Sunday, June 30, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I bought some paper towels the other day. As paper towels go, they were pretty, with flowers on them. As I was cleaning up a spill, I noticed that, in addition to flowers, there were garden-related sayings printed on them as well. One in particular caught my eye. It read "No two gardens are the same." Gardeners can be handed the same exact amount and variety of seeds, and no two gardens will look the same, due to fluctuations in the soil, the setting, the style of the gardener.

The same is true of writing. I've sat in many a class where the instructor shows a picture, or presents the set-up to a scene and we writers have to take it from there. It always amazes me that, for each person at the table, no two stories will be the same. Some focus in on a tiny portion of the picture and write about that small segment of the overall story, some go big picture. There are those who find fairies, or zombies, hiding under the canopy of leaves, some see ferns and lush landscapes. There is no right way to tell a story, just as there are many ways to create beauty in a garden.

To all my writing buddies who are afraid to show their work for fear that someone will rip off their brilliant idea, I offer up this challenge: "No two gardens are the same." So put yourself and your writing out there for the world to see. Yes, you may hand someone the seeds for their own garden, by offering up your plot line. But I can guarantee you, your gardens will be different.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Running Hot And Cold

I had company at my house a few weeks ago. My brother came in from sunny California and my sister from Oregon. It was typical Ohio weather for late May/early June--blustery, cold, rainy, nasty. I was busy the first night of their arrival tracking down enough blankets for their thin-skinned bodies. The west coast sure can spoil a person. I even had to turn the heat back on one night, since they were both freezing.

And now, three weeks later? I have had the A/C on full blast for two days now. I tried to tough it out, with just fans blowing the hot air around, but my dog looked like she was about to melt, so I relented.

Which brings me to the point of this discussion. Just like the Ohio weather, a writer can run hot and cold with ideas, words, witty repartee. Sometimes, my fingers fly across the keyboard, and I can't keep up with the ideas that are coming at me from every angle. And at times, I sit there, running my hands over the keys, feeling the little bumps on the F and J keys and wonder where in the name of God my story is headed and how it ever went down that track in the first place. When that happens, I turn off the A/C, sit within range of the hot air mover, and wait. And wait. Sooner or later, I remember the sage advice of Nora Roberts--I can fix a typed page, but I can't do anything with a blank one. (or words to that effect). So I start typing. Slowly, a word at a time. I check my word count frequently in the beginning, since the first 500 words of the day are absolute torture for me. Then, I settle in and soon my fingers can't keep up with my ideas. At moments like these, I feel like sipping a pina colada, running along the beach, grabbing my surfboard and worshiping the sun gods. Suddenly, what was cold became hot.

Just like Ohio in June.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Crimson Romance Blog Hop

Crimson Romance is One Year Old this month, and, in celebration, we are offering you a sneak peek at a scene from one of our books. What scene, you might ask, will represent such a diverse and talented group of authors? The one right before the love scene, of course! Here's mine, from the latest book in the Cotillion Ball series. It's called Banking On Temperance.

Basil Fitzpatrick is the owner of a bank in St. Louis, and he only wants a mistress, not a wife. Temperance Jones is the daughter of a circuit riding preacher, whose only ambition is to fulfill her father's wish and get the family to Oregon, which  will get her younger brothers out of harm's way during the impending Civil War. Basil introduces her to Jake Shelton, a wagon master, and she thinks he may be the perfect man to get her family to Oregon. But, by this time, she and Basil have become friends. Here's what happens next:

Temperance sputtered and fumed, breathing fire as the door to Basil’s apartment staircase closed behind him. That no-good, self-centered ass! How dare he say their friendship had been destroyed by her ambition! If they’d truly been friends, he would have stood by her and championed her clever attempts to get her family moved westward. But once he introduced her to Jake, it was as if he’d turned his back on her. She could take him turning his back on her as a woman, but not as a friend. She yanked open the door and ran up the stairs.

“How dare you!” She didn’t bother to knock at the top of the steps, she was so angry.

He turned to face her, but didn’t reply.

“Well? How dare you say that I’m the one who turned away from your friendship? You’ve become my best friend here in town, Basil, and I miss our good times. You never come to the restaurant anymore, and you barely talk to me at all here. Do you want me to quit? To leave?”


“Yes, what?”

“If you know what’s best for you, leave, right this minute.”

“Why? Because you’ll tell me something I don’t want to hear?”

Basil crossed the room to her in two strides. He placed his hands on either side of her face and growled, “Not because of what I’ll tell you, but because of what I’ll do.” He lowered his mouth to hers, crushing her tender lips beneath his own.

Temperance stood still, in shock at what was happening. The breath whooshed out of her lungs. Her arms hung by her sides, but her mouth and tongue were doing battle with Basil’s. She moved her arms finally, and wound them around his broad shoulders, welcoming him. Her back was up against the wall as Basil continued to kiss her with all the pent-up passion that had been building between them for months. She pulled him closer, reveling in his scent of spice and man. She tasted the tobacco on his breath, along with mint, and thought there had never been so delightful a combination.

This is where I belong. Not Oregon.

A small moan drifted from her mouth as she sunk her fingers into his hair. He ran a row of scorching kisses from the left corner of her mouth up to her temple, then down to the pulsing vein in her neck. As he tugged gently, her whimpers became stronger. She was desperately kissing his hair, his forehead, anything she could touch. His moans matched hers as the torrid, sensual dance continued.

His hand drifted to the buttons running down the front of her dress. He slowly unbuttoned each one, taking the time to kiss each inch of new skin he uncovered. Temperance thought she would surely combust from the sensation of his mouth on flesh that had never before been touched by a man. She squirmed and wrapped her fingers into his hair.  “Oh, sweet Lord,” she cried out.

Basil pried his lips from her, and backed off a step. He ran his hand through his hair. Temperance couldn’t talk. She couldn’t breathe. Her senses were still writhing out of control. He backed away one more step, staring at her with lust-filled eyes. 

“That is why you should never set foot in this apartment. If you come near me again, I’ll not stop. I will have all of you, and ruin all your plans for marriage to Jake. And that is why we can no longer be friends. You’ve made your choice, Temptress. Now leave me alone.”

Now that you've read my excerpt, please click on the rafflecopter on the right side to enter the drawing. And click on the poster to visit other sites on the hop. Have fun, and good luck.