Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Matter of Perspective

As part of my new life here in North Carolina, I get to spend time with a sweet lady every other weekend. My duties involve giving her something to eat before she takes her pills and then we get to go to lunch. Shortly after I took over this duty, I devised a way for her to take her pills without complaining too much. We play rummy and each time she loses a hand, she has to take a pill. Sometimes that works like a charm. But she's still sharp with her card playing skills and there are times when she wins more than she loses. So I revise the rules and tell her as payment for being such a good player she has to take a pill. She rolls with my flexible rules just fine.

Today we were talking about someone we both know who recently celebrated a life-changing event. My sweet lady had been told about the event months ago and was thrilled by the news, but today she said she was crossing her fingers that things would work out with this person. I love the fact that my sweet lady keeps getting excited about the same events time and again. Which brings me to my point.

I'm about to pick new covers for the re-release of two of my books in the Cotillion series which will come out early in 2019. I spoke to an author friend about this the other night as we talked about covers and we both were feeling as if it were a chore instead of the excitement we felt with our first book covers. Even though these books are not new, they are being spiffed up and presented to a new audience and need the same kind of care and dedication I put into the covers the first time around. I can get excited about the same events all over again, just like my friend. It's all a matter of perspective.

Be on the lookout for the new covers of Blinded By Grace and The Duplicitous Debutante, coming your way soon.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Happy Holidays!

Since this upcoming week contains the much-anticipated Christmas celebration, I'm taking this post to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays. Whatever traditions you incorporate this time of year, I wish you the best of all times, the creation of new memories and a prosperous 2019.

I have partnered over the last few years with two other authors on a blog called History Imagined. This week's post contains a list of Christmas murder mysteries for your reading pleasure during the season. You can view the entire list here:

And, if murder under the Christmas tree is not to your liking, you might want to try one of my Christmas books. Love's In The Cards is a contemporary story, set in Lobster Cove, ME. And if Regency is more to your liking, try A Regency Yuletide. Here are the blurbs and buy links for each:

Penny Beedle’s outlook on Christmas, as her favorite holiday, was destroyed by a messy breakup years earlier and a botched wedding last year—both on Christmas Eve. But since she and her sister now own a greeting card store, and the holidays are their crazy selling season, she has to put on a happy face. 

Del Madison has loved Penny since kindergarten. Commissioned by a big greeting card company for a line of Christmas and Valentine’s cards, he has to emerge from behind his alter ego and unveil himself to the public. He chooses Penny Beedle’s shop for the big reveal. If he plays his cards right, he just might gain Penny as part of his life.

After a disappointing season in London, Sophie Davenport returns home without a marriage proposal. No sooner does she settle back into her country life than she learns her uncle has arranged for her to marry the local vicar’s son, a respectable and utterly forgettable man. He’s returning home immediately after the Christmas holiday and they will wed. She sets about making this last Christmas with just she and her mother memorable. 

Jeremy Wyatt hatches a plan to help his friend Thomas and his love, Emma, escape to Gretna Green and marry before her father comes after them. What he’s really doing is avoiding heading to his parents’ home, where he is the son who is always making the wrong choices. But their carriage becomes hopelessly mired in the mud from the incessant rains so Jeremy sets off to find shelter for them at the first house he comes to. 

Sophie welcomes the wet and weary travelers, and her mother agrees to house them temporarily until they can free the carriage. Sophie forms a bond not only with Emma, but with Jeremy. However despite the sparks they ignite in each other, they have to maintain their separate paths.  

But love and mistletoe have a way of upsetting even the best-laid plans. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Putting The Pieces Together

Like a lot of writers, I'm absolutely addicted to jigsaw puzzles. In fact, my day doesn't start until I finish the free daily Magic Jigsaw puzzle. There's always a point during the solving of the puzzle where there are more pieces scattered about than are locked into place and you begin to lose hope that it will come together. But then, as you keep moving like colored pieces together, a few more lock in and before you know it, you've figured it out and the final pieces come together quickly.

This is a lot like the process of writing a story. You start out with the borders in place and locked down. You know how the story starts, what the conflicts are, and how it will end. But the middle pieces can get confusing regardless of whether you plot or not, and you'll soon end up with more pieces scattered about with no solution in mind. Then, the eureka moment happens and you can see what the big picture is supposed to look like.

That happened this past week with my current WIP. I'd written two versions of the story prior to this one, and am picking up pieces from each of the first two to use in the third version. I had bits and pieces scattered all over the place with no big picture idea of how to put it all together. Then, like magic, a piece fit nicely to what I had already locked in place, and then another. I think I can put the remaining pieces together without too much of a hitch. It's a good feeling, and I race through the Magic Jigsaw Puzzle in order to get to the puzzle that is my story.

There are days when I struggle to write, and then there are days like what happened last week, when I remember the reason I show up for work every day. Because it's fun to spin out a story and see if, in the end, it makes sense and makes someone else as happy as it made me when I wrote it.

Today's the last day to take advantage of the big Christmas sale over at Prairie Rose Publications. The revised The Reluctant Debutante is only 99 cents, but there are many more at that price or even Free! Take a look here:

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Resetting The Needle

My nephew recently made the big decision to move from one coast to the other in an attempt to get a better-paying job. As with any major move, be it across the country or from one profession to another, there will be bumps along the way. In his case, he's had to fly back to the west coast to drive his car here by himself, since the car transport company was a bust.

His dilemma got me to thinking about my own moves this past year. Yes, there were some snags with the physical move from Ohio to North Carolina, but the bigger move was the closing of Crimson Romance, who held eleven of my titles. While I waited for the rights to those titles to be reverted back to me, it's given me time to reflect on my career and which direction to take it–to reset the needle, as it were.

I've got plans for 2019 that will reveal what I've been working on while I have settled into my new home. While you're waiting, I'll share with you a scene from my WIP. This young lady came out of the shadows of my mind and wandered into the scene with our brooding hero. She's not his lady love, but she reminds him of her. Let me know what you think of Lady Philippa.

“What is wrong with the gent yer father chose?” If she had a good reason for wanting to head to another country, Angus could offer his help. 
She held up her hand and began ticking off the reasons there. “First, he’s ancient. More than twice my age. Second, he’s quite ugly and wrinkled. Third, he’s already had three wives, all of whom died suspiciously. I have no wish to be Number Four.” 
“How did his wives perish?” 
“Word is, he beat them every time they produced a child who was not a son. He now has eight daughters, who all need dowries to marry, and he’s gambled his fortune away.” Philippa shuddered. “He needs the money my father will bestow on him for taking me off his hands.” 
Angus rolled his shoulders. And made his decision. “What kin I do to help ye?” 
Even in the dark, he could see the sparkle in her eyes. “My plan is to dress as a boy and stow away on one of the ships. I can cut my hair and bind my breasts, but I need some clothes, befitting my new role. And then, I’ll need some help getting on board.” 
In a flash, he saw Lily, dressed as a boy with her hair cut short. But Lily didn’t want to masquerade as a boy and Philippa did. “I’ll git ye some clothes and help you git on board. Jest tell me where to meet ya.” 
She laid her hand on his arm. “Midnight, at Billingsgate Dock, on Lower Thames Street. Do you know where it is?” 
“I’ll find me way.” 
Philippa stretched up on her toes and grazed his cheek with a kiss. “And you can call me Pip. That’s going to be my new name.”
He grinned. “Alright, Pip me lad. Midnight, it is. We both have things to do.” 
She glanced at the entrance to the ballroom. “We’ve been out here far too long and my father will be wondering where I’ve gone to. I’ll head back inside first.” She shifted her gaze to him. “Please don’t let me down.” 
“I canna. I gave me word. Go on with ya, Pip.” 

She strode to the doorway with a strong stride, never glancing back. Angus followed her movement. She could probably pass as a boy for a while. Long enough, anyway, to be off on her new adventure. He ran a hand over his cheek, where she had kissed him. What the hell had he gotten himself into? Could he serve jail time for his actions as an accomplice? What would his uncle say if he found out? His thoughts flicked back to Lily. Here he was, helping one woman get into boy’s clothing. And every thought he had of Lily was how to get her out of hers. 

Remember, this is a work in progress. I may cut her out completely from the story before I'm done. It all depends on your comments. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

What To Wear?

Tonight I'm heading to my first-ever function at the country club in my community. I've never thought of myself as a part of the country club set, so I've been puzzling for days over what to wear this evening. Fashion etiquette has evolved, or in some cases, disappeared, making it impossible to know what is appropriate attire for a country club Christmas party.

When I was young, fashion was simple. You wore dresses to church and school. When you came home from either, you immediately had to change out of them and into play clothes. Often on Sundays, we'd go from church to my mom's sister's house, so Mom packed play clothes for us to wear during these visits. How times have changed.

I'm writing books set in the Regency era right now, and the fashion dictates are strictly adhered to, if you are lucky enough to be a member of the Ton. Often, a great portion of your day was spent changing from one appropriate gown to another, with help from a full staff who took care of your clothing. Thank goodness, how times have changed.

My brother was in town recently and we stopped into a men's clothing store in Pinehurst. While he was trying on very expensive jackets, I chatted with the salesman, who told me that even though I work from home, I still needed to dress as if I were at an office. I countered his argument by saying I write romance so it's only appropriate that I show up for work in my pajamas. He got a sly grin on his face, and said no, I should show up for work in the finest lingerie. The man did have a point.

So, while I ponder what to wear this evening, I ask you: What are you wearing?