Vast Explorer II

Vast Explorer II
Originally uploaded by sharp bokeh.
Pirates and the ocean... they are inseparable. I've been fascinated by both since my earliest memories and somehow they always creep into my writing in one form or another. Anyway, a year or so ago I read a book called EXPEDITION WHYDAH by Barry Clifford and Paul Perry about their adventures excavating the wreck of the Whydah that went down off Cape Cod during a hurricane in the early 1700's. This is the stuff of dreams, chasing something that no one else believes exists or thinks is possible... but then, isn't that what makes a dream a dream. Anyway, I found this picture of the Vast Explorer II, originally from South Bristol, Maine (not too far from my neighborhood) when I was doing some research. She's a 65 foot fishing boat that was rigged to bring up treasure. She is now worn, she's seen much better days... but she's still proud. There's a lesson there somewhere... Enjoy...

Pay it forward... Random Acts of Kindness

My mother was a firm believer in committing random acts of kindness. The idea that it only takes a moment to do something nice for someone else without thought of recognition or repayment. I was having this discussion with my husband last night. I told him that if I won the lottery I would use the money to commit random acts for others like... paying to have a tank of oil delivered to someone who can't afford it. Buying groceries and having them delivered to an elderly person who lives on a fixed income. Or buying out the entire Christmas Tree lot and then having them give the trees away.

While it would seem that I wasn't the only one embracing the holiday spirit with a thought toward others. Celeste Gleason, author of the upcoming All Falls Away from Signet in January is running a contest on her site called Pay it forward.

She is challenging others to commit random acts in honor of the season and you can win a super prize package as a great motivator. While you are there check out the cover of her upcoming release it's fantastic. I'll be one of those standing in line at the bookstore when it's released.

Pay it forward... Random Acts of Kindness

My mom was a huge believer in random acts of kindness... those little things that people do everyday without thought of recognition or repayment. This would be a way to Pay it forward. Give something to others, whether it's a helping hand, a uplifting moment, or something that is more valuable then money. I was actually talking to my husband about this last night. I told him that it would be fun to win the lottery and then use the money to do these little random acts. Pay someone's oil bill. Have a bag of groceries deliveried to an elderly person whose living on a fixed income. Buy out the entire Christmas tree lot and then give the trees away...

Anyway, you get the picture... but I was very surprised to see that Celeste Gleason was doing a Pay it forward contest on her site.

For All the World to See: Pay it forward...and Win a Venator Survival Kit!

It seems that she thinks very much along the same lines that I do. If you would like to enter follow the link and check it out. And while you are there be sure to check out her upcoming release. It's got a gorgeous cover. And even though I've never had the pleasure of meeting her in person, I've actually listed it on my site as a book that I'm looking forward to reading. It looks like it's going to be a keeper.

And don't forget... it only takes a second to Pay it forward with a random act of kindness.

Wisdom fueled by massive quantities of caffeine...

Life according to Gilmore Girls:
Luke: "Crazy town... they should all be medicated complete with pingpong tables and puppets."

Believe it or not, I can relate to this. I've talked before about the great talk that I went to from Jenny Crusie about putting community in your books. This would be a prime example and one that illustrates that community is nothing more than extended family. Good or bad, crazy or sane, shifty, straightforward, loving, cynical, smart, competitive, sneaky, and sometimes even a little too close for comfort. I remember saying to a friend of the family that I missed living in my old home town. I missed the fact that just across the street was someone who had known me all my life and that they knew me... the good and the bad and sane and the crazy. She reminded me that sometimes when you live in that kind of place that people know more about you than they should. But then, that comes with a family as well.

All this rambling has a purpose. Your family is your community and that is one of the strongest themes that readers can relate to in your books. Whether it's all the people living on the third floor of a Brooklyn apartment building. The members of a secret archaic Victorian society with ritualistic entrance exam or those people that populate your own hometown. Remember, community is those that are closest around you... family... the crazy and the so-called sane.

And another one

Okay, we've got another one and yes... I'm starting to become obsessed with where my book is showing up. I found a great way of tracking it by going to where they compare the prices and places available of my books. As a thrifty New Englander I'm all for finding a great price.

Here's the latest place:

Nice site. I was quite impressed with it.

I'll update more as I find them.

It's starting

Happy Turkey Day to everyone. I hope you had an enjoyable and filling day. I spent mine with my family and my Dad, his friend and my sister and nephew. We ate too much, laughed incessantly, and I gave my dad the copy of the book so he could see that it was dedicated to him. That made the day the best ever.

Well, it's starting... already I'm beginning to see my book pop up on the various online booksellers and it has me completely, utterly shaken. Not even seeing my book in the beautiful 4-color covered arc (advanced reader copy) could make me as happy as I was seeing my name next to my book available for advanced purchase. Granted, there are no photos of the cover yet, no snappy reviews, but it's a start and I'll take it.

So far it's shown up on the following sites:

Barnes and Noble
Books a Million (the Canadian version) (not sure, German maybe?)
And a couple of sourcing sites for books. If you spot it on another site please let me know and I'll add it to the list!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Tis' the season...

Things I'm thankful for...
In no particular order...

Sneakers. Believe it or not, after standing in heels (even low ones) putting sneakers on feels like floating on a cloud. Thank you, thank you, thank you and my feet thank you...

A good cup of coffee. Yup, I'm one of those addicts who loves a good cup of coffee. I like it even better with the extra cream and sugar and while there are those out there who believe that this is sacrilege I think that a coffee without cream and sugar is like a Christmas tree without ornaments. Pretty to look at, but missing that something special.

Good kids. This goes without saying. It also is very nice to hear words from their teachers such as genuine, honest, and not afraid of a challenge. But I'll add a few of my own. Determined. Intelligent. Empathetically. Loving. And mine.

My Marriage. Again. Goes without saying much. But for someone who firmly believes that you are where you are supposed to be in your life for that particular time... I am thankful for where I am and who I am with.

Family and friends. I don't deserve most of them and yet, they stick around. To them, I offer the same honest and loyal relationships that they offer. I am grateful.

What are you thankful for?

What a day...

I had a surreal sort of out-of-body experience tonight. Okay, so let me regress a little in my story....

I'd had one of those day. You know the kind where you are sure that you are leaving work with a lot fewer strands of hair then when you went in? Granted, I asked for this job... I really did, but because I care so much about the people that work for me I sometimes have a hard time separating it when they have problems. And... I work with teenagers alot... does that explain the hair falling out? Anyway, I came through the door to find that my much awaited ARCs for Obsidian had arrived. Finally, my name on an actually book. It was my justification for all those years spent plugging away at the computer. Finally, I could say at the holiday dinners, "Yes, I've actually been doing something all these years." The covers are wonderful. The books are wonderful. I read through some of the pages and it was as if I was looking at someone elses book and I ACTUALLY LIKED IT. At the bottom of the box was a note from the wonderful lady at the publishing company explaining that they had sent out copies for review.

And then I started to wonder... am I already out there?

I googled myself... same old website address. Lovely reference from my friend, Susan. Listing that I belong to KOD... Aack! I'm on EBay!

Now, don't get me wrong. For awhile there I was the EBay Queen. I sold an entire set of Pfaltzgraff dishes (except a few strangling pieces... anyone need any with the folk Art pattern). I sold dolls and pictures and what not... but me?! That was a bit too much to comprehend. So, after looking at it and then emailing the sender (who has it double listed since they posted it wrong in one spot) I decided that I wouldn't be able to leave myself at a measly little bid for .99 cents. Why not $2.00 at most. I could afford it and if I got it I would add it to my
ARCs. So, I bid.

I lost. I was outbid.

I bid again. I lost. I was outbid.

Finally, when it got to $5.00 dollars my nerve ran out. I mean, am I really willing to spend $5.00 and another $5.00 on shipping for ME? I don't know about that...

I'll keep you updated... and if anyone is looking for a copy of Obsidian early... well, you may have someone bidding against you.

BookEnds, LLC — A Literary Agency

BookEnds, LLC — A Literary Agency

I just came back from the NJRWA conference. Yup, I drove my big ole' Dodge Durango (which by the way is a lovely shade of Patriot Blue Pearl) all the way to Iselin, New Jersey and back. We left at the ungodly hour of 5 in the morning. Yes, there is a 5 in the morning. And we arrived around 1pm after the fifteen bathroom stops required of four women in one vehicle with a lot of liquid.

Anyway, I had a lovely appointment while I was there with an agent. Now, this is only the second agent appointment that I've ever had and I was scared to death.

For those of you who don't know what an agent appointment is... you sign up to get 10 or so minutes with the agent of your choice (hopefully) and then you wait until your allotted time, introduce yourself, slip into the chair in front of the agent/editor and pitch your book. Some take notes with them, some like me prefer not to have the added stress of trying to find their way through notes when they have someone looking at them. At the end of the appointment (and sometimes in the middle) you will either get a request for the material or "no thank you".

It's a bit like a cross between speed dating and job interviews. Some authors have multiple appointments at a conference and some are the ones that hang at the board and wait to see what appointments are left in hopes that they can get the agent/editor appointment of their dreams.

Okay, so... as I said... I had a very nice appointment with a very nice agent with a relatively large and well-known agency. I had to go to the bathroom before hand and I was rushing to get to the appointment. Normally, I would have rehearsed what I wanted several times in my head and walked in with an air of confidence. Not so, this time. But, the good news is that it actually did result in a request and I got to meet her face to face and see if she was someone that I could work with toward a career. I think I could.

So, back to the reason for the link to bookends... they have a great blog entry (second one down on the page entitled New Jersey RWA) about do's and don'ts for appointments. They are great and for anyone who willingly puts themselves through this it could be invaluable information. I just wish I had read it before.

Some things I would add that aren't there... brush your teeth before hand and make sure there is nothing between your teeth. And have breath mint before you go in. The last thing they want to know is what you had for lunch.



Just in case you haven't heard the shouts of joy from your corner of the world... here is my cover for my January release from Five Star Expression and it's beautiful! Believe me, the picture doesn't do it justice. There is such depth to the pictures that it's truly a beautiful cover. The cover Gods were good to me and in thanks I offer great amounts of chocolate as an offering :)

There is still a quote that is going to go on the cover, but basically it will remain the same. You only need to read the book to realize just how well the cover fits, both in tone and content, or how much it makes me think of home.



I have a confession...

...I've become a Sci-Fi channel junkie. This is a new addiction. Up until recently the only show that I watched continually on the channel was the Ghost Hunters show. But they've added some interesting new shows to the line up this years, shows that make a writer like me say "OOOOOOHHHHHH!".

Dead Like Me... a show about the grim reaper. Sounds uplifting, doesn't it? It's about a girl who is killed when a piece of the space shuttle (a toilet seat) falls from space and hits her. Instead of moving on after death she becomes a part of a group of grim reapers whose job it is to collect souls from those are newly deceased. Doesn't exactly sound like light entertainment, but there are so many great facets to the show and so many possible opportunities for the characterst that I am literally kicking myself and wishing that I had somehow seen this kind of story.

The second show that I've seen bits and pieces of is Dark Angel with Jessica Alba. Despite the fact that Jessica looks like a twelve year old dark version of Buffy with a bad attitude again there are some great minds behind the show. I can't say that I understand the concept enough to relate it here, but I definitely think this should be put on the "check this out" list.

And finally, for those who missed the movie Dragon Sword... you missed a great, funny, highly entertaining movie about a Princess who runs away from it all to protect the last dragon's egg. Of course, you can't have a princess without a knight and in this case you have a tired, just-returning - from -the -crusades Knight in shiny armor played by James Purefoy (think the Black Prince in A Knights Tale). Patrick Swayze plays a rather disreptuable king wannabe and the whole story has a rather Mel Brooks-esque feel. Very good. Check it out if you can.

So it would appear that my writing evenings are going to be competing with the Sci-Fi channel for awhile... or at least until they go into reruns.

Like the cover?

If you're as intrigued by the cover as I am then check out the blog entry below for an interview with Silhouette Intimate Moments author Susan Vaughan!

Credit where it is due...

I firmly believe in promoting great stories when I read them. This time the credit goes to Susan Vaughan for her latest release DEADLY MEMORIES, a Silhouette Intimate Moments August release. And because I love to know just what motivates authors to create their stories I asked Susan if she would be kind enough to give us a few answers.

Thank you for coming along for the ride, Susan. You newest book, DEADLY MEMORIES is set in Italy. Ahh the romance of Venice, the wonderful food, the beautiful architecture crowding the canals filled with gondoliers… or are they the guy's guiding the boats with the funny hats and striped shirts? Anyway, what is it about the location that urged you to set your book there?

Hi, Teagan. Thanks for interviewing me about my book.
Venice, huh? You're probably expecting me to say that I'd met my own hero there and wanted to remember it in a book. Or that it was the romance of the ancient city, the canals, the history, the architecture, right? The truth is not at all romantic, only a plotting demand.

When I came to the end of BREAKING ALL THE RULES (SIM 2/06), I wanted to send the character of Jack off to Europe and picked Italy. Then when I started DEADLY MEMORIES, I chose Venice because the courier with the uranium could arrive there easily by ferry from farther east. I will say that I got into all the romance of Venice as I researched and wrote. Now I want to know Venice first-hand, not just via guides and other people's travels. Bellissimo!

I see that the men of ATSA, the Anti-Terrorism Security Agency, are at it again. This time your hero Jack Thorne is hottie who's a bit jaded at the beginning, but the "hottie" title is well earned when he meets Sophie Rinaldi. There is some definite heat between them! Did the hero and heroine come to you first, or the story and then the characters?

You're really nailing me on this book, aren't you?
I started with the character of Jack. When I created him as a secondary character in BREAKING ALL THE RULES, I knew he had an emotional, personal agenda and a deep inner conflict. The plot grew both from where I'd been going with the entire ATSA series and from Jack's vendetta against Vadim. Then I created a heroine who was Jack's opposite and who would challenge him as well as tempt him. Sophie is one of my favorite heroines.

>>Ahh the romance of Venice, the wonderful food, the beautiful architecture, the canals filled with gondoliers… or are they the guy's guiding the boats with the funny hats and striped shirts?

Ooh, back to question one for a moment. The gondoliers are the men who guide the gondolas. And by law, all gondolas are black. Probably more than you wanted to know.

Any plans to see more of the men of ATSA? And are there any more holidays, ah, err, research trips that you would like to take?

DEADLY MEMORIES was the last book in the ATSA series. At least for now. Another idea was nagging at me as I was finishing that book, so I'm moving on. Ah, yes, there was a research trip to the Yucatan so I could tour Mayan ruins and learn about the modern Mayan people. The beach time and the margaritas weren't bad either. I have more about the Mayan adventure on my website for anyone interested.

The new project involves a Mayan artifact with a curse. The idea of proving or disproving ancient legends fascinates me, so that may become a series. Who knows?

You can find out more about DEADLY MEMORIES and Susan Vaughan at!

Guess What?!

I am participating in a blogging experiment hosted at To enter the contest, put up this blurb, image, and trackback and you are entered to win the following prize package.
$200 Amazon gift certificate
Signed copy of Slave to Sensation
New Zealand goodies chosen by Singh
ARC of Christine Feehan's October 31 release: Conspiracy Game You can read about the experiment here and you can download the code that you need to participate here.

Nalini Singh Berkley / September 2006

Welcome to a future where emotion is a crime and powers of the mind clash brutally against those of the heart.
Sascha Duncan is one of the Psy, a psychic race that has cut off its emotions in an effort to prevent murderous insanity. Those who feel are punished by having their brains wiped clean, their personalities and memories destroyed.
Lucas Hunter is a Changeling, a shapeshifter who craves sensation, lives for touch. When their separate worlds collide in the serial murders of Changeling women, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities…or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.

And just because I thought you might like to see my inspiration...

This would be Gabrielle Byrne, and the picture that was my inspiration for the latest set of books. He looks dangerous and yet intriguing. Handsome and yet, a bit rough around the edges. And that voice, hmmm.... There is just something about an Irishman...

Age and Inspiration...

First, Happy Birthday to me!

Okay, so I have been hard at work writing on two manuscripts at the same time. I don't have a name for this series, but I have been keeping in the back of my mind. Of course, they all have the prerequisite Irishmen in them. Some women prefer a man in a kilt, I prefer one with a brogue. Not that there isn't something to be said for a nice pair of knees :)

I am also working on two books at the same time, something I've never done before and I find quite challenging. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, especially someone who is a newbie, but the process does work in this case since the books are tied together. And, of course, both of them have an Irishman in them.

RWA was last week and though I didn't attend it does always have me thinking about the past conferences that I've attended. It's rather ironic that I went to so many of them before I sold and now that I have I haven't participated. Also, I have the propensity for attending conferences that are far away and forgoing the ones that are closest such as Florida and Atlanta. I've been to New Orleans and Dallas twice. I'm headed to Dallas again next year when THE THREE TRUTHS OF KATIE TALMADGE is due out from Wings. This was the first book that I sold and it will be coming out on a book on disk format and in trade paperback. This book was written in a mad rush of inspiration. The proposal was written in less then 20 minutes as a thunderstorm was approaching my house. I wrote frantically to get the words onto the computer before I had to shut it down. I also wrote the manuscript in about 2-2 1/2 months. It was a fast one. But the idea of writing a paranormal Cinderella type story appealed to me. It was originally written with the Soulmates Line for Harlequin in line, but was lost in the melee of editors offices until the line had already announced it demise. Still, it was a story worthy of a home and I found one for it with Wings.

Okay, got to shuffle off to work! Hope you all have a great day!

And just because I was surfing and found this tidbit..

This just goes to show that being different and from Maine isn't always a bad thing. If fact, it probably saved this lobster from being the main course at Cook's Lobster House. Courtesy of National Geographic and a Stueben, Maine fisherman...

Ancient irish text found in bog...

just in case you haven't seen the article, click here

The idea that this leather bound book could be found intact is absolutely a miracle. It dates to 800-1000 and was left open to a page describing in Latin Psalm 83. Psalm 83 I read is about Israel, a rather timely passage I think. And it's as if someone were reading it, studying it, and set it aside, only to lose it for a very long time... Perhaps, they went off in search of a cool drink, or maybe it was an itinerant priest, studying the words and was set off by a band of druids who were fighting to keep Christianity at bay on the Isle (okay, so that is my imagination fully at work). Or perhaps, they had a premonition that it would someday become a headline on Yahoo!. But the idea that out of those deep, dense, oxygen deprived peat bogs have come some of the worlds most celebrated artifacts is amazing. (think bog man... the poor man whose throat was slit and dumped in a bog centuries ago)

Of course, a text emerging from Ireland is not as far fetched as one would think. A select group of Celtic monks in Ireland were well educated and given the task of translating books such as the Book of Kells (approx. AD800) an elaborate text highlighted with wonderful designs. There are books out there that say that because of these Celtic Monks the world is as it appears today, that because they were charged with preserving these books they have allowed these thoughts and ideas to continue, pushing forward todays thinkers. I say good for them!

And of course, I can't finish this blog without mentioning Bog Man's details. As a teenager I was fascinated by these finds along with the ice age guy who was found in a similar state. I wanted to go to University of PA and study archeology, but alas it was not to be. Bog man, however, resurfaces from time to time, mostly on PBS specials or the discovery channel and always with speculation as to why his fate was as it was. Most bog bodies retrieved were upper class people, well groomed and healthy. So, as a writer I want to know why him or her?

Alas, I ramble... the idea was that time has been captured in the dense sphagnum bogs of Ireland. Our questions would be... divine providence? Or a chance to learn from the past? As they would on TV... You Decide...


This was preempted by a talk given by Marley Gibson from the New England RWA chapter on Networking. It was a wonderful talk in which I learned a great deal about seizing opportunities when they are presented to promote yourself. I highly recommend it if you get a chance to hear her speak.

Okay, if there is any one subject that most writers are qualified to speak on it is the subject of fears. After all, we deal with them daily with our characters and we deal with them daily with our own personal writing fears. I don't know of any writer who doesn't have at least one fear directly related to their writing and if they tell me they don't then I want to know what kind of medication they are on because I need to go get some. Any time that we as writers put anything out there for others to see we run the risk of rejection, the fear of being rejected... whether it is by a critique partner, an editor, agent, or the general public when our book hits the shelves... we have all experienced that that momentary or monumental element of fear.

Here, I am going to talk about just a couple of the ones that I deal with on a daily basis. There is the fear of failure, that we won't be able to complete the manuscript, or that it will be accepted. There is a fear of success, and for those of you who scoff at this, it is a very real thing. There are many people who have sabotaged their own careers because they were afraid that they would not be able to live up to the expectations presented to them. These are the people who don't believe others when they are told that what they have written is worthy, or they prefer to back away when given the opportunity to present themselves to someone who is projecting interest in them. Let me tell you about a writer who as a rule at times comes across confident and knowledgeable... but one year at the great RWA conference she ran into Suzy Editor in the elevator and, after striking up a friendly, non-confrontational conversation with the editor was just starting to get over her fears of the editor walking in disgust at her very being when IT happened.... (que the gloomy music). Suzy Editor asked the writer what she was working on... and immediately every thought escaped the writers mind. She was left completely blank and worse she found herself responding in a way that sounded as if she wasn't dedicated to what she was doing... something along the lines of "Oh, I'm working on a Romantic Suspense, but it isn't done yet." Arghhhhh! Instead of taking the opportunity to pitch when asked she failed miserably and lost the opportunity. That writer was me! Yup, I was the brainless idiot in the elevator! And the reason that I failed was because every shred of confidence in myself and my writing disappeared when attention was turned to me.

Okay, so how do we combat this? Sometimes, it just takes time. Sometimes, it is nothing more than giving yourself the quiet time to stand back and say to yourself "This is ridiculous. I can't let this get in my way." And sometimes, you need to hear that there others who understand it the way you do. That they have been there just as you have. As you can see from this post, I've been there.

Here are just a few goals that I've used to combat the fears:
  • Give yourself permission to feel these things, but not to let them control you.
  • Understand that not everyone is looking to tear you apart or reject you and that most times they are just as nervous about meeting and connecting with people as you are.
  • Give yourself a goal for pushing through the fear. I will put out 3 queries to an editor.
  • I will speak to seven people at conference that I don't know. I will tell four people about my upcoming book.

    But most of all, understand that we are all human and if you see me at conference please don't hesitate to say hello. Maybe that way we can both get through the awkwardness.

Anonymity and Book Promotion....

First, my daughter just asked me if anonymity was the same thing as that sea creature. I think she meant the sea anemone.

Anyway, have I mentioned that I have a background in promotion and event planning? Yup, that would be me. I spent several years working for a non-fiction book publisher who paid me to travel endless miles across the country, sleeping in beige hotel rooms and eating food that you can acquire from the vendors at the shows while you are on the run looking for the crate that had the most important part of your display booth... all while pushing their books!
Don't get me wrong. I LOVED it! The first booksellers show that I attended was the Northern California booksellers show in San Francisco. Can you think of a better place for an initiation? In the course of five days I went from being the young girl who had never been out of the state of Maine by herself to a traveler who could handle a mob of people. I met tons of people who were avidly interested in the product that I was hocking and I got my first look at real romance authors for the first time. This was about 12 years ago.
At that time, Susan Krinard had just started writing her dark paranormals and she just happened to stop by and look at the books that I was selling. She was kind and friendly and I was in awe. When I mentioned that I was just starting out writing romance she was encouraging and sympathetic and told me to give it all, that I could make it someday. I still carry her words with me today, along with the hundreds of others that I have met over the years since. Each has been kind and offered a tidbit or two of inspiring advice to guide me. I cherish all of them.
So what does this have to do with Anonymity?
Despite the fact that I can talk with hundreds, even thousands of people at trade shows and not be the least bit uncomfortable there was an air of anonymity that came with the focus being placed on the product that I was selling. Because I hadn't written the book I was more than comfortable touting it's fabulousness. Mine, however, are a totally different thing.
I am not comfortable with having the spotlight on me. Call it lack of confidence, but it terrifies me. That's part of the reason that I took on a pseudonym was that I could pretend that it wasn't me. (Yup, Teagan Oliver isn't my real name) By creating this personna I could imagine that this book was actually the work of someone else. So far, it's been working. That is... until I was camping last week. Remember the rain storm that shut down most of south eastern PA. I was there.... more directly, I was there in a campground. It rained everyday, driving the few hardy souls of us that were refusing to leave into creating a small network of friends. During this time I met a very nice lady who asked me about my writing. She expressed an interest in writing and I told her to give it a try. I was very uncomfortable, as I always am, but I gave her a copy of Susanne Brockman book I had just finished and told her that she could start without a computer, that the library would be a wonderful resource for reference and finding others who could help her and I encouraged her. Somewhere along the way, I became the role model... hot damn, never thought it would be me. She returned my kindness ten-fold with a book that she had just finished and a wonderful letter full of thanks for the encouragement.
So, despite the wild rains and flooding and my own uncomfortable anonymity I encouraged someone else the way others helped me. And it felt good... very good.


True inspiration can come in any guise. I've been known to find ideas from the back of cereal boxes, but I think that there is a definite difference between inspiration and story creation. I tend to think of inspiration as not a specific idea, but the thing that sparks us to sit down and do the writing. It isn't necessarily that twig of a thought that gives us our "aha" moment, instead I think of it as that swelling within us. Inspiration is that need that rises, setting our minds in motion and propelling us forward. Inspiration is a muse set to entice us. It is that heady feeling of being in the "zone" while we write. It is that time when we feel as if we have truly managed to get the words onto the page. Inspiration is adrenhaline for the creative soul, our food to fuel us... making our hearts beat faster and allowing us to block out everything around us.

Now, that said... it has been two months since my last blog entry. During that time I managed to survive multiple end of school activities, summer camp rituals, a family vacation that left us waterlogged in PA, and even some writing. I panicked a bit the other day when I realized that I had only 6 months until my book hits the shelves... a bit intimidating. And as always, that little quip of defeatest attitude plagues me at the back of my brain. I am determined to fight it. I've made it this far, I can certainly continue. I need only the inspiration to get it done.

Happy 4th to everyone!

Obsidian Update...

So, just in case you are wondering what happens after you sign that contract, let me tell you where I am at... two months after signing the contract.

Well, I have done a round of edits on the book and pushed to get them in as early as possible. I made a real conscious effort when I decided to pursue being published that I would do two things... 1) I would try to be a reliable and easy author to work with (i.e. getting in before deadlines, listening to advice with an open mind, and trying not to bug the editors badly) and 2) that I would push myself beyond my boundaries. What has this got to do with publishing? Everything! First, as a new author you must push yourself beyond your traditional comfort zone to take on the task of learning to write romantic fiction (or whatever genre you want). Once you have been doing this for awhile you begin to push yourself by entering contests for feedback or even sending in queries to editors and agents. Not an easy thing when you feel as if your stomach has somehow landed around your feet. But then, this doesn't end when you sign the contract. Once I did this I was elated and terrified all at the same time. I had asked plenty of questions over the years from published authors. I had read the articles, books, taken the classes and even observed things at conferences. But nothing really tells you what it is going to feel like. Suddenly, this is no longer something that has a failsafe switch. There are expectations to be met and contracts to uphold and all of it is exhilarating and knee-knocking material.

Okay, so I have elaborated to the point where I have gotten clear off the point. Here it is... I have finished my edits early, I have the ancillary information sent back to my editor (this is the blurbs for the cover, information to go to the cover artists, etc.) and I have written the acknowledgments and dedications which are right up there for new authors with winning the Academy awards and having to give an acceptance speech. I am now left to work on getting quotes for the book which for others probably wouldn't be hard, but for me this is excruciating because I can not ask favors of other people. I am usually more than willing to help anyone else, but not able to ask for it myself. Yes, this is a stupid trait and at one point or another everyone needs to ask for help, but it just wasn't hardwired into my DNA. So, I clenched my teeth, held onto my stomach and asked.... And because I have such wonderful friends and acquaintances who understand just what a roller coaster ride this is... they have agreed to take a look at the book for me.

Now, I just need to hold onto my chair until I get their responses. Stay tuned for that.


No, you are not seeing things...

Just in case you think you are seeing double you are not. I am moving some of my posts from a previous blog over to this one because I hate to lose them and then I can get rid of the old blog. So, the best I can say is... stay tuned...

Familiarity breeds...

well, sometimes it can breed a whole lot of things that we aren't sure that we need or want. Such as those people that you treat nicely and are rewarded with a snarky attitude or even lewd suggestions. But sometimes familiarity breeds success... And in the case of Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer they are reaping the benefits of familiarity in droves. Last year at conference time they decided to start a blog and sites dedicated to their new venture of tandem writing of Romantic Adventures. As they said during a talk at the NEC conference, no one was quite sure what was going to happen with a book written from a male and female perspective alternatively. But since both had a strong readership already the idea of combining their efforts and promoting their difference became the linchpin in their successful book launch of Don't Look Down.DLD, as they affectionately call it, hit the NYT list at #21! Nothing to sneeze at especially when you add to that the fact that this is basically an untried venture. But a large part of their success is due to the fact that they built their following through familiarity. By using the things that they do well, a great wit and even at times a bit of sibling type rivalry that most can identify with, they managed to legion a troop of the most dedicated readers. The Cherrys, these are the ones that are Jenny's fans from her writing lists, and The Cherry Bombs, those followers from the dueling blogs of Jenny & Bob are among the most ardent followers. They show up in cherry stylized gear and offer a support system nationwide that could rival the red hat followers. They gave of themselves, offering up their frustrations, their successes and even their shortcomings to make themselves a part of everyday life... and in doing so hit on a goldmine that most writers will never see. In all of the years that I have been writing I have seen a lot of hero worship on the part of readers (and writers) to those they looked up to. Some of it was kindly accepted, warmly invited and even encouraged. Others really didn't get what it was that they were being offered. But as writers, we write in an isolated vacuum. Without those human interactions we would have nothing to write about and without familiarity that comes with those human interactions we would be left out in cold... or perhaps off the bookstore shelves.

Guardian Angel

Clearly, someone up there is looking out for me. Someone decided that if I was ever going to get this book to the shelf that I was going to need an angel. And in this case, they sent me Julie. Julie is my editor assigned by Tekno/Five Star who is helping me with the edits for my book. What she deserves is a medal the size of Ohio, but what she gets in it's place is a very grateful author. You see, somewhere along the way in my writing career I listened to all of the rules that I was told and I started trying to implement them to make my writing stronger. Some of these rules were the result of college writing classes. Granted, my professor was wonderful and encouraging, but she was a "literary" writer (and I don't mean that in any kind of sarcastic way as some writer's do). And she wanted me to learn the rules well, constantly pushing them into my already overloaded, too-old-for-college-but-gonna-do-it-anyway head. I bow to Ann Wescott Dodd, you taught me to persevere. But she also taught me a very structured, literal, concise writing. She taught me to throw out things like contractual words and keep them clean and pristine. And though I have heard it many times over the years, somewhere along the way I missed the boat and forgot that sometimes in order to write a story that sucks the reader in and doesn't let them go... sometimes you need to let go of the rules. Yes, yes, I know... for those of us who were at the Bob & Jenny show the other day at the Natick conference we should have understood that the rules need to be understood and then thrown out, but when you are unpublished you hold onto every rule given as if it were a pearl. I was just lucky enough to see someone who could see through it all and like my book.

State of Mind... or is there a mind at all?

Okay... well, in a short amount of time (mainly about a week) I got the email from Tekno Books that they wanted to buy my Romantic Suspense Obsidian, I got the contracts in the mail and sent them back, and I got my advance check. What a whirlwind this has been. Oh, and I can't forget the lovely email I got from the editor working on my book, a publication date of January 2007, and a deadline for revision of June 5. Phew!

My other book, The Three Truths of Katie Talmadge which I actually sold first (last August) is due out in July 2007 through Wings ePress. This one felt like it was a long way off. With a July publication date I felt nowhere as scared as I do with the deadline for Obsidian. I'm so new to all of this. I have good friends who have published and I have quietly listened and questioned as they went through their own journey of discovery, but this... this is a whole NEW kettle of fish...

I'm not sure what it is that has me scared. I've been writing for 12 years and I've seen it all before through other writer's viewpoints. But somehow, signing on the dotted line made a difference. Not only did I finally feel justified for all the hard work (albeit intermitten work) that I put in over the years, but suddenly the responsibility of getting out there and writing more is increasingly intense. There is this little voice in my head that is saying... "okay, you did it twice, but can you pull it off again? And can you prove that you actually have more to say that people will want to hear?" I'm about ready to scream at that little voice.

Anyway, I hope to make this journey something that other writers can look at and say "you know, I know what that feels like..." and hopefully, someone can be helped by reading my idiotic ramblings of a newly contracted writer who just needs a little luck... to get through it all.

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