Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Ringing in the new year is always a special time. A moment to reflect on the past and anticipate the future.

Every year I make New Years resolutions, whether written down on a piece of paper -- soon to be lost in a wave of endless clutter on my desk -- or locked away in the file cabinet of my mind.

This year I'm feeling particularly hopeful toward my resolutions and about keeping them. One resolution I have made over and over for the past dozen years or so, is about my writing. My lists have included various columns that have read something like this: Write everyday, write more, finish book, start new book, finish 1st book, think about next book, think about another book, write down ideas, learn to write, give up writing, don't give up writing, send out queries, write a synopsis...

During the past couple of years, I have finally achieved several writing goals. I have a novel completed with a second one nearly finished, and the beginnings of a third. I write almost everyday -- no matter what. I have been more consistent with my blog postings, and have a finished synopsis for my completed novel.

I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment in my world of writing. There is more work to do and I still have writing resolutions on my 2009 list.

Another aspect of my life that requires attention is my weight and health. My lists over the years regarding this area have included the following: eat less, exercise more, lose weight, walk everyday, walk three times a week, walk two times a week, walk sometimes, drink more water, give up ice cream, no more candy, cut down on beer, buy skim milk, eat more salads... hmm. Well, you get the idea.

I won't bore you with my actual list of resolutions for the coming year, just know it will include the obligatory weight and writing items. :)

Also, a special thank you to my little buddy, Mickey, for keeping me in the race, heading for the goal.

Have a happy, safe New Year's Eve!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays from Anna Maria
Island, Florida!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Writing Space

I can write anywhere. Taking pen and paper in hand, I can settle into a cozy chair, a park bench, on the beach, a corner table in Borders, or anywhere my imagination takes me. I love scratching out ideas for characters, plot lines, and settings.

However, the real down and dirty, nitty gritty work of writing happens at my desk on my computer. When I'm hunkered over, pounding at the keys, checking my scraps of paper, flipping through my "ideas" notebook, this is when the writing is happening.

Writing is just plain hard work. Whether you write short stories, poetry, screenplays, novellas, or a long, complex novel, the process of writing and getting the work done has to happen.

Each writer has to discover what process works for them. What time of day do you write? Morning, afternoon, late into the night? For most of us, we have busy, complicated lives where finding the time and place to write is a monumental hurtle to overcome. We squeeze in a few minutes here and there, an hour or two in between working, commuting, socializing, and the day to day business of living. Often we are slaves to whatever our hectic schedules dictate.

Over the past year, I have pushed myself to write everyday, no matter what. Even if it's only five minutes before I go to bed, or ten minutes before I head off to the day job, I force myself to write. Doing this I have developed a process of writing that works for me. With writing everyday, I keep my work-in-progress fresh in my mind and the desire to forge ahead keeps me focused.

Okay, my desk rarely looks like the photo above.

Admittedly, this is the usual organized chaos that is my work space. Perhaps someday I'll have a laptop computer to haul around everywhere. For now I'm satisfied with my spiral notebook and my personal computer sitting on my desk.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Writing Journey -- Continued

My frustrations over not finishing my YA novel Backstage Summer culminated with my discovery of reading romance. I picked up my first "romance" novel sometime in the mid 1990's. I love to read and spent years reading all sorts of fiction and literary novels. One overcast Sunday afternoon, I was in the local grocery store picking up something for dinner for myself and my husband, and as was my habit, I would peruse the paperback section to see what new and interesting stories were on the shelves. I never paid attention to any of the books with obvious bodice-ripped covers, or anything I considered romance. I didn't know anything about the genre so I was a romance novel snob.

I stood and stared at the variety of books when an interesting cover and title caught my attention: The cover was a solid pale-blue color with a small picture of an antique shop. Hmm, intriguing. The title was Hidden Riches. So I picked it up and read the story blurb. It was about a woman in her late twenties who runs an antique/curio shop and rents a room to a troubled ex-cop. Together they become involved in uncovering a smuggling ring, and fall in love in the process. Hmm, sounded promising. I bought it, took it home, and read it.

I couldn't put it down, I loved it! The blend of suspense, mystery, passion, and compelling believable characters captured my heart.

It was my first romantic suspense novel and it's written by Nora Roberts. At the time I'd never heard of her. Now I've read several of the dozens of novels she's written.

I was still fiddling with Backstage Summer, still hiding behind the illusion of actually writing the YA book. Meanwhile I went on a romance novel reading binge. For several years, I read dozens and dozens of romance novels -- mostly longer ones -- and discovered I loved them. I adore the blend of sexual tension, conflict, suspense, and the emotionally satisfying ending. My preferred genres are contemporary, contemporary romantic suspense, and historical suspense. Although the paranormal genre has fast become one of the most popular in romance and YA, it isn't my cup of coffee. :)

In the Spring of 2003, I went through a divorce from my husband, sold my house, quit my job, and moved from Massachusetts to Maine. Each of these changes are monumental in of themselves, but doing them all in one month was life-changing to say the least.

Living in a small cottage in the woods of Maine with my two felines, Coco and Lilly, the idea for my first romance novel blossomed in my mind.

In March of 2004, I joined Romance Writers of America, and became a member of the local chapter located in Brunswick, Maine. I met several romance writers and authors in the group, and felt like I'd finally found my writing niche. I also bought two books on writing romance, and so began my new journey as a writer of romance novels. I worked for several months to understand the dynamics of writing a long, complex novel. I dissected two of my favorite books -- Hidden Riches being one of them -- to comprehend what made it work, and why it worked for me.

And then the long, arduous, difficult road of having a finished manuscript in my hand was before me. I was determined to write and rewrite, and continue on writing until I was finished. Three years later, my first manuscript Summer Light was finally completed. It is a 110,000 word passionate, contemporary romance with elements of suspense. Most definitely my cup of Starbucks coffee!

Summer Light:
Jackson Sweeney is one of the top movie stars in Hollywood; Angela McCabe lives a quiet, academic life. Their worlds collide, their passions ignite during one unforgettable New England summer.

In the fall of 2005, I moved again. I left New England for sunny Florida and reside on a small barrier island on the central west coast. It is the inspiration for my second novel, Island Moon. I have finished the rough draft and am in the process of revising and rewriting.

My third novel, Storms in Winter is set in Lowell, Massachusetts and is also a work-in-progress.

One day I hope to revisit Backstage Summer and complete the novel. My inspiration for much of my writing is still Betty Cavanna. I admire her lifelong dedication to her craft, and although dated, her stories still ring true with her vivid descriptions, rich characterizations, and the emotional connection to her readers.
Exactly what I hope to achieve with my stories. :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Phantom's Touch

Just released...

Julie Leto, New York Times bestselling author, delivers an exciting new novel in her series about brothers who were cursed by Gypsies -- and the contemporary women whose passions touch their destinies.

Phantom's Touch is the second in Julie Leto's phantom series. The first in the series is Phantom Pleasures and what a pleasure it was to read.

Hot and sensual -- a phantom fantasy you won't want to miss! -- Author Carly Phillps -- NYT bestselling author.

Buy it now, and enjoy!! :)