It's going to be a quiet day...

not that I don't have tons to do. I always do on days off from the regular job. Plus, today is my MERWA meeting day which means that I get to see my best and oldest friends.

But the problem is... I lost my voice. I've been dealing with a massive cold for the last couple days and now it's gone to a full blown case of laryngitis. The kids at home and work will be happy, no doubt!

Anyway, every month at the MERWA meetings we talk about what we accomplished since the last meeting. I'm happy to say that I have lots to whisper about. I finished Once a Hero. And I sent it off to the editor who was interested. I joined PAN, the published authors network for Romance Writers of America.

As you can see, it's going to be a a lot to report on... to bad I don't have the voice to say it all. Maybe they'll just accept this blog post as my accomplishments :)
I won! I won! I won!

Have I mentioned that I won! Kate Walker picked me (or rather her trusty Sid picked me) and I am the proud winner of her 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance and The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife. For those of you who don't know about her writing, let me enlighten you. She's written scores of books for Harlequin Mills & Boon for their Presents line and she teaches workshops in England and she has a menagarie of animals that make you just say "Awwww" when you read her blog. Since she's so fond of kitties I thought I'd post my own distraction. This is Juice, or JuJu, as we call him. We got him from a want ad and I should have known we were in for trouble when the lady literally handed him over and beat feet in the opposite direction. Now he's about a year and half old and the nemesis of my 19 year old kitty, Moose. He decided it was his job this year to guard the Christmas Tree and he took his job pretty seriously. Most mornings he could be found asleep underneath.



So, a huge thank you to Kate for not only allowing herself to be distracted from deadline long enough to be tagged, but having a cat with such good taste.

I've been tagged.

If Nina Pierce weren't such a wonderful, dear friend I'd find a way to snowmobile the hundreds of miles up to the top of the state and give her a wedgie. But truly. Since I'm passing this on I guess I'd better not threaten. After all, what you put out there is what you get back :)

Anyway, here are the rules...
* List seven things about yourself

* Link to the blog of the person who tagged you (see highlighted name above).

* Tag seven new unsuspecting "friends" and have them list seven things about them...

Here's my list.
1. When I was a kid I aspired to grow up and become the tour guide on the safari ride at Disney World. I'd seen the old black and white, grainy tour of the park and knew that was my calling. Obviously my course of direction got derailed, but I did find myself at DisneyWorld this last August on my 40th birthday and I got to ride the Safari ride as a b-day present... Yeah for me.

2. I'm deathly afraid of walking on ice. It's more than being creeped out by the cracking. And frankly, I can go to an ice rink and be fine. I actually took skating lessons until the point when they insisted that my body was able to leave the ice and return without shattering into a thousand pieces. But it's lakes and ponds that freak me out. I credit it to two things. I had an aunt who died young after she fell through the ice on a pond and caught pneumonia. And when I was a kid we were skating on a pond and some of the older kids pointed out a turtle that was frozen in the ice. Not just a small turtle. He was huge. From then on I was freeked...

3. I've talked about losing my mom, but what I don't talk about enough is how great my Dad is... he's my biggest fan. He'd go through a snowstorm to go to one of my booksignings just to be there for me. I call that a great guy.

4. In Obsidian, the town that is described in the book is patterned after the little place I grew up. It's a beautiful pennisula jutting into the Atlantic ocean and it's one way in.... and the same road out.

5. When I was a kid I collected those free travel brochures from all 50 states. You know, the kind you see in the back of magazines? I dreamed of traveling the world. I'm still working on it... which brings me to...

6. I am a road trip junkie. Long or short, several days or all in one. I love to get behind the wheel and drive. It's the ultimate freedom for me. For my kids... not so much :)

7. I'm living a dream. Granted, I'm not the household name that Nora is, but I'm truly doing what I love.

So, here are my next tags. Diane, Michelle, Susan and Kelly are dear friends of mine. They can't hate me. As for April, Anne and Kate are all authors that I admire... and as such, I can't wait for their answers so that I can learn more about them:
1. Diane Amos
2. Michelle Libby
3. Susan Vaughan
4. April Star
5. Kelly McClymer
6. Anne McAlister
7. Kate Walker

Ode to a Bad Boy...


From Anne McAllister's post on the Pink Heart Society Blog...

Mads discussing his reasons for playing LeChiffre... "I think if you are playing the bad guy, you try to show a good side to him sometimes, and if you are playing the good guy, you try to show a flaw in him, so it's not one-dimensional for the audience. . . Every good character has to have that dualism inside of them."
He discovered that dualism in LeChiffre, found a backstory that made him a real person he could get inside of and, in so doing, created a character who was, if not redeemable (because this is a Bond movie after all), still human.

Of course, she's talking about an interview that was done with Mads Mlkkelsen about his character in Casino Royale, but truly for anyone who writes characters with a bit of a tarnished personality, aren't these the things that we look for?

I love writing bad guys. I don't know if goes back to liking the bad boys (I certainly was attracted to my fair share of them), but I have always been intrigued by the idea that given the right circumstances, that bad guy could have been the hero.

I just finished Irish Rain. I'd been struggling with it, not because of the plot but for my own personal reasons. I let the fears in my life stagnate my writing. But then, don't we see these same traits in our characters? Aren't these the things that make them memorable and even make us like the bad guys... sometimes more than the hero.

For Irish Rain, my soul reason for writing the book was to show that given one moment in time, one simple decision, one change in outlook... the bad guy... in this case his name is Cador Phinn... could have been the good guy. He certainly has his own justifications for doing the bad things he's done, but in his own story he would be the hero. It's a matter of perspective.

Thought for the day... and thank you to Anne for understanding the importance of a great bad boy.

Paranormals: Writing and being...

I write two kinds of books. Two very different kinds of books. First, there are my romantic suspense books. The other books that I write are paranormals. Recently at a book signing a customer was put off from my books when I said that I wrote paranormals. It didn't matter that the Three Truths of Katie Talmadge is as lighthearted a books as there is out there. It has a positive message and it's a book that truly has to do with opening yourself up to others. But I'm sure in the mind of that potential reader this was not what she was thinking.

By definition, paranormal is pertaining to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation, as psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena. However, most of the books that are out there today that are listed as paranormals within the genre include (but not limited to) Werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, etc.

To me, writing a paranormal means creating characters that are open to, or are able to connect with their own extrasensory abilities. Frankly, I'm a believer that everyone has them, but most everyone ignores them or discounts them. Writing characters with paranormal abilities is as much of a learning process as it is for someone who wants to develop them. In many ways it's as difficult as learning another language.

I have a few rules when it come to writing paranormals:

1. It must be an integral part of the plot. It can't just be an ability that is mentioned in passing that really doesn't have a place in the book.
2. I feel the need to be respectful to those that have the abilities. Offer them the same respect as you would any other character in the book.
3. The solution must be connected to the ability. This is important.... but that leads to my last rule...
4. Even though the solution is reached through extrasensory abilities there needs to be a growth or understanding that comes with acceptance of the gift. In other words, abilties are only expanded through acceptance of the gift and understanding how they pertain to your own existance in the world.

In Katie Talmadge, Katie can't move forward until she begins to see what is that has been blocking her path. It isn't until she can see that there are these invisible roadblocks that we all put up in our lives that she can accept Rita's gifts and know that there is someone out there for her. How many people continue to sit in one spot in their lives, spinning their wheels and reliving the same problems continuously in a cycle because they refuse to recognize and move past it?

Paranormal is more than an ability to pick the right lotto numbers, contact the deceased or sense the past. It's about learning more about yourself and your role within your world.

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