Thursday, September 30, 2010

Welcome Friday Friend Rachael Brimble

Hi, everyone. Welcome to my Friday Friend's blog. Today I welcome an author who can and does write everything, Rachael Brimble. Rachael lives across the pond and today is her and her DH's anniversary. Happy Anniversary you two!

I had a great time visiting Rachael's blog several weeks ago and now it's her turn to be my guest. She will be answering questions all weekend, so please leave a comment and be patient, there is a jet lag.

From 19th century Bath, England to Upstate New York, today…


I am thrilled to be appearing on your blog today, Autumn. As a fan of your writing and an admirer of your ongoing support to your fellow authors, I really appreciate you having me here!

I wanted to talk about the topic of writing across the genres as I had someone asked me not so long ago, ‘why do you do that?’

The quick answer is… I don’t know! The longer answer takes a bit of digging. So I dug! And the answer I came up with is this – my characters tell me where and when they want to live, I haven’t a choice in the matter, LOL!

So far I have written two romantic suspense novels, one romantic comedy, one historical, two contemporary novels and one contemporary novella. Yep, straight across the genres. But the same thing happened with each these stories, the heroine popped into my head, completely uninvited and started talking.

I am definitely a character first, plot later type of writer. I can be in the bath, walking the dog, doing the ironing, even socializing with friends when bam! I hear a voice and I know my next novel has started. The exact same thing happened with the two releases I’m here to talk about today – one historical and one contemporary.

The Arrival of Lily Curtis is set in Victorian Bath, England and a small town on the outskirts of the city, called Colerne. I am lucky enough to live a short thirty-minute drive from the city so spend lots and lots of time there. For any of you who have Bath on your ‘wish list’ of cities to visit, I can promise you will not be disappointed. If you want to be taken back in time and immerse yourself in Georgian/Regency/Victorian history, you will not be disappointed. It is a beautiful, beautiful place with more places of interest than I can mention here today (

Anyway, the heroine of the book, Elizabeth Caughley (AKA Lily Curtis) came to me in the bath (irony not intended!), but as with all my previous characters I assumed she was talking in 2010. It wasn’t until I visited an old stately home in Colerne (which became the hero’s home - that I realized she was Victorian. Although one of the hardest of my books to write, I love ‘Lily’ and I am happy to say, the reviewers do to! Here’s the blurb and what people are saying about Lily and Andrew…

At the mention of an arranged marriage, Elizabeth Caughley feels her life is over at the age of three and twenty….so she hatches an escape plan. She will reinvent herself as a housemaid. Overnight, Elizabeth becomes Lily…

Viscount Westrop wants nothing more than his legacy to be passed to his own son one day. Even though he feels insurmountable pity for the unborn child already, he knows how much pain a broken promise can cause and will do what is right. But with the arrival of his new housemaid, his plans are thrown into disarray. Lily is funny, feisty and the most beautiful creature on earth – Andrew is thunderstruck. But if anyone suspects how much he wants to ravish her and endlessly love her, Andrew’s lineage will be in peril. And he cannot let that happen…

Thrilled, thrilled, thrilled!!!!

The only thing slightly different about my next release, and I think probably why it became my first novella rather than a full-length novel, is the premise was given to me and I didn’t create it myself. The wonderful, exciting Class of ’85 series, is the creation of senior editor, Kathy Cottrell of The Last Rose of Summer line at The Wild Rose Press.

As soon as I heard about this series, I desperately wanted to be a part of it! The rules? A pre-written invitation had to be part of the story and one or both protagonists must have been in the class of ’85. Love it! My mind filled with music, news and celebrities of the ‘80s and I was off on a mission. Knowing the characters had to be in their early forties gave me an excellent starting point…they would have had a few knocks and bumps as well as one or two sexual experiences, excellent!

This is by far the quickest I have written a story and I absolutely love it – I have brought the UK (heroine) and US (hero) together and I hope it makes for a good (and fun!) read. Transatlantic Loving is released September 29th, here’s an excerpt…

Silently, he eased her in front of him and encircled his arms around her waist. The view in front of them stole the last breath of caution from Lisa’s body, and she leaned back against his chest and held on to the muscular forearms folded across her abdomen. He moved his face to the side of hers and when he spoke his words warmed the curve of her ear.

“What do you think?”

She inhaled a shaky breath. “It’s beautiful.”

“The moon looks like that, as far as I can tell anyway, for just two nights of the year and tonight is the second of them.”

“It feels as though I could touch it.”

The moon was close enough and bright enough that the gray patches of its craters were clearly etched across its shimmering surface. Its light, completely unhampered by clouds, bounced in a perfect dart across the surface of the lake. Picture postcard perfect, Lisa took a snapshot in her mind, saving it permanently in her memory forever.

They stood in silence for another few seconds before she turned in the circle of his arms and slid her hands up over his biceps and onto his shoulders. Tracing the wonderfully sculpted lines of his clean-shaven jaw with her finger, Lisa felt every last whisper of self-consciousness slip from her body.

“Kiss me, Aaron. Everywhere.”

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Getting Things Done


Oh, my God. I don’t want to do ____. I want to just____. You fill in the blanks.

How many times have you said this to yourself? Once in a great while? Once a month? Once a week? Every day?

I admit I've said I don’t want to at least once a month, and no, it's not concerning cleaning the bathroom. Something pressing (we’ll call something IT)... IT always comes up and for some unknown reason I’m the only one in the universe that can handle IT. IT pulls me away from what I really long to do, like write, read or spend time with my family. IT can and will ruin your day, if you let it.

I don’t like days that are unproductive. I’m not talking about lazy days. They’re productive in their own way—recharging your body and soul. I’m talking about those days where it seems you get nothing done because if IT, including IT. So how do I make sure IT doesn't ruin my day?

I’m a big list person. Not the biggest. There are days I get wild and wing it. But most days, I will sit down and write a list of things I want to accomplish. I’m realistic in making the list. I know my limits. Most days there is maybe five or six wants-to-get-done. And if IT shows up, guess where IT goes? Right. At the top of the list.

I face IT head on, even though IT might be huge and ugly, and in bold letters IT is the first item of the day. I rolled up my sleeves and tackle IT first. When IT is done and out of the way, my energy level always seems to skyrocket and I whiz through the rest of the items on my list.

(WARNING LABEL) If IT is so big and can’t be accomplished one day, that’s okay. You know it up-front. IT might be the only thing on your list for a day or several. BUT, when IT is finally done. It’s done and you can focus on what you really want to do.

IT’s all about attitude.

SEPTEMBER'S CONTEST is winding down. One lucky follower will receive a beautiful Autumn scarf. You must be in USA. Check back on October at noon EST for winner's name.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stephanie Julian

Today, I welcome a good friend, Stephanie Julian. Stephanie is the author of the Magical Seduction, Lucani Lovers and The Fringe series from Ellora’s Cave and the upcoming Forgotten Goddess series from Sourcebooks Casablanca. A former reporter for a daily newspaper, she enjoys making up stories much more than writing about real life. She’s happily married to a Springsteen fanatic and is the mother of two sons who love her even when they don’t have any clean clothes and dinner is a bowl of cereal. This so true. Great kids.

1) You recently had a new release. Could you tell us a little about it?

SIZE MATTERS is a little different than my Magical Seduction and Lucani Lovers series. Yes, it's sexy and a love story but it's also funny, which is really freaking hard to write!

Carrie Benton's got the best job in the world working as a reporter for the Weekly News Journal. Chupacabra picnicking at the Jersey shore? Check. Aliens in the White House? Absolutely. Bigfoot stalking the forests of northern Pennsylvania? Well, okay... but Bigfoot is so Left Coast.

Tim Sattazahn can't believe his luck. The six-foot redhead who crashed into his forest during a snowstorm is gorgeous, funny and hot for him. Everything would be perfect except for the fact that she's looking for Bigfoot.

And, unfortunately for Tim, she's found him...

2) Did you have to do any special research for the novel?

Not special, no, just fun. I got to troll the internet for Bigfoot lore. How cool is that?

3) Why do you write in the genre you do?

Because I love to read it as well. Paranormal romance gives you such a wide latitude to write in. It's very freeing.

4) What was the hardest scene to write?

That final scene where I have to end the book. I hate to leave my characters so it's always the most difficult for me.

5) What was your favorite scene to write?

the love scenes, of course.

6) You have an amazing backlist. Would you like to tell us a little about it?

Thanks! Well, my first series, Magical Seduction, is seven books and focuses on the Etruscan fairy races. Lots of magic, lots of hot sex. The Lucani Lovers series is three books and counting. These focus on the Etruscan werewolves. They're warriors, strong men and women who love just as fiercely.

7) What do you consider your strengths, in terms of writing?

I think I write my men really well. I fall in love with each and every one of them so they're a joy and a curse to write. And I think I write emotion well.

8) What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?

Plotting. I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer and sometimes I write myself into a corner that takes mea while to figure out.

9) What is the best writing advice you've received?

Write every day, even if it's only a paragraph. You really have to be dedicated if you're going to make a career in this field because it's just so tough to break in and to keep going. Rejections are tough but if you quit, you'll never finish that book.

10) What is the worst advice you've heard, to you or an author?

I can't really say I've ever heard bad advice. It just didn't work for me. Not everything will. Some people storyboard. I couldn't do that to save my life.

11) What kind of books do you read?

Paranormal romance, erotic romance, a little urban fantasy (ok, really only Jim Butcher who I adore) and non-fiction, especially speculative non-fiction. So interesting.

12) How do you spend your down time?

What down time?

13) Are you a goal setter?

I think you have to be. When you first start to write, you write for yourself. But once you make it a career, your goal is to publish. Now that I'm published, my goal is to stay published, which means I have to finish books on a regular basis. Your goals will change daily, weekly, yearly, depending on where you are in your career.

14) What's the most adventurous thing you've done?

Begin the journey to publication. You have to have stamina and a thick skin. You need to be able to write and not just have the desire. You have to be dedicated and motivated and able to withstand prolonged bouts of seclusion and random outbursts of "Oh, wait, I gotta write that down."

15) What advice would you like to offer to aspiring authors?

Don't quit. When you start, you have to write every day, there's just no way around it. You have to get in the habit of making writing a priority in your life.

16) How can readers contact you?
at or through my website at

17) Do you have a writer's cave or are you able to write anywhere anytime?
I do have an office. The walls are bright red, I have a bulletin board above my monitor filled with pictures of gorgeous guys and the walls are filled with books. But after years of schlepping two boys to baseball, soccer, swimming and karate, I can pretty much write anywhere.

18) Conferences: What advice can you offer to author's attending them?

Depends on where you are in your career. If you're just starting, make sure you hit all the craft workshops you can. Some may not speak to you, but there will always be that one piece of advice you take a way. When you sell, the industry workshops are invaluable.

19) Write the book of your heart. What does that mean to you?
It means write what you love. But if you want to make this a career, you also need to write with the market in mind. Luckily, I write paranormal romance and there are lots of people out there would love it as much as I do.

20) What is your most valued writer's memory and why?

Going to my first critique session at my very first writers group and having someone say "Are you published? Well, you will be."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Who Loves A Good Love Scene?

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Who loves a good love scene?

I do too, but lately while reading, I find myself flipping pages and skipping over them. Why?

And why are there books on my shelves that will fall open to the love scenes?
I pass over some love scenes and devour others because of the characters. It’s that simple. The author made me love the characters. While reading the stories I became invested in their lives and their dreams. I would refer to them by name instead of the heroine and hero when telling others about the story. I wanted the woman to find the man of her dreams because, damn, she deserved a good man. And I want the man to realize she was the piece of his heart he’d been searching for all his life. I wanted the perfect-for-each-other couple to come together as one. (excuse the pun)

The thing about love scenes, when the author has written remarkably real characters and has me totally invested, I don’t need the total physical description of mating for me to enjoy the story. A scene leading up to a hungry first kiss with the door closing shortly afterwards will leave just as satisfied as a reader. In fact, leaving the details of the physical connection to my own imagination is sometimes much better. I hate slot A into slot B writing.

So what is your option— What makes a good love scene for you? And do you prefer the door to remain open?

September's Contest: One lucky follower (within the USA) will when a beautiful Autumn scarf. If outside of USA, you could win a e-copy of Obsessed By Wildfire.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Embrace the Fanasty

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When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.
Albert Einstein

Recently, we prepared for my future daughter-in-law’s wedding shower. My daughter, as maid of honor, was going crazy trying to come up with an idea for table center pieces and couldn’t get anyone to agree or come up with alterative ideas. The problem she was having was that the bridesmaids wanted something original and they were looking at like traditional wedding sites for them.

Now if you know me, you know I like to get things done, and done right and move on. So I grabbed said daughter and headed to a craft store and began to search the isles for the one thing that would become the nucleus of our original creation. Within ten minutes if entering the store we found it. A vase that had the lines from of the era we wanted to be our party theme. They were even the perfect height.
Continuing our search, we found the ideal mirrors which would be the base for the vases. Together we stood in the isle, envisioning what would fill the vases; candles, colored water, rocks, flowers, feathers, goldfish?

The goldfish was an immediate no as was the feathers and flowers. But the candles, rocks and colored water, they remained on the list. The church where the shower was to be held, wouldn’t allow burning candles and we didn’t want taking a chance of water spilling over the tables setting, so that left the rocks.

After placing several types of commercially packaged rocks and glass beads into the vase we found clear pebbles. Hmm. They had the look but they needed something more. We broke open a battery operated candle and shoved it down into the pebbles. The rocks and glass shimmered with Hollywood glitz but it needed something more to set them off. Glitter. We sprinkled the stones with hot pink and black glitter (the party’s theme colors) and dang we did it. We had an original centerpiece perfect for the occasion.

Why am I telling you this story?

When presented with a problem, whether it is to cook something new for dinner, or decorate for an occasion, or write the next great American novel, open your mind. Exercise the right half of it. Think beyond what you already know and don’t be afraid to experiment. Embrace the fantasy.

September's contest: One lucky follower will win a beautiful Autumn scarf. So don't forget to follow this blog and post a comment or two.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Welcome Featured Guest Beth Trissel

Today, I welcome my good friend, Beth Trissel. Even though, we've never met face to face Beth and I have formed a special freindship and I'm so happy to have her here today as she is gearing up to celebrate yet another new release.

Beth is a member of Romance Writers of America, Virginia Romance Writers, Celtic Heart Romance Writers, the Golden Network, For the Heart Romance Writers. She is married to her high school sweetheart and lives on a farm in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley with their children and multiple animals. The beauty of the valley and uniqueness of rural life has led her to write a collection of atmospheric personal essays compiled into a work of nonfiction. Virginia is her inspiration.

Welcome, Beth.

You recently had a new release. Could you tell us a little about it?
Ah yes, my new release is a suspenseful light paranormal, *unique, Scottish time travel entitled Somewhere My Lass. Somewhere My Lass is Book Two in my ‘Somewhere’ series. The concept behind this series, of which Somewhere My Love is the first release, is that the story opens in the present day, although so far in old homes, and then the reader is transported ‘somewhere’ else. A pretty wide open theme.

I was inspired by all the intriguing old homes I grew up living in and or visiting. Victorian, plus some 19th and 18th century. Virginia is a highly historic state. Also, interestingly enough, the British Murder Mystery series called Midsomer Murders, to which I’m addicted, fueled my inspiration. Their plots take place in modern times but in old manor homes, ancient chapels, quaint villages, sometimes with the added flashback to the distant past.

Did you have to do any special research for the novel?

I always research like a mad woman and obsess over every detail, but wasn’t actually able to visit Scotland. Being a British junkie, I watch PBS and rent British shows and films from Netflix and have done for eons as well as read many novels written by British authors, so that helps. And my family roots are English Scot’s-Irish, reaching well back into colonial America and far beyond to the British Isles.

I’m fortunate that our genealogy is well documented. We can trace lines back to Chaucer, a direct ancestor fourteen or so generations back, and some general who served under MacBeth. *Yep, that dude really lived. Our family has tie-ins to the Salem Witch trials and all sorts of fascinating eras. This rich legacy is a source of considerable inspiration to me.

Why do you write in the genre you do?

I write both historical and light paranormal with a strong historical element because I’m passionate about the past.

What was the hardest scene to write?

That entire book was hard to write! I thought I’d never make it through, and now it’s my favorite book.

You have an amazing backlist, as seen in your picture above. Would you like to tell us a little about it?

I’m rather eclectic. I love history and fantasy, can write straight historical or a blend of both. I started out with a focus on colonial American, including the Shawnee Indians and the colonial frontier, and the American Revolution, then branched out into light paranormal as well as exploring my English Scots-Irish roots. I’m currently working on a story set in England during the French Revolution, and am planning a sequel to Somewhere My Lass.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received?

Write what you love because if you don’t no one else will.

What is the worst advice you’ve heard, to you or an author?

To write for the market, focus on what sells.

What kind of books do you read?

Mostly non-fiction research stuff.

How do you spend your down time?

As noted above, I’m a British TV/film buff. Some American too. I’m an avid gardener, do some reading, and have a burgeoning family.

Are you a goal setter?

Yes. Self-imposed generally although I do have some editors nudging me now.

How do readers find you?
My website also has my facebook, myspace, twitter and blog info at:

Do you have a writer’s cave or are you able to write anywhere anytime?

I have a cave when I’m not buried under people and sometimes a troll in there with me. I feed it dark chocolate until the rumbling subsides.

Conferences: What advice can you offer to author’s attending them?

Make the most of your investment; they’re not cheap. Attend workshops, meet and greet, make some good contacts.

Write the book of your heart. What does that mean to you?

The book of my heart is the first book I ever wrote and rewrote until I finally got it right, coming out tomorrow, an American historical romance entitled Red Bird’s Song. Writing that book and the research I did for it, all that it encompassed, was the most amazing adventure ever. I literally put my whole heart into it. And when I finished, I realized, it’s all about the journey which is why I can’t imagine not writing what I love. Yes, I look forward to sharing my stories with other kindred spirits, but the true meaning for me was in the doing.

Thanks so much for having me here. Blessings on you all. As the Shawnee say, Tanakia, until our paths cross again.

Info commerical for AJ: September contest. One follower will win a beautiful Autumn scarf. Winner announced October 1, 2010.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Adventure Valley

September 16, 2012

I’m late for a blog post. What do I do? What could I say that would be of interest to my cyber friends?


Okay. I live in adventure valley, or so my mother always called it. There is rarely a week that goes by without something happening that will fire up the valley’s grapevine. Some times the news is horrendous; a fire, an accident or someone has taken sick. Then there are times when the news is wonderful; a couple got engaged or married, a baby is born or the news breaks and there will be a new baby, or a writer comes out of her closet and everyone learns she is writing romance. GRIN.

I love the happy weeks.

The valley’s grapevine news leads to drama and drama is what great plots are crocked full of. At my recent book signing a reader asked, “Where do you get your ideas from?” If you’re a writer reading this post, I’m sure you’ve had the same question asked of you. If you’re a reader, I’ll tell you what I told her. “All I have to do is look at the world around me and I get bombarded with ideas."

This week in adventure valley, my pastor did an act instead of his usual sermon during worship. It was hilarious, IMO, and got his biblical point across. I felt like clapping afterwards and yelling BRAVO! I think half the congregation did, but the other half might’ve had reservations about his approach to convey God’s message. If I was writing inspirational novels, I would certainly build on this scenario.

Maybe something like this…

Pastor Mark’s aftershave preceded him into the tiny sanctuary. “Jacob, what in the world were you thinking?”

Jacob finished snapping his robe and straitened its shoulders to fit the hanger before turning to face the senior pastor of this little Lutheran church, which he had hoped would be the place of his calling. That was until he had his wacky idea and instead of doing the sermon as he had written, he acted it out . By Pastor Mark’s tone he had just committed blaspheme. “Half the congregation was falling asleep. I thought I’d changed things up a bit.”

“We don’t change things up here. As soon as service was over, Lyondell Carson, jumped me.”

“Are you okay?” Jacob ceased his brow in playful concern.

“Don’t think I’m an old fool young man." Pastor Mark shook his finger at him. “Lyondell is the church council’s president. He is not happy with what went down here today. The council follows his lead on every decision."

“It sounds like the council members need to remember who they represent, the congregation.”

“Don’t be daft.”

A soft knock on the doorframe turned their heads.

Jacob’s heart leaped in his chest, staring into eyes as blue as the spring sky outside.

A shy smile tugged the woman’s pink lips before she turned her gaze to the older man. “Pastor, I’m sorry, to interrupt.”

“What is it, Maggie?”

“I just wanted to tell Pastor Jacob how much I enjoyed his sermon.”

“You did?” Jacob stepped around Pastor Mark and extended his hand. Electrical charges pulsed up his arm as she placed her delicate hand in his. “Thank you.”

“I truly hope the council approves your stay with us.”

He could get lost staring at this women’s angelic face. “Thank you, again.”

She pulled his hand from his. “I better go. The children are waiting.”

Children. Jacob’s heart throbbed once and dropped to his stomach. She was married?

He watched as she backed away and then stepped into the threshold himself to watch her walk down the church aisle. “Who is she?” he asked Pastor Mark.

“Lyondell Carson’s daughter. She teaches the pre-school Sunday class.”

And so the story begins...

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Plain People

Be not forgetful to enterain strangers: for therby some have enterained angles unawares.

Herbrews 13:2

Yesterday, my husband and I visited Lancaster County, PA. For those of you who don’t know, the county is known as the land of the plain people, the Amish. While on the early morning drive through Myerstown, Reistville and Lititz, we saw the people of the Amish faith hard at work in their fields, doing household chores and on their way to market or school. Looking over one valley, we saw dozens of silos reaching toward the blue and not a electical pole or wire insight.

Even though we don't live far away, it’s been almost seven years since we last walked through the small village of Intercourse. While many of the shops hugging the main intersection in town have become somewhat commercialized with items other than Amish wares, there are still many stores where you can find the real deal. You just have walk a little further down the streets.

The old country store houses beautiful quilts, wall quilts, which I drooled over. We scoured cookbooks and DH drooled over the Pennsylvania canned goods. We stocked up on a few items, like hot horse-radished mustard, beets and chow chow. In the bookstore next store (Yes. I couldn’t help myself and my DH couldn’t stop me) I bought Beverly Lewis’s THE SECRET. I wanted to read the story before, but there was something about buying the book in the area of which it is written. I can’t wait to get started. (FYI: I have no intention of writting this genre. I'm going to enjoy the book as a reader. Now if I could meet her and have her sign the book.)

My Hubby led me by the hand out of the wood making shop. It had beautiful furniture and wood items which would go perfectly in our home. He didn't buy my plea, but maybe he got some Christmas gift ideas. YEAH!

After checking out all the stores in the buzzing little town, we headed to Bird In Hand, just west on Route 340 where we spent hours in the country store there. I found items, I haven’t seen in years. I brought a few kitchen items home to use making the Amish recipes.

Since it was 94°, unusual for this time of year, we enjoyed large cones of Turkey Hill ice cream, which is made locally. We watched a few Amish children scooting on their scooter bikes, carrying groceries in the baskets in front. I listened to my DH as he spoke Pennsylvania Dutch to a gentleman. We’re both of German decent and even though I can’t speak the language, remarkably I can understand some of it. I do throw papa down the stairs his hat a few times a year. ANd we make out the light often.

Also, in Bird In Hand, DH got his prize for the day, a homemade shoo-fly pie. It was 94 degrees, I did mentioned that right? I was not going home and bake.

It was a very long day, but one we will remember. We hope to repeat our visit in cooler temps later this fall.

Here is a recipe my DH mother used to make their family as a boy. I hope you enjoy, as we do now.

Rival Soup:

8 cups of milk
2 Tlb of butter
Heat to simmer
1 1/3 cup flour
1 egg
3 Tlb of butter
1 ½ teas of salt
Mix together and whip batter smooth
Pour batter through a colander into simmering milk. Turn heat down. Cook slowly for about 3 minutes . Add salt, pepper and parsley.
Soup should be eaten immediately after cooking.

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