latin word meaning pale dove. Queen Isabella kept a hundred golden horses (but forbid her commoners to own one!). She did, however send a Palomino stallion and five mares to her Viceroy in Mexico (then called New Spain) to perpetuate the horse in the “New World”. North America palominos originally came from the Spanish settlements, presumably descendants of Queen Isabella’s horses.

Genetics of palomino:Palominoes have a base coat color of chestnut (i.e. of genotype ee, eaea or eea at the extension locus) and genotype C+CCr at the C locus (the cream dilution gene). The CCr allele is semi-dominant and dilutes red pigment to yellow in a single dose (i.e. in palominos). The wild-type C+ allele is effectively recessive since it needs to be homozygous for there to be no dilution of the base color. (Horse Genetics.com)

The two horses in the photos are Lusitanos, which originate in Portugal.

I personally owned Andalusians, and palomino is not an Andalusian color.

Andalusians are supporting actors in Hot Spanish Nights, an erotic novella, by Bianca Swan, now available from The Wild Rose Press.

In case you have missed the recent buzz, Borders
Stores filed for Chapter 11 protection and the
company is closing a slew of stores. Here's a list
of the Borders stores that will be closing due the
bankruptcy:

http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/st_borders0216_20110216.html


Straight from the horse's mouth.




Comments?









I am sure you must have received postcards from well-intentioned friends flaunting their vacation in Florida and rubbing it in that they are sun-tanning while you are freezing in arctic weather.



Imagine a nice neighborhood of fancy high-rises lined along the seashore, each looking like a picture perfect resort, with a private pristine beach and a pool sparkling in the blazing sunshine.








These buildings have reception desks where you have to register if you don't live there. Security officers won’t let you in before checking with the people you are visiting. In other words, high-rises benefit from a tight and reassuring security.

Nothing bad could ever happen in these places. Right?

If you write romantic suspense or paranormal, stay tune for inspiration, my friend.

Something happened. More than one thing, but let’s start with the first one since it happened in a friend’s building and she told me the story before we read it in the newspaper.

The couple in my story have been married for a year.

Picture her tall, artificially blond, fashionable with tight dresses and high heeled-sandals. It’d be difficult to guess her age, anywhere between 40 and 50.


Her husband, well-tanned, rugged, looking younger. He likes the beach and often swims. She protects her face with a wide-rim hat when walking to her car. The neighbors regularly see her taking a daily jog in the morning and the security officer at the front desk greets her with an appreciative smile. Mrs. X. is wealthy and gives generous Christmas bonuses to the building employees.

So when Mrs. X didn’t show up for her daily walk for three days in a row, security got worried. Her car was still in the parking lot but not her husband’s. Security called her apartment several times. No one answered. Having an extra key, the security officer knocked on her door several times and then opened. The apartment was empty. Maybe she was gone with her husband. It was none of their business to further interfere.
Mr. X returned from his trip in the night. Two days later he calls the police saying that his wife was missing.

The police find her purse and car keys at home. So where was she?
A day later, a woman's body dressed with her bra and bikini, and high-heeled sandals is rejected by the sea and lie on the sand of a far away beach at two hours distance. The woman is identified as Mrs. X.

Mr. X collapses, crying that his wife has committed suicide and produces a medical report that his wife suffers from depression.

What is your verdict? Who killed Mrs. X and why?


For the chance to win a copy of my ebook French Peril, a romantic suspense, play Sherlock Holmes and solve the crime. By the way, it's a true story and I will give you the verdict tomorrow.

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with heat.

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN winner of 2009 Best Romance Novel at Preditors & Editors and winner of 2009 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite.
Rx FOR TRUST, winner of 2010 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite and 2011 EPICON.
http://www.monarisk.com/


I'm listening to Jim Brickman's CD Destiny and loving the piano music. It stirs the imagination and calls to my muse. I've got a lovely scented candle burning and a fire in the fireplace. A friend invited me to visit today. She has a little farm in Alvin, and I would have enjoyed her company, her fireplace and old movies, but I opted to stay home and let the words of my WIP flow because recently they've been as sluggish as molasses.

Here's a tidbit that has started to flow. Since no one had posted today I thought I'd jump in and ask if I'm on the right track. Tentatively titled, Doomsday, here you go:

As if the sun had been switched off, the sky darkened. Lightning flashed, struck a small tree sizzling along the trunk. Thunder rumbled, shaking the ground. Fear streaked through her. That was way too close for comfort.She’d make a dash for the courthouse before the storm broke. As she stepped off the curb, the car came from nowhere.

A flash of white, the vehicle struck her left hip, and she was flying then falling. Her head slammed against the pavement with a resounding thud. Road rash burned her arm and leg. She grabbed her head, felt something warm, tensed for the pain. Nothing happened. She opened her eyes to gaze into the darkest eyes this side of midnight.

“You’re hurt,” he said, his voice tender music, “but I can heal you. In fact, you must survive.”

Wavy blond hair brushed the button-down collar of his white shirt. The beautiful voice soothed the gong echoing in her head, and his exquisite his face stunned her speechless. But the strange eyes were unnerving. They were totally black, obsidian orbs ringed long lashes.

“Who are you?” She looked around, and Main Street was a psychedelic blur. “Where am I?”

“You are with me.” He lifted her fingertips to his succulent lips. “Safe.” He tensed, sniffed the air, looked around. “We must go.”

Lightning fused heaven to earth. Thunder rolled across the bruised sky, drowning her gasp of awe and dread. In her twenty-five years, she’d never seen such a splendid and frightening display of electric force. Could the doomsday prophets be right? A hard shudder resonated through her entire body. Did the end of the Mayan calendar signify the end of days?

MY SALVATION

Posted by Autumn Jordon | 7:51 AM | , , , | 13 comments »

Recently, my husband went through a medical crisis. Within a few hours, this man who has never been sick went from being the healthiest person I know to facing a life changing event and two days later was hospitalized and underwent surgery. Days turned into weeks.

At first, I thought I’d go nuts as the most awful scenarios ran though my mind. I felt helpless, knowing our lives had change in a big way and would change even more. Then I thought, I’m working myself up over things of which I have no control and doing so would do neither of us any good. I, after all, had to remain strong for both of us and clear of mind so that I could ask the thousand questions we needed answered. To save my sanity, I turned to the one thing I had control over—my writing.

It just so happened, the same day my husband went into the hospital I received my galleys for my next book, IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL.I opened the file and got to work reviewing notes from my editor and making sure all the changes I’d made on the last round of edits had been completed. When I was tired of working on them, I worked on my new wip. I had emailed my editor when first receiving the file and told her my situation and she graciously allowed me to take the time I needed. I was proud to email back the file to her not only in time but early.

Writing saved me from worrying years off my life. While writing, I had control over someone’s lives, even if they were fictional. Writing gave me purpose while I sat and waited for my husband to stir. This is not the first time writing has been my salvation and I’m sure it wouldn’t be my last.

Have you turned to writing as a means of keeping your sanity?

www.autumnjordon.com

I am pleased to welcome Stephanie Burkhart who will present her new released book, The Count's Lair and give us an idea about life in the early 1900.



I'm excited to be here at Fuzzy Pink Slippers today. Thanks so much to the ladies, and Mona, for having me.

Just a little about me: I was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Central High, I joined the US Army. I spent 11 years in the military, 7 in Germany. While in the military, I earned a BS in Political Science from California Baptist University in Riverside, CA in 1995. I left the Army in 1997 and settled in California, but my favorite football team is still the New England Patriots. I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. I've been married for 19 years. I have two boys, Andrew, 8, and Joseph, 4.

What was life like in 1901?

"The Count's Lair" is set in 1901 Hungary. So, what was life like in 1901? It was an interesting blend of old and new and a time of quick change.

AUTOS
Motor cars, or autos, as I refer them to them in novel, were beginning to make an impact, but most of the transport on the roads were horse and buggy. Mercedes was a popular model of car in Europe on the continent. Daimler and Benz each built autos in the mid 1880's. The Benz Velo and Mercedes became popular European model cars. During this time, it was usually the nobility who had motor cars, and those who couldn't afford it used the horse and buggy.

WOMEN
Married women stayed at home with their families. It was acceptable for single women to work. Poor married women usually worked. Households that could afford employed domestic servants, even a modest household, had a maid.

INVENTIONS
Interestingly, a lot of people did have indoor plumbing. Flush toilets had been invented in the 1880's, but most people did not have adequate drainage, and outdoor facilities were still popular. Electric lights and telephones were also available, but not everyone had them. In fact, only two percent of homes had electricity. Usually the nobility did and those who made a modest living. There were phonographs, but there were no airplanes, radios, or washing machines.

MOVIES
The movies were in their infancy. Usually the films were short and silent. Berlin, Germany had a burgeoning film industry, as did Hungary.

MEDICINE
Over the counter remedies were popular in 1901. They included laudanum, which was opium based. In fact, there were a lot of opiate based pain killers, much more so than there are today. Working people relied on herbs and roots to help them.

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY
This was a monarchic union between the crowns of Austria and Hungary. It was formed in 1867 and lasted until the end of World War I. There were two capitols, Vienna and Budapest. The two nations maintained separate parliaments with their own prime ministers.

FRANZ LISZT
He was a Hungarian pianist who lived between 1811-1886. He was well known for his skill and his contemporizes thought he was a technically advanced pianist.
In the story, you'll see Anton use an auto, the telephone, and Esmé using herbs and roots in a medicinal setting. You'll see electricity and central heating used in the story as well as trains.

This reference link, has a video of a London street in 1902. Note the mix of autos and horse and buggys.

Reference: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/census/living/move/horse.htm

We've come a long way since 1901, haven't we?

About The Count's Lair: The Count's Lair is Book Two in the Budapest Moon series. It's a paranormal romance that takes place during Christmastime in Budapest, Hungary, 1901. Count Anton Varga has a dark secret, but he's in love with a beautiful and talented pianist, Lady Amelia Andrassy. He'll give her 3 clues to help her figure out his secret. Can she accept him as he is or will his secret drive them apart?

YOU TUBE BOOK TRAILER:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaiYNNpETok

The Count's Lair is avail as ebook for Kindle, B&N Nook, Sony Ereader, and Kobo. You can also download a copy from the Publisher's Website at:

http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-142/Stephanie-Burkhart-Budapest-Moon/Detail.bok

You can find me on the web at:

BLOG:
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com/

WEBSITE:
http://sgcardin.tripod.com/

FACEBOOK:
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1357922219

Good Time: Leave me a comment and I'll be back tomorrow to give away a PDF copy of The Count's Lair.

Steph Burkhart

Joanne--Deals of the Day

Posted by Josie | 12:26 PM | 12 comments »

Hi everyone,
I'm back with lots of great deals today:

FREE 1 week guest pass to Curves, now featuring the fun fitness dance program, Zumba. New members only.
Check out: http://www.curvesinformation.com/?campaign=ZUMA

FREE Redbox movie today. Use coupon code: BEMINE

Almost free: Parenting magazine 2 year subscription is $5.00 through Eversave. Coupon code TOUCHDOWN brings total down to $2.00
Check out: http://www.eversave.com/indianapolis/blue-dolphin-local?sourceid=68905

I love Amazon.com. Another free music deal is a $2.00 MP3 credit in their MP3 store. Use coupon code: VDAYMP3S

Brita slim water pitcher is now priced at $9.77 at Walmart.com. Use ship to store for free shipping. For an additional $5.00 coupon off this price, check out:
http://www.filterforgood.com/

Happy shopping!

Favorite quote: "I can't afford to save any more money".

Joanne--Deals of the Day

Posted by Josie | 12:49 PM | 8 comments »

Hi Everyone,
As always, I'm sharing some great deals today:

Free is always good, and Pyrex is offering a free Pyrex potholder:
http://4simplerules.amssupport.net/OrderForm.aspx

Also free, Amazon.com is offering a free Valentine's play list in MP3 format. Just type it in and it should come up.

And also free for the man in your life: Mercury Magazines is offering Maxim magazine for free:
http://www.mercurymagazines.com/pr1/101/101463

Next is not quite free, but still good deals:
Tanga.com is offering 10 issues (1 year) of Reader's Digest magazine for $2.99, regularly $26.89. Use code: DIGEST

If you bring your spare change to one of the many Coinstar machines, you'll receive a $10.00 Itunes gift card for every $40.00 in change.

Check out one of my favorite sites, Restaurant.com For 70% off their certificates, use coupon code: HEART

Last, Apple Ipod shuffle 2G, 4th generation, on sale for $39.99 at Amazon.com with free shipping. Blue only.

Happy shopping!

Favorite Quote: "I can't afford to save any more money".


I fought the hebejebes and forced myself onto the huge ship. Thank God for Pearl Wolf, or I woulda never made it.Quick moving lines and showing my ID got me a what they called, a Fun Pass. You used it for everything. Tons and I mean tons of people followed the walkway to the ship. The first thing I saw was a huge bar. And at 11:30am people danced to the music with
fancy drinks in their hands. At 11:30 in the morning! Imagine. The party starts the minute you step on board.
The bar was in a huge open area and a large room opened all the way to the top of the ship. Elevators encased in glass and colorfully decorated lights, brought cruisers up and down from the bar to all ten floors! It was overwhelming.With my mouth still hanging open we made our way to our room. I expected a closet, but it was pretty big to me. I chose the bed next to the balcony. Of which I intended to make a lot of use. Pearl opted for the other bed, that way she could beat me to the bathroom when we had to use it in the middle of
the night. I loved the little towel animals and a mint on my bed. If only I could train Chris to do some of these things for me.Well a girl can dream.The shower was larger then the one I have in our main bathroom at home. 
We left our carry-ons and made our way to the main deck. A fairly good sized pool, jacuzzi, and dozens of chairs filled it. Right next to it was a buffet restaurant where we ate most of our meals except for dinner. Still in shock and awe I stood and watched as the ship left dock in Miami. My heart was pounding and I hoped I could handle the cacophony all around me. If I didn't hate the taste of alcohol I'd have had a few to bolster my courage. To the loud horn of the cruise ship people stood on deck and waved goodbye to the Port and we were on our way. My stomach flipped several times. And I told myself, "You can do this, you can do this!"
And somehow I knew I could! I had my fellow authors to keep me company. I'd wouldn't be a wallflower, I swore to myself.
Amid the thousands of people there we found our FRW co-cruisers. And the conference began.
I didn't have time to be afraid, the hardest part for me was all the walking. And despite the pain from my back I pushed myself to do it. I live in Florida, but this is the first time I have ever been to Key West and seen the end of our country. I watched the water and thought, Cuba ain't that far. If I lived there, I'd make a swim for freedom too! A trolley brought us to see the sights of Key West. I loved the feel of the place, all the interesting shops, but my favorite thing was the kitties at Hemingway's very comfortable home. All six toes of them. They have the life of Riley there.

Then the boat docked at Cosumel, Mexico. I never saw so many jewelry stores in my life. The glass bottom boat tour was canceled due the heavy winds and it was cold. You could tell the people who live there were not used to it. Not interested in a Sombrero we made our way to the infamous Three Amigo's Bar, where Pearl showed me how to have fun.The woman is just amazing, I should be as active as she is. I wish the pictures I took of her dancing and singing on stage to Ride Sally Ride had come out.Darn it! And you know what? I plum forgot to be nervous or scared! Cathy Maxwell, has this wonderful laugh that just makes everyone around her laugh. She was a pistol and everyone loves her. Could be her wonderful personality? I don't know, but I loved her too!.


The wonderful workshops were informative and I learned a lot. I loved listening to Heather Graham, Sally Schoeneweiss ,and Joan Johnson, the founding mothers of FRW. And Kathy Pickering, Aleka Nakis and Traci Hall, were hysterical as they did a skit imitating them.I can't get the picture of Piks, holding five baby dolls and singing, as she imitated the talented Heather Graham, out of my head. It's stuck there! I wanna publish three books too Sally! Honest I do!
I didn't plan to pitch my latest story. I thought, "Who the heck would want to read my book." Especially with all the fantastic authors that surrounded me. But, Erika Tsang, from Avon, was so sweet, how could I be afraid of her. Plus, at the very least her feedback would be phenomenal! So I made an appointment and probably made a fool of myself. With her professional demeanor, you'd never have known it. I did it! I made my first pitch with an editor in person! Holy moley, I was on a roll!
So much happened and I saw so many wonderful people. Mona Risk's husband Sam, was in  his glory as the official photographer. Mona's blog site has tons of them!
Every night the waiters and waitresses would put on a bit of entertainment. If they could dance on pedestals  why couldn't Piks to it too?All too soon it was over. I didn't want to go home. Imagine that! 
Only missing Sharon Donovan, who couldn't make it due to illness, was sad for me. I thought about her a lot.

One last time we sat and talked with more FRW authors and we were off the ship. The thing about a cruise is that all the editors and agents are captives. They are human, honest, and they are just such wonderful people. I couldn't post Erika Tsang's picture in her balloon hat. I promised to burn the picture. Hmmm. maybe not...
So there you have it. I did it! I even talked to strangers. I don't know what it was. Maybe my Muse took over my body? Everyone on a cruise is happy and friendly, it's like an alternate world. But I'll tell you this in all honesty. I never had so much fun in my entire life! I can't wait to do it again! And one last piece of advise. Take the Florida Romance Writers Conference, and you too can have your agoraphobia stifled as you Cruise With Your Muse.
 Oh and one last picture of the life of the party, Greg Hall, husband of Traci Hall as he parties with Heather Graham's husband, Dennis Pozzessere. What would a cruise be without them?

Welcome Kate George.

Guess who stopped by again? Kate George found her way back and I wouldn't let her go without an interview. Good morning Kate, and welcome back! So, Kate, how do you find time to write with family and job obligations?


This is the hardest part for me, squeezing writing into my everyday life. I have all the usual stuff; four kids, a job, a house to keep up, sports and extracurricular activities, meals, shopping.


As I’m writing this one of the dogs is looking at me with big golden eyes, begging for attention and the boys are chasing each other up and down the stairs and wrestling on any flat spot they come to.


So I have to be creative. I set up my computer wherever I am and when I have a few minutes I write. It’s not the ideal way to work, but if I want to continue writing I have to make it work. It’s not just that I’m committed to my writing; it has become a part of who I am and how I communicate with the world.


Some of us have been around for a while and have dozens of manuscripts., How many books did you write before selling one?

Mine is not the typical story. I wrote one really bad novella in my early twenties and I gave it up as a lost cause. Really. I quit writing anything but journal entries and work stuff for a very long time. I did continue to write poetry, but that was the only creative writing I did.

I was in my forties before I started writing again. But I’d gotten smarter. I joined a writers’ group. I took workshops. I learned to accept criticism. I became a better writer. The book I worked on during this time was Moonlighting in Vermont. So the first novel I wrote was published, that’s pretty atypical.

How many books have you published?

I have two books out now, both Bree MacGowan Mysteries; Moonlighting in Vermont is the first, and California Schemin’, out March first, is the second. I have a third Bree novel coming along, and a paranormal romance that I’m shopping at the moment.

Who’s your favorite author to read? Favorite book?

Jennifer Crusie. She’s the queen of snark. Her stories are full of quirky characters you can’t help but like. Welcome to Temptation is my favorite book of hers.

For shear fun I read Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. She can make me laugh even on the darkest days. I really respect her ability to take me away from my troubles.

How do you cope with rejection?

I give myself five minutes to feel disappointed and then I try to move on. I have a dream agent I’ve been trying to impress for ages. So far nothing I’ve written has floated her boat. I really like and respect this woman, so it’s frustrating not to be able to write something that excites her.

But you know it may be that I’m just not a good fit with her, even though we seem to fit conversationally. So I continue to like her, and I keep her on my dream list but I don’t take the rejection personally.

What would you like to tell readers?

It’s an exciting but tough time for authors right now. If you want to see your favorite authors keep writing then tell your friends about the books you enjoy. Word of mouth is the biggest source of new readers for an author. That means it’s up to you to spread the word.

What themes go through your books?

Mud. Dogs. Handcuffs. Abductions.

Oh Wait, you probably mean literary themes, like redemption, claiming your life, love lost and found. Hmmm. Nope.

Mostly mud, dogs, handcuffs and abductions.

Which other jobs have you had?

I have a list of jobs that would take up two pages. Here’s a few, just to give you an idea; Motorcycle Safety Instructor. Yes. I rode a Kawasaki. Travel Agent, I went to Mexico and Hawaii. Foreclosure Officer – don’t ask. It was awful. Actress. Answering Service Operator. Turn down maid in a swank hotel.

Yes, I have a short attention span. And no, none of those things are as glamorous as they sound!

Award winning writer, Kate George, is the author of Moonlighting in Vermont and California Schemin’ (due out March 1, 2011). She lives in Vermont with Dogs, kids, and currently, snow. You can reach her at www.kategeorge.com. Her books are available at www.mainlymurderpress.com, amazon.com or can be ordered from any bookstore.


Margaret A. Golla is in the house!

Good morning, Margaret. I am so excited you're here! Looks like you brought company. You're both welcome today. I
hear you're snowed in, literally. I know the others will want to hear all about your publishing venture. So tell all

Thank you, Mama Mary for allowing me to play over at your house today. Mary and I virtually met each other on the wonderful goals loop we belong to, and let me just say that I don’t know if I would still be writing if it wasn’t for the support of my peeps over there.

Well, okay, that was a little melodramatic, but still it’s true.(She can be a tad melodramatic)

I’ve been writing for about ten years now. (I have her beat by double that long.) I started off in the romance genre. I loved reading romance, so I thought I could write romance . . . uhm, nope. Three years ago, I realize romance wasn’t for me. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love writing romance IN my stories, but I don’t write romance. When I stopped writing romance, I dropped out of my local RWA chapter and their huge support group.

So what did I want to write?

(The wonderful cover below might give you an idea!)

Kid’s books. I really, really loved reading middle grade and children’s stories. I wrote ten picture books, but never could find my groove with rhythmic pattern needed for picture books. If picture books weren’t my thing, but what was?

This is when the analytical part of my brain took over. The fourth ‘romance’ novel that I wrote involved a huge fantasy realm that attracted the attention of Deb Dixon and Bell Bridge Books. It didn’t work out, but I really, really loved the character and this world.

What if I wrote about the character when she was growing up and first discovered this world?

And that was how Kyte Webber was born. I also discovered my ‘voice’ while writing Kyte’s story. Too bad none of the 100 + agents and publishing houses saw the magic. I tried to sell this story, but everyone is looking for ‘boy’ books and post-Apocalyptic worlds and they aren’t interested in fantasy. During the three year interim when I queried GNOME (short for TO GNOME ME IS TO LOVE ME), I wrote two more middle grade novels and three chapter books involving Kyte and her world.

When I started writing middle grade, my only wish was to bring enjoyment to the reader. But it didn’t look like I would succeed if I continued to butt my head against the traditional brick wall of publishing. I had many friends who were self-publishing and I followed their progress with interest. I didn’t think my targeted age group (8-13) would have access to Kindle’s, computers, Nintendo DSi’s, iPads, or Droid phones. After Christmas 2010, I discovered how wrong I was. Middle grade kids are even more connected than everyone realizes.

The time to strike was now.

In January, I self-published my first chapter book, Lost Leprechaun Loot. I knew my timing was a little early as this was vaguely a St. Patrick’s Day themed story . . . leprechauns, you know, though I will say my leprechauns aren’t cute and cuddly like Lucky from the Lucky Charms cereal, they are gold-hungry, self-centered green meanies.

I will say that I don’t think self-publishing is for the first time novel writer. Oh, there are exceptions to the rule, but 98% of first novels deserve to be shoved deep into the recesses of the hard drive, I know my first four attempts belong there. I also realized there is a stigma of becoming a ‘self-published’ writer, but I felt there was a need for my books even if New York didn’t agree with me. Plus I was tired of the hurry up and wait that is so prevalent in publishing today.

As of this blog, I received my final rejection of GNOME by Jabberwocky Sourcebooks publishing. I am now free to self-publish the story that started it all. All-in-all, my goal in 2011 is to publish the three middle grade novels AND five chapter books that tell of Kyte Webber’s adventures.

Story samples are available on my purchase page. Those of you who do NOT have an e-reader, check this out:

Free Kindle reading apps for electronic devices (computers, phones, etc): http://on.fb.me/fa508u

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004KAAV1Y

Barnes and Noble Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?ean=2940012144041

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/38342