Thursday, December 16, 2010

The History of Mistletoe

This came to me in an email from a florist shop in Phoenix. I thought you might enjoy knowing the history if you didn't already.

Since Victorian times, mistletoe has been a cherished Christmas decoration if only to provide the excuse for a kiss when hung in a prominent doorway.
The tradition of misletoe finds it's origin in pagan rituals. After the Winter Solstice, Druid priests cut mistletoe down from the Oak trees in a special ceremony.The priests separated the branches and distributed sprigs of mistletoe among the people to protect them from evil. The ancient Celts believed the plant held miraculous healing powers. In fact, the word "mistletoe" in Celtic means "All-Heal".

Scandinavian mythology holds that Baldur, god of peace was slain by Loki, god of destruction with an arrow made from mistletoe. Outraged by the injustice of Baldur s death the other gods and goddesses demanded his life be restored. As a token of thanks, Baldur s mother, Frigga, hung mistletoe and promised to kiss all who passed beneath it, thus establishing the symbolism of love, peace and forgiveness that is now associated with mistletoe.

The use of mistletoe as a romantic lure stems from England as early as the 1500s. In 1520, William Irving wrote that a young man should pluck a berry each time he kisses a young girl beneath the mistletoe. When all the berries are plucked off the mistletoe it no longer has romantic powers.

Mistletoe is an evergreen plant that lives throughout the southern United States, from the Atlantic Coast to California, and on every continent except Antarctica. Mistletoe is actually a parasitic plant, found high in the trees. It doesn't take root in the ground, but in the branches of tree itself. Although it gets all its nutrients by taking them from the tree, its presence keeps the tree green throughout the winter.

Even if the pagan significance has been long forgotten, the custom of exchanging a kiss under the mistletoe can still be found in many European countries, United States and Canada.

Happy Holidays,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nymph's - Which One Are You?

Over on eHarlequin, author Stephanie Draven, did a post on What kind of Nymph are you. Now this post was a few month's back (July 20th), but the quiz looked fun and her cover is great.

So with all the hussle and bussle (that's a nice way of saying holiday stress), I'm posting my nymph self below with the link to find out who your nymph self is.

Gotta say, it would be nice to look like that. :)

So, check it out and let us know who your nymph self is.

What Is Your Nymph Type?

Land Nymph

Land nymphs come in many varieties such as Auloniads (pastures), Leimakids (meadows), and Napaeae (mountain valleys, glens).

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

Happy holidays,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's Cold and The Day Job is...Busy

Just thought I'd pop in and say hi. (I know, it's been way too long, but I'm going to work changing that).

Our Sunny Florida may still be sunny, but the weather is cold. Coat's and gloves cold. At least for those of us who live here. Those of you who live up north probably think this is nothing. :)

Work has been a bear to say the least. Normally this is the month were everything slows down, but this's picked up to a crazy frenzy.

Science Guy and I have decorated the outside and inside of the house and it's so nice to go home and see the lights shinning from the street, then walk inside to see the tree and village. We're doing 'light' Christmas shopping this year, which surprisingly enough is okay. I'm finding that spending time with family and friends is the most important thing.

Oh and my son just got engaged to the most wonderful person. Welcoming her into the family has been great. I'm so excited for them both.

Writing. be honest it's been tough for the past few months. The weekends have been busy and after 10 hour days turning on the computer when I get home has not been top of the list. Still, I've been hand writing. You know, with the whole paper and pen thing. Jotting down scenes that need to come next and that sort of stuff. Editing what's already written and then adding some new words as well. Not enough, but at least there is something.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

I am So Thankful...

I don't know about you, but I have a lot to be thankful for.

My Family - who is always there for me no matter what. I don't think I would make it a day without them and I am thankful that they are my family - and yes, my animals are part of this. :-)
My friends - which I don't think I tell near enough that I'm very thankful they are in my life.
My Job - no matter how much I bitch about it sometimes, I need it and am thankful to have it.
My Health - that's just a given.

The Sun, The Stars, The Moon and everything else that I get to wake up to every day. Sometimes I think we lose track of the little things in life and forget to be thankful for them. There is always someone out there worse off then I am (and better off), and no matter how bad my life might look (or, even how good) from one minute to the next, I understand that in a blink of an eye it could all be gone.

And, thank you for being you!

So I am thankful - for everything! What are you thankful for?

Hugs & Happy Thanksgiving (to my American folks)
LKap - Ann Laurie

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I honestly don’t know what to write. I’ve been sitting here for the past 40 minutes looking at a piece of paper. Writing things then erasing them.

It’s almost the same process with my WIP these days, so I guess it’s not just the book it’s me.

I’ve had a lot on my personal plate lately that has taken up what I believe is every creative bone in my body. I can’t tell if I’m coming or going.

And now the holidays are just around the corner. I mean really when did that happen? How did November sneak up on me and I missed it all?

I don’t know about you, but my holiday is going to be small, probably smaller than last year even. Of course, it’s about money, but more important is that I don’t need anything. Sure there are things that we all want, but to sacrifice paying the bills, or getting behind, or stealing from savings for one day out of the year has become ridiculous to me.

Could be that I’m getting older, Princess is older, and I’ve realized that it’s my friends and family that mean more to me than possessions.

Or maybe it’s as one of my friends tells me every year, “This is my Scrooge time of year.”

Either way, I want to make memories, because time seems to fly by me too fast. I can tell you more about my characters than I can about the people around me. SO NOT GOOD!!!

So my quote to live by: We only live once – live it!

I’d love to hear what’s on your mind as we go into the holiday season.

Ann Laurie

Monday, November 1, 2010


To kick off my new blog and the 4th book in my good friend Shayla Black’s Doomsday Brethren Series…

I’m having a contest

Go here to find out all the deets: Ann Laurie

Don't worry I'll still be around here too, but what a better way to celebrate!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


October is one of those months you love or hate. I'm in the dislike category.

I suppose I should clarify. I love the weather of October, the change in season that we finally get here in Florida. Those things I love. It's actually the whole scary side of October that I'm not crazy about.

I've watched horror films, but I can't stand them. Odd I know coming from someone who loves paranormal romances and urban fantasy. It's the blood and gore that creeps me out. I can't watch or read horror without having nightmares for weeks.

Oh, the power of the imagination.

And in October there isn't anything but this on T.V. October has become horror month, and it drives me crazy because even the advertising is hard for me to watch. I know I'm a complete and total wimp, but there it is.

Are you a lover or hater of horror?


Thursday, September 23, 2010


I've been lax for a few weeks and I'm sorry about that. But I've been busy...Really! Not to mention all the new shows and returning favorites to watch. Crazy I tell you.

I've written two (2) short stories and sent them off. Everyone cross your fingers, and don't you worry I'll be needing a little help with one should it get accepted, since it's a contest of sorts. So, I'll be letting you know more when and if the time comes. And if it doesn't, I'll have it up as a free read at some point

I'm also working on a huge project that needs lots of attention and plotting *eyes rolling* just to make sure it's right. I prefer to be an organic writer, but with this there is no way, so the plotting alone just might kill me, not to mention if this idea ever gets written. Here's hoping. :- )

So in saying all that. What has everyone else been up to?

I can't be the only one that danced outside at 11:09 pm and burned a dollar bill for prosperity in the coming year. Yes, it was the equinox. And yes, again, I'd never done that, but I need all the help I can get these days. So bare with my craziness...LOL

Miss everyone, so just pop in and say HI!


Monday, September 13, 2010

New York Here I Come

I’m flying to New York this afternoon and will be there until Friday. I’m meeting my sister and my daughter there and we’re staying at The London. Science Guy is staying home with the babies (dogs, just in case you wondered). So this is a true girl’s week, which is really nice since the three of us don’t live anywhere near each other.

It’s Fashion Week! OMG, talk about not sure what to pack. Not that anyone will care what I’m wearing with beautiful models all over the place, but hey, still want to look good. :)

Our hotel is one block from Broadway. That’s it, just one block. The plan is to see at least one show, maybe two. So excited about that. We’re going to do some of the traditional things, like a carriage ride in Central Park, see Rockefeller Center, go to The Museum of Modern Art, shopping, and go to some fabulous places for dinner.

Hmm…I think I forgot to mention one thing. I’ve never been to the city of New York. I want to step outside the hotel and feel the city rush around me, to become immersed with the place, buy a hot dog from a street vendor, and I don’t know…just experience as much as I can in the time I’m there.

One of the restaurants we’re going to is TAO. They have a huge Buddha suspended in air over a reflection pond. Pictures are a must. I’m going to be total tourist. The other restaurants are fabulous as well, but I can’t wait to see this place.

My sister is in New York once a month for her business (one of her offices is there), so she knows the city, which is really nice. She told me we’re going to several great bars, one of them being a roof top bar. (Again, pictures will be necessary).

Funny thing is I don’t really care about taking pictures of stars which I’m told will be staying at our hotel, it’s the sights that I want pictures of. Don’t get me wrong, I think stars are cool and all; I’m just not a star struck kind of girl. Totally respect what they’ve accomplished in their careers, but to me they’re still people just like the rest of us.

I’ll try to post some pictures through out the week, and next week there will be a contest so watch out for it.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

911 - Never Forget

There are things in our lives that happen and change us forever. September 11, 2001 or as we know it as 9-11 is one of those things.

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I was the registrar at Wharton High School and guidance was crazy busy with all of the new enrollment packages.

I remember the horror as we watched live TV and saw the second plane crash into the second tower.

I remember the news of the plane that went down as heroic men and women stopped the terrorist from reach that intended target.

I remember the first tower falling to the ground and almost feeling the weight of it with in me. Then the second one fell and no words were spoken around me, only silent tears running down adults and high school student’s faces.

I remember the ash filling the city like a gray snow, covering anything and everything in its path.

I remember the need to hold my children close to me although my daughter was away at college and my son was in middle school.

I remember the pandemonium that began with parents coming to pick up their children (high school children) and take them home.

Everyone knew someone who may have been there and even if they didn’t we all felt pain and loss as we watched people searching for their loved ones. Firefighters, policemen, brave men who wept as one of their own perished.

New York is our city, the very heart of our nation and it had been injured.

Then stories began to be told.

Stories of true hero’s and heroines, who risked their own lives for others. Stories of normal everyday people who believed we are a nation of strength and helped those of us who felt broken believe it too.

Yet will all of the tragedies, I saw a national come together as one. For a time we didn’t worry about the color of someone’s skin, or what their bank account said or for that matter what their religion was/is.


We remembered that we are a nation made up of individuals who believe in a common ground.

We remembered that we are ALL American’s and how dare someone do this to us on our soil.

We remembered to hug our kids, kiss our spouses, and wave to our neighbors each morning.

We remembered what it meant to believe in what America stands for.

During the days that followed, we wept as we watched loved ones say farewell to those who had passed on.


We also felt a pride of the Red, the White, and Blue and although it hurt to see the very heart of our nation look like a battle zone, we grew, we stood a little taller, and yes we knew that we would never forget.

Thank you to those who gave their lives to save others. Thank you to those whose loved ones gave their lives and may peace fill your life forever.

I’m proud to be an American. We may not be perfect, Lord knows we have our faults, but we are still the greatest nation in the world and I for one am blessed to call America my home.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

24 Years....

In four days is my 24th Wedding Anniversary!

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I’ve been married for over half my life. But if you’ve ever met my HHB you’d know why. He’s my rock, my laughter, my chef, my trainer, my lover, the best father imaginable for our daughter, and my sanity—just to name a few.

He’s always believed in me more than I’ve ever believed in myself. And for that alone I know he’s more than I deserve.

Which brings me to the song I’ve dedicated to him, when I found this I immediately sent it to him (after I dried my eyes, of course.)

I hope you enjoy one of my favorite artists: Christian Kane (Amazing singer, actor and I’ve given you eye candy!) I know I’m generous like that. :- D

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Winners....Sorry I'm late....

In the flurry and excitement that was a four day weekend for me I completely forgot to do this - my apologies. And since I was forgetful both commenters win..YAY!!!

PatriciaW & Vixen Pearl

Please email me at lauriekap at yahoo .com by Saturday the 11th to claim your books. If I don't hear from you prizes are forfeit. Email me your snail mail and two genre's you like and I'll see what I can do (since this is a grab bag) :-)

So for my littlt ditty:
I've chosen #1 and #4 - couldn't use #2 no matter how much I wanted to because he's the muse for a story I'm already working on...LOL

Okay this was a bit rushed, but here goes

International business man Stephan Francotti was finally taking a much needed vacation. His yacht, docked in Dubi, he soaks up the sun before he attends a private auction that evening. The last thing he expected was to have a woman climb aboard and threaten him at gun point to take her away from the most decedent place on earth.

Shannon Blake had been kidnapped and taken to a foreign land where she overheard she was going to be sold to the highest bidder. Shannon slips away in the dead of night with help from an undercover agent sent to uncover the sex trade organization. All he gives her is the name of a yacht and tells her to go as far away as possible. Could she trust that this millionaire wasn’t the one who had her kidnapped and would become her saving grace? She wasn’t sure, but currently she was out of any other options.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Let's Play a Game

I need some creative energy and thinking outside the box never hurts right?! And I love to see all the angles people can come up with for the same thing.

Pick any 2 (only 2 - from top to bottom 1-4) Tell me which you picked and their story?

Keep it concise and PG-13 please.

Sometime Sunday night I’ll pick a random winner for some Free books.

I’m not posting my blurb until I announce the winner. ;-D

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Some of you are aware that one of my WIP’s has a reincarnation theme.

Which then got me to thinking, about things in our lives we like without being able to explain them.

I have quite a few things where I can tell you the moment my life was changed and why I do certain things. Take being an animal lover for instance. It happened when I was in second grade where we watched a movie on animal abuse – I know, right – second grade!!! From that day forward I brought home any stray that needed a home. And, I’m still that way.

Cause => Effect

It’s that simple.

But what about those things you can’t explain….

For instance I love lace. Have no idea why. My mom isn’t the lacy type, neither were my grandmothers. Me? Yep – even added Italian Victorian lace to my wedding dress. It is something so simple that pulls me and I can’t explain it. Like my fascination with Italy, Pearls, the sea – I can’t explain why, it just is.

So then, the brain goes into overdrive and I start to wonder why I’m pulled to a certain look in a man. Where did I acquire that personal taste?

Hence, bringing me back to my original thought – Did I live in another time? What did lace have to do with my life? Was there a man in my past life that had the same characteristics as the characteristics I look for to this day?

I can’t answer these questions, probably no one can (okay, someone can try), but would I believe I was a Mafia princess in the 1800’s (just taking in all the things I love and coming up with something semi-logical…LOL), even if someone told me that – probably not.

But in looking at all of that, I can see how my brain works on plots, causes and effects. Funny how that happens huh?

So have you got anything you like or dislike that you really can’t explain?

Let me know – I love this stuff


Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Bench...Really?!

I know there are a lot of blogs about RWA 2010 Conference, and this one is no different. I just happen to have a different take on where the magic happens. Go figure, right?!

I learned more about the craft, met new people, hung out with old friends and put faces to internet friends. But, all in all, my most memorable time at this conference, as well as all the others, is the bench.

Outside, away from the hustle and bustle that is conference. Where people meet to relax and unwind. Where water, iced coffee and pink lemonade abound. That is the bench!

This year we commandeered not one, but two benches and deemed them the V.I.P. area. There was always a steady stream of people and Christine swears I never left (although I did quite often). Although, I did seem to be there whenever she strolled up. Hmmm

The best part about the bench…whenever there was a lull, suddenly a text would beep on my phone that said: V.I.P.

Nothing more was needed. We knew right where to go to find comfort amongst friends.

The conversations we’d have, no matter if it was at 2:00pm or 2:00am were by far the funniest, most interesting and compelling I had with anyone at the conference. I can honestly say I laughed, cried and contemplated the mysteries of writing and life on those benches with people that I hope will be in my life forever.

On the bench there was no pretense. We were mostly women—poor Jaci’s Biker Dude was totally outnumbered—but he was AWESOME and I’m sure up for Sainthood by now. And my new, bestest bud Sarah, who not only has a rock star mom, Maya, she is a rock star in her own right. Such a great girl—I’m just sayin’. Luv that girl!!!

But, I digress…

We were women just talking about life, and writing while finding common ground as people. Never once did I feel as if it mattered to these awesome people around me who was published, or who wasn’t, who was an editor or an agent. The only thing that mattered on that bench was that we all “clicked”.

No one can teach you how to have moments like those. It’s about being yourself and hoping everyone around you gets you and your wry sense of humor.

REALLY?! **insert head tilt here** ;-D

Hugs & Smooches

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Conference Brain is Finally Receding

I love RWA conference and truly the RWA board out did themselves this year. With the floods in Nashville, they were left with little time to secure a location that could and would hold all of us.

Imagine 2500 romance writers in one place. And that’s not counting the people who came over to conference without actually attending it. Romance writers, readers, lots of great conversations, food, drinks, and very little sleep. It was great.

What wasn’t so great was the heat. Yes, I live in Florida and you’d think I’d be used to the sweltering weather. Not so much. In the middle of the state there isn’t a breeze, or at least not much of one. And of course, they had a couple of record breaking heat days while we were there.

And I have the best roommate in the world. None other than my BFF and critique partner, LKap. The two of us together can be dangerous, but it’s a no brainer fun will be a part of everything we do.

Seeing mine and LKaps peeps and meeting new ones is some of the best times at conference for me. These include not yet published, published authors, editors, and agents. This once a year time is the only time I get to see them face to face and do we have fun.

It’s not about pitching to these people; it’s not about the work load, but more about what’s going on with each other over the past year. Catching up and knowing when Saturday night and Sunday morning roll around the good byes are bittersweet. We’re ready to go home, sleep in our own beds (well, sleep period will be a good thing), yet knowing it will be many months before we have this time again is hard.

We’ll talk online and send texts (hey, even flashing truckers will be shared), but it’s a long time until we’ll all be together again in the VIP area.

Nope, not even going to begin to name them here, because it’s not about who they are, but what their friendship means to me and LKap.

Workshops are another great thing at conference. Some people attend as many as they can, while I’m a little choosier on which ones I go to. That’s not because I’m all that a bag of chips (trust me, I’m not and I know that I’m not), no, it’s because my local chapter has fabulous workshops each month. Several of the conference workshops were given by my chapter mates.

I did attend Donald Maass’s workshop and can I go on record to say OMG, it was amazing! Of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s funny and not bad to look at either. Heehee. I can honestly say if you’re given the chance to hear him, go. Don’t hesitate; don’t ask yourself if you can afford it or if you should spend the time. The answer is yes.

Conference brain does linger on, taking days to settle down and allow you to remember what you were going for when you’re standing with the refrigerator door open and have no idea why.

You’re proud that RWA members such as yourself raised a ton of money to give to literacy. This is huge to me as a writer.

The book signings during conference will have waiting in line early and your back aching as you carry another box, full of free books signed by your favorite authors and the new authors you’ll now be reading, back to your room to be shipped home or packed in your car.

So conference means: no sleep, conference brain (that leaves you feeling a bit unglued), fabulous workshops, seeing friends, and meeting new ones. You pitch editors or agents your baby in hopes they’ll want to see read it and love it. Your feet hurt but you’ve got amazing pictures in your Rita/Golden Heart attire. You may think you might be getting a little too old for staying up all night partying (and this is from the young ones). But the thing is you’ll do it again and again. Where else can you sit at a luncheon and nibble on chicken of some kind and laugh while Nora Roberts talks only to end up during the last few lines of her speech wiping tears wondering where they came from.

You’ll have renewed energy to pursue your writing career, and you may find out you don’t Suck (thank you Kimberly Lang ). You’ll know that when Nora Roberts tells you ‘We eat hard for breakfast’, it’s the truth. And you’ll understand exactly what she means.

I miss the VIP group tons already and I can’t wait until we can do all over again next year in New York!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gearing Up....

As many of you know RWA Nationals is just around the corner. And I'm totally stoked.

Not only are there great workshops and parties, but I get to see friends (fellow authors) that I only get to see once a year.

I'm already anticipating what to take, what to wear, what to eat, drink and yes even when I'm going to fit in exercising.

Whew - are you as exhausted as I am already?

I didn't make any agent/editor appointments this year, as I don't have a manuscript completed, but that doesn't mean I won't enjoy talking to them at the bar or with friends.

The itinerary is getting full and as each day passes I find I'm getting edgier and edgier for this trip to be here.

I love all the information, but honestly, I can't wait to once again see my friends that through the rest of the year are email buddies or occasional phone friends.

So since I won't be around next week, I raise a glass of pink lemonade in salute and hope to see you all in Orlando.

Tell me what is the one thing you won't travel without?

Me = a book (even though I'll be getting way more than needed at this conference)


Thursday, July 15, 2010


Is it really so hard to understand why women are in love with vampires. I've collected a few pics and to me it's quite obvious.

And for they guys - well she is HOT

Who is your Favorite?


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gardening and...Bugs

I love having a garden. It’s totally cool to plant seeds and watch them grow into plants. Picking my own tomatoes and bell peppers has saved us money and they taste better than any I’ve purchased in the grocery store.

Our cantaloupe and watermelon haven’t faired quite as well. We’ve had great flowering and even had fruit, but they don’t seem to grow very big before they just sort of rot. I’m not sure what’s happening to them or than days of too much rain and bugs.

These pests are the kind you can just see and kill. No, they’re tiny microscopic things that leave a fine white dust on the plants. We didn’t put Sven on the plants, as Science Guy didn’t want to put pesticides on our veggies and fruit. I agree with him, except we apparently need this in order to stop the bugs.

Grasshoppers also had a great time. In fact, I’m pretty sure they thought we planted all of this just for them. Their own personal restaurant, one without cost, but plenty of food to be devoured.
I really don’t like grasshoppers.

We have plenty of lizards running around and me, being the very inexperienced gardener that I am, thought they would take care of any bugs who might harm or eat to the core our garden. Not so much. They do eat bugs, but not this kind.

The bell peppers are doing fine. They grow regardless of anything and there doesn’t seem to be anything wanting to eat the leaves or flowers. Our cucumbers did beyond belief. We had so many that I took them into work several times. The corn even grew (for a while). But everything else is pretty much toast at this point.

Since we live in the Sunshine state, we can pull everything out and start over again. This time we’re going to plant some pumpkins. :) Craving a pumpkin from our own patch would be cool.

Instead of regular cucumbers, we’re going to plant the pickling ones. The smaller ones are better to pickle or so I’ve been told. Yep, I’m going to try to make my own sweet relish. Why would I do this when I could buy it at the store, save time, and it doesn’t cost much at all? Great question and one that I ask myself from time to time. I’ve never done it and so I want to try it. Kinda like when I decided to make my own chocolate syrupy from cocoa powder and regular sugar. (I know LKap, I know, way to much sugar). It was fun to do and I could say that I’d made it homemade.

This time we’re using a better fertilizer (thank you AM!) and yes, we’ll be using Sven on the plants. As much as we didn’t want to do this, it seems it’s the only way to actually have a garden.
I didn't put a picture of the garden in it's current state as it's sad. Most of it is gone with the exception of the tomatoes and bell peppers.

What about you? Do you plant gardens? What type of pesticides do you use? Do you know any organic ones that would work?


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday Ten - Summer Favorites

Summer is here and in full force! While there are some things that I am not crazy about (the heat for one!), there are still many things that I just love about summer time.

Top Ten Things I Love About Summer:

10: All of the summer blockbuster movies that come out (and the time to go see them!)

9. A light summer rain.

8. Time to catch up on my "to be read" pile

7. My husband wanted to ensure that I mentioned Olive Garden's annual Never Ending Pasta Bowl that will start soon. :)

6. Summer only TV shows - I love So You Think You Can Dance!

5. The nocturnal sleeping habits I so readily adapt to...I am such a night owl!

4. A viable excuse to have frozen treats. Hey, you gotta keep cool, right?! :)

3. A little break from students (and parents). I truly adore my job and am itching to get back into the swing of things by this time in the summer, but let's be honest: Summer is just as much for the teachers as it is the kids! heehee

2. Pool time!

1. Sleeping in! I truly hate alarm clocks! :)

So what about you? What are some of your favorite things of summer?

SB Jane

Monday, July 12, 2010

RWA Nationals Is Around The Corner – Are you ready to pitch?

Yesterday at TARA (Tampa Area Romance Authors) was our normal July meeting. With RWA National conference the month of July, we typically have what we call a Bird of a Feather meeting. We have critique groups by genre and it’s just a great day. This year we added a shorter morning workshop with Kimberly Llewellyn who talked about pitching. It was great. People even signed up to pitch their story to Kim at the end of the workshop. In front of everyone. Kim acted as the agent/editor (she reminded us several times she was a published author, not an agent or editor), and once they were through she asked questions much as would happen in a pitch appointment. It was great and amazing what you can hear when your listening. They all had really good/great pitches.

This got me to thinking back to my very first pitch. Several years ago (okay, more than several), I wrote an article on “Pitch That Story”. I was going to my very first RWA National conference. I didn’t have an appointment to see an editor/agent as my wip wasn’t finished. But I was working on a pitch.

Why? My book wasn’t finished, so why did I need a pitch? Because people will ask you about your book. You never know who you may end up talking with, meeting through another friend, or by simply having a drink at the bar. Oh and yes, the smoking area. It amazed me at my first conference how many people who DO NOT smoke, hang out in the smoking area. Lot’s of great connections happen there.

Anyway, back to the pitching thing. Whether you have an appointment or not, you should have an elevator pitch ready. Yes, if your wip isn’t complete.

Creating the perfect pitch sounds easy, right? Not so much. You’ve written the book and you know every detail that to you seem major important. Don’t get me wrong, each of those details are important. To the book. Not to the pitch.

Maybe you do have a pitch appointment or perhaps you’re going to check out any open/canceled spots. Either way you’re working on the pitch. You’ve got roughly eight minutes to tell them everything you believe will hook them and have them wanting more. The eight minutes is if you’re in an appointment. If you’re in the elevator you’ve got a couple of minutes at best.

Sit down, type out a summary of your book. If you have too, type bullet points of each chapter. Then condense those bullet points to one or two sentences for each chapter. Then condense again. One or two sentences for every three chapters. Touch on the most important parts of the story. The hero and heroine’s names are the only names you’ll want to use. Secondary character’s may be important to your story, but using their names in a pitch will only confuse the person you’re pitching to.

Don’t forget the GMC, goal, motivation, conflict. Someone wants something, but can’t have it because. Your pitch isn’t a synopsis. It’s more like a backcover blurb you’d read on the back of books. You can’t add to many words or it’s no longer a pitch. No one wants to pitch their work to an agent or editor only to see said agent/editors eyes glaze over when your in the middle of it.

Kathy Carmichael has an awesome pitch generator. It’s a starting off point though. You then have to do the same as you would with you wip. You have to flesh it out.

If you don’t have an appointment and especially if this is your first year, think about volunteering at the appointments if they still need people. Lkap and I met a lot of agents and editors that first year. It’s a good thing to volunteer at Nationals. People learn who you are and you are giving back your time to our “Mother Chapter”.

Back to the non-appointment but still need that pitch concern. I’d been told by several that while I may not have the actual appointment since I’d be there for quite a few hours directing appointment traffic that more often than not the volunteers are asked what they write and what it’s about. Again, several friends who did this the past several years were asked for partials just by volunteering and talking with the agents and editors.

I realize that this may or may not happen to anyone who is volunteering. But if it does you don’t want to stand there fumbling over your words. Looking like you have no idea what you write, how long it will be, and what the conflict and hook is.

And then there’s the sitting in the bar, riding the elevator, and just general conversation that could lead to someone asking: Tell me about your book question.

So, here I sit working on the all important pitch. Nope. This pitch isn’t for a finished book and no I don’t have an appointment (because my current wip isn’t finished). I am working hard to make it a back cover blurb in fewer words yet still giving what the book is about all the while making the person asking feel like “I’ve just got to read this.”

What about you? Are you pitching at nationals? Writing a query letter? Or are you reading a great book that you chose because of what you read on the back?


Friday, July 9, 2010

Julian Beever and Kurt Wenner, are both amazing artist who draw their pictures on sidewalks all around the world. The 3-D effect is unbelievable. Several weeks ago Science Guy and I watched a documentary on Julian Beever. Over the course of several days (all put into an hour show thanks to the miracle of TV time), we watched as he created one of his masterpieces.

Here’s the thing. The pictures below are but a few of his finished pieces and what you are seeing is the picture looking through the lens of a camera. Not a special camera, but an ordinary camera. If you were to look at it with out the lens it would be hard to see exactly what certain things are. The woman’s leg goes on for probably twelve feet.

That alone amazes me as to how he envisions his art work with such abstract lines and outlandish over drawn lengths.

Hope you enjoy the Friday Fun.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vacations from Hell...

So Princess and I spent a week at my Mom's in Illinois.

Okay, so technically not a week since our flight was delayed three times before it was finally cancelled and we had to spend the night in lovely Detroit, MI (cough, cough) because of tornado's.

Now I wouldn't normally mind, since we can't control Mother Nature, but.... Had we left for the hour long flight at the 2nd delay we would have missed all that, but you see Delta has a crappy scheduling group obviously, because we didn't have a CREW!!!

I don't get it - you book a flight but don't schedule a crew. WTF - oh well, they were nice enough to give me a $59 credit for my hotel room. Which I still had to pay out $80 cash, mind you. Nope, not a full comp - why, you ask? Because they coded it as an act of nature, there by negating any of their own responsibility. I would like to call them a lot of names for this infraction since I was out $100 before I ever even left the airport, but really what good is that going to do me. And then there was the delayed flight the next morning because there wasn't a pilot - again...WTF.

But with all said and done a full 26 hours later we were finally at my mom's in BFE, Illinois. No Internet, there were only 2 places in her house where my cell phone worked correctly and town (and I use this term loosely) was 6 miles away.

Yeah, here I am stuck with a 22 year old who has just been plucked down the rabbit hole and isn't afraid to say it. Yes, I needed a Xanax that night. ;-)

All in all the trip was nice. Mom was doing well, but I still need to figure out all the red tape to move her to Florida, because I can't stand for her to be practically alone in the middle of the country.

Up side - Princess and I went on daily 4 mile walks. Which, in the country, is very peaceful and didn't feel like exercise at all. For which, I was thankful and actually miss.

I was able to show my daughter where I grew up and hit a few bars with her in my hometown. Where, of course, she started a scandal. Being pretty and a new girl, it was comical to watch the boys fawn and the girls fume.

Now here is where I wish I had the pictures, but alas, Princess has been working non-stop since we returned. So while enjoying the company of some dear old friends at the bar in the middle of no-where, a school bus pulls up and low and behold a train of men (okay young boys) files out. Upon closer inspection we realize that this isn't just any ordinary school bus - this is the equivalent of the "Redneck Limo" and the boys were part of a bachelor party. So classic and perfect I couldn't have written the scene any better myself if I tried. And don't think this will not be in a book of mine.

So classic and ingenious - the "Redneck Limo" was and still is one of the highlights of my trip. It gave us all a great laugh and my only regret is that I didn't ask to see the inside to see if it was equipped with a stripper poll - now that would have been classic behind those dark tinted windows. (yes all 25 windows were darkly tinted)

Now we are home all safe and sound - after yet another delay getting out of Detroit, but we're here. I have more memories and special memories of being with my daughter and showing her a bit more about my old life, sharing in a birthday party for my oldest and dearest friends daughter, and laughs with mom and old friends.

Sometimes going home isn't so bad after all.

Any good stories from your travels?


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hello? Sunshine State Where Are You?

I live in the sunshine state. Hey, no laughing. It’s the truth. We have sunshine ninety-five percent of the time. Maybe more.

It’s hot and humid and during the summer, it can be beyond sweltering, but if you’re a Floridian, you deal with it. Sure, you complain from time to time, but hey you also can go the beach any day of the week and that sometimes includes the months of January and February.

This past winter was crazy. Thirty-one days of freezing temperatures. When it’s in the thirties for that many days, you run out of clothes. Our winter wardrobe consists of a couple of sweaters and some lightweight jackets. Not so this year. We learned to layer and we bought more sweaters. :)

Now we’ve got rain. Everyday rain, all day long rain, makes huge puddles in your yard rain. My garden is water logged and my flowers are begging for some sun to turn their pink, mango, white, and red faces towards.

And we’ve got more rain in the forecast. I need some gloshes and raingear. Not something I really want to buy. Sunday Science Guy and I were out shopping, and thank goodness I always keep a pair of sandals in my car because the ones I was wearing broke. They were only a few weeks old, but the grass cloth that is in the soles couldn’t handle the water.

I know rain is a good thing. It’s free watering and really I do believe grass, flowers, and veggies (okay, the weeds too), love having God’s water better than water from the hose. Saves money on the water bill and I’m always thankful to save money.

But Mr. Sun, I want you to know that I miss you and hope you’ll come back soon if only to peak your head above the clouds for a little while and sends us some of your wonderful warmth.

What about you? Do you get tired of having the same weather for weeks and weeks? How’s the weather where you live? Heat wave like up north, rainy and dreary like us?



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday Ten - Warm Fuzzes

I just love the 4th of July. It makes me feel so proud to be an American (where at least I know I'm free...sorry I ramble into song every now and then...just ask Vicki!). It never fails that while I'm watching those fireworks make the night sky sparkle, I am overcome with emotion. So as I sat down to write this week's Tuesday Ten, I started thinking about what other activities make me feel warm inside (a good glass of wine aside, of course!). I hope a few of them make you smile too...

10. I said before I tend to break out in random song. I love singing and there isn't much I'd rather be doing than sitting around a couple of talented people singing in four part harmony.

9. Watching success stories on TV...I am such a sucker for the people on those reality talent shows who have come from such negative past experiences and are now showing how truly talented they are. Did you see the group of formerly homeless veterans on America's Got Talent this year? I get teary every time!

8. Cuddling up with a good book next to an open window as the rain falls steadily outside.

7. Sitting on my Aunt's deck. Everyone else has left for the night and it's just she and I, the moonlit water, and a couple of glasses of wine. Some of our best chats have happened out on that deck.

6. Making a difference in someone's life, no matter how great or small the action.

5. Watching the sunset. My personal favorite is watching it set behind mountains or the ocean. I can't help but marvel at how creative God is when I catch those perfect evenings.

4. Coming in the door and being greeted by what is arguably the cutest, most perfect dog in the world.

3. Having a student on their way to high school dedicate their final talent show performance to you because you always believed in and supported them...priceless. This is why I do what I do.

2. Once a year my mom comes to visit. It is without a doubt the week I look forward to all year, starting the moment I drop her off to fly back home. There's always once during that trip that we get into the most uncontrollable giggle-fest possible. I adore my mom and treasure the memories of us laughing until we can't breathe any more. I love you, mom. Our visit can't come soon enough!

1. Spending time with my wonderful husband and knowing he is my best friend.

What about you? What makes your heart smile? Have a great week everyone, and I'll see you next Tuesday!

SB Jane

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Birds - Beware!

The next time you hear the sweet tweeting of birds in your backyard, you might want to be careful...

Since LKap has just returned home I thought I'd put up a funny.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Wanderings – A World Is In the Eyes of the Beholder

I wonder what Alice felt like when she landed in Wonderland. Okay, so she might have been a little sore from the fall, the wind might have been knocked out of her, and although they don’t tell you, she might have even come close to, you know, peeing her pants. I mean really falling down a hold in the side of a tree for what must have seemed like forever, well that’d be scary enough to make it happen.

But once she was there, once she’d taken the pills that made you tall and made you small, once she was walking in the woods along the trails, wonder what she thought. It’s not ever day you have animals talking to you. A rabbit who’s always late and Cheshire Cat whose smile is the last thing to disappear. Then there are the twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum and a caterpillar smoking his hookah pipe, which by the way must have made him feel all sorts of good, because that was one relaxed dude.

All of those…hmmm…unusual characters and Alice hadn’t yet met the Mad Hatter or the Queen of Hearts. The March Hare throws one crazy party. If there was ever a place where “food fight” could be a good word this is it.

I don’t recall her crying like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, calling out to her family members wanting to go home. Well, she did swim in the pool of tears, but let’s face it Dorothy cried for Auntie Em why more than Alice ever mentions home. Maybe there wasn’t time with all the zany moments happening around her, or maybe our Alice was wanderer, who loved a sense of adventure. Maybe this was the world she wished for instead of a boring get up, brush your teeth, get dresses and do the same thing all over again then next day. Growing up can be such a bummer.

Light bulb moment here – Maybe this is why we’re writers and readers, or both. It’s a time that we escape to our own wonderland. When I’m seeing as slate gray clouds with lightening flashing across them and huge peddles of rain falling as I write a scene, you might not see it exactly that way when you’re reading. Your sky may be more ominous, the sky more of a metallic gray with buckets of rain, flooding anything in its way. We always make up stories or get swept away into them. In a sense this is when we don’t have to be all grown up with the pressures of the real world around us.

Maybe our little Alice saw things way she wanted to see them. Perhaps the Mad Hatter wasn’t mad at all. Perhaps the Queen of Hearts was truly her school principal who enforced the rules or to detention you went.

Either way, Alice saw a world just as she wanted to see it, just as she was meant to see it. And that, my blog friends is the Wednesday wandering of the week.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday Ten - All About Twilight

Hey SB Jane - LKap and I wanted to welcome you to the blog for the summer series of Tuesday Ten. Just a little info about you for our readers. SB Jane teaches in a land far, far away...wait that's not right, that's sort of the beginning of Star Wars. But she is a teacher it's just the far, far away part we're not sure about. Could be SciFi, where the kids float about their chairs while she teaches through a computer monitor, or maybe it's in the Wild West with everyone sittin' around the campfire and branding cattle. A small exclusive school with the coolest and zaniest kids could be her classroom. Or it could be a normal everyday classroom where the kids use #2 pencils and have to take test and have homework. One thing we know for sure, where ever SB Jane teaches the kids are lucky to have her.

Here's SB Jane and her first Tuesday Ten:

Thanks Vicki and LKap for having me here this summer. I'm looking forward to sharing my Tuesday Ten's with you and hoping you'll share some of yours with me.

In honor of tomorrow's release of Eclipse, I had to do my first Top Ten all about the Twilight series! So without further are the Top 10 things I love about the Twilight Saga

10: The easy way to now sort your friends (Team Edward or Team Jacob?)
9: Jacob's fight for Bella's affection.

8: While we're on the subject of Jacob...oooh those ABS!!

7: The incredible job Stephenie Meyer did of drawing us into the Twilight world - how many hours of sleep did I lose because I just couldn't put it down?!

6: The Cullen family - There are so many small details I could do an entire 10 on them.

5: The scene in the first book when Edward and Bella are at dinner.

4: Alice - she is just all around adorable, incredibly stylish, and the kind of girl it would be a blast to be friends with.

3: SPOILER ALERT!!! Bella and Edward's honeymoon

2: Edward's devotion to all things Bella

1: The fact that at midnight tonight I will be watching Eclipse!! This book was my favorite of the four and I can not wait to watch it come to life on the big screen.

What's your favorite Twilight moment? I can't wait to read your comments and I'll see you next Tuesday! :)

SB Jane

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Change Is Coming

So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged with any regularity. I could give you all the reasons (most if not all of them very valid), but I’ll spare you the boring details. Trust me, they’re not that exciting.

It’s not January so it’s way too late for New Year’s resolutions. And I’m not a true believer in them anyway since it’s usually things we want to do yet most often times do them for a few weeks, or months at best.

Instead I’m starting fresh. I’ve got a new line up and I’m thinking this will keep things running smoothly.

Here goes:

Monday Musings – thoughts about Writing…it is a writing blog after all. :)

Tuesday Ten – Ten things about, well pretty much anything. And during the summer we’ll have a guest blogger, SB Jane, who will be doing the Tuesday Ten.

Wednesday Wanderings – Rabbit trail day. Anyone who knows me – knows that I’m pretty good at rabbit trails. LKap’s been known to have a few rabbit trails which I think has come about from hanging with me.

Thursday Rambling – LKap’s day to tell it like she sees it, perhaps a rant, or really anything that’s on her mind.

Friday Fun – What kind of fun? Anything from jokes to yummy eye candy to what we’re reading at the time.

Tomorrow starts our Tuesday Ten with SB Jane and she’s talking all things Twilight. Come back to read her ten things and leave your own comments.

Yes I know, I’ve just started / restarted and today’s is supposed to be about writing, but really, you got start somewhere. :)

So, what do you think about the new line up? Is there something else you’d like to see?
And if you’d like to guest blog on one of the days please send me an email at We’d love to have you.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Girls!!!

Since I haven't been writing lately - and I consider this blog another form of writing, I decided to let you see my girls...Aren't they adorable. ;-D

Brown/Red dog on her back is my daughters new pup - Betsey
This is when I love her best....LOL! No really she's a great dog, just lots of energy.

White/Blue (gray) dog is Pennelope
Again supposed to be my daughter's dog, but tends to be mine more. And yes that is a heart on her forehead.

Tan/white - this is my girl - Trixie
Who obviously is a ham for the camera. For a 3lb chiahuahua she's a little pistol, but then again I am her human mommy...LOL

Hope they made you smile like they make me smile.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Women & Men, Oh How the Tides have Turned...

Was talking with a friend the other day that tripped this, as well as the conversations I've had with Princess and realized we, as women, have completely messed up men.

Yep, I said it!

Let's take the romance genre as an example of the man we want. Most of the women I know want an Alpha male. This is what they look for in a perfect hero. If he was a wuss the book (I'm pretty sure) wouldn't ever sell. They are looking for a male to stand up to them (and with them), but be man enough for us, as women, to be our own person.

Am I right? I know it's what I want.

But in saying that, I want to be my own person--with limitations. What do I mean by this?

I want to be treated like a woman should, like ladies used to be treated.

No, I don't want to do all the cooking and cleaning and taking care of the babies, but nor do I expect this completely from a male either. Don't get me wrong I've done it, and loved being a stay at home mom. But the flip side is that as a human being I didn't have the self-worth I needed to be a complete person. I like to work and bring home money and if someday I'm able to quit my job and work from home all the better. There is nothing, let me repeat this...NOTHING wrong with being a stay at home anything. It's the hardest job you'll ever have and I respect it.

What I don't respect is that there are more men out there thinking that women need to support them so that they can stay home and do nothing. I mean nothing. No cooking, no cleaning, no lawn work, no helping out while the woman works. This is not a real man to me.

Now, there is a caviat here - times are hard and there are those without work. Totally acceptable as long as they are willing to help out.

All of this became very clear to me when I was talking to my friend and my daughter's recount about the latest "tool" she's seeing. Most of them barely work, and even if they do I've found that she is still paying for things, like dinners, food for their apartments (ummm, she lives at home...), helping to pay their bills. And this one always gets me - she drives them around. WTH! So not a man of worth in my head.

This is my opinion of course--men should open doors for women (car, house, resturant...), Men should drive (I feel odd when I have to drive and HHB is in the passenger seat), which leads me to another new trend--men should come to the house to pick you up for a date, not the other way around, and men pay for dinners/movies, whatever. Sure if you're partners it comes out of the same account, but it's the principle in my mind.

Woman's rights haven't gotten us better pay, or equality - not that I can see. Sure, I can speak my mind and vote, but if there isn't a strong man treating me like a lady and respecting what I do--no thank you!

I have a great man of worth, so this isn't something I deal with except through friends and daughter, but I see/hear it so often it's getting painful.

Oh how the world changes. Yep, I'm sure glad I have an old fashioned man who believes that woman are still to be charished and taken care of. Am I old fashioned -- you bet! I want a man's man who works hard and takes care of his family and lets me help.

Whatever happened to the man who respected the woman? The cowboy on the white charger? The dominant (Alpha) to the submissive ? (couldn't resist throwing that in...LOL)

Are you seeing the same thing? Or have I lost my mind?


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Negative Energy…..

We all have this whether we want to believe it or not. I actually consider myself to be an energy vampire.

Let me set this straight:
No I don’t believe I’m a vampire, I don’t have teeth that elongate and the taste of blood—well yuk! Not to mention I get queasy now-a-days when I see it. There is also the fact that I love the sun too much. LOL

But lately I’ve noticed that I feed off of people’s emotions, they can be saying one thing and I’m feeling a completely different emotion from them. There are places that I don’t enjoy going because of the outward “fake” appearances that are so contradictory to what I’m feeling that I leave with a headache and in a depressed state.

Now this is really nothing new, I’ve always been pretty good at reading people and my first impression is almost always right. Why? Because, like my headaches tell me a storm is coming, they also seem to signal a bullshit meter. Sometimes I take a chance and ignore it, but it’s not the norm for me. Nor am I happy when my first impressions are right and I have to face the personal consequences.

Negativity is a powerful emotion just as love is. And I believe that Karma is the way the universe equals good and evil. It might not happen in my time, but it will happen and that always gives me hope.

And why does this give me hope?
I don’t need to be a player in the cosmic scheme of things—I’ve already done my part in the play, now I only need to sit back and wait. The rest as they say “will take care of itself”.

So since I’m feeling a bit of that negative energy around me and a lot of others, I am counteracting it. I’m sending the power of positive out into the universe. Whether it’s a poem, which inspired me to be better than the negative—a quote—maybe even a little charm. Call it a surrounding white light for me and my true friends and family.

“Carrying around anger is most debilitating to the person who bears it.” ~ Partial quote by Katharine Graham, Newspaper publisher & Pulitzer Prize winning memoirist.

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day. ~ Author Unknown

He who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts. ~ Samuel Johnson

Swelling on the negative simply contributes to its power. ~ Shirley MacLaine

So I LKap, wish for you happiness and peace of mind to feed your own well of good against the powers of evil trying to suck the greatness out of you.
If someone revels in the negative, take away their power with your own positive light, positive thinking, anything positive will negate the negative. Remember, you have the power to change a negative into a positive.

From the famous words of Fanny Brice, “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”

Just for fun a little ditty to do with a mirror facing away from you, while you turn in a complete circle - imagine this in cyber space twirling around protecting you from harm – now of course if you’ve sent harm ~ BE GONE!

"circle of reflection
cicle of protection
may the sender of all harm
feel the power of this charm"

Now I’m letting my inner child out to play. “I’m rubber, you’re glue what you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” :-P

Stay positive and laugh (if for no other reason then for people to question why)


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Miss Snark - Missing You Three Years Later

It’s been three years since Miss Snark’s blog went dark.

Three years without Killer Yapp, the bucket of gin, George Clooney and the crapometer.

Funny thing is I thought I’d eventually forget the blog. Forget the snarky way she taught so many of us. The daily dose of anticipation with a touch of fear mixed in for those of us who submitted to her. Waiting to see if she’d find some small shred of value, or if her stiletto’s would dig deep destroying the crap, but never really destroying us.

But no, I’ve never forgotten her or the truths learned in this journey so many of us are on.
From time to time I wander over to her blog wondering if just this one time I might her there.

From those who are new to writer’s world, check her blog out. Glean from the truths written among the snarky words and the snarklets.

To Miss Snark, whoever you truly may be, you are still missed and thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oh How He's Grown....

So there have been two new animals that joined my house in the last year. Bella my cat won't sit still long enough to get her picture taken, or she's got a lizard in her mouth - so not attractive. But Max.... he's a ham. Can't you tell?

His personality is just as chilled as he looks.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lost Generation

This is an amazing video. It's short, only 1:44 minutes (and seconds).

From the email that it was sent to me:

Interesting how this works! Make sure your speakers are turned on
A palindrome reads the same backwards as forward. This video reads the exact opposite backwards as forward. Not only does it read the opposite, the meaning is the exact opposite. This is only a 1 minute, 44 second video and it is brilliant! Make sure you read as well as listen...forward and backward. This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old. The contest was titled "u @ 50" by AARP. This video won second place . When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause. So simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and watch it.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

YEHAW... Ride 'em Cowboy...

So I'm in the mood for inspiration, and I think I've found it.
Hope you enjoy what I've found for my Thursday Eye Candy.

Don't they inspire you to write?
They do for me...must get back to it.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brenda Novak Mentorship Contest

It's almost time for Brenda Novak's Auction. In caes you didn't know this auction raises money for Juvenile Diabetes. I’m always amazed at how many people give their time and/or products to make this happen.

You’ll find everything from editors and agents reading work to weekend getaways and awesome gift baskets. There’s something for writers and reader’s, so no matter which area you fall into you’re going to love this.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s daily prizes give out as well.

Please check it out. You might find something you just have to have and it all goes for a great cause.

This year she’s added something new and WOW is it very cool to say the least. What you’re going to read below came from her website.

Ever wished you had a New York Times Bestselling author you could go to any time you had a writing or marketing question? Someone who’s had fourteen years of experience and nearly forty books published? Someone qualified to look over your query letter and make suggestions? Someone who understands story structure who will critique your work and, once it’s ready, help you make the connections you need to get published? Someone to take you to Harlequin’s big party at the RWA National Convention, where you can meet those who make this great publishing house what it is? Now’s your chance!

A New York Times, USA Today and Waldenbooks bestseller, Brenda has won many contests and awards and continues to write dramatic, sophisticated, unforgettable stories. Look for her latest romantic suspense novels due out this summer from Mira Books: WHITE HEAT (August 10), BODY HEAT (September 10), and KILLER HEAT (October 10).

A six month mentoring package with New York Times Bestseller Brenda Novak (December 1, 2010 - May 31, 2011)

This includes a starting phone call, unlimited email access, the critique and polishing of one romance manuscript (contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal, or historical not to exceed 100,000 words).

Mentorship will be followed by:
A read of your manuscript by Brenda's agent, Kimberly Whalen, Vice-President of Trident Media Group

A read of your manuscript by Brenda's editor Paula Eykelhof, Executive Editor at MIRA Books


Preliminary Round Judges:
Bestselling authors, including Barbara Freethy, Dianna Love, Susan Mallery, Karen Rose, Karin Tabke, and Debra Webb.
Final Judge: Brenda Novak

Please note that judging will be handled in the same way as the Golden Heart. Your work will be given a score of 1 - 9. Entries may or may not receive critical feedback.

Simply pay your entry fee right here, then click to download an entry form (link to entry form), which you will mail with your submission (address is on entry form).
Entry must be RECEIVED by midnight Saturday, July 24, 2010. Entries received after July 25th will not be accepted. Entrant will be notified.

Entry form, completely filled out
3 Copies/Sets of first three chapters (50 pages maximum, including synopsis)
Self-addressed stamped envelope if you want your entry returned to you.
FINALISTS ANNOUNCED via E-mail October 31st!

Top 10 finalists will each receive copies of BREAK INTO FICTION by Dianna Love and Mary Buckham and THINKING WRITE by Kelly L. Stone.
Top three finalists will each receive a read by Laurie McLean of Larsen & Pomada Literary Agents.


About the Judges (in alphabetical order):

BARBARA FREETHY is an award-winning, best-selling author of 27 novels including category, single title contemporary, romantic suspense and women's fiction. Her books have received numerous awards including four RITA nominations and one RITA win. Her current contemporary series, Angel's Bay, is set in a fictional town on the California coast.
For more information, visit Barbara Freethy

New York Times best seller DIANNA LOVE has released her energetic muse on writing high-octane romantic thrillers (Bureau of American Defense/ Pocket) and paranormal thrillers with the release of BLOOD TRINITY (Pocket/Oct 2010) with #1 NYT Best seller Sherrilyn Kenyon. Her first book sold & won a prestigious RITA® Award (as Dianna Love Snell). Dianna speaks at national and international events about the innovative Break Into Fiction® Character-Driven™ Plotting Program.
Visit Dianna Love & Break Into Fiction

SUSAN MALLERY is the New York Times bestselling author of over one hundred romances and she has yet to run out of ideas!! She has written series romances, as well as single titles, historicals, contemporaries and even a lone time travel. Always reader favorites, her books have appeared on the Waldens bestseller list, along with the USA Today bestseller list and, of course, the New York Times list. She has won awards for everything from best single title contemporary, to best Special Edition of the year and recently took home the prestigious National Reader's Choice Award.
Visit Susan Mallery

RITA-award winning, USA Today best-selling author KAREN ROSE's debut suspense novel, DON'T TELL, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has released eight more novels and a novella. To date, her books have been translated into five languages. Her third novel, I'M WATCHING YOU, received the Romance Writer's of America's coveted RITA award for Best Romantic Suspense for 2005. Karen's ninth novel, DIE FOR ME, was a RITA finalist for Best Romantic Suspense and won the Romantic Times' Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense of 2007.
Visit Karen Rose

KARIN TABKE writes erotic romantic suspense for Pocket Trade, Berkley Sensation, and Kensington Aphrodisia; historical romance and paranormal romantic suspense for Pocket Star; and erotic paranormal romance for Berkley Heat. Some of the words used to describe Karin’s work are gripping, raw, hot, compelling. Married to a retired street cop, Karin gets the facts right and the emotions the author of more than a dozen paranormal, historical, and contemporary novels.
Visit Karin Tabke

DEBRA WEBB is a multi-published, bestselling author who writes spine tingling romantic suspense for St. Martin's Press and Harlequin Intrigue.
Read more about Debra at her website:
Debra Webb

How cool is all of this!!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

She Lives...

Hey guys,

It's been a while (okay, a very long time), since I've been on. Thank goodness LKap is here. :)

The day job has been killer. Seriously killer. It's affected my writing and everything else in what's supposed to be a normal life.


I'm back and will be posting more often. I've been thinking about having some theme days for the next few months to help get back in the swing. More to come on that.

Hope everyone is having a great week and I'll be back tomorrow.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Winner and Writing Ramble....

Drum roll please............
from the randomizer -
The WINNER is....

Anonymous TARA you are the winner of a shiny ;-)
Contact me so I can get you your prize.

So now onto my writing ramble.

A friend suggested that I give examples of how stories come to me. Well as of right this minute I'm working on one book and decided to do another open call submission. Which means, these characters aren't ones I've let cultivate in my head. I have to create them out of nowhere, basically.

Most times my characters just show up. I know what they look like, they typically even give me their names, I know their basic personality traits and as I put them to paper more of those traits just come out. And I love it when they do something that surprises me and I didn't expect them to do it!!!

For the novella I'm brewing in my head--those traits aren't there yet. And it scares me shitless to think I have to totally create these people from scratch.

Well last night after some long talks with other authors, and friends, I only had a small grasp where this book was going. But in saying that...The damn arrogant man (which is a trait of his I know now) woke me up early in the morning to converse with the other male character. And yes, I looked like an utter fool telling the voices in my head it was too early for this. And HHB asking me who I was talking to. ;-)

But, this is pretty typical for me. I usually get the man's POV first. Don't ask me why...I just do. So my heroine is tight lipped - which is pissing me off at this point since I don't have a lot of time here. But I got a jumping off point for the book--which helps some.

I say some because I only have a few minor conflicts in my head and they are not as strong as I'd like them to be at this point. So more cajoling must be done. And honestly I'm wondering if it will be worth it in the end.

It will, I know it will. I'm accomplishing two things with this task. One, I have a forced deadline. As an unpubbed author I feel it's important to push myself with limits that will be expected of me when I am published. Two, It's also forcing me to create something out of my norm. Also once I'm pubbed there will hopefully be times I'm asked to write with another author, or write to a specific theme. This exercise will only make me stronger. Or so I hope. :-)

So there you have it. My mind, how it works, and how crazy I really am first thing in the morning.

BTW - any writing suggestions on how to get this moving - I'm all for it!!!
I love hearing how others do this process.