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.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Creative Process--Rules Or No Rules?


One of my Crimson Romance sisters just turned me on to a quote from W. Somerset Maugham. He said “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” Truer words were never spoken.

At the latest national conference for Romance Writers, I wandered through workshop after workshop. It struck me that everyone had a slightly different way of getting to the end goal—a published novel. And each of these intelligent speakers was convinced their way was the right one. In one workshop I was told to make sure each of the five senses were contained in every scene. In the very next one, I was told not to put all five senses into one scene because it would cause sensory overload. Who can tell what’s right and what’s not? Why is the rulebook so confusing?

I read an interview where a man gave ten tips to improve your writing. One tip he mentioned was to play music while working, since the rhythms of the music would translate to rhythm on the page, smoothing out your writing. It sounds logical, but it doesn’t apply to everyone.

I like to have complete silence while I’m working, in order to better hear that voice in my head. I find music to be a distraction, preventing me from going deep into my characters. I get swept away by the beat of the song and find myself tapping my feet rather than tapping the keys on my laptop. Silence works best for me. The big take-away from all these mixed messages is that there is no right or wrong way to write. You have to find the path that works best for you. Morning writer, late-into-the-night writer, music, silence. Whatever gets you to the end of your novel is your right way.