Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Writing

How much did you actually write this past week between shopping and family time?

Me? I managed to squeeze in a one lousy chapter...not that the chapter was lousy. :-) As a matter of fact, my father, who is my first round editor, didn't even make any changes to the chapter so it couldn't have been terrible. (Right, Dad??)

I also managed to write a brief article on hooks; what they are and how to write one.

So I did get some writing done but if I'm going to meet my first New Year's resolution of completing my current WIP by February then I better get a move on.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Year's Resolution and Writing

With the New Year just around the corner, I think it is time to start think about a New Year's Resolution related to writing.

Last year, I had written down (yes, you must write your resolution down) that I wanted to get published. Wow! I did!

I also listed that I wanted to finish my second book. Whew! Did that with one month to spare. Bonus! I actually had it accepted to be published.

Plus, let's not forget that my one and only poem was published. That never even entered my mind when I wrote up my 2008 resolutions.

In 2009 readers will be looking for 2 books by me. It Happens In Threes and Killer Bunny Hill

Now for my writer's New Year's Resolution for 2009. You'll notice I am sharing this with all of you so my feet get held to the fire.

1. Finish my current WIP by February for submission. (And of course, hopefully published.)
2. Finish the teen novel I started. (No date on this one...just do it.)
3. Get one of my articles related to writing published in a magazine by September.
4. Get a DRAFT of a new novel to the end, but not necessarily polished by December.

Whew! That's a lot to accomplish but between you and me, if I want it bad enough I will get it.

Share some of your New Year's Resolution related to writing here. Remember to write the list down and if possible give everything dates, even if just the month as this will give you added incentive to do it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Next article idea?

I need a break from my current WIP and want to write an article.

Does anyone have any suggestions on articles related to writing? Anything you're frustrated with and need help on?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Desperate Salem, New Hampshire Residents Get Creative

This is what I wrote yesterday to make myself feel better about the lack of power!!

Desperate Salem Residents Add a Little Humor to Their Plea for Power

After five days without electricity, one of Santa's little helpers gets creative. One resident who lives down West Duston Road in Salem, NH decided to take the initiative and leave a note for National Grid and ask for electrical poles.

How was the note delivered?

With Christmas-colored spray paints and two pieces of plywood tied to a street sign, one West Duston resident wrote a note.

"National Grid, we need poles ? Forgotten :-( ."

In the holiday spirit, the note also contained an artistic rendition of a holiday wreath.

Did this letter to National Grid help?

Uncertain that the creative communication did the trick, the many phone calls from the residents of West Duston, or time and patience, but as of Tuesday, National Grid was finally present and working to address the issue.

Even though the residents do not have power yet, the desperate, displaced, and stinky residents want to thank the unnamed author of the note and National Grid for paying attention.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ice Storm and Writing

Good morning everyone!

So I have been without power due to an ice storm for 5 days now. The only reason I can even write this blog is because I am sitting in Panera where several other people are trying to get a break from the bleak cold and darkness of our powerless homes. Yesterday I had to throw all food out of my refrigerator and freezer before the smell killed me. Ugh!

Beyond the obvious, this storm and the after effects has put a hurting on my creativity. Even though I have lots of time, I don't have any desire to write due to the simple fact that all I want is my power back and the situation is all encompassing.

And since I tend to write better with my computer this has been an even bigger challenge when you have no power and the battery life on a computer is minimal. Not to mention that without power there is also no internet access...ergo Panera.

The worst part of all this is the rudeness of the poer folks when you call to ask if they have a clue when my street will be set. The kicker came for me the other day when I saw that all streets around me had power including the dang amusement park next door (that's not even open for business) and my lonely street is just waiting.

Last night someone even painted a sign and set it on the very well lit street corner that asked, "National Grid, did you forget about us?" That sign actually lifted my spirits because I was glad to see I was not the only one upset by their lack of response. :-)

Anyway, my third novel was on quite a roll but now I'm trying just to hit 50000 words by end of year instead of completing the novel. Oh, and impossible to research when you have no internet access.

I'll try to write again soon and hopefully with good news of power having been restored.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wahoo! Good News for Book 2

Ha ha!! I am doing the happy dance. Know why? Come on, guess.

Nope, too late – I’ll tell you. Cuz my editor just signed Killer Bunny Hill.

February Speaker Ideas

In February I'll be giving a talk on some subject for the NHRWA monthly meeting. Let me know if anyone has some suggestions on a topic that should be discussed.

I'm already considering passive voice or maybe planning your next story idea, or maybe even some basics on how to use Microsoft Word.

Is there anything else people would like to hear about? Feel free to send me suggestions!

And again, if you've never attended a NHRWA meeting, check it out

Articles - Passive Voice

One person from my writer's group suggested a couple of writing articles for my next effort. Thanks, Jennifer!

Last week before I took the 5 hour drive to NJ, I did manage to get an article written on Passive Voice. I'll post that soon on my website. This may be an option for me when I do my speaker bit in February for the NHRWA.

If you've never been to a NHRWA meeting you should check it out.

Anyway, one thing you should know about passive voice that I found very interesting is that it is the number 1 thing new fiction writer's do wrong. Can you believe that?

But you know why? Because passive voice is how we speak.

There's some trivia for you.

Writing and Family Visits

Sorry for taking so long to write. Last week had to drive to NJ to visit some family. And of course that means that writing is next to an impossibility and getting on the web is a real treat.

What do you do when you take a vacation or visit with family? How do you keep up with your writing schedule??

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New Website is up!!

Wahoo! My new, suspenseful website is live!!

Check it out at

Let me know what you think.

Thank you, Jeannie for being such a great designer. Now we're on to the book trailer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Magazine/Newsletter Article

I want to write another magazine article on writing but haven't come up with any great topics so I'm opening this up for discussion.

What would you want to read about in regards to writing?

It could be something you struggle with as a writer, or maybe something that drives you crazy as a reader, or the topic could be something you can't find any information on.

I'm open to suggestions and I'll do the research. Let me know. Thanks!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy THanksgiving!

Quick tip for Thanksgiving. . .Do all your writing before you eat the turkey.

Otherwise, you'll be dozing while you write or writing something that will make absolutely no sense.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On my publisher's site

My publisher, L& L Dreamspell is updating their website and I'm now listed. Sorta. No book cover art yet. . .but there is a placeholder. Check it out!

Last days of NaNoWriMo

Okay, so I haven't been the best at paying attention to NaNoWriMo. Shame on Me. My friend Nora is cruising though and her story is excellent.

Me, because I focused on finishing my WIP I didn't get too much done. BUT after I came up with my next story idea and in between research (a lot of research), I did manage to write 8300 words on my new novel. And I still have 4 more days to go. Not that I will have the novel done in 4 days, but I will be into a very good start. So far I'm averaging about 2000 words (give or take) a day or 2 chapters a day. That's not bad considering the research I've had to do on human intelligence gathering and the reading of body language.

My next blog I'll post some of the body language traits I've learned. Maybe you can use them in your next book. . .or in your interactions with people. Very interesting stuff.

Okay, off to write.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Next Story Idea

After two days of frustration I finally figured out, at least at a high level, my next story. Sometimes it's best to just step away from the computer and everything else and go with old-fashioned paper and pen. I found a quiet place to sit and just let thoughts, questions, and ideas drift around in my head, writing all of them down as I went.

As I did this the story started to unfold. Not in any detail, but enough to keep me motivated on this next story and actually do some research into it. The sad part is, that there isn't much readily available on HUMINT (human intelligence) or the Intelligence Community as a whole. And, oh my gosh, if you read some of the information that is listed on sites it is so convoluted and indirect you can't even figure out what they are actually saying.

No fear. This morning I woke up and had the storyline more clearly outlined in my head. So today my job will be do try and write a rough outline and more than likely write chapter 2. I'm one of those writers who really can't outline more than a couple of steps ahead. Believe me, I've tried.

I think someone should come up with a good outline template for a romantic-suspense novel. Not just the Beginning, Middle, and End stuff you see all over the place.

Anyway, I'm to plan, outline, write, and do more research. If anyone has suggestions on good sites on HUMINT collection, feel free to post a comment here.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I'm working on the content for my website, so the other day I contacted my editor and asked if she had received any reviews back yet. What Lisa sent me was the review that will be on the book cover. See below:

Denise Robbins' delicious debut novel, It Happens in Threes, begins with a bang and doesn't let up. Fueled by a heady mix of action, suspense, humor, and romance--and a couple of thoroughly engaging protagonists--the book kept me turning pages (and hoping that the wild, sexy ride wouldn't end!). IHT marks the launch of a career to watch.

--David Daniel, author of Reunion and The Marble Kite

Thank you David!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Story Idea

Hello everyone!

As you know, as of yesterday I finished my second manuscript. Yippee for me, right?

Yes, well, now I need to write the next story. And when I say need, I mean "lookout honey, where's the chocolate before I shoot you" kind of need. It's an addiction!

That doesn't mean I didn't get up this morning and write. As a matter of fact, I wrote 1200 words this morning, the start to my new manuscript. The problem is, I don't have a clue where I want to go with this story.

I have 2 great characters and they just met, but what is going to happen? Here's the other thing, I write romantic-suspense. I really like to read and write romantic-suspense so it needs to be one of those kind of ideas. Plus, my hero has already been seen in my two previous books and he works for a secret government agency.

Now, I did just skim through a bunch of gosh-darn (midwest accent showing through) articles on the net about how to sit down and come up with several ideas. HA! Are they kidding or what? I can't force an idea. Kinda isn't the definition of "idea" if I can PLAN it. Sheesh!

So what I need is inspiration and brainstorming. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Manuscript is complete!

Yeehaw! Yes, this is me doing the happy dance!! I officially finished my second manuscript this morning and it feels EXCELLENT! Okay, it felt so good I actually teared up because I DID IT!

Now, I'm waiting hear back from my critique friends as to what they think and then send to my editor. YES! Throw my hand in the air in a sign of triumph.

What do you do after you complete a manuscript?? Go to Disney World?! NOT!
You edit. Yes, you've been doing that all along, but now you do the nasty search for those passive voice sentences, and as my father like to point out (too many contractions).

And yup, already did that today. Let me tell you, 318 pages takes a long time to go through to make certain you caught all the bad stuff. Hours and hours. And even after I went through once, I had MSFT Word do the grammar check on it and of course it still found some leftovers.

Anyway, big sigh. I feel good, no great, no flippin' fantastic! I did it, I did it!! Be jealous.
Now I gotta come up with the next in the series. :-) My hero Jake is going to take center stage. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What do writer's drink?

I'm sitting at Panera waiting for Nora so we can critique our work and hopefully brainstorm me through the ending of my WIP. As I sit here drinking my Mountain Dew, I started to wonder what do other writers drink when they're in the creative spirit. For me, there are only two things that boost me along. Mountain Dew during the day or a lesser caffeine soda if MD is not available, and a Corona Light when I'm writing at night.

Occasionally I'll drink a Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks when I can get it, but that's not as often.

What do the rest of you drink when you lock yourself away to write?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Home Stretch

Had an amazing day of writing yesterday. Wrote several chapters and in the last one kind of peterd out so this morning I had to revise it. I do believe it is much better.

But now, I'm literally on the last or second to last chapter and I haven't a clue of how it should go. Every time I start an idea I end up not liking it. I think I've started this chapter at least 3 times.

I even tried going for a drive, thinking that would clear my mind enough to get past my writer's block and get it done.

Is this happening because the end is near, I'm in the home stretch, or because I should have planned this?

With my last book I didn't have this big of a problem, although I did write it twice. I had an original idea but during the actual writing of it, the chapter took on a life of its own. The girls in my writers group straightened me out on that one so of course I fixed it.

But this one is killing me. I need the hero and heroine to catch the bad guy and the heroine to tell the bad guy she loves him. I mean come on! How hard can it be?

OK - enough ranting. Any suggestions on how to get past this would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


How do you manage your revisions? You know, like you write a chapter then realize it pretty much stinks so you edit, tweak, or completely rewrite the thing.

For me, it depends. It depends on if it's just tweaks. If it is then I'll make the changes and save it as the same file.

If I am doing some cutting (like big chunks/paragraphs) then I have a separate file for my WIP cuts. That gives me a nice file to go grab stuff that I may have written but ended up not using for one reason or another.

If it's a complete re-write I generally save an old version of the manuscript and then use the new version from that point forward so I can refer to the old in case I wanted something. Plus it gives me a copy of my work at least to a certain point in time so if other backup methods fail I will at least have something.

So why am I mentioning this topic? To re-inforce the fact that you should never delete or throw away anything you write. You never know when it could be of use. How would I know this?

Besides listening to many other writers, I have just learned this lesson the hard way. I wrote a chapter then decided I hated it so I pretty much rewrote the entire chapter. But do you think I can find it so I can borrow pieces of it for a chapter that I am now working on?. . .NO.

And now here I am, having to re-create some of the work I had previously done. Learn from my mistakes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pets and story ideas

I know - great title for a blog, right?

I have these two cats (pictures are on the left) and they just love to play. This morning when I was making the bed, one of them decided to attack me toes from underneath the bed skirt. Talk about a heart attack!

Of course, after the initial shock, I teased the little guy until he got tired. :-)

Then I started thinking, as I often do. Wouldn't someone (not a cat) under the bed waiting to do evil be a great part of a story? But then I thought, yes, a cat would be cool because you could use that as the prelude to a person being under the bed.

First event a woman comes home at the end of a day, exhausted, she kicks her shoes off, and gets undressed standing next to the bed and the cat attacks her foot. Yes, the woman jumps, but then laughs, and plays with the cat.

The next time though, she thinks it's the Fluffy the cat and thinks it's funny until the person under the bed grabs her ankle and pulls. . . Where it goes from there is up to you. Have fun!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Have you ever noticed...?

Have you ever noticed that the busier you are the more creative you are?

On Sunday when I planned to sit with the football games on television and do nothing but write and eat homemade soup I couldn't write more than two sentences.

Yesterday, in between phone interviews, making homemade soups, and getting ready for my Saturday Holiday Open House (kicking off the shopping season with chocolate and friends), I managed to write over 2000 words (not a lot, but decent). Plus, I revised the last chapter I had written and even if I do say so myself, it is way better. Much more tension andit jumps off the page.

SO why did this happen? I have no clue, do you?

Anyway, it's after 5:30 AM my time and I have to get up and get ready for what I hope will be another productive day of writing and other. Gotta see if I can get my hero's chapter to jump off the page. Wish me luck.

Found my blog

For those of you who found my blog, I apologize for the move. In honor of my new website getting ready to come on board I'm moving everything to my name (Denise Robbins), in case you didn't know where you were. :-)

That way everything should be in place when the site is ready.

I apologize in advance but please visit my site at and you will be re-directed until all the new stuff is live...hopefully soon!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Couldn't Sleep - More Marketing

Last night while my body wanted to sleep the sleep of the dead, my mind decided to take a detour to the amusment park.

Sound silly? Maybe it's a funny description but it really does explain what happened. So what did I do to curb the spinning of my mind?

I came up with and emailed an idea for a magazine article to Susan Caldwell, Publisher/Founder of magazine. It's a magazine all about NH and MA women. I met Susan several years ago when we both were starting our businesses, hers the magazine, and me

Anyway, I decided to reach out to her and propose doing an article on NH Romance Writers. I believe in our group and what we do and would really like to see others become aware of what we do and who we are. I want to spread the word.

If you have a local magazine or newspaper in your area, propose an article/idea. Start telling people about you, your writing, and the other writers who support you. What's the worst that could happen? They turn you down, okay, go to the next one.

Ha! It's kind of like trying to get published!!

When the end is near

Have you ever gotten close to the end of a WIP and just wanted it over? Or you're so close, but you get writer's block? Or, my favorite, when a character from your next story creeps into your current WIP?

Yup! That's where I'm at now. I had a self-imposed goal of finishing my current WIP by December so it was completed and out the door to an editor before the first one is released in January. I am soo close, I can see the end, and I want to reach the finish line.

I had writer's block on Sunday, but today, thanks to my critique and brainstorming session with Nora I managed to write about 1500 words and get the latest chapter finished in my WIP and the start of the next. Hopefully I'll get the next chapter completed tomorrow morning. Keep fingers crossed.

And yes, I have this one character that I just adore. He's so cool and got this sexy southern drawl, and whenever he makes his way into my stories he manages to take over. Well, Jake has done that a couple of times while I've been trying to wrap up this story. He's become a PITA! :-)

The problem is, Jake wants his own book. Now I'm feeling the pressure to really finish this book so I can write his story. The funny thing is, I started another story with him in it for NaNoWriMo, only its not a romantic-suspense, it's a kid's mystery. I came up with the idea when I took a children's writing course over the summer and it's kind of stuck in my head.

Well, if I actually succeed in finishing my WIP soon (like maybe this week) then maybe Jake will have two stories, the kid's mystery and a romantic-suspense. Greedy guy!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Soo Close

I am so close to finishing my current WIP. So close that I have brain freeze. I had all day yesterday to write, was looking forward to it, and the only thing that came out was 2 sentences. UGH! Talk about frustrated.

Today I'm meeting Nora LeDuc to critique our work and get some brainstorming done.

Wish me luck!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

More marketing

David Daniel, fiction author, and English teacher, forwarded me an email today with information about an Open Mic night at UMASS Lowell. The university did this last year which is what inspired me to write my first poem and then submit it and it was published...(see previous post).

Anyway, you don't have to read a poem. You can read an excerpt from a work-in-progress. What an excellent idea! Here's a perfect opportunity to check and see if your hook works.
Again, look at how many people will hear/read something you've written and now know your name.

Hopefully, if you do something like this you remember to take your business cards which will not only include your name, book name, but your website URL and the ISBN number for your book.

Remember, no one can or will promote you as well as you promote yourself. TELL EVERYONE!

How else to get your name known as an author

I was just sitting here trying to plot through my current WIP (obviously it's not going too well, otherwise I'd be writing there and not on my blog). :-)

As I was sitting here trying to write, I received an email from Tammy, the editor of the NHRWA newsletter. She dropped me a quick line to let me know that other chapters have used an article I wrote for last month's newsletter. First, that was great that Tammy kept me updated. Second, that's so cool!

Now I'm sitting here realizing what a wonderful way to get your name out there and to get more visitors to your website and ultimately to your books.

For those of you who are part of a writing group, I recommend you write a short article on a writing subject that interests you. Remember, if you're interested in it, someone else is too. Besides, think of the marketing benefits.

As a matter of fact, another author several months ago suggested to time getting a magazine article or two published with the release of your book. Hm...makes sense.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Book in a month update

Well, yesterday was not the greatest writing day. I only wrote about 300 words.

Today, I had very good intentions to do my usual of going to Panera to write. Instead, I prepped for an interview and talked with a friend on the phone. By the time I actually wrote anything I was sitting in the lobby of the company where I had the interview. And of course, I only had my current WIP printed out and with me and not the last part of my NaNoWriMo novel, so I worked on that.

And now what's my excuse? I'm in the zone of writing for my WIP and hate to break it for more than sending a quick "hello" to you all.

Hope you're doing better than I am. But at least I'm writing something.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update

Day 2 - I wrote 1591 words, Day 3 - 1044.

How's it going for everyone else?

I'm getting ready to meet a writer friend this morning who is also participating in NaNoWriMo. We're getting together to critique what we've written so far that way we can either tweak what we've written and thereby add more words :-) or help with tweaking the plot to move forward (always my issue). Of course Nora LeDuc, my author friend can write way more words than me in one sitting. Ugh!!

Check out her site and books at

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quick Quip

Last night I went out with a friend of mine for dinner and afterwards she asked me to stop by the post office so she could drop a couple of letters in the mailbox. The mailboxes were the big metal ones that sit at a curb and you can pull up in front of them, slip the envelopes in, then drive away.

Of course it's not that easy. :-)

We pulled up right behind a car and waited for him to slide his mail in. And waited. And waited. His hands would go sneak out the window and then back in again. Not once did I see any paper.

Finally, I turned to my friend and asked her, "Do you think he's having trouble ordering his Venti Caramel Apple Spice?"

Seriously, I thought the guy was trying to order food or something. No, I did not honk. We were having too much fun laughing at the fact that it took forever. Plus, he finally did figure out how to put the mail in the mailbox. Of course when it was our turn we knew what we wanted so our order didn't take nearly as long. LOL!

Now, how could you use that little event in a book? I can think of a couple of ways.

Your hero or heroine could be in a hurry but just have to do this one little errand. That could lead to all kinds of scenarios. . .they're late for whatever they were in a hurry for, like getting to a stakeout, or a meeting with a bad guy. Or maybe that little detour and lengthy wait in line gave the bad guy an opportunity to ambush them. Any ideas spring to your mind?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Official start of NaNoWriMo

Good evening everyone! Today is the first official day of nanowrimo. How many words have you written??

So far today, 1093 words for me. Not the greatest, but definitely not bad since I am still working on my current WIP as well.

I've been trying to get into the site and update my word count but I have a feeling the site is very busy with all the other writers. That's a good thing!!

Let me know how you're doing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


5 more days. Don't forget that National Novel Writing Month starts November 1. Some kickoff events start the end of this week. Sign up soon!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cool news!

Last week, on my way to meet my critique group, I stopped by the University of Massachusetts - Lowell to pick up their book, "The Offering". It's a book of poems they publish every year. Last year, thanks to David Daniel, fiction author and English teacher, I decided to submit a poem I wrote in his class. The editors accepted it and it was published in this year's "The Offering". It was just released 2 weeks ago and if you haven't picked up a copy you should.

So after I picked up my copy, okay several copies. I mean I have to give one to mom and dad. :-)
After I picked up those books I went to meet with a couple of writers. We went to one of the local Irish Pubs, Old Court. Food is terrific and music is Irish as well as some of the fare.

Anyway, it was a great evening! First, it was excellent for me because I had just worked on those chapters several days before and it gave me an opportunity to see if I was on the right track, and if not to fix it before I blew through even more writing. Plus, I got some plotting help. Sometimes having guys to critique with is so interesting. David and Steve both came up with the next event in my book. I couldn't believe what they came up with. It never even dawned on me but what an event and surprise!

HA! Got your interest, huh? Well, you'll just have to wait for Killer Bunny Hill to be published. :-)

Okay, so besides that plot adjustment, I also had something even more exciting happen. David Daniel ( - go check out his site and his books, offered to read my ARC (remember that stands for Advanced Reading Copy) of my first book IT HAPPENS IN THREES and provide a blurb for the book. Now how can a girl get any happier? Hm...hopefully he likes it.

If David reads this. . .thanks very much! And thank you and Steve for the terrific plot idea.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

November is National Novel Writing Month

If you didn't know November is National Novel Writing Month. . .now you do.

What exactly does that mean?

Every year thousands of writers sign-up to write as many words (50K) as possible in a month, ergo a novel in a month.

If you haven't done so, do it now. What have you got to lose? If nothing else you'll get some words written and hopefully a start to a new book. Go for it!

4 walls caving in

Ever go through those days when you feel like you've been cooped up and the walls are caving in, but you've got to do some writing? Or have those days when the family, friends, or pets just won't let you do any writing? Maybe you can't turn off your brain from thinking about the job, the house work, etc.

What do you do?

For me it depends on the time of day. Some mornings I get up and drive to a relatively close Panera. They open at like 6:30 AM and they have free WiFi so if I need/want internet access it's available. I get there, grab a Mountain Dew (not a huge coffee drinker unless it's a flavored cappuccino) and half a bagel or pecan twist, then find a booth, boot up the laptop and go to town.

If it's at the end of the day and I need to unwind in order to write I tend to go to a local restaurant like Margarita's or Billy's Bar & Grill. Neither of these places have WiFi, but they have the requisite booth, great wait staff, and an environment that gives you the ability to forget everything else, relax, and write like a crazy woman.

I went to both places yesterday and it was fantastic! I revised one chapter and it's much better (even if I do say so myself). Then last night I managed to write another chapter. And as soon as I quit chatting on my blog I'm about ready to attack the next chapter before I meet my class tonight.

What do you do when you need time and place to do some good writing?

OH! One added benefit to going to some local places is that people get to know you and when they find out you're writing a book they're very supportive and excited for you. Try it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


How important is a good website?

The answer is always mixed. Some people firmly believe in the value of a website while others could care less.

Now I'm a computer person by day so for me a website is very important. Anytime I want to get information I search the internet. If I want to find out all the books a particular author has written I go to the web and check for their site and then others.

The website I have now is based on the title of my first book coming out. Well, I've recently been working with a woman (Jeannie Ruesch) on re-doing the site and her opinion is that my website should be under my name. After speaking with her on this I did the research and she was right. Most authors have their website under their name, not their book title.

People are going search for my books based on my name, not my book title.

Anyway, back to the original question. How important is a website?

Look at it this way, it's a relatively cheap way to advertise/market yourself and your work. Plus, it will be seen by way more people on an average daily basis than a flyer on someone's car, or an ad in a local paper, or even in the yellow pages. A website is international.

From my perspective a website is a HUGE marketing tool. Use it. Take advantage of it. But, do it right.

This is where Jeannie comes in. She's helping me make the site right. Stay tuned for the unveiling soon. In the meantime, check out Jeannie's site at

Monday, October 20, 2008

Writing Critiques

Good Morning!
As I sit here getting ready to go on a job interview I thought I'd write a quick note.

This past weekend I met with some other writers to discuss our current Works-In-Progress. I tell you they are the best. When I'm stuck they criticize and brainstorm and then you walk away energized to write.

Wednesday I'm meeting some other writers to do the same thing. This group is a unique mix of men and women (my other group is all women). I like this because you get that "other" perspective, which is especially helpful for me when my current WIP is more of an action-adventure/romantic suspense. I love it when the guys say, "whoa. no guy would talk like that." hehe! :-)

Plus, there's usually someone who has knowledge on a particular topic you may need that can pony up some details. Way better to get firsthand information than reading it out of a book or off the internet.

My goal for this week is to come up with an outline to finish the last of my WIP. Keep your fingers crossed.

If you haven't taken the time to join a writing group you really should try one.

OH! and remind me to tell you about my trip to Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Writer's Group Meetings - What do we talk about??

This past weekend the New Hampshire Romance Writer's Group met for their monthly meeting. If you've never attended a meeting it is truly worth it.


Because it can be a hoot. We always talk about the "business" side of the group and upcoming events which are listed on their website at, but more importantly we talk about things that we're struggling with.

For example:

The PITCH - the infamous 5 to 8 minutes you get with an editor or agent. How the idea of that meeting makes your palms sweat and you want to wet yourself due to nerves. This past Saturday we went around and helped each other get that 1 to 3 sentence description of what you want to say to the editor or agent so they ask for more. That would be kinda like a hook!!

One of the members spoke up when people were talking about how nervous they were. She said the editor pitch is kinda like sex. "Even if it isn't great, you still had sex." Funny thing, she's right. Look at the pitch as an opportunity and if you never take it you won't get any further. Even if you blow it (which kinda isn't possible because you're selling yourself and your writing - what's not to love), but let's say the agent/editor doesn't ask for any more, you still took the step, learned from it, and now you move on to the next one and you won't be so nervous.

BTW - I highly recommend any of those workshops on "how to write a pitch". They're usua;;y very good at narrowing down your long-winded spiel, or beefing up your hook.

I say go for it!! And good luck!

Monday, September 29, 2008

ARC and Reviewers

Last week my editor informed me that the ARC (advanced reading copy) of my book, IT HAPPENS IN THREES, is just about ready to go to reviewers.

Being new to this industry, I asked, "What does that mean?"

Reviewers are (for the most part) influential readers that will post a review of your book on the internet and/or newspapers and other print media.

Authors many times make a personal contact with a reviewer that they like so that reviewer will agree to read their book. This often works better than just sending out review copies cold.

There are also many online reviewers that will accept an electronic version of the book. You can get great blurbs and endorsements from reviewers that will help in promotion of the book. Many authors love to get blurbs, but it is not mandatory.

Final copies can also be sent to reviewers after the publication date. There are some big name reviewers that will ONLY look at an ARC.

This is all good information!!

Writing Prompt Response

Sorry it took so long. Sometimes life just bites, and recently I've been bitten. Unfortunately, it wasn't a love bite. :-)

Not to worry... I'm back on track. Here's my writing prompt response.

She never expected to find. . .

She never expected to find an envelope of diamonds and a 9MM when she pulled up the floor board.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Writing Prompt

Time to put on the creative thinking cap. Here's your latest writing prompt.

She never expected to find. . .

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Writing Groups

What are your thoughts on writing groups/organizations and critique groups?

Personally, I have found most to be very helpful. I joined RWA and NHRWA back in 2003 and from the moment I went to my first meeting I found a great support group. There I was, this wannabe/inspriring writer and there they were, this group of professional, experienced, and new writers all there to help each other out.

What exactly do you get from these groups?

I guess that depends on what you want. My NHRWA group has a monthly meeting where they share the latest information from RWA, talk about/create special events that help us all move forward in our goals, and have a speaker who discusses a topic to help with your writing craft or getting published.

In addition to that, NHRWA has a writing critique session at the end of the meeting so anyone who has a chapter they want to read and share to get feedback/input can do so. The best part of that is if you've actually read something you're inspired to leave there and go write more. Heck, even if you didn't bring anything you'll probably be inspired to go home and write.

I also have a group of people I met in one of my college courses, including the teacher, who we now get together to share our work, critique each other, and brainstorm. Sometimes you just stall, but when you get together with these folks they're there to help.

Most of all, I believe these groups give you encouragement. There could be 5 or more people at a critique session all writing different story ideas, but everyone participates and gives feedback. It's even interesting to see 5 people all writing that same kind of story (mystery for example) but their voices and their styles are completely different.

Let me end this cheering for these groups by saying that I value these people and their opinions, but more than anything I cherish their support and friendship.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Last Week's Writing Prompt Response

Sorry for the delay in sending an idea. Hopefully you all came up with something exciting. Here's my off the cuff shot.


When she entered the motel room...

My sentence:

When she entered the motel room, Angel stopped short, covered her mouth and nose with her free hand and attempted to keep the contents of her stomach down as the stench that washed out of the room assailed her.

One of those weeks AND good news

Sorry for neglecting my blog. Sheesh! It's been one of those weeks. Work has been wicked busy. The psychology class I signed up for turned out to be a dud so I dropped it. Hate that!

But the good news is that my publisher just sent me the pre-proof for my book!!! Yippee!

Now I get to see what they've done for edits and make my own. I love this process!

I'll send out my reply to last week's writing prompt shortly.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Writing Prompt

Time for another boost of creativity. Here's this week's writing prompt.

When she entered the motel room. . .

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Show vs.Tell

I'm sure some of you writers attend writing critique groups, or maybe you belong to an online critique group, perhaps some of you have sent work to an editor. At some point on your path to becoming a published author you've probably had someone use the phrase "show, don't tell".

Do you really know what that means?

The best way to explain this is to show you. :-)

Carol was walking on the beach near the ocean.

Sandals hooked to a finger, Carol inhaled the salty air. She strolled, the warm crystalline sand sinking beneath her feet, and scrunching between her toes. When she turned in the direction of a seagull's squawk, water-laden air wafted against her face, and lifted her hair from the back of her neck.

See the difference? The "telling" was flat without emotion. In the showing I never told you Carol was walking on the beach, but instead I drew you a picture with the words and from them you could gather she walked on the beach near the ocean.

Showing pulls your reader into the story, let's them see, feel, experience what your characters are going through.

Why don't you try this? Use the same example or show me. . .Cold, Anger, Scared

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Discussion Topics

As you can see I've been doing most the talking on this blog. But, hey, I can talk with myself anytime. :-)

I wanna hear about some writing topics that are of interest to you. Let me know and we'll start a blog conversation.

In the meantime, I'll keep posting whatever pops into my head.

Response to weekend writing prompt

The prompt was:

Believing his sincerity. . .

What did you come up with? Or were you too busy enjoying the long holiday weekend to think about writing? Okay, not that I blame you. I just came up with this a minute ago.

Believing his sincerity when he’d said he loved her had been Jane’s biggest mistake. It had almost cost her life.

Let's see what you did.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This Week's Writing Prompt

Believing his sincerity. . .

Okay, this one should be easy to grab that reader's attention. Good luck!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekend Writing Prompt Response

You've had the weekend to come up with something. Anything grab your attention? Were you able to hook your reader?

Remember, the prompt was:

As she applied pressure to the brakes. . .

My hook:

As she applied pressure to the brakes, the airplane pulled to the right, and another explosion ripped the air.

Hm. Does it leave you in suspense? Make you ask questions? Make you wanna read more? Who applied brakes? ANOTHER explosion? Did the plane stop? Did it explode into pieces? Did the person applying the brakes survive? Was the person flying the plane the pilot?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hackers and Your Writing

The idea for this blog came from Charlotte Phillips blog

Charlotte recently had an experience with a virus attack. About two weeks ago I went through the same thing.

Luckily, I have everything backed up, but that day+ wasted was pure torture. It got so bad that at one point I couldn't see anything on my screen. I actually contemplated throwing my trusty laptop away and getting a new one. HORROR! - love the little thing. When the red fuzz of anger cleared from my brain, I took a deep breath, and went to task. I defragged, did a chkdsk, and was finally able to see my screen. Then I was able to run an antivirus software...actually several. After all that (hours and hours) I was finally able to use my computer again.

What is with these people? Do they think it's fun and games to destroy people's work?

How do you prevent these things from happening? Do you constantly run an antivirus application? It slows your other applications down (painfully so at times) and that's only part of the issue. Don't forget about spyware. So now you have to run a spyware killer application too? Oh, and if you run on a wireless network...that's another can of worms. You have to make certain it's secure so no one else can use it or get on and see what you're doing. BEEN THERE!

Does anyone have some great suggestions on how to prevent these things from happening? Any great articles or tools to recommend?

For all you writers out there...if we can't beat the hackers and prevent their damage...we can make sure our writing gets saved. I recommend the Microsoft Home Server. It's a small, headless machine that you hook up to your network, then all your computers can use the Home Server to get backed up on a regular basis.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Widgets and Marketing

Thought I'd share with you some recent cool findings. With IT HAPPENS IN THREES being my first book to be published (January 2009), I've been spending a great amount of time researching marketing. Recently I came across "WIDGETS".

So here I am, this computer geek, but a cute one, and I'm doing research on the internet and I just happen to run into these neat things called "WIDGETS". What exactly is a widget?

A widget is a third party tool that takes information you give it (like your blog or RSS feed) and makes it accessible to other places/people by creating this usually customizable look and feel. Then you take this widget and put it on your website or blog or wherever you can. From there anyone who sees it can do the same. It's like social networking with a tool.

Anyone who downloads my BLOG widget can put it on their desktop and see my latest BLOG headings. WAY COOL! In case you haven't noticed them...there are 2 different ones in my BLOGS now. I really like the purple one from Very easy to create and put where I want.

Now, if you're PUBLISHED author try They'll create a widget for your books that will link back to Amazon or B&N which will of course help with your marketing and sales.

Check out widgets! And if you recommend one, let me know.

Weekend Writing Prompt

Take the weekend and play with this prompt. See if you can come up with more than a great starting sentence. Try for a paragraph. Don't worry, I'll do the same.

Here's the prompt:

As she applied pressure to the brakes. . .

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Writing prompt Hook Sentence

So the last prompt was

The maze stopped being fun . . .

I completed the sentence this way.

The maze stopped being fun when Sari turned the corner, her hand sliding against the mirrored wall coming up wet and sticky with blood.

Thoughts? Thought provoking? Make you want to read more?

Share what you came up with.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Next Writing Prompt

Hopefully the last writing prompt got you motivated, jazzed, or at least inspired enough to write one sentence, paragraph, start a new story. Either way, let's keep those creative juices flowing. Here's your next writing prompt.

The maze stopped being fun . . .

Good luck and let me know what you come up with. Remember, hook that reader.

Friday, August 15, 2008

New SpringWidget


Writing Prompt and a Hook

Remember the Writing Prompt I put in the previous blog.

The moment the limousine took off . . .

My take on the writing prompt.

The moment the limousine took off, tires squealing, locks engaging, a dark voice whispered her name, and Charley, heart thumping in her chest, went completely still, willing him to go away, willing this to be a dream. A bad dream.

So I sent this opener to my author friend Nora LeDuc ( for her opinion. Nora thought the sentence met the criteria of a good hook because it introduced forshadowing, danger or action, and asked a question.

What did you come up with? Did you hook the reader in that very first sentence?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Writer's Block - Writing Prompt

It's been suggested that one way of dealing with writer's block is to take a step back from what you're currently working on. Take a step back, but write something that stimulates your creative writing. I've been looking into this and what I've found is something called a "writing prompt".

The idea behind a writing prompt is to be given a small amount of information and you start with that and let your writing take you wherever. One type of writing prompt gives you a character, a setting, and a plot, and the goal is to write a short story or paragraph that uses those. Or sometimes it's just three words, not even complete sentences to base your story on, such as red, wagon, courtyard.

Yet another version to a writing prompt is to start with a "hook" sentence. The key here is that the hook isn't complete. It's your job as the writer to finish it. I like this idea because it gets you thinking of how to writing a sentence that's a hook as well as boosting your writing creativity and sweeping away that nasty writer's block. Think of this as the sentence that will hook your reader, an editor, and the start of your next short story or novel. You want to grab the audience's attention from the very beginning.

In honor of the Hook Writing Prompt, I thought I would post one and see if it helps inspire you. . .or me. I'll give one today and then again next week. Feel free to share whatever you come up with. I'll share mine too.

Here's your Writing Prompt: Good luck!

The moment the limousine took off . . .

Monday, August 11, 2008

Book Signing

Ok, so here I am, months away from having my first book published and I'm contemplating how and where to do a book signing. What I just read suggested to do a "book signing event". What exactly does that mean? Am I supposed to have clowns and balloons? Or maybe stand on my head? (not that I could)

I know the owner of a local breakfast and ice cream shop called Sammy J's. We had a quick chat this morning about the idea of having a signing at her place. What do ya think?

Personally, I love the idea. But how do I make this an event? And of course the real test is how to get people to attend the event and then buy a book.

I need suggestions. Help!

Remember, the title of my new book is IT HAPPENS IN THREES. I'd like to come up with an idea that encompasses the title or events from the book. On a side note, I will probably be giving away chocolate-shaped books. Whew...that's one idea.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How do you write?

In my previous post I mentioned something about being a "seat of the pants" writer. What exactly does that mean? It means I can't outline for the life of me.

With my first book, IT HAPPENS IN THREES, I never even considered outlining the story. It was more of a spewing of thoughts and ideas that came out into a romantic suspense. And when I say, "spew", I mean whatever popped into my head is pretty much what came out on paper.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Most writers would probably agree that writing anything is better than writing nothing. Maybe.

With my second novel, I wrote the first chapter while on a plane flight from New Hampshire to Seattle, Washington. Again, I had nothing written down for the story idea. I simply was inspired and started typing on my little laptop. Seven pages into it I was cracking myself up and the guy sitting next to me thought I was a little whacked. [SHRUG] I probably was. When you're in the zone you can't help yourself. Anyway...

After I started this book I decided to take a stab at writing an outline. And I even saved it on my computer. I outlined about 10 chapters. I thought cool, good for me.

BUT when I got into writing more of the story my characters decided to go their own way so my writing diverged from the original outline.

How do you write? Are there any concepts (like outlines or chapter synopsis) or tools you use to help? Share them with us.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Writer's Block?!

Is there really such a thing as writer's block? Or is it lack of time and dedication to the craft that causes this phenomena?

Most importantly, how do you break it???

My experience has been that sometimes life runs amuck and we have to deal with those things rather than what our hearts passion allows. Other times, maybe it is lack of dedicated time, especially if you write like me, "by the seat of my pants". (Another topic for another day)

So how do I break writer's block?

Hm...various ways. Sometimes it just breaks naturally. Like I said in a previous post, a lot of my story ideas come to me when I'm driving. And that includes ideas on shoving the writer's block aside and moving forward.

Other times I get together with other writers and we brainstorm. This is my preferred method. It's kind of like reading your work aloud. When you verbalize it, you hear things that are good and bad and then you go back and write.

This happened to me this past month. It was torture because I wanted to get my second book "Killer Bunny Hill" moving and haven't been able to figure out how to do it. Thanks to my critique group that I met with yesterday, I was able to figure out the next part of the story, came home and wrote 4 pages. Yeehaw!! Big weight lifted off my shoulders.

What do you suggest?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Research for your book?

You're in the middle of writing a story and you realize your character has to shoot a pistol, but you've never shot one. You don't own a gun.

You have to describe the weapon, the weight and feel of it, the recoil, how to site with it, etc. What do you do? do research. In my case, I didn't just search the internet or look up information at the library/bookstore, I did the hands-on approach. I have a friend that owns several weapons and he showed me them and let me try a few out. We went to his house where he owns 10 acres of land, he set up a paper target, then he told me to pick a gun and try it.

After almost falling on my butt, and he got a good laugh, my friend then showed me all the proper ways to hold a pistol, load it, aim it, and then pull the trigger. Through the course of this "research" I tried various weapons he had at his disposal.

To top off the at home research we went to a gun shop. The owner was very friendly and informative. He was very willing to answer any questions about all the guns in his shop, like what situation would you use one versus another, what do average police shoot, military, etc. He also was helpful in explaining the local gun laws. To my surprise, the gun shop owner offered to let me try a gun. He took me out in the back of the shop, handed me a Walther PPK, and had me aim for his big sand pile. Wow! What a racket. Then, the owner added a silencer to the weapon and I shot it again. Not quite silent, but it wasn't deafening.

I took my research further and went to an actual firing range. A great experience. You walk in and have to show ID, select a weapon (unless you have your own), buy the bullets, and the number of targets you want to shoot at. You take all that and hearing protection into another room where you do the actual target shooting. This would be the firing range. It kinda reminds me of a driving ranges where each person has their own slot of space.

Anyway, I did took the lessons learned from my friend and the gun shop owner and applied them as I shot 50 rounds into several paper targets.

Although the internet makes doing research easy, the best research is going that extra step and checking things out for yourself. And when you write your various scenes, like I did in IT HAPPENS IN THREES, the reader will feel like they're right there because they're experiencing what you did through your words.

What research have you had to do?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What's in a name?

What does a romantic suspense writer name her cats?

Mischief and Mayhem, of course. See photos on the left. :-)

When you name your cats or dog or characters do the names have to fit?

In the case of my characters...I think yes. Look at it this way. When you hear or read the name "Ralph", what do you immediately envision? Me, I envision a Beagle with big floppy ears who just kinda does things at his own pace. Why? Because when I was younger a neighbor had a Beagle named Ralph.

Now, try the name "Jake". What do you envision? I envision a taller than average guy, who likes to be outdoors and work with his hands. Jake describes the kind of guy when he walks down the street us ladies do a double-take.

Would I ever name one of my female characters "Charlotte"? Maybe, if I shortened it to Charley. I like strong female characters, and calling an intelligent, spirited, and independent character Charley comes across in the name.

What about you? What names do you like for a hero, heroine, or villain? Why?

Friday, July 25, 2008

When do you get your story ideas?

I thought this would be a liitle different twist on the question of where do story ideas come from.

Mine usually just pop into my head. IT HAPPENS IN THREES story idea came to me after a long weekend of reading. I was sitting at home in one of my favorite chairs waiting for the phone to ring for a job offer and the plot started to draw itself in my mind. :-)

Most the time my story ideas occur to me when I'm driving. You're mind is totally clear, okay not totally, because that would be scary if I was behind the wheel with an empty mind. Anyway, just the other morning I was driving to breakfast (great little place not far from me), and it hit me.

Luckily, I always carry paper and pen or my laptop with me. That morning I had my laptop so as soon as I sat down, I booted it up and drafted the first page. Now it's put away until I finish my current work-in-progress.

When do your story ideas hit? And do they compel you to write them down right away? Or do you let the plot and characters gel and when you get it all worked out you write?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Do things really happen in threes?

And are they always bad things or can they be good things?

My personal experience is...yes. Just this past weekend the universe was telling me something. I had looked forward to mowing my yard on Saturday. So first thing Saturday I'm outside mowing the back yard, got it done and then the mower died. Couldn't get it to work. Frustrated, I decided to weed whack. I could do that until I got the mower fixed. I was able to weed whack the back yard, and then IT died. Can you believe that?? Then my neighbor got home and let me borrow her mower. Great! Yeah, well, not so much. Did two strips and her mower died. It started again so I did two more and it died permanently.

What exactly was the universe trying to say?? No clue, but after all that, and with the help of my neighbor we got my mower fixed and I was able to finish.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What makes a villain a worthy foe?

Is it the more evil he/she is, the better?
Or perhaps it's the sneaky, underhandedness of a villain?
Maybe, it's the villain who always seems to be one step ahead?

What do you think?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Life imitates art?

"Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life." ~ Oscar Wilde

Do you really think this is true? Or is it the other way around?

How has your life imitated a book you've read?

In IT HAPPENS IN THREES, my soon to be released book (January 2009) the book imitates life. Well, not in the specific events that take place, but in the fact that three unplanned, unexpected, and maybe unwanted events happen before life turns for the better.

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