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Grief in Storytelling

I'm hard at work on STEALING THUNDER. The number 2 book in the Darkness Paranormal series that I'm writing. As in STEALING DARKNESS, this book deals considerably with grief. It's a recurring theme for most of my work, mostly because of the truth of the emotion. InSTEALING DARKNESS, the grief is over an unseen loss and how it relates to her own inability to save someone. But in STEALING THUNDER, the grief has several avenues. The first is Graham's coming to terms with the loss of his mother, a loss he thought he dealt with long ago. For Grace, it's watching a friend slowing fading away. And for a little girl, it's dealing with the grief of watching her mother die and knowing there's no way to stop it.

People automatically think that grief is something that happens after death. But in fact, from the moment we realize the finality of a situation we are forced to deal with our own mortality, and the inevitability of loss. I've often heard people say that i…

Kick Start the New Year!

Out with the old and in with the new... it's not just a cliche. If you are a professional writer than this should be your mantra for getting ready for 2010. It can't be said enough that in order to be treated as a professional we must first treat ourselves as professionals. I've been in this business long enough to know that I can't expect someone else to push me if I want to accomplish my goals. I need to do it myself. No one else can put my butt in the chair and no one else can make my fingers hit the keyboard. I need to do that myself.

Accept it...
It's about more than making resolutions and goals. We need to be able to put practices in place that show that we are actively pursuing a publishing career. It's not enough to say that I want to be published. I must say how I am going to accomplish it.

I will write 1,000 words a day.
I will log it on a daily log sheet.
If I miss a day I will go forward and not quit. But I will hold myself accountable by showing…

"Honest" Writing

I'm not sure how much grief I may get for this blog post or whether or not I understand what it is that I'm trying to say to the extent that I may convey it clearly to anyone else. But lately I've found that when my writing is lacking it's due to the fact that I have written what I would call an "honest" book.

By "honest" I mean a book that genuinely taps into emotions and conveys them to the reader. I've picked up tons of books that I was excited to read only to find that they fell flat when reading them. They may have initially captured my interest, but they failed to touch my heart. And that is failure with a book. As writers we are told to write what we know or to write from the heart. But how many of us truly understand that to do this means to put our emotions out there for anyone to see. We must lay our souls bare in order to capture the essence of our story. Notice... I didn't say our character's soul? That's because whether…

Slugging away at my writing...

Day 3: And so far I've managed to write each day. I have a measly little goal of a 100 words, but find that most days I blow that away... except today. Oh, I got to my goal. But it wasn't easy. I'm tired and cranky and had a long, long day of pre-Christmas retail work. The last thing that I could think about was being creative. Still, I manage to get those words onto the page. And I can truthfully say that I am proud of myself. Besides, there is always tomorrow to finish the Great American Novel. :)

When Inspiration Strikes

I'm up early. At least early for me. Hubby has left at this unGodly hour for work and I found that I couldn't let the characters in my head stay silent anymore. For two days I have worked long hours with only a few minutes caught here and there to be able to satisfy their need for attention. But this morning they want their time in the light. I've turned on the lights on the tree, set a pot of coffee to brew and sit here in semi darkness trying to rationalize why, on one of my few days off I'm not lounging in bed with the covers pulled up around me and dreaming of warm places.

For some reason the holidays have always been a fairly creative time for me. I don't know if it's just my minds complete knowlege that there is very little time allotted for creative endeavors. Or if it's the fact that this is the Universe's way of reminding me that this is what I truly wish I was doing. But since bills must be paid and a roof must stay over our heads, I know th…

Writing the Road Less Traveled

Surprise yourself. If you outline, be loose as you lay out the story. If you just write without an outline, hack away in semi-darkness. If you know your destination, don’t take the freeway. Explore the back roads. Visit landmarks that are off the beaten track. Ask yourself as you write, Is there another way to get where I’m going?The above quote came from Gail Carson Levine's blog where she posts about predictability. Some of you may know Ms. Levine for her young adult books such as Ella Enchanted. But she's been writing mysteries lately and she has a lot to offer in the way of help for writers.
I think the above quote really does sum up what we should be thinking when it come to writing books that satisfy our readers. She's relentless in questioning whether the point being offered is taking the easy way out for the writer and thereby cheating the reader. Frankly, she's got a point. I do think that writer's are a hard reader to satisfy. We tend to tear things apart …

Work Messes with my Writing...

Since I have yet to hit either the lottery or the NYT list it is a given that I am reduced to continuing on with my day job. The title "day job" is a bit of a misnomer in this case since I work retail. For instance, I worked until 9:30pm last night... only to turn around and work at 9 this morning. But since, I'm not independently wealthy I must continue on and write while I can.

At the recent Maine RWA Christmas party (hosted by the fabulous Diane Amos) a few of us had a discussion about one of the chapter's motivation loops. It's called the Word Ho's. And no, you're not reading that wrong. This was a yahoo list that was developed over the last year so that it could help motivate and keep members accountable. They report in on their progress and are responsible for doing as little as 100 words a day. That could be a paragraph for some... a sentence for others :) But the idea is to keep it simple, keep them writing and keep them accountable for putting th…

Blog Envy

I've got it.

I normally peruse quite a few blogs when given the chance. Mostly I read author blogs, usually ones that involve mystery or romance authors. But every once in awhile I come across a blog that really "WOWS" me.

This week it was Desperately Seeking My Inner Mary Poppins.

This blog works on so many levels. First, the writing is good. Any authors out there looking for a little bit of that sense that someone else understand our insanity will get it by reading Mary Beth's posts. (more...)

Memories of home and holidays

A couple of weeks ago my daughter and I started a fan page on Facebook for my hometown, Cundy's Harbor, Maine. We did it because there were so many of us living abroad (that is... beyond the town line) that we wanted to make sure that there was a place for many of us to go and register our thoughts. As of the last count we had 87 fans. That doesn't sound like a lot, but when you figure that Cundy's Harbor is just a small part of a bigger town and the main road is only about 9 miles long... this is quite a few of us. More are coming I'm sure. Making that turn onto the harbor road is the same for me as going home. Even as I cross Gurnet Bridge I can feel it in my bones. That familiarity. That sense of place. That part of my soul. (...more)

Evolution

My blog is going to be undergoing a change over the next couple of weeks. For the last couple of months I've felt like I was in transition, unsure of which direction to go. Ironically, it was as I was pumping the water out of my basement yesterday that I had an epiphany of sorts. By using my blog as only a chance to share my writing tips I feel as if I've limited myself. I want to share my passion for Maine, as well. So stay tuned, changes are coming...

On Writing... faith

Having faith isn't about getting what you think you want immediately. It's about holding onto that faith until it's the right time for what you need to be received.

This is my quote... It's something that I try to live by. I'm not an overtly religous person, but I do consider myself to be spiritual. And for me spirituality and faith go hand in hand. So, what does this have to do with writing?

Without faith in anything your characters will have little true motivation to spur them forward. If you think about all the things that we throw at our characters, giving them all possible hurdles to overcome then it needs to be balanced by a faith that will carry them through the rough times. The same with people. We all experience rough patches in our lives, times when you wonder what it was that made someone paint a bullseye on you. But if you have faith then you can move forward. Faith in anything even miniscule will grow and thrive and give you rope that you need to pull y…

Do you really know?

It isn't until I started working on my first non-fiction book proposal that I truly realized how wide and varied are the markets. I was intimidated by the idea of analyzing the competition and listing them within the proposal. Surely, to compare my work to another would be a process in the egotistical, but frankly, what I found was it was an endeavor that promises to weed out any weakness within my own work and truly look at the place for my book within the market.
As writers we like to believe that our ideas are unique. But once you truly look at and analyze those other books then you begin to see where your own could be strengthened. Perhaps your topic is too broad, covering too much to be succinct. Perhaps your idea is limited and then you face the fact that you may not have enough to carry a book. And of course, there is that issue of saleability. Everyone would like to believe that their book will be instant success, but even selling isn't a guarantee of a readership. It t…

Goals and other things that I avoid... But shouldn't

I have one of those Google alert thingies set up to notify me when someone posts a blog involving "writing" and "mysteries". I find helpful to be able to see what others are saying in order to be able to get my creative juices flowing. This morning I opened my mail to find that there was a blog post from a YA author named Justine Larbalatier, called Writing Goals Redux. Apparently, at the beginning of the year she'd posted her goals to write and publish under several different genres, pov and formats. She was now, toward the end of the year, looking at how much she'd achieved. It's impressive. Actually, she's impressive. I'm pretty much convinced that she must not sleep. I can see where she would need to write all of this down so that she could keep track of it. And her books are selling. It's not as if she's writing these manuscripts and stuffing them in the back of her closet or under her bed. No, she's got a impressive list of acc…

On the trail of a new project... The Non Fiction Book Proposal

I've written bits and pieces of for the last year. But it isn't until the last month that I've really started looking at writing a proposal for my current project.

Now, I've written tons of query letters. I've the rejection files to prove it. But it wasn't until I garnered the idea for my non-fiction that I found something that truly makes me quake in my boots (short boots,very nice, black, simple). For those who quiver over the dreaded synopsis, and I have heard tons of writers lamenting them over the years, then take a look at just what goes into a nonfiction proposal.
1. Title Page (with it's own layout. Those who write manuscripts are generally familiar with it.)
2. Overview that 3-5 pages long and outlines such questions as ... Who is the proposed audience, Why will they buy it and What I will bring to this book?...
3. Author Credentials. About 1 page and listing vigorously why you are the author to write the book.
4. A Competitive Analysis of books current…

Blustery wind and an Irish Prayer

A raw and blustery wind is heading for the Maine coast. The remnants of a hurricane are ready to hit the shores. Some would say it's not a fitting day for much. But my Dad-in-Law would appreciate the iron of such wild weather today, of all days. Today we're burying him... my Dad-in-Law. Notice you won't hear me call him "Father"-in-Law because the man was much more of a Dad to me than the remote austere image taht such a formal name as "father" conjures. He was an imposing man with his stout Scotman's build, but he was graced with a soft voice that could grow and thunder and resonate until it was clear that all in the house could hear him. But he usually chose a much quieter form of communication. He was a gentle soul, who from my first meeting became a friend to me. I, along with my family, will miss him immeasurably.


Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
I am not there... I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow...
I am the diamond glints on snow…

We'll Know When We Get There: Sincerely, John Hughes

If you haven't read this... please do so. There can be no better tribute to a man who had such an amazing effect on our lives...
We'll Know When We Get There: Sincerely, John Hughes
I was Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles... minus getting the cute guy with the car. I was the angst ridden, thoroughly strange (I intended it be more an individualistic aura), and completely awkward teenager. In the Breakfast Club I was more of Ally Sheedy's character, the loner looking at life from the outside and completely wishing that I could be "one of them" if only for a short while. I wanted to be daring and outrageous like Ferris Beuller and funny like Ducky. More than anything... I wanted someone who could look into my life and make it something more. I was a teenager living in the John Hughes era. And somehow, he made it okay.
I still want to drive a pink Opal. But now, looking back, I find that if Mr. Hughes hadn't offered me the passport to be just a little bit off ce…

An observation from RWA National 2009

I confess... I signed up late for the Librarian/Bookseller Networking event. I didn't have time to send in my stuff because I was so late. I will also confess that I suck when it comes to networking. I get so nervous and self-conscious in those type of situations. But I will tell you about some observations I made at the event...

1. I saw a lot of authors, not a lot of Booksellers or Librarian with tags. Of course, I may have hit it at the wrong time or just not noticed all together.
2. There was a lot of grouping. I've already confessed that these things make me nervous, but to go into a situation like this where people are already grouped off. There should be someone at this who's function is to facilitate and make people feel welcome. Maybe introduce them around if they need it...
3. I saw one author who was standing by her books and display who was talking to a bookseller/librarian about her work. She played it right. She gave them something to focus on and ask questions …

The ticking clock...

Time constraints in fiction are not new. The idea tht the pace of the story is controlled by the need to accomplish the character's goals within the time frame given. This control of environment can be used to:

show the passage of time by using a known event... such as a holiday or tradition.
increase the pacing of the story. As the time on the clock decreases and the adrenahline factors kick in.

Use a ticking clock to your advantage.

Reflections on the RWA Conference

I'm back. After the long drive back to Maine I have had a good sleep in my own bed and coffee from my own coffee maker (Yeah!). I owe my husband greatly for holding down the fort and doing a fantastic job of keeping up with the kids while I was gone. I couldn't have made it without him.





I thought I would take this moment to go over a few things that I learned at National conference. I'll start with the Leadership seminar that I attended with Delsora Lowe on behalf of the Maine RWA chapter.
We are a professional organization, and as such, we need to remember that our actions represent more than Maine RWA. They reflect RWA. Whether are a part of the chapter because we chose to be a part of a larger organization, or we only seek to be with people who share our interest we need to remember that we are a "professional" organization.Following proper protocal is important. Not only does it give us a proper operating proceedure, but it provides a frame work to both cover …

Conference Giveaway Goodies!!!!! Enter Details...

Want to enter? Check out my Facebook Event Page @ http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=99953559009


Start Time: Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 8:00pm
End Time: Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 3:00pm
Email: TeaganOliver@yahoo.com

I'm signing at RWA National's Literacy Signing on July 15 @ the Marriot Wardman Hotel, Washington DC. The proceeds are for a great cause, but the signing can be long when you aren't an A-List author. Help me fight my boredom by dropping by to say hi to me and putting your business card in for a drawing of a nifty giveaway bag! I'll be putting an item a day into the bag and since I'm pretty eclectic in what I do... the bag will be eclectic also. There are 2 ways to enter... 1. New to my Face Page? Friend me within the next 6 days (ends July 11) and I'll put you in the drawing.2. Already a Face Friend? Drop me a message and I'll include you in the drawing (good through July 20th).3. Drop by the signing and save me from boredom by saying…

RWA Prep...

Phew! So, far today I've been going around and around working on getting things done for my trip to RWA in DC starting Sunday.
So far today... I spent 1 1/2 hours at WalMart getting the oil changed in my car. Drove my daughter to Borders to get a book for her summer homework (not RWA related, but still running.) Drove said daughter to work (and picked her up and drove her to driver's ed)Arghhh! Packed my suitcase.
Bought my toiletries for the trip. Gotta have that allergy med.
Found my shoes in the bottom of the closet and in my daughter's room (big surprise).
Glued my shoe (again... thanks to daughter).
Put together the Maine RWA basket. I'd post a pic, but too wiped.
I know there's more, but frankly... I can't remember it.
I know when I pull out of the driveway on Sunday morning at 5am there will be things I've forgotten. But right now... I don't care...

Glastonbury 2009 - The Big Picture - Boston.com

This link originally came from a Twitter follow, London Interesting or @LDN (for those who want to check them out), which led me to their previous posts which led me to these pictures. They are incredible! They also make me very glad to have missed the event. Somehow, I'm not sure you can estimate just how many port-a-potties are needed for 190,000 people who all seem to be drinking heartily. You have to believe that the faery folk with traipsing about and having a good laugh and all without causing a bit of notice. Still, I'd like to Glastonbury... but minus the 190,000 people.  Glastonbury 2009 - The Big Picture - Boston.com

Happy Father's Day...

This is my Dad. I've talked about my Mom a lot over the years, but I don't really think that I've given enough credit to all that my Dad has done for me. I could go on for days about all the little things that he has done to make sure that I had a good life. All the times that he went without to make sure that we had something that we wanted, or just something that he thought we would like. I could tell you about the encouragement and love that he offers up unconditionally and the fact that should I ever need him he would be there in a heartbeat. I could tell you all these things... well, maybe I already did, but there is so much more to my dad. He is a man who believes in what is just and right and that no person should go undefended. He believes that a good sense of humor can put a shine on any day and that there is nothing that can happen to you to that you can't get through. He's my biggest fan and probably the best promoting tool that I have! (him and my uncle…
Coming in July!


Stay tuned for the exciting details from the road!

Bitten By Books

Haven't heard of them? Well, if you're a writer then I suggest you hop, skip and jump on over to the website @ http://www.bittenbybooks.com

Not writing paranormal? It doesn't matter because if you are an author there is plenty to learn about the art of promotion. I've never seen a more intensely focused promotional site then this one. Rachel is on facebook, twitter and every where else she can possibly be. She's out there
promoting all day (and most of the night sometimes) for authors with fantastic books.

I've gotten into several of the book releases and it's lead me to some great authors. Yasmin Galenorm, (who has some of the hottest covers out there. I'd say they're as good as the P.C. Cast covers at drawing people in), Sara Taney Humphreysand the list goes on and on. Even my friend Lina Gardineris on the site. (Buy all of their books. They're fantastic). My only regret is that I didn't know about it when Three Truths came out. It would have…

Industry Talk: Indie vs Chain

There's been a lot of talk on one of the mystery writers list about Indies and Chain Stores. I confess, this is something very close to my heart. As a writer and as someone who wants to see my local economy come back from the hardship of the last few months, I have a vested interest in seeing any bookstore succeed. Here in Brunswick we recently lost our local Indie bookstore. I have a ton of memories wrapped up in that store. My parents idea of a good Friday night was to go to dinner and then go to the bookstore to see what was new in stock. I bought my Nancy Drew books there, my comics, my first romances... and Gothics.. and mysteries... I could go on and on. This store was also the hub for our writer's group. The store had graciously hosted us in their meeting room for years (in return, we bought more than our share of the great food from the cafe). It was sad to see it go. There has been a lot of talk that the new Borders in town was responsible for it's downfall. But I…

Gail Carson Levine: Mystery mystery

I've been in the processes of undertaking a new project... a mystery. And in my process I've sought out the words of others writing mystery. Today I came across Gail Carson Levine's post on her blog about her own trials with mysteries. I was immediately drawn to her post. My daughter was an avid fan of Ms. Levine's books and I was grateful for the wonderful worlds that she uses to enchant her readers. Not only is she an eloquent writer of spellbinding enchantments, but she is a struggling writer taking on new project... struggling the same as myself. That makes my struggles just a little more approachable.So, if you are a fan of Ella or if you are a struggling writer (like me), then check out her post for a little inspiration and commiseration. It's worth the look... Gail Carson Levine: Mystery mystery
I just realized that Nationals are less than 2 months away. Somewhere in all of the chaos that has been this spring I didn't realize that it was creeping up on me so fast. This, is a big year for me. I've been to several National Conferences over the year, but I've never been a presenter. It's a real honor. I can only hope that I do it justice. Going to be in Washington DC during July 15-18th? We will be, too! The Pop Tart and Dollar Menu Tour is still in the planning stages. Delsora Lowe and I will be joined by a new... errr?! ... author on this trip. I'll let you know who it is when we get closer, but suffice it to say... she's in for a good time!

Thinking lobsters and clams this weekend...

Well, here's my plug for the local economy. Brown eggs may be local eggs, but you won't get anymore local or fresh then buying your lobster and clams from the local dealers. Fresh from the boat with no little side trips in between. In the Harpswell area? Check out Hawkes Lobster in Cundy's Harbor. While you're there you can peruse the gift items. Sue has a great selection. And Hawkes Lobster ships year round. So, can't make it to Maine? Check out their website and give them a call. You can check out their website at www.hawkeslobster.com to get an idea of what they are offering.

Free Virtual Writing Conference

This came across the MMA list and I thought I'd pass it along. The list of presenters is impressive and cover the spectrum of the publishing genre. I'll be working on the Maine RWA Writer's Retreat this weekend... but I'll be taking my laptop with me because I don't want to miss this!


There's going to be a Virtual Writers Conference online May 18-22 at... wait for it... http://virtualwritersconference.blogspot.com/. Writers, editors and agents will post columns and respond to comments. It'll be fun, and I'm sure there'll be discussions of promotion.
The other day I was going through the papers that we compiled after her death over 5 years ago. In it there was this photo. It was taken in at her desk in my cousin Rob's Real Estate office. She was kind of a woman-about-office, helping out where and when she could. She loved it, much more than she loved the years she spent working Civil Service. She was always laughing and having fun and she loved being there. I think it shows in the picture. The other day one of the other realtors spoke to me about mom. She said "She was always smiling. Always laughing." I don't think that's a bad way to be remembered. I love you Mum.

Queen of Time Sucks

Yup, that's right. I've given myself a new title... or in this case... crown. I have always said that the worst thing a woman can learn is how to be a multitasker. I have yet to see men who have as much of a problem with it as women. And I suspect that a great deal of the trouble has to do with guilt. Women always feel guilty that they haven't gotten more done. They worry that if they spend time on other things that the laundry will go undone and the dishes will stay in the sink. It becomes a badge of disgrace in a way. But only because most women judge themselves by how they think others will see them. (Please note: I am making VAST generalizations in the name of making a point). On any given day I have things that could easily occupy every second. I could find things to fill every moment. But at some point it becomes a detriment to my sanity. If I don't go on Facebook and keep up with my fellow reunion people and I stay away from Twittering about how much coffee I…

It's Official...

I'll be speaking at Romance Writers of America's National Conference this July 15-18, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Actually, I'll be speaking on Friday morning... here's the line up for those who are able to brave the early morning workshops on Friday. I promise not be overly chipper and annoying :)

Now, I don't need to tell you that there are some absolutely fabulous speakers lined up for the same slot as myself. While it's a great honor to be asked to speak at Nationals, it's a bummer that I'm going to go broke to get the recordings for all the great workshops I'm going to miss! So, if you don't show up... I'll know where you all are... save me some notes so that I don't miss all the good stuff.

8:30 - 9:30 A.M.

20 Questions to a Killer PR Plan (CAREER)
Speaker: Louise Ahearn
What are the 20 most important questions to ask yourself to create a killer promotional plan for your work? An award-winning public relations coach will talk you through th…

Florida teen finds rocks in Nintendo DS box - plugged in - Yahoo! Games

Florida teen finds rocks in Nintendo DS box - plugged in - Yahoo! GamesWhy am I posting this? Because I can sympathize with the poor kid. But in my case it was a coffee maker and it was substituted with old sneakers and a towel. And yes, they do look at you funny when you bring it back and tell them that it bought that way.

Picture of the day: For Dad

I spent some time yesterday in Rockland, Maine. Very nice little place. Lots of museums and a wonderful Coffee/Bookshop called Rock City Coffee Roasters. The wind was howling and the rain slashing down, but I had an enjoyable time with my laptop in their coffee area. After that I rode around the waterfront area. It's one of the largest working waterfronts still left virtually intact in Maine. I love it. It's also home to the Lobster Festival every summer. I think, if I had to live somewhere else in Maine... it'd be Rockland.

Anyway, this picture is for my Dad... who, when times get rough and he feels the need to go to camp would usually say that he was headed for "parts unknown". So, here you go, Dad. Here's your boat to take you there....

Totally off Topic: The Holiday

Never mind that I was mostly asleep when I saw this movie, my apprehension had nothing to do with my lack of sleep or the fact that I was waiting for my daughter to arrive back from her trip to New York and the midnight hour was fast approaching... My apprehension had to do more with the confluence of info I'd seen about the movie when it first came onto the screen. I had dismissed it as jus another chic flick. Another attempt to make a feel good movie that had little to do with lasting impression and more to do with showcasing some of the most noteable faces of the time.
I was wrong. I was going on preconceived notions.
Let me say, I loved the movie. I laughed more than I had in a very long time. It wasn't a breathtaking movie that stirred me to tears. More a quiet upheaval of ideas that twisted me into a deep contemplation of the movie. You see... I never just sit and watch anything. I'm always doing something else. Whether it's writing. Knitting. Making jewelry. I&#…

The Offshore Islands by Ruth Moore

The offshore islands belong to themselves
They stand in their own sea.
They do not inherit; they leave no heirs.
They are no man’s legacy.

Blazing volcanos, cooled and dead,
Marked nowhere a boundary line.
The rise and fall of oceans left
Not one no trespassing sign.

The money was never minted,
The clutch of its greed so strong
It could honor a deed: TO HAVE AND TO HOLD,
And keep these wild lands long.
The first cummer people were Indians.
For some five thousand years
They built up shore-line shell heaps before
They lost to the pioneers.

The white man took what he wanted.
He had privilege, laws, and guns.
He made fast his own boundary lines
And his property went to his sons.

From the west they sailed in Chebacco boats,
And the high-sterned pinkys, Essex-made.
In harbors where water was deep enough,
Their schooners carried a coast-wise trade.

The homesteads they made were study,
But those who built near the shores
Had to dig, if they didn’t want Indian shells
All over their cellar floors.

Then time slipped by, as…

High Clouds Soaring, Storms Driving Low

I went home the other day. It's really not that far for me. An extended trip from the everyday. By home, I mean less the actual building where I grew up, but the area that I love so much. We, and I still to this day consider myself part of it, are those that live on an island, connected to the mainland by a thin bridge that skips over vast, troubled, rushing waters. If you want a euphemism for life then this one is very apt in description. You see... when I cross that thin bridge... I take a deep breathe, my heart rate slows, and a wealth of long dormant emotions filter through every cell of my body. It's a quiet hum that reverberates long after I've trudged back across the bridge. Sometimes, for days the feelings continue, making me feel like a boat tethered with a finite rope to the shore.
The title from this blog is the title from the compilation of letters of Ruth Moore, put together and edited by Sanford Phippen. I claim a distant relationship to her, since originally…

My Heroes Have a Terminal Illness...

I found out quite by accident. I had set up a Google Alert for my book The Three Truths of Katie Talmadge. When it came through my email there was a quip from the posting that included the title. It said... “Don’t make me into some sort of knight-in-shining-armor, Katie. Believe me, I’m not any closer to ..."
I froze. Naturally, I knew it was from my own book. But what surprised me was that something very similar had been in the book I just finished. My first thought was that I had plagiarized myself. I went back to the recently finished book and did a search & find on "knight". Sure enough, there were three references to it. The wording wasn't exactly the same as in Three Truths. Most of the references in the latest book were internalized thought designed to torture my hero. But I soon came to the realization that I had saddled all my heroes with the same terminal illness... KISA. Every single hero that I'd had over the years had been fighting to be anything…

ghostly family secrets

I'm watching Nora's Midnight Bayou. There's some fascinating footage of post Katrina Louisianna there. And I confess... I love the ghost story. I am actually watching it and wondering if it were my house... would I be able to live there? Ive been in houses that unsettled me and I've had some experiences where it felt like I wasn't wanted where I was. But to have them actively trying chase him away is interesting. I love the fact that the ghosts story has it's own arc. It's as much an important part of the story as the characters. This is some of th stuff that Nora does well. Fractured families, lots and lots of secrets and a paranormal twist. Anyone else watching and enjoying?

Gothics Anyone?

One of the first series that I read after leaving the teen section of the local bookstore was to go to the Gothic Romances. This was probably mid to late 70s and Gothics were very big then. The ones I read all had young women who were hired on to do a job for a man they'd never met. They arrive at a mysterious destination and suddenly, they find that they are in danger. Though they find themselves attractive to their demon-like employer, they can't help but wonder who is behind all the mysterious threats. These books usually had a cover of a girl running from a castle on a dark night with one light in a window of the castle. The romances were chaste (but then, so was I) and they were the type of book to be read by flashlight under the covers. I devoured these. I went through the entire Phenwick women series (all except for maybe 2) that were written by Kathryn Kimbrough (an alias for James Kimbrough). But when I look back at it, there were other books that I read before that f…

Totally off Topic: Natasha Richardson

My condolences go out to the family of Ms. Richardson. A seemingly ordinary and everyday occurrence turned tragic with the accident that ultimately resulted in her death. And it started on the bunny slope. I'm not saying this to be funny. I started skiing at 6. I've had more than my fair share of accidents when it comes to skiing. The last one was enough to scare me off the slopes for quite a few years. I skied actively through my teens and was a bit of a rebel. We did all kinds of stupid and unimaginably dangerous moves with two boards strapped to our feet. And no helmet. They didn't wear helmets back then. The only safety gear we had were the straps that went around our ankles to make sure that our skis didn't take off when we fell down. They did eventually upgrade that to the tiny break system so that people didn't have skis swinging wildly around on straps and hitting people in the head. I've fallen on the bunny slope many times, as well as off T-bars, the…

Cannabalism

For years, I've heard my fellow writers talk about the value of keeping various drafts of a manuscript. While not convinced, I must have somehow absorbed this idea into my psyche. And this time it paid off greatly. I'm in the final stages of adding pages to my last WIP and needed to write a scene that seemed... well... very familiar. After some thought I realized that I'd already written that scene when I first start writing the book. Only then, it was a prologue. After much searching of old disks I found a copy of it. It didn't fit perfectly, but it did work well after I revised it. Yeah! to me! So, see... Cannabalism is not always a bad thing.

Win an 8GB IPod Touch and Read and a Great Read Too!

Hello there! My name is Bree, and I’m one half of the romance-writing, virtual-crime-fighting duo known as Moira Rogers. I’m here today because Bitten by Books was kind enough to agree to help us celebrate something really exciting that only comes once in an author’s lifetime: the release of the first book we ever wrote.
Awesome, right? We sure think so! Of course, the part that takes a little bit of explaining is the part where Crux is, in fact, our sixteenth ebook to be released. A lot has happened to us since fall of 2007, when we first sat down to try and tell the story of Mackenzie and Jackson, the heroine and hero who have to fight an evil supernatural conspiracy spanning generations to win their chance at a happy ending. We scampered off to hone our craft on short stories and novellas and learned from our experience. But we always came back to this story, because in the end we loved our tough determined heroine and her smooth talkin’ detective hero too much to leave alone.

Today…

Motivation: Hope

If you've been writing for some time then you've run across the term motivation. You can find any number of workshops available to writers looking for the magic pill that is going to make their books sell. The one thing that makes your story stand out from the rest. The thing that makes someone stay up all night finishing your book. It isn't just about good writing, though it does take some ability to put the scenes in your brain onto the page. But the best characters are the ones that seem ordinary and exceptional all at the same time. I just picked up Janet Chapman's latest book. Her stories are always an automatic buy for me... not just because her setting is usually Maine and her characters are rough and ready men and women with beauty and brains. But she imbibes her characters with something else. She gives them "HOPE". Hope is a magic word that transforms even the simplest desire into a motivation for a story. Without hope in your characters there isn&#…

FOR A GREAT CAUSE!

March 4th, 2009 @ 9am is the start of this years Cancer Community Center Online Auction.
Never heard of it? Well, you should check it out. They've got something to interest everyone in the auction. There's great jewelry, books and even dining certificates from places like Jameson's Tavern and Brian Boru! There's books and travel and entertainment, as well! But the best part is that that proceeds go to the Cancer Community Center to aid them in their efforts to support those diagnosed with cancer and their families. And that is priceless... check out their website at http://www.cancercommunitycenter.org/default.htm and bid to help someone who hurts.

Reaction time...

I had an Aha Moment!
They don't happen all the time, but when they do I look at them as a gift from the Gods. Because usually, if I'm alert enough to pick up on the intention, then there is something very crucial in what it has to offer.
I was rewatching Anthony Bourdain's show, the episode where he and his film crew get caught in Beirut, Lebanon during a time of crisis. If you haven't seen this episode then I suggest you find it and watch it. It's worth it. For anyone is of the same approximate age as myself (and you will have to guess what it is) then you remember the bombing in Beirut and the hostage crisis. If you don't remember it, or you need a refresher... check out the Jimmy Carter Library online.
Tony and his crew were faced with some brutally realistic circumstances as they overlooked the unfolding drama from a hotel patio, high above. They had gone there to film an episode on food and instead, found themselves embroiled in an International incident. A…

Place cards to hang your story on...

We were watching Sweet Home Alabama for about the 10th time when I realized how much place cards play a role in the movie.
Let me explain my definition of a place card. It's an item that runs through the story, usually something funny or odd, that will serve to create a valid point in the motivation and definition of the characters by the end of the story. In Sweet Home Alabama, one of the most significant of the place cards is the cat that shows up throughout the movie. At first we are just amused by it, but then when analyzing it's role we realize that it shows a significant aspect of Melanie's character.
There is a point when the hero tells Melanie's new fiance about the girl he knew as a child who was so worried about a dying cat that she decided to put it out of it's misery by attaching a stick of dynamite to the cats tail. (Please, don't email me and tell me it's wrong or cruel. I'm with you.) But the cat gets away, runs into the bank and the expl…