Sunday, December 30, 2012

Meet Cait O'Sullivan!

I've invited Cait O'Sullivan to join me today in snowy Ohio to talk about her new release, due out in  just a few days. Doesn't she look like fun? She's a blast to hang out with.

Hello, Cait, and welcome.
Hi Becky, thanks so much for having me on your blog today! I hope you’ve had a very happy Christmas and are looking forward to 2013.

Tell us about your upcoming release.
Oooh I’m just so very excited!! In 8 days – yes that’s the 7th January 2013 (I hope that’s 8  days,  maths was never my strong subject) my debut novel, ‘Romancing the Seas’ is available to order. Can I give you a blurb?

Sous-chef Pippa Renshaw thinks a change of scene will mend a bruised heart, so she swaps her job in a prestigious London restaurant to head-chef on a cruise ship sailing around New Zealand. A great plan until she meets her new CEO, the delectable Jonathon Eagleton, and discovers she has to share a suite with him.
Even though sparks fly whenever they are together, Jonathon steadfastly keeps her at arm’s length, which suits Pippa just fine because she’s still getting over the betrayal of the last time she had a relationship with the boss.
The situation is starting to feel like solitary confinement until a thunderstorm traps them in a tramper’s hut while hiking. Suddenly a different kind of storm unleashes inside the hut.
But will they be able to go back to their previous status now the line has been crossed?

What's next for you?

I’m currently writing ‘The Tango Champion’s Secret Love Child’

Ava Whittaker made it solo around the world unscathed. Until her last stop, Argentina and the fulfilment of her final dream, horseback riding through the Andes by day, camping by night. One night of passion with the panther-like Matthias de Romero was her undoing.

Fast-forward two years, she’s safely back in London, their daughter by her side. But Matthias doesn’t know of her existence. Ava had flown back to tell him, only to be stopped in her tracks by the announcement of his engagement.

Now Matthias, the twice tango champion of Argentina, is in London to judge a competition. A competition she just happens to be in…

What do you love most about writing? Least?

I love the feeling when you sit down to write and all of a sudden, the words flow. You know the way – parts of the book are in your head but it’s when you make contact via writing that it all becomes clear.

My least favourite part is when I allow myself to think that the way to get through a problem with my book is to mull it over and wait until I have the answer before writing again. Whereas the reality is the only way for me to get the answer is to sit down and write.

           Who do you credit with influencing you professionally?

The authors I read growing up – Enid Blyton, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Stephen Donaldson and anything I could get my hands on. I used to get up early on summer mornings, go and climb a tree in the garden and sit there and read. Lovely.
          Have you ever written a character based on someone you know?

Yes absolutely, there are bits and bobs of everyone in all my characters! I just mix them all up so no-one actually recognizes themselves :).

          Where did you grow up and did anything from your childhood influence your decision to become a writer?

I was lucky enough to grow up in Ireland, the land of saints and scholars :). Ireland is a wonderfully creative land, I think it may be something to do with the air that blows in from the Atlantic, keeping everything soft and green, including your imagination :). And I guess this is the answer to the second part of your question – the fact that I am from such a fertile creative land gave me the confidence to write.

Where do you rank in the family hierarchy? First child, only child, baby, somewhere in between?

Youngest! (I don’t think at my age I can say Baby :) )

If you have an entire day to devote to your writing career, how do you divvy it up?

For years (well 3 mebbe) I would only have 2 hour gaps in which to write, when one or other of my daughters attended Nursery. As a result, I can actually only write for 2 hours at a time. It’s mad, I do try to break through but it hasn’t happened yet. As a result, if I have the day to myself to write, I’ll wake up, get a coffee, turn on the laptop and sit in bed writing for 2 hours. Then I’ll get up and go out and have a coffee and write for 2 hours. Then I’ll come home again…I think you get the gist :). Generally after 3 x 2 hours, I’ve had enough. If I’m lucky enough to have the day to myself (happens mebbe 3 times a year) then I’ll fancy having a bit of fun, going out with friends or having some around. Or going out dancing, I love dancing. I’m digressing, aren’t I? It’s the thought of having a day to myself LOL.

           If you could choose two people to have dinner with, from any time period, real or fictional, who would you want at the table?

Definitely Tolkien, although I may be a tad intimidated by his immense knowledge and presence but I would love to peer into the workings of his brain to learn from him.

And the Dalai Lama. I have had the privilege of seeing and hearing him speak and again, I’d love to learn anything from him.

Is this a bit oh I dunno, too goody goody?! Hmm, who else – I know you said 2 but you know. Patrick Swayze, as he was in Dirty Dancing. Put some good music on, get a wiggle on with him– just to ensure all that learning kinda wiggles into place in my brain :).

          How can people get in touch with you?

You can find me at: – come along and like me to keep updated on all my news

Thanks! Looking forward to hosting you on my blog.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Grocery Job

A friend of mine recently labeled my job with the greeting card company my “grocery” job, since every time I mention it, I say it’s what I must do to keep groceries in the house. And, of course, Christmas is the busiest of our busy seasons, so I’ve been trekking out through fields of snow these last few days. Not going to Grandma’s house, but rather to the big-box store that demands daily attention leading up to the big day.

One would think the greeting card industry would take a well-deserved break after Christmas. After all, thousands of cards were placed in the racks, the shelves were overflowing with wrapping paper and holiday-themed tissue paper, gift bags by the score were hung with care. A few days rest after the hustle and bustle would seem to be warranted, no?

Absolutely not! For on December 26, in every store across this country, it’s Valentine’s Day! There are only 45 days to capture the attention of someone who is on a quest for the perfect card to express their feelings towards their loved ones. Never mind that Valentine’s Day is known industry-wide as the Last Minute Holiday, with most sales being made two days before the actual event. Never mind that we in the card business need a break from red. On December 26, I’ll not be saying Happy New Year, but rather, Happy Valentine’s Day.

Hey, it keeps the groceries in the house

Monday, December 17, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway

Congratulations to Shelly C of Newborn GA and Alyssa G of Vacaville, CA! You're the big winners for the autographed copies of The Reluctant Debutante. The books are on the way. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sacajawea Envy

I’ve been hard at work for the past few weeks, determined to finish my opus work—the time travel story about the early American west and the mountain men/fur trappers who inhabited the area in the early 1800s. This is the story I’ve been researching and writing for five years. It’s the one where, when I read it, I really want to be the heroine.
No, that’s not exactly correct. My heroine, Mary, is a pampered former wife of a rock star. Her life has been one of privilege, private jets and non-stop parties. When she gets dropped into 1823 in the midst of an Indian camp, she knows nothing about how to survive in the wild. She is forced to rely on the mountain men who rescue her from the frightening Indians, but who are every bit as frightening themselves. Not exactly an ideal situation.

While doing the research for this story, and for my other stories about the expansion of the American west, I read the diaries of many women who crossed the country by covered wagon. These great, strong women were responsible for taming and civilizing the west. So why do we not know their names? Most of these women were placed in secondary roles, birthing and caring for children, and keeping the home fires burning, but not warranting a place in our history books.

Only one woman bucked the trend. Sacajawea. If not for this Indian woman, the expedition of Lewis and Clark would have been a failure. Quite possibly not one person would have survived. She guided this company of men across vast wildernesses, spoke to the Indians they encountered and acted as interpreter for the company, maintained the peace, and, oh yes—she had a child while they were traveling and carried the baby with her the rest of the trip.

So now, while I’ll eventually write a story about a pony express rider, being on a wagon train or  marrying a fur trapper, the story of my heart is about this amazing woman. I’ll write her story someday. But in the meantime, I’m suffering Sacajawea envy.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Ohio’s been locked in a cycle of rain for the past week. I love rain, and fog is an all-time favorite. You know, the whole creeping in on little cat’s feet and all that. Carl Sandburg created a lasting image for me with that poem.

But Ohio’s precipitation in December is supposed to be in the form of snow, not rain. As I enter my fourth winter in Ohio after boomeranging back here, I am pleased to discover that I don’t hate snow as much as I did when I was a kid. Of course, back then, when we got a heavy snow, Mom would send us kids out with a thermos of coffee and we’d share it with any stranded motorists. Every time I tell that story, people say, “That was awfully nice of your mother.” True enough, but she wasn’t the one trekking through hip-deep snow.

Nowadays, I eagerly await the first snow of the year. I love the silence of falling snow. It’s not the hard, driving sound of rain on the roof, but rather like brushing a pussy willow with your thumb. I equate it to finishing a novel. The first snow is when you type the words “The End.” The world is quiet and blanketed in a soft white glow as you take a deep breath and raise your eyes from the computer screen. Then comes the endless revisions of January and February, where you’re forced to shovel the drive countless times in order to get yourself out there.

By the end of February, you’ve about had it with snow, and pray that the work you’ve produced over the winter will catch someone’s eye. Then you can begin planting seeds on various blog sites about your work and pray that you can attract some butterflies to the flowers that are your books.

So, for now, as I try to get to “The End” on one of my novels, I am eagerly awaiting the first snow of the year in Ohio. It may happen next week. Or the week after. Maybe we’ll have a white Christmas this year. And speaking of that, it’s time for me to watch “White Christmas” again—my family’s favorite Christmas show. I can finish that novel next week. Or the week after.

For those of you who have snow in winter, please share with me your favorite, or not so favorite (remember the thermos of coffee), memories of years gone by. And remember, there's only one week left to enter my contest to win an autographed copy of my debut novel, The Reluctant Debutante.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Meet Author Robyn Corum!

I'm pleased to have as a guest today, my fellow Crimson historical author, Robyn Corum. She writes westerns, mostly, but judging from her book blurbs, getting to the west is part of the challenge for her feisty heroines. Let's find out more about Robyn, as well as the ladies in her books.

 What is your current project about?

“Ama” is the story of a young girl raised in a gritty tenement in Lower East Side New York in the late 1800’s.  It’s a horrible life, and Ama leaves it behind to become a mail-order bride to a man in the west. 

What’s next for your readers?

I've just published a book of short poetry with seventeen other women-poets.  It's called Pieces of Her Mind.  And I’m excited to say a friend and I are working on illustrating a large group of my children’s poems in order to publish them.

 What’s your favorite part about writing? Least favorite?

I love words and finding unique new ways to put them together!  My least favorite thing…would have to be when you get into a writing rhythm and the words are coming – and something interrupts you!

Have you ever written a character based on someone you know?

It’s funny, but there’s a lot of my husband in the character of Boone in Melinda Heads West.  My hubby has the most wonderfully interesting sayings and as I created Boone’s character I tried to use several of them. 

Where did you grow up, and did anything from your childhood influence your decision to become a writer? 

I grew up on a farm, in the middle of a large family, way out in the country. Many of the members of my family were storytellers. The habit came naturally.

Where do you rank in the family hierarchy? First child? Only child? Baby? Somewhere in between?

I am the first child of two.  (But I was pretty much raised by my grandmother, who had eleven kids!)

If you have an entire day to devote to your writing career, how do you divvy up the hours?

I start early in the morning – about 5:30.  First, I answer mail and other correspondence.  Then I start work on my running manuscript.  I work on it as long as I can, until I get at least 1,000-2,000 words done. Then I work on marketing for a while. 

What haven’t you done as a writer that you’d like to attempt?

I want to publish a collection of flash fiction, mine and other authors'.

What advice can you give writers who are getting started?

Work at improving your craft daily.  Spend time with other writers who know what they’re doing and listen to what they say.  Be willing to take advice.  Let other people read what you’ve written and offer criticism. Most importantly, learn to separate yourself from your writing, so that you can take in advice and make corrections without getting your back up.

Who would you like to cast as yourself in the movie about your life? 
 Oh, how about Sandra Bullock?  My hubs would love that!  *smile*

Buy Links (For Melinda) :

Amazon-Purchase Page

Kobo  - Purchase Page

Nook – Purchase Page

Book Blurb:

"What happens when a feisty young woman travels west in 1880 to pick up a family deed? If it's small-town Melinda McCorkle, you can count on luck to take a hike. Mindy is travelling with six strange men in a hard-riding stagecoach. When the coach breaks down, they're forced to walk the thirty-five miles remaining to her destination. That would be enough to try anyone's patience, but then the company is set upon by thieves and murderers in the form of the evil Byler brothers, and the stakes are raised.

Fortunately, Mindy makes the close acquaintance of two “gentlemen,” Luke Wilhite and Gary Boone, who try to help her through these dangers.

Luke is tall and fair, while Boone is taller and dark. Mindy feels an immediate attraction to Boone, but he's married! Or is he? Who will finally win Mindy's affection?"

  You can contact Robyn here:

Robyn’s Blog:







Sunday, November 25, 2012

Abandoning The Baby

My second novel, The Abolitionist's Secret, is due to be released December 3, and I've been spending the last several weeks creating blog posts all over the internet about it. I'm proud of it, and thankful to my wonderful publisher, Crimson Romance, for believing in the Cotillion Ball series. Plus, a portion of the proceeds is going to the Oberlin Underground Railroad Center Project, which makes me happy.

So why do I feel like I'm abandoning The Reluctant Debutante, my debut novel?

I didn't realize what was happening until I began to list my books on the right side of this blog. I put my most recent book first on the page, and it nearly broke my heart to have The Reluctant Debutante relegated to second place. I know I must get over this feeling, since I hope for a long and successful career with many more books to come.

So, I'll continue to promote The Abolitionist's Secret at every opportunity and turn my attention away, reluctantly, from The Reluctant Debutante.

But it will always have a special place in my heart. Ginger and Joseph are my heroes.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Blog Hop

Are You A Black Friday Person Or Not?

The air crackles with excitement and anticipation as we count down the minutes until the doors open this morning. You either love this day, or avoid the crowds like a lobster avoids a pot of boiling water. It’s one of Anne’s favorite days. She’s one of the sisters in my upcoming baby-boomer contemporary, Blame It On The Brontes. She has a debilitating designer shoe fetish. Think Carrie Bradshaw with red curls. Her work as the buyer for her family’s fledgling  jewelry and gift shop ease some of the pangs of not having a designer shoe store at the nearest corner. It’s like Black Friday every day in the store, since she only pays wholesale prices for the merchandise.

Here’s a sampling of Anne’s story, as she puts her acting career on hold to move back to her hometown for a year. That’s the only way to get her claws into her mother’s considerable estate. And designer stilettos cost a fortune.

Anne Bronson pressed her foot to the gas pedal, trying to ignore the little red light on the dashboard—the one highlighting the E on her gas gauge. She willed the rental moving truck to make it up the next hill, hunching over the steering wheel to help with the climb. The truck leaned into the steepest part of the incline, its headlights illuminating the crest just as the engine began coughing and sputtering in earnest. No good gas-guzzling piece of crap. Anne pulled the truck to the side of the road and set the brake so it wouldn’t drift down the incline. There should have been plenty of fuel to get to the house.
If she hadn’t already maxxed out her credit card, she would have gladly paid a professional moving company to get her from New York to Maine. But here she was, driving her own belongings north, and out of gas. Her stomach became even tighter. Is this the way a NASCAR driver feels when he runs out of gas on the final lap? Anne’s race was even bigger. She had an inheritance at stake. Eighteen minutes till midnight. Damn.
Hauling out her purse and overnight bag, she climbed down from the truck. She kicked a tire and let out a small scream at the damage her instinctive motion caused her black leather Manolo Blahniks. Tapping her fingernails against her teeth, she peered up and down the dark road. No headlights. No life. No sound. She fished into her purse for her cell phone and stared at it. No signal either here in Backwater Maine, of course. With a deep sigh, she wrestled her old suitcase with its wonky wheel and strapped her oversized purse across her body as she began to climb the rest of the way up the incline. Two miles to the house. She had eighteen minutes to get there. In six-inch heels. Looking skyward, she muttered, “Hey, Mom, you up there? If you are, I need a little help right about now.”
Headlights crested over a hill in front of her. Anne blew a kiss skyward. “Thanks, Mom. Always could count on you.”
She put down her purse and bag at the side of the road and moved to the middle, waving her hands, hoping the driver spotted her before the car either mowed her down or went whizzing on by. This was a million dollar hitchhike.
The white car slowed, and then came to a stop about fifty feet away from her. Anne blew out the breath she was holding and moved forward, out of the harsh glare of the headlights. As she stepped closer, she noticed for the first time the light bar mounted on top of the car. Relief flooded her as she realized she had flagged down a police cruiser. A glimpse of the dark-haired officer sitting behind the wheel made her lips turn up into what she knew was her flirtiest smile. She couldn’t see him well in the dark with just the glow from the dashboard lights across his face, but it didn’t matter. She knew how to work any man.
"Hello, handsome," she purred as she rested her hands on the car door’s windowsill and leaned down to see him better. "You've saved my life." She tapped his nametag. "Officer Willoughby. Can I hitch a ride into town?" Not bad looking. She waited for his reply. Wavy, dark hair cut a bit long, a fit body, at least what she could see.
"Are you Anne Bronson?"
Anne put her hand to her chest. "You recognize me? Well, how special is that?"
"Get in the car," the dark-haired man growled.
Anne straightened up a bit and backed away a step. She threw a saucy look his way, to show him she wasn’t intimidated by his gruff manner. "I usually wait for the gentleman to open the door, but I am in a bit of a hurry tonight." She grabbed her bags from the side of the road and then scurried around to the passenger side, throwing her suitcase into the back seat and then hopping in before grumpy Officer Willoughby changed his mind and drove off without her.
As she settled her purse on the seat between them, Anne said, "I live up the road here, only a couple miles away..."
Officer Willoughby spoke into his police radio. "I found her, and I’m bringing her in now."
Anne swiveled her head toward him. "Hey, are you talking about me on your radio? You're bringing me in? For what?”
“For being late.”
“That’s now a crime?” Anne squirmed in her seat. ‘Listen Officer, I’m enjoying our time together, but I really, really need to get home before midnight."
"Yeah, Cinderella, relax. I'm taking you to your sisters."

So it's your turn. Leave a comment here, telling me what kind of Black Friday person you are, and you'll be eligible to win a prize. We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $75 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

And don't forget to enter here to win an autographed copy of my historical novel, The Reluctant Debutante.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop

 What character from a cherished book do you want to be?
I always wanted to be Laura.

When I first became passionate about reading, I was probably about nine or ten, and devoured every Little House On The Prairie book I could find. I never wanted to be the good daughter, Mary, who parceled out her candy so it would last longer. I wanted to be plucky Laura, who was impulsive, loyal, and unafraid, even though there was danger at every turn. She stood up to Indians with as much aplomb as she did Nellie Oleson, her bratty schoolmate. I was right there with her on every adventure, every meeting, every move she and her family made.

I loved the era that Laura grew up in, and envied her. I wanted to live on the edge of the woods, to meet mountain men and Indians, to explore the wild untamed country that became America. That is why I write and read historical romances. Now that I’m older, I realize the only thing better than being a child growing up in the untamed wilderness is being an adult woman who is able to fall in love with the big, strapping heroes who populated the country several hundred years ago. Now, each time I read an historical romance, I am swept away into the love story amid lush surroundings.

In The Reluctant Debutante, I get to fulfill two of my fantasies. I get to dance at a formal ball with a handsome stranger, and I get to fall in love with an Indian. My second book, The Abolitionist's Secret, has a heroine who becomes involved in the Underground Railroad movement. I always wanted to become politically active for the cause of racial equality. However, I was always a bit too afraid to ride the buses in Selma, or march on Washington. But in my books, I can be very brave. 

I enjoy books that let me slide back in time, to an earlier and simpler era. Through historical books, I can dance at a Regency ball, witness a buffalo stampede, board a wagon train headed west, or even visit ancient Rome. Please explore all the Crimson authors who are participating in the blog hop. I’m sure you’ll find some world to lose yourself in, whether you enjoy a swashbuckling pirate story, a chick-lit contemporary, or becoming a Duchess for a day.

So, it's your turn. Tell me what character you most want to be, and what book you'd like to be swept into. Leave a comment here before hopping over to another participating author's site to be eligible for one of the three prizes that have a total value of $200, and will be awarded at the end of the hop. Leave us your email address or website, so we can get in touch with you when you win. And be sure to click on the link to my personal giveaway through Goodreads, of an autographed copy of The Reluctant Debutante. Good luck, and happy reading!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tag--You're It!

  Well, this is fun.  Guess what!  A bunch of us writers are banding together to give you, our sweet and wonderful blog audience, a little taste of what we're working on next.  Call it a sneak peek.  We've shared the same ten questions and we're linking our Tag blogs together so you can see all the awesome stories on the horizon.

Here's what I'm working on.  Be sure to stay to the end to follow to the next bloggers. Enjoy.

What is the title of your book? My WIP has had several titles, but I think I’m sticking with Tracked Through Time.

Where did the idea for the book come from? I was watching the history channel, or maybe the Discovery Channel, one night, and there was a special on about the life and times of mountain man and explorer, Jedediah Smith. The entire hour was spent heaping praise on the guy for all his accomplishments. Oh, and then he died. It was a crushing end to an otherwise heralded life, since he wandered off into the desert looking for water and never returned. All presumptions are that he was killed by Indians, although no body was ever found. So, it got me to thinking, what if Jedediah wandered off into the desert and ended up in another century?

What genre does your book fall under? Obviously, from my above question, this is going to be a paranormal/time travel book.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I want the guy who played Jed in the special I saw. He was gorgeous, unlike the real Jed, who was nearly scalped in a bear attack and had the facial scars to prove it.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? The ex-wife of a rock star is looking to restart her life after a public divorce. She gets caught in an electrical storm and wakes up in 1823, in the camp of Jedediah Smith and his band of mountain men.

Will your book be self-published or agented? I’m hoping to find an agent with this one.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I’m so close to putting an end on the first draft, for about the fifth time. I first wrote it backwards, with Jed coming forward, but it didn’t work as a contemporary, since the history is so rich. So, I ripped it apart and redid the entire book. I’ve entered the first 50 pages in several contests, just to make certain I’m on the right track, and have finaled in every one.

What other books within your genre would you compare your WIP to? I go back to my favorite of all time, A Knight In Shining Armor, by Jude Deveraux. I absolutely loved this book. Mix in a little Jeremiah Johnson for the right early American explorer flavor, and you’ve got my book.

Who or what inspired this book? After I saw the special on Jedediah Smith, I began researching his life and times. My pile of research books is huge. And, so I could walk in his shoes, I traveled to northern California to the Jedediah Smith National Forest, where I sat on the forest floor and cried. It was so beautiful.

What else about your book might pique the readers interest? I am trying to juxtapose someone whose points of reference for ten years has been the world of rock and roll, with a Bible-toting 19th century man’s man. It's been fun.

 Now keep going! Hop on over to the blog sites of these fabulous authors and find out what they're working on. 

D'Ann Boothe Burrow

Tara Mills: 

Traci McDonald:

Robyn Corum:

Suzanne Barrett:

Pam Morris:

Shelley K. Wall:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sometimes, it's the little stories...

I’ve been living in Oberlin for three years and have toured the historic society’s buildings and taken the history walks with very knowledgeable tour guides. I’ve seen the various monuments around town commemorating the Underground Railroad and I know the historical significance of the college, which, in 1833, was the first to admit both blacks and women.

Last week, I had lunch with Darlene Colaso, who works for the City of Oberlin. One of her jobs is overseeing the development of the Center for the Underground Railroad. While we were talking big picture, she mentioned a little boy slave who, in 1853, was too sick to travel on with his family to Canada. The family was still in danger, with their owner coming after them, so they had to continue on to Canada. Little Lee Howard Dobbins was left behind in Oberlin with some good Samaritans and died just days later. It’s only one little story in the overall complex problem of slavery and the incidents leading up to the Civil War, but the way the town reacted touched my heart.

A service was held in First Church, which still exists, for this small boy who nobody knew. More than one thousand people crammed into the church, to honor little Lee Howard Dobbins. Each person gave what he could (the recommendation was ten cents each), to pay for a gravestone for him. The words carved into the stone are Let Slavery Perish! and then tells the story of Lee Dobbins, and how his flight to freedom ended in Oberlin.

The gravestone of Lee Howard Dobbins will be the first permanent exhibit of the Underground Railroad Center. For more information on the Underground Railroad Project, visit their website:

Lee Dobbins’ life and death could have been lost in the shuffle. After all, there were many slaves who risked their lives and were consumed by terror as they dashed from the plantations to freedom in Canada, and each had their own story, now lost in time. But Lee Howard Dobbins died in Oberlin. His little story lives on. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why We Live Where We Do

Have you ever thought about why you live in the town or state you do? Did you end up where you are now because of career obligations (either yourself or your spouse)? Was it to be near family? Or did you pick your town because of its lifestyle? Are you still living in the town where you grew up? Or did you just close your eyes in front of a map and point?

We each have many different reasons for ending up where we do. Personally, I’ve lived in seven different states as an adult and my reasons for hop-scotching across the country are as varied as the landscape. But the reason for my last move, boomeranging back to Ohio, the state of my birth, surprised even me.

Foolishly, I thought it was to be near family. Given my other choices—too hot North Carolina, too crowded and expensive California, or way too hot Arizona, Ohio made the most sense, despite the winter snow. I selected Oberlin for its small college-town atmosphere, its liberal nature, and its movie theatre. But actually Oberlin chose me.

Shortly after moving, I began to work on what would become The Abolitionist’s Secret, my December release from Crimson Romance, about a bashful young lady in New York and her handsome military officer, who happens to be a slave owner. She is involved in the abolitionist movement and helps a young slave escape the clutches of the slave mongers at an Underground Railroad stop. 

Ohio was an active route on the Underground Railroad, too, and Oberlin played a significant role in the movement. There are several monuments around town that herald the town’s involvement. And the city has taken on the restoration of an old Gasholder building with plans to convert it into an interpretive center about the Underground Railroad. I decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the book to this center, which is funded by private donations and grants. For more information about the center, visit their website at:

So, tell me about your own personal experience. Where do you live, and why? Do you use your town in your stories at all? 

And, don't forget to return for the Crimson Authors blog hop November 17-21! We have gifts!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Crimson Christmas Wonderland Blog Hop!

I'm participating in my first-ever blog hop, from November 17-21, 2012! Readers will visit as many of the blogs as they can between these dates and leave a comment. All those who enter a comment anywhere along the way will be eligible for some pretty spectacular prizes in the form of Amazon gift cards. If you visit all the sites and leave a comment, you can enter into the drawing nearly 50 times.

If you've ever been carried away to another space and time while reading a book, you understand what the romance genre is all about. Like the Calgon bath commercial, sometimes a good book can take you away. And with the varied choices in the Crimson lineup, you can be swept away onto pirate ships, to America in the decade prior to the Civil War or back even further to the Revolutionary War. How about ancient Rome? Or maybe to a desert in the southwest where strange experiments are taking place? Or a ranch in Texas? Maybe fighting off demons is your cup of tea.The choice is yours.

Following is the list of participating authors. We jointly wish you fun on the hop, and a very merry holiday season. May your stocking be stuffed with romance books.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Mad Hatter

Lately, I’ve been feeling like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.”

Take today for example. I have been blogging every Sunday morning since July, when my blog went live. Yet this morning, it was the furthest thing from my mind. I received a much-anticipated e-mail last night from a publisher who is interested in my contemporary novel. I need to run through it one more time and make certain it’s in pitch-perfect shape. So the blog took a back seat to my edits. This morning, at least.

Then, there was work. I have a weekend shift for a greeting card company in a big box retailer that just got expanded into two big box retail outlets. There went four hours of the day. Lunch, a quick glance at the paper, picking up my neglected, whimpering dog and snuggling took more time.

So here it is. Not Sunday morning. Not even Sunday afternoon. It’s Sunday evening, and I’m only now getting around to the blog. I didn’t get my edits finished, and I haven’t opened the book I’m reading and reviewing for a fellow author. But I approach this blog like I do my writing. I have to make time to write a blog every week to stay on track. I’d like to think there are folks out there who, by now, have come to look forward to hearing from me every week. And I can’t let a single one of them down. Or myself.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Miss The Magic

Lately, I’ve been mired in editing—first with my second novel in the Cotillion series, The Abolitionist’s Secret, which went back to the publisher late last week, and then with my third novel in the series, which is being polished up to send off. It makes me feel good when my babies walk out the door, but it seems like it’s been forever since I’ve done any creative writing. Consequently, my attendance at my various writing groups has fallen off, since I have nothing to share, and many edits to complete by a deadline date.

So what do I do with these characters who keep popping into my head? Right now, I have a young woman who is a nurse in the Civil War on the Confederate side and her husband, who is wounded in battle and comes to the hospital. Trouble is, he’s a Union soldier and if he gets better, he’ll be hauled off to a prison camp. What to do? This delightful dilemma has been rolling around in my head for a few weeks, but I haven’t had the opportunity to put anything down on paper. Maybe I can find time this week to begin.

I know we all come at writing from different angles—some do it to pass the time, some write because it makes them feel good, some like to set goals and reach them. I write because I can’t imagine life without the creative process. If I have a week where I’m at a conference or on a vacation, I find that I miss being able to sit down at my computer and have an idea that takes off. My fingers fly across the keyboard and, to me at least, it’s like magic when an actual story emerges from the corner of my brain. And, right now, I’m missing the magic. 

How about you? Do you feel like something's missing from your life if you don't write, or is writing something you do to escape from your normal routine to a more pleasant place? How do you balance the editing process with the creative one? 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Prelude To Winter

When I decided to move back to Ohio, I knew I was walking into harsh winters, lots of snow and cold weather.  Winter was not much fun here when I was a kid, walking through snow drifts that threatened to bury me, and freezing my little fingers and toes. Yes, there were some fun times, like taking the breathtaking ride on the sled time after time, down Dead Man’s Hill. But more often than not, it was simple drudgery.

As fall begins to creep into the air now, and I see the leaves start to turn from green to gold, I have to admit, I’m eager for winter to arrive. I love the textures and sounds of this time of year—putting flannel sheets on the bed to replace the cool cotton sheets of summer; curling up in my big recliner with a warm chenille blanket thrown over my body and my soft little dog lying next to me; adding a log to the crackling fire; the crunch of an early frost on the grass as I tiptoe out for the morning paper.

I’m in the middle of editing my second novel, which is due to be released before the snow flies, and working on the third book in the series. So, my days are spent at the computer, editing and typing away in order to meet my deadlines. But, when I do come up for air, and let my dog, Mary, out into the yard, I note how many more leaves now litter the ground. And how the air is a bit crisper than it was yesterday. As soon as I finish these edits, I’m going to put a leash on Mary and take her for a long walk in the neighborhood. We’ve both earned an afternoon where we can enjoy this pleasant time of the year, which arrived in the middle of the night and will be gone before we know it. Here’s hoping your fall is filled with apple cider, warm fires and love.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'm In Villete

One of the ladies in my writing group is doing a book translation to English from Portugese. It's a story about a young woman who decides to commit suicide, but survives the initial attempt. However, her heart has been so damaged, she has only five days before death takes her. She ends up, for those five days, in a hospital for the insane, called Villete (Vee-eh-tay). People who inhabit the hospital with her excuse their behavior, however bizarre it may be, by the simple phrase "I'm in Villete."

If I stop long enough to think about things, I realize that I have an awful lot on my plate. I'm revising the third book in my series about the Cotillion--this one features Basil. I'm back at work on the book that's been dogging me for years, about Jedediah Smith. My critique group has decided to compile a Christmas anthology for next year, which also has a deadline. Sometime soon, I'm going to start getting edits on my second book with Crimson. And, I'm trying everything I can to keep the word out in the public eye about my first book, The Reluctant Debutante. The job that buys my groceries is coming up on its busiest season of the year. Card companies don't talk in terms of months. Instead, September is Halloween, Sweetest Day and Thanksgiving. October and November is Christmas, January is Valentine's Day, etc. So our busy season isn't October through March. It's Christmas, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. Oh, yeah, and since it's fall in Ohio, there will be leaves to rake next month.

So what do I do to ease my burden? I nominate myself for a huge volunteer job for January and February. What can I say? I'm in Villete.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Meet contemporary author Kwana Jackson!

Hello my loyal blog followers!

 Kwana Jackson, one of my fellow Crimson Romance authors, got out of bed early this morning to join me here so we can talk about her new book. Through the Lens, a contemporary romance, debuted September 3.

 Here's a taste of what it's about:

Mika Walters is a normal woman working in the not so normal world of New York Fashion. As long time assistant to uber sexy photographer Alejandro Vargas she’s tired of being the girl in the background. Just once she wants Alejandro to look at her with the same smoldering look he gives to his willowy models and now she has her chance.
After a travel mishap where the rest of the crew and the models can’t make the remote location shoot on the Surin Islands for another three days Mika is taking her moment to catch Alejandro’s eye and put herself in front of Alejandro’s camera and if all goes to plan, his bed… at least until the real world catches up with them.
Alejandro doesn’t know what’s gotten into Mika maybe it’s the sand, maybe it’s the sun, but he doesn’t really care. All he knows is that he’s finally opened his eyes and is seeing her clearly for the first time as the smart, gorgeous and incredibly irresistible woman she is.
But why can’t she realize that what he’s feeling for her is not one of his usual one, well, three night stands. This is real. Real love, real passion. What’s it going to take for him to prove to Mika that she’s the woman he wants? Now and forever.

I love the names you’ve given your characters. Do you spend a lot of time on names, or do they just come to you while you’re dreaming up the plot?

I’m so glad you like the names Mika and Alejandro. Sometimes the names of my characters just come to me but more often than not I’ll get one character’s name and then go batty trying to come up with the other, playing with different variations until I find the one that seems to fit the character I have in my head.

Do you have a background in photography or fashion? If not, how did you research your story?

I spent ten years as a designer of women’s sportswear so I do have some experience being a normal woman in that not so normal world. Though I was never lucky enough to go on any tropical island shoots, I did get a little bit experience in model casting and a few Central Park location shoots. Always a bit of a dreamer it was not so hard to come up with the idea of a girl who had dreams of sometimes being the girl with the lens trained on her for a change.

What is the first romance book you remember reading?

Now this is a tough question. I honestly have no idea. I just remember there being lots of well-worn paperback novels all around my house and at my grandmother’s house back in the 70’s and the 80’s. I remember my grandmother had lots of these slim Harlequins on the back shelf of her bed and for some reason they were off limits to my pre-adolescent self at the time. Well, that was all it took because you just know I was reading those books when no one was watching! I also remember seeing all those fantastic glitzy books by Judith Krantz, Jacqueline Susann and Jackie Collins. I loved any book that was an escape into a fabulous, luxurious and romantic world. I was hooked.  

What authors have influenced you?

There are too many to count and I’m afraid I’ll leave some out so I’ll just say I’ve probably been influenced by all the authors I’ve read and those who I keep reading, I seriously bow down and am humbled by them each time I read one of their books.

What advice do you have for an aspiring writer?

My advice would be to not give up and to keep honing your craft. I hate that  ‘No writing is wasted writing’ saying, but darn it, it’s true.  You get better the more you write. And though this pains me, the more you re-write too. Ouch, that one really hurt to say.

You just signed a new two-book deal with Crimson. What are those stories going to be about?

Thanks for asking Becky. I’m so excited about these next two stories. The first, for the moment, titled, STILL LIFE is about Samara and Mark who folks will meet in THOUGH THE LENS. Sam is an aspiring artist with a dark past and Mark is the motorcycle riding bad boy who lives in her building. Sam does all she can to stay out of his way but these two getting together just seems unavoidable.
The third book in the series, so far called, BY DESIGN, is about Gabby a regular women making her way on the world of New York fashion. Now don’t you all give me the side-eye, this is in no way autobiographical. But I do think it will be great fun to write since I have the most experience in this field. LOL.

How can people find out more about you?

I can be found on my website at

Thank you so much for having me here today Becky. It’s been a real pleasure.