Thursday, December 15, 2011

Words are the way a perfect holiday! Whether they're written in greeting cards, said in passing to your neighbors, or curled up with in a chair, words warm up the season. That's why my favorite gift to give is a good book. Have an impossible to shop for person on your list? If they have even one interest or hobby, I bet you could find a book on it. Books are practical, smart, fun, and so much more. Need more 'word' inspiration? Merriam-Webster's word of the year was just announced and it's 'Pragmatic'.

For all of you romance fans, I have a few suggestions that range from sweet to heat. Apart from interviews, I don't typically list favorite romance books or do reviews. But these particular authors have each played an important role in my writing journey. They've given me the gift of their time, friendship, advice and encouragment...and they're excellent authors! You may remember them from my interviews.

Jeannie Watt - Don't we all bake more during the holidays? I personally love cooking, and Jeannie's new Harlequin Superromance series is delicious. The first book, The Baby Truce, hit shelves in November. It's soon to be followed by Undercover Cook (January) and Just Desserts (February). Read excerpts at her blog! Check out her interview here.

Kaily Hart - Looking to spice up your holidays? Kaily's hot romance novellas will do the trick! Check out her print collection in Perfectly Unexpected. Check out her blog here, and my interview with her here.

Megan Kelly - Her Harlequin Americans are wonderful reads, but she also just released a Christmas ebook called Santa Dear. It's just in time for the holidays! Check out her website for more purchase links. Click here for my recent interview with her.

Thank you Jeannie, Kaily and Megan for reaching out :)

And now I must confess that I haven't started shopping yet. I know, I know. I'm not usually this bad. Books are at the top of my list :) How about you? Is your shopping done? Are you giving any books?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Puppy Power!

That's what my second grader tells me before getting on the bus in the morning. He's convinced saying 'puppy power' will keep him focused and guarantee him a good day :)

Well, I promised puppy pics didn't I? Our little girl is a 7 week old F1b labradoodle...meaning her mom is a labradoodle and her dad is a standard poodle. She should end up with a wavy fleece coat that is low to non-shedding and hypoallergenic from a dander perspective. We also have first generation, 4yo labradoodle with a curly fleece coat, and we've had no allergy problems with her. She's like a nanny to my kids, and she has taken to mommyhood quite readily with our new pup.

She has been great on the potty training front, but I have had to wake up once between 2-3:00am to let her out. She's napping right now :) Wish I could, but there's tons to do...including visiting all the blogs I've been missing!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you're in the US, I hope you have a great Turkey Day! To all my friends, may your entire holiday season be full of fun, great reading, and great writing inspiration :) I'll be scarce for the next couple of weeks, but I promise to return with adorable puppy news. Yep! We're getting a new puppy next month. Details (and hopefully pictures) when I return.

Take care.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Upcoming deadlines

This will be short and sweet, since it's that time of year when I know everyone is scrambling around to get things done. Our neighbors have their Christmas lights up, so I guess the holidays have officially begun :)

Is anyone entering the Golden Heart this year? The deadline for entry forms and fees is tomorrow, so get a move on it! Manuscripts have to be sent in by December 2nd. Check out RWA's website for rules and exact times.

If you missed Harlequin's free online conference last week, they have archived transcripts of all the chats, podcasts, webinars and more at and at under The Write Stuff forums. Those archives hold a lot of valuable information straight from the editors at harlequin, so it's worth taking some time to check it out. They're hosting what I'd call their contest of the year. Submit your full manuscript by December 15 and if yours is picked, the prize is a book contract! Check out the details on their website.

And what bigger deadline is there than Thanksgiving? I love Thanksgiving, but I can't believe it's less than 2 weeks away! Is it my imagination or does it seem like deadlines pile up around the holidays?

What are your plans for contests and/or the holidays?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Interview with Harlequin Superromance Author Kay Stockham

It's such an honor to have award winning Harlequin Superromance author Kay Stockham here today. In person, Kay is warm, sweet and humble, in spite of all her success. In books, well, she's an outstanding author who really puts her characters through the ringer! I guarantee if you read one of her books, you'll find yourself gobbling up the entire series then reaching for the next.

Grab a cup of coffee, gather around...and find out which TV hero Kay made real life, face-fanning eye contact with this summer ;)

1. Having read your books, it's no surprise to me that your debut novel, Montana Secrets, won the Hold Medallion for Best First Book, was a Cataromance Best Superromance, hit the Walden books Series bestseller list and more. I'd need an entire blog post just to list all the awards and nominations you've been honored with since then, including being a RITA finalist in 2007. Without fail, your stories deliver complex, true to heart characters, unresolvable conflict (at least until the HEA ;) and a heart twisting, emotional ride. How has your approach to brainstorming and writing changed since publishing your first book (CP's, writing software, plotting vs pantsing etc...)?  

I don't think my process has changed much since I sold, actually. I'm still very much a plotter, and while I don't know all the twists and turns between Point A and Point B, I do have to know what A and B are. As to software, in the last year or so I've started using Scrivener and I looooooove it. I would normally have notebooks and post-its and files etc and spend so much time searching for the research or information I needed, but now everything is stored in my Scrivener doc and right at hand.

2. Your recent releases, The Sheriff's Daughter, In The Rancher's Footsteps, Christmas in Montana, and A Hero In The Making (due out in January) take us back to North Star, Montana to revisit the town and characters from Montana Secrets and Montana Skies. Carly was struggling with the teen years when we first met her, and it was wonderful to see her all grown up in The Sheriff's Daughter. You did an incredible job developing her 'grown up' character based on the teen your readers bonded with. When an author goes back to revisit a series/characters, is it based purely on author choice (with solid proposals of course), sales records from the first books of a series, fan pressure ;), or editor suggestion? When you wrote the first two books, did you know you'd be going back to North Star? Will you be revisiting the Tulanes of Tennessee?

It's a little of all the above. In my case the editor who purchased Montana Secrets and Montana Skies mentioned that she would love to see Carly and Skylar all grown up, but in my head they were still very much teenage girls. But several years later they both began 'talking' to me again and stories began to form in my head. I think I needed time for them to grow up, and for me to have a better idea of the stories they needed to tell.
October 2011
3. Okay. I have to say that In The Rancher's Footsteps is a book that's begging to be a movie! Heck. I'm begging for it to be a movie! A headstrong, loyal, rancher hero...a no win situation...Montana scenery...oh, and let's just say the heroine brings along some vivid visuals of her own ;). I'm telling you, it's the perfect movie book, TV or otherwise. I realize film rights are mentioned in contracts, but who determines whether a book should have a shot at screentime? Who takes action? Is it an author's agent? The publisher? The author?

Thank you! I had a lot of fun with that story. But once again the answer is a combination of all the above--plus some Hollywood magic dust. My understanding is that if a book creates enough buzz, those interested/wanting rights contact the author, publisher etc and things progress from there. Lots of authors dream of having their books made into movies (myself included!) so it's fabulous to get that phone call.

4. I don't think an author ever forgets their first Call. We'd love to revisit your call story and hear about the final steps that you feel helped you reach that moment.

My call story came as I was on the way out the door to school to be a room mom for a Valentine's Day party (back in the day when cupcakes were still allowed in school!) The editor called, I cried (I was her first crier. LOL) and after a short conversation we agreed to talk again later after the party and after the tears had stopped. Even better, the following Monday my husband and I left for Vegas for a pharmaceutical convention so I was able to celebrate my first sale on the Vegas strip. It was a fabulous trip. :)

Final steps? Write, revise, repeat. ;) Plus a lot of reading. All go a long way in helping a writer form their voice, and we subconsciously pick up on the cadences and pacing of dialogue, etc.
September 2011
5. Abuse, bullying, prison time and disabilities are just some of the emotional topics you've delved into in your stories. I had tears in my eyes towards the end of The Sheriff's Daughter. Don't worry everyone, Kay always delivers a happy ending! Writing, like reading, can be an emotionally intense experience. When you're working on a book, how do you extract yourself from the moment/mood of the scene at hand and jump straight into dealing with motherhood and daily routines? Do the emotions linger and affect your mood, or does hearing 'Mom! I need clean socks!" snap you out of it?

Oh, what a great question! Yes, the clean socks scream definitely pulls me out of the mood. I've also discovered writing a love scene with the kids in the house is completely impossible. I've always said kids are the perfect form of birth control. LOL  I have a few scenes that have lingered on after the writing was completed, but for the most part once they're out of my head and on the page the mood is gone as well.

6. Liam, Brad and Chance McKenna, are the deliciously headstrong heroes of your recent releases. You write equally strong heroines. Contemporary romance practically demands strong heroines. What's the key to creating a heroine who is contemporary inspite of her insecurities or vulnerabilities?

For me it's writing heroines I'd want to be friends with. They're strong, they're funny, they're likable and that's the key for me. We all have our vulnerabilities at times but that's simply a part of who we are. The rest of the time we're multi-tasking moms/friends/daughters/wives/lovers who have a million balls in the air and no soft place to land. Those are the types of characters I like to read about, so I think it's natural that those are the characters I like to write about as well.

7. You were recently invited to take part in an animal adoption benefit anthology. Can you tell us a little more about it? What else do you have in store for your readers?

The anthology is headed up by Lori Foster and is the second anthology I've taken part in to benefit various charities. As you said, this one is for an animal adoption group Lori has chosen and each author in the anthology contributes a fifteen-thousand word original story featuring A) a romance, and B) an animal. The books will be available in print at Lori's Reader and Author Get Together held in West Chester, Ohio, June 1-3, 2012, and in digital format. For more details, go to I'm working on my story now and having a lot of fun with it, but I don't want to give too many details away.

As to what comes next... I've written a short Christmas novel I hope to publish in December via Kindle, Nook etc. After my last set of deadlines, I found myself struggling to go back to my computer chair (because I'd spent so many long hours there already) so I decided to open a blank screen and just write whatever came to mind as a fun, creative exercise. Well, soon I couldn't wait to get to my chair, and a very unique story unfolded before my eyes. Something I haven't read anywhere else and am quite excited about. I had to set this story aside to meet the anthology deadline but I hope to get back to polishing it in the next few days. I'll let you know when it's posted! :)

January 2012
8. Apart from not quitting, what's the one piece of advice you'd like to give unpublished writers? advice would be to refill the creative well as often as possible. Writing is solitary and lonely at times and it's easy to get caught up in deadlines and demands from family. Writers have so many responsibilities to others and are so dedicated to their work they sometimes forget to have fun and try new things. .

 9. And now for a little fun...Do you have a favorite deadline crunch-time snack or quirky writing ritual?

This question is evilllll. LOL Fave snack: Throwback Mt. Dew (Yes, I do know how unhealthy it is for me!) and dark chocolate anything. My deadline writing ritual is to push hard, stay up late and type until I can't type anymore.

10. Rock or Country music? Denim or silk? Beachhouse or log cabin? Patrick Dempsey, Hugh Jackman, or one of your McKenna brothers? (I call Brad McKenna! ;).

Both, both, both, and all of the men mentioned! LOL I listen to all kinds of music, everything from Adele to Carrie Underwood to Etta James to Nickelback, Foo Fighters and more. I could go on forever because I love music, maybe because I can't sing a tune or play an instrument. For CHRISTMAS IN MONTANA I played a certain Metallica song at least a hundred times. Maybe more. It all depends on my mood. I'm also a small town girl so I spend my life in comfortable jeans but I do like to dress up every now and again. It's one of the reasons I like going to writers conferences.

Beach house or Cabin? I prefer the beach but I'd never turn down a cabin in in the mountains. I love visiting Tennessee and set my Tulanes of Tennessee story there for just that reason.

As to the guys... Be still my heart! I saw Patrick Dempsey up close and personal in New York this summer, out shopping with his son in the Lego store on Times Square and I have to say I love how protective he was--and the way he smiled at me when he saw the dawning recognition on my face. *sigh* But Hugh... *thud*. Have you ever seen him in an interview? When that man talks about his wife and kids he LIGHTS UP. Talk about sexy on top of...well, sexy! And I couldn't choose between my McKenna brothers--or Marcus Whitefeather in A HERO IN THE MAKING (Jan, 2012) because that would just be wrong. My heroes are heroes for a reason and they all have qualities and characteristics I think we all like to see in our guys. 

Well said...and I was hoping we'd see Marcus again! Thanks so much for hanging out here today, Kay.

 BLURB: Christmas in Montana, November 2011

Jenna Darlington would not refuse a Christmas miracle. A widow, she's struggling to keep her little family together. So when Chance McKenna offers her a job, it seems her wishes are coming true. Too bad there's a catch.

Chance is not acting how she expects. Dressing as Santa to greet kids in the store? It's charming. And seeing him out of that red suit… Well, it's hard to keep her priorities straight! Worse, his preference for extreme sports is influencing her kids, and suddenly she's got daredevils on her hands. Yet when Jenna tries to put distance between her and Chance, he proves that there might be more to this miracle than she thinks!


Barnes and Noble

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

For those who celebrate, I wish you safe and fun trick-or-treating...and lots of zero calorie/zero kid-sugar high candy ;).

For those who don't, I hope you're have fun fall festivities :)

We actually have snow covered pumpkins this year! We lucked out though and didn't lose power with the eastern storm. May it come back soon for those who did. I'm off to help out with school parties and parades, but I'll try to visit all of your blogs later on. Sorry for being scarce lately. I do appreciate everyone who follows and stops by...and I miss your blogs when I'm in my writing cave. I'll be a better blog friend after I wrap up my GH entry!

Be sure to stop by next week for a visit with Harlequin Superromance author Kay Stockham!

Take care :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Craft Quotes

I was looking over my calendar yesterday and it hit me...2011 is in the home stretch. That realization always puts a little fire under me. It ups the pressure on making sure I've accomplished my writing (and other) goals for the year. One of the things I did this year was read through recommended books on writing. Books that spanned revision to plot to conflict and more. I believe all people are perpetual students of something. We're in a constant state of learning through study or through experience. For me, this year was about pushing my writing skills.

I have most of the writing/craft books on my shelf listed in the side bar. I read them with a highlighter in hand and recently went back through to see what I'd marked. I thought I'd share a few quotes I found to be important.

"Make sure the GMC's of multiple characters collide. The collision creates conflict." Debra Dixon - GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict

"Pressure is essential. Choices made when nothing is at risk mean little." Robert McKee - Story

"...if the inciting incident presents a problem that compels the protagonist to defend herself, rather than propels her toward achieving a goal, the story produces a reactive hero, not a proactive hero." Elizabeth Lyons - Manuscript Makeover

"Complex and too complicated are two different things. Complex is interesting; if shows writer finesse and control. Complicated is a chore." Elizabeth Lyons - Manuscript Makeover

"Motive is what gives moral value to a character's acts. What a character does, no matter how awful or how good, is never morally absolute... A character is what he does, yes - but even more, a character is what he means to do." Orson Scott Card - Characters & Viewpoints

There are so many more fabulous quotes from the books I've read, but too little time. One can read, and read, but at some point they have to go off and apply what they've learned ;). Hence, I need to go tackle more revisions. I highly recommend the books in the side bar for anyone in need of some craft inspiration and direction.

I hope you all have a productive week and get all your yearly goals accomplished in the next 2 1/2 months! Feel free to share any favorite craft quotes or books :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mish mash and movies

I just had a crash and relax weekend. Crash, because I managed to stay up twenty-three hours straight, after which I only got four hours of sleep. I should include a warning here: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! I lived on lack of sleep in my twenties (blame school), but let's just say...I'm not anywhere near my twenties. I felt like I was coming down with the flu at the end of it all. Luckily, I aborted any illness with tons of vitamins and a good night sleep.

I'm sure you're wondering what triggered my insanity, LOL. When I was at the RWA Nationals PRO retreat this year, I won a drawing for an entry fee waiver to The Emily Contest, a fabulous writing contest hosted by the West Houston RWA Chapter. It's open to both published and unpublished writers and you can find more information on it at I'd like to extend my thanks to whrwa and to everyone who dontated to the PRO retreat.

Of course, the deadline was this past Friday and that meant completing revisions on my first 7000 words. I'm pleased to say I got it done and in on time :). Next up, finishing the rest of my revisions in time for the Golden Heart. It'll be my third time entering.

So how did I relax? Movies of course! The funny thing was that several ended up being about writers. One was a TV movie where a mystery writer becomes a suspect for the murder of her hot neighbor. Part of the reason for suspecting her...the photos she took of him and the research she did on his rich family as inspiration for the book she was working on. The idea that research can be used against you is a bit scary for a writer! Okay, it was just a movie...but still.

I also saw Inkheart. My son begged me to watch it with him (he read the book) and I'm glad he did. I really loved it. I think it's a must watch for anyone who loves to read or write. Just beautiful.

Finally, I watched Finding Neverland, a movie about the author of Peter Pan.

Do you have any movies that involve writers/books that you love?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Language Laugh

Some of you may have already read this take on the english language. I have, but it makes me smile every time I come across it. I have no clue who wrote it, but I dare say they have a creative gene :).

The English Language

Have you ever wondered why foreigners have trouble with the English Language?

Let's face it

English is a stupid language.

There is no egg in the eggplant

No ham in the hamburger

And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple.

English muffins were not invented in England

French fries were not invented in France.

We sometimes take English for granted

But if we examine its paradoxes we find that

Quicksand takes you down slowly

Boxing rings are square

And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea

If writers write, how come fingers don't fing.

If the plural of tooth is teeth

Shouldn't the plural of phone booth be phone beeth

If the teacher taught,

Why didn't the preacher praught.

If a vegetarian eats vegetables

What the heck does a humanitarian eat!?

Why do people recite at a play

Yet play at a recital?

Park on driveways and

Drive on parkways

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy

Of a language where a house can burn up as

It burns down

And in which you fill in a form

By filling it out

And a bell is only heard once it goes!

English was invented by people, not computers

And it reflects the creativity of the human race

(Which of course isn't a race at all)

That is why

When the stars are out they are visible

But when the lights are out they are invisible

And why it is that when I wind up my watch

It starts

But when I wind up this observation,

It ends.

On that note, I need to disappear in my manuscript. I'll pop around if I manage to come up for air. Otherwise, I hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Reader-Writer Relationships

 I think we can all agree that the internet has drastically changed the way people connect. Whether it's for business, advertising, dating, educating, chatting or skyping, most of us rely on daily internet access as a means of reaching out to others. Needless to say, internet communication has had an enormous impact on reader-writer relationships.

We've gone from fan letters, to fan emails, to friendships. Sure there are still strictly writer-fan relationships out there, but I really think that chatrooms, facebook, twitter, and forums have allowed readers and writers to get to know one another better. The frequency of communication, as well as the back and forth nature of it, has allowed for, what I'd call, friendships to form. A true connection. I'm still working hard towards getting published in fiction, but I'm an avid reader as well as a writer (and I have many published friends). My opinion stems from both perspectives.

Now for confessions. In spite of pressures/advice from the publishing world to FB, Tweet, blog and more...I'm just a blogger. That alone was a huge step for me. However, I do love participating in writer/reader forums (such as eharlequin's) and have formed wonderful friendships that way. Once published, I have no doubt I'll need to expand my internet communication routes.

So for all  you readers out there (and this should include writers by definition), what's your favorite way to connect? What fits your routine the best? How much of your time do you spend reading blogs vs tweeting vs checking out author websites or facebook pages? Which do you think nurtures the best reader-writer relationships?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

And the winner is...

The winner of Megan Kelly's giveaway is:


Congratulations, Kaelee! You've won a book and Romance Trading Cards from Megan. Send your mailing info to Megan at megankellybooks (at) att (dot) net. Enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Interview with Harlequin American Author Megan Kelly

I'm so excited to have Harlequin American author Megan Kelly here today! Last week, I mentioned that Megan did something I'll never forget. I'm ready to tell all. Don't worry, Megan. Your character is safe here.

It was 2009, just before the Romance Writers of America's national meeting in D.C. I'd left a comment after one of Megan's blog posts about pre-meeting nerves. I'd never been to any writer's meeting, let alone Nationals. I was so new to the writing world that my comment was 'anonymous'. This was long before my blogging days ;). Well, Megan reached out. She commented back, inviting me to contact her through email and offering to meet up, have dinner, and introduce me to one of her unpublished chaptermates (another one of the sweetest people I've ever met, btw). Let me tell you, 'knowing' someone before heading to the meeting made all the difference. Megan was so generous about answering my questions at dinner, and (thinking back) as 'newbie' as I must have sounded, she made me feel like I belonged there. Thank you, Megan. I'll never forget your kindess and generosity.

And now I should hush up and let Megan get a word in here! I can't keep all her wisdom to myself, so read on. Megan's also doing a giveaway, so don't forget to leave a comment or question.

1. Congratulations on your latest release, Stand-in Mom! Ever since I got to know Ginger in The Fake Fiancee, I've been hoping she'd get her own happily ever after. I love her spunky, daring, yet caring, personality. Of course, it does land her in a...hmmm...somewhat awkward situation. A teacher coming face-to-face with her one-night-fling, who ends up being the single-parent of a student. Yikes! Love it ;). When coming up with proposals, does your editor ever hint at which secondary characters in previous books she'd like to see in the spotlight, or is it all up to you (and perhaps fan feedback)?

Thanks for having me, Rula. I'm pleased you liked Ginger enough to want her story. The short answer is "no." My editor doesn't suggest secondary characters or even book ideas. While writing The Fake Fiancee, I wanted my heroine to have someone to talk to, and she needed someone to watch her kids while she romanced the hero, lol. So Ginger appeared, and while typing, I found out she was trying to have a child, and considered babysitting practice. I thought "okay, cool" and dismissed it as being convenient for my heroine. Then poor Ginger had problems conceiving, and by the end of the book I was distraught over her! I had to write her an HEA. But I'd love suggestions from my editor. She's a super-nice person and incredibly savvy.

2. I recently read an article on libraries loaning ebooks. It talked a little about logistics, such as 'eloan' expiration etc... I remember when libraries switched over from card catalogues to computers. That had me confused and panicked enough at the time, LOL! E-readers are becoming 'a way of life' for many. Given your experience with libraries and bookstores, what do you think of ebook library loaning and how it affects writers and the publishing industry?

I don't understand why a book would "expire," and that's something I've been studying too. From a practical pov, paper books do go out of circulation due to wear, so they have a limited shelf life. An ebook would only go out of circulation if it wasn't readable any longer due to technical replacements, such as my library no longer buying audio books on cassette. It still circulates cassettes, but now purchases only mp3, audio as Playaways and CDs--and I noticed they are buying fewer CDs now. From an author's point of view, I'm thrilled with the idea that my backlist is available to people who are just finding me. My books from 2008 are out of print and only available through a few places, such as used book venues. The books on my library's shelf are looking worn (which tickles me as it means people are checking them out). But they won't be useable forever. As long as the e-versions are updated for the technology, I don't see the downside. The publishing houses are concerned about how many times an ebook has been circulated and they are trying to put a limit on loans so libraries would have to continue to buy a license to circulate them. That's my understanding of it. It comes down to money for the publishers. Which isn't a bad thing, don't get me wrong. If they have money, they can buy mss. :)

3. You've presented many workshops over the past couple of years, including presentations at RWA Nationals. I know for a fact that you're a very generous person, and workshops are great ways to give back to the writing community. What prompted you to do your first writing workshop? Is it something you'd recommend to other published authors? Any antidotes to stage fright?

Oh gosh. Thanks for the compliment. But I'm not doing anything others aren't. As to... Presenting. Just the word makes me shudder. I'm not a natural speaker, but I am a natural teacher. If I know something, I'm eager to share it and help someone else. I don't understand *not* doing that. The problem is I can't do it one-on-one as effectively as I can do it by presenting a workshop. The RWA National workshops are recorded (shudder) so I can reach even more people than those in the workshop room. I'd much rather sit over dinner and answer questions or explain concepts, believe me.

Standing in front of a crowd always makes me nervous. I don't have an antidote to stage fright, but I do have a suggestion--find a friend. The first workshops I presented were with an author who is a teacher by profession. Which means she's comfortable speaking in front of a group, re-explaining things succinctly, and answering questions. We had books debut at the same time, then had nothing in print, but we had to keep our names "out there." A workshop accomplished that and placated my need to give back. I've been presenting solo this year and it's terrifying, but giving back to the community is just that important to me. I didn't get here alone. I am still absorbing the knowledge of others, so it just feels right to help anyone who stands still long enough to listen. lol As you can see, I don't give short answers. :)

4. Your first book, Marrying the Boss, came out in April of 2008. We'd love to hear about the time leading up to (and including) your Call.

You are sweet! I love telling my CALL story, but I can't tell you all about the time leading up to the sale--it was thirteen years! In short, I've wanted to write for Harlequin since I was in high school. I had to figure out what to do for money though, lol, and didn't write more seriously until after my kids were born. Nothing I'd show anyone, anyway. Only my mom and my husband knew I planned to do this, but I don't think either realized how much work it was or how persistent I would be. I went through a six year block where there *weren't* people in my head talking to me and I tried to write anyway. It was dreadful. When the characters came back, I realized how empty my head was without them. :D Marrying the Boss was originally two brothers fighting over the same woman. When I pitched it, the editor suggested they fight over the company instead. I played with the idea, dropped a brother, and this very strong woman appeared, not as a pawn but as a force in her own right. I didn't believe it would sell, so when Harlequin American Romance put out a call for submissions for their revamped line back in 2007, I submitted my first three chapters--all I had of the book. For the synopsis, I guessed what might happen at the end. :) A short month and a half later, I got a letter asking for the complete. I set myself a deadline and wrote like crazy, sent some of it to my critique partner, polished and out it went. In six weeks, I went from page 72 to The End to an envelope.

Five months later, on a Thursday afternoon, I emerged from my office to see the light blinking on my answering machine. I had missed THE CALL! I don't have a phone in my office so it won't interrupt my writing, and the washing machine in the next room must have drowned out the ringing of our home phone. When I called back, I got the senior editor's machine. Heart racing, I called my husband on my cell phone while I stared at my landline, willing it to ring. He was very excited and as supportive as he always is. The phone rang. Toronto was experiencing a blizzard and the Harlequin offices were closing, but Kathleen called me, just in case they were closed on Friday also. She didn't want me to wait all weekend, wondering. To this day, I have nightmares imagining that weekend. Having spent 13 years preparing for this CALL (aka, being rejected), I knew what to expect from an offer, and I wrote down everything she said. That night, we had my mother-in-law over for dinner for her birthday, so we already had cake in the house. lol It was an incredible moment.

5. Apart from not quitting, what's the one thing you did as a writer that you feel played a critical role in helping you achieve your goal of publication?

Not quitting is the hardest and most critical step, of course. Second to continuing to write, I also continued to learn. I asked for feedback from my CP, my crit group, and contests. Then, even more importantly, I listened and used that feedback. I see so many writers enter contests but then ignore the advice given. But I figured out what I was doing wrong, where I could improve, and I tried to put those lessons in my work. I also read other writers, in romance, mainstream, and mystery/suspense/thrillers. I don't break down a book as to what is being done right, but good writing seeps in. I can also justify reading as research this way, and I do love to read! And I attend workshops, always staying open to new ideas, old ideas I've rejected before, or old ideas I haven't been successful with, such as plotting. Churchill said "Never ever ever give up." I'd add, Never stop learning.

6. You've done quite a few book signings. With four books under your belt, what would you say is your favorite marketing tool? Which one, in your opinion, has the best pay off?

Eeks. Marketing. It's hard to figure what works. The average person has to see an image/hear a catchphrase or name, etc, SEVEN times before it sticks. I need to spend my time writing. So I'm currently studying how to best manage my online time and where to spend it. With series romance, I have a time pressure factor as well. My book is only on the shelf for four weeks (less in some stores). For a few months, the print version can be special ordered, then it's out of print. Forever. All my books are available in e-format, which is wonderful, but the *push* comes the first weeks of that one release month.

As for social media, I'm on FaceBook, but I know I could use it more effectively. Since only my "friends" see my posts, I'm preaching to the choir. On FB, I should be going to pages and commenting so their friends see my posts, but that's incredibly time consuming. Same with Twitter, although that's a more fluid environment. I was on there this morning, clicked on a new person's page, and while reading her three line bio, 19 more tweets were posted. 19 in less than a minute. My feeling there is time is so limited for my tweet to be on someone's home page that it's not effective. The other person has to be on Twitter *at that moment* to see me. I received an email that someone saw me active and said hi, but when I went back to Twitter, I couldn't find a message from her. How crazy is that?

I gave away copies of Stand-In Mom and The Marriage Solution on GoodReads this year before their release dates. That alerted *readers* to each book's release date. I want to reach people interested in series romance, and many GoodReads members added my books to their To Be Read lists. I will continue this. I also post book reviews, but that's because I like to read and share reviews more than a publicity thing.

When I do workshops at conferences, I try to put something in the giveaway room. I'm always looking for ideas. This year, I not only had my stars and strips folding fans, but I made Romance Trading Cards. They're the "new hot thing." They're fun and different.

7. I'm a visual person, and book covers really draw my eye. I love the cover of The Marriage Solution. Those two kids are adorable! I'm also dying to see the rest of Tara's wedding dress. The cover of Stand-in Mom won me over too. I can't turn away from a cover with a cuddly dog or pup. Any advice or pointers on helping publishers get your covers right?

Are you trying to get me in trouble? lol Okay, I have to admit, I love those two covers. I've been very lucky. This is a two prong question. The first answer is the cover may never be exact (Horace the dog in Stand-In Mom is black, not brown and white, for example, and in The Marriage Solution, Tara gets married in a pink dress). But the important thing is the *feel* of the cover, not the details. Yes, I'd love if the cover exactly matched the picture in my head, but that's unlikely to happen. The cover is about selling the book, so I leave it to the Art Department. Now, the second part of the answer is about the cover design process. At Harlequin, authors fill out an art fact sheet describing two scenes for the cover, including color, styles, props, etc. I asked for a dog on the cover, a black Newfie puppy. I suggested the scene at the pet store where they adopt Horace and described their clothes in the scene, hair color, etc. The Art Department turned that suggestion into an incredibly beautiful cover. Do Ginger and Scott and his daughter at any time in the book sit on the porch with Horace? No. Do I care? No. Because the sense of family and the attraction between the couple shine through. The models are gorgeous, the daughter adorable, the dog priceless. I love, love, love this cover. So my advice would be to give the Art Dept a good scene idea with plenty of details, and then don't sweat it when it comes out a little differently.

8. Since getting published, what's the biggest lesson or 'insider info' you've learned that you wish someone had warned told you about?

Wow. In my head, I thought I knew a lot of this stuff due to those 13 years of "preparation." I listened to/read other writers, so I knew about the publicity pressure, the sales pressure, the sophomore slump (difficulty writing/selling the second book), the cost of advertising, how unpublished friends can turn on you, how established writers may still not accept you, etc. It made being published sound like a horrible place. :) So while I thought I was prepared, the reality of it was staggering. I pushed myself to sell my second book before my first came out. I sent the proposal too soon, according to my editor, but she bought it, based on my first book. Sophomore slump (my biggest fear)--averted. My non-writing and unpublished friends are angels, so I didn't experience any of those problems. I figure established or not, other writers accept me or don't, based on me, not my selling a book, so I didn't worry about that one.

The pressure is the one I battle. I don't promote the way I should. I don't feel comfortable suggesting people buy my book, even though I believe in each one and I totally love Stand-In Mom and am so proud of it. I don't write fast--until the end, when I write like a demon--but I don't sell a new book often enough to grow a readership. I don't want to worry about my numbers as compared to other authors I'm relased with that month. I prefer to know if people are *liking* it after they buy it. I'm gratified that Stand-In Mom has been getting such lovely reviews because that means those people enjoyed my efforts.

My advice is listen and learn. Be prepared for all these things and more. But don't let any of it discourage you. Once you understand this is all a part of being an author, it's more manageable if it happens.

And learn to revise! Learn how to take suggestions and utilize them. Learn where to stand firm on your vision of your work.

9. And now for a little insider info on you :)... What's your favorite deadline crunch-time snack? Any other writing vices or odd habits?

On deadline, I live off M&Ms. And Coke Zero, preferably Vanilla if I can find it. Anything chocolate is welcome, but M&Ms keep my hands clean. :) I write at night, mostly because I'm a night owl and that's when I'm more creative, but also because I started writing seriously (to sell) when my kids were toddlers. I'd put them and my husband to bed and write until the wee hours. On deadline, I've been known to write until the kids go to school, then I drop on the bed for the six hours they're gone. Of course, on work days, I couldn't do that, but weekends and non-work days, yes. Do NOT follow this example. Be a sensible person!

10. Log cabin or beach house (both with electricity, LOL)? Coffee, tea or soda? Paper or ebook?

Log cabin, but definitely with electricity and a/c. I love the mountains (in case you're birthday shopping, lol). Coke Vanilla Zero is a staple, as I mentioned. I also drink Coke Zero or plain Diet Coke in a pinch. And anything chocolate--have I mentioned that yet? lol--but I really prefer milk chocolate. I love to curl up with a book, and paper is my first choice, mostly because it's what I'm used to. It takes a little more planning to read an ebook (is my reader/laptop charged? did I download it?) whereas I can just pick up the book laying in plain sight. However, I have read several books in e-format and have more on my laptop to read. I've played with a few different devices but haven't committed to buying one yet. It's only a matter of time and money until I do. There are too many e-books out there not in print that I want to read.

Thanks so much for being here, Megan! It was great to see you again at Nationals this year. Your smile and kindness are contagious :)

GIVEAWAY: Megan is giving away a copy of one of her books AND Romance Trading Cards! Just leave a comment or question and your name will be entered in the drawing. The winner will be posted here this Thursday, September 15th. Don't miss out! Romance Trading Cards are the latest, greatest fan fun...keepsake pictures and data on your favorite characters. I have one of the adorable Newfoundland puppy, Horace, in Stand-In Mom ;)

BLURB: Stand-In Mom, September 2011

He's Got A Lot To Learn

Scott Matthews had no idea Ginger Winchester was a teacher when they first met—he didn't even know her last name. That didn't stop them from sharing a night of passion. Scott hoped he'd see Ginger again—just not in his daughter's new classroom! Yet, somewhere under that frumpy sweater and chalk dust is the sultry redhead who's been haunting his dreams.

Smart, sensitive and nurturing, Ginger is everything Scott wants. But when Ginger discovers she resembles his first wife, she fears stepping in as a replacement mom. She wants a family, but not this way. She's happy to offer tips on handling rambunctious kids, and even helps the Matthews family adopt a big, lovable puppy. But when it comes to handing over her heart, Scott must prove to her that she's more than just a stand–in—she's the one.
Barnes and Noble

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

I'm keeping it short and sweet 'cause I know you all want to go kick back and relax :). I hope you're enjoying the long weekend!

Don't forget to stop by next Monday for a visit with Harlequin American author Megan Kelly and find out what she did that I'll never, ever forget.

Also, the Superromance authors are at it again! They're giving away an amazonkindle and a $25 amazon gift card on Saturday, December 3rd, 2011. To be entered in the drawing, just post a blog comment at between September 1, 2011 and November 30, 2011. They also have weekly drawings for free books and other great stuff, including a 5 page critique! Get on over there!

I'm left wondering how a writer manages to take Labor Day off. Hard to do, since we can't turn off our imagination or thought process! I suppose you'd have to be skilled at deep, mind clearing meditation...and then maintain that state for the entire day. Not happening here, LOL.

Something to think about:

"To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard."
David McCullough - Pulitzer Prize winner

Monday, August 29, 2011

And they're off!!!

Today is the first day of school in our county. All my kids woke up long before they had to. You think they were excited much? LOL. It's funny how attitudes change from elementary school to middle school. My second grader's biggest concern was if he'd get to have reading time in 2nd grade (he loves to read). My sixth grader wanted to know if he'd be getting homework the first week of school, and my eighth grader lost no time in reminding me that it would be very uncool for me to go to the bus stop with them. Although I did go to the bus with my 2nd in hand...I gave in and took pics of the other two up by the house.

I feel lost.

Seriously. I've been craving a quiet house and me time, but I think it'll take a few days for it to feel normal. Mixed emotions are all a part of sending kids off to school. It got me thinking about the pros and cons, so I'll leave you today with a best and worst list for the first day of school (a mom's perspective of course).

5 Best things about the first day of school and beyond:

1. A QUIET house!!!
2. Uninterrupted writing time.
3. A QUIET house!!! Oh, I said that already.
4. Grocery shopping without the kids in tow.
5. Being able to book appointments (doctor, dentist etc...) for myself without worrying about childcare.

5 Worst things about the first day of school and beyond:

1. Waking up early to pack lunches (I have allergy kids, so I have to pack).
2. Homework battles.
3. Dealing with a child's test anxiety.
4. Bedtime battles.
5. Getting sucker punched by the fact that your babies are another year older, not just in age but socially and physically too. My oldest passed my height by an inch just last week!!! It freaked me out, LOL! His feet and arms are longer than mine too. Geesh!

I do want to add my prayers for everyone in areas where schools are closed because of damage from hurricane Irene. I'm so sorry for the loss of lives. We were in the outer bands but didn't experience much more than a rainy day. The photos of east coast damage are horrible.

Do you have kids or childhood memories about the best and worst of back-to-school?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The winner is...

j. barrett

Congratulations! You're the winner of Beth Andrews' Superromance, Feels Like Home. Just send your contact information to Beth at P.O. Box 714, Bradford, PA 16701 or email her at beth (at) bethandrews (dot) net.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Interview with Harlequin Superromance Author Beth Andrews

Award winning author Beth Andrews is here today! Beth was a double finalist in the 2006 Golden Heart Awards. She then finaled and won the 2007 Golden Heart for Best Long Contemporary. Her winning manuscript (titled All or Nothing) went on to become her first published Harlequin Superromance, Not Without Her Family, in 2008. Beth's character's are strong, unique, layered individuals who face some pretty edgy relationship and life situations. It's no surprise that she took home a RITA in 2010 for A Not-So-Perfect Past.

Although Beth isn't very nice to her characters ;), she's incredibly sweet in person. In fact, she's giving away a copy of Feels Like Home. Details are below, so read on!

1. Your latest release and third book of your Diamond Dust trilogy, Feels Like Home, had my heart in knots in chapter four. That says a lot about how gripping both your main and secondary characters are! If anyone needs an example of pulling off a third character POV to perfection, they should read The Prodigal Son and Feels Like Home. Your third character POV carries a fairly strong role in the trilogy. How did you decide which secondary character would take the honors? Were there other contenders who got ruled out?

Wow, thank you so much, Rula! I'm so glad you enjoyed the third characters' POVs in the stories. I didn't decide to have a third character's POV in the books until I received the revisions for the first story, A Marine For Christmas. My editor at the time, Victoria Curran, suggested I play up the love triangle aspect between the hero, the heroine and her sister (hero's ex-fiance). I wanted to know how the sister felt about her sister and ex becoming involved and what feelings (if any) she still had for the hero. Having her POV in the story also gave me a chance to explore her relationship with her new husband and to show how she finally learns to let go of the past. In The Prodigal Son, my first thought was to have the heroine's older daughter be the third character POV but then I wondered if it wouldn't be stronger to give that POV to Aidan (the third brother). In TPS, I wanted readers to get to know Aidan a little better in preparation for his story. I also felt he had the most to gain and lose in the trilogy and wanted to set that up. In FLH, I knew right away who I wanted in that third POV because she's the driving force of the stories and I wanted to show her in a way that would (hopefully) explain her actions.

2. There's something inherently romantic in a vineyard setting. A Marine For Christmas, The Prodigal Son, and Feels Like Home take place on a family run Virginia vineyard called The Diamond Dust. What made you choose Virginia, as opposed to say, California? Not all research makes it into a manuscript. What was the most interesting detail you learned during your Diamond Dust research? Has your research made you an official wine connoisseur :)?

I chose Virginia because of a magazine article about the state I've had saved for years. Every time I read something about a place that interests me, I save it and then when I'm looking for settings, I go through them and see which one will work best for the story. The more I researched Virginia vineyards, the more in love with the state I became. I've learned so much in the course of researching the Diamond Dust trilogy, so much so that I've tried (unsuccessfully *g*) to get my husband to move to Virginia and start a vineyard! It wasn't the most interesting detail (honestly, I found all the research fascinating and could've spent days on it alone) but the most important thing I learned was that wine (like candy) is basically recession-proof. When I'd first come up with the idea for the Diamond Dust, I'd pictured three brothers coming together to save a struggling business. I just couldn't make it work that way and ended up with a whole new idea *g* LOL on my being a wine connoisseur. I wish! I think I'll have to drink a lot more wine before I reach that point. Luckily, I'm willing to put in that time and effort :-)

3. Secrets have played a big role in many of your books, examples being Not Without Her Family, Do You Take This Cop, and His Secret Agenda (Hot hero! Just sayin'). However, in Feels Like Home, you take the popular matchmaking theme...something readers expect to be done on the sly...and bring it right out on the table. The fact that the hero and heroine know what's up, and still can't fight it, is a refreshing twist :). Writers are told to always ask 'why' and 'what if'. Did you plan all along to pop the cork on the matchmaking early on, or was it a twist that came up after the manuscript had aged a bit?

LOL - glad you liked Dean in HSA! For FLH, I'd planned on Aidan realizing he was being set up from the beginning, mainly because it's pretty obvious what's going on *g* Plus, by bringing it out in the open, I was able to make things much worse for him and Yvonne (the heroine). For Aidan it was a pride issue and for Yvonne it was accepting the fact that she wasn't wanted for herself, but so she and Aidan could get back together.

4. They say mothers are honorary psychologists. I say writers are too! You address some pretty tough topics in your books, such as emotional abuse, PTSD, sibling loyalty vs love, family outcasts, and broken marriages, to name a few. You really nailed the character psychology in each instance. Do you have a favorite psychology research resource (books, internet, TV, interviews etc...)?

I'm a character driven writer so the first (and my favorite) resource is The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes. I'm all about the archetypes when I'm plotting but then don't think about it again when I'm writing *g* I also like to check out the Enneagram Institute's website: Mainly, though, I get a lot of ideas just from watching and interacting with people. I'm fascinated by the fact that my kids have the same parents and were raised the same way, in the same house with the same circumstances and yet, they're so completely different from each other *g* If my son gets in trouble, he'll admit it - but only AFTER he's been busted. My older daughter won't admit it even if you have proof to show her, and my younger one will turn herself in before you've even realized she's done it :-) The only time I worry about one of my kids is when they don't act like themselves so that's what I try to do with my characters. I get to know them and then I think about how they would act/react in certain situations, not how I would act/react because. And to be honest, I've written characters who have made decisions that I don't agree with and that's so much fun to get out of my own head and into theirs!

5. Before winning the Golden Heart and the RITA, your kids awarded you with the honors of The Meanest Mom in the World and Only Mom in Town Who Makes Her Children do Chores, LOL. As a mom of three boys, I've received similar honors (you can let your kids know they're not alone ;)). Pursuing a dream amidst the demands of motherhood isn't easy. Fellow writers, readers and moms would love to hear about what prompted you to write your first romance, what's become of your early manuscripts, and...of course...your call story.

LOL! I'll gladly tell them, Rula, but they won't believe me. They're fairly certain other kids have it way easier *g* I knew I wanted to write romance books when my son was a baby. I can't say what actually prompted it but I've always had stories in my head so one day my husband came home and I just told him I wanted to be a romance writer. He was all for it but I didn't get serious about my writing until 9 years later when my youngest started school full time. I finished my first book and sent it to every editor at Harlequin/Silhouette *g* and every agent who accepted series romance. Needless to say, I received a pile of form rejections but then I discovered Romance Writers of America and really worked on learning the craft of writing along with the publishing side. I wrote four manuscripts before I sold. The first will never see the light of day, the second was my first sale, the third is actually the basis for my work-in-progress and I hope to tweak the fourth into a future Superromance.

I got the call on my husband's birthday, August 21, 2007. My editor had judged my book, Not Without Her Family, in the Golden Heart and offered to buy it for Superromance. I was thrilled, especially since, up until that point, I'd been targeting a different Harelquin line and had received a rejection on the same book the weekend before the conference (after it had been passed up to the sr ed of that line). So, though I was beyond ecstatic to win the Golden Heart in Dallas, I was also at a loss as to what I should with the story and which direction I should take with my writing. It was the second time I'd had a story passed up to the sr ed of that line and rejected and I couldn't help but wonder if I was trying to write for the wrong line. I'd decided to submit NWHF to Superromance, had it all printed and ready to ship to Canada and was literally on my way out the door to the post office when I got The Call :-)

6. An author doesn't have to be agented in category romance, yet there seems to be a number of category authors who have chosen to be agented. For many, it boils down to keeping their writing and their 'business' separate, and not having to discuss business matters with their editor. I can totally understand that! What do you feel you've gained from being agented in category?

I do like the fact that my agent handles contract negotiations. Knowing she's looking out for my career and has knowledge of the industry that I don't have, makes it a lot easier for me to concentrate on my writing.

7. Apart from not quitting, what's the one piece of advice you'd give writers struggling to achieve their goal of publication?

Write, write, write, then write some more. Find your process, what works for you, then refine it, tweak it until it's the perfect process for you. If you're not sure what your process is, read books and magazine articles, listen to workshops, take classes on-line until you find what works FOR YOU then refine it, tweak it and make it perfect. Can you tell I've recently realized that all the time I spent trying to find a new 'better' process should've been spent working on making my own process more efficient? *g*

8. With The Diamond Dust triglogy under wraps, what can your readers look forward to next?

I'm currently working on a new trilogy about three sisters who discover their mother hadn't abandonded them eighteen years ago, she was murdered. The working trilogy title is Mystic Point and the books are Keeping Secrets, Seeking Truth and Finding Home - though I'm sure those will all change since I'm not very good at picking titles *g*. I'm really enjoying Keeping Secrets which has a hardass police chief hero, a bossy, controlling cop heroine and a really rebellious teenager :-)

9. I have no doubt readers crave your books :). When you're writing, do you have any cravings? Any favorite deadline crunch-time snacks?

I crave salty snacks when I'm in a deadline crunch; pretzels and Triscuits. I always crave coffee with lots of vanilla creamer and Mountain Dew (I know, I know, I'm too old for MD but I love it.) I've actually cut way back on the MD but if I'm stressing over a book, I'll cut myself some slack about it   :-)

10. I know The Diamond Dust has their own labels, but if you could recommend one 'real' wine for your readers to try (curled up with one of your books, hint, hint ;)), what would it be?

I visited Casa Larga,, a vineyard in Fairport NY (the Finger Lakes region has gorgeous vineyards and fabulous wineries!) where I brought home lots of knowledge about making wine along with a bottle of Rosso which is a sweet, light wine - very good! Their ice wines are also fantastic (and it's so interesting how they make them!)

Another favorite is Sleepy Hollow Red from Flickerwood Wine Cellar, Flickerwood is in a nearby town (my mom's hometown *g*) and Sleepy Hollow Red is made from Pennsylvania grapes. And I hope anyone who is in the Richmond, VA area will check out James River Cellars, They were a big help to me as I researched Virginia wineries :-)

Thanks so much for being here today, Beth! A cyber toast to your Diamond Dust Trilogy and to your future Mystic Point series :)
GIVEAWAY: Beth is giving away a copy of Feels Like Home. Just post a comment or question and you'll be entered in the drawing. The winner's name will be posted here on Thursday, August 25th.
BLURB: Feels Like Home, Harlequin Superromance, August 2011
She's planning a wedding…not a romance!

Keeping up appearances is Yvonne Delisle's forte. But this job is going to test even her Southern belle mettle! It's not challenging enough she only has six weeks to turn a ramshackle carriage house into the hottest society wedding venue in Virginia. It's also located on her ex–husband Aidan's family vineyard. The home—and the man—she yearned for.

But Yvonne's up for the challenge. In the time since things went south with Aidan, she's become the most sought–after wedding planner in the state—popular enough to arrange her former mother–in–law's second wedding. Except…it's becoming suspiciously clear she wasn't hired for her professional expertise. Someone is plotting a reconciliation.and Yvonne is more tempted by the day. Let's see who actually walks down that aisle…


Barnes and Noble


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wild Ponies

In between all the house work, writing, and back-to-school errands this past week, I did manage to squeeze in a little beach therapy. We usually head out to The Outer Banks of North Carolina (blog photo locale), but this time we decided to check out the Maryland coastline. The pollution at the Ocean City Boardwalk beach area was anything but therapeutic, but just south of that are Assateague's National Park protected beaches...home of the famous Assateague ponies. I couldn't resist taking a few snapshots from my car.

There are actually two herds that are divided by a fence. The Assateague ponies are on the Maryland side, and the Chincoteague ponies are on the Virginia side. The latter gained some fame in 1991, when author Marguerite Henry published Misty of Chincoteague, which won the Newbery Honor.

The ponies are considered feral and are believed to have arrived on the island during the 17th century. There are signs everywhere cautioning visitors to not feed or get closer than 10ft of the animals. Unfortunately, not everyone listens or realizes that feeding the ponies draws them closer to cars...and danger. I witnessed people walking up and feeding them. Very frustrating. You can see from my pictures (taken with zoom of course) that the ponies end up way too close to danger. They even had car-pony accident pictures posted near the beach, but I guess people can be stubborn.

There was plenty of 'evidence' that they hang out here too.

Seeing these beautiful creatures was still therapeutic in and of itself. I had the music from the movie Spirit, sung by Bryan Adams, running through my head the whole time. There's just something about them.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Break time

Hey everyone! I'm taking a break this week. It's that point in the summer when things pile up, including the back-to-school to-do list. I'll be back soon, and I promise to make it up to you. On August 22nd, I have an amazing interview scheduled with award winning author, Beth Andrews. Trust won't want to miss what she has to dish!

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer. I'll try to pop in on your blogs this week, but forgive me if I'm scarce. Later! :)