Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Cheer

Have a comfy, cozy holiday

Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Support Your Local Bookstore

Don't forget to help keep the centuries-old tradition of writing and book publishing alive. Head out of your abode over to your favorite bookstore... and buy a new book today!

Escape into another realm and read a wonderful book.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving from Anna Maria Island!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Sending out a special thank you to all the men and women who have fought for our country over the past several decades, including my dad who fought in WW II.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Head to the Bookstores

October is a busy month for new books hitting the bookstores! Just in time for the holidays. :)

Award winning, bestselling author of over 25 books, Roxanne St. Claire's newest romantic suspense novel was released this week! Edge of Sight is the first in The Guardian Angelinos series.

The Guardian Angelinos are a Boston-based family that flies under the radar of the law to solve crimes, save lives, protect the innocent, and take down the guilty. This team of rule-breaking, risk-taking, siblings and cousins aren't afraid to get into the face of criminals as one of the toughest, grittiest security and PI firms around.

If you haven't read any of Roxanne's books -- or even if you have -- check out her fabulous website for all the latest info on her sexy Bullet Catcher series, and now the The Guardian Angelinos.

Can't wait to read Edge of Sight

Congrats Rocki! :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A New Release in Fantasy Romance

Celebrate five amazing books full of magic, passion, and destiny. Author, C.L. Wilson's Tairen Soul series concludes with her newest release, Crown of Crystal Flame.

The first of the five-book series was Lord of the Fading Lands published in the fall of 2007. The following excerpt is from the back cover of Lord of the Fading Lands:

Once he had scorched the world. Once he had driven back overwhelming darkness. Once he had loved with such passion, his name was legend... Tairen Soul. Now a thousand years later, a new threat calls him from the Fading Lands, back into the world that had cost him so dearly. Now an ancient, familiar evil is regaining its strength, and a new voice beckons him -- more compelling, more seductive, more maddening than before.

I'm hooked! :)

Following The Lord of the Fading Lands came The Lady of Light and Shadows, King of Sword and Sky, Queen of Song and Souls, and now Crown of Crystal Flame.

If you're looking for beautifully crafted stories with lush descriptions, a fully imagined world filled with fascinating characters, a sweeping romance, magic and destiny, pick up C.L. Wilson's Tairen Soul books today.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New in Bookstores

Just released:
The Wonder of Charlie Anne
by Kimberly Newton Fusco

The Wonder of Charlie Anne is a middle-grade novel set in 1930's New England during the Great Depression.

Congratulations to Kimberly on her newest release. Also don't forget to check out her first book, Tending to Grace.

These beautifully written books can be enjoyed by adults too! :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Three Years and Counting

This week marks the third anniversary since I began writing this blog. It has been an enjoyable journey, learning the intricacies of blogging, posting about fiction writing, and promoting my fellow authors.

The past three years have been a time of growth and struggle in my personal life and my life as a writer. My plan is too keep writing my blog with thoughts toward developing a website sometime in the not-so-distant future. Also to continue working on my manuscripts and learning the craft of fiction writing.

My pursuit toward publication continues. :)

During the long, steamy summer, I fell off the blogging wagon. But I'm back and plan to make up for my absence with numerous interesting, insightful posts.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Been Awhile....

Scenes from a sultry Florida summer

Hot sun and tropical breezes

Mini enjoying the air conditioning

Awesome view of Sarasota

Sunset on Anna Maria Island

Paradise :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Romance Flourishes in Central Florida

This coming week the Romance Writers of America organization is hosting their annual national conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Better known as the Walt Disney World Resort. To me there is no greater mix than the positive energy of Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse, and the power of love and romance.

One of the reasons I love to read and write stories with a romantic theme is the offer of hope they provide. Hope is what truly keeps us going as we navigate the bumpy, turbulent world of real life. All fiction offers us an escape into a different world from our own, and I love to read a variety of books, but nothing can compare to the emotionally satisfying prose of romance.

The theme may be romance but there are so many genres -- and sub-genres -- of romance it can be exhausting trying to understand them all. Historical, Suspense, Thriller, Paranormal, Inspirational, Contemporary, Young Adult, Erotica, to name a few. It's even tricky to sub-categorize my own stories and I write contemporary. But to be competitive while working to find an agent and editor interested in taking a chance on my manuscripts, I need to comprehend what market to pursue for my books. :)

With dozens of workshops offered in publishing, marketing and craft, and numerous publisher spotlights, as well as four fabulous keynote speakers -- Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Sabrina Jeffries -- the opportunities will be endless.

Also offered at the conference is the chance for writers to pitch their stories to agents and editors. This is a tremendous occasion for editors from nearly all the publishing houses, big and small, to discover new authors; as well as dozens of literary agents seeking new clients to possibly represent.

As an unpublished novelist working toward becoming a better writer, with the hopes of finding an agent and a publisher, this is a priceless opportunity.

The one event offered at the conference open to the general public is the "Readers For Life" Literacy Autographing session. It will be held at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort on Wednesday July 28th from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM. If you're in the Orlando area this coming week this is a wonderful time to meet your favorite authors and buy their books for them to sign.
Remember it's for a very important cause.

Along with the four authors already mentioned, also signing: Linda Howard, Suzanne Brockmann, Kresley Cole, Meg Cabot, Julia Quinn, Robyn Carr, Karen Rose, Ally Carter, Stephanie Laurens, and....over 300 other published authors as well! Wow.
And many of the amazing authors mentioned, and countless others, will be presenting workshops during the three day conference.

I became a member of RWA six years ago and this will be my first national conference. I look forward to seeing many of my fellow writer friends, making new friends, and learning as much as possible about the world of romance writing and publishing.

I hope to have lots of fun adventures to report and pictures to post when I return home.
Hope to see you at the conference!

FYI: Nora Roberts is aka J.D. Robb.
Jayne Ann Krentz is aka Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle.
They will be at the conference too. ;)

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Girls

Coco Mitchell -- September 1994 to April 3, 2008

Lilly Mitchell -- September 1990 to July 10, 2010

I'll miss you always!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day

Today is the day for picnics, ball games, fireworks and apple pie. All the things we associate with the summer celebration known as the 4th of July or our Independence Day. As we gather together with family and friends don't forget the thousands of men, women, and children who sacrificed their way of life so we could live in a free country. And the many more brave souls who gave their lives for our freedom.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

TARA Contest Finalists

The 2010 Tampa Area Romance Authors contest has announced the finalists in each of our seven categories.

Series Contemporary

His Dark Past by Rebecca Sampson
Lost and Found by Jo Anne Baker
The Daddy Dilemma by Barb Jeffcott Geris


Halfling's Rise by Linda D. Campbell
Realm Walker by Lori Sanders Foley **
Unchained Memory by Donna S. Frelick


A Wicked West by Jacqui Nelson
Once Upon a Masquerade by Tamara Hughes
Thief by Night by Connie Sue Queen

Romantic Suspense

Dawn's Shadow by Deborah Gilbert
Reality Island by Phyllis J. Towzey **
Trade-Offs by Carol-Faye Ashcraft


Finding Grace by Stacy Monson
Flights of Freedom by Patty Smith Hall
Here To Stay by Pepper D. Basham

Women's Fiction

Gold Coast Wives by Trudi Seery Gilligan
Miss Fix-It by Olivia Ventura
Tie A Yellow Ribbon by Dixie Lee Taylor **

Single Title

Alive At Five by Linda Hurtado **
All's Fair in Love and Lawsuits by Phyllis J. Towzey **
Defining Moments by Kathy Coatney

** Members of TARA

Congrats to all the finalists and good luck with final judges!! :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New for June

Hot off the presses and on the bookshelves we have 3 Seductions and a Wedding by Blaze author Julie Leto.

Romantic Suspense diva, Karen Rose, has her latest out this month, as well. Look for Silent Scream in bookstores today!

I'm looking forward to reading both books. Congrats ladies!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Browsing the Shelves

There are dozens of new books coming out in the next few weeks and several others still out there waiting to be bought and read. Get ready for the sultry days of summer and head to your favorite neighborhood bookstore.

Look for author Jenna Blum's newest release, The Stormchasers. This is Jenna's second novel. Her first was the compelling New York Times bestseller Those Who Save Us.

Another riveting novel is The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers. This is Randy's debut novel and it is a fabulous achievement.

Congrats, ladies!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Celebrate Mothers

Happy Mother's Day!!

I miss you, Mom.

Friday, April 23, 2010

TARA Contest

The Tampa Area Romance Authors fabulous TARA Contest for unpublished writers is happening right now! Submit the first chapter of your manuscript, with prologue if applicable, up to 4000 words. The first round judges are published/pro/trained. For the final judges we have an awesome lineup.

The categories and final editor judges:

Series Contemporary: Wanda Ottewell/ Harlequin
Historical: Deb Werksman/ Sourcebooks
Paranormal: Leah Hultenschmidt/ Dorchester
Single Title: Jhanteigh Kupihea/ NAL
Women's Fiction: Amy Pierpont/ Grand Central
Romantic Suspense: Peter Senftleben/ Kensington
Inspirational: JoAnne Simmons/ Barbour Books

For all the guidelines, including info on our all electronic contest, go to our website at
If you are looking to get your writing in front of an editor, now is your chance! Don't miss out.

You can register and send your entry through midnight of May 1st, 2010. :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rita and Golden Heart Finalists

Romance Writers of America announced the prestigious Rita and Golden Heart Award finalists on March 25. The Rita is for books published in 2009 and the Golden Heart is for unpublished writers with a completed manuscript.

Congratulations to four members of the Tampa Area Romance Authors for being finalists in the Rita:

Karen Rose for Kill For Me in the Romantic Suspense category

Kresley Cole for Kiss of the Demon King in the Paranormal category
and Untouchable in Deep Kiss of Winter

Betina Krahn for Make Me Yours -- Historical

Carla Capshaw for The Gladiator -- Inspirational
Carla was also nominated for Best First Book

Congrats ladies and good luck!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Let's Write

We writers love to talk about writing!

We study and learn the craft of writing. We gather with other writers in whatever venue available -- in person, online, by phone. We take time to imagine our stories and characters, mull over plot and conflict, and make myriad decisions on setting, voice, pacing, and dialogue. It can be a rewarding and challenging pursuit.

However, there is only one way to finish the story of your heart, or your latest book under contract -- sit down and write!

The act of writing is a long, lonely road and often times we need incentive to keep ourselves focused with our eye on the prize....a completed manuscript. We have so many distractions in our demanding hectic lives, we need whatever we can to keep our fingers on the keyboard or a pen in hand (yes, some people do write in long hand occasionally) ;)

For me I like to set writing goals. Long and short term goals. Even when life turns tough, I try to at least adjust my goals so I don't tumble too far off my projected path.

A couple of suggestions:

*Write everyday. Even if it's nearly impossible to juggle your busy schedule, if you're truly committed to writing and finishing a lengthy novel, write everyday. Even ten to fifteen minute increments can be enough to spur on a productive daily habit.

*Perhaps keep a notebook handy to chart your daily progress. Whether tracking word count, page count, chapter count, it's a wonderful way to keep yourself and your story moving forward. Don't worry there is always the revision process to smooth out the clumps and bumps.

*Find a critique partner or a critique group. There is nothing better to help keep the flow and momentum of writing your story than fellow writers offering encouragement, suggestions, and occasionally kicking your butt.

I am a member of the Tampa Area Romance Writers where I have met some wonderful writer friends who I occasionally share some of my work. Sometimes one on one, sometimes in a critique group gathering.

I am also incredibly fortunate to have three of the best critique partners to share my writing and my life. Each one is an amazing writer, friend, and even better.... my siblings.

Keep on writing.
Thanks for all your love and support!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Check It Out!

My sister-in-law, Liz Smith, will be featured on the Martha Stewart show today! She is an incredible artist and creator of a myriad of amazing crafts. She will be showing Martha how she makes her beautiful polymer clay eggs. Perfect for celebrating spring and the Easter holiday.

You rock, Liz. Congratulations!

Check out her beautiful inventory. All hand made. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It was a gray, dreary afternoon...

First Paragraphs

Part 2


The air was raw with February the morning Bobby Lee Fuller found the first body. They would say he found it, when in truth what he'd done was trip over what was left of Arnette Gantry. Either way, the end was the same, and Bobby Lee would live that wide white face floating into his dreams for a long time to come.

That was the first paragraph from Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts. If there was ever a question why Nora Roberts, creative author of over 200 books, was as popular as she is, this beginning is proof she knows how open a story.

Intelligent, prolific author, John D. MacDonald, opens his novel One Fearful Yellow Eye like this:

Around and around we went, like circling through wads of lint in a dirty pocket. We'd been in that high blue up yonder where it was a bright cold clear December afternoon, and then we had to go down into that guck, as it was the intention of the airline and the airplane driver to put the 727 down at O'Hare.

Another John D. MacDonald Travis McGee novel The Scarlet Ruse begins as follows:

After seven years of bickering and fussing, the Fort Lauderdamndale city fathers, on a hot Tuesday in late August, killed off a life style and turned me into a vagrant. "Permanent habitation aboard all watercraft within the city limits is prohibited."

If you're looking for well written, gripping, character driven mysteries to read, pick up any book by John D. MacDonald.

Next is the beginning of Gaelen Foley's Lady of Desire:

London, 1816

The hackney coach rumbled under the arched stone passage and rolled to a halt in the torchlit innyard, but even before the driver could throw the brake, let alone descend to assist his solitary passenger, the door swung open and she jumped out -- a tempestuous, tousle-headed eighteen-year-old with the fire of rebellion in her dark eyes.

I love the beginning of Lady of Desire because we are introduced to the heroine of the story immediately. We learn she is young, head strong, and out alone at night -- something no young lady of means should ever do in 1816 England.

Of course it's not wise for young ladies in 2010 Boston to be out alone at night either. Check out this next first paragraph:


Annie Jefferson raced down the dormitory steps, her heart pounding. It was late, long after midnight. She burst through the heavy door into a blast of frigid air which New Englanders termed brisk. With that thought she shivered and nearly smiled as she skidded on a patch of ice, and to her dismay spotted the rear lights of the campus bus as it chugged away down the dark, deserted street.

This beginning is from a yet-to-be published romantic suspense titled Breath of Fear by aspiring author Cynthia Sherrick.

You may have realized by now my tastes in novels run to contemporary suspense and mystery, as well as historical suspense -- all with at least a hint of passion and romance.

Preferably more than just a hint. :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Titles

Look for these new titles at a book store near you! :)

Jordan by Susan Kearney

The Irish Duke by Virginia Henley

Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Days Gone By

Our lifetime of experiences blend into a myriad of memories.

Testing the waters.

For writers, childhood memories help create vivid characters with a multitude of stories and settings.

Write on!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night...

Part One

Every great story begins with an equally compelling beginning. Hopefully.


How often do you pick up a book in a bookstore, read the book jacket blurb, and think "Wow" this book sounds wonderful? Then you flip it open, read the first paragraph... and hope it lives up to your expectations.

As writers we are forever striving to improve our craft. We attend workshops, classes, critique groups, and study books on the art of creative writing. We write, rewrite, and revise our manuscripts constantly, all to produce our best work possible -- including the all-important first page.

But how about that perfect first paragraph?
How do we choose just the right moment in time to begin our precious tale? How do we decide which character and setting to use to catapult our words off the page? Do we begin with narrative? Dialogue? Action? Reflection?

In my opinion, here are some examples of well written and eye-catching first paragraphs:

The following is from Betina Krahn's Make Me Yours:

England's Lake Country, 1887
"All I want is to be left alone to run my own life and tend my business in peace. Is that too bloody much to ask?" Mariah Eller muttered as she pulled her cloak tighter against the wind-whipped rain and squinted, trying to make out the lights from Eller-Stapleton Inn. There were at least a dozen things she'd rather be doing at nine o'clock on a rainy October evening...most involving a glowing fire and toasty slippers.

I love this paragraph because it tells us so much about the female protagonist and sets up the potential for some strong conflict. We learn in the first line what this woman wants in her life -- to be left alone to run her inn. But right away we know there is imminent trouble that forces her from her home at night, into the cold autumn rain.

I can't resist, here's the second paragraph:

"Hurry, miz!" The boy with the lantern looked back anxiously and halted for her to catch up. "Pa said they wus about to blow the windows out."

I'm hooked. :)

Here is an excerpt from Montana Sky by Nora Roberts:

Being dead didn't make Jack Mercy less of a son of a bitch. One week of dead didn't offset sixty-eight years of living mean. Plenty of people gathered by his grave would be happy to say so.

What an intriguing paragraph. In two sentences we learn a multitude about a character who is already dead at the beginning of the book. His death propels the story and several conflicts develop from this opening.

Out of the Storm by JoAnn Ross begins like this:

The last day of Sissy Sotheby-Beale's life dawned another Low Country scorcher. It was dog days in the South, when any canine possessing the sense the good Lord gave a flea could be found sprawled on a veranda beneath a slow-moving bladed fan.

Can't you just feel the heat? I love the author's blend of tone, locale, and the foreshadow of the woman's death. I definitely want to read this one. :)

And from Janet Evanovich's first Stephanie Plum novel One For The Money:

There are some men who enter a woman's life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me -- not forever, but periodically.

In two sentences the author sets the tenor with her signature humor and wit.

Sandra Brown, who is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors, begins French Silk like this:

The Reverend Jackson Wilde had been shot in the head, the heart, and the testicles. Right off Cassidy figured that was a significant clue.

Although there is a prologue in French Silk this is the beginning of Chapter 1. Not only does it grab us with a murder in the first sentence, but we learn the victim is some sort of man of God. I'm reading more!

And the last excerpt for now:

I first saw him at my brother's wedding, at the back of the reception tent. He stood with the insolent, loose-jointed slouch of someone who'd rather spend his time in a pool hall. Although he was well dressed, it was obvious he didn't make his living sitting behind a desk. No amount of Armani tailoring could soften that build -- big-framed and rugged-- like a roughneck or a bull rider. His long fingers, clasped gently around a champagne flute, could have snapped the crystal stem with ease.

This is the first paragraph from Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas. I think it's fascinating how the author uses vivid character description to begin her story. His name is Hardy Cates; he is most definitely a blue-eyed devil and one of my most all time favorite characters. :)

What captures your imagination on a first page? How do you decide what to include when you write your first paragraph?

See you next Wednesday! :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writing on Wednesdays

Blogging seems to have become a national obsession. Anyone who is anybody has a blog. At least many of the people I know in the creative world -- artists, musicians, and writers -- have their own blogs or websites and well they should have. It's a wonderful inexpensive way to communicate and network.
For a writer, it's imperative we let our fellow writers and readers know about our projects and where our latest published works can be found.

So... when my first book comes out, I'll let you all know. :)

I'm still on the quest for an agent, with my eye on publication, so it may be a while yet before my first book is nestled on the bookstore shelf ready for purchase.

Since I'm ramping up my dedication to polishing one book, finishing another, and selling the third, I will be blogging only once a week. (Which is more than I do sometimes, anyway.)
Now, however, I will have a schedule.
Wednesdays at Blogwarts. ;)

Check out my blog for a new and exciting entry every Wednesday!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just Released

Two members of the Tampa Area Romance Authors have new books out this month!
First, a special congratulations to debut author Erica Ridley for her book
Too Wicked to Kiss.

Erica blends historical romance and thriller suspense for a winning combination. Love the cover! :)

Author, Kathy Carmichael brings us a delightful mix of humor and mystery in her latest novel
Diary of a Confessions Queen.
Congrats Kathy! :)