Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year

The changing of the calendar is a good time to reflect and to project.

REFLECT: What was your most exciting event of 2009?

PROJECT: What are you looking forward to most in 2010?

Most exciting event for me in 2009 was having my first book published. Then the second, and the third. Wow! A banner year for my writing. Not sure I will be able to top this year when it comes to writing.

In 2010, I am looking forward to taking on a new challenge, trying something new, and achieving a dream. *You'll have to wait to see what that dream is.*

Clinking my champagne glass with yours.
Cheers and here's to a wonderful New Year for you and yours!

See you on the other side.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Do you have a place outside your home where you like to write?

Sometimes there is nothing that gets the creative juices flowing like removing yourself from routine.

As you all know, I recently lost my FLASH drive with my current WIP on it. Well, I managed to piece it together most of it thanks to hard copies from critique sessions and writing prompts, but I was still in a mental block.

As I left work last night, I decided that a change of pace was in order. Good food, a little music, and great service was what I required. I could not have been more right.

I stopped at Margaritas Mexican restaurant on the way home. I was even greeted by my favorite waitress, Melissa. We chit-chatted for a few because it had been awhile since I had been there so we had to catch up. I even had to run out to my car in freezing cold and windy air to get a copy of CONNECT THE DOTS for her. *The cool part is that Melissa even knew this story was about Jake without me even telling her.*

One of the nicest things about going to a restaurant where you know the staff is that they know you. Melissa knows that I go there to write so after we chat and she brings me a Corona Light without me asking she leaves me to nibble on some chips and salsa and get into the groove of writing.

Which unbelievably did not take much effort last night. Maybe it was because the story was so fresh in my mind, maybe it was the atmosphere, maybe it was the beer. Whatever it was I was on a roll.

Once I finished the first beer, Melissa dropped off another and asked if she should put in my food order. At first I didn't understand what she had asked because I was so caught up in my writing. Thank goodness! My glazed expression must have given Melissa a clue because she smiled and said she would get me some food.

Now, the good and bad of Margarita's is that they are too efficient. The food comes too fast. This is why I always want one beer before I actually place an order. :-) See, there is reasoning behind my madness.

By the time the food comes I'm so into my writing that it's a tough decision between eating and typing. Somehow I manage to take bites in between sentences but I only ever get halfway thru my beef and cheese burrito. Last night, however, I actually had a third cerveza because I did not want to stop writing and lose the momentum. I am so very grateful that I didn't.

I finished chapter 4, which I had not done in the old version that went missing. And now I am ready to write what I hope is going to be a fun scene and the scene that started this story off so many months ago. This scene is where the nickname "Pink Undie Story" comes from. Chapter 5 is now my goal for this Friday!

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How I dealt with losing my WIP data

Once I got past the crying and whining and depression of losing all the writing I've done for my current book, I took out my frustration on my walls.

No, I did not take a hammer to the walls, although, now that I think of it. Hm. Maybe next time. There better not be a next time.

Anyway, during the holiday I was able to get past my frustrations by painting. I painted the master bedroom this really warm Brookside Moss green. The short wall in the room was painted with a paler shade of green called Fernwood. That one I did not like as much so I painted all the other walls the moss color. See the pictures of my work in progress.










The color was so scrumptious I even painted the master bath the same moss green.

Ever since my dad and I put up the glass tiles in the spare bath above the shower, I knew I had to repaint the bathroom. This color is called Splendor. I call it mushroom. Depending on the time of day it looks beige or green. Funky!





While I was updating the paint, I decided why not freshen up my office. It didn't really need it but what the heck. The key to this room is that I already liked the color that was in it and just wanted to freshen it. Unfortunately, the builder did a trick where he mixed colors so there is no name for the paint in my office. Or should I say there was no name. Now the paint in my office is called Macadamia Nut. I find that a totally appropriate name for the room I create my stories in, don't you?














How do you handle stress or disappointment?

Monday, December 28, 2009

What are you waiting for?

As you think about your New Year’s resolutions think about this question. “What are you waiting for?”

That question pertains to so many things but how does it pertain to you? Think about it.

It could be as simple as my neighbor who wants to empty out her storage closet in her basement and just throw stuff away. Why this is an issue for her I have no clue, but it is. Over a glass of wine, while we ripped up my bedroom carpeting so I can have wood floors installed I told her the “black garbage bag” trick.

Don’t scrunch up and wrinkle your brows and nose at me. This is serious and something my ex-MIL taught me. If you really want to get rid of something and don’t want to be tempted to take it back out of the trash throw it in a black trash bag. Out of sight, out of mind. This works and I live by it. We shall see if my neighbor stops waiting around and contemplating her closet or if she uses my trick. I’ll let you know.

That is a small, simple example of answering the question “What are you waiting for?”

Another more pertinent example to writing is below.

Every week I meet people who read my books or about to read one of my books for the first time and inevitably one person will tell me that he or she has always wanted to write a book. My response to them is like the Nike commercials. “Just do it. What are you waiting for?”

Close your mouth before flies start to congregate and stop staring at me as if I have two heads. If you’ve thought about writing a book enough to mention it to me or anyone else then what the heck are you doing. Why not sit down and actually start writing it? What do you have to lose? Why wait?

Those are rhetorical questions. If you take the time to think about them and answer them then you don’t really want it.

About six years ago, I decided to sit down and start writing my first novel. I didn’t come up with every excuse to not write. Some examples would be – Who will publish it? What if I suck at writing? I’m not good with grammar. What if no one will publish it?

Who cares! If you think in those terms then you will never write the story that is itching to get out of you and onto paper. You are not a true writer unless you write. Come on. Life is too damn short to play “What if –”

When you were younger did you see a tree in your yard or in your park and say, “I want to climb that tree” then go about playing on the swing set? No. You marched up to that tree and put feet and hands to work.

Why should writing or anything else you want in life be any different? So what that you are older and somewhere along the way of growing up you became more cautious and hesitant. So what that you might slip and fall and even hurt a little. Is it worth it? Heck yeah!

Six years ago my life flipped upside down and spun. Instead of waiting for the world to crash around me, I took the proverbial bull by the horns and went after something I wanted. I pulled out my computer and started my novel. Yes, it took me about 4 years to write that first story and another year to get it published, but I did it. Now I have 3 books on the shelf and one in line for next year, with my fifth book in progress.

I ask you again. “What are you waiting for?”

Life will never hand you what you want. You have to go out and take it and make it what you want. Think about something you want so badly that you can taste it and then ask yourself the question “What are you waiting for?”

If you want it then go for it! I did and I’m about to do it again.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I did the stupidest thing a writer can do

. . .and I'm in tears.

I lost my FLASH drive that I carry with me everywhere that has all my writings on it including my current Work-In-Progress. That is twelve thousand words in the first 4 chapters of book number five plus a bunch of chapters that were written separately but not merged into the book yet. That doesn't even include various other pieces I have written. I use the FLASH drive so I can take my story with me wherever I go and be able to write in it at whatever device is available to me.

Some of the FLASH drive was backed up but NOTHING on my working story.

I spent yesterday literally in tears and tearing my house and car apart - multiple times. My poor cats must have thought a tornado hit the house because I even went so far as to dump any trash I could find and search it. Unfortunatley, to no avail.

Why was it not backed up?

#1 - I obviously want to live dangerously and I am a flake.
#2 - The automatic backup system that I have does not back up a FLASH drive.
**I have a server that I backup all my files to but the the backup software does not read a FLASH drive when inserted into a USB drive slot**

#3 - I obviously want to live dangerously and I am a flake.

Please do not do what I did. Back up your data.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Books make great gifts!

Got some last minute holiday shopping to do? Not quite certain what to get that someone who has everything? Need some stocking stuffers?

Books make great gifts! And this Saturday, December 19, you can make that book gift all the more special by picking up a signed copy of a local authors novel.

Get in that last minute gift buying and celebrate the release of my latest thriller, CONNECT THE DOTS by joining me and mystery authors Michaeline Della Fera, Robin Beaudette, Cindy Davis, and Julie MacShane this Saturday, December 19 from 11 AM to 2 PM at Paper & Roses in Peterborough, NH.

This latest thriller takes readers on a page-turning tale of suspense, intrigue and international espionage with a storyline ripped straight from today’s headlines. Torture, secret prisons, and ghost flights are just a few of the modern-day themes touched upon in CONNECT THE DOTS.

Stop by Paper & Roses, have one of my homemade wine chocolate truffles, drink a glass of wine, and pick up a couple of books for the holidays. If you've finished your holiday shopping then come on out and treat yourself to a gift of reading.

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making of CONNECT THE DOTS book trailer

video

Celebrating the release of CONNECT THE DOTS includes a book trailer. For those of you who don't know what a book trailer is, I equate it to a movie trailer. It's a teaser video that visually represents the story idea and teases or entices you into wanting to read the book.

How is this trailer created...from the author's perspective.

I start out by contacting Jeannie Ruesch, graphic artist and romance author. Jeannie created the book trailer for CONNECT THE DOTS as well as the book trailers for KILLER BUNNY HILL and IT HAPPENS IN THREES. Once Jeannie says yes that she wants to create the video I send her some of the same things that an author send to an agent or editor. I email Jeannie the book synopsis and back cover blurb (which is basically the query letter).

This results in Jeannie asking me some questions.

Typical questions are what do the characters look like? Do I have certain images in mind? More come but this is a typical start.

The hard part comes in when I have to craft the script for the trailer. You know how difficult it is to take a 90,000 word book and condensing it to 5 pages in a synopsis and then 2 paragraphs for a query. Now, you have to take all those words and condense them into maybe 100 words or less. Less is better.

Why so few words?

The typical length of a trailer is 1 to 2 minutes and 2 minutes is actually long. The reason for the short time is that you don't want to lose the viewer's attention and typical attention span is 60 to 90 seconds.

Jeannie helps me with the length aspect because I will send the script and she will shorten pieces. She will chop words or cut sentences, or she will even suggest that it needs to be stronger or tell me she wants something more visual.

Once we agree on the script, Jeannie does all the work.

Jeannie puts words to images and then to music. With CONNECT THE DOTS, Jeannie's husband actually created the music specifically for the trailer. Amazing!

I sit back and twiddle my thumbs, and wriggle in my seat with impatience to see the end result. When Jeannie has a draft ready she notifies me and I review it. Between the two of us we see if the wording/spelling is correct, if the images match what I envision, and the speed of the whole thing. We tweak back and forth and finally both say YES!

It's a fun and interesting process and the end result is seeing the visual representation of my story on screen. When Jeannie sent me the trailer for KILLER BUNNY HILL I literally cried. I couldn't help it. The representation was so perfect I was lost in the imagery. With CONNECT THE DOTS, I was awestruck. The video made my story and the heroine come to life and kept me spellbound.

Jeannie does such a terrific job that the guys who work for me want to know when the movie of CONNECT THE DOTS is coming out. Thank you, Jeannie!

Find out more about Jeannie Ruesch and her talent at her website www.willdesignforchocolate.com.

Monday, December 14, 2009

CONNECT THE DOTS is here!

No matter how many books you have published (this is my third in one year) when you see it in print it is like holding your child in your arms for the first time. You spent months creating it, months waiting for it, and now the day has arrived. Your book is in print!

When I left for work yesterday morning I had to stop by the post office because mt parents said the little slip from the postal person was probably a box from them. I trotted down to the post office and waited in line to get my package with the thought of getting a Christmas present. [rub hands together in anticipation]

I get the box, tuck it into the passenger seat and then take off for work. On my way, I call my folks (on my handsfree phone) to tell them that I picked up their package. It wasn't until I was on the phone with my father that I bothered to glance at the shipping information on the box. HOLY COW! The package wasn't from my wonderful parents. It was from my publisher.

Imagine sitting in traffic with no scissors, no knife, not even your keys available to you to open the box. I wanted to jump out of my skin because I wanted to see, touch, and yes, smell my novel. What do you think I did? I painstakingly, inch-by-inch managed to shred the tape that my sadistic publisher used to secure the box. YES! I managed to get that box open and after tossing all the paper cushion into the backseat of the car,I pulled out the first copy of CONNECT THE DOTS.

I whooped and hollered, shook my book and even kissed it. Some big truck guy honked and waved. I'm a friendly person so I waved back with my book and a big grin on my face.

At work I showed my entire team so they could ooo and ahh all over it. I left it sitting on my desk while I attended a meeting and when I returned I found a note on my desk from another woman in the office saying she wanted a copy of the book. She came by and told me twice. Love that!

I returned home last night from work to find boxes of books stacked on my driveway. I barely had the car stopped before I was jumping out to go get the boxes and carry them inside. I just wanted to see them!

Response to Wednesday Writing Prompt

Last Wednesday I gave the writing prompt: Hunkered down against. . .

Here is my brief response to the prompt. What did you come up with?



Hunkered down against the brick wall he stayed in the shadows and stared across the street at the building. This was the third night in a row he huddled in his leather jacket against the bite of the winter wind and waited for the lights to go out. Then he would go dumpster diving.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Joyce Scarbrough


This week we had the pleasure of reading SYMMETRY by Joyce Scarbrough. Today we are interviewing Joyce about her book, her writing, and herself.

Please join me in welcoming Joyce by leaving her a comment or another question.

A little background about Joyce before we get started:
As an intelligent Southern woman, Joyce Sterling Scarbrough is weary of seeing herself and her peers portrayed in books and movies as either post-antebellum debutantes or slack-jawed yokels, so all her heroines are smart, unpretentious women who refuse to be anyone but themselves. Joyce writes full time and does freelance editing. In addition to her three published novels, she has four short stories featured in upcoming anthologies from L&L Dreamspell. Joyce has lived in Alabama all her life, she's the mother of three gifted children and has been married for 26 years to the love of her life.

You can read samples of all her work on her pages at Authors Den: http://tinyurl.com/yafjyty

On with the Interview!

What motivated you to write this book?
Like 8 million people in the U.S. and 40 million worldwide, I have a nervous system disorder called trichotillomania (TTM), which is compulsive hair pulling. I wanted to create a fictional character with TTM who would be a positive role model for the millions of people who suffer with the disorder so much more than I do, some of whom think they're the only ones who do it and don't even know that what they do has a name. The reason I decided to write a novel featuring TTM instead of a non-fiction book is because I hope to raise awareness in the general public and the woefully uninformed medical community who often refer people to psychiatrists when they go to them about TTM. It's not a mental illness and isn't caused by abuse or trauma, otherwise I wouldn't have it.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Actually, there are two. For readers with TTM: you are not defective, damaged or mentally ill, and you are worthy of love and respect. For everyone else: I hope you gain some empathy for the millions of people like my heroine, Jess. Teach your children not to make fun of their peers who may have missing hair, eyebrows or eyelashes. You wouldn't let them laugh at a cancer patient, would you?

Are the experiences in the novel based on someone you know or events in your life?
Obviously, Jess's experiences with TTM are based on mine. It's not a major problem for her both because she has so much hair and because she learns to manage it by using Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Habit Reversal Training. However, the relationship issues she deals with in the story are completely fictional, although her infuriating husband does resemble mine at times! And her cultured, domineering, Southern Belle of a mother is an amalgamation of many women I've known like that, but NOT my own mother!

Who is your favorite character in the book?
That's like asking me who is my favorite child! All my characters are real people to me, and they sometimes rewrite their storylines too. Many times I've created a character who was originally intended to be only the unlikable antagonist, then I begin to feel sorry for them when I discover what's in their background that made them so bad, and they end up almost turning into a protagonist!

How did you come up with the title for your books?
For TRUE BLUE FOREVER, the title came to me as I was writing the last line in one of the four original poems included in the story. For DIFFERENT ROADS, it was inspired by a line from the song “What Might Have Been” by Little Texas. For SYMMETRY, the title has a dual meaning: symmetry is very important to someone with TTM because things that are uneven or imbalanced trigger the state in our nervous systems that cause us to pull (my personal theory but supported by some research!) And my heroine is searching for balance or symmetry to her life—in her marriage, her career, and her relationship with her mother.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I was thinking about this the other day and realized how much the characters in my favorite books had influenced my own novels without me even realizing it until now. Like the epic loves in FOREVER AMBER and GONE WITH THE WIND, all my books feature couples whose love will never die despite all the obstacles they encounter. My heroines are all strong women like Amber and Scarlett, but most especially Jaycee in DIFFERENT ROADS—she's a hellion who couldn’t care less about public opinion and who loves her man with the force of a tempest. Inspired by the unrequited love that Laurie has for Jo in LITTLE WOMEN, I gave the heroine in TRUE BLUE FOREVER a best friend who will always love her. And all my heroes are fearless, macho men who usually fight with my heroines as passionately as they make love to them.

How do you get inspired to write your romantic scenes?
That's easy—I live them every day! My kids learned long ago to overlook their parents' frequent PDAs (public displays of affection, not Palm Pilots!) When my son was about 13 and in a hurry to leave one day, he told me to stop being so “moniscuous” by kissing his dad goodbye. He said I was promiscuous but only with one man, hence I was “moniscuous.” Other than that, I'm always inspired by music. I have a special playlist on my computer called “Songs To Write By.”

How does your family feel about your book or writing venture in general?
My husband is my first reader and reads everything as I write it—but not over my shoulder and not until I tell him he can! He even lets me watch him read so I can see which parts make him laugh or react in other ways.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?
My best friend and fellow writer, Lee Ann Ward, is a gift that God sent to me. Not only does she love my books, it’s so important to have someone who understands what you're going through and can empathize and commiserate with you about this crazy publishing world. We console each other over the rejections and celebrate together over the triumphs. I even wrote her a fantasy romance short story to cheer her up one time. I thank God for her every day!

What is your guilty pleasure?
I like to watch boy band videos on YouTube. Love me some Backstreet Boys, Nsync and 98 Degrees!

What are your current projects?
I'm about three-quarters done with a coming-of-age novel titled SHADES OF BLUE that my critique group partners have said reminds them of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I can't tell you how flattered I am to even be mentioned n the same breath as a book like that. I'm also writing a YA paranormal novel that I like to describe as DEXTER meets BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. No vampires, just a smart-mouthed dead girl with a penance to pay.

One last question. Were you the model for SYMMETRY'S cover?
No, that's actually my step-daughter, Tonya Goodson. She has curly auburn hair like Jess, and I love her big, beautiful brown eyes!

Thank you Joyce for taking the time to visit with us and to share your wonderful story. Best of luck and looking forward to reading more of your books!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Four Days until CONNECT THE DOTS and I'm giving away books


In case you have not paid attention, my latest novel, CONNECT THE DOTS, releases in 4 more days. Of course, if you were unaware of this fact you must have been hiding under a rock or in a very long, very deep cave.

I am continuing the pre-launch today with a GIVEAWAY. In preparation for my third novel's release this year I am going to give away 15 signed copies of my first novel, IT HAPPENS IN THREES to 15 people chosen at random. If you are unaware of the storyline for IT HAPPENS IN THREES, visit my website to find out more.

The rules for this giveaway are very simple. Since this is the holiday season, let's give books to other people.

1. Leave a comment here as to who you would like to give a copy of IT HAPPENS IN THREES to as a gift.
2. Due to cost, I can't ship everywhere so the book has to be delivered to someone in the United States.

I will contact the winners of the giveaway tonight (Friday, December 11) so make sure to include your email address in your comment.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where am I today?

Today we're continuing the Countdown to the release of CONNECT THE DOTS over at Heather's Book Obsessed blog.

Stop over at Book Obsessed and see the interview I had with Heather. Leave a comment or ask a question and enter a chance to win a free copy of CONNECT THE DOTS.

Join the fun and the Countdown to CONNECT THE DOTS! Visit Book Obsessed and then visit the other wonderful blogs on our countdown stops. Find the answers to the 14 questions in the celebration of the CONNECT THE DOTS release and return here, post your answers and enter to win...

2 posters, 3 bookmarks, 1 Connect 4 game, 1 T-shirt, 1 Starbucks gift card, and ... two books under the tree

http://bookobssessed.wordpress.com/,
http://michaelj.blogspot.com/,
http://www.jessicajamesblog.com/,
http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com/,
http://thebookjournal.com/blog/,
http://www.cerihebert.blogspot.com/,
http://torchundertheblanketbooks.com/,
http://crystalposey.blogspot.com/, http://emmaleighreed.blogspot.com/, and http://kcsbooks.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Writing prompt Wednesday

With the pre-launch of Connect the Dots going on I did not want to forget to deliver a writing prompt. Especially when I thought of a great one on my drive into work.

Not sure why this one popped into my head but I hope you have fun with it and share what you come up with.

Writing prompt: Hunkered down against. . .

On the 9th Day of Connect the Dots...Cookies?

On the 9th Day of CONNECT THE DOTS my author gave to me...

Miked Up, a terrific blog by writer Michael Jensen.

Visit Mike's blog at http://michaelj.blogspot.com/ and check out his blue monster. Find the answers to yesterday's questions and get a chance to win prizes.

**Return here with just today's answers from yesterday's questions and leave them in a comment you could win:
Two bookmarks,
two books,
and chocolate truffles made by me under your tree
.**
One winner will be selected at random.


If you go back and visit all 8 blogs, get answers to 12 questions and leave the answers here, you could win:

2 posters, 2 bookmarks,
1 electronic Connect Four game, one Starbucks gift card. . .
and 2 books under the tree!



Join the fun and the Countdown to CONNECT THE DOTS!

Today please visit these wonderful blogs to find the answers to the 12 questions and directions to where you'll go tomorrow to continue the celebration of the CONNECT THE DOTS release.

http://michaelj.blogspot.com/,
http://www.jessicajamesblog.com/,
http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com/,
http://thebookjournal.com/blog/,
http://www.cerihebert.blogspot.com/,
http://torchundertheblanketbooks.com/,
http://crystalposey.blogspot.com/, http://emmaleighreed.blogspot.com/, and http://kcsbooks.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On the 8th Day of Connect the Dots...

On the 8th Day of CONNECT THE DOTS my author gave to me...

historical fiction author, Jessica James.

Visit Jessica's blog at http://www.jessicajamesblog.com/ and check out her book Shades of Gray. Find the answers to yesterday's questions and get a chance to win prizes.

At the same time locating the next questions in our game of Blog Connect the Dots.

**Return here with just today's answers from yesterday's questions and leave them in a comment you could win An electronic Connect 4 game, a bookmark, and a book under your tree.** One winner will be selected at random.


If you go back and visit all 7 blogs, get answers to 10 questions and leave the answers here, you could win:

2 posters, 2 bookmarks,
1 electronic Connect Four game. . .
and 2 books under the tree!



Join the fun and the Countdown to CONNECT THE DOTS!

Today please visit these wonderful blogs to find the answers to the 8 questions and directions to where you'll go tomorrow to continue the celebration of the CONNECT THE DOTS release.

http://www.jessicajamesblog.com/,
http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com/,
http://thebookjournal.com/blog/,
http://www.cerihebert.blogspot.com/,
http://torchundertheblanketbooks.com/,
http://crystalposey.blogspot.com/, http://emmaleighreed.blogspot.com/, and http://kcsbooks.blogspot.com/

Working with my dad


My parents visited a few weeks ago and I, of course, took full advantage of my father's know-how on anything house related.

One of the things I wanted was to put tile up in the spare bath above the shower. I convinced my dad that he was the man for the job. Okay, it did not take a lot of convincing. :-)


Mom and I did the shopping. We picked up the tiles and the rest of the supplies, but dad and I did the work. We put the sticky stuff on the wall, then placed the 1-inch glass tiles in their locations, then we grouted. Afterwards, we stood back and nodded our heads at a job well done.

Unfortunately, mom and dad had to be on a plane the next morning so we didn't get to do the finish work together. Ugh! The worst part was left up to me.

While battling the flu, I finally finished up the sanding of the grout this past weekend. Then I put the sealer on the grout and cleaned it all up.

The end result is beautiful even if I do say so myself.

Monday, December 7, 2009

On the 7th day of Connect the Dots...

On the 7th Day of CONNECT THE DOTS my author gave to me...

a Cafe of Dreams http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com/

Visit http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com/ site and check out April's book reviews. Find the answers to yesterday's questions and get a chance to win prizes.

At the same time locating the next questions in our game of Blog Connect the Dots.

**Return here with just today's answers from yesterday's questions and leave them in a comment you could win A Starbucks gift card, a bookmark, a poster, and a book under your tree.** One winner will be selected at random.


If you go back and visit all 7 blogs, get answers to 10 questions and leave the answers here, you could win:

2 posters, 2 bookmarks,
1 electronic Connect Four game. . .
and 2 books under the tree!



Join the fun and the Countdown to CONNECT THE DOTS!

Today please visit these wonderful blogs to find the answers to the 8 questions and directions to where you'll go tomorrow to continue the celebration of the CONNECT THE DOTS release.

http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com/,
http://thebookjournal.com/blog/,
http://www.cerihebert.blogspot.com/,
http://torchundertheblanketbooks.com/,
http://crystalposey.blogspot.com/, http://emmaleighreed.blogspot.com/, and http://kcsbooks.blogspot.com/

What's the thing you like least about being an author?

This is a question I ask many authors that I interview as part of my Book-A-Week Challenge. The answers are what I believe most writers should be aware of and prepared for.

Me - I am not fond of the marketing aspect. I love the getting out and meeting readers and other writers. I would do that every week and love it!

It's the planning, the how do I get my name out there, contacting book stores, restaurants, and other venues who will many of them turn you down. Like we didn't have enough rejection just trying to get published?

It's the amount of time spent crafting and sending out press releases, emails, or placing phone calls when I could have been writing. Especially when 99% of what I send out goes unanswered.

So why do we do this?

We put ourselves out there every day, take precious time away from writing because we love what we do and want to share it with others. We do it because if we don't tell the world of readers that we exist they will never know.

Getting into print is just the beginning. For me, getting people to read my books is the hardest task I face as an author. **Tomorrow we'll discuss ways of getting readers to read your work.**

What about you? What do you like least about being an author? Share your thoughts, experiences, thoughts here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

On the 6th Day of Connect the Dots...

On the 6th Day of CONNECT THE DOTS my author gave to me...

another blog to visit, 2 questions to answer, a bookmark, and a book under the tree.

Visit http://thebookjournal.com/blog/ site check out her books, get a preview of my new bookmark, and find the answers to yesterday's questions at the same time locating the next questions in our game of Blog Connect the Dots.

**Return here with just today's answers from yesterday's questions and leave them in a comment you could win a bookmark and a book under your tree.** One winner will be selected at random.

If you go back and visit all 6 blogs, get answers to 8 questions and leave the answers here, you could win:

2 posters, 1 bookmark,
1 Connect Four game. . .
and 2 books under the tree!



Join the fun and the Countdown to CONNECT THE DOTS!

Today please visit these wonderful blogs to find the answers to the 8 questions and directions to where you'll go tomorrow to continue the celebration of the CONNECT THE DOTS release.
http://thebookjournal.com/blog/
http://www.cerihebert.blogspot.com/,
http://torchundertheblanketbooks.com/,
http://crystalposey.blogspot.com/, http://emmaleighreed.blogspot.com/, and http://kcsbooks.blogspot.com/

Saturday, December 5, 2009

On the 5th Day of Connect the Dots...

Before I tell you about today's blogs and questions, I want to give a shout out to my father for his birthday. "Happy birthday, Pops!"


On the 5th Day of CONNECT THE DOTS my author gave to me...

Characters, Careers, and Contests at http://www.cerihebert.blogspot.com/ and a book under the tree. Visit author Ceri Hebert's website to learn more and find the answers to yesterday's question and get the next questions in our game of Blog Connect the Dots.

**If you return here with just today's answer from yesterday's question and leave it in a comment you could win a book under your tree.**

If you go back and visit all 5 blogs, get answers to 6 questions and leave the answers here, you could win:

2 posters
1 Connect Four game. . .
and 2 books under the tree!



Join the fun and the Countdown to CONNECT THE DOTS Release by starting at http://deniserobbins.blogspot.com/2009/12/on-first-day-of-connect-dots.html

Today please visit these wonderful blogs to find the answers to the 6 questions and directions to where you'll go tomorrow to continue the celebration of the CONNECT THE DOTS release.
http://www.cerihebert.blogspot.com/,
http://torchundertheblanketbooks.com/,
http://crystalposey.blogspot.com/, http://emmaleighreed.blogspot.com/, and http://kcsbooks.blogspot.com/

Book-A-Week Challenge is reading Symmetry

by Joyce Scarbrough

Mark your calendars to not only read Symmetry but to return here on Sunday, December 13 when I'll post an interview with Joyce. Find out more about Joyce, her books, and ask her some questions.

Until then enjoy the story and checkout her blog at http://joycescarbrough.blogspot.com/

Book Info:
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: L & L Dreamspell (November 6, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-1603181464

Book Blurb:

Jessica Cassady must reevaluate her marriage while also dealing with the realization that her hair pulling is more than just a nervous habit. When her husband Lee attends a sportswriters’ convention and Jessica calls his hotel room, another woman answers the phone. He swears things aren’t what they seem, but she insists he move out while she decides whether or not to forgive him. With the increased stress of the separation, Jessica’s hair pulling escalates and she realizes she might have a physical condition called trichotillomania. As if she doesn’t already have enough to deal with, her domineering mother shows up for a surprise visit. Jess tries to avoid her mother’s disapproval by attempting to conceal her marital problems. While Lee works to win Jess back, things grow complicated when she runs into Noah Hamilton, a sweet, unassuming history teacher from her past. Jess’s interest in Noah makes her think that maybe—as her best friend Deb loves to tell her—she needs to forego the beefcake brigade and give the sensitive type a try. Conflict escalates when Lee realizes just how much he’s lost in losing his wife. Sparks fly as these two polar opposites on the testosterone scale compete for Jess’s affection. Will she find her emotional center, decide which man is right for her, and finally achieve the symmetry she craves in every aspect of her life?

Friday, December 4, 2009

On the 4th Day of CONNECT THE DOTS launch...


On the 4thDay of CONNECT THE DOTS launch my author gave to me...

6 Questions to answer, 4 blogs to visit, 2 posters, a Connect Four game,. . . and a book under the tree!

We're only 4 days into and 11 days away from the launch of CONNECT THE DOTS and we have plenty of prizes to five and more great blogs to visit.

Join the Countdown to CONNECT THE DOTS Release Competition by starting at http://deniserobbins.blogspot.com/2009/12/on-first-day-of-connect-dots.html

Till Dec 15, follow the trail, answer the questions, connect the dots and post your answers back on my site each day for a chance to win.

Today please visit these wonderful blogs to find the answers to the 6 questions and directions to where you'll go tomorrow to continue the celebration of the CONNECT THE DOTS release.
http://torchundertheblanketbooks.com/,
http://crystalposey.blogspot.com/, http://emmaleighreed.blogspot.com/, and http://kcsbooks.blogspot.com/

Finding a body...

Wednesday, at least I think it was Wednesday, I posted a different kind of writing prompt. Instead of giving the beginning of a sentence and letting your mind go, I offered up a scenario.

The scenario was your hero or heroine finding a dead body.

Here is my hero and heroine finding a dead body:


He parked the SUV, checked his weapon, and got out.

Samantha opened the door to the cottage and gasped.

Max looked past her through the open door. His gaze moved beyond the living room to the dining room, and that was when Max saw what caused Samantha to go rigid and freeze in her tracks. She finally found Brad. Pushing past her, he entered the house, careful not to touch anything. She followed in his wake.

When he reached the dining room, he stopped and glanced over his shoulder. Samantha stood right behind him, wringing her hands and blinking back tears. Her lip quivered. Max touched her and tugged her into his embrace tucking her head into his shoulder. She shivered.

“No honor among thieves,” he mumbled as he got to his feet.

“You – you think. . .” she stuttered as she pulled back to look up at him, her eyes flooded with tears.

What could he say? That her childhood sweetheart and longtime friend was a well-known and wanted criminal. “I think Brad met the wrong people.”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

On the 3rd day of Connect the Dots...

On the 3rd Day of CONNECT THE DOTS my author gave to me...

5 Questions to answer, 3 blogs to visit, a poster, a Connect Four game,. . . and a book under the tree!


We're only 3 days into and 12 days away from the launch of CONNECT THE DOTS and we have plenty of prizes to five and more great blogs to visit.

Today please visit these wonderful blogs to find the answers to the 5 questions and directions to where you'll go tomorrow to continue the celebration of the CONNECT THE DOTS release. http://crystalposey.blogspot.com/, http://emmaleighreed.blogspot.com/, and http://kcsbooks.blogspot.com/

Finding a body writing prompt

This prompt is a little different from my norm. Usually I just give the beginning of a sentence. Today I thought I would shake it up a bit and give a scenario.

Imagine the character (male or female) just came upon a dead body.

See if you can build the suspense into finding the body. Kinda like when you're at the movies and the movie intensifies, that's what you want to do here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On the second day of Connect the Dots...

On the second day of Connect the Dots my author gave to me...

4 Questions to answer, two blog stops, a poster and a book under the tree!

Continuing the Countdown to Connect the Dots, today you answer yesterday's questions and today's questions. Start here: First day of Connect the Dots


*Return here and leave your answer. At the end of day I will announce ONE winner for a signed book and 2 posters.

ANNOUNCEMENT:

The winner of Monday's Connect the Dots is Stephanie. Congratulations Stephanie!

What did Stephanie win? She won a book under her tree.

Stephanie, please email me for your prize.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On the First day of Connect the Dots...

On the first day of Connect the Dots my author gave to me . . .

Two questions to answer and a book under the tree!

Visit my wine mystery partner in crime Kristin Callender's blog http://kcsbooks.blogspot.com/ and find the answer to these two questions.

What is the name of the pizza place the heroine frequents in Connect the Dots? How did it get its name?

*Return here and leave your answer. At the end of day I will announce ONE winner for a signed copy of Connect the Dots.

**Pay attention because Kristin will also have the next question and the direction to connect the dots to the next blog and the answer.**

Monday, November 30, 2009

Countdown to Connect the Dots



You've heard of the 12 Days of Christmas? Well, this is the 15 Days of Connect the Dots. Starting December 1!!

In celebration of the December 15 release of Connect the Dots, I and a bunch of blogging friends are going to play blog connect the dots.

What’s that you ask?

It is 15 days of fun, friends and prizes. Starting December 1, we will build our own connect the dots of blogs. December 1, I will post a question and tell you where to find the answer. That blog will also have the next question and where to find the answer for the next day.

Once you have the answer each day, you return to my blog and post your answer.

What do you get for all this fun?

Prizes! It could be as small as a bookmark, a T-shirt, a poster, a game, a book. The grand prize for the person who comes up with the most correct answers is a box of my three books signed by me, bookmarks, posters, game, and who knows what else we may come up with.

You won't want to miss this opportunity to visit a bunch of blogs, learn about Connect the Dots, and maybe win a prize.

Return here tomorrow morning, December 1 to get your first question and directions to get the first answer.

Sometimes research can be embarassing

Yesterday my friend and fellow writer as well as artist Lisa stopped by. She showed me the drawing of the beautiful glass art she is going to make for me. I am really looking forward to seeing it when it is completed.

Beyond that we talked about our current writing works in progress. This is typical of us when we get together and it's always helpful and interesting. As we talked we discussed the research we have to to do. Lisa's was particularly interesting because one of the pieces of information she needed we don't think you can find in a book.

Now, if you're a sensitive soul you might want to turn your head or you'll blush.

Here's the question: If you're the hero in a book and you need to either prevent yourself from getting um. . .excited, hard, what do you do?

Or another version of the same question: What if you're already in an erect state? How do you, uh, deflate the situation?

Whatever help you can provide us would be helpful not to just Lisa and I but I'm sure to other writers as well. Thanks.

Book-A-Week Challenge is reading Unhallowed Ground



Heather Graham is one of my favorite authors. I don't think there has been a book that I have not enjoyed. I like her series of paranormal stories that revolve around the Adam Harrison agency. Enjoy the read!

Book Info:
Pub. Date: September 2009
Publisher: Mira
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 368pp
ISBN-13: 9780778326762

Book Blurb:

When Sarah McKinley is finally able to buy and restore the historic Florida mansion that she has always loved, she dismisses the horror stories of past residents vanishing and a long-dead housekeeper who practiced black magic. Then, in the midst of renovations, she makes a grim discovery. Hidden within the walls of Sarah's dream house are the remains of dozens of bodies—some dating back over a century.

The door to the past is blown wide open when Caleb Anderson, a private investigator, shows up at the mansion. He believes several current missing-persons cases are linked to the house and its dark past. Working together to find the connection and stop a contemporary killer, Sarah and Caleb are compelled to research the history of the haunted house, growing closer to each other even as the solution to the murders eludes them.

But there is one who knows the truth…a spirit who follows every move they make. Soon Caleb begins to fear that if he can't stay a step ahead, he could lose Sarah to a killer with an ability to transcend time in a quest for blood and sacrifice.

Friday, November 27, 2009

When bare foot meets polished floor

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and as some of you know I sold my dining room table set. Yes, on Thanksgiving. Don't ask me what I was thinking. The person wanted to pick it up so they could have dessert with the family at their house. How could I refuse?

Later in the day when I sat down I stared at the empty dining room and the lone rug lying on the floor. I decided that the floor needed to be cleaned. First I vacuumed the rug then rolled it up and moved aside. Then I swept up the wood floor. No, that was not good enough. I got out the all natural floor cleaner and a microfiber cloth and yes, on hands and knees I cleaned my dining room floor.

That was still not good enough. With the room being empty I thought it the perfect opportunity to polish it. I pulled out my trusty all natural polish and another microfiber cloth and once again got on hands and knees. Using a lot of elbow grease I polished that floor to a wicked shine. It smell great because of the oil in it and when I walked across it in my sock feet the floor squeaked. Isn't that a great sound?

So here's the bad thing with me. Once I get started, I cannot stop. I did the exact same steps to the kitchen, pantry, half-bath, and the entry floors. I would have done the living room but by that time of night it was a little late.

As a reward to all that hard work I treated myself to another slice of my best ever pumpkin pie with Cool Whip on top.

This morning I get up and before I work out I always go down the stairs to feed the kitties. As bare foot hit freshly polished wood floor I realized my mistake. My foot skidded, pulled my legs into an amazing split, and then yes, I landed straight down and hard on my butt. OUCH!

I yelped, cats scurried away, and then all I could do was laugh. This is what I get for my obsessive nature and liking the fresh smell of my all natural polish. Or maybe it was all the sugar from the pie the previous night. Either way, my backside is a tad sore and no I did not even bother working out after that.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Food and family...two great things to be thankful for

I’m sitting here the morning before Thanksgiving and remembering the Thanksgivings from when I was a kid. Every year my parents, sisters (3 of them), and I would travel to my grandmother’s house in Iowa. We would drive for over three hours and the whole way someone would ask “how much further?” or “are we there yet?” When we would see the huge statue of Pocahontas we knew we were getting close.

When we arrived family members would come out of the woodwork. I’d see cousins that I would only see once or twice a year. Inside the house the place would be jammed with more relatives and the counters would be covered in fresh, homemade pies. I love homemade apple pie with cinnamon and sugar on top. My father is more of a banana cream pie guy. The one thing my family agrees on is we have to have pumpkin pie with Cool Whip on top, not whipped cream. Yes, there is a big difference.

Before we could eat pie though, we had to eat dinner. Dinner usually consisted of turkey and/or ham, baked beans, some disgusting 3-bean salad, this icky green salad that my family loves even to this day and I can’t stand. The icky salad is made with cottage cheese, lime Jell-o mix, and pineapple. I’m sorry, you will never convince me that is yummy. There would be rolls, mashed potatoes, and candied yams. My favorite part of the dinner is the candied yams. All that gooey marshmallow, butter, brown sugar melted on top of sweet potatoes. Delicious!

My favorite part of Thanksgiving when I was little was sitting around watching sports with my dad and uncles while waiting for dinner to be ready then getting through the meal just to get to the pies. It’s all about the pies!

Later, after much of the family departed we would all have that snack craving hit us. You got it, I went for the pie. So did dad.

Even now when I no longer live close enough to go to my grandmother’s house and watch sports with the men in the family, I still watch and yes, afterwards I eat pie. I make a deep dish pumpkin pie and absolutely top it off with Cool Whip.

What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Tuesday...writing prompt day

Today's writing prompt: Walking on the treadmill. . .

Remember it doesn't matter how much you write just that whatever you write captures your reader's attention. Hook them in!

Have fun and look forward to reading what you come up with.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Internet and current events helped in the storyline for Connect the Dots come

This is one of those “On the way to the bank. . .something happened tales.”

A little over a year ago in about August maybe September I found myself intrigued by the Georgia-Russia War. Not because I am a ghoul but for the simple fact that a longtime friend was in the Republic of Georgia and I wanted to understand what was happening and how at risk he may be.

I, being the computer-savvy person that I am, decided to use the Internet to search and gain more knowledge. At the same time, I was getting ready to start my third novel. Ultimately, I decided to marry the two interests together.

The issue came down to what would the story be about and my ineptitude at Internet searches. The funny part is that while I may not find what I am always looking for I somehow manage to find something even more interesting. That is the case with the Georgia-Russia War and my novel Connect the Dots.

Somewhere in my search, I came across the words “black sites” in one of the article. The very words caught my attention, which sent me off in another direction and in a direction that grabbed a hold of my shirtfront and my mind and would not let go, not even after I finished writing the book.

So now, your question is or should be “What is a black site?”

I’m so glad you asked. According to Wikipedia “a black site is a location in which a black project is conducted.” Yes, Wikipedia was my first stop when I wanted to learn more. Wikipedia.

That’s a simple but not very detailed explanation, don’t you think? I did however, know what a black project was but just to confirm my suspicion I did look it up. According to Wikipedia “a black project is a classified military/defense project, unacknowledged publicly by the government, military personnel, and defense contractors. Yup, I was right.

I already knew this because I have a complete fascination with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and many of their projects start out as classified. To find out more visit http://www.darpa.mil/.

From Wikipedia I was able to discern that black sites were secret prisons operated by the CIA outside of the US and currently used in the War on Terror.

Now if that does not take hold and squeeze your heart making it stop for at least a second or two I don’t know what will.

Are you intrigued yet? Want to learn more?


Stay tuned. As the days draw closer to the release of Connect the Dots, I will share more of what I learned.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Pauline B Jones

This week, we had the pleasure of reading The Last Enemy by Pauline B Jones. Pauline graciously agreed to do an interview with me to post on the blog and to respond to questions.

Even if you did not have a chance to read The Last Enemy, feel free to ask Pauline a question.

Now on with the interview:

1. What motivated you to write this book?

I started this book way back when the internet was just beginning to move into the mainstream. It fascinated me that I could “meet” people that I didn’t actually know. I had to take their word for who and what they were, how they looked, no way to know if they were really male or female. Then I saw The Fugitive and got interested in US Marshals Service and the story started to come to a boil. The theme of not really knowing people, virtual or real, threads through the story—though I didn’t know that until it was finished.

2. What are your current projects?

I just finished and turned in Girl Gone Nova, a follow up story to my Project Enterprise series set in the Garradian Universe. Then I started working on a short story for our next chapter anthology, except the story turned into a novella, so now I’m working on it as a standalone—and the next chapter in my Project Enterprise series. It’s also got some steampunk mixed in, which is making it a lot of fun to work on. It’s also a novella in search of a title. Usually titles aren’t that hard for me, but the title I wanted has been chosen by two books releasing next year. Sigh.

3. How do you come up with your story ideas and your characters?

I get story ideas in weird ways. Sometimes a character will come to me and I’ll have to write a story for him or her. Sometimes I get the idea first and then have to find people for the story. The Key is unique for me. I got hooked on Stargate Atlantis and got this story idea for an episode. It kept getting in the way of me writing a book, so I thought, I’ll just write it down and get it out of the way. Well, 100 pages later, I realized I had a character in need of a story. I had nothing but this woman with special abilities. And she required a science fiction world, something I’d never done before. I tried everywhere I could think of to situate her in the “real” world and she would have none of it. So I followed her lead and ended up with a huge science fiction romance novel.

One thing I do when I finish a book is to interview myself about writing that book. I call it my Behind the Book interviews. I have a little fun with them, but they also keep details fresh that I might otherwise forget. Here’s the link to my interview about The Last Enemy:
http://www.paulinebjones.com/LEBHB.htm

4. What genre are you most comfortable writing?

I get the most buzz from writing suspense and/or action-adventure. Not sure what that says about me. LOL! I’ve tried writing straight romance and can keep from killing anyone or blowing anything up if the story is short, but past about fifteen pages, stuff starts to happen. I also enjoy adding humor. For me, humor is the leavening of life, so it’s natural for me to filter it into my writing. While I’ve written what I’d call suspense from the beginning, my writing has been edging toward action/adventure for some time. When I look back and I can see it more and more, so that’s where I am right now. I call it action/adventure, but my books always have a romance element. I’m told that The Key is science fiction romance or space opera. For me, space is a setting, just as Denver was the setting for The Last Enemy. Both settings had to be, they are as essential to the plots as the characters, but through all my books there is peril, romance and action. (That’s where I got my website tag line: The Perils of Pauline—is the unifying theme of all my books.)

5. How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

I got the title for The Last Enemy from a quote:

“Death is the last enemy: once we've got past that I think everything will be alright.”
Alice Thomas Ellis

It really suits the story, because my character has survivor guilt issues.

6. How much of the novel is realistic?

All of my books are completely realistic. Really. Okay, so maybe the time travel and the space travel aren’t exactly true yet, but they could be.

Seriously, I try to make my characters feel real. If readers believe in the people, then they will believe in the story. I once had this reader busting my chops about a small detail in Out of Time. I was like, dude, you’re fussing about where the guys go to the bathroom on a B-17, but have no trouble with travel through time? It’s fiction. So basically I made it all up.

7. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?

I wouldn’t. I’ve enjoyed writing my books, have loved what I’ve learned from each one. Sometimes people ask me why I don’t publish with a larger publisher, like one in New York. The short answer is: they didn’t like what I like to write. That meant one of us had to change and we’re both determined not to budge.

I feel blessed to find a publisher who likes me and my writing as is (other than the edits of course). I have to spend so much time with a book that it’s just not possible for me to do anything but write what I want. While this is a business for me, I would not spend this much time doing something that didn’t bring me joy.

8. If your book was made into a movie who do you picture playing the part of the hero and heroine?
9.
Matt would be played by Tommy Lee Jones (well, a younger one) and Sandra Bulluck for Dani?

10. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I made my first sale: a short story to a children’s magazine. I didn’t start telling people I was a writer, though, until my first novel, Pig in a Park, was published.

11. Who is your favorite character in the book?

Well, Dani, I guess, though I loved writing Matt, too. I liked Dani a lot because she had courage and a sense of humor and she was real. She reacted to events the way a real woman would and didn’t use any extraordinary powers to overcome evil. She is like the women I’ve known through the years, woman who face hard things with a sense of humor and determination.

12. What is your favorite way to take a break from writing?

I like to put a movie into the dvd player, curl up with a bowl of popcorn, chilled Jr. Mints and a Diet Dr. Pepper and let the world go by. The movie can be a romantic comedy or an action –adventure. I also have this secret love of critter features or disasters flicks. I’m drawn to Tremors, Lake Placid and any movie that will mean an end to life on Earth as we know it. I have no explanation for it, though I suspect it is hereditary. I once caught my mom watching some earthquake flick, mini-series. Sorry to out you, Mom, but it is long standing tradition to blame our parents for stuff, and well, you were watching it.

Author website: http://www.paulinebjones.com

While you're there checkout Pauline's book The Key, An Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze Medal Winner. http://www.paulinebjones.com/thekey.htm

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The wine bottle crashed. . .writing prompt

This week's writing prompt was: The wine bottle crashed. . .

My response: The wine bottle crashed to the floor, shattering into tiny fragments of glass lying in a pool of deep red. Motionless, Susie stared at the mess, her eyes not seeing wine, but blood. A dark pool of blood spreading beneath her feet.

“No, not again.”



What did you come up with? Share it here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gotta love my parents

I love my parents and am thankful every single day for them. However, there are days when I am even more grateful.

My parents flew up from Florida just to help and attend/participate in the wine/mystery event I mentioned numerous times on my blog. Without asking, mom and dad folded, stuffed, shopped, carried, and sweated over the event in order to help make it the tremendous success it turned out to be. They endured the cold of the northeast to show their daughter how much they cared and loved me. That in itself is HUGE especially when the temperatures here were in the 30s to 50s while in Florida they had 80s.

Once the wine/mystery event was over, they turned their attention to me and my “do list”. We replaced the flusher thingies inside the toilets, lined one toilet that sweats during the summer, and changed the plastic seats the builders had put on the potties with ceramic ones that cannot be slammed shut. I swear I have the quietest toilets around – NOW.

Mom helped me take down cabinets installed in basement so I can install them in the garage. Sounds easy, but they are not light and mom is not exactly a body builder. We did it without breaking any cabinet or any injury.

My father raked the leaves in the front yard and mowed it for me. I still have the back yard to contend with but hey, that’s less than what I started with. He also made me bean and ham soup. Yes, I know there are many people that do not care for that soup but I love it especially how my dad makes it. The problem with the soup was not in the taste but in the heat. We decided to eat the soup out of paper bowls. No biggie. . .except when you sit said paper bowl with hot soup on dining room table and it leaves a water stain ring.

Talk about freak out. I flipped. I was so upset thinking my furniture was ruined. Mom comes along as moms do and she pulled out the mayonnaise from the refrigerator and tried the old household remedy. Unfortunately, it did not work, but it was nice that she tried. This morning we were all standing around talking about the stains and decided that there had to be an answer to my water-stained wood. I, my father’s daughter, got up on the Internet and did a quick search. I found several suggestions, one of which was the mayonnaise trick. The one I found and was easiest to try was the hot iron. Yes, this is a tried and true remedy. I immediately grabbed a clean cloth, my iron, plugged it in, set it on low, and tried it. Holy cow! It worked. Of course, both my parents chime in that they “know what I will be doing tonight.” Oh yeah, I will be ironing out the water stains in my dining room table.

Now we come to the biggie, the tile I wanted above the spare bath shower. Mom and I went out and shopped for the tile and all the necessary tools/supplies. The first tile I picked she wrinkled her nose at it so I set it aside and found another one, the perfect one. We took everything home including this new product that allows you to put up tile lickety-split. While mom and I did some other tasks, dad started on the tiling. When I went upstairs to help, I saw that he had the back wall fully tiled. My heart sank, my stomach did this quivery heebie-jeebie and I wanted to cry. It was ugly and so not the perfect tile.

Once again, yours truly spazes out and has to get it removed immediately or life will be ruined. Oh! I am not kidding. Dad and I yanked every last one of those 1-inch glass tiles off the wall. The sound of them clinking and clattering against the tub was music to my ears and relief to my eyes. Well, it was until I realized the tile mat thingy was not going to come off as easily. Damn! What do I do now?

Simple. I packed myself in car, ran down to other hardware store, searched for tiles and bought the ones I liked but mom wrinkled nose at. Before we ran out to meet friend for chicken wings, dad and I replaced the tiles we ripped down. AMAZING! Beautiful! I bow to my father for making my world right again.

After dinner, we returned to the spare bathroom where dad and I finished installing the tile and then he showed me how to grout it. Okay, bring on more tile work. I can do this. My bathroom is now gorgeous. I love it and I love my parents!

We celebrated by me baking a dozen fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and eating them while still warm. YUM!

See. . .these are just a few of the many reason why I just gotta love my parents.


Mom and Dad – if you read this I’m sending hugs and kisses your way.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Writing Prompt Thursday

Hellooo!
I am slowly but surely making my way back from the wine/mystery event. Yes, I know I owe you pictures and details so stay tuned. I promise I will get them out soon.

In the meantime, how about a little writing boost. I know I could use one. Since I'm just getting out of wine mode and I never put a writing prompt up last week let's keep it to do with wine.

This should be good.

Prompt: The wine bottle crashed . . .

Can't wait to see what you come up with and since I am sticking my parents on a plane today, I will hopefully have time to write a response to this tonight. Enjoy and happy writing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And the Winner is...

I'm baaaackkkkk! Okay, well not really. I'm here just for the moment because Denise (pictured far left - see how much we look alike?) has been kind enough to allow me a short break from my extensive community service work to announce the winner of the our Blog Takeover Mystery Contest! 


And the winner is.....

Ahem, can I get a Drum-roll please???


Josie K.




Josie was chosen because she responded to every post and even though she picked the wrong person as the 'bad guy' she is the only person who gave it a shot! Denise and I agreed that her intense sleuthing efforts should be rewarded. 



What did Josie win? Glad you asked, her prize swag pack is as follows:



  • 1 signed copy of It Happens in Threes
  • 1 signed copy of Killer Bunny Hill
  • 2 Bookmarks from Denise's Books
  • 1 Book Promo Poster


Plus, (and I am sure this will be the most exciting part) she is now an honorary member of the Wicked Wino Sleuths! 



Josie, Please email me your address and how you would like the books signed to: bookedobsessedblog(at)gmail.com  I will also be notifying you via Twitter. If we haven't heard back from you within the next 48 hours with the information another winner will be chosen. 



And....now.....I'm off to continue my community service work and am returning this fantastic blog back to Denise. 



Before I go, I will leave you with this thought: You may not have heard the last of me just yet...hmmmm.



Cheers, The Hostess



(You have no idea how hard it is to do community service in this dress? I'm just sayin'...To answer you question: No, I never take it off. Seriously, if you had a dress like this one, would you take it off?) 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge is reading The Last Enemy

This week, we have the pleasure of reading The Last Enemy by Pauline B Jones.

A US Marshall and a romance author against a killer...what is there not to love?

Enjoy the book and then join me and Pauline back here on Sunday, November 22 to learn more about Pauline, her books, and what else she has for us to read.

Blurb:

Thriller/Suspense: Two men need her. One needs her dead. Betrayed by those who were supposed to protect her, romance author Dani Gwynne is plotting her own survival, working against time, terror and her fear of heights in the mile high city of Denver. Deputy U.S. Marshal Matthew Kirby is the lonesome lawman in charge of finding Dani. Hunting is what the Marshals do best and Matt is their top tracker, but even he hasn't been able to close the law and disorder gap with an elusive killer who's never missed his mark. Until now...

Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory
ISBN-13: 978-0759903951

Author website: http://www.paulinebjones.com

Saturday, November 14, 2009

As it turns out...Good News/Bad News

This post comes to you live from Denise's front yard where we are working off our debt...owed to her for the general mess in the house, as well as the mess and...well you get the picture. She wouldn't let me get back on the computer for a final post but she hasn't gotten around to changing the passcode yet so we logged in through KB's Blackberry. I really need to find out who gave her access in the first place! Regardless, I have to do this quick before Denise catches me and takes the Blackberry away. (We don't want that to happen because then I'll have the wrath of both Denise & KB to deal with!)


On with it....


Good News:

As I am sure you know by now Denise wasn't the Bad Guy! 


Bad News:

Denise is not just an author she is really an undercover cop!


Good News:

We're not going to jail!


Bad News:

We have many hours of community services under Denise's watchful eye and poor Michelle's visa has been put on hold for a while...my apologies to her family who will hopefully get to see her eventually. 


Good News:

We had figured out who it was and he was apprehended!


Bad News:

We were too late...or so we thought.


Good News:

King Mho Fho the Demon Sheep is doing well and decided to never drink again.


Bad News:

I keep having to get between KB and Jason to keep from having the only man on the crew murdered. It was Jason who left the wine with Mho Fho, but in his defense the Demon Sheep did ask him for the wine and told him that KB had given permission. (Don't ask me why he believed what the DEMON Sheep said?!) No, Jason was not the one who blew up the safe and stole the recipe for the...uh...Special Wine. Hello what were you thinking? He's part of my carefully chosen Wicked Wino Sleuths Crew!


Good News:

Kyra's ghost has moved on from Zorvino's and is finally at peace. Loretta showed her the light and she headed towards it taking laughing loudly (or so Lo tells us anyway) at the sight of her murder finally being taken away in hand-cuffs. Oddly, the weather immediately cleared up right after Lo told us she had passed over. I can't explain it because Lo, won't tell us. She keeps waggling her finger at us and saying "Some things have to remain a mystery." 


Bad News:

It was her ex-husband who'd killed her. Yup, that's right...it was her and the Editor in the Vegas picture with Denise. The three of them grew-up together. Kyra was Denise's best friend. 


Good News:

If like us you figured out it was the Editor you were right!


Bad News:

If you chose anyone else you were wrong...even if you chose Miss Concerned Citizen...unfortunately...very, unfortunately because WE have to fix that dang step her butt broke! I still don't know why we have too, anyway! She broke in also and it was her butt that broke the step!!! Nevermind, won't do me any more good to complain to you about it than it did complaining to Denise about it. 



Okay, Denise seems to be distracted on the phone so let me see if I can tell you what happened when we arrived at Zorvino's to meet up with KB and stop the killer.


We screeched to a halt just inside the gates to of the Vineyard, where KB was waiting impatiently for us with King Mho Fho in what I can only call a cat carrier. (She claims it's a Demon Sheep carrier but seriously who does she think she's kidding? There is no such thing as a Demon Sheep Carrier!) We took off at a dead run and went slamming through the doors to the main hall, all yelling at once. We quickly skid to a halt when we saw the chalk outline on the floor and noticed the dead silence around us. As we scanned around the room at all the surprised faces we noticed someone face-down on the floor with Denise's knee in his back and his arms half cuffed. She was glanced at us, said "Be right with you," and continued to cuff the guy. When she was done she proceeded to thank us for showing up so that she wouldn't have to swing by her house to arrest us there. It was our turn to look stunned! I stepped forward to explain and tell her it was the Editor who did it (at this point we still hadn't seen the face of the guy on the floor). She listened, then said "I know." Walked away yanked the Editor off the floor by the arms and told us to follow her.  

Uh-Oh...she's hanging up the phone. 


Real quick: (really this time) 

They set him up! She'd figured it out. Didn't need our help and no one died at Zorvino's last night. She knew we were at her house too. Not because of the blog, mind you. Nope, she is much to crafty for that to have been necessary. (I did hear her tell someone she enjoyed the posts - heh she thought they were funny. They were soooo not funny!) She had the place bugged! The whole dang house is wired up. Can you believe that?


So there you have it. All of our super-powers combined and the cop figured it out first. Plus none of us have the kind of powers necessary to clean this mess up! 


Oh-No....She's headed straight for me with her hand out....KB's gonna kill m...........................







Friday, November 13, 2009

Who Gave Her Access to the Blog???

What the heck was that? I don't remember giving KB the passcode for my blog..uh...I mean Denise's blog that we hacked into? (What? I am getting a bit attached. So sue me!)  

Anyways...I suppose its a good thing that she got on here some how because otherwise I wouldn't have know about the secret recipe having been stolen or what had been done to poor Mho! Yeah, I did just find out at the same time you guys did. Don't you start too! I forgot my cell in the basement...it happens to even the best of us. 


Wait a minute, were you really thinking that I had something to do with this mess??? Uh...NO! That would be too easy. I don't have time to chastise you right now though. I only have time to bring you up to speed and get out of here. We have figured it out and have to get to Zorvino before someone else pays the price.


Let's see...hmmm...Ah yes...That's what you need to know...


What are some of the things we found under the stairs in the basement?

Pictures below with explanation beneath them. (Some of the things referenced in Miss Concerned Citizen's letter we did not take pictures of or scan so as not to jeopardize our investigation.)




Picture #1 is a fairly recent picture of Denise - It has been cropped so we can verify what it implies after we get to the vineyard. Picture #2 its pretty obvious is Denise at a Vegas wedding from some years back - what is probably less obvious to you is who it is getting married behind her - it looks a lot like the Editor and Kyra, the woman who died at the vineyard years ago, who Fab-Para spoke with yesterday. Picture #3 is a bottle of wine with a faded label that upon closer inspection does in fact have an old Zorvino logo on it. It is oxigenated just like she said in her letter to the paper.


What did Fab-Para learn from the chat with Kyra's ghost?

Well, I can't really tell you that, yet. It didn't all make sense until a few minutes ago anyway.


But I will offer you the following written by Loretta a.k.a. Para-Fab to the newspaper via email. I'm posting it here for you now because I have a feeling that after tonight it might never see the light of day and she did work hard on it while she was fuming earlier. 




Letter to the Editor:

Upon the disclosure of my presence in Sandown, I felt the need to shed some light on the nature of my investigation. (That is not a directive for any lost souls to run hurly-burly into the light until we have had a chance to lovingly ascertain what has held you here).

I have come to town at the request of a person I feel should remain anonymous.  My presence here is simply to test the waters as it were, or perhaps more aptly put—test the cold spots in certain vicinities that might prove helpful.

Zorvino Vineyards has graciously allowed me entrance to their grounds at times when guests were not in attendance.  I might also add, they have graciously shared several bottles of their lovely wines which I and a few friends have been more than delighted to sample. I have found the Zorvino Zinfandel to be delightful and very relaxing after dealing with the events of the last few days.

My findings while here were to be kept private until my contact deemed it appropriate to disclose the information.  Since this privacy has been breached in some unknown way, I will go so far as to say, that yes, I have received contact from a spirit who passed years ago at the vineyard. They have brought to light certain pieces of information that have been extremely informative.

As to my whereabouts, I cannot see why that should have any bearing on my investigation, and can only speculate this was mentioned strictly for sensationalism. 

Whatever presence is here, will certainly find me I’m sure—whether it be at the vineyard, or where I am currently residing.

Love and light,

Loretta Wheeler   C. P.




And with that I bid you ado...hopefully I'll be able to find a way to update you regarding whodunit?









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