Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's Okay


I know quite a few writers stress out around the holidays. Obligations tend to suck up our time even more so then the other days and our writing moments are usally one of the things we feel we need to put aside. I've learned after many years that my writing doesn't only occurr while typing words on this keyboard. I'm always thinking about my plot, my characters motivations or actions, and about their conversations. I can do this while I'm baking, cooking or cleaning the bathrooms. I can always find a second to jot myself a note which I can come back to.

Don't stress. Enjoy your family and friends. Remember, "Home is where the story begins."

I'm going to take a few days to enjoy my life. I hope you do too. Have a wonderful holiday and remember to take a moment to give thanks for those who surround you, support you and for the talent you've been given.


Join me on Friday Nov. 26 at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, , where I'll be asking a Black Friday question.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Friday's Friend Debra St. John

Today, I'm happy to welcome Debra St John.

Debra St. John has been reading and writing romance since high school. She always dreamed about publishing a romance novel some day. She lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, who is her real life hero. Her debut release, This Time for Always is a Champagne Rose and Rosebud bestseller at The Wild Rose Press. She followed her debut with Wild Wedding Weekend. This Can't Be Love is her third release from TWRP.

1) You recently had a new release. Could you tell us a little about it?THIS CAN’T BE LOVE is my third release from The Wild Rose Press. Zach, my hero, was a secondary character in my first book, but I always knew he deserved a
story of his own. Finding Zach at her grandfather’s mountain retreat is quite a surprise for Jessica, who’s running away from a really disastrous relationship. Of course, Zach turns out to be everything Jessica has ever wanted/needed, even if she doesn’t realize it at first.

2) Did you have to do any special research for the novel?The setting for THIS CAN’T BE LOVE is actually based on a real place we vacation each summer. After our very first visit I knew it would be the ideal setting for a book. Everything fell into place when it came time to write LOVE, and it turned out to be the perfect place for Zach and Jessica to fall in love. It was a lot of fun having Zach and Jess explore and visit many of our favorite places. We always take tons of pictures while we’re there, but there were several trips where I took even more than usual. I also took copious notes about everything: sounds, sights, smells, so I’d be able to bring it to life for my readers.

3) Why do you write in the genre you do?I love the Happily Every After. With a real world that doesn’t always guarantee that, it’s quite nice to be able to give that to my characters each and every time.

4) What was your favorite scene to write?At one point Zach and Jessica have some, um, fun, with a jar of hot chocolate sauce. That was really fun to write!

5) What is the best writing advice you’ve received?To join my local RWA chapter. Without the fabulous ladies of Chicago-North RWA I never would have published my first book. Over the years they have offered invaluable advice and support. We have a fantastic critique program, and I don’t even think about submitting, or writing any further, until I’ve gotten their advice on my first chapter.

6) How can readers find you?I can be found at I also am the Sunday blogger at the Acme Authors Link and the Thursday blogger at Heroines with Hearts. I love it when readers pop in to say hello! My books are available at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, and Barnes and

7) Do you have a writer’s cave or are you able to write anywhere anytime?When the muse is strong, I can write anywhere. A few years back I finally invested in a lap top so I actually could write anywhere. I don’t work in the summer, so I tend to get most of my writing done then, but it was hard to be sitting inside at the computer when the weather outside was so beautiful. Now I literally write anywhere: front porch, back porch, patio, out by the pond, living room couch, bed, etc. I do have a ‘home base’ of sorts in my den, but I tend to be more productive on my laptop. I also made sure I didn’t install the Internet on my laptop, which helps immensely to eliminate various computer distractions.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beware. Be safe. Evil Lurks!

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I decided to post this blog this week because next week, with the holiday, we all will be too busy to sit and read anything. Also, I’d like to reach as many friends and friends of friends before they head out the door and become victims, so please pass my blog link on.

Holiday shopping is dangerous. Humming classic tunes, we head to the stores with visions of the perfect Norman Rockwell holiday fogging our minds. The malls are busier than any other time of the year, and as we juggle packages while seeking the next ideal gift for little Bobby or Susie, predators lurk near. Your purse or wallet is his target. The packages you carry are his prey. You are about to become his victim, IF you don’t do something to protect yourself from the holiday nightmare.

1) Keep a list of your credit card numbers and contact phone numbers at home.

2) Dress comfortably.

3) Do not wear expensive jewelry.

4) Never go shopping by yourself. If you do, walk with other shoppers to and from the store or ask a security guard to walk you to your vehicle.

5) Avoid shopping at night if at all possible.

6) If you can’t park near an entrance, consider parking near the roadway entering the store. Thieves do not like to have an audience when committing their crime. Also search out well lit areas. Familiarize yourself with the area you’ve parked.

7) Strip your car. Put all CD, sunglasses, loose change anything of any value out of view.

8) Hide your GPS and garage door opener from view, or better yet leave them at home. A thief can easily break a window take these items and wait to follow you home. Only to rob you later.

9) Do not use your keychain control to lock your doors. Techno savvy thieves could pick up on the frequency and unlock your car.

10) Avoid revolving doors. Predators can grab your purse as entering and make a clean get-a-way before you can emerge.

11) Men carry your wallets in your front pocket and woman carry your purse close to your body with the flap turned toward you. When walking with someone, carry the purse between you. Consider using a fanny pack. Only carry the necessary cash and or one credit card. Leave check book and other credit cards at home.

12) Do not flash large amounts of cash.

13) Watch while your credit card is receipt is filled out and that your credit card is only swiped once. Also request any carbons. Keep receipts in your pocket, not in your bags. Make sure you get your credit card back.

14) Never lay your purchases down.

15) Avoid using restrooms where there are long, dim, hallways.

16) Do not use arcades or video stores as babysitters for children of any age. Predators are waiting.

17) Make regular trips to your car so that you’re not over burden.

18) Save your most expensive purchases for last. Go straight home. Do not stop afterwards for lunch or dinner.

19) Do not carry big packages that obstruct your view.

20) Have your keys in your hand when exiting the store. Walk with authority. Check backseat and under car. Lock door immediately.

21) Be aware of approaching strangers. Con artists may try various methods to distract you.

22) Stow your purchases in the trunk. Never in the backseat. Remember a thief doesn’t care if you have to replace your car window.

23) If you see what looks to be a parking ticket under your wiper, ignore it and pull away. Check it at another location.

24) Never go home if you think you’re being followed. Go to a busy, well-lit safe place.

25) Even though you have a zillion things on your mind, stay alert, don’t be the easy target. Remember for whom you went shopping. You, not the gifts, are what is important to them.
Have a wonderful holiday.

If you have another tip or experience relating to a scary experience, please share.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Friday's Friend Kelly Fitzpatrick

Today, I welcome one of my Golden Heart Sisters Kelly Fitzpatrick who has a lot to say about juggling life and writing. Please welcome Kelly. (((HUGS))

Hi! Thanks for having me today Autumn!

I was playing one of my Wii fitness games the other day and it got me to thinking. One of my favorite Wii games is Big Top Juggling. It’s pretty much what it sounds like and surprisingly true to life. In the confines of the game I’m a clown balancing on a big ball while I juggle little balls. The story of my life in a nutshell.

Just like life, sometimes I lose my balance and fall off my big ball onto my big butt. Other times I drop my little balls and have to start over with new balls. When all is right with the world, my balance is flawless and my balls are in sync, the game will throw me two giant exploding balls, complete with sound effects and blasting graphics, to test my skills.

I’m not sure what everyone else is juggling in real life. Me, I juggle my writing career, which is a mini juggling act of its own with writing, editing, submitting, research, education, networking, and the offshoot of networking, the dreaded promo. My nemesis. I made a commitment to myself long ago that I would do something related to my writing career everyday. I’ve kept my promise whether that one thing was updating my website or writing a few hundred words. To keep myself on task, I jot down deadlines and goals in my calendar each month. And I recommend a little meditation to clear the mind. Me time, walking, reading or deep breathing.

Being a wife, mother, and homemaker is the hardest juggling act of all. I want to see Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs be a homemaker for a day. Keeping a house clean is a dirty, dirty job. Being a wife, mother, and homemaker requires the skills of a cook, maid, nurse, chauffer, cheerleader, referee, personal shopper, interior decorator, gardener, psychologist, hostess, financial planner, and lover. I’m a big fan of delegation—for most of the stuff. I’m not particularly good at any of these skills. So you’re on your own. But kudos to you if you do any of these things well. My husband says I do it all well and I think he’s just learned to embrace mediocrity.

Then there’s the day job. I don’t have a career outside the home. I have a part-time job to get me out of my pajamas and out of the house. The job also finances my writing career (which is a money pit) and keeps up my office skills—just in case. When I leave my job on Thursday afternoon, I feel like I need some medication. After I chill, I don’t think about the day job again until I go back on Tuesday morning. And even at work I’m really busy plotting murders and love scenes in my head.

Last but not least we need to juggle ourselves, which brings us full circle. People, women especially are busy taking care of everyone around them. Without our health (mental and physical) we cannot nurture others or work or write. That’s why “I try” to eat healthy. I exercise by walking to work and back, along with my Wii fitness regime. I do charity work. I pursue my passion of writing. Moderation is my mantra when it comes to food, fitness and spirits. I also believe in quality of life over quantity, giving me a handy excuse to indulge in a little chocolate therapy and the occasional cocktail or three.

So there you have it, meditation, delegation, medication, and moderation. What are you juggling? Any tips for your fellow jugglers?

Come visit me any time day or night at to find out more about me and what I’m juggling.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Think I Can. I Really Do.

The end of the year is right there in front of me. December sits at the bottom right hand corner of the November calendar with the holidays marked in vivid red.
New Year’s Eve among them—the date most of us set goals for the coming year.
Last December, I sat ten goals for myself. While I achieved many of them, (Woohoo), I still have a few that I really want to accomplish before the clock ticks down on the year. Can I do it? Maybe.

But even if I don’t make the all the goals, or just miss the target, like loose another ten pounds or finish the book, it’s alright. I might lose five more pounds or only need to write the ending, and hey, I’ll take it.

The thing about goals, while it’s the carrot dangling out that is the big prize we need to remember the journey toward the reward is more important. We’re striving to change bad habits, or overcome demons, or just make ourselves and the world a better place. It’s hard work and nothing is accomplished over night. The journey has to be rewarding, otherwise the goal will never be achieved.

I worked on all my goals throughout 2010. Ten of them. I’m happy that I kept them in the forefront of my mind and achieved six of them. I made time for my friends and family-the benefits have been wonderful. I tightened my belt and ask myself ‘Do I really need this before making purchases’. Doing so has helped keep our expenses under control during a year where watched two sons marry. I cleaned out a good portion of my house and got rid a dumpster of clutter. I don’t miss I thing. I also finished and submitted my next book, which lead to a contract. All this was accomplished in baby steps which I practiced every day. I’m close to achieving two others, but last two… Well, I’m not giving up, but I’m going to enjoy myself while trying, and if I make them, ‘Yeah!’ , and if I don’t, ‘Yeah! I took steps toward the prize.’

Come December 30th , 2010, when I make my goals for 2011, those two goals will be tweaked and on the top of my list.

It’s never too late to start working toward your goal. Enjoy the journey!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What Makes A Hero HOT!

Hey. It's Friday and today I welcome Wilder Rose author Becca Dale. Wilder Rose means hot, folks and Becca has a new holiday themed release out today. Congrats, Becca.

Becca is doing somrthing different today which really gives us insight into her characters. Read on.

What makes a hero hot? A good friend of mine loves the polished type. You know the man who looks like a CEO even on vacation? Nope, that doesn’t do it for me, but when I’m with her, I find that I notice those guys more. I look for them so I can offer a “check him out.” Personally, I want the guy who is a little rough around the edges, one you can be proud of in public but is rarely refined behind the bedroom door. Because my taste and that of the women I know are so divergent, a question has bounced around in my head a great deal lately. I worried that perhaps my characters had become too much alike, that my taste had overpowered the men and women of my stories. The general standard claims there is someone for everyone, but if they all became alike, my guys might not be broad enough to attract readers. In the end, an online friend suggested I ask the women involved – my heroines and my readers. So here are my most recent heroines’ perspectives on their guys. I would love to hear from readers as well so please leave a comment.

Today’s Panel Judges and Their Heroes:

Jess – Surrender at Sea (Forty-two-year-old bodyguard whose first husband was an abusive and manipulative jerk.) Sean (Twenty-eight-year-old game designer who sees the fun in a situation more often than not.)

Kya/Hannah – Kya’s King (An impressionable but tough girl/shifter who wants to be a
vet and longs for a family that wants her no matter what.) Ja (A soldier to the end driven by honor and the need to protect his clan no matter the cost to individual happiness.)

Jenica—Jingle all the Way Twenty-something, single mother whose ex left because he needed more: more excitement, more freedom, more people, just more than Jenica and
their small town could offer.) Burk (International businessman born and raised throughout Europe and the Americas. Smooth on the exterior – a man with everything and nothing at once.

Lily—Untamable [Available Jan. 2011] (Red haired spitfire as fiery as her hair implies but only for the boy she once loved and the man he has become). Thor/Thunder (Ex bronco rider who raises rodeo stock, rugged and defensive as the horses he trains.)

Becca—All right ladies, let’s begin by talking about what you look for in a guy – personality wise. Who wants to go first?Jess – I will. When it comes to men I like a little control. I bent to the will of my ex-husband for too many years. I have no intention of ever doing that again.

Kya—Yes, but there is a certain security in a man who takes charge. I can appreciate a guy with the strength to tell me no as long as he’s willing to listen to my side.

Lily—I think that’s the key, Kya. He has to be willing to listen and to share. People love Thor but he doesn’t show real emotion around others. I think he’s been told how great he is by so many women that he doesn’t believe it so he plays his own cards pretty close to his chest. That’s my only problem with him. No matter how big of a stubborn mule he can be, he needs to bend on occasion and reveal what he’s thinking if he expects me to be vulnerable to him.

Jenica—Right. He can push me but he needs to recognize my limits. There’s nothing wrong with a little manhandling as long as he isn’t a jerk like Jess’s ex was.

Kya—That sounds like a dangerous philosophy, Jenica. Define manhandling.

Jenica—Wow, I don’t even know how to answer that in a public forum. Uhm, you know the kind of guy who will make sure he has your full attention at all times even if it takes an occasional love tap to do it.

Jess –Love tap my a—my butt. No guy better put a rough hand on me again unless he wants to find himself on his back with my knee to his jugular.

Lily—I don’t think Jenica meant abusive, Jess. She’s just saying that sometimes a man has to do something that breaks through a woman’s defenses. Thor tied me up to get my attention, but in reality the situation opened his eyes more than mine.

Jess –Bull. No matter the situation, no man should use his strength against a woman just because he can. You girls are too young to recognize that fact. Men can be jerks more often than not and I think—

Kya—Not every situation is black and white, Jess. Don’t try to make Jenica feel bad because she sees things differently than you do.

Lily—Exactly, sometimes what is on the surface of a man doesn’t reflect the full truth. I don’t think any of us can judge.

Jess –Seriously, I hope my daughter isn’t this naive. You girls—

Becca—Whoa, people. I see you all have different opinions on personality. How about we shift gears and focus for a moment on the physical. Can you describe the perfect guy?

Kya— Ja’s big. Broad and muscular with well developed muscles. He had dark hair and unusual green eyes that make me forget why I’m mad at him no matter how much he ticks me off. Whether he is in feline or human form he exudes a raw almost feral power that turns me on. I know he would give his life for me, but if I push him too hard, that need to control every situation could break loose and overwhelm us both. It’s like all this delicious, protective, yet somewhat violent, strength simmers just beneath the stoic soldier’s fa├žade, and I can’t wait to turn it loose. (blushing) Does that make sense? I am turned on by the idea that he might not be able to hold back even though I know he will.

Lily—(laughing) Thor couldn’t be more different. He has dark hair but that is about the only similarity. He’s tall but not overpowering and his muscles are lean and long, a working man’s strength. He’s also arrogant as all get out and it shows in the way he walks and even his stance. He has no problem laughing and demanding his way through life, but for me he is just so damned masculine. I think I love his hands the most. They’re strong and calloused but almost magical when he touches me. Maybe because when he does reach for me, I have his full attention. The whole world narrows to him and me when I am in his arms and I forget every reason why I should push him away. There is something incredible about having a social man like Thor tune out everyone one and everything beyond me with a sensual caress.

Jenica—Yeah, I know what you mean. I can’t resist Burk’s touch either. Not that he’s much l like your Thor beyond the lean muscles part. He has golden hair and a shadow beard, but he dresses like a city boy. Like Ja his eyes are killer except they’re this weird piercing blue that remind me of a wolf for some reason. It is his voice that really gets me though. I’ve lived in Keaton, ND my entire life. Everyone sounds the same-and no we do not talk like the people on Fargo though a few of the old timers come close. Burk has a bit of a British accent that mellows everything he says and makes me crazy. Is that physical? (grins self-consciously) I’m not sure if sound counts as physical, but it is so much a part of him, and it does such lovely things to me that I have to include it. What about you, Jess? You’re awfully quiet.

Jess – (shifts uncomfortably and studies the rest of the group) I’m almost embarrassed to describe Sean. Not that he isn’t insanely hot, more that he is so damned young. He should probably be with someone like you girls, but for some reason he likes me and that is part of his draw. He has this wild sun-bleached hair that gives him a California rich-boy image. Like Thor, he has a casual confidence about him that reflects in his stance and his sexy smile. That smile is what does it for me. It’s like trying to resist an adorable puppy. (grinning) He would hate that reference but he would turn it so I had to admit how much I want to pet him every second he’s in reach. Physically he’s a big man, not your typical computer geek, but he would never use his strength against me. Not that I would put up with it if he did, but I love knowing that he won’t ever try. Still when he holds me close and I can feel his hard body, I must admit I melt far easier than I should.

Becca—Well, I guess that answers my question, ladies. Physically my heroes seem to run the gamut though I see they tend to be tall. Huh? I wonder why that is. Personally, I like a man to be close to my height so I can look him in the eye. There is nothing grosser than snuggling in a man’s arms and finding your face pressed to his belly. Darling hubby is only about six inches taller than me and I am short. None of their personalities seem much alike either which is good. I would still like to know what kind of man catches readers’ attention and if it is different in real life versus the fantasy of a romance novel. Please share.

You can contact Becca at:


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

True Love

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Do you love to write?

I do, and write about just about anything. Leaves floating to the ground like a flurry of angels feathers. Family dogs romping and growling playfully in the afternoon sun. Mom shutting off her internet service the weeks I’m to stay with her.

Writers write. It’s as simple as that. They have to. It’s in their blood to create images, characters and stories using well chosen words.

If I go more than a few days without jotting down or tapping out passages, I feel listless. Almost like I’ve been physically restrained and need to move and accomplish something. Today is that day.

For the past five days, I’ve been MIA from my keyboard due to my son’s wedding. It was an awesome day.

The groom’s men dressed at my home and looked as if they’d just walked off a 1940’s movie set in their formal attire.
A bright sun peeked now and then from behind its mask of gray clouds. Trees of gold and crimson waved with the sudden gusts as if gesturing to friends.

My son showed he has a bit of a romantic in him by writing his new bride a note on the bulletin board in the room where she would wait to her turn to enter the church. The message, which I will not share with the world—it’s theirs, brought tears of happiness to her eyes and a smile to my lips.

The ceremony was simple and tastefully done. Afterwards, bubbles of joy surrounded the bride and groom before lifting prayers
for a long blessed marriage for the couple to the heavens.

The day is now a memory. One I will draw on when writing about true love.