Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Not Quite How I Imagined It...

Thanks to everyone who participated in my little giveaway!

For anyone who didn't post 'cause they didn't know, it's Elsa to Indie about his father in The Last Crusade.

I wrote everyone's names on slips and drew...Liz!

Congratulations, Liz. Please e-mail me at and let me know what format you want Lost Our Forever in, or if you'd rather have a different story.


Back when I had a day job, I imagined my day. I figured I'd have all kinds of time, and went giddy with the idea of being able to exercise, write for several hours, keep the house clean(ish), not be rushing around every night to get to evening activities, and get a full eight hours of sleep because I don't have to stay up late writing.

Yeah. Not happening.

Some of it is. I'm writing, which is good, though I've allowed frustratingly necessary things like phone calls to make appointments, trips to the vet and the dentist, bill-paying, and laundry to cut in, which is bad.

I've walked every day this week, which is good. No accompanying bad with it.

The other two things are exactly the same as always. Last night we had dance and algebra homework. I'm sufficiently concerned about my new middle-schooler's hugely increased responsibilities that I want her to have plenty of time to work, and yesterday she didn't. Hey, sealants are important, too. But then I found that I'd been foolish to think her feet wouldn't grow A WHOLE FREAKIN' SIZE over the summer, so she had to hurry to eat so we could go buy THREE FREAKIN' PAIRS of dance shoes (tap, jazz, ballet) before class.

Tonight should be better, except for the vet appointment to get my dog's ear checked. She's got a growth that looks like a cauliflower wart. I betcha anything that's gonna require surgery and hundreds of dollars in bills. Sigh.

The sleep thing isn't working out, either. I think I need to cut back on my blog reading, because it's keeping me up really late every night now. TV is starting soon, and I have to make some choices. :)

Six thirty never looks good to me, so I'm really happy the kids are off on Friday. No writing for me (Hersheypark is on the agenda), but we don't have to get up early, either.

Thank goodness.

So, how are your schedules working out?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Giddy As a Schoolboy

This morning, while I was putting towels away between trips to the bus stop, I was thinking about this blog post. I had something to post about that made me giddy. And then, for two hours, I could not remember what it was.

It was not towels.

Then, as I was doing this post, for some reason I remembered that I wanted to make note to record Twenty Good Years when it premieres, and in the course of making that note, I remembered why I'm giddy.


So now you have to read a full post because I have a CONTEST!

First, my giddiness. Many years ago, when Smallville came out, I was mildly interested but we had no local WB affiliate. When Supernatural came out, I could not find WB anywhere. It turned out that even though our cable had added a Philadelphia affiliate, we no longer had cable, we had DirecTV, and Philadelphia is not a "local" channel. So still no WB.

I'm all caught up on Smallville now, but was concerned about the whole CW thing. I really want to watch the new season, but wasn't sure I'd be able. But I looked at CW's web site, and they are using the old UPN affiliate, which IS local, and I DO get it.

Tom Welling and Jensen Ackles, here I come!

Okay, now the contest.

The word "giddy" always makes me think of the phrase that's the title of this post, which makes me remember the delivery in the particular movie that it comes from, which makes me think actor I will not name or I'll give it all away.

Post in the comments what the movie is that I'm thinking of, and I'll give away a copy of Lost Our Forever, my Blue Silver story. If I get at least 10 entries, I'll give away TWO copies. Twenty entries, I'll give three. And if you've already bought it, I'll give you a different download of your choice.

If I get less than five entries, no one gets anything. Yes, I'm mean. But you gotta work to get something for free around here!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Day One--Anti-Dream

I woke up around 3:00 this morning with a pounding headache. Not quite a migraine, but enough to make me nauseous. I have an old shoulder injury that pinches a nerve and causes this particular kind of headache, and regular painkillers don't help. So I didn't bode well for my first day alone in the house, first real day as a full-time writer.

Which is probably why I then dreamed that I was back at my old day job. They'd asked me to work a couple of days, and I slipped right back into it and kept on going, then realized that it was today, the kids' first day of school, and I was supposed to be writing! I woke up during the part of the dream where I was torn between being true to myself and following through on my new/old commitment. I was telling my boss I'd work until Wednesday, but then mentally reneging. I was supposed to be writing!!!

Speaking of which...I'd better go do that, then.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Things I Won't Miss When School Starts Next Week

Just a side note: The worst (non-emergency) thing to wake up to is the sound of your dog vomiting her dinner all over your bedroom. Hello, last day of summer vacation. :(

Okay, things I won't miss. Many of these are universal:

1. The Bickering
My kids really aren't that bad with this, and I try to just let it go. But then the older gets all pissy at the younger, who is very crafty about baiting her sister, and I lose it. I used to bicker with my brother, and wondered why it bothered my mother so much, since it wasn't about her.

Now I understand.

So, I won't miss them saying "I can't wait until school starts so I can be rid of you!" to each other.

2. "I'm Bored."
Don't think I need to elaborate on that.

3. Making Meals
They've been getting their own breakfasts, poor things. But I'm tired of making lunches and dinners every day. Though they've been doing a lot of that, too. Doesn't matter, though, I still hate it. The elementary and middle school lunch menus are so much better than what I had as a kid, and fairly balanced (they offer salad bar and fresh fruit at the middle school!) so I don't worry when they buy. And I think the $1.40 or $1.75 they spend isn't much more than what a pack lunch would add up to.

They offer breakfast at school, too, with which I am less enamored. I make them eat fruit most mornings if they want the donut or muffin at school.

Which just leaves dinners. I am a decent but uninspired cook. They suffer from my ennui.

4. Constant Errands
Especially in the last two or three weeks before school starts, we're running all over taking care of things. And we're never good enough or have the right timing. We come back, and realize we forgot something. Or we get a letter the day after we went shopping, with one more thing we need.

5. Interruptions
For the most part, the kids have been good. They allow me my writing time. But if I'm trying to do anything else that doesn't involve them, it's constant "Mommy" this and "Can we" that and even just talking about stuff that I'd love to hear, but not at the moment they want to say it.

6. Bad parenting
Too much time that the kids aren't directly occupied means too much giving in to watching TV. Meal-preparation fatigue leads to junk food lunches and ice cream dinners. Not a lot! But once is too much. And I'm not a playmate kind of a mom, so every day that I don't play with them means more guilt. I'll be very happy to shed that.

The structure of the school year makes everything easier. No TV during the school week. More physical activity. Compartmentalization between work, family, and household. Defined activities at pre-scheduled times, which means unscheduled, undefined time is more welcome for everyone, and easier for the kids to fill. I can't wait.

Balance, here I come.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Things I'll Miss When School Starts Next Week

I find myself in a weird position, halfway between two factions who often stare at each other across a chasm of guilt: stay-at-home moms and working moms.

When my kids were born, they came to work with me until they were nine months old. Then I took breaks to go to the day care center to nurse them twice a day, then once a day, until they pushed away from me to go play with the kids. I was incredibly lucky to have a job that allowed me that flexibility, and also allowed me to take time off when needed for school events and the like. I did as much as I could for them within the confines of my need to work, both personally and financially. And I was aware of a huge portion of society that looked at me as a poor mother, who wasn't at home for her kids' every need.

Now, for the first time in eighteen years, I had a summer "off." (I was writing all summer, but in a very flexible fashion--and not exactly getting up at six thirty to do it.) The guilt has been much stronger this summer than ever before, because I'm the primary spender now, with income only coming in four times a year, and that negligible when compared to my day job income. I was home for my kids for the first time in their lives, and they were loving it, yet I feel just as guilty as I did when I was working, guilt that sharpened every time I had to say no to spending money on something.

The thing is, it doesn't matter what other people think is the right way--it only matters what your family needs. And I know I did/am doing the right thing, in both cases.

So next week, on Monday, I become a hybrid. I'll be home for my kids when they get off the bus in the afternoon, but after they leave in the morning, I'll be Full-Time Writer.

So what will I miss?

1. Sleeping in.
I'm most definitely, no matter what I do, a night owl. I thought I'd go to bed earlier since I don't have to work at night anymore. HA! It takes more effort than I'm willing to expend to change your biorhythms that much.

2. The kids helping me clean.
For most of the summer, we cleaned bedrooms on Monday, living and dining rooms Tuesday, kitchen on Thursday, and the family room on Friday. They did most of the work (I did the bathrooms, too, though). They empty the dishwasher every day, and I load it. It's a good system that has kept things manageable and maintained my sanity. It remains to be seen how much they'll have time to do in the afternoon, between homework and soccer/dance/cello practice, etc.

3. Library runs
We've been going to the library several days a week, because inevitably, something one of the kids put on hold comes in the day after we were there. And every time we go, they put more things on hold.

4. The pool
I got a lot of writing done at the pool this summer, 'cause there are no distractions there. No bills to pay, cat pee to try to find (still failing at that), air conditioning filters to change, newspapers to gather, letters to write, magazines to read, etc. Also, during the hottest days, it was nice to jump in and cool off. Five minutes in the water lasts a few hours out. I also bought disposable contacts in June, so I have been swimming underwater for the first time in years.

5. No pressure
Specifically, I don't feel pressure to make every minute quality time with my kids. I'm with them all the time, so if they're watching TV or building an obstacle course and I'm refusing to play with them because I need to write, it's okay.

I feel like there should be more things I'll miss, but to be honest...there are more things I WON'T miss. I'll list those tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How I Got Here—And Here I Am

Last fall, things started to look uncertain in my day job. We lost a couple of big clients due to market circumstances rather than our own service quality, which is something you can’t combat. One of our services halted completely when the person providing it retired in December. I voiced concerns to my husband, who wanted me to get a new job immediately. I wasn’t willing to go into a worse unknown when I still had a decent job, working with people I loved, with the flexibility and the four weeks of vacation I’d earned over the years.

I had always had a goal of writing full time. I wanted to be earning enough money to make it happen, but that horizon kept moving away. I wanted to be writing full time when my youngest started first grade, and missed that goal with little hope of rescheduling. But I mentioned that it seemed like everything else was lining up to that end—my oldest was heading for middle school with no easy day care options, yet she’s not old enough that I want her alone every day for as much time as she would be.

So my wonderful, darling, fabulous, supportive, thoughtful, sacrificing husband crunched the numbers, we made some adjustments, and with six months of planning and preparation, on June 8, 2006, my dream came true.

I became a full-time writer.

I got my last paycheck from my employer 11 years to the day after I got my first one. Gotta love the symmetry of that.

So here we are. Finishing up my kids’ first summer of their lives without a day care/summer camp situation. Facing the prospect of getting them up at 6:30 when they’re used to sleeping until 8:00. And me, having six hours of uninterrupted time to write and work on writing activities.

One of my mother’s favorite sayings was “leap, and the net shall appear.” Right after, “Never start a fight, but if they hit you first, hit ‘em back harder.” I’ve leapt. I’m currently without agent, without day-job income, and with no one to blame but myself if I fail.

Except I’m not going to. I may not have an agent at the moment, but I’m courting one. The book currently pending her re-read post revision was the “over-the-top” Bombshell wanna-be, revised to single title with increased romance and a greater role for the hero, with more depth.

Black Widow was the Bombshell wanna-be the editor hated. It will be a hard sell. I was once told it was “too category,” except that it has a married heroine who’s been married four times and widowed twice who is searching for the person who put her current husband into a coma and gave her the power to conduct electricity. It also has three potential heroes, and the one she sleeps with isn’t the one she winds up with at the end of the book. There’s a prostitution ring and a very unusual confrontation situation with the villain. So there are a lot of reasons someone might not like it. But I love this book. I love the heroine and the way her story evolved. So it’s currently under consideration with several publishers.

The last rejected Bombshell I kind of always wrote with single title in mind. I have a partial of that ready to go, and over 100 pages written.

My active project is about superheroes with everyday problems in addition to their big nemesis. And I have several ideas on the back burner, including a goddess story and a married couple who is faced with living together for the first time in fifteen years. So come on, career. I’m ready for you.

I’ve leapt, and I’m not even looking for the net.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How I Got Here—The Bombshells

I clicked really well with that editor, as far as writing goes. I wrote and submitted Cat’s Claw. The heroine was most definitely kick-ass. The romance wasn’t foremost in the story. I thought I’d nailed it.

But no cigar. The romance was still too strong for Bombshell, but the conflict too external for Intimate Moments. Please try again.

While I’d been waiting for her response on that book, my mother died. She’d battled cancer 15 years before and won, but this time, she didn’t even know she had it until too late. Diagnosed December 9, she died February 6, my brother’s birthday. He flew up from Texas, I drove from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, and we spent four days clearing out her apartment. At night, in the hotel, I wrote the first three chapters of what would be my last potential submission to Superromance. It featured a heroine who was dealing with mother issues and the guy who got away. It had problems. My agent was fantastic at helping me fix those, but it was the last remnant of my early career. It wasn’t the type of book I wanted to write anymore.

After I got the rejection on Cat’s Claw, I decided to complete another book I’d started before I met with the editor again at the National conference in July. I wrote the draft in eight weeks and revised it after the conference. My agent submitted the full to her, and the wait began again.

In the meantime, the Luna editor had liked Soul of the Dragon,, but it didn’t quite fit Luna. She wanted to hold onto it for other possibilities (that didn’t come to pass in the end). My agent suggested I try a more traditional fantasy, since that editor, too, had liked my writing. I did, and the editor was encouraging, but ultimately passed. That was the end of that, but I still had Bombshell.

And Bombshell was IT. I knew it with every fiber of my being. This was where I belonged.

Then the editor left, because her own writing career was taking off.

The replacement editor was less enthusiastic about my stuff. She rejected the next book, Behind the Scenes as too comic-bookish, too over-the-top. So I wrote another one, and met with HER at the national conference, and submitted it. She was encouraging in manner, if not excited about my submission, so I had no reason to think I was going backwards.

Then she asked me to call her to discuss the book. I knew she wasn’t going to offer a contract, but I didn’t expect her to hate everything about it. I asked what she LIKED, and she said, “well, the widow thing was kind of cool, but actually…” Nope. She hated that, too. I ran my next idea by her, and she said, “Great, but instead of this, maybe that, and make this into that…” I’ve since learned she did that a LOT, and she’s also left to pursue her own writing career. I’m sure she’ll be much happier. In the meantime, that proposal I wrote based on her ideas was rejected with a form letter.

I tried one more time, with a book *I* wanted to write. Another form letter. And now, as of this past week and effective January 2007, Bombshell is no more.

I guess I don’t belong quite there.

Tomorrow…How I Got Here—And Here I Am

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sick of Me Yet?

I'm all over the Internet this week!

For fun stuff, check out Trish Milburn's blog every day. Today I'm a guest blogger about Firefly! Different guests will blog about other Joss Whedon brilliance as the week goes on.

Elsewhere, my latest release, the anthology Indulgence, is the featured book of the week at Romance Readers. New content every day. Check it out!

How I Got Here—The Big Books

When my first child was about 3, we were watching a manga-style cartoon with a red dragon in it. I asked her idly if she wanted to meet a dragon someday. She said, "Yes. A red one." Very matter of factly. It sparked the first line of a book, a book I knew would be my first Big Book, Soul of the Dragon. I had the title and first line for two years. Scribbled on a piece of notepaper from one of those giant cubes they give out at business conventions, and sitting in my in bin, calling to me.

Alexa Ranger knew that one day she would meet a dragon. A gold one.

I wasn't ready to write that Big Book. I hadn't developed my skill enough. But one day, I had a brain surge and wrote 16 pages of the opening. Because my office had been flooded, I wrote crammed into a corner between empty stacked bookshelves and piles and piles of papers. That memory allows me the rare ability to pinpoint when it was: early June of 2000.

I didn't write anything more on it for at least a year.

Finally, I was ready. I worked on Soul of the Dragon steadily. There was no sagging middle. There was no period of “GAAAHHHH, I hate this book!” I LOVED it. Everything about it, from the ex-spy heroine to the dragon hero to the mysterious stranger and the magic and the villain. I entered it in the Golden Heart, and came >< this close to finaling. I started looking for an agent, then a publisher, then an agent again, and signed with one. I wrote the second book in the series, Soulflight, and that was the same incredible experience. I started writing the third book, certain my destiny was assured, because this was what I was supposed to be doing. And paranormal romances were becoming popular again. I was so incredibly happy.

For a while.

SOTD didn’t sell. I’m not done trying. That two-year gap between the first sixteen pages and the rest of the book have stymied me. At first, the book was finaling in contests and garnering great praise. But the part that wasn’t praise was similar from judge to judge. So I revised and revised and then rewrote completely. Each time I entered the GH, I got worse scores. Then I won a critique of my first chapter from an agent, and she had great things to say, that actually reinforced the original opening (that she didn’t read). So I’ve started another revision, but that’s on hold.

In November 2002, a rumor started going around that Silhouette was going to start a line of books about kick-ass heroines. I called and talked to the acquiring editor. Yes, it was true. Yes, I could submit my full manuscript about an ex-spy, and no, a dragon would not be an automatic rejection.

My agent submitted the book (not sure if she sent a partial or full) the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The following Monday, the editor called her. The book had too much romance for the new line, but she’d passed it on to another editor for consideration for Luna, a fantasy line that was also in the works. Could I write a new book specifically for Bombshell?

I was so sure that was it. I was going to hit. My career would stop crawling along and start climbing.

But it’s rare that things go that smoothly in the publishing industry.

Tomorrow…How I Got Here—The Bombshells

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I am participating in a blogging experiment hosted at To enter the contest, put up this blurb, image, and trackback and you are entered to win the following prize package.

  • $200 Amazon gift certificate

  • Signed copy of Slave to Sensation

  • New Zealand goodies chosen by Singh

  • ARC of Christine Feehan's October 31 release: Conspiracy Game

You can read about the experiment here and you can download the code that you need to participate here.


Nalini Singh

Berkley / September 2006

Slave to Sensation

Welcome to a future where emotion is a crime and powers of the mind clash brutally against those of the heart.

Sascha Duncan is one of the Psy, a psychic race that has cut off its emotions in an effort to prevent murderous insanity. Those who feel are punished by having their brains wiped clean, their personalities and memories destroyed.

Lucas Hunter is a Changeling, a shapeshifter who craves sensation, lives for touch. When their separate worlds collide in the serial murders of Changeling women, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities…or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.


How I Got Here—Writing Life

Part of the reason my first book took so long to complete was because I can only do one intensely creative thing at a time: Write a book, or build a baby. Once my first was born, I wrote like gangbusters, writing while she was in a swing or on the floor next to me in the late hours, during which my husband was working as a public accountant during tax season. I even devised a highly effective method of typing while nursing. She rested on my forearms while I had my fingers on the keyboard. That worked both at my day job, where she was with me until nine months old, and in the evening. I wrote when she napped and when she ate and when she was just happy to hang around, which wasn’t that often. I took her to my first meeting of Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers, and like I said before, she inspired my first published book. There’s a lot of her in Montana.

Side note: I was completely shocked when my friend Marilyn said, “I love the baby’s name. Montana Winter.” Shocked and horrified. I named the baby Montana because my daughter was Dakota. The heroine was Nikki Winter, the name I’d used in that ill-fated first chapter. I NEVER EVER put the two together. What a cheesy, stupid name! Marilyn was sweet to say she liked it.

With my second child, the creativity issue hit around the fifth month. I knew I was going to go into labor the day I wrote 8 pages, after four months of not writing anything. The footage of Columbine was on the TV in the labor room. I have no idea why I didn't ask to have it changed or turned off. The sights and sounds remain vivid to me, until the moment she was placed on my chest, surprising me by looking very different from her sister, yet far too much the same (someday I'll post same-age photos—we can't tell who's who without looking at the rug to see where the picture was taken).

Lots of things have derailed my writing, temporarily, over the years. My day job turned into a day-into-night job, and I had no time to write. I had horrible evening sickness with the second pregnancy, so Jim took care of the toddler in the evenings after I picked her up from day care and I napped on the couch, trying not to be sick. Moving, twice, meant packing (and unpacking) instead of writing.

For a long time, rejection and despair made writing difficult. I credit my husband’s support and my membership in CPRW with keeping me from quitting. Counting now, as Immediate Past President, and subtracting six months around the time #2 was born, I was on CPRW’s board in some capacity for nine and a half years. That commitment kept me going. I couldn’t let them down by reneging on promises I’d made, and if I was a member of the chapter and by requirement, RWA, I might as well keep writing. CPRW is also known as the Hobnail Boot Squad, inspired by Ginny Aiken, a former member who threatened to use her hobnail boots on us if we didn’t stop whining and produce.

Incidentally, my need to be in a position of control (the charitable would call it leadership) and my propensity for saying “sure!” when asked to volunteer at chapter, regional, and national levels also kept me from writing at times. Educating myself by immersing myself in the World of Romance Writing (aka the Internet) has always been a time-sucker. There have been plenty of periods when I had to struggle to find balance.

Promotion, too, gets in the way. It’s easy to spend money for someone to create an ad, and then to spend money to place that ad, but money is hard to come by at this level of publication. Time is a better promotional currency. But time spent promoting is time not spent writing. Again, balance is difficult. When my first book was being prepared for publication, I spent six months working on promotion and marketing and not writing a single thing.

Over the last few years, as my kids got older and went to bed without waking again, my husband discovered City of Heroes and no longer had a need for my company, and the day job required only day work, I found balance. I took a year to avoid all volunteer opportunities. I wrote consistently, and brought my speed to excellent levels, which maximized my time. I developed procedures for making sure attention was paid to everything in my life, without anything getting neglected for too long. And it was working very well for a long time.

But it wasn’t enough.

Tomorrow…How I Got Here—The Big Books

Saturday, August 19, 2006

How I Got Here—Short Fiction

When I sold to Echelon Press, they offered a short story program to keep their authors in the reader’s eye between novels. I sold several short stories to them that I’d written early in my writing, while I exercised my plotting and characterization and exorcised ideas that couldn’t sustain full novels. I also wrote a few new short pieces, with forays into fantasy and futuristic romance. When erotic romance started taking off, I tried my hand at that, too. Pirate of the Stars remained on bestseller lists two years after publication.

Short fiction is how I sold to Amber Quill, too, and my oldest daughter gets credit for the story that did it. My friend Megan Hart encouraged me to enter the erotic romance contest, and I had no ideas until my daughter said one day, “I wish money grew on trees.” The story of a colonized planet whose economic system was dependent upon leaves from one particular tree flew from my head to my fingers and became The TreeKeeper. Since then, I’ve published or contracted for eight additional stories with Amber Quill.

I’ve been very happy with my small press experience. Both publishers put out high quality products, and I’ve learned a great deal. But my goals are higher, farther, faster.

Which is WHY I “got here.”

Tomorrow: How I Got Here—Writing Life

Friday, August 18, 2006

We Interrupt This Boring Story...

Go to Google.

Type "failure."

Then either get really, really mad, or laugh your ass off.

How I Got Here—The “Category” Books

I’d known since that ill-fated first chapter that I wanted to write, but I also knew I hated longhand. So I waited until we bought our first computer in 1992. It had 100 MB of memory and Windows 3.1.

I'll wait while you finish laughing.

I took a fiction-writing class via Writer's Digest, bought lots of how-to books, joined Pennwriters, went to some workshops, and started my first book. I wrote 50,000 pages before I decided it would be better off as three category books instead of a single title.

The first completed book took me three years. Why? Because I liked King's Quest better. Jim and I spent our bonding years hunched over the keyboard, puzzling out the clues and watching the animation that was cutting edge then.

Papa Potential
It boggles my mind how little writing I did back then, Before Babies. This is the book that started as a Big Book, then got modified into a Silhouette Special Edition style story. It was about a kindergarten teacher who wanted to have a baby and enlisted her best friend’s brother to do it. I queried SSE. They requested the full. I had my first taste of excitement and, not long after, my first rejection. I’m not sure if I submitted it anywhere else. But I did start book two.

Hunter’s Song
Inspired by my experiences nursing my daughter, I wrote about a woman who was a single mother on purpose (this time by anonymous sperm donor), and the man who convinced her that being a family did not compromise her independence. Rejected by SSE, Superromance, a few larger publishers and several smaller, it was published in 2000 by Avid Press.

Against the Rules and Second Chance at Forever
I was in a dry spell for a while. Then I went with the women I worked with and my mother to a male dance revue, which sparked ALL manner of ideas. :) ATR and SCAF are about the reasons straight men might choose to strip for a living. ATR is a bit on the lighter side. SCAF deals with despair and loss and clawing your way back to a happy life. These were both rejected by Superromance. ATR was also rejected by Five Star. Both were published by Echelon Press, in 2001 and 2003.

Kira’s Best Friend, Sophie’s Playboy, and Brianna’s Navy SEAL
These are my best regular long contemporaries, about a trio of sisters and the men who are meant for them. They contain full casts of characters and complex stories with twists on frequent stereotypes. KBF and SP were both declined by Superromance, and though they politely asked to see anything else I wanted to submit, I knew I was done. I sold the trilogy to Amber Quill Press. BNS was a difficult book to write, both because so much time had passed and because I’d moved on, to other types of stories. But I’m proud of these, thrilled with their covers, and pleased they found a home.

Note: Brianna's Navy SEAL is in production and will be released soon.

Tomorrow…How I Got Here—Short Fiction

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How I Got Here—The College Years

It never occurred to me to seek a degree in a field related to books. I am a compulsive reader, but I don't read just anything unless there's nothing else. I resented every book I was assigned to read in class, so English lit was definitely out. I took a physical geography class my freshman year to meet a distribution requirement. It was the only class I never fell asleep in, so I declared that my major. Another geography major and fraternity brother of my then-boyfriend-now-husband encouraged me to double major in environmental studies, which was more commercial, so I did. I also graduated a semester early (slap for shameless bragging).

Somewhere along the way, I started to get interested in writing. I was getting high accolades for my term papers. Two of them were selected for inclusion in the Student Scholar, for permanent shelving in the university library, and one of those won a writing award (first money for writing!). I also had some articles published in newletters and the newspaper while I worked a summer job at a nature center.

I'm not sure exactly when it was; possibly the end of my junior or beginning of my senior year. I wrote part of a first chapter of a romance (because though I read widely in high school and college, romance was very top of my list, and because I already knew I preferred fiction, despite my success in non-fiction). Back then, we had a computer lab in the library. I accidentally left my disk in a drive. Lots of us did that. Protocol was to leave them in the aide's desk until the loser remembered it. But when I went back, the Bigger Loser aide had used my disk to try to recover something for someone else, and erased it.

Yes, my romance novel was gone. As was my award-winning term paper, the other published paper, and three-plus years of college work.

No, I did not throttle her. I did learn a very valuable lesson, however.

Buy your own computer.

I didn't write fiction again until after I was married and we bought our first computer.

The early graduation was a really good thing, because it enabled me to apply for and obtain an internship at National Geographic Society. I worked the 27th International Geographical Congress, proofreading field guides and editing geographical abstracts, many of which were poorly translated or written by those for whom English was a late-learned language. The Chinese ones were the most fun.

This was the first time I was serious about working with words for money. I applied for a job with the industry journal Explorer, but it was given to someone else. Someone no more qualified than I except that he had a penis. But we won't go any further into my one and only encounter with sexism in the workplace. :)

Tomorrow...How I Got Here—The Books

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How I Got Here—Before the Writing

My mother taught me to read when I was four.

I was reading Little House on the Prairie books before I was seven. I remember being called to dinner and resisting, sobbing because Jack got left behind when they crossed the river and wanting to get to the part where he reappeared while they were gathered around the fire. It didn't matter that I had read the book several times and knew what happened. I sobbed my little heart out.

That's good writing.

I say I wrote "My Very First Book" at age five, but it might have been six or early seven. I still have it somewhere. White paper and a piece of purple oaktag-like cover, folded in half and stapled, containing a story about Jamie Summers, the bionic woman. Hey, we all start out copying. Just ask Megan Hart. Oh, and I'm pretty sure that story was a romance.

I was a voracious reader growing up. Avoiding playing outside...not a lot of friends...reading under the covers late at night...begged to be dropped at the library instead of dragged along grocery shopping...scoped out my cousin's bookshelf instead of playing Chase...rushed to finish "homework" in the few minutes they gave us at the end of class so I could read for a few minutes...that was all me.

I recall a frank discussion with my mother when she found me reading Jude Deveraux's Velvet books. She was concerned about the portrayal of rape in romances. You can tell she was a bit behind on her own reading. This was mid-eighties. The only book I recall reading such a thing in was Whitney, My Love, (I think) which I bought because everyone raved about it. I was in my early 20s at the time, and I hated it. Returned it to get my money back. ONLY time I've ever done that. Which just illustrates how subjective this whole business is.

Tomorrow...How I Got Here—The College Years

Sunday, August 13, 2006

More Photos

Thank you to Sherry Davis, who reminded me that the picture of her and Mary Karlik I was so sure I had, I did.

It's a cell phone photo, so it looks like newsprint. But otherwise it's a great shot:

Here's one of Sherry and Julie Mensch, previously mentioned. I stole this from Sherry's blog, but she offered it to me, so I think it's okay:

And one more of Carrie Weaver and Lisa Mondello, both of whom were in my other post but I just like this shot.

The advantage of camera phones is the fading affect eliminates the shininess of my regular camera. :)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Breast Cancer Three-Day

Three and a half years ago, my mother died of metastatic breast cancer, after being free of it for 15 years. I'm hardly unique--can any of us say our lives have not been touched by this disease? More than anything else, it affects all of us to some degree.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is trying to do something about it:

About the 3-Day

Thousands of women and men will unite in cities across the country and walk 60 miles over the course of three days. It's a weekend of hope, as we honor lives lost, celebrate survivors, promote breast cancer research, and help bring breast cancer care to those who so desperately need it.

Net proceeds from the Breast Cancer 3-Days benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to fund breast cancer research and community outreach, as well as the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund, to provide an endowment for breast cancer initiatives.

Team Parallel Heat, headed by Deidre Knight and members of The Knight Agency, are participating in the 3-day in Atlanta. Alas, I am unable to get down there to walk, but they are recruiting members (flights can be discounted if traveling for this purpose!) and seeking pledges. Head straight from here to to sign up or sign on.

It wasn't too long ago that a diagnosis of breast cancer was a death sentence. It's due to people like you and me, donating what we can, when we can, that research has brought us far enough to make it serious but treatable. Let's do our part to make sure it can be CURED.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Best Part of National

There are multiple purposes for National: Education, networking, business, entertainment/fun. For me, those are important. But THESE are the best part of being there:

Cathy, Natalie, Mackenzie, Monica. Just you wait. This isn't going to be the last of us. :)

Some people are workaholics.

Great friends for life. I've known Cathy (left) and Lisa (right) for about 10 years now, and bonded quickly with Carrie in New York three years ago, as we are wont to do when sharing a room. :)

Cathy again (sheesh, she's EVERYWHERE) and Libby, whom I see at every conference and adore, but whom I never talk to in between. No idea why that is.

Me and my new friend Kelly. Part B of the best part of National is making new friends.

I'm kicking myself because I met some other great people, too (waves to Sherry and Mary) and connected with some close friends I talk to every day (Jody) and not very much anymore (Julie) but didn't get any pictures of!!! I'm such a dork. Carry the stupid thing around everywhere I go and not use it. Sheesh.

The Atlanta Marriott Marquis

I'm annoyed at how blurry these are, because I was trying hard not to let them be. I guess the camera didn't know what to focus on.

This is the lobby and conference levels as viewed from the atrium level. I think.

Here's the same view, from the 47th floor. Isn't it awesome???

This was up from three, I think.

And here's a shot from 47 of the elevator on the rise. Most of the elevators were glass, which I loved and a lot of people tried to pretend wasn't true. :)