In the name of research... Boston

Okay, so I had a bit of respite with my blogging, but after a discussion this morning with a fellow writer about Boston I knew I had to post. About two weeks ago we took the kids to Boston by bus for the day. The bus eliminated the need for expensive and hard to find parking and assured us of door to door arrival and departures from Fanuiel Hall and Quincy Market. Shopping Mecca. So, what does this have to do with writing?


Well, other than a nifty bit of research time I came to realize in my discussions that Boston is a place that I'm passionate about. My love affair with the city goes back to when I was about eight and my Mom took me for my first trip to The Garden to see the Ice Capades. Back then, Maine didn't have an arena big enough to hold the spectacular, so if you wanted to see it you had to go to south. Coming in from the North meant a bird's eye view of the Constitution and arriving through the North end, or the Italian neighborhood. Now, with the super fantastical image of the Zakin Bridge guiding us in that image of the city has changed, but it's still beautiful to me.


Once there, we did the usual trips through the market, eyeing the food and checked out the shops. The kids coerced us into the Build-A-Bear shop and we came out lugging miniature houses stuffed with cuddly creatures. After that, we went for lunch at the Black Rose. Now, those that know me know that I have a hard time resisting any pubs, but this one is special to me as my sister in law and I ate lunch there on a similar trip when my daughter was just a baby. At that time I was doing research for the very first book I wrote Cross Chances. Deb was a trooper going all over Boston without complaint. Anyway, we stopped for burgers, shepherd's pie and an Irish coffee for me at Roisin Dubh and hubby snapped a pic of me to immortilize the visit.


I never take a good picture, so I'll have to settle for this. Cameras and I don't mix, but this one is okay at best. Anyway, after our great lunch we headed for Downtown crossing via Tremont Street. I wanted to go, not because I love to shop, but because so many of my early memories of Boston are tied up with the Downtown Crossing area. My mom was a fanatic about listening to WBZ Boston and they would do their usual fundraising by ringing the bell at the Crossing. The downside for this year was that Filene's is gone. Not that I wanted to shop in the chaos that was Filene's, but because it is such a fixture in my memories. From there we headed up toward the Commons near the State House end and then back down again (in search of a Borders that I saw) via the street that the old state house and the famous Parker House Hotel is on. It's a hike worth taking, especially when everything is decorated for Christmas. Everywhere there are people and the temps were a bit daunting, but it well worth it.

If you get to Boston at Christmas time, think of me. I'll be there in spirit.

I have been remiss...

I have not posted in awhile and I'm sorry. But frankly, life interrupted everything. Including my writing. And that always weighs heavy on me. My writing is more than an aspiration to be published, it is in fact a chance to release some of the accumulation within me. It is cathartic. And while not everyone who reads my writing would find it this way... I find writing to be stimulating, intellectually, emotionally, engaging. It brings me back within myself. It makes me real to myself even when the characters on the page are not. I'm sorry I've been away...

Something I saw this morning. It was an interview with Peter Jennings Wife and daughter. They were there to talk about the compilation book of interviews about him and their second reason was to bring to the forefront the fact that there is very little funding directed toward lung cancer even though it continues to be one of the largest proportionally devastating types of cancer out there, but because of the mythic disbelief that those with lung cancer die because they smoke it does not get the attention it deserves. In reality, according to the statistics Peter Jennings wife gave, over 60% of those that die from lung cancer were smokers in the past or have never smoked at all. Either way, as someone who has had her own brushes with cancer I have to believe that if we can find a cure for one type of cancer it may help us find a cure for the others. There is hope.

Anyway, after that rather long commentary there was another reason for me being intrigued by the Jennings interview. They all commented on the fact that those who contributed to the book were able to show a man very much the way he was in every part of his life. He had an incredible thirst for knowledge and understanding. Any spark of interest would lead to a more interest and he was a man who had the ability to listen. He would ask questions and listen. This is a gift. We are a high tech age and stress-filled generation. The ability to listen is a disappearing ability. Both my mother and father gave me the gift of being curious, of wanting to learn more from every situation I encountered. My mother gave me books to open my world and my father gave me the ability to listen to whomever wants to talk. Sometimes I will have a conversation with someone and get to the end of it and realise that for that moment and time... I was supposed to be there. I was supposed to listen to that person. I was supposed to have a conversation with them that made a difference... big or small.

If I can give two gifts to my kids I hope it is the same my parents gave me curiosity and the ability to listen. With that they have the ability to make the world a much better place.

Home from New Jersey


and a wonderful time was had by all! Or at least all three of us that were rooming together. I must say that they put on a wonderful conference and probably the best when it comes to getting industry news and offering the opportunity to meet with editors and agents and picked up some great books.

For those looking for some good reads... try this on for size!


Get out your asbestos gloves, cause Annette Blair has created a very, very hot book! If you haven't read this book yet... run right out and get it. You aren't getting my copy. Ms. Blair has created wonderful, funny and sexy characters that charm more than each other, they charm the reader. It was one of those books that you can't put down til it's done. But when it's done you're sorry that it's over. Thanks Ms. Blair for the ride!

Ugh! It's 4am

You may be wondering what I'm doing up at the unforgivable hour? I'm getting ready to go to New Jersey. Yup! As Willie says (and he gets quoted often at my house)... We're on the road again. This time we're headed for the New Jersey RWA Conference in Iselin, New Jersey. Diane Amos, Deb N. and I are headed south, fueled on by coffee and cheap take out food. We do this quite often and have found that we travel quite well together. We've become good friends, bonded by long hours on the road, an ability stand each other for indeterminate periods of time and a love of writing romance. So, if you see my newly place www.TeaganOliver.com sticker on the back of my truck headed south then honk. Oh, and never mind about the sticker being crooked. That's what happens when hubby and I try to freehand things. I'll fixed the blasted thing when I get back.

If you are in New Jersey on Saturday, October 6 from 4-5:30 and you love Romance then check us all out at the Sheraton Woodbridge at 515 US Route 1 South. Here's the link for those interested... here. Diane and I will be signing. Oh yeah... there will also be C.H. Admirand, Nikki Alton, Elizabeth Amber, Cris Anson, Angelique Armae, Joani Ascher, Mardi Ballou, Shobhan Bantwal, Heidi Betts, Annette Blair, Linda Bleaser, Gerri Bowen, Elizabeth Boyle, Amanda Brice, Kaarina Brooks, Gemma Bruce, Ludima Burton, Christine Bush, Janine Cammarata, A. Dee Carey, Marie Carroll, Jennifer Colgan, Kristina Cook, Beth Ciotta, Bianca D'Arc, Donna Dalton,
Karyn DaRosa, Dee Davis, Genie Davis, Roni Denholtz, Anna DePalo, Anna DeStefano, Kate Henry Doran, Isabelle Drake, Kathy Dubois, Anne Elizabeth, Carole Fowler, Shelley Freydont, Barbara Gale, Jean Gordon, R. Garland Gray, Cathy Greenfeder, Kristin Hardy, Brenda Harlen,
Arianna Hart, Helen Henderson, Nancy Herkness, Sharon Horton, Hannah Howell, Eloisa James,
Virginia Kantra, Patricia Kay, Jenna Kernan, Kathleen Korbel, Shara Lanel, Caroline Linden, Jaen Lockwood, Tracey Lyons, Sally MacKenzie, Dana Marton, Penelope Marzec, Liz Maverick,
Susan Meier, Tanya Michna, Bridget Midway, L.B. Milano, Kay Moretz, Sherry Morris, Debra Mullins, Aleka Nakis, Joy Nash, Sophia Nash, Tara Nina, Molly O'Keefe, Kathleen O'Reilly, Elizabeth Owen, Irene Peterson, Caridad Pineiro, Rhonda Pollero, Kathryn Quick, Chris Redding, Maya Rodale, Kathryn Smith, Mariah Stewart, Trixie Stilletto, RaeAnne Thayne,
Kate Welsh, Christine Wenger, Diane Whiteside, Eileen Wilks, Lois Winston, Diane Wylie,
Lara Zeises.

Sorry guys, but at this time of the morning I'm not doing the individual links.
I'm off... Wish me luck!

Farewell and thank you...


Miss Moneypenny has exited the building...
Now, I'm not the fanatical James Bond fan that my nephew is, but I have a very healthy dose of admiration for the films. After all, I grew up in the seventies and my Dad was a big spy thriller fan. I must say that the character of Miss Moneypenny always fascinated me. In essence she was a true heroine. I always suspected that she was the one who kept the Agency running. She kept things on an even keel, she managed the top men in the government, kept their secrets, charmed them and did it all while looking absolutely fabulous.
I read an interview this morning about how she when she took on the role in Dr. No in 1962 (still one of my absolute favorites) she had a couple of stipulations. The first was that Miss M have a past and the second that Director Terrance Young not make her into a frumpy secretary. Her long time friendship with Roger Moore came through in the comfortable yet sizzling dialogue.She had style and class and the chemistry between them was something straight out of a romance novel. While James saw fulfillment with the multiple other women throughout the movies it was always obvious that he respected her for her intelligence and her beauty. Aparently, she was the same off the screen. Lois Maxwell pursued a career in acting and used her intelligence, perseverance and beauty to make her an icon. Off screen she was an adventurer, pilot... and from what I read as much of a flirt as Miss M.
So, for today I think we should salute Miss M a.k.a Lois Maxwell and raise a glass to intelligence, beauty, sizzling chemistry and the love of great looking men...

Dark days...


Most of you know that I'm a huge Gilmore Girls fan. Even now that it's off the air I continue to enjoy the reruns. Well, one of the episodes recently featured Luke's dark day. This was the day every year that he retreated from society and mourned his father. It was the day that he allowed himself the chance to feel the pain and show respect. For me... this is my dark day. Four years ago I lost my mom to colon cancer. I can't really believe that it's four year because I feel like she was just with me yesterday. I mourn her, I miss her and I keep going... that's what she would have wanted. You've seen me post this advice before, but I'll continue on as long as there is breath in me... make your life an example of being kind and generous to others. Pay it forward, commit random acts of kindness and just listen... whatever you feel is appropriate. But most of all, hug your mom... because you never know when you might not get another chance.

Get in the Pink



October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month...

Yes, I know it's not October yet, but it doesn't hurt to be proactive when it comes to your health. This year was a big year for me... not only did I have my second colonoscopy, but I had my first mamogram. Neither were half as scary as people believe. The mamogram took seconds and didn't hurt at all. The best part of it was the peace of mind that comes with the knowlege from proactive.

So, with October so close... here are just a few things to keep in mind and I got these from the pages of Shape Magazine and an excellent article entitled Your Healthy Brest to-do List by Ginny Graves, a freelance writer. I would highly suggest checking out their October issue on the stands now with Cheryl Crow on the cover. It's a fantastic issue filled with information and ways to support a great cause...

1. Do your self examination... and do them often. The more often that do them the more likely you are to notice small changes before they become BIG problems.

2. Know your family history... forewarned is forearmed and never more so then when it comes to cancer. But I would add that just because it doesn't run in your family that you shouldn't worry about being checked. It has to start somewhere. As someone who lost her mother to colon cancer I can tell you from experience that there was no family history of the cancer. It wasn't until my Uncle developed the cancer that my mother got checked... and at that point she had already developed several polyps. My Uncle was lucky enough to fight it...my mom unfortunately wasn't as lucky.

3. Get screened... As I said at the top of the blog post... I got screened for the first time this year. I'd always heard from my mother that it was uncomfortable, but I really found the whole thing to be just a necessary inconvenience. It took seconds and when handled professionally is just another doctor's visit.

4. Share the data... in the case of Shape Magazine, they suggested that your digital mammogram inforamtion go into a warehousing at the National Digital Medical Archive (ndma.us). It's a free service and keeps your information for easy access by any doctor. I would also say that you should share your information with family members. Gone are the days when medical problems should be a secret. I'm not suggesting you tell every little detail, but I am saying that you should share diagnosis so that others can be tested. If my Uncle hadn't shared his diagnosis my mother would never have been tested... and I would have lost her a lot sooner.

5. Support the cause... Ford, Reebok, Lean Cuisine... they are all national supporters of breast cancer health and research and they offer great deals for those interested in the PINK stuff. But, I would also add that there are many very good local organizations whose work is incredibly valuable to cause. Here in Maine we have the Maine Cancer Community Center which supports both the patient and their families and helps them to have a better life, despite a tricky diagnosis. MCCC holds an auction in October to support their center activities. It's online and there are some great finds from across Maine. They can be found at http://www.cancercommunitycenter.org/

6. This is my own addition to the great list... Appreciate those around you and take comfort and support where you can. Proactiveness, Prevention and Positiveness... these are what I consider to be the three steps to fighting cancer of any kind.

As writers, it’s our nature and our job to sit back and watch… to become a memory tape of sorts. We record events for emotions, responses, causes and effects and we infuse those reactions with our own to create work that will touch the very core of others, to make them live and experience, and in some cases re-experience, life.

This post started out as a way for me to retell my experience that morning on September 11, 2001. But as I started I realized that my emotions can not even begin to mirror those of the people in New York, Washington or Pennsylvania or at the loved ones at home across the country on that day and the days that followed. I am humbled by the sacrifice and bravery and heart that was given and received by those involved. My heart goes out to the families of those lost...

In honor of The Pink Heart Society's Male Monday...


And since they were so RIGHT to pick Gabriel Byrne as their choice for today's Male Monday recipient... I'm posting some of my favorite Gabriel pics...
The first time I really noticed him was when I saw Stigmata. Stigmata is one of those movies that you're not sure you want to watch because you know it's not a lighthearted movie, but if you watch it for just a moment you are sucked in until the very gorgeous last scene in the garden.
You definitely see a side of him that is tough, but vulnerable and defiant yet loyal. So, of course... he became Sullivan, my hero, in the book that I'm working on now. He just has that ability to play characters that straddle the line between good and bad and that is just what I wanted to portray in Sullivan. Someone who on the outside looks bad, but then you glimpse the bit of him floating in the undercurrent and realize that there is a much deeper man there then first thought.

I've mentioned this little none film before, but if you are a Gabriel fan then you should check out This is the Sea (1997). Set just after the 1994 cease fire, it also had Richard Harris in it. You've got to love Richard Harris. He was so eccentric he could have been a Mainer. Anyway, I digress, but this story was one that I've searched for over the years. Unfortunately, the cost has put it a bit above my price range, but I remain ever vigilant on eBay for a copy I can afford.

So, until then... I'll leave you with this incredibly great pic of him for your enjoyment.
Enjoy!



Books I wish I'd written...

I know that there have to be other writers out there who have experienced this... you buy a book, you stay up all night reading it... and then you wish you'd been the one to write it. Well, this week I went to Borders to use my trusty $5 coupon they had sent me and I picked up my much wanted Eloisa James book... on the way out I spied The Forever Summer from Suzanne MacPherson. Now, the cover was cute, but for some reason I found myself drawn to the book. I picked it up... read the back and found it to be quite funny sounding, plus it had a ghost whisperer and a mystery and a romance... all my favorite things. So, despite being unfamiliar with Ms. MacPherson's work I picked it up and headed for the counter. It wasn't until I sat down on my lunch break to find that from the first page I was completely hooked... by first page I mean the acknowledgement... she had dedicated it to the checker chicks and guys at Safeway and suggested that a party was due on aisle 9.

Now... For those of you who don't know... my day job is working for a grocery chain here in the Northeast. In particular, I spent a lot of years being one of those checkergirls and I have a true appreciation for anyone who does the job. So, of course, I was sucked in immediately to the story. But alas, lunch breaks are never long enough and even if I'm a speed reader (which I hate) I didn't get as far as I'd like... so I was left with the opening image of a all-around-grocery girl in charge of tasting who'd given a customer a sample of Cheez Whiz on crackers with olives and said customer had promptly "cashed out" in the produce department. Well, I went right back to the front end and told the cashiers that I'd found a great new book. For days they haven't left me alone. They want me to finish the book so they can get their hands on it. Well, I'm finished, but tough luck... it's a keeper and it's mine! If you don't like it you can bag your own groceries girls and guys! I'm keeping it for another reread and maybe to highlight the really GOOD parts!


If I had a rating system Ms. MacPherson's book would be at the top. Instead, she has to settle for a makeshift 5 out of 5 fake cheese in a can rating. Oh yeah, for those in my area of the country? The party is in aisle 10!

Road Trip! Party On, Dude! Excellent!

Road Trips!
I love them! Always have! And for those of you who don't know... my family and I went to DisneyWorld this summer. Yup, we were those crazy Mainers who went in August during that spike of 95+ degree weather. And to make matters much more interesting we did it as a road trip! It was Maine to North Carolina the first day from 2am to 6pm and then 6am to about 4 the next day to Orlando. A very long trip, but it was a fun one! So, just to pass the time we started making a list as we went... I thought that I'd share it with you all...

The Best Breakfast: This was at the Waffle House in Fayetteville, NC. Many thanks to the ladies and they were wonderful to a bunch of haggard Yankees who showed up.

The Biggest Toll Booth: There is some debate, but we believe that it was actually on 95 between Delaware and Maryland. It looked like an airport it had so many lanes and was a collosal huge building... of course, I couldn't find the camera in the mess around my feet to take picture.

By the way, Delaware also had...

The Most Expensive Tolls per area travelled: It was Three dollars in and three dollars out for the smallest state travelled. They have to pay for that toll booth.
The Most Tolls: This honor, however, goes to New Jersey... but that's not really surprising. It is coupled with most confusing highway interchange at the end of the New Jersey Turnpike.

Most Billboards: Hands down... this was in South Carolina and the overall winner was South of the Border! You can't miss 'em. They're everywhere!




Cutest Truckload: This was a load of baby pigs that I once again couldn't get a picture of because we were (a) going too fast (b) couldn't find the camera in the clutter or (c) both... pick C. Because my kids whined so much and pouted, DH did however pull over so that we could pass them again and take a picture.. (yes, we're Mainers and they do weird things like that), but unfortunately it was a wasted effort as they had pulled off somewhere else.


Best Rest Stop:
Santee, SC! Clean, beautifully landscaped and did I mention clean?div>They had palm trees and a wonderful fountain with a seating area that was inscripted with great quotes. Of course, I did get a picture of this since I could them paw through the mess to find the camera. Did I mention it was clean? Oh, and here are the palm trees...



The last two are unofficial categories...


Wildlife seen: A flock of geese (not really just a flock a whole barnyard full) that were hanging out in the green section of a exit ramp in the middle of New Jersey and a baby deer that was spotted beside the road in North Carolina... he even had spots...


And the last unofficial award goes to my hubby...

Best Catch Overall: For his single-handed catch out the passenger side window of my vinyl windshield protector (you know those things you sqeegee on to help eleviate the sunglare?) while I was driving at... ahem?! EXCESSIVE speed through South Carolina and just a mere nanosecond before it disappeared forever.

Again, the camera was lost in the junk on the floor... you'll have to take my word for how good it was!

Anyway, I'm leaving you with my favorite shot taken in Florida. I wanted desperately to see a flamingo (not the rare plastico-maine-lawn species), but the real life variety. BTW, did you know that they HONK! Anyway, here they are courtesy of DisneyWorld....


Where I'm going to be?

September 21st ~ Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library~
Literary Luncheon with yours truly Click here for more info!
Please come and enjoy lunch with me!

October 6th ~ NJRWA Literacy Booksigning ~ Iselin, New Jersey
I know it's a hike... but it's a hike well worth it. I've been attending this particular conference for several years and it's well worth the drive. The booksigning never fails to showcase the best authors across all genres of Romance.

Soon to be announced... Rhode Island Romance Writers. They've asked me to come and speak with them about how to create the perfect Anti-hero!

Universal themes in writing romance

I've been thinking about themes a lot. The are everywhere and certainly in every book that we read, but somehow, sometimes, authors miss that this is an integral part of their books. First, let me explain what I mean when I say universal themes. These are the words to identify what are the natural progression of a character throughout the story. These are the lessons learned, either during the pages or the influences that create the character we are introduced to on page one. I think that there is a misconception between the idea of theme and form. There are those that criticize romance stating that the writing is formulaic. They believe that all storys follow some unseen guideline leadings us to the exact same spot as everyone else. But theme suggests that while we all hope for the happy ending that perhaps our journeys are what separate us and make us individual.



If you've ever seen a Disney movie then you've seen a universal theme. Cinderella is transformation, beauty and the beast is about judgements based on looks. But there are so many more than I could possibly list here... among them... redemption, beauty, truth, perseverance, loss, rejection, hope... clearly these are the things that we base our own lives upon and so they strike a clear resonance in the hearts of readers when they are put between the pages of our writing. It gives us the background for the characters we write by forming their thoughts, opinions and attitude and it gives us something to strive for... something to look forward to... our happy ending, our redemption, our hope. If we as writers can infuse that kind of theme into our stories then the readers can identify with the characters, laugh, love and hurt with them. And isn't this what we truly want.

Archeology

Or as it is otherwise known at my house... trying to recreate your life's work after your computer crashes and you haven't backed it up lately.

You would think I'd learn. This certainly isn't the first time I've had this little disappearing number happen on me. But I truly think that it comes from being an optimist. I charge bravely in believing that the worst can't possibly happen to me... again. And of course, it does. This time it took a week to get it back and a couple hundred dollars. Also a scolding by several who said... just leave the computer alone and write, will you!

There is a sort of fall cleaning about it. They were able to save my documents, but in order to get them back I had to go through them first. I also had to add my favorites again which meant weeding through the blog addresses that don't work or those who haven't updated in quite some time. And then, there is the demise of my email address book...
This is by the far the worst loss so far. I had so many contact addresses in it and information that I am at a staggering stilting halt because it's gone.

Lesson for today... back up your stuff. All of it. Even the little stuff. End of lesson.

Becoming Jane... becoming a fan




Short of winning Powerball and the 300 million... I've got to take my entertainment from a much more realistic manner. That being said, I just got back from seeing Becoming Jane with my daughter.

For those of you who have been living on another planet or have been on vacation (like I was) and have not heard about this movie... then shame on you. For anyone who sighs at the name Mr. Darcy or relishes the banter, wit and intelligence of Ms. Austin's books, then this is a must see.

Never mind that that the movie is filled with the same spectacular scenery and locations that stir the heart and soul, there is a absolute endearing quality to all the relationships within the movie. It is through this insight that we see the inspirations of her heart and can truly know the motivations that pushed her to write.

We as writers know our own motivations, they are the nightmares, the daydreams, the mindless chatter and the single significant conversations that have us reaching for the computer or a pen and paper. We can learn so much from just observations and our most import insights come from the day to day interactions around us.





Oh yeah... a cute Scottish guy doesn't hurt either.
James McAvoy is clearly the only man I've ever seen represented in any movie of this genre and period that can carry off that hairstyle and make it clearly sexy. And the eyes don't hurt either. (If you are my daughter and you are reading this then you can take your hands from your eyes and just remember that mom isn't dead yet!)

I cried, laughed and at times my breath caught within me. What a wonderful ride.

BEACH BUM BOOK BONANZA CONTEST


Yup! I'm entering my latest contest into the Beach Bum Book Bonanza!
For anyone who signs up for my new yahoogroups reader list at teaganoliverreaderslist@yahoogroups.com I will put their name into the monthly drawing for a bunch of goodies.
In celebration of my latest release I'm giving away a download of The Three Truths of Katie Talmadge... it's been getting great reviews and it's the perfect summer read. Love, hope and a little magic all in one great story!
Also, I'm giving away a book thong (sorry, not a better word for it yet...) that is one of my own fabulous creations along with a charm bracelet that I am specially making to go along with the release of Three Truths. (When you read the book you'll find out why this is so appropriate!)
So, if you want to get in on the action and have a great read for those long summer nights then go ahead and sign up... And don't forget to check out The Three Truths of Katie Talmadge on my website www.teaganoliver.com

Phew!


THE THREE TRUTHS OF KATIE TALMADGE IS NOW OUT!

It's hard to believe that it is actually available. I sold this book on my birthday almost two years ago!
Let me give you a bit of a peek at what it's about...
Katie Talmadge is perfectly content with her staid, predictable... sometimes boring life. Yes, she could definitely use a helping hand in the little flower shop that she runs in Salem, Massachusetts. And sometimes there just aren't enough funds to cover all of the extra costs and repairs that have to be done. But for Katie, having a routine means safety and consistency.
So... with just one week until Halloween and Salem in it's usual scaling up of events for the holiday Katie gets the surprise of her life when Rita Thorton enters her shop. Rita is every eccentric aunt, odd relative or just plain charming-but-slightly-batty-and-loveable person we all have in our lives. And Rita is on a mission. She's convinced that Katie has one week to discover three very big truths about her life and she's determined to help her. She's prepared to work her Cinderella-like magic with Salem twist on Katie and make her see that sometimes making a scary change can bring you great happiness.
Of course, what would a romance be without a dashing man. And Simon Thorton fits the bill. He's tall, dark and handsome and he's guarding his heart very closely after the death of his wife. Now five years later he's determined to stay out of the path of his matchmaking aunt and remain in his own safe, little world. Only when he meets Katie does he begin to realize that losing someone you love doesn't mean dying yourself.
I really hope that you'll pick up this book. It was truly a book of my heart and I hope that everyone else will enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
Right now it's available through Wings-Press.com as an ebook for $6.00 or in trade paperback size for $10.95. If you go to yahoogroups and sign up for my readers list (click on the underlined copy for a shortcut there), I'll be glad to send you out a postcard and magnet and enter you in my latest drawing for a charm bracelet (made by me) and a jeweled book thong (sorry, not a better word for this). I'll be giving away one set each month until I run out of bracelets!
By the way, the list is my way of getting the latest information out to my readers. But if you have any questions I can always be reached through teaganoliver@yahoo.com .
Please feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think of the book!

What have I been working on?

Well, once I got over the fact that June had arrived I began to hyperventilate when I realized that I had much to do to get ready for my next book launch. It's due out in July and it's the second book to come out, but it's the first that will be coming out as an ebook and as a trade paperback size.

Just a bit about the book...

Title: The Three Truths of Katie Talmadge
Genre: Contemporary, Sweet Paranormal
Setting: Salem, Massachusetts... 1 week before Halloween

Now, let me explain about the above information. I had no idea that they would stick with that title or I'm sure that I would never had titled it anything so long. It went through many incarnations, but I had always heard that editors rarely take you titles so I thought that I was safe. I just wanted something catchy to get the attention of the editor. They decided to keep it... go figure....


The genre? I know. I know. There are those out there who are wondering what happened to my suspense slash mysteries... but never fear I am still writing those. Originally, this book came to be when Harlequin started their Soulmates line. They were doing a lot of fanciful characters and fairy type story lines and I realized that it was my chance to write the version of a Cinderella story that I'd always wanted to write... hence The Three Truths came to be. Also, it's a "sweet" story, so there is no need to fear that there is anything more than a kiss or two in the story and the paranormal isn't a precursor to Werewolves and vampires, but you may find a ghost included.

Setting? Salem... long since a favorite of mine. Where else can you go and feel that being not-typical is a benefit?! Really, there is so much more to Salem then witches. It has an incredibly beautiful harbor and some of the most gorgeous examples of early New England Architecture that can be found. And yes, there are some witches and goulies to be found there as well.

Anyway, I plan on telling you more about the book as the month goes along. I truly love this story because the idea behind it is very dear to my heart. I hope it will touch all of your hearts as well.

Stay tuned for more about The Three Truths....

Today was Mom's birthday.

Now, I don't blog as much about her as I did after she died, but she is still very much in my thoughts. I don't think there's a week that goes by that someone doesn't mention her. And that is powerful... wouldn't we all like to think that someone would talk fondly of us after we've passed? That someone remembered you and wished you were there? Somehow, I think that's a bigger accomplishment than anything else I could ever do... well, maybe with the exception of my kids :)

Anyway, this is my unofficial hug your mom day. I wish I could.

Just a little heartbroken...


Elizabeth Ogilvie has passed away.


Now, I'm sure that quite a few of her are asking who I'm talking about... Her first book was published in 1944 and her books are still being republished today by Downeast Books here in Maine to the delight of scores of New Englanders who love her books.


Let me explain... my mother was a incredible fan of Ms. Ogilvie's books. My mother grew up in a small fishing community and she identified with the characters of Ms. Ogilvie's books. She passed that love on to me and the first romances that I read was Elizabeth's. All of her books centered around fishing families struggling with the day to day existence on an island off the coast of Maine. They were hard working, hard playing and hard loving families and her books contained such rich descriptions that the reader was transported to the island.


She was an early series writer and as I read I saw her characters grow up and and grow old. They fought, they loved, they mourned and they married. My mother awaited each new book with huge anticipation... and when I started writing I knew that I wanted to bring that same kind of life to my books that Ms. Ogilvie brought to hers.You see... the funny and sad part of all of this is that in January when my book came out I found her address and vowed to send her a copy of my book. I wasn't looking for a quote or even a response... I merely wanted her to know just how much she had inspired my writing. My son became sick in January and my mission to send her the book was forgotten.


I missed my chance.


I've been asked several times about which author inspired me most in my writing. My response is usually the same... it all began on the cliffs of an island overlooking an rough ocean filled with promise and life... I tip my pen to a woman who inspired so many of us... Elizabeth Ogilvie.
And whose life isn't made better with a truly big trophy..." Loreli Gilmore

Yes, I'm quoting Gilmore Girls again... mostly because I believe that when it comes right down to it they are able to strip away so much of what is truly annoyances and fixate on the really important stuff... like a big trophy... or recognition of doing something well... or sometimes, it is simply need for a good bit of reassurance that you aren't totally screwing things up.I'm having one of those days when I could really use a truly big trophy. People who don't write as you do (i.e. family, friends, kids, neighbors) sometimes think that if you sell you are automatically shifted to a higher level in the publishing industry... that no matter what you do it will be snatched up and published to rave reviews and that it can be done without any effort at all.

Not...

I sold two books within six months from each other. The first came out in January... the second comes out in July. I have no real idea how the first book did. I'm guessing that it was okay, but certainly not New York Times List stuff. Still, I keep hoping that I'm going to write something that will garner a really big trophy... or just make a really big list. A little recognition and a few less rejections would certainly help. Sometimes it is nice to say "I'm just glad that I was nominated", but there are other times when what you really want to say is...All I want is a really BIG trophy...


Well, the book signing was a success... at least I think it was. Frankly, I was so nervous that it was hard to judge it because my knees were knocking so bad. Many thanks to my family for showing their support and to my daughter who was alright with my leaving her birthday party to sign books at Borders. The borders staff was wonderful and tried very hard to put me at ease. I really appreciated all that they did... And thank you to all who stopped by to talk with me. It makes the nerves worth it. In case you are wondering who the man is in the picture with me... it's my dad! Much love to the guy who taught me that there are truly men out there who can be called a hero. They don't make them quite like my dad.

New Signing Date!

Thanks to the St. Patrick's Day storm my first book signing for Obsidian was cancelled... this was especially hard for me, not because it was my first, but because it means so much to me to sign for the local people who have supported over the years in my dreams of being published. I owe them all so much.

But thanks to those persistent folks at Borders they have asked me to come in and do a signing for them this Friday night from 4-6 pm on March 23rd. This is a big night for the Borders in Brunswick as they are having a reception for local educators and some Harry Potter events... something for many! So, the weather forcast for Friday is looking good... hope to see some of you there.

Bowdoin College's Hidden Gem...

One of the great things about living in a town the size of Brunswick is that there are wonderful little spots that go missed on a day-to-day basis, but every once in awhile you happen across them and they blow you away and how wonderful they are... the Peary-MacMillan Museum on the Bowdoin College Campus is just such a gem. I went on a field trip today with my son's class to visit the museum and... despite the absolutely frigid temperatures (Very Arctic like) it was a great day. The museum is housed in Hubbard Hall, one of the beautifully maintained buildings set around the college green. We were greeted by a friendly staff who immediately put the kids (and chaparones) at ease. They didn't even mind that the kids excitement was barely contained at times. We split up into group and followed Robert E. Peary and Donald B. MacMillan's voyage aboard the Bowdoin and then eventually, aided by the Inuit, to the North Pole. MacMillan didn't make it all the way there, only Peary and his group. But what they discovered along the way was more than a trek to the frigid North, but a group of people who had adapted to their environment and were gracious in their help. They helped the group adapt as well and this appears to have made the trip successful. I know... I keep going on and on... but it was such a good experience that I can only hope that others will take the time to check it out. The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10-5, Sundays 2-5 and closed Mondays and Holidays. For more information call:207-725-3416 or check out their website for more info. I've provided the link above. There is also a wonderful online tour and podcasts available through their website.

4 Hearts!!!!!

I just came across a review for OBSIDIAN at Lovesromanceandmore.com and I was thrilled. I got 4 hearts and great words of praise. She really got to the essence of why I wrote the book and it thrilled me to know that it was so well received. Check out the review and their site at

http://www.loveromancesandmore.com/reviews/Feb07/obsidian_valerie.htm


I'm working on promotion for my booksigning on St. Patrick's Day. I stopped by the library to track down a book I read a couple of years ago called Shameless Marketing for Brazen Hussies by Marilyn Ross. I came across it originally when I was looking for the Guerrilla Marketing Books. Shamless Marketing is all about two things... Empowerment... as in tackling things that may seem out of your grasp and making them work and... 2. Making it easy... great ideas that aren't overwhelming. The book is set up well and it really is geared for anyone out there who has a product that they are trying to market. It gives great tips, suggestions and examples to get your product in the hands of those who will truly enjoy it and appreciate it. For those writers out there who hate promotion... pick it up... it's worth it.

In my quest to find suitable music to write by I came across a podcast from Marc Gunn called appropriately enough... Marc Gunn's Pub Songs. I got it on iTune, but I'm sure it can be gotten other places. If you like interesting pub music check out his podcast. I've never heard celtic music that incorporated cats into his songs. He does an amusing version of the Old Dunn Cow that is rousing. Check out his music at www.marcgunn.com

Okay,




So this is so not one of my pictures... I happened to be there during July and not during Mardi Gras, but the beads? Well, the beads being thrown from balconies happen alllllllll the time....


Right, Diane?!


Laissez les bon temps roullez

For those of you who celebrate the awe of Mardi Gras... let the good times roll!

I was lucky enough to visit New Orleans during the 2001 Romance Writers of America conference. The city was beautiful and welcoming and I had a wonderful time... I'd show you the pictures, but you know what they say... what happens in New Orleans, stays in New Orleans...

;)
If you are having problems getting a copy of Obsidian at your local bookstore, please let know. I'm trying to track down any problems and I may be able to direct you to another store that may have it. TeaganOliver@yahoo.com

Also, I've a booksigning coming up on St. Patrick's Day. Very fitting for those of you that know me. It's at Borders in the MerryMeeting Plaza, Brunswick, Maine from 11-1. For those of you that are interested in writing romance I will be giving a talk at Maine RWA at the Bookland Cafe, Cooks Corner Mall from 1-2, just a mile down the road. The topic is Creating the Believable Anti-Hero: A stepped approached to a believable villian. There is a small fee of $5 for the meeting, but if you are interested in beginning to write romance or if you've started and need a little support or help, then there is no better group than Maine RWA to help you find your way.

Da Bears...

Yes, I get a lot of flack for it. In a state filled with Patriot fans I am a Bears fan. But let me clarify that a bit. I'm a 1985 season Bears fan.

What?

Let me also say that I am not a statistic quoting, know-all-the-names-of-the-players football watcher. What I am is someone who appreciates two very important things... A team that makes you root for them. They are characters that make the game come to life for everyone... including non-card carrying football fans. These are the guys that suck you in and give the game the personal feel that I find so hard to get with any kind of sports on TV. It's a name recognition thing. The '85 Bears were stars at this. With Payton, Perry and Ditka... no one can quite reach the level of accessibility that these guys had. They were larger than life (In Perry's case, more so) and they're antics made them even bigger. Superbowl Shuffle anyone? Saturday Night Live "Da Bears" that still comes up when they are mentioned in my house. Ditka alone was enough of a reason to watch just to see who he was going to be mad at... he didn't bother to limit it to the other team. I always was wondering when he was going to have a coronary.

The other thing that I appreciate is an underdog. The '85 Bears were not the odds on Favorites and that made them all the more lovable in my book. They fought for what they wanted and they got it. Yes, they crowed about it! But we were crowing right along with them. At least I was!

This is not to say that this years Bears are not worthy. I think they and Coach Lovie deserve to be where they are. They made their way carefully there and yes, there are some that say they don't deserve it. But then... it's a game.

Okay, so you are saying what the heck does this possibly have to do with being a writer? Why post this on a romance writer's blog? Because if you think about it, the '85 Bears brought the same things to that Superbowl that we should be bringing to our characters. Make them larger than life, give them purpose, even make them the underdog to root for... just make sure that your readers are rooting for them. Maybe even 21 years after the book is read.

If you want to see a great article on the Bears '85 team check out this article.

So where am I at...

Despite the fact that last week was a killer week which included two trips to the emergency room with my son and about 6 hours of sleep total in three days... I'm doing pretty well. Yesterday was the official launch date for Obsidian and while this is greatly exciting I've found that as nerve wracking as I thought trying to sell the book to an editor was... trying to sell it to the general public is worse. Somewhere along the way I convinced myself that this would be a breeze. I have a background in publishing, albeit non-fiction. I've been through at least eight book launches and two software launches that I can remember and not one of them was nearly as scary as launching my own book. All my knowledge is useless unless you can get your book in front of a receptive audience. And let's face it... I love my family, they've been the most supportive people I know... but I don't think that there are several thousand of them out there waiting to buy my book. What does this mean? This means that I need to find as many people interested in what I write as possible... Can I do it? I certainly hope so... but in the meantime it looks like it's going to be one hell of a ride...

IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My book is officially released!

Many thanks to everyone who has helped me get here. I couldn't have done it without your support.
The reviews have been coming in for OBSIDIAN and they are very exciting. It's a bit unnerving to think that people are saying such great things about my writing! I'm loving it.

Coffeetime Romance says:

4 cups!

"Suspense, romance and intrigue this story definitely has all three. Ms. Oliver has done a fantastic writing a book that will have her readers eating up ever moment of this tale. This story will have you by the seat of your pants. So make sure to put it on your list of books to be read."

Romance Review Today says:
"An interesting and mysterious tale, OBSIDIAN will keep readers intrigued. "

Harriet Klausner says:
"OBSIDIAN is an entertaining investigative romantic suspense that hooks readers..."

Yeah for me!

I received a flyer in the mail from the campground that we stayed at when we were in Pennsylvania last year. We had been there before a couple of years before that when we took the kids to Hershey park. At that time my husband thought I was nuts to drag him so far from the park for a chance to camp about 30 minutes away. I did a lot of research and came up with a place called Mountain Creek Campground. It's a beautiful place at the base of some mountains with a lazy little creek that runs through the lower part of the campground. The first time that we were there the kids were very little and we were in a tent. Despite high temps we had a wonderful time so when we decided to head toward Gettysburg last summer we knew where we wanted to stay. This time we'd upgraded and bought a tent camper with a nice awning and sleeps plenty with space to share. We were excited as we drove the 12+ hours to get there. We set up next to the stream and dreamed exploring the area the next day. But during the night it started to rain... and rain... and rain some more. We did a few cautious trips about the area, but when we came back we found that the creek was rising. Still, we thought we were safe and we watched it through the night until it rose up under our picnic table... some feet from the bank of the creek. We moved the camper back thinking we would be safe, but by morning... this is what it looked like...








This is what it looked like in the morning. Our camper was parked next to this table. Most people would have bailed and headed for home at this point, especially since there was more rain forecast for the area. But not us. We hooked onto the camper and moved it to higher ground well above the stream with only a minor drainage ditch nearby. We went to Gettysburg as planned and managed to enjoy it. We even had a small break in the rain, enough for us to get to see the 20th Maine monument. But by the time we got back to the campground the water had risen more. The campers in the lower area were flooding (some were seasonals who leave their campers there during the week).









Being the nice Mainers that we are we helped people move their campers up from the lower area. My husband drove his truck through the floodwaters to help retreive gear and people and possessions and we helped move tables and chairs out the way of the now raging river. By nightfall we were watching as the owner pulled the huge campers out of the lower area with a tractor in an attempt to salvage what he could. We could see that the devastation was going to be phenominal and costly. When the water rose again and we knew we would have to drive out through 2 feet of water we packed the kids and the camper up and left at around midnight. We stopped long enough for coffee and hotdogs for the kids and headed back to Maine. As we crossed the mountains in Pennsylvania they were closing I-84 behind us and evacuating the towns because of danger to the dams. We drove until we hit the New York border and then slept for a few hours in the truck. We made it back to Maine about 14 hours after we left Pennsylvania.




Some have asked us if we would return again. We definitely would do it again. We saw a dedication in the people who run that campground and those staying there to protect and help others that isn't glimpsed much anymore. We would definitely do it again. And when people ask me where I get some of my crazy ideas for my stories. I tell them that they come from life... because without a little excitement, life would be pretty boring.

Border's First Chapter Contest

Check out Border's First Chapter Contest. For those who are unpublished this could be your chance at a contract and $5000... pretty sweet. Sounds like an interesting competition. You two could find yourself as the next Nora or Janet E.
I was eavesdropping at the grocery store the other day when I heard something very interesting. A man came through with a book by NY Times Bestselling Author. The cashier looked at it as she was scanning it and asked him if he'd read anything else by the author. He had. Granted, this is a very mundane conversation, but what surprised me most was when the customer commented that he liked the authors books because his style changes continually.

As writers we are told to define our voice, to create work that is recognizable. The customer was saying that he liked it when the writer mixed it up, chose a different genre (In this case they were suspense and what I would describe as women's fiction, not romance). He said that he got tired of authors who continually write the same book in a different setting.

Good point.

In a world of fast turn arounds, small shelf lives and Guerilla Marketing, the idea of changing your identity isn't something that is vastly promoted... And yet, here was a customer who liked it. Not everyone would, but for those who digest books like breakfast maybe there is something to be said for a little variety.

What do you think?

Just a few notes on the new year...

As the new year arrives and only 16 days until my book ships I find myself feeling like one of those rocket fireworks that has just been lit and is merely waiting for the fuse to get to the desired point for launching. I am breathlessly excited to the point of sleeplessness. Not that I sleep much as it is, but the weight of 12 years is bearing on my shoulders. This has been a long time coming and I only hope that there won't be those that read the book and wonder why I've bothered.
I know it seems a bit childish of me to admit to being scared as to what the critics will say, but I care greatly for what my family thinks after all this time.

I've spent some time reading today. Now, for most this would be nothing, but for me it is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Since I started truly dedicating myself to the writing I can count on one hand the days when I put it all aside to just enjoy reading a book. Two of those days have been spent reading Eloisa James.

If you haven't read her books yet then please hurry off and do so. My guilty pleasure has always been regency romances. I've loved them since my first Barbara Cartland and I show no signs of giving them up anytime soon. They've evolved over the years into a much more intense genre, breathing life, suspense, joy, love and so many more emotions into such a glittering, enthralling time period. Eloisa has such a gift for transporting her readers into the realm of regency that it nearly breaks my heart to put down her books. Not only that, but having met her at a recent conference I can tell you that she is an extremely sweet person to talk to... :) I devour her books and find myself unable to do anything else until the very last page. She has a voice that reminds me of English moors, women of strength and men who, despite their faults, have a generous loving nature inside. Run out and pick them up... they are worth whatever the cost...

Lastly, I wish everyone a joyous new year. May it be filled with love, hope and laughter.

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