Monday, February 28, 2011

Don't Do It!

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After watching the faces at the Oscars last night, I pondered this question. Did you ever wonder why your dreams come true for someone else?

Watching them walk away with everything you’ve worked towards can suck the life and creavity out of you, make you lose vision of who you are, and change the course of your life. But what if you both shared the same dream? Do you compare yourself to that person and wonder why them and not you? Do you resent them for their success?

Don’t do it! We all have paths to follow, and each journey is littered with obstacles and pit stops to negotiate. My path might mirror yours for a while, but then branch off in a different direction. Or, I might need to take a break while you continue on. Then again, one of us could meet someone who speeds us like lightening toward our goal.

Whatever the reason, we can’t and shouldn’t compare ourselves. I am who I am and I’m on my path, and you are who you are and on your own journey. What is important is that we believe in ourselves, never stop dreaming, and never stop working toward making our dreams come true.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Friday's Friend Maeve Grayson

Guess what?

The exciting events of recent weeks have resulted in my adopting my six-year-old granddaughter’s favorite way of beginning all her sentences. Yep. Her enthusiasm effervesces like a bubbling soda as she chatters. “Guess what?”

So…Guess what?

My debut novel from The Wild Rose Press is finally released! Whoo hoo!! BEYOND A HIGHLAND WHISPER became available on February 18th. A beguiling Scot from the 1400’s, Latharn Mackay is cursed into a crystal orb when a seductive witch rages against his withheld love. But hope’s not lost. The woman destined for his heart can break the curse by whispering her love aloud. A few problems lie ahead. Nessa is six hundred years in the future and Latharn can only visit her dreams with a silent presence. If he speaks, the curse will shatter his soul into bits. And there’s still the matter of the sorceress. An enraged woman always has the final say…unless love proves more powerful.


The last time Latharn MacKay walked among his kinsman was in Scotland of 1410. Sensuous and charismatic, all the women wanted him, but none could capture his heart. Latharn's charm became his curse when a dark sorceress didn’t take rejection well. She snared his soul into a crystal globe until the one woman destined to be his love whispered his release. Now all Latharn has to do is find her and guide her to him without speaking a word.

One of the youngest archeologists in St Louis of 2010, Nessa credits one thing for this achievement: the recurring dream of a heart-stopping Highlander since the summer she turned eighteen years old. Little does she know, he's not some fantasy cooked up by her subconscious. He’s a trapped soul determined for Nessa to end his six centuries in hell. Can love prevail over the dark magic of a woman scorned?

And guess what else?

Some folks have already bought it and let me know that they REALLY like it. And they’re NOT EVEN FAMILY!

And guess what else?

I signed another contract with The Wild Rose Press. YAY! They bought THE HIGHLANDER’S FURY.

And there’s even more!

I made it to the FINAL ROUND of the Kensington Brava / RT Book Reviews Writing with the Stars contest with my paranormal romance, ETERNITY’S MARK. Can you BELIEVE it? Me neither. Whew! Bear with me a minute while I try to catch my breath.
Okay. (Inhales deeply and then exhales) I’m better now. It’s difficult to describe how all these “guess what’s” have made me feel: elated, excited, anxious, and the ever popular scared…witless. You thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you? Shame on you!

The release of my book was like a satisfying sigh after holding my breath until I turned blue. I’m a bit of an insecure sort and I guess some inner demon kept whispering in my ear: they’re gonna send you an email saying they were just kidding. Yes. I know. I’m nuts. But aren’t we all?

My second contract brought a wonderful case of the giggles. Ha! I’m not just a one book wonder!

Surviving (and yes – I do mean SURVIVING) all the rounds of the Writing With the Stars contest has been a lot like hanging off the edge of an eroding cliff. You keep feeling the narrow ledge beneath your toes crumbling away and you have to scramble to dig in and hold on. Every time I discovered I made it to the next round it was like making it to a safe foothold where I could rest a minute and try not to look down. Then the next round would start and there my ledge would go, start crumbling again. So, I’m currently in hang-on-for-dear-life mode.

By the way, if you’d like to throw me a rope, here’s the link where you can vote for ETERNITY’S MARK:

But I feel I should warn you. It is an explicit love scene…so, if you prefer not to read steamy stuff, please don’t go there.

I guess I’ve got one last Guess What before I go. It’s how much I really appreciate my friend, Autumn inviting me to her blog. Life can get crazy sometimes but she still made time for nutty, old Maeve. You’re awesome, Autumn, and there’s no guessing about that.

Maeve’s Bio:
Maeve Greyson writes paranormal romances with a Celtic twist from her cozy little home not too far from Kentucky Lake. Tucked away in the middle of nowhere, Maeve listens to the wind whispering through the trees, breathing life into her characters.

Her debut novel, BEYOND A HIGHLAND WHISPER, just released from The Wild Rose Press. She recently contracted another book with The Wild Rose Press and also finaled in the Kensington Brava and RT Book Reviews Writing With the Stars Contest with her paranormal romance, ETERNITY’S MARK.

Her writing partner, Jasper –the rat terrier/Chihuahua mix, critiques all her work. Under his sharp eye and the endless support of her husband of over thirty-one years, she hides away in her secluded wood and pours her daydreams into the keyboard.

Maeve’s Links:
Facebook: OR!/
The Wild Rose Press Buy Link:
Amazon Buy Link:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Obsessed By Wildfire is 1

Cursor. If you've visited my blog before, you know I always start with cursor. It's my trigger to get things started. If this is your first visit, welcome. I hope you enjoy my post.

This week I'm celebrating both Valentine's Day and Obsessed By Wildfire's one year anniversary by sharing a spicy excerpt and awarding one lucky winner an e-copy of Obsessed By Wildfire. All you need to do is leave a comment and answer this question; Do Isobel and Warner fall in love? The winner will be announced on Friday evening 5 pm EST, just in time for the weekend. GRIN So have some cyber-champagne and enjoy!

I hope the excerpt warms up your Valentine's Day. (Disclaimer: The excerpt is spicy)

Obsessed By Wildfire

Coming up on her ranch, Isobel slapped the turn signal down and maneuvered her truck and horse van through the gate to her driveway. The house lights, set on timers for ten o’clock, clicked on as she pulled up to the barn.

Yup, that’s what she’d do after she fed Lizzy. She’d invite Warner into the house and have her way with him. One night of hot, sweaty sex and she’d be completely over the guy.

As she turned off the ignition, Isobel looked out her side mirror again and saw Warner unfold from his car. He swaggered toward her, tucking his shirttail into his tight jeans, chin held high, shoulders squared, purpose in his eyes. Reminded her of a proud lion about to make his move. He had something on his mind as well.

She unsnapped her seatbelt the moment Warner opened her door. On a light breeze, his musk rolled over her, arousing her, playing with her senses.

He looked around the grounds. “You’ve got a nice place here. Yellow barn and all.”

“Don’t start.” Isobel remained seated. Perched on the seat of a four by four, she still had to look up at him. “The place needs a lot of work. I inherited it from my grandmother last year.”

“Then you don’t live with your parents?”

The muscular cords of his left arm stretched as he held the door frame. The space between them grew steamy. “No. Why would you think I live with my parents?”

“I don’t know. Big ranch. Beautiful tiny woman.”

“I’m not beaut—”

“Yes, you are and you know it.”

Under the cab light and Warner’s gaze, Isobel’s cheeks and heart warmed. The Yankee wasn’t throwing her a line. He actually thought she was beautiful.

“So we’re alone?” His gaze drifted, first to her lips and then lower, making every nerve in her body zing.

“No one within miles.” She dropped her demure gaze to his crotch and her body tightened. Yeah, he wanted her. There was the hard evidence. Evidence that made Isobel wonder if one night would be enough to satisfy her desires. “Should I be nervous?”

“Are you?”

She licked the want from her lips. Definitely a long weekend would be needed to take care of her itch. “No.”

Lizzy whinnied.

“I should get her out of the trailer.”

“I make you nervous.”

“No you don’t.”

“Liar.” Warner grabbed her and spun her around on the seat, stepping in between her legs. “What do you think you’re doing?” His strong forearms flexed under her palms while his hands cupped her face. The rough pads of Warner’s thumbs brushed her cheekbones. He leaned into the cab and softly said, “Exactly what you want me to do.”

His mouth covered hers, tenderly at first, but a building urgency was not far behind. Hot desire rushed through Isobel’s veins and pooled between her legs.

Wanting to feel all of him, Isobel ran her hands up his arms, over his broad shoulders and to his back, pulling him closer. She melted against Warner, crushing her breasts against his chest. His thigh spread her legs while their kiss deepened.

Lizzy whinnied again. This time louder. The horse’s hoofs pounded the trailer floor. The motion rocked Issy against Warner and she moaned. With her hands on his shoulders, breathless, Isobel pushed back and licked Warner’s taste from her lips. “I’ve got to take care of her. It’ll only take me a few minutes and then we can continue this in the house.”

“Are you sure?”

“If you don’t finish what you’ve started, I might burst into flames.”
**** Can't wait to read more you can buy Obsessed By Wildfire here OBW or at Amazon and if you're selected as my winner, you can request the file be sent to a friend.

Happy Valentine's Day. AJ

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cabin Fever 101

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Valentine’s Day is less than a week away and it seems everyone is talking about it. Well, I’m not going to.

Let’s talk Cabin Fever 101 instead.

Those of you who know me, know I love winter. I love everything about it, except for the short daylight hours and ice on highways. I can handle snow without problems. But this year, I’m anxious for spring to pop. I guess maybe I’m getting a touch of cabin fever.

I’ve come up with a few things that make me feel better.

1)Get outside when you can. Shovel, walk or just play in the snow. It’s amazing how making and throwing a snowball can make you feel. You’ll bring back memories you’ve buried and get a little exercise in the process.

2)Shut off the TV and put on some music. Turn it up and dance.

3)Exercise and stretch in the sunlight. You’ll break a sweat like it’s a summer day.

4)Grab a cookbook and make one of those recipes that you always say you don’t have time to make. Practice a dish you’ll take to those summer picnics and get a WOW. Once you do this, you’ll do it again.

5)There is always a home project that needs to be done and we always say if I had the time to do this I would. Like clean out the closets. Now is the time. Get ready for the spring outfits.

6)Plan your garden and order your seedlings.

7)Plant some seeds or bulbs in pots. I’m doing cuttings off of impatient s I brought in last fall and planting herbs. I love the smell and taste of fresh basil and oregano. Spring will be yours in a few weeks.

8)Detail your car. Yup. Salt is bad for a car. Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re saying it’ll only get dirty again. Sure it will but one layer is easier to clean off than two or three.

9)Take a calendar and mark down projects that need to be done throughout the year. If you noticed a draft near a window, put it on the calendar to caulk the window as soon as the weather allows.

10)Clean up your golf clubs, and carefully putt in a safe area of your house. Check the pressure in your basketball and dribble. Practice your tennis swing off the garage wall. If there is a will, there is a way.

To combat cabin fever we need to get up off our butts and move. Get the blood circulating. Get our mind that has been hibernating thinking, and enjoy and use the time of year.

So my question today is how do you combat the anxiety of cabin fever?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Welcome Darynda Jones

Friday February 4, 2011

I'm so excited to have one of my Ruby Slippered Sisters, Darynda Jones, as a guest today. Darynda's debut novel, The First Grave On The Right, released this week from St. Martin's Press. I've read an arc of FG and throughly enjoyed the story, characters and Darynda's voice. I know you will too. She is a hoot!

So let's talk to Darynda.

Darynda~A lot of people ask writers where we get our ideas, and I ask, where don’t we? I thought it would be fun to explore where some of the ideas for the Charley Davidson series came from. First, a quick blurb about the book:

First Grave on the Right

From the publisher:Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal?circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can’t she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order.
(I love that last line, lol.)
So, we know that Charley Davidson is a private investigator. This arose out of necessity and Charley’s past helping her detective father and now her uncle, also a detective. I wanted her to be able to get into and out of sticky situations. Being a PI places her in all kinds of trouble just when we need it most.

Okay, that was easy enough and not especially creative. But Charley is also the grim reaper. That idea also arose out of necessity. As an aspiring writer, I needed something fresh, something that hadn’t been done a thousand times and yet was enough of a high concept to make it accessible to almost anyone in our culture. So, the grim reaper was born.

At the same time, there are about half a dozen subplots peppered throughout the story. Now those ideas come from much more interesting places.

For example, Charley has a best friend who also doubles as her receptionist. She’s funny and naïve and is the best friend a person could ask for. Cookie’s physical description is actually based on a friend of mine who happens to be from Albuquerque. (The series is set in Albuquerque.) And she’s one of those people who would walk across hot coals for you one minute and scold you until you whimper the next. She’s caring and loving and a whole lot of fun. Despite this, Cookie is fiction for the most part. While she is loosely based on this friend of mine, she is very much a combination of other sidekicks from various forms of fiction, like television, movies and books. She’s part Sookie from The Gilmore Girls, part Willlow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, part Alfred from Batman…I could go on and on. Sidekicks are an integral part of character development. Who a character hangs out with says a lot about that character.

So what about Reyes? The super hot, super built mystery guy? Again, Reyes is a combination of so many characters, it’s hard to narrow down just one. He’s a little bit Simon from Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I. That dark and brooding hero who is too sexy for his own good. He also has a little bit of Angel from the Buffy-verse in him. Nobody broods better than Angel. And he’s also very much Max from the show Roswell. Mostly because much of his physical description is based on actor Jason Behr.

And this brings us to Charley. Wow, she is so many characters as well. She’s Stephanie Plum, Charley Daniels, Cat Crawfield, Betsy Taylor, Buffy (naturally) with a little Penelope Featherington thrown in for good measure.

So, how much of my characters are me? I think there is a little bit of the writer in each of his or her characters. It makes them grounded and attainable and human, something all writers strive for in their characters.

I’d like to thank AJ so much for having me!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Deleting The Blinking Cursor


Did you ever want to change the furniture or the décor of a room in your home and feel lost? Writers feel like this sometime while working on a story. We’ll be chugging along, working on our new story, the story that had burnt our every thought until we sat down and started to write it, and BAM, we lose our way. It’s like we walk into that room and just know we need to change something, but what?

Can we go out and hire someone to write the book for us. No. But, we can grab another writer and start tossing some ideas around. But what if you really want to work this problem out by yourself or just have to? Well, there are a number of things I do when I hit the wall or read back on the chapter I’ve written and just know it’s not right. You know like putting the couch facing the fireplace with its back to the TV. It might work for some, but not for everyone, and definitely not for the most important person in your life, the hubby- also known as the World’s Greatest Sport’s Fan.

What do I do? I take a break, and perhaps grab a few of my keeper books off the shelves and just read a few chapters. These books remind me what I inspired to write. Or, I might review a contest entry I’ve judged and really analyst it-wondering what I, as a reader, was looking for and the author had missed or had hit the mark.

I might try doing a creative project other than writing. I find while working outside the box helps me think different on my project. And then, sometimes all it takes is for me to make a list of twenty what if questions or a flow chart.
Or, I could interview my characters. I’ve changed direction and upped the stakes many times by doing this.

I’ve learned not to sit and stare at a blinking cursor. It does me no good and wastes valuable time. WINK

So how do you change your furniture(words) around?

FYI: This Friday's Friend is Darynda Jones. We'll be talking about her new realease, First Grave On The Right, which has the publishing world humming. Please stop by.