Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Release!

Yay! It's out in ebook format! Yeehaw!

Go to the Resplendence Publishing page and read the blurb, and buy it for the Everyday Low Price of $5.00.

Yes, you can teach your smartphone to read ebooks. And the Palm Pilot that's been in a drawer for five years? It wants to learn Mobipocket and bring you a few years of reading pleasure.

Come on. You know you want to. ;)


Magdalena

Meanwhile, I'm pondering the printing and autographing of special bookmarks for ebook purchasers. More on that when I figure out the process.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Report from the cave

You probably knew I couldn't stay away long.

Just wanted to check in and let you know how it's going, and find out how you're doing. Heard from Devon last night. It seemed years since we'd talked (a/k/a blogged and commented).

Now for my report... The WIP was going great. Dana and I were burning it up the first day. What fun! Then a set of edits arrived, and I launched into that.

Except of course I couldn't launch in full-time, cuz I'm not here full-time. This week I'm working a temporary part-time job. This is a place I used to work a few years ago--a place where I learned to appreciate how complicated people are. I really do need to sit down and make some character notes.

I saw an ad for a July online class in writing cozy mysteries, and the idea really appeals to me. So maybe I'll take that. I used to read a lot of mysteries, but I've never written one unless you count The Blank Book. I'm still not sure how to categorize that one.

Romanticparanormalcomedicmysterysuspense? I dunno. Shame on me for writing something that's difficult to categorize. Remind me not to do that again, okay?

Spot is fine, and sends his love. He's tired of worrying about the ceiling possibly falling, as it messes with his enjoyment of lounging in the window seat. He does, however, like meeting the contractors who come to walk on the roof and look up at the ceiling. I think he's generally tired of summer, though. He and I are not into heat and humidity. It makes our hair frizz.

So. What's up with you?

Magdalena

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Into the cave

Hey there! I'm heading into my writer's cave. Well, not just me. Dana and I are going there together. Nicola Marsh and Cait London have recently been talking about their AlphaSmart devices. Dana is, I believe, a cousin to Alphie. No internet access on my Dana, which is part of her beauty.

Many thanks to everyone for the comments here and on Facebook, and for the emails concerning Nora Roberts novels. That was fun. Maybe we'll do some follow-up on it later.

While I may not be posting here daily, I'll still be on Facebook and Twitter at least once a day. If you need me for something, please do e-mail through the website. If something sufficiently worthwhile or entertaining happens, I'll pop in and post here.

FYI--If you need some e-reading material, Fictionwise has a 25% off sale on all fiction titles through this Sunday.

Talk later...

Magdalena

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What is your favorite Nora Roberts novel?

A friend emailed me the other day. She had read the article about Nora Roberts in The New Yorker, and since I write romance she offered to mail the magazine to me. Is that sweet or what? I discovered that I could read four issues of The New Yorker online free, so we saved postage.

Some of my favorite bits from the article: she works eight hours a day at writing, doesn't find that unusual (don't most people work eight hours a day at their jobs?). She isn't a college grad, may not have read your favorite among The Classics, writes what she writes, and if you don't like it, Okay.

I love her confidence most of all.

So anyway, this friend of mine hasn't read any Nora Roberts novels. She is thinking of reading one now, though. And I told her I would ask this question on the blog: What is your favorite among Nora Roberts' books? She--my friend, not Nora--will be reading the blog to see what your recommendations are!

Magdalena

Monday, June 22, 2009

Prayer of the Children




My son was in this choir, composed of high school boys from all over the State of Indiana. The year was 2008. The song is as appropriate now as when they sang it, and as appropriate as when it was first written. So much suffering in this world, and the children often taken the brunt. There's something beautiful about kids from Indiana singing this prayer on behalf children all over the world.

Magdalena

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Fathers' Day

"Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad."

I don't know who originally said that, but I agree...

Magdalena

Friday, June 19, 2009

Love Letters from a Duke by Elizabeth Boyle

Finally finished this book. I can't imagine what it would be like to read swiftly and devour several books in a week. But hey--I guess because I read slowly, I'm savoring each word.

This is the book that comes before Confessions of a Little Black Gown. Lots of twists and turns to the plot, and I liked learning more about Felicity, who had a small part in the second book. She and her twin, Thalia, who is the heroine in Confessions, are the kind of girls you want on your side if you're in a jam. I look forward to the next book, which features their cousin Philippa. (Alas, poor Philippa, in love with an infamous pirate!)

Love Letters from a Duke is available in ebook and in mass market paperback. You might even find this one on your local bookstore's shelf, along with the rest of the series.

Now on to the next reading project. Give me a few weeks. :)

Magdalena

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nature's surprises

Yesterday was not so productive writing-wise. But I made soup. I wanted to use up the last of our broccoli, so I made potato-broccoli-cheese soup. Seemed goofy to be making soup on a hot and humid afternoon, but it tasted surprisingly good. Plus the leftovers will afford me more writing time when I am in a productive mode. Sneaky, huh?

We've also been enjoying black raspberries... on fruit salads... or my personal favorite method--upon walking through the yard, I just stop and graze for a minute. Very exciting when the wasps are grazing too!

Which brings me to a question. Do you know what type of creature makes a nest that looks like this?

When Spot and I were in the yard yesterday, I noticed what looked like a mud-colored funnel suspended from the upper casement of one of our second story windows. I fear it's something unpleasant. Thoughts?

Magdalena

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Productive day

I really did look like this yesterday. I worked diligently all day long, consumed twice as much coffee as usual, and by mid-afternoon was wearing long sleeves... Because, due to my intense concentration on writing, I hadn't realized the house had cooled down a lot and I needed to turn off the air conditioner. Brrr!

But even if I risked an overwhelming electric bill and frostbite, at least I was productive. I was intensely focused. (Me! Intense about something!) As Barbara Hannay says, "head down." Yep, that describes it.

This, I think, is the way a good writing day is supposed to be.

Magdalena

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm finally an architect

When I was in junior high, I wanted to be an architect. I sat around for hours at a time drawing house plans. It was huge fun. I don't remember why I quit doing that... Probably somebody told me I couldn't be an architect.

Well, today I am an architect--sorta. For my new story I needed a floor plan for a Victorian house. My three heroines are moving into this house, and will spend loads of time there. People will come and go in their lives, but this house will be a constant. So I have to know how the rooms are laid out, so I can live the story while I'm writing it.

I looked up house plans, but decided to make my own. I know there are easier ways, but I did it in Excel, color coded stuff, added a wrap-around porch, and labelled all the rooms. The printed result is taped on the glass door of my secretary (piece of antique furniture--kind of a mini desk/bookcase). Also taped to the door is a very rudimentary Excel map of the town.

Are we having fun yet? I am!

Magdalena

Monday, June 15, 2009

Follow me to Legend, Tennessee

I probably don't talk about it enough, but the Legend, Tennessee website is your go-to place for all things Legend. Maddie James built the site and keeps it up to date. This is quite a job when you consider how many books are available in the Ladies of Legend series!

She recently added an excerpt from Where Her Heart Is, my novella that releases late this month as an ebook. (I'm embarrassed to admit she had to prompt me to send her the excerpt!)

Go to Legend, Tennessee and click on whichever cover in the series you're interested in. That will take you to the book's blurb. At the end of the blurb just click on the word "excerpt." So extremely nifty!

And did you know you can buy a Legend, Tennessee bumper sticker? (Yes, Legend is a fictional town. But you can still buy a bumper sticker.) Look in the left column on the Legend site. Cute, huh?

A million thanks to Maddie for keeping Legend beautiful!

In other Legend news, we received notice this weekend of a review of Janet Eaves' Beauty and the Beast, a Legend novella. Go here to read the review.

Magdalena

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I like it anyway

This is the new shade I created for the lamp next to my writing chair. Uh-oh... You can see the nozzle of my hand lotion bottle, my scissors and pens in the cup, too... Oopsie.

The old lampshade disintegrated before I ever met it, but the wire frame was still good. Several months ago I made a white cotton shade, with an eyelet ruffle, but it ended up being a cobbled-up mess. I tried not to notice it. At least the glare was minimal.

I saw a beautiful lampshade in a store this past winter. It was a series of very narrow multi-colored ribbons wound onto a frame, with beads here and there on the ribbons. I took a picture with my phone, and after many times of trying to purchase a shade for this lamp, I was ready to go to Plan R--Ribbon. So yesterday while doing errands, I stopped in at the local craft shop...

This ribbon is wide, and somewhat sheer. I like the color of the light coming through it. Um... Not sure how the lady on the lamp base likes it--suddenly her face looks a bit sickly. Could be her disgust at the crazy ribbon choice I made, completely without considering how it might work with her outfit. Maybe she'll get used to it.

Don't tell her, but I bought some pink grosgrain, too, for when I'm ready for a change. I think that will suit her better, since her dress is a rosy pink.

Magdalena

Friday, June 12, 2009

Slow

Have you noticed the blogosphere slowing down? First Devon Matthews and then Maddie James went on "blog hiatus," but for the last week or two I've noticed we're having fewer visitors here, and some of the blogs I read have less frequent, or much shorter, posts.

So I'm wondering--am I weird or something? Okay, I don't really wonder that. I know I'm weird.

But am I missing out on an important trend? Should I go on blog hiatus? Should I post here less frequently? Should I board up the windows of Magdalenaville and head outta town? Naw--let's not get crazy!

I do think Facebook and Twitter are great places for authors and readers to interact, and I've been getting into that a little more. Links to those profiles are in the right column here, under PLACES TO FIND ME.

Oh--speaking of slow, the Kingfish events have actually stopped. If the radio station people organize something else and invite me to participate, I'll let you know. And of course if you want to eat at Kingfish, I say go for it. Shoot, I was within a few miles of there yesterday and didn't even have that thought. What is wrong with me?

Could be summer doldrums. Maybe that's what a lot of this is. And I notice that when my w.i.p. is progressing well, I'm not so much into blogging. Maybe all the blogging writers are busy with their w.i.p.'s.

So, okay, this was all stream of consciousness. Just sharing with you what's on my mind about the blog. Maybe it's a good time to slow down... I'm just not sure I want to go on hiatus. What does everybody think?

Magdalena

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Library

Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours with a lady I hadn't seen in a while. I hadn't been to her house in even longer, and she was excited to show me her new library.

It's an entire wall in her sunroom, in her big, beautiful old farmhouse. What a delightful place to sit and read! Her husband built the shelves, and installed a reclaimed ladder from a neighboring farm's barn. After cleanup, trimming, and alterations, they have a nifty ladder that slides along a rail installed above the top shelf. (No rollers on the ladder at the floor, though--too tempting for the great-grandchildren.)

The effect is not so very different from this clip art. And yes, she has all the shelves filled! Even though I should have been writing, it was a beautiful place, and a beautiful way, to spend the afternoon. Lucky me!

Magdalena

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Namesake

My friend Jonell recently got a new kitten. She and the family decided to name her Magdalena! What an honor--I'm sure I've never had a namesake before this.

I love how her mascara is all smeary, like mine gets sometimes. But here is how you can tell us apart: The kitten has a different nickname than I do. So if you're in a room with the two of us and call, "Maggie," only one of us should turn around.

Mags

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You just never know

Bear with me on the clip art. I wanted an air conditioner, but decided to settle for this since there was no air conditioner in my collection.

So, one of the window air conditioners was out of coolant. I know, I know--air conditioners always have problems when it's hot outside. Gotcha. So we were very happy when the repairman came to the house yesterday.

And everyone concerned was happy when he left--he was finished working in that miserably hot room, and getting into an air conditioned truck to go to the next job. My son had a room that would soon be below 85 degrees, and I had just signed a copy of The Blank Book to the air conditioner guy's wife!

I have a few books left over from the Kingfish events. Just that morning I had been wondering how to best deal with those. I guess I'll keep the remaining books in the big booksigning on wheels, because you just never know when someone will ask.

Hey--maybe he and his wife will become fans, thereby justifying today's clip art!

Magdalena

Monday, June 8, 2009

Focus

My focus recently is lots better than it was a few months ago. Wish I could explain how or why that happened, so that if I get all frazzled and distracted again, I could recreate this. (No, I still haven't learned any Yoga. I use this clip art because the woman seems so serene.)

All I know is that when I wake up in the morning, I'm excited to start working on the current project, and I'm not obsessing [as much] about things I can't change.

It feels pretty terrific, and I'm so thankful.

Magdalena

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Working weekend

I think this is my favorite clip art. I relate to it on so many levels.

Here I am in Magdalenaville instead of Cincinnati at the Lori Foster Readers and Authors Get-Together. So hey--to cheer us up, let's look at this cute book cover.


Tails of Love is the book written this year by Lori and friends, all proceeds of which go to animal-related charity. It comes in both ebook and paperback. Click on either of those links to read the blurb. It just came out this week, and I haven't read it, but thought I'd mention for you romance-reading animals lovers out there.

As you might guess, I spent yesterday jumping up and down, celebrating what Joyce Ann had written about The Blank Book. I also did some online "welcome mat" type stuff. Got my author page set up on Amazon (I think), renewed my website hosting, updated the website with a snippet from Joyce Ann's blurb.

Then--and this was scary--launched into a major shakeup of my MySpace page. The page was very kindly created for me by my son a year and a half ago. He did a fantastic job, using html and other letters I can't pronounce. It was perfect--until it was outdated. And I was clueless on how to update it. So yesterday I picked a template, cut out a bunch of verbosity I doubt anyone ever read, created a slide show of book covers, closed my eyes and hit "Save." I think it turned out okay. Take a look.

I took a promo piece to the one store in the universe that has The Blank Book on its shelves. Well...shelf. Lo and behold, there's only one book left. They've sold dozens. That's some nice news, huh?

And I looked at blog stats, something I don't do very often. (Not healthy to do it often, just like checking Amazon stats.)

A nice, busy day of catching up on things I really did need to do. And then there was the phone call from a friend telling me her new kitten has been named Magdalena. I'll try to get permission to post a picture of her, maybe next week.

But today... Today is writing! I'm having withdrawal symptoms. And hey, I get to wear my funky slippers.

Magdalena

Friday, June 5, 2009

We've been reviewed!

OMIGOSH. Joyce Ann McLaughlin has written a beautiful review of The Blank Book on Barbara Vey's column today. Go to Barbara's Publishers Weekly blog...it's the last one, but OMIGOSH, she liked it! And she called Alice "slightly ingenuous." Wow.

HAPPIER FRIDAY!

Magdalena

Happy Friday!

I usually have a myriad of topics from which to choose, but lately my blog topics have been sparse. So I wrote a blog without a topic, and have posted it at SisterWriters.

I liked the writing exercises in school where you were given a picture and had to write a story about it. Did you?

Magdalena

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Whatever works

Now that I've finished up the first set of edits for Under the Mistletoe, which were pretty good except for one OH NO! moment that I have now dealt with...

Um, now that I've emailed that document to my wonderful editor who deserves sainthood for dealing with me, I'm back to my newly begun project. Yes, all other wips are shelved for the time being.

For some reason, this new project wants to be written in longhand! I made huge progress on it that first day on the porch swing with the steno pad, but when I sit down to type, it's just not moving along very quickly. Longhand is fine except my handwriting is very poor. Used to be better, back before I spent every waking moment at a keyboard.

I'm determined to look at this in a glass-half-full kind of way.

1. I will re-learn the skill of writing by hand, on paper;

2. It's probably a workout for part of my brain that has atrophied;

3. I'll be using up some of those blank books accumulated since The Year One; and

4. After keying the story into the computer, the paper will be great to start fires with next winter. Spot will be so pleased.

And, hey, if I can keep Spot happy, it's all good, right?

Magdalena

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tiny house

A friend and I used to peruse the internet for pictures, videos, and floor plans for tiny houses. We talked about them to each other, we talked about them to people who'd never heard of a tiny house. We probably had people talking about us and our tiny obsession, but we had such fun!

I'm intrigued by the idea of living in a tiny house. One that's big enough, but just barely. It wouldn't allow me to accumulate extra stuff, because there wouldn't be anywhere to put it. In recent years I've come to believe less is truly more. Having less stuff to take care of leaves more time and money to enjoy life. At least that's my theory. Need I specifically mention the tiny amount of time required to clean such a house?

And then there's the issue of cuteness. The house pictured here, whatever its genesis, is so darn cute it could be a doll house.

Maybe that's part of it. Maybe I'm hearkening back to the days of playing with my dollhouse with the mom who was five inches tall, and the baby who was maybe an inch and a half...or the Barbie village made of cardboard boxes...or even way back when I was a preschooler, spending hours at the big old beech tree among whose roots the Pink Fairy, Green Fairy, and Blue Fairy lived. Beech tree roots--talk about green living!

Here are some tiny house videos, if you are so inclined: Jay's Tiny House Tour, including his itty bitty desk, and a furnace that's actually cute. This is one I've watched several times. Just discovered this video of Peter King on Stuck in Vermont. Boy, is he into tiny!

If you're interested in other photos and floor plans, just Google tiny house or small house. Or head to one of my hangouts, the Tumbleweed houses page. Still not sure which is my favorite. Maybe the Harbinger or Loring. I'd probably be claustrophobic in the ones that are less than one hundred square feet... But wouldn't it be handy to be able to park your house in a normal parking space, and tow it behind your not-so-tiny car?

And omigosh--the Cuteness Meter is pegged out!

Magdalena

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Change

Have I mentioned that I recently bleached my hair blonde? Ha--just kidding. (And no, I haven't had cosmetic surgery either.)

But on the subject of CHANGE...one sorta major one has taken place....to my schedule.

I'm not going to the Lori Foster event this weekend. Alas and alack! I attended in 2008, and was one of the first to sign up for 2009. It is a terrific weekend. Jan Scarbrough even put up with me as a roomie last year.

Jan is going, and Maddie James. They're taking a Ladies of Legend basket, so if you're going to the event, look for it on the raffle tables.

Jennifer Madden, please take some pictures with your cell phone...or hey--even a camera--so we can see how much fun you're having. Okay?

I'm going to try to spend what would have been my conference time looking like our clip art lady here...uh, to whatever extent possible. I can manage the laptop at least.

Magdalena

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pleasant surprises

Had a couple of pleasant surprises this weekend that I would like to share.

It may be unlikely that you'll find yourself in Brownstown, Indiana in the near future, but if you do, check out Azteca Mexican Restaurant. I chose the clip art picture at left because it's in the general color family of the restaurant, which is ORANGE inside and out. The building is long and low, and nestled into a hill, and when you enter you go downstairs. The food was yummy and reasonably priced, and the people very friendly. I don't have any excuses for not taking any pictures, except forgetfulness. I had my famous phone camera with me, after all. Oh well...

The other pleasant surprise was I actually got some writing done this weekend, on a new project. Oh joy!

Magdalena