Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

This I Know For Sure...

Everything happens for a reason even though you might not be able to see the reason when you're going through hard times.  Change is hard, but sometimes it's necessary.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Please welcome my guest, Kellie Kamryn

Today I'm interviewing Romance author Kellie Kamryn.

Welcome Kellie, glad you could join me.

     How long have you been writing and what made you decide to pursue a writing career?
      I always had this dream of writing a novel, so after a health scare a few years ago, I decided it was time to chase the dream or live with the regret of not trying. Five years ago, I self-published a book of poetry and then I set my sights on novel writing

Do you have a writing routine? 
       Now that I’m promoting releases too, I make a schedule for myself of what I want to accomplish in a day. I set aside at least one hour, hopefully more, to work on WIP’s. 
I try to write an hour each day too.  Where do you usually do your writing? 
       I have a great PC and desk set up in my living room where I can keep an eye on my kids while I work, or I settle into my rocking chair with my laptop. 
Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do?  Any plans
in the future to write in a different one? 
      Contemporary is the easiest for me because it involves the least amount of researching at this time. The erotic genre is something I decided to dabble in just to see if I could write a hot story people would want to read. I’ve had 3 erotic stories released in the last month. In the new year I have a couple of contemporary romantic novels that will be released. One day I’d like to tackle a paranormal romance, or romantic suspense.
I'd like to write a paranormal/romantic suspense combo type novel myself.  Who is yourfavorite author?  (I know, an unfair question.  I couldn’t name just one myself.) 
       I have so many authors that I love to read and I do name a few but the one that will forever stand out is Eloisa James, not only for her exquisite writing but because a couple of years ago when I knew very little about publishing, I dared to ask her advice on how to get published and she emailed back, telling me about Romance Writers of America and how I shouldn’t give up. It meant a lot to me that she took the time to set me on the right path. I’ve met her a few times and she is the most wonderful lady. 
How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse 
won’t cooperate? 
      I throw a temper tantrum. Literally. *laughs* Actually, I just surrender to it and realize that there is something else I have to do, like promotion or taking care of my kids. My muse always comes back, so I try to remember that I have all the time in the world to accomplish what I’m meant to.
Hmm,  throwing a temper tantrum.  I might have to try that.  :o)  
Do you have a critique partner or partners?  If so, do you think they help more in terms of moral support or in terms of line editing, brainstorming, etc? 
     My critique partners are also fellow bloggers the Ass Cheek Angels. We are a wonderful support to each other both in writing and in our personal lives. I’m so blessed so have them in my life. Whenever we read for each other, or need a shoulder to lean on, we all learn something new and they are the most amazing ladies.
What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?  
      See my answer above in the question about my favorite authors.

Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences. 
       I wrote Pleasure Island, from The Wild Rose Press, after I separated from my husband. It’s an erotic novella about a woman who goes on vacation to find herself after her divorce is final. She ends up in a place she’d never thought she’d be but finds so much more than she ever thought imaginable. My wish for everyone who has lost love to find it again.
Can you tell us a little about your next project? 
       Rebound, Book 1 in the Love and Balance series is scheduled to be released in January 2012 as is The Perfect Score (Book 2). They will be published with Secret Cravings Publishing. They share my passions for gymnastics and writing!

Sounds interesting.  Anything else you’d like to share?  
      Readers can visit with me at or or on twitter @KellieKamryn or on facebook
      I love to hear from readers and they can find out about my other 2 releases on my website which are also available on Amazon, ARe, Bookstrand and B&N.

Thanks, Kellie for allowing me to interview you.  It was fun learning about you.
      Thank you so much for having me on your blog!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hard Times?

Did you ever have one of those days?  You know the ones where you just want to stay in bed with the blankets pulled over your head until the day looks better.  Unfortunately, that’s never really possible.

I’ve quite a few of those days in the past few months.  At the time, I wondered how I would get through them.  Thankfully things seem to be looking up.  Recently, I was contemplating those bad days and realized with time and distance that two things remained constant when everything else seemed to be falling apart. 

      1.)    I kept writing even when it seemed impossible to string the simplest sentence together.  What I did manage to write on most of those days is dreck.  But I can revise crap.  I can’t revise a blank page.   Except for the pages I wrote while recovering from knee surgery #4.  Those pages will have to be scrapped.  I can’t even make sense of them.  So I did learn one thing from that experience – Writing while taking Oxycodone is not a good thing.  :o)

2.)    The other thing that kept me sane was writing in my gratitude journal every day.  It’s nothing fancy, just a one subject notebook where I write the day and date and three things that I’m grateful for on that particular day.  On some of those bad days, it was really hard to come up with one thing much less three.  But I persevered and now looking back on those pages, I see a lot of things I was grateful for even though I didn’t realize it at the time.

So what do you do when you’re faced with bad days or hard times?  
On a much better note, I'll be interviewing Romance author, Kellie Kamryn, here and she'll be interviewing me on her blog, Sweet and Sassy, on Wednesday, 10/26/11.


Friday, October 21, 2011

This I Know For Sure...

Only you can decide how important your dreams are.  Don't let anyone negate them or tell you they are unattainable.


I'll be interviewing Romance author, Kellie Kamryn, here and she'll be interviewing me on her blog, Sweet and Sassy, on Wednesday, 10/26/11.  


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Pleasure:  I'm reading "Just Like Heaven" by Julia Quinn.

Writing related:  I'm reading "Make A Scene: Crafting a powerful story one scene at at time" by Jordan Rosenfeld.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Inspirational Quotes

Recently, I've been doing a lot of thinking of about goals for the upcoming year.  As I was jotting things down, I started thinking about some of the inspirational quotes I have posted around my home to keep me on track and if these quotes actually do help.  I think they do so I've decided to share a few with you.

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.~ Colin Powell

The only opinion about your dream that really counts is yours. The negative comments of others merely reflect their limitations, not yours. ~ Cynthia Kersey

...Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a chance to start flowing... ~ Brenda Ueland  (This keeps me writing.)

There's a difference between interest and commitment.  When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient.  When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. ~ Kenneth Blanchard

Don't trade what you want most for what you want right now. ~ Author Unknown (I have this quote on my bedside table so I see it every day.)

Do you have any inspirational quotes that you use to keep yourself motivated?


Friday, October 14, 2011

This I Know For Sure...

The closer we get to the winter season, the faster the days seem to go by.  I haven't decided if it's because time goes faster the older we get (at least that's what I've been told) or because I'm dreading having to deal with the snow and cold.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Please welcome my guest, Terry Odell

Today I'm interviewing Romance and Mystery author Terry Odell.

Welcome Terry, glad you could join me. 

      How long have you been writing and what made you decide to pursue a writing career?

      About 8 years. I ran out of room on my walls for needlepoint. (Actually, the real story is on my website,  Check out "How I Became a Writer By  Mistake") 

Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do?  Any plans
in the future to write in a different one? 

      I thought I was writing a mystery, but my daughters told me it was a romance. I found romantic suspense the perfect combination, although I consider them more "mysteries with relationships."

Who is your favorite author?  (I know, an unfair question.  I
couldn’t name just one myself.) 

     Totally unfair. Who's your favorite child? I like different authors for different moods. I'm not going to name names because I know I'll forget someone. 

How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse 
won’t cooperate? 

      I think about the housework that's waiting, and decide writing is a better option than cleaning toilets. I might shift projects—do critiques or work on blog posts, but the WIP remains in my   head. But writing is work. Can you imagine calling a plumber to fix a toilet and he says, "I can't come today. I have plumber's block."

Do you have a critique partner or partners?  If so, do you think 
they help more in terms of moral support or in terms of line 
editing, brainstorming, etc? 
     I belong to an on-line critique group, and we've been together for years. We do everything from brainstorm to line edits. But yes, moral support is a biggie, because writing is such a strange business. I also belong to my local RWA chapter and a book club, and talking reading and writing helps with the focus.

What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?  

      Barf it up first, clean it up later.

What part of the writing process do you like the most? The least?

      I like the discovery, peeling away the layers of my characters, and making them suffer. I suppose the least favorite part is coming up with a strong ending. And the title. Hate coming up with those.

Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences. 

     I'm republishing my Pine Hills series, having just regained the rights from the publisher, as well as a companion piece of 4 short stories and vignettes featuring Randy and Sarah, the hero and heroine of Finding Sarah and Hidden Fire. Find out more at my website,                          

Can you tell us a little about your next project? 

     My next 'official' release isn't until April of 2012: Rooted in Danger, another Blackthorne, Inc. novel. It's Fozzie's story. It starts on a tropical island, and things heat up from there. It deals with botanical research into cures for orphan diseases—the ones the big companies don't bother with because there's not a big enough market for the drug. Of course, there's a romance involved as well. You can read more about it at the "coming soon" section of my website. In the meantime I'm working on another book in my Pine Hills romantic suspense series, to accompany Finding Sarah and Hidden Fire.

Anything else you’d like to share?  

      I'd like to invite everyone to my website,, and to my blog, Terry's  Place, where I discuss writing, host guests, share recipes and photographic field trips. And, of course, to check out my books. First chapter reads of all my novels can be found on my website, and they're for sale at most on line bookstores.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Too Many Apples

One of the things I love about the fall season is going apple picking.  One of the really nice things about living in Upstate NY is the many varieties of apples we have access to.  There are a lot of farms that let you do your own picking.  There’s nothing like biting into a crisp, ripe apple that you picked off the tree yourself. 

When I was a child, my aunt, uncle, and cousins would come pick up my mom, my brothers and sisters and I and take us to the apple orchard owned by one of their neighbors and we’d pick basket after basket.  The only problem with going apple picking is that we usually ended up with more apples than we could possibly eat even after dividing them between two families. 

My mom would make apple pie, apple fritters, homemade applesauce, and apple butter.  Out of all of those things, my siblings and I loved it the most when she made the apple butter.  The scent of cinnamon, cloves, and cooking apples filled the house.  And then when it was done, spreading the deep, rich brown sauce on toast while it was still warm…  Heaven.

Yesterday I went to our local farmers market and bought a bushel basket of apples.  Once I got them home, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all of them.  And then I remembered the apple butter.  My mom hasn’t made it in years.  I asked her if she still had the recipe.  She wasn’t sure, but would check.  I found myself watching anxiously as she went through the recipe box that contains her most precious recipes, ones that have been handed down through the generations or that have some sort of sentimental meaning.   I knew there are probably hundreds of apple butter recipes on the internet, but I wanted hers.  The one that brought back such wonderful childhood memories.

And then, almost to the end of the box, there it was.  A folded 5 x7 piece of paper, brown with age, handwritten changes written in pencil faded and barely legible. 

So today, I’m making my mom’s apple butter.   I’ve included the recipe below with her permission.

Old Fashioned Apple Butter

2 dozen medium apples, quartered (about 6 pounds) (My mom used Crispins.)
2 quarts sweet cider
3 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
Cook apples in cider until tender.  Press through a sieve or food mill to separate the apple pulp from the skin.  Discard skins.  Cook pulp until thick enough to round up in a spoon.  As pulp thickens, stir frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add sugar and spices.  Cook slowly, stirring frequently until thick, about 1 hour.  Pour while hot into hot pint jars, leaving ¼ inch space from the top of the jar.  Add lids and seal tightly.  Process pints 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.  Makes 5 pints. 

Wednesday, October 12th Romance and Mystery author, Terry Odell will be my guest here and I'll be guest blogging on Judy's Stew about baking cookies at

Friday, October 7, 2011

This I Know For Sure...

Some things are truly beyond your control and you have to accept that no matter how much you hate it.

Romance and Mystery author, Terry Odell will be my guest on Wednesday, October 12th.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Please welcome my guest, Sarah Grimm

One of the things I’m repeatedly asked is whether or not I base my characters’ physical attributes on real people, and if so, who they look like? Honestly, I never do. When my characters first begin talking to me, I come up with the details – hair color, eye color, height, and skin tone – and an image of my hero and heroine takes shape in my head. I have problems with my characters looking  “just like INSERT MOVIE STAR NAME HERE” because they aren’t that movie star. In my head, they are Justin, Paige, Isabeau and Noah.
However, as a reader, I can understand the interest in who a character might most closely resemble to the author who created him or her. So a while back I went in search of images, specific photos of people, who best represented the visuals I have in my head.
Let’s start with the hero of After Midnight, singer/front man for the rock band Black Phoenix, Noah Clark.
Gorgeous isn’t he? Okay, so this isn’t really Noah Clark, he’s actually Gabriel Aubry. I admit to knowing absolutely nothing about this guy beyond the fact that he is a very close representation of Noah Clark. The closest I’ve found for any of my characters.

And this is how I imagine my heroine, child prodigy pianist turned bar owner, Isabeau Montgomery. I found this photograph while searching iStockPhoto for pictures for my trailer. The moment I saw this model I knew she was the closest I was going to get. She’s got Izzy’s mouth, and beautiful ebony hair.

Now here’s a look at how they meet:

Isabeau Montgomery sat in the dimly lit bar and shook like an amateur before her first recital. Her gaze, blurred by the sudden threat of tears, settled on the keys before her. Her stomach cramped painfully, yet the need was too great to ignore.

With ability as natural to her as the color of her skin, she began to play. The waterfall of music filled the air, washed over her, completed her in a way nothing or no one else ever had. Against the razor sharp sting of memories, she fought…

She was young, vibrant, and born with a raw talent rarely seen. Classical, jazz, or rock and roll, she played it all. Loved all the genres—loved to create. All that mattered was her joy, her love for the instrument beneath her fingers and the music she was so skilled at creating.

For a good ninety seconds, joy returned, the rush of adrenaline and, conversely, the sense of belonging. In those seconds, time slowed, the lines between the past and the present blurred, and she was a child again. There was no longer pressure to be something she couldn’t be, no fear of what her future would hold.

And with the innocence of youth, no idea that everything she held dear could be lost in the blink of an eye. 

The song built to a crescendo then quickly faded as pain, her old friend, returned with enough force to quash her joy. Her stomach roiled. Her breath caught.

Tears gathered in her eyes, and she dashed them away. Isabeau ran her hands up and over her face, pushing her long mass of ebony hair away from her forehead. She struggled to pull herself back together. Her fingers were chilled, cooler than normal, yet perspiration pooled at the small of her back. She closed her eyes, took a deep, slow breath.

“I didn’t expect that old thing to be in tune.”

Sweet Jesus.

She jumped at the deep baritone voice, slamming her knees into the piano. The key cover abruptly closed, and she startled again. Heart racing, she rose and faced the double doors she’d obviously forgotten to lock.

She swept her gaze around the bar’s dim interior until she spotted a dark, male frame. “The bar is closed.”

Her tone was sharp, curt, and left no room for argument. Under different circumstances, she wouldn’t inflict such rudeness on a customer, but he intruded on her privacy, her pain. Her emotions were too close to the surface for niceties.

His voice rang with a clipped British accent and the tone of someone unaccustomed to being questioned. “I was here earlier.”

She remembered the voice and didn’t need him to step out of the shadows to recognize him, which he did anyway. She’d served him a few hours ago—dark lager, no glass—and shared with him a smile as powerful as it was sexy. “We were open earlier. Now, we’re closed.”

His eyebrow shot up. His mouth shaped itself into an ironic curve. “So you have said.”

“Then perhaps you should leave.” Hands unsteady, she bussed the table closest to her and carried the glasses to the bar. His words stopped her cold.

“You’re very talented. How long have you played the piano?”

No, no, no. This wasn’t happening. She closed her eyes on a wave of emotion, doing her best to will him away. But even then she knew. The man at her back was not going away.

She focused her gaze on his reflection in the mirror that ran the length of the bar. He was tall and lean, with eyes that shone with intelligence, even in the dim light. His hair was a mix of medium and dark blonde, worn long enough it fell across his forehead, nearly into his eyes, and brushed the collar of his shirt. Dark stubble shadowed his jaw.

The fine hairs on her arm stood on end as he crossed to her. She edged to the side and turned to face him. “I don’t play.”

“Of course you do. You were playing when I entered.”

“You’re mistaken.” She countered his step forward with one in retreat, ensuring that she remained out of arm’s reach.

With a frown, he stopped. “You have nothing to fear from me.”

It never occurred to her to fear for her safety, even though the bar was empty but for the two of them, the lights dimmed in deference to the late hour.

“Let me start again by introducing myself.”

“I know who you are.”

“You do?”

Of course she did. He was the person who brought back her desire to create, whose presence in the room made something inside her sing out. He was the reason she’d been driven to play tonight, after years of resistance. The reason the siren song continued to play in her head, louder than ever before.


Thirteen years--that's how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie.  After an automobile accident took her mother's life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how.  Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life.  That is until he walks through the door of her bar...

Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with one goal--one that doesn't include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won't be easy, but he can't get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.

Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?


Sarah Grimm is an award winning author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two sons and three miniature schnauzers. Between mom's taxi service, parts runs, and answering the phone for the family marine repair business, Sarah can be found curled in her favorite chair, crafting her next novel.

Find Sarah here:

Buy links for AFTER MIDNIGHT below:

Monday, October 3, 2011

What's In A Name?

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  A college professor once explained this line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as meaning names do not matter.  The line was spoken by Juliet in reference to the Montague name as a way to imply that his name meant nothing or was of no importance.  I’m not sure I agree with my former professor when it comes to the names of characters.

For me, main characters, and definitely in the case of the hero and heroine, have to have names that fit.  The names define them in a manner of speaking.  For example, an alpha hero just doesn’t seem very alpha if his first name is Bernie.  (No offense to any Bernies out there.)

At times a character will come to me with their name already intact.  This was the case of the heroine in my current work in progress (WIP).  She came to me fully formed with her back story, her conflict, and most importantly (to me) her name – Olivia St. Germaine.  Other times, characters will come with everything but their name and I give them one.  Some times as soon as I say it aloud, it seems to fit and the character will smile at me and nod in agreement.  Then there are the times when the character will back away, making the sign of the cross with their fingers at the sound of the name I’ve given them.

There are times where the name I’ve given them just doesn’t fit after I’ve started writing about them and I struggle to keep the name I gave them.  Some characters tell me, “Stop calling me that, damn it.  My name is…” which makes things easier.  And then some characters go through a process of different names with their names changing the way a teenager changes clothes until we both get tired or the name finally seems to fit.

A secondary character in my current WIP started out as John.  Four name changes later, I learned his name is David.  The “Find and Replace” feature in my word processing program got a work out as I kept having to find and replace his old name with each successive new one.  Finally David is happy and has become much easier to write.

So Mr. Shakespeare, with all due respect, I have to say, “A rose by any other name may still be a rose,” (I’m paraphrasing here, badly) but a character by any other name can be a completely different person.

Sarah Grimm whose novel, Not Without Risk, is a 2011 Readers Favorite Award Winner will be guest blogging here on Wednesday, 10/5/11.