Friday, October 30, 2009

It's official! The release date for Connect the Dots is...

December 15, 2009 is the release for my next book, Connect the Dots.

(The image appears somewhat red on my screen, but is in fact blue.)

This story revolves around my favorite hero, Special Agent Jake Frisbie (or as myself and my publisher like to refer to him as Mr. Hottie)and the heroine, Charley Duston, a CIA Human Intelligence Operative.

Here's a hint at the storyline.

Connect the Dots

All she did was connect the dots.

Her ex-lover is murdered.

Is she next?

A Queen of Spades appears on her nightstand. The death threat sends her running for cover and in search of answers.

Who wants Charley Duston dead? Why?

Her first clue comes in an email from her dead lover. “Black Sites.”

When his new lover is wrenched from his arms and his bed, Special Agent Jake Frisbie discovers the truth about Charley. She is a CIA Human Intelligence Operative. And someone wants her dead.

Kidnapped, Charley disappears on a ghost plane to nowhere.

Is Jake too late?

Sneaking into the secret prison is easy. Getting Charley out alive. . .the hardest assignment of his life.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Response to Tuesday's writing prompt

Whew! I finally had time to sit for a minute, let my mind go, and write for a writing prompt.

Tuesday's prompt was: Behind her sunglasses. . .

Here is my attempt:

Behind her sunglasses, Jane stared out across asphalt lot. Her gaze fixated on a spot on the horizon, a glimmer of orange and red shimmering just above the black. Leaning against the hot metal of her car, she crossed her arms and looked, her eyes never seeming to blink.

As the burning ball crested, she felt her heart stop. Her mind flashed. She saw the fireball lift the roof off the Starbucks and flames shoot out at her as if a dragon aimed his scorching breath in her direction. Jane ducked, threw herself flat on the pavement, her hands covering her head. Gravel bit into her knees.


She heard her name, but it sounded like an echo down a long corridor of an empty castle.

“Jane.” Strong hands gripped her around the waist and hoisted her up.
“Don’t. Get down before we burn,” she yelled as her feet kicked air.

Jane swung out with her fists, trying to get the man to let her go, to get to safety. When her hands struck a solid wall of muscle they bounced off and she was enfolded against the same wall with arms tight around her middle making breathing difficult.

“Shh,” the low voice said against her ear as a hand stroked her head. “You’re okay, the fire is out.” He petted her again and when his warm lips pressed against her temple Jane melted and relented. “You’re safe.”

Safe, her mind repeated. She leaned into the warmth, the body, the man. Her eyes closed reflexively as she inhaled him, smelled his scent. Oh, she wanted nothing more than to be held, to be cocooned in strong arms that would protect.
Protect and serve. Her head snapped up. Him!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Difficult part of writing

This evening I went to hear a friend, author, and mentor read at UMASS Lowell. David Daniel is a terrific writer and when he reads his own work it is truly a treat for your mind and ears. BTW - find out more about David and his books at

At the end of the author readings, the speakers opened up for questions from the audience. So first, you have to picture this old room with built in wood cabinets, gigantic old-paned windows that you know are not energy efficient, and this freaky statue sitting behind the speakers staring back at you. Outside the wind is whipping, rain is falling, and steam from some smoke stack is rising in billowing clouds of gray. Then you notice all these college students, some older, most young and completely shy when among a strange group.

So when the writers ask, "Does anyone have any questions?" There is a distinct silence that hits the room like a thud without sound. Too funny.

Of course, I sit there and murmur to everyone around me that they need to ask a question. They all look at me with that glassy-eyed gaze, like no, not me, uh-uh.

I raise my hand and ask, "What do you find is the most difficult part of writing?"

The authors concurred in their response, "Finding time to write."

Now I ask you. . .What do you find is the most difficult part of writing?

Share your experience and how do you overcome that writing challenge.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Writing Prompt Tuesday! - Behind her sunglasses. . .

Today is Tuesday, which mean it is time for a writing prompt.

I looked around my desk for inspiration and my eyes landed on my sunglasses.

Prompt: Behind her sunglasses. . .

Monday, October 26, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading Simple Genius by David Baldacci

This week in the Book-A-Week Challenge, we are reading Simple Genius by David Baldacci.
David happens to be one of my favorite writers, in particular, his Camel Club series. Simple Genius is not in his Camel Club series, but his series with former Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell.

Who doesn't like a strong, intelligent guy who cares about his partner? Of course, I love a heroine who can hold her own and stand up for others. These two make a terrific team! Plus, there are some technologies in this book that sound intriguing.


David Baldacci's much-loved protagonists Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are having trouble adjusting to life in the wake of the terrible events that drove them to the brink in HOUR GAME. Dogged by hidden demons from her past, then almost killed in a barroom brawl, Michelle agrees to try therapy at a mental-health facility, where she simultaneously busts a ring of drug-dealers. Sean, hoping to right their shared career in the private security sector, accepts an offer to investigate a mysterious death at a scientific think tank called Babbage Town, located suspiciously close to the CIA's most infamous yet covert training camp—"The Farm". In Babbage Town, the security is tight as the world's great geniuses race to invent technologies powerful enough to conquer the most sophisticated microprocessor. Michelle soon joins Sean, and before long both find themselves pawns in a terrifying game whose elusive players cite threats to national security as justification for their most heinous crimes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Read-A-Thon ending

I just officially finished my last book for the 24-hour read-a-thon.

I can honestly say this was a truly great challenge and if it were not for all the cheerleaders and fellow readers I would not have made it. It was those people who gave me my second wind.

All total, I read 4 paperback books with a total of 723 pages and listened to one audiobook. Not too shabby considering I read about 620 pages of that within the last 10 hours.

Next time, no book signing event on day of read-a-thon.

Thank goodness for my ever faithful Mountain Dew and its boatload of caffeine. Hope everyone ejoyed their reading time and found some great books. I know I loved reading those old Iris Johansen books.

Three hours left in Read-A-Thon

Just finished reading Return to Flores and in spite of the toothpicks used to keep my eyelids open, I am going to try and read one more book.

I simply like the title of this next book. Wicked Jake Darcy

After this book, I may pass out. If not before. Send your read-a-thon energy my way.

Read-A-Thon entering last 6 hours

Ah! I just finished reading Tempest at Sea by Iris Johansen. 182 pages in 3 hours and my poor hiney is killing me. I only drank half of a Mountain Dew so that gives you an idea of how good the story must have been to not need much caffeine at this wicked hour.

After a quick break, I will be returning to my leather recliner, cozy quilt, and the rest of my Mountain Dew to read Return to Santa Flores by Iris Johansen.

Hope all the other readers are enjoying their books!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Read-A-Thon hour 15

Well, between the book signing event and the fun time I had with other writers, I have not accomplished much reading. However, thanks to some friends on twitter, I am determined to make it awake and reading through the next nine hours.

I'm reading Tempest at Sea by Iris Johansen.

Tempest at Sea blurb:

An idealist and activist, Jane Smith stole aboard Jake Dominic’s yacht one warm Miami night as part of an antinuke protest. But in her earnestness Jane hadn’t fully considered the consequences if she got caught or that her act of principled vandalism would end with her serving as Dominic’s part-time prisoner and cabinmate. For the next two months she would accompany this successful, sexy but darkly brooding man aboard the Sea Breeze as they sailed around the Gulf of Mexico from one exotic port of call to another. Danger, close escapes, and erotic adventure await, but nothing can be more unexpected than their romantic destination.

Let's see if I can finish this book in less time and without distractions. Want to help keep me and other read-a-thon readers awake? Ping us on twitter using the hash tag #readathon.

Thank you cheerleaders for all your kind messages!!

Read-A-Thon first 4 hours

Well, I did not get in as much reading as what I had hoped. Instead of reading at 8AM, I chatted with friends at the bagel shop.

I squeezed in 15 minutes of reading ad read the first chapter of Stormy Vows, a whole 10 pages. Then I had to go deliver the caramel apples and run errands for my furry cats (they have to eat too).

As soon as I arrived home, I whipped up some cookie dough and started to read some more of my first book. Since 10:15AM, I have managed to read another 81 pages in between cookie dough scoops and bake time.

Now, I have to pack up to go over to Borders Bookstore in Nashua. I'll be there in the cafe for a little while before the actual book event which starts at 2PM.

Wish me luck on finishing Stormy Vows before the signing. Next up is Tempest at Sea.

If you follow me or the other Read-A-Thon participants on twitter use the hash tag #readathon and give us a shout out of cheer.

Ready - Set - Read!

Happy Saturday everyone and welcome to my first post for the 24-hour Dewey Read-A-Thon.

I am getting ready for my first stop this morning at Big Easy Bagel in Manchester and hope you can join me there for the official kickoff at 8AM with a cup of coffee, a bagel, and of course, a book.

Don't you just love these old book covers? I'd probably cringe if that were suggested for my cover art, but hey! It was the thing and in some cases such as historical, it still is.

I'm starting my reading adventure with book published in 1983 by Loveswept (a publishing house no longer in existence). The book is titled Stormy Vows and written by Iris Johansen. ISBN-13: 978-0553216134

Remember, I am reading a bunch of out-of-print books written by Iris today. You can still find some of these books in used bookstores or online. The last few I picked up I found at Annie's Bookstop and

Stormy Vows Blurb:
For a struggling actress, a private audition with a young Hollywood turk like Michael Donovan was the break of a lifetime. But Brenna Sloan refused to be intimidated by the temperamental and sensually overwhelming filmmaker, even if it did cost her the role of a lifetime. For Brenna was both far stronger—and far more vulnerable—than Michael could ever guess. And the secret that she was keeping from him would draw them more intimately together with each encounter…and threaten to drive them apart forever.

If I don't see you for coffee this morning, I hope to see you somewhere along my travels today, maybe even at the book event at Borders in Nashua from 2PM to 4PM.

Happy reading! - One hour until kickoff...and counting.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pre-event pictures of the winery/vineyard

The other day, I met Kristin Callender, CJ West, and Carla Snow at Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown to discuss/plan the wine/mystery event that will take place on Friday, November 13th. David Daniel could not make it, but will be there on the 13th.

Carla is on the left in the photo, then me, then Kristin, and CJ.

Since many of you will not be able to make this unique and fun event, I thought I would share some of the photos of the function hall and winery, etc. that Kristin's mom took for us.

This is the backside of the winery and function hall.

This image shows a greenhouse with a water fountain in the works. Hm...could be a good place for a clue or a dead body.

Always wondered what a wine vat looks like? Well, here's your chance.

Here is the function hall wine bar. Don't you just love that it looks like a wine barrel?

Here is part of the function hall. All of the wood beams and the floors come from the wood on Zorvino's own 80 acres. Beautiful!

For those that cannot make the wine/mystery event on November 13th, not to worry. I'll get some photose from that evening so you can imagine it. :-)

My Dewey Read-A-Thon on the Road Locations

This Saturday, October 24 will be is the Dewey 24-HR Read-A-Thon. For 24 hours, I along with many others, will be reading as many books as we can and blogging about what we read. I will update visitors to my blog about what I am reading, how many pages I read since my last update, and how much time I spent reading since the last update.

Here are the titles of the out-of-print books you have to look forward to me blogging about this Saturday: (all authored by Iris Johansen)

1. Last Bridge Home
2. Tempest at Sea
3. Blue Skies and Shining Promises
4. York, The Renegade
5. Return to Santa Flores
6. Touch the Horizon
7. Stormy Vows
8. Wicked Jake Darcy
9. Everlasting
10. And the Desert Blooms
11. 'Til the End of Time
12. The Spellbinder
13. Notorious
14. White Satin
15. Always

Reading schedule - hope to see you at one of these places.

8AM - 9:30AM - Big Easy Bagel in Manchester, NH eating my egg and cheese bagel, drinking Dr. Pepper, and reading my first book. When I leave there I have to deliver caramel apples.

12:30PM - 1:30PM - Borders in Nashua, NH Coffee shop reading a book for an hour before the Book Signing event.

2:00PM - 4:00PM - Book signing event with Nora LeDuc, Robin Beaudette, and Michaeline Della Fera at Borders in Nashua, NH.

5:00PM - 6:30PM - Reading at Panera in Nashua right up the street from Borders and behind Barnes & Noble.

6:30PM - 8:00PM - I think a margarita will be good right about now so how about Longhorn in Nashua for a little reading and Perfect Margarita with salt. Yum!

8:00PM - 9:30PM - After the margarita, I will need some caffeine so let's head on over to Barnes & Noble in Nashua, right up the street and get a cup of coffee. Well, I will be getting a Raspberry Mocha Cappuccino.

From there. . .who knows. Hope to meet up with at least a few readers along the path, but if not, I look forward to seeing your blogs. Happy Reading!

Writing Prompt Friday - In the middle of the bookstore...

TGIF! I don't know about you all but I am so ready for the weekend. Between making caramel apples tonight, the book signing tomorrow afternoon and the Dewey 24-HR Read-A-Thon from 8AM Saturday until 8AM Sunday, yours truly is going to need a long rest. Ahh...but it will be fun!

To kick off this weekend, we have to have a writing prompt. I think something to go along with the theme of the weekend of books and reading. Gee! Like that's anything different for me.

Prompt: In the middle of the bookstore. . .

Hm. That should work. Let's see what you come up with. Oh! If you haven't already written a response to the "Cafe Conversation" from last week, you need to try it. I'll post mine this weekend.

Have fun and do lots of reading!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

24-HR Read-a-thon Reading List

You've signed up for the 24-HR read-a-thon, marked your calendars, and now it is time to make a reading list.

With four days left before the Read-a-thon, have you identified your read-a-thon stack? Even if you don't get through all of them or if you end up reading more thab the beginning stack, you'll want to know what you are going to read so you don't have to search the day of.

I have created my pile for the read-a-thon from a stack of books that I have been collecting. These are older, out-of-print books written by one of my favorite authors, Iris Johansen. If I run out, no problem, I have more in my overflowing library.

Here are the titles of the books you have to look forward to me blogging about this Saturday: (all authored by Iris Johansen)

1. Last Bridge Home
2. Tempest at Sea
3. Blue Skies and Shining Promises
4. York, The Renegade
5. Return to Santa Flores
6. Touch the Horizon
7. Stormy Vows
8. Wicked Jake Darcy
9. Everlasting
10. And the Desert Blooms
11. 'Til the End of Time
12. The Spellbinder
13. Notorious
14. White Satin
15. Always

What are you going to read? Share your reading stack here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dewey's Read-a-thon on the Road

Mark your calendars and set your clocks for this Saturday, October 24 for 24 hours of reading and a book event.

Starting at 8 AM Eastern on Saturday until 8 AM Sunday we will be reading and participating in the 24-hour read-a-thon. If you have not already signed up, follow this link for more information and add yourself to the list. The more the merrier!

Besides reading for 24 hours, readers are invited to come out and meet Robbins and authors Nora LeDuc, Robin Beaudette, and Michaeline Della Fera from 2 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the Borders in Nashua. Can you think of a better day to do the book event than on a day when people want to read a lot of books in 24 hours. Stop by and get one of ours to include in your reading list.

Instead of sitting at home and reading all by yourself or with the distractions of laundry, let's make this fun and more eventful. Let's take the Read-a-thon on the road. Not literally, but to visit a few places where a bunch of readers can say hi, meet new people, get a little coffee or food, and of course, read a book.

My favorite spot for breakfast on a Saturday morning is Big Easy Bagel in Manchester, NH. This will be my first stop for the Read-a-thon On the Road. I will be there before 8 AM (which is the official Eastern start time) ordering my egg and cheese or bacon, egg and cheese bagel along with my Dr. Pepper. Yes, this is the one time I do not drink Mountain Dew.

Since you'll want to start reading at 8 AM in order to get in as many books as you can in 24 hours, I invite you to join me at Big Easy Bagel for a read. I will be bringing a book just to read over breakfast.

The rest of the schedule is open except for the 2 to 4 PM time slot where Nora, Michaeline, Robin, and I will be discussing and signing our books at the Nashua Borders Bookstore.

I am open to suggestions as to other places we can read together. If you have an idea, please post a comment back here. I'm not adverse to a little driving so share your ideas. One place I think would be good is a Panera restaurant because they have free WiFi and that way we can post blogs about our many books. The question is which one(s) do we visit?

Keep watching my blog this week for a posted schedule as to where a bunch of us will meet up to read.

Also, get that book list ready. Tomorrow I will post my reading list. Would love to see your list as well.

I urge you to participate in this event, to read as many books as you can in the alotted 24-hour time period, and have fun. Heck! Go check out the other readers and their blogs! and scroll down to enter your name and URL.

If you don't have time to read on Saturday, October 24 then sign up to be a cheerleader or donate a prize for the event. Again, go to the same link and follow the directions.

I hope to see you at Borders on Saturday or one of the places we can sit and read together.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading 13 1/2 by Nevada Barr

This week we are reading a psychological thriller written by Nevada Barr. I have read most if not all of Ms. Barr's Anna Pigeon mystery series and enjoy those very much so it's a real treat to read something that diverges from her series. I hope you'll joing me in reading her latest book and tell us what you think.

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Vanguard Press (October 6, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-1593155537



In 1971, the state of Minnesota was rocked by the “Butcher Boy” incident, as coverage of a family brutally murdered by one of their own swept across newspapers and television screens nationwide.
Now, in present-day New Orleans, Polly Deschamps finds herself at yet another lonely crossroads in her life. No stranger to tragedy, Polly was a runaway at the age of fifteen, escaping a nightmarish Mississippi childhood.

Lonely, that is, until she encounters architect Marshall Marchand. Polly is immediately smitten. She finds him attractive, charming, and intelligent. Marshall, a lifelong bachelor, spends most of his time with his brother Danny. When Polly’s two young daughters from her previous marriage are likewise taken with Marshall, she marries him. However, as Polly begins to settle into her new life, she becomes uneasy about her husband’s increasing dark moods, fearing that Danny may be influencing Marshall in ways she cannot understand.

But what of the ominous prediction by a New Orleans tarot card reader, who proclaims that Polly will murder her husband? What, if any, is the Marchands’ connection to the infamous “Butcher Boy” multiple homicide? And could Marshall and his eccentric brother be keeping a dark secret from Polly, one that will shatter the happiness she has forever prayed for?

To find out more about Nevada Barr and her other books, please visit her website at

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Inside the closet...

It's Friday and you know what that means. Yes! It's the weekend!!

Besides that it is time for a writing prompt. Write a sentence, a paragraph or a page, but have fun and share what you come up with back here.

Friday's writing prompt: Inside the closet. . .

Here is my shot at it:

Inside the closet, Jane sat curled up in a ball with her legs pulled up to her chest and her arms wrapped around her knees and pulled up tight. She folded her lips inward to prevent her teeth from chattering and making noise.

“Be quiet as a church mouse,” her mother told her as she slid the closet door shut.

Jane huddled in the back, dark corner behind her mother’s dresses and winter coats with her fingers pressed to her ears.

“Please, please, make the bad men go away,” she chanted in a whisper as she rocked back and forth. “Please.”

When she heard a loud bang and her mother shriek, her heart froze, stopped then beat in overtime. Jane squeezed herself into as small a ball as possible and held her breath. Another explosion ripped the air. Jane opened her mouth to scream then slapped a hand over it and gave a silent yelp. She buried her head against her knees and her fingernails dug into her legs as she held on to the screech that bubbled and scratched at her throat.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ready for the weekend…and FALL

Is it just me? Am I the only one ready for the weekend? Ready for fall?

I was ready for the weekend before the week started. Maybe it’s because it’s fall, my favorite season where the air is crisp and everywhere I drive I see the bright orange, reds, and yellow leaves reminding of a warm burning fire. It is the time of year where I dress in snuggly warm sweaters, blue jeans, (okay, jeans are my preferred attire any time of year for any event) and cozy socks topped off by leather boots. What can I say? I am a country girl at heart. (Shh. Don’t tell anyone. It will be our little secret.)

I like fall because the crisp, cool air breathes life into everything. The breeze through opened windows smells clean and the rustling leaves are an invitation to go outside and visit them and the smiling mums planted in the garden and along my rock wall. A crackling fire not only warms my fingers and toes, but roasting fluffly white marshmallows on a stick until golden brown then squishing them between two graham crackers and chocolate warms me inside and turns me all ooey and gooey. Added bonus is that the melted chocolate makes my lips sweet and very kissable.

For some people fall is an ending, the ending of summer, the death of all those pretty annuals planted in the garden and yards. For me, fall is a beginning. It is a time where I de-clutter and clean out closets, the house, my life and bring in the new. The poor garbage collection people probably roll their eyes as they turn the corner with their behemoth of a truck and bone-crushing compactor for my street with a dread of never knowing what they will find parked at the end of my driveway each week. To that I say, “I had to carry it to the end of the drive. All you have to do is dump it in your monster machine.”

Fall is watching football and hockey games on television while curled up on a sofa or in a chair eating a bowl of my famous nose-clearing 3-meat chili (beef cubes, ground beef, and bacon) and drinking a cold beer, preferably Magic Hat #9. This is the season when I enjoy baking cookies and pies not just for the tasty treat factor, but also for the homey feel that a fresh baked batch of chocolate chip cookies brings to the house. Along with the baked goodies, I make homemade hot cocoa and on a really chilly day I heat some up, add in a little Kailua or Bailey’s and top it off with a heaping swirl of whipped cream. You know the kind that leaves a creamy moustache in its wake after the first sip.

My favorite holiday, Halloween, is in the fall. Decorating the porch and deck with pumpkins, some carved, some not, with scarecrows and dried ears of corn that the squirrels eat is fun. Handing out candy to the costumed, screaming, and hurried trick-or-treaters while I watch a scary movie, the only night a year I do this, is a blast for me. I always over buy the treats. Walking through a haunted house and jumping three feet off the ground and screaming like a girl (oh that’s right, I am one) because some green hand shot out from a hiding place in the wall is hysterical.

Think of all the fall festivals to attend and the fried dough to eat. Don’t forget about the craft shows to go to just in time before the holiday and shopping season. It is interesting to see what someone else designs and makes. I love homemade anything!

This is the best time of year to start a blazing fire in the fireplace, turn on a table lamp, and sit on the sofa with my feet tucked up beneath me, a glass of spiked hot cocoa or a good wine (in my case that would be champagne) and read a terrific book. Even reading with someone at the other end of the sofa, our feet touching, makes me feel all warm and squishy inside.

Probably the best part of fall is the time spent with one special person going on short hikes, walking hand in hand or in some instances glove to mitten. Then when it’s time for bed, crawling under the three layers of blankets and shoving my ice cold toes between very warm, hairy legs and waiting for a yelp before I giggle and get pinned to the mattress.

This is why I am ready for and love FALL.

Worst and Best things on Monday

I wanted to just add my response to the Worst and Best things that happened to me, but it appears that my response exceeds the size limit. Oops!

So instead, I'm posting it here.

Best and Worst thing I did today

I am basing this on my Monday because that is when I drafted this little post up.

Worst thing I did that say was have to chase down a belt for my lawn mower, but I found it. It only took me 2 days, 6 different stores, and 1 very nice and knowledgeable man.

Best thing I did on Sunday was after I found the lawn mower part. Nope, I did not mow the yard. I could not get the mower apart to hook the thing on. [SHRUG] What can I say? I obviously need to work on my upper body strength.

After I found my mower part, I felt pretty dang good, like I had finally accomplished something for the day. I walked out of the store, inhaled the crisp cool air, then gave a quicker shiver and slid into my car and turned on the heated seat. There is nothing like the feeling of a blowtorch scorching your ass to warm a body up.

In my car, I turned on my audiobook, cracked the windows, and headed my car not toward home, but toward Maine. Gorgeous day and a drive sounded like a nice idea. I drove up to Kittery, Maine and stopped at the outlets.

The thing to know about me is that I am not much of a shopper. Oh, I enjoy people watching, staring at the kids who walk around with their jeans half way to their knees and their boxer shorts hanging out the top of their pants. For someone reason they seem to think that is cool even sexy while the rest of know it looks ridiculous and just hope when they grow up if they want to keep dressing that way they at least become a plumber.

I do however love to walk around at an outside shopping area. I love the feel of sunshine on my face even while the rest of me shivers in the chilly wind. Breath in the fresh, smog-filled air is way better than the stale air of stinky, sweaty people indoors. Then there is the noise of the people talking, the cars driving, horns honking that I can tune out because I am enjoying the outdoor walk from shop to shop with no particular destination in mind.

Yes, I went into a couple of stores but only a few. And yes, I had the best luck. I found a bag that will carry my laptop as well as all my other stuff. No more carting two bags around or trying to stuff everything into one like the bag were a sausage casing. Ick! In preparation for the winter months, I picked up a few sweaters from two of my favorite women’s clothing stores.

The last shop I stopped at was the Polo store. Polo used to make these jeans called Saturday Jeans that I adored. They fit perfect with none of that stretchy spandex crap in the material to make you feel self-conscious. The denim molds to your hiney, fits your legs without being too snug and still you have the room to bend and move, the perfect length when you have short legs like me, and don’t forget the waistband that slid in right below the belly button so the belly-ring does not get caught on the pants. Cuz boy does that hurt!

Polo no longer makes my beloved jeans so while I visited their store I searched out another pair. I went to the men’s section and searched their tables. I found the smallest pair I could find and was holding them up to see if they would fit when a very nice salesperson by the name of MaryAnn approached me and asked if I needed any help. I told her the story of my favorite jeans and she suggested, now this is the cool part, the BEST part. MaryAnn suggested the BOYS’ jeans.

What? Are you kidding? I never even thought of that. Needless to say, I took the salesperson’s advice and wended my way over to the kids’ section and located the boys’ jeans. Unbelievable! I pulled out a pair and took them to the dressing room. In the small room with the mirror covering one wall, I tried on the boys’ jeans. Shock, surprise, and pure delight crossed my face as I flipped and turned and attempted to get a good look at my ass in the mirror.

Wahoo! They fit even better than the Saturday Jeans. I could not believe it. I am a girl remember, so what do you think I did after I found out these fit so well?

I bought 3 pair, of course! As any self-respecting woman would. The best part was that the boys’ jeans are half the price as the women’s jeans.

Lastly, the way I end every trip to Kittery is that I have to stop at McDonald’s on the way out and get a cheeseburger and a Coke. Don’t ask me why but it is a ritual with me and about the only time I ever eat fast food or McDonald’s. It was the topper to a great drive and a wonderful, spur of the moment, shopping spree.

The funny part is, my day did not end there. I completely forgot that I had a massage appointment for later in the day. Can you think of a better way to end the day?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cafe Conversation

If you are like me, you enjoy going out to eat. Have you noticed that on occasion (not all the time) eavesdrop on conversation between other patrons? Sometimes they are so very interesting.

Unfortunately, you can't always hear what two people are saying to each other, you can only read the body language. For example: A woman leans over and whispers into a man's ear while her hand brushes up his thigh. He glances around then holds her hand in place while biting his lip.

Get the picture?

Are they married? Not married? Lovers?

Your writing exercise for today is to write a dialogue between these two, maybe three people sitting at a cafe, pizza joint, or bar. Tell us what they are saying to each other and how. Let's see some body language.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A B Cs of Simple Social Networking Tips for Writers

A B C s of Social Networking
by a non-expert

The little tips I am about to share with you are simple and straightforward and everyone can and should do them.

A. If you visit someone’s blog – leave a comment.

It is fine and dandy that you send the blogger an email and tell him/her how much you enjoyed the article but you as the responder get no exposure. How will anyone but the blogger know you liked or disliked, or shared a comment about the post.

By leaving a comment, even a small one, more people know you exist. How? Other visitors see your image/avatar next to the comment or your website/blog URL and they click on it and visit your site.

B. If someone leaves you a comment – return the favor and visit his or her blog, leave a comment.

Visiting the blog of someone who was kind enough to leave a comment on your blog will give you an opportunity to find someone else of interest. You could end up following their blog or maybe follow someone else’s blog you find a link to off his/her post.

On top of that, this gives you more opportunity to expose yourself. Every time you leave a comment on another person’s blog you increase your exposure and the chance to get more followers.

C. If you read it – Tweet about it.

This is the simplest thing to do. Half the time there is a button or link on someone’s blog that you can click that will let you leave a Tweet on Twitter about what you just read.

If you found the link to the blog you just read on Twitter, be sure to RT (re-tweet) who you found it from and the link to the blog.

Why? Tweeting gives you an even greater amount of exposure because most people have higher volumes of followers through Twitter than their blog. Tweeps on Twitter are reciprocal and tend to pass the word or in this case tweet to all their tweeps.

Remember social networking only works by spreading the word and these three simple ABCs of networking will make you not an expert, but will get you exposure and the opportunity to meet many interesting and like-minded people.

Could your neighbor be a romance writer?

This weekend, Sausan Cragin, author of Nuclear Nebraska and member of the New Hampshire Romance Writers had an article she wrote published in the Concord Monitor, a local newspaper. Is your neighbor a romance writer?

The article is entertaining, interesting, and educational. Take a look at the article, read it, share it with your friends. And the next time you are out and about whether at the grocery store, in a bookstore, at Target or Wal-Mart, pick up romance novel, flip to the back and read the bio of the author. Find out if she is from your neighborhood.

Or when you are out to eat, glance around. Do you see a woman sitting there with a notebook and pen writing away, laughing at nothing, or maybe she has a tiny little computer sitting in front of her, her fingers flying over the keys, making faces at the screen while she types?

She could be a romance writer. Or the romance writer could be sitting there with a companion and instead of listening to the person sitting across from her, she is tuned in to a conversation between two strangers and taking mental notes for her own novel. Be careful what you say in a low whisper. :-)

Next time you are out, pick up a romance, take it home and have a good read. It's the best therapy for a little mental break and a lot of relaxation. Happy reading!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Worst and Best thing that happened to you today?

As a way of getting your creative juices flowing, I thought I would toss this exercise out there.

Tell us what was the worst thing that happened to you yesterday. Give us those descriptive details.

Then tell us the best thing that happened to you yesterday. Show us why it was the best.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

She was restless. . .

Friday's writing prompt was: She was restless. . .

She was restless and fidgety, staring out the window as the rain pelted against the glass. The walls were closing in, slow and steady, trapping her. “When would this damn rain ever let up?”

Jane raked fingers through tangled hair as she paced the wooden floor on her bare feet. The thump of her feet against cold floorboards broke the monotonous sound of rain drumming against the metal roof. Oh, how she hated being cooped up indoors for days. It made her feel like a caged animal. Only it wasn’t an animal keeper holding her in, it was Mother Nature.

“Mother Nature, my ass,” she muttered, curling her fingers and fisting her hands at her sides.

“Rain, rain, go away!” Jane demanded beating her head against the rain-splattered window. “Please, I have got to get out of this prison.”

She could handle being inside for one, maybe two days, but beyond that, she wanted, no needed escape. She needed fresh air, the grass under her feet, tickling between her toes, and dirt. Jane loved digging, getting dirty, planting her flowers because she loved the end result. With the vision of her garden in her mind, she would work from dusk ‘til dawn in her yard then come inside exhausted, filthy, and drop down to her floor, arms out to her sides and sigh with satisfaction. Satisfied because she had taken one step closer to seeing that colorful rainbow of tulips, daffodils, mums, lilies, hydrangea, lilacs in the flesh and not just a faded glow in her dreams.

Being cooped up inside only made her think. She could not focus on anything because niggling little thoughts crept inside her head. She could not take a nap, not because she didn’t want to, but because her body would not let her relax and settle. That and the minute she closed her eyes her mind would start playing images like old movies in her head. Jane shuddered. She did not want to go there.

Who Moved My Cheese? discussion and interpretation

This week as part of the Book-A-Week Challenge, I read Who Moved My Cheese? No offense, but this would not be a story I did not pick up voluntarily, but was a book one of the writers in my group gave me and insisted I read several months ago.

I honestly had thought I had no need to read such a book. I mean, for those of you who do not know me very well, I am an agent of change, a woman who takes the bull by the horns and head-butts him right between the eyes.

Most the time.

Before I tell you too much, let me give you a quick synopsis or my take on this short story. Who Moved My Cheese? is a story about change and how we do and/or can/should deal with it. The author, Spencer Johnson, M.D., uses the tale of two mice named Sniff and Scurry along with two tiny people named Hem and Haw in a maze searching for their cheese. The author uses the analogy of ‘rats in a maze’ as a way of demonstrating the various ways people (you and me) deal with change and our search for what we want.

Like you can’t tell by the names of the characters what their personalities are going to be and how we handle change and fear.

In a nutshell, it comes down to this:

• Change happens (sometimes you expect it and sometimes you don’t)
• Anticipate change (learning to anticipate change makes it easier and quicker to deal with it)
• Adapt to change quickly (since it is bound to happen, the sooner you adjust, the better off you will be)
• Change (you yourself may need to change)
• Enjoy change (be flexible, go with it, and take that bull by the horns and laugh at it)

Here is the key question: What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

You see, it is that fear of change, the unknown that holds us in place, stagnate, a place where we no longer belong.

Example: Let’s say you want to be a published author. One day you wake up and light dawns on that marble head of yours and you say, “I want to be a writer.”

What questions immediately jump into your head?

Unfortunately, the first questions are usually the negative ones. “What if I fail?” “What if no one likes my work?” Or, you don’t even ask the negative, you jump right into the, “There’s no way I can be an author, it’s just a pipe dream.”
Instead, you should ask, “What will I need to succeed?” Or better yet, “Will this endeavor make me happy?”

Biggest Mistake: We don’t notice the need for change when something once worked.

Just because something once worked does not mean that it will continue to be successful. Keep in mind all the businesses that have gone out of business or dropped off your radar because they refused to move with technology. Today we are experiencing this by the truckloads. Look at all the print publishing organizations.

Newspapers, magazines, book publishers, are going down the tubes because they did not want to admit that they had to change. Obviously that is not the reason for all the recent failures, but I would guess it is for the majority.

If we remember that change happens, that it is inevitable, then we can be flexible and aware enough to embrace change when we see the writing on the wall and hopefully before.

In Relationships: Let go of behavior that is the cause of the bad relationship.

This is where you have to get that giant mirror, open your eyes wide, take a good look at yourself and decide what you contribute to a poor relationship. If you say nothing, go get one of those carnival mirrors and try again.

Sounds kind of hokey, but I personally can attest to this one. I’m an enabler, or I was. What that means is that I enable people to maintain their bad habits. How? By letting him/her continue the bad habit because I want them to be happy at the expense of my own happiness. My feelings were never as important as anyone else’s because the placid smoothness of a relationship was easier than fighting for what I wanted.

This is an extremely unhealthy way to live. I know.

The hard part of this was realizing that it was ‘my fault’. I would never, could never have a happy, healthy relationship until I recognized my behavior and changed it. You have to imagine a fiercely independent woman (this is how all my friends and relatives describe me) unable to go for what she wanted if it caused someone else to be dissatisfied.

Now that you know all of this, how do you go after your cheese? What is the next step?

The answer is simple or so it seems. Paint a picture of what you want in your mind and go for it.

Yes, there will be struggles. Yes, people (friends, family, even acquaintances) will doubt you, question you, even think you are nuts at various times. If you are lucky, there will be someone in your corner with those red and purple pom-poms cheering you on, but if you have the doubting-Thomases, do not give up. Ask yourself, “Are you doing this for them or you?”

Keep your eye on the prize or in this case the image in your head of what you will achieve.

I can even attest to this. Even as a kid I knew to visualize what I wanted, see it, play it out in my head, and BAM! There it was. Did it just happen? No. But because I saw it, wanted it, I made it happen.

Case in point, I am a published author. I wanted it. I found out what I needed to succeed, and went after it.

Ah, but remember, that cheese moves. Don’t sit back on your laurels and say, “Hey! I did what I set out to do and now I’m done.” Uh-uh! That’s when your goal/dream must shift, move. Don’t let someone else move your cheese. You move it!

My apologies if this was a little lengthy, but I wanted to share with you my take on Who Moved My Cheese? and that as skeptical as I was in reading the story, it did make me reflect on what I already knew and what I need to still do.

I encourage you to share your own experiences, thoughts, comments. And maybe, just maybe, I will share with you a very personal poem I wrote and amazingly was published that gives you the demonstration of how I moved my cheese.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Borders Book Event Today with CJ West and Nora LeDuc

Book signing event offers thrills, chills, mystery & suspense

Two local Borders Books are getting into the Halloween spirit a little early when they host book signings by highly acclaimed techno-romantic thriller author Denise Robbins. The Oct 10 signing in Concord, N.H. and Oct. 24 signing in Nashua, N.H. will precede a post-Halloween event at Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, N.H., when Robbins joins other published authors for a murder mystery experience on Friday the 13th of November.

Called a master of the techno-romantic thriller field by Night Owl Romance, Robbins is a software engineering manager who uses her knowledge of computers and technology to create tales of crime, romance, and suspense that pulls readers in and never lets them go.

Coffee Time Romance called Robbins’ latest novel Killer Bunny Hill, a “gripping suspense story,” while Café of Dreams said in its review, “Ms. Robbins blends together secrets, intrigue, suspense, and romance as easily and wonderfully as a master chef blends the ingredients for a delectable gourmet meal.”

The Midwest Book Review gave her debut novel It Happens in Threes five stars, and says the book is “packed with scorching romance, nail-biting suspense, and nonstop action,” making it a great read for both men and women.

Readers are invited to come out and meet Robbins and authors CJ West and Nora LeDuc on Oct. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Borders in Concord. If you miss this event, Robbins and LeDuc will team up with Robin Beaudette and Michaeline Della Fera from 2 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the Borders in Nashua.

To learn more about Robbins and her books, or the murder mystery event at Zorvino Vineyards, visit

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday's Creative Writing Prompt

On most Friday's, not all I like to give you something to go away with and think about then give you time to come back and share what you came up with.

This prompt stemmed from me last weekend. :-)

Prompt: She was restless. . .

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On my way to get a haircut. . .

Last night I stopped off to get a bite to eat as well as a Perfect Margarita before I went for my haircut. While at the restaurant, I worked on some edits for another author's manuscript.

I am not one who can do edits on paper. I have to have my laptop. There I sat with my small laptop at the corner of the restaurant's bar where there is good lighting editing.

I wasn't even two bites into my salad when a man, dare I say older man, comes up and starts talking with me. I am a native Mid-westerner and now live in New Hampshire and we are friendly sort of people so when he asked me questions about my computer I answered his questions. When my steak arrived I hoped he would have been polite and left me to my meal and my edits. Nope! That was not to be the case.

He chatted on until the waitress caught my eye and rescued me. Unfortunately, that only lasted a few minutes because after she walked away he returned and asked if I wanted to eat at his table. I politely declined stating that my meal had already been delivered and I had some work to do.

OH! Do you think he would understand that. No! In the back of my head I screamed for him to scoot along and let me eat my meal in peace. All the while cursing myself for being too blasted nice.

When his meal was delivered by the manager, he finally went about his meal and allowed me to eat my now cold steak.

Ahh! But the time there was not a total waste. While I sat there attempting to choke down cold meat, two gentleman slid into the bar stools to my right. You know how it is when you go to restaurants and tables are close together. You just cannot help but hear the conversation.

I won't go into all the details, but suffice it to say, right before I left to get my hair cut, the one guy asked the other how classes were going. The younger man seemed to be happy with his college courses but not thrilled with the English/Reading classes.

He said something to the effect of, "I just can't get into reading. Nothing is interestig."

DING! I could so relate to what this man said. As I went through school I never enjoyed reading the stories the school picked out. I think it was a matter of I HAD to read them and did not want to read them because I actually LOVED to read. I wanted to read what I liked and what I chose.

Anyway, I felt for this guy and as I packed up my laptop and bag, I remembered I had a copy of Killer Bunny Hill in it. DUH! Any good author carries a copy of their latest novel around with them. You just never know who you might meet.

So, I pulled out the book, scratched my signature on the inside very quickly and handed it to him. I said, "Here maybe this will make you want to read more." Smiling, I turned to leave then spun back. "Oh, and yes, I wrote that book."

The would be reader and the other gentleman with him thanked me and asked if I had an email so they could let me know what they thought. Alright, so sometimes I can be a flake and forgot all about the stash of bookmarks I carry until then. I whipped one out, handed it to him, pointed out my website URL and told them, "I would love to hear what you think."

They thanked me again and I wished them a nice evening and happy reading.

My hope is that one or both of them truly do read the story and that the gentleman who is in college might start liking to read just a little bit more.

Foods you detested most?

What foods did you detest the most as a kid? Why?

Do you still detest them? Have you even tried them?

What does this have to do with writing? Well, you know it does so why even ask such a silly question? :-)

Besides sharing the answers to the above questions, what I want us to do is pick on of those nasty foods and describe it. Tell us what it looked like, how it smelled, tasted.

What exactly, in a very visual way, made you turn up your nose every time you saw this disgusting food on your plate?

Look forward to seeing your least favorite/most detested food descriptions.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Book your plans for Saturday, October 10 2pm to 4pm

Book signing event offers thrills, chills, mystery & suspense

Two local Borders Books are getting into the Halloween spirit a little early when they host book signings by highly acclaimed techno-romantic thriller author Denise Robbins. The Oct 10 signing in Concord and Oct. 24 signing in Nashua will precede a post-Halloween event at Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, N.H., when Robbins joins other published authors for a murder mystery experience on Friday the 13th of November.

Called a master of the techno-romantic thriller field by Night Owl Romance, Robbins is a software engineering manager who uses her knowledge of computers and technology to create tales of crime, romance, and suspense that pulls readers in and never lets them go.

Coffee Time Romance called Robbins’ latest novel Killer Bunny Hill, a “gripping suspense story,” while Café of Dreams said in its review, “Ms. Robbins blends together secrets, intrigue, suspense, and romance as easily and wonderfully as a master chef blends the ingredients for a delectable gourmet meal.”

The Midwest Book Review gave her debut novel It Happens in Threes five stars, and says the book is “packed with scorching romance, nail-biting suspense, and nonstop action,” making it a great read for both men and women.

Readers are invited to come out and meet Robbins and authors CJ West and Nora LeDuc on Oct. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Borders in Concord. On Oct. 24, Robbins and LeDuc will team up with Robin Beaudette and Michaeline Della Fera from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Borders in Nashua.

To learn more about Robbins and her books, or the murder mystery event at Zorvino Vineyards, visit

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Writing Prompt Tuesday! - He never. . .

It's Tuesday and you know what that means. . .Time for a new writing prompt.

This prompt came to me on Friday evening during my ride home from work. And rather than have a female in this one, I decided to change the pace and make this from a male point-of-view.

Prompt: He never regretted. . .

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dewey's Read-a-Thon

You all know how much I love to read books. That was part of why I started the Book-A-Week Challenge. I also wanted to get more people reading other books.

Well, it turns out I am not the only crazy person who loves to read a lot of books. @Trishheylady over on Twitter posted a link for Dewey's Read-a-Thon. Follow this link for more information

The idea is to spend 24 hours STRAIGHT reading. No, you do not have to read straight through. Afterall, life must go on, and some people do need sleep. BUT, ultimately, the idea is to read as many books as you can in a 24 hour timeframe and blog about it. Read other bloggers posts on what they are reading, and generally read a lot and have fun.

The next Dewey's Read-a-Thon is Saturday, October 24, the same day I have a book event with three other authors. That's okay. That will be my break time. See, audiobooks do count so while I'm driving to and from the Borders Books in Nashua for the book event, I will listen to one of the many audiobooks I recenly ordered. It's all good!

Then I'll return home and blog about what I listened to and possibly the book event, and continue to read.

I urge you to participate in this event, to read as many books as you can in the alotted 24-hour time period, and have fun. Heck! Go check out the other readers and their blogs! To sign up click this link and scroll down to enter your name and URL.

If you don't have time to read on Saturday, October 24 then sign up to be a cheerleader or donate a prize for the event. Again, go to the same link and follow the directions.

If you sign up let me know by posting a comment here. Start making your book list and let's make this a party of a Saturday!

If you're in NH, stop by Borders in Nashua on Saturday, October 24 from 2 PM to 4 PM and see me, Nora LeDuc, Robin Beaudette, and Michaeline Della Fera. Afterwards, we can get a cup of coffee and read!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Frustrated writers - You are not alone

A Little Whine

One day last week when I was home feeling miserable with a sinus infection, I received some information related to my writing. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad news by any means, just not as good as I would like to see.

Needless to say, I was disappointed and frustrated, and started to ask myself why. Why am I doing this thing called writing? Did I honsetly think I could be an author? Was I chasing a pipe dream?

Later in the week, it was as if other frustrated writers came out of the woodwork. I saw someone post something on Twitter, expressing her doubts with herself and her writing abilities. Then on my published authors loop another author shared her concerns with her writing career. Surprise! We were not alone.

Several writers on Twitter and even more on my loop chimed in and offered up their thoughts on how every writer, whether published or unpublished, experiences frustration with their current stage in their writing career. It is completely normal to question your abilities and whether the pain, rejection, and time is worth it.

I also have a small group of writers that I meet up with about once a month who have seen me through getting my first book published, the completion of my second manuscript and its subsequent publication and more. We support each other and I decided that I needed to vent a little so those lucky people received an email from me where I verbally spewed out my frustration in what I titled, A Little Whine.

In return, I received several emails from my friends. Mostly they smacked me upside my blonde head and said, "Get a grip."

They said a lot more but here are a few snippets.

To quote my friend Steve, "Denise, are you freak'en kidding me. You are a member of the starving artists club. I can only dream to aspire to be where you are right now."

I'll paraphrase my friend Judy here. "You write because you love writing. Now that you are published you have raised the bar. With that new goal, you have to have patience. Keep doing what YOU love and do it because you love it and it will come around."

Later on, my friend David chimes in. "Truthfully, Judy and Steve have pretty much said the truth and why you should take great pride in how far you've come so far. That said, everything you report - your frustrations. All true."

WAIT! It gets better. Then David offers a quote from Charles Bukowski on the topic of keeping on. Talk about hit the mark with a straight shot to the heart and head.

David ends his well aimed sermon with this. "We’ve seen you wrack up the words, pen great scenes, and do it so it looks easy (tho it isn’t). So, yes, be disappointed. But don’t be discouraged. End of sermon."

This I share with all you writers, published or unpublished, frustrated or content, because no matter what, at some point you will question and maybe even at more than one point, you will question what you are doing, whether you have the ability, and if it is all worth it.

I leave you with this quote from Charles Bukowski:

"If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is."
— Charles Bukowski (Factotum)

PS - Thank you Judy, Steve, and David!

Book-A-Week-Challenge reading Who Moved My Cheese

A few months back at a NHRWA writers group meeting, we all brought in books to donate to the Bow Library in Bow, NH. Before we gave the enormous amounts of books over to the wonderful librarians, we had an opportunity to go through each other's books and see if there was something we wanted to take for our own.

Yeah, I know, that defeats the purpose of cleaning out your own library, but you never know what little gem you might find in somebody else's "already read pile".

Anyway, I was just sitting there and one of the other writers, I won't name names, handed me the book, Who Moved My Cheese. I looked at her and thought she was nuts. Well, she is, but she told me in no uncertain terms that I had to read the book.

"Fine," I mumbled and took the book. Well, it has sat on my coffee table for long enough. This week we read Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, MD for this week's Book-A-Week Challenge.

At the end of the week, on Sunday, instead of an author interview, let's have a Q&A and see what you thought of and got out of this book. I know I'm interested to see why my friend was so adamant about shoving this book at me. :-)

I'll see you next Sunday, October 11, to have a book chat. In the meantime, happy reading!

Pub. Date: January 1998
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Hardcover, 96pp
ISBN-13: 9780399144462

Purchase: B&N

Blurb: Who Moved My Cheese? is the story of four characters living in a "Maze" who face unexpected change when they discover their "Cheese" has disappeared. Sniff and Scurry, who are mice, and Hem and Haw, little people the size of mice, each adapt to change in their "Maze" differently. In fact, one doesn't adapt at all...

This timeless allegory reveals profound truths to individuals and organizations dealing with change. We each live in a "Maze", a metaphor for the companies or organizations we work with, the communities we live in, the families we love places where we look for the things we want in life, "Cheese". It may be an enjoyable career, loving relationships, wealth, or spiritual peace of mind. With time and experience, one character eventually succeeds and even prospers from the change in his "Maze".In an effort to share what he has learned along the way, he records his personal discoveries on the maze walls, the "Handwriting on the Wall". Likewise, when we begin to see the "writing on the wall", we discover the simplicity and necessity of adapting to change.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A sweet treat to read by

There are days when all you want to do is sit down and curl up with a good book and read. For me, there aren't enough of those days, so when I get one I want to enjoy every minute of it. And while a good book will take my mind away from the here and now and export me to a world of action-adventure, love and dreams, crime and passion, it leaves my body behind.

So while I'm curled up in a chair fantasizing about being an undercover operative dressed in silk and fishnet stockings with a two-shot Lady Derringer strapped to my garter, my palate has a taste for something sweet and my stomach does a slow grumble.

A nice glass of wine or a good beer will add to the relaxation of that terrific novel that has sucked me in, but it neither of those will do anything for that rumbling roller coaster in my stomach. A sandwich or soup or even pizza won't do because then you have to take your eyes off the book in order to to spill the food down the front of you or onto the pristine pages of your novel. You can't have chips because your fingers get that cheezy, salty, greasy residue on them and then you leave fingerprints on the wonderful pages of that suspense story.

What do you do then?

The answer is something sweet and preferably chocolatey. You could go out a buy a box of your favorite chocolates like Lindt or Godiva, or you can make your own.

The following is a very simple recipe to make a CHOCOLATE CLUSTER. Clusters are in my mind one of the best chocolates because depending on what you add for the CRUNCH ingredient you can make them sweet or sweet-n-salty. These are also simple and fun to do with the kids.



1 pound of chocolate (This could be chocolate chips or bars or confectionary chocolate)

CRUNCH Center (pretzels, toasted coconut, chopped nuts, cranberries, crushed oreos...)


Place chocolate in a bowl
Microwave chocolate in 30 second intervals until melted and stir until smooth
Add in CRUNCH ingredient and stir until mixed
Drop spoonfuls of mixture into lined mini-muffin tins or small candy molds
Refrigerate until firm

After your clusters are done, store them in a plastic baggie in the fridge. Now, whenever you get a chance to open that book that has been on the top of your To Be Read pile for a month, you have that something sweet to keep your noisy stomach at bay and your mind inside the scene where the heroine is fleeing the sharp-shooter for her life.

Grab that glass of wine, those chocolate clusters, your book and Enjoy!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Everyone needs a little pixie dust and cocoa powder

You've read my books, seen interviews of me on various blogs and websites, and just when you think you know Denise Robbins the author, she throws something else at you.

For those of you who don't know, besides being a writer, I am also a chocolatier. I make all kinds of chocolate treats. I started the two ventures, making chocolate candies (truffles first then shaped-lollipops) and writing at about the same time.

Every fall I make caramel covered and sometimes caramel/chocolate covered apples for Mack's Apples, a local apple orchard. During the holiday season I usually make dozens upon dozens of chocolate snowmen, bears with Santa hats, penguins in winter scarves, etc., for my friends who own Big Easy Bagel in Manchester, NH.

Throughout the year I will make various candies and chocolate sweets for baby showers, weddings, birthdays, school events, sports events, and charities. This year I even made something very special for the ladies of the New Hampshire Romance Writers group when I gave a talk on how to write a love scene. ;-) Let's just say they had great inspiration to write that scene.

This is me five years ago when I first started making all that chocolate and a local television show, The NH Chronicle, asked me to be on a segment.

Publicity can be so much fun. . .and fattening! Come back tomorrow and I'll post a recipe for something sweet and chocolatey. Because as my slogan says, "Everyone needs a little pixie dust and cocoa powder."

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