Thursday, January 28, 2010

Recent Trends in Romance

You know, one trend I’ve seen in the last couple years or so is where the heroine sees what needs to be done and charges forward with all her doubts and insecurities screaming at her. Even if she fails, succeeds or makes a mess of things, she takes ownership and becomes a better person for it, with or without the hero’s help. This new heroine can be bitchy but we sympathize or a wimp who we cheer on. I like this woman. She’s real with her many layers. And I love the men who love her despite hers and his flaws.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just Like In The Movies

When I was growing up I watched a lot of movies set/made in the 40's and 50's. One of the mainstay characters was the nosey busybody who tried to solve everyone's problems but her own. Lately, I've realized that's me. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten myself in a jam by trying to help someone who hasn't asked for help.

So I've been working real hard not to be that way. To let others handle their own problems and make their own mistakes. It's hard. Real hard. But it's best for my own sanity.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What To Say When You Final

After being the contest coordinator for the Linda Howard Award of Excellence for four years out of five, I've heard all types of responses to the news of being a finalist or winner.

Some responses are frustrating. Like when I've called to tell someone they finaled and I hear "What contest did you say this was? What was the name of my entry?" Gee, that tells me they've entered and finaled in too many contests. I can promise you when it comes to ones I enter, I know when they're to call and I know which manuscript I've sent in. Yes. I do maintain a spreadsheet. I'm a little OCD about that.

Other times you call and get their voicemail. I guess I could leave a message for them to call me back, but they would already know that's the reason I'm calling (if they're not like the one above) and some probably wouldn't even return my call. So I leave a voicemail and hope they're the type to listen to it over and over again, so excited they finaled. Well anyway, that's what I do when I receive a voicemail like that.

Then you have the ones who have obviously finaled over and over again and they say "That's nice. Thank you," all in a calm businesslike voice. By then I imagine my hands around her neck and shaking.

On occasion I get one who's excited but says the wrong thing like "I'm shocked!" Okay. I understand this might be your first one. Or you just slammed together the entry at the last minute and had received the day before a horrible judge's comments from another contest, but come on people. I'm now rechecking the score as you say for the third time, "I'm shocked!" Have I made a mistake? If you're excited about finaling or winning, don't say you're shocked. Think positive and say, "That's wonderful!" Miracles do happen. Miracles are wonderful. So be sure to say so. That's wonderful!

That leads into good things to say. The one I usually say when I get a call about finaling. I squeal and say, "That's the best news I've heard in a long time!" Even if I received a call the day before from another contest. I know how hard that coordinator worked and I can tell you she gets as happy and excited as you do when you act thrilled. I've been told by one coordinator I'm her contest's favorite finalist because of my reaction. They feel appreciated and they'll remember you in a good way. I promise.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fan Girl Strikes Again

I know you have seen me infatuated with several authors over the last year and Susan Elizabeth Phillips's books are no different. Check out this clip. I really like her sense of humor.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thankful Friday

Though I believe my writing will drive me insane, I'm thankful I'm strong enough not to resort to drugs or alcohol. Check this out.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Guys Think

I found this interesting article through a link on YAHOO's group page. Click Here. I swear I wasn't looking in YAHOO's personal pages. I swear!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Analyze This

I’ve discovered a new author (to me) recently. Her books are packed with strong emotions, delightful humor, and layered characters. Those layers astound me with the brilliance she used in crafting a novel I could only aspire to. Her most recent novel had a heroine who was SO NOT the typical woman I would root for or expect to admire. But with each layer she deftly made me wish to be in the heroine’s shoes as she stood strong and faced her enemies and got her man. All without being a bitch.

I love to read a book that surprises me and since that first book, I’ve read two more from her backlist and haven’t been disappointed. I plan to take each book and tear them apart and analyze how she made me tear up and then laugh out loud. How she made me sympathize with her characters and ache for their pains. How she made me blush during the love scenes and sigh when it was over.

Few authors have that type of talent. So it’s time for me go back to the book and start breaking it down and maybe, just maybe, I can improve my own.

Oh, you want to know who I’m talking about? I mentioned her recently. Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Wow! What an author!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Published Authors' Friends

I was reading a buddy's blog today and remembered something Lyn Stone said during a speech she gave my writers' group. That when you become published, you find out who are your real friends. She had "friends" say things like "When are you going to write a real book," "Since you're home all day, why don't you volunteer for this and that," and ask "How much money did you get paid?" Others said she'd become stuck on herself while others snubbed her. It's amazing how stupid people can be. If you ever have the opportunity to meet Lyn, be sure to say hi. She's a darling sweet lady and talented too.

People like that are not true friends. Friends celebrate milestones good or bad. Sure, there are probably authors who let their first or hundredth book go to their head, but they're rare. Thank goodness.

I know I'm not always a good friend to my published buddies. Sometimes that ugly mean green-eyed monster (envy) gets the better of me. Then I try my best to do something extra nice for them or I stay away. The only problem with staying away is letting too much time to pass without keeping in contact with that friend. Even published authors need their friends from the days before. I just make sure I don't use them. You know. Like asking them for critiques or introductions to agents/editors. If they offer without me asking, of course, I would most likely accept but never ask. That's putting a strain on your relationship with them, placing them in an uncomfortable spot.

Having a friend is more important. Considering how much I want to be published that says a lot.

It doesn't mean you can't name drop in a query. And I don't mean like telling an editor or agent the author told you to send a manuscript to them when she didn't. That's a no-no. Plus the editor/agent is most likely to ask the author if they did. You can imagine what the editor/agent would think of you to find out you LIED! Not counting you'll lose a friend.

What I'm talking about is like "I've heard of the good things you've done for AUTHOR..." Or "It was fun sitting at the table with you and AUTHOR at the conference." You get the idea.

Well, I better email my buddy. I've neglected her lately.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Writing Tips

I'm trying to add to a manuscript I started a few years ago. I've deleted the ending and plan to double the word count. The danger of writing on an old book is that our voice changes as we improve and editors can tell if we piece together a book over time. You know the beginning may have a lot of editing but plain, while about halfway your voice flows and have texture.

The funny thing about this one book is it's the one to help my voice to change for the better. It's my only first person story so far. I found writing in first person freeing me from worrying about deep point of view. As in first person you automatically add that to the story. Hey, it is your heroine/hero's thoughts, feelings, opinions and visuals you're putting to paper.

With it being a book I've written, I had to work hard on remembering what had already happened. So I reread the book and changed a lot of scenes. Making them fuller and more emotional - I hope. Along the way, I wrote a short synopsis of each chaper. Then I wrote a sentence or question for each "string" of plot. They aren't the main plot between the heroine and hero. Those are easy to keep up with. They're the subplots I can't forget as they will most likely affect the main plot. For example, "Phillip: He found out Larisa is a Precious One. What part did he play in her kidnapping? How did he know where the demons and Fallen had taken her?" As you can tell, it's a paranormal.

This way, as I finish the book, I won't forget to answer these strings.

That's just one of the things I've learned to do.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ha! It's Only Fair!

I use to gripe about the Viagra commercials. With their warning of "If you have an erection lasting more the three hours, consult your doctor." Of course, most guys I know would say why ruin a good thing.

Now women have a product (commercial) to smirk about. Check it out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thankful Friday

I didn't post yesterday as I was too tired and tonight is not much different.

So in keeping it short and sweet, I would like to say I'm thankful to know the talented author, Jennifer Echols. Check out this video. I gave her a hard time, but she's such a good sport.



Sitting to the right of her (to the left of you watching) is Christy Reece. Another talented romance author I'm thankful to know.

And, yes, that's my voice you hear.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blogger

Had a little problem with my blog but as you can see all fixed now. It all started with me wanting to fancy it up. I've tried before and it never worked quite right. The same thing happened again. Ended up being more of a time waster than anything. So back to old faithful. Gray on black. LOL!

Oh, check out something I found. FISH! Put your mouse over them and they will follow. Click and you'll feed the fish. LOL! Whoever did the code on this is so smart. Yes. I'm easily impressed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Need To Relocate?

On the way home this evening, as I exit I-65 and drive down the on-ramp to I-59, I have a great view of metro Birmingham. It's dark and all of the street and building lights are glowing. On top of one building is a huge LED sign that flashes messages. In this case, I saw the words "Vote for WILLIAM BELL" and then "For Mayor." The next words were "Want to relocate?" LOL!

[The building is advertising office space. But I wonder if Mr. Bell liked having that question after paying for advertising in a prime location. Makes it sound like once he's mayor everyone will want to leave Birmingham. LOL!]

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Author

This author has been around for a while, but I finally decided to give her a try. LOVE HER! Susan Elizabeth Phillips's WHAT I DID FOR LOVE is wonderful. Yeah, yeah. I know I'm slow, but for some reason...I won't get into it. She's an excellent writer and I should be ashamed of myself for waiting so long to read her books.

Now to check her backlist.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

History Tidbits

Sex and The Civil War

Your father and mother started a brothel in Washington City and you and your two sisters kept it going until you decided to move to Gettysburg. Hey, that's where all the soldier boys were! But then a large brawl disrupted your business and the town kicked you and your sisters out. You returned to the Union capital with your sisters and decided to try out dancing in the streets to the music of an organ grinder and a monkey. In no time you and your sisters were in trouble again. Was it your fault that in your enjoyment of the rhythm your clothes completely fell off?

YOU ARE?

Kate, Anna, and Matilda Light. (I guess they would say that it's just something about a man in uniform that makes you want to go into the oldest profession. And I wonder if their last name was really Light – as in Light Skirt? LOL!)

"Going down the line" - Visiting a prostitute

The Confederate and Union capitals were overflowing with prostitutes called Cyprians, fallen angels, daughters of Eve, and gay young chicks.

A young man wrote to his friend about the "gay old time" he had in Washington and how he enjoyed "Horizontal Refreshments or in Plainer words Riding a Dutch gal...."Brothels in Washington had names like "Madam Russell's Bake Oven and "the Haystack" owned by a Mrs. Hay.

The Washington area called Marble Alley had the greater concentration of brothels.
When Southern women said that Yankee men had horns, they weren't talking about them being on their heads.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

History Tidbits

Being Married in London during the Year 1700
or the Single Life is for Me.


If you are a high-born lady wishing to marry your stable boy, an uncle wishing to marry his niece, or a young couple wanting to marry without consent, you would go to the alleyways known as the Rules of the Fleet near Fleet Bridge, not far from the river Thames. All types of “plyers” would encourage you to come into their “marriage house” for the ceremony. Most of the clienteles were craftsmen, innkeepers and the lower classes.

One-ninth of England’s population lived in London during 1700.

Weddings were legal only between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and noon.

A contract for marriage was official when the man provided the woman with a ring or presented her with half of a coin.

Males over the age of 14 and females over the age of 12 could marry with the consent of their guardian. Both sexes could marry without consent at the age of 21.

A single woman had many of the same rights of a man. She could own property, leave a will, sue or be sued, but once married, her husband own her lock, stock and barrel. Should she commit adultery, her husband could sue the man for trespassing on his “property.”

Popular sex manuals of the time were Aristotle’s Masterpiece and Aretine’s Postures. The man’s sexual organ was at times referred to as his “yard.” (Funny! In his dreams!) A midwifery book by a Mrs. Jane Sharp claimed the wife would not conceive if there was “no desire nor delight . . .”

A 5 shilling tax was paid on licenses and certificates of marriage. Thus, the reason cheaper marriage houses married 1/3 of the London population.

A Fleet marriage to a stranger help legitimized a child and prevented the woman from being publicly whipped.

Neither a license nor posting of Banns was required in a Fleet marriage.

If a woman got heavily into debt, she could marry a prisoner and the debt would be considered cleared. (You can’t arrest the husband for the debt when he’s already in prison, duh!)


Brides wore bright colors, preferably blue. Blue was associated with the Virgin Mary.

Some brides wore gloves to bed. A symbol of their virginity.

Bundling was common. A board was placed on the bed between a couple. Many women used bundling as a way to catch a husband.

One-tenth of the English brides were pregnant before they married.

Knickers (underwear) had yet to be invented.

Condoms was made from sheep intestines and tied onto the “yard” by a ribbon. They were very expensive.

If a man murdered his wife, he was hanged for the offense. If a woman murdered her husband, the wife was burned alive.

Bachelors and widowers, over age 25, were taxed 1 shilling a year.

Due to the high mortality, late marriages, early death, the average maximum length of marriages was 17 to 20 years. A quarter of marriages were second marriages.

A divorce could cost you more than 20 pounds sterling.

London shopkeepers earned about 45 pounds sterling (roughly $72.00) a year and a housemaid 5 pounds sterling (roughly $8.00) a year.

This is one of the History Tidbits I sent in to Southern Magic's newsletter a few years ago. Thought I would share.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thankful Friday

I'm thankful this Friday that our "snowstorm" wasn't nothing like they were predicting. It snowed again today, but by noon, even with freezing weather, it was gone. I guess it blew away. LOL!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Day Of Ice and Snow

LOL! It snowed for most of the day today, but if you were to look around before it got dark, you would wonder if you had imagined it. That's the South for ya. It was to be in the teens tonight and may still get there. At the present time, it is only 32 degrees F. Oh, well, thankfully I work for a company who worries about their employees. They let us go home early to be on the safe side. See, in the South we don't have the type of equipment needed to clear roads. Unless you count two men in the back of a truck sprinkling sand onto the road. LOL! Just kidding...about the sprinkling. They actually shovel it. LOL! If I can find pictures I'll post them here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Got The Time?

I love it when I hear someone say they don't have time to read. And especially when the woman doesn't have children or none at home. I can't help but wonder what she really does every night. One lady said she cooked and cleaned when she got home from her job. Hmmm. I do too. I do housework too. I do a little each evening so I won't have as much to do on the weekend. Even so, each evening it takes me one to two hours tops to cook and clean. Hmmm. What does she do the rest of the evening? Does she deep clean? Like clean out her cabinets? Scrub or paint the walls? Every night? She owns a clothes washing machine like me. So she doesn't have to haul water and scrub them by hand. Hmmm.

Sorry. I just wonder what people do that takes so much time each night. I have a feeling it's a lot of messing around. What we in the South call pittling. (Not sure if that's spelled correctly. It's kind of like puttering around.)

Anyway, I always say, "Everyone can make time to read if it's important to them."

Reading is very important to me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Coincidence? I Think Not

My birthday and my two daughters' are on completely different days, months of the year and, of course, different years, but we all celebrate on the same day of the week. Only leap year fouls it up. So we're all celebrating birthdays on Fridays this year!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Change

Hey, I just found out today Alicia Condon is now with Kensington. She'd been an editorial director with Dorchester up to the end of 2009. It appears she took the late-great Kate Duffy's spot. That's a good choice. She's a sweet lady.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Good Day

After freaking everyone out yesterday with my strange post, today I'm glad to report of not remembering any of my dreams from last night. I know I dream every night but thankfully I forget most of them.

Today, both of my daughters came home and we celebrated the youngest's birthday. Her birthday was actually January 1. No. She wasn't the first baby born that year as she came in this world at 2:24 pm. My oldest who was born August 6 at 1:12 am. Funny how the youngest was born double the time as the eldest, isn't it?

Anyway, we reminded her of how when she was small we would tell her all the fireworks the night before her birthday were for her. LOL! She told me once she was rather disappointed to find out they weren't. We also use to sing her Happy Birthday in the same tune and words of the beginning of We Wish You A Merry Christmas. It would go something like...

We wish you a happy birthday,
We wish you a happy birthday,
We wish you a happy birthday
and a happy new year!

I thought it fit perfectly. LOL! Love my girls.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Strange Dreams

Last night (or early this morning), I had several strange dreams. One I hope to forget and will never repeat ever. Yuck. YUCK.

Others I've forgotten though I know there were more. I do know they were all different in their own way. But the other strange one I remember was...well...odd. I never experienced anything like this. Let me first say when I had this dream, I was aware it was one. Probably part of why I didn't freak out about it.

I dreamed I got out of bed and stood in front of a full length mirror. Looking in the mirror, instead of seeing me, I saw a man about five foot nine, nice physique, thick wavy hair, thick mustache wearing a sleeveless grayish-green tee shirt and light blue boxers. I don't normally dream in color and didn't then. It was like I knew what color I wore without really noticing them. When we think of ourselves, we rarely think of what our clothes look like. It took me a few seconds to realize the reflection was of me as a man.

Once I realized that, the man's eyes widen in the mirror. At that point my thought was "Cool! I can really get into a man's head and use it in my writing." See. I knew I was dreaming and fullly prepared to use the experience. I remember thinking, "So this is what a guy feels like." Kind of strong and sure of himself.

Well, the next thing I did only shows how my mind works and how daring I can be...some may even say crazy, but I believe nothing ventured, nothing gained. Plus I DO WRITE HOT ROMANCE.

Yeah. You got it. I reach down between my legs and grabbed a handful of what was there. Hey! At least I didn't jerk down my boxers. My thought then was, "I can't believe I'm doing this." And quickly followed by "Wow! It feels good." LOL! Yeah, it gets worse but don't worry, only in thought and not deed.

At that point, I had an overwhelming need to find something to "get inside of." It made me feel like if I didn't take care of that need, I would burst. LOL! The next thought was "I don't like women." I knew it was my thought and not the man's. And then I was kind of pushed out of his body. Like he didn't want me there. Obviously he liked women and since I don't (not like that in particular), he didn't want my next thought. LOL! No. Not exactly what you're thinking but there's no need for me to go further. I just think it was the strangest dream I've ever had in my life.

I do have to say, I think I can write from a man's point of view so much better after the small experience. LOL! I can't stop laughing about it. Thus, all of the LOLs. I do laugh a lot when I'm embarrassed or scared (like on a rollercoaster). And this is so much the former. I mainly wrote this because it was such a different experience for me and wonder if anyone else had a dream like this. I bet they have but still...so strange.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thankful Friday

I'm thankful to have a new year to improve myself, my writing and make new friends.