Monday, August 31, 2009

Your vote counts!

I am awash in indecision, and need your help! Too many stories floating around--in my head, on the laptop, on Dana, on scraps of paper...

I'd love to know which of novel you'd like to see me finish first and submit for publication. I won't give you a list of everything I've got started, but have whittled it down to the main contenders. (The first four are romance.)

1. Historical inspirational set in pioneer days. The heroine arrives in the little town out West, and learns from her twin brother's best friend that her brother was recently killed in an accident. The twins had planned to run the farm together, and now she must do it alone.

2. Contemporary about a romance writer, the handsome architect who moves in next door, and her matchmaking cat. It involves modern-day castles, and a theme of finding home after a lifetime of searching/pretending.

3. Contemporary. A midwestern woman finds an old letter written to her parents, and discovers the life she could have had in California, and the man she could have had it with. Or maybe it's not too late...

4. Contemporary about three big-city sisters who are mysteriously enlisted to help a declining small town reinvent itself before it's too late. This would be the first in a series.

5. Cozy mystery, modern day setting. A local ne'er-do-well is murdered, and his father is one of the main suspects. An antiques store/tea room owner launches her own unofficial investigation, fearing the circumstantial evidence will be enough to convict her friend. (This would be the first in a series.)

In this case, voting is not your duty, but I would definitely appreciate it!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Giving it away

Today I'm giving away an ebook over at The Romance Studio. They give books away every day! Go here and fill out the form if you're interested in winning an ebook copy of Where Her Heart Is. Isn't this exciting? I think it's really pretty darn exciting.

Of course I'm not going to try to win my own book. Ha. That's just silly...

TRS also has links to a lot of free ebooks anyone may download. These are donated by the authors so people can get to know their work, and maybe buy their books in future. Go here for the list of free ebooks. Not sure if you need a warning, but some of the books are very spicy! Is that a warning, or encouragement?!?

Oh! I noticed some of the Thornton W. Burgess children's books were released this week at Project Gutenberg. There are loads of his books on there now, from Buster Bear to Whitefoot the Woodmouse. Everything at Project Gutenberg is copyright free, and available to everyone. (They would, of course, appreciate donations, and volunteers.) Type your favorite author's name into the search box and see what you find!

If you become a member of the website (which is also free) you can receive all kinds of informational emails, but also you can receive notice when they give away a free ebook. I joined in time to download Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann several weeks ago.

I love stuff like this, don't you?


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Under the Mistletoe has a cover...

Completely by coincidence, and not because Jennifer recently asked me if I was plugging a Christmas book, today I'm plugging a Christmas book.

Under the Mistletoe, a Ladies of Legend novella, is to be a September release from Resplendence Publishing. Yesterday the cover art went up on the new Resplendence promotion site!

The novella will be sold separately as an ebook, and packaged for a September print anthology with novellas by Janet Eaves and Jan Scarbrough.

All the stories are "historical"--Janet's is set in 1944, Jan's in 1969, and mine in 1975. (I'm having a hard time referring to 1975 as historical. It makes me feel old.)

I'll tell you more about this as the time approaches. I'll bet you expected that. In the meantime, you can enter a contest to win a free book at the promotion site. Just leave a comment there (not here) and you're entered for the drawing. Here's what it says:
Good luck!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My new favorite saying

I have a new favorite saying, and as far as I know, I made it up.

In the big picture, this isn't even a brush stroke.

It helps me not get too upset about "the small stuff." I'll confess that sometimes I have to say it more than once.

Feel free to mutter it to yourself as necessary.



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

And now to switch wigs and sunglasses...

The saying is that we put on one or the other "hat" when we change personas, right? Since I look lousy in hats, I'd prefer to change wigs and sunglasses.

The Me known as "Mom" is no longer in daily face-to-face contact with the single person in the world who calls her that. The Progeny is back on campus for the year, and bless his heart, I can only make his life miserable by phone or email.

Does this mean the "extra" time will be used efficiently by the other versions of Me? I really hope so. Loads of projects are scattered about in varying stages of incompletion.

Well. At least there's no sleeping late on the first weekday, thanks to someone nearby cutting a tree down before 7:00 A.M. Nothing like waking up to the sound of a chain saw to signal it's going to be one of those days. Please pass the dark glasses. The really dark glasses.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Come and Find the Quiet Center

I'm amazed to discover it's Friday already. Here's a wrap-up from me (and Avatar me) for this week:

The Progeny performed a pipe organ concert Sunday afternoon. Not sure which of us was more nervous--okay, yes I am, but it didn't matter if my hands shook! He did a wonderful job, and the audience gave him a standing ovation. Wow. There was a special treat at the beginning of the concert, as he had decided a few hours prior that he would sing a couple of verses of his first song, then play it on the organ. With a wonderful accompanist, he sang Come and Find the Quiet Center, which set the tone for the concert.

As you can imagine, that was the high point of my week.

My terrific Blogging Buddy and Commenter Extraordinaire Jennifer Johnson wrote a wonderful recommendation for Where Her Heart Is on her blog yesterday. The things she said about it were so interesting, I want to read the book! My book. Yeah, I've read it already. Right...

Meanwhile, Jennifer's new book is one of the romances that's moving up the sales rank at Fictionwise. And I haven't read The Clergy Affair yet! Darn! Other people are beating me to it!

I'm enjoying my temporary part-time job, and am thankful for it. I'm also thankful that it's temporary and part-time because I don't have it in me to do that job full-time. I also have a little business I do at home, plus the writing I always intend to accomplish, and semi-optional stuff like doing laundry and cooking meals. The living room project stalled a while ago, I haven't made much progress on my dad's house, and tomorrow morning we take The Progeny back to his beloved college campus. Thursday morning in the shower my brain was full of new story ideas. Thank you, Ms. Muse!

My point? Although my life is pretty quiet compared to most people's, sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Which is part of the reason I've been humming this song all week...

Come and Find the Quiet Center; Words by Shirley Erena Murray, 1989. (vs. 1)

Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead,
find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed:
Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes, that we can see
all the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

You can buy ebooks at Barnes & Noble

Those of you who do not eat, sleep, and breathe the publishing industry may be surprised to learn that Barnes & Noble bought Fictionwise early this year. That's right--a BIG brick-and-mortar bookstore chain purchased a BIG ebook vendor. That had all kinds of good written on it when I first heard about it, but it wasn't until this week that I learned it has an even different kind of good. My books are now available at Barnes & Noble. My ebooks!

When Maddie James discovered this, we were all thrilled. Eventually, it seems, all titles available at Fictionwise will also be on the B&N website. So if you go to and search for my name, all my ebooks should pop up. So far Where Her Heart Is hasn't shown up, so I guess there's a time lag. WHHI has only been at Fictionwise a couple of weeks. (And somehow a couple of books that I didn't write come up when you search for my name. I don't take credit for those.)

I am giving a little talk about writing and publishing next month, and I haven't even started composing it yet. The business changes every single day, and if I had written the presentation when I was first asked to do it, it would be horribly outdated by now.

Isn't it exciting?


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hot Chicken Salad

I'm sure you've picked up on the fact that I'm not an extraordinarily good cook. In fact, I almost never try anything fancy, because the people I cook for wouldn't care about it anyway. Yes, I'm a lazy cook. Still, I haven't poisoned anyone yet, as far as I know.

I even had a couple of requests for this recipe the other night when I took it to a pitch-in salad supper, and I thought I'd share it with you, too. (If you're serious about watching calories, fat grams, and important stuff like that, it's okay to stop reading right here.)

The note on my recipe card says I got it in 1994 at a church women's meeting in a neighboring city.

Hot Chicken Salad

3 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1-1/2 c. celery, chopped
3/4 c. slivered almonds
1 6-oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. onion
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 11-oz. can condensed cream of chicken soup
3/4 c. grated cheese

Combine everything but cheese and chips in a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve over chow mein noodles.

(Note: The original recipe has 1-1/2 c. crushed potato chips, which you combine with the cheese to sprinkle on top. I've never used the chips, because I figure this casserole is hard enough on my cholesterol number without them.)

I have a question. When you take a dish of food to an event, and other people do the same, then everybody eats--what do you call it? We call it a pitch-in, but I'm guessing that's a Southern Indiana term.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Have you read this book?

Saturday, I drove to Louisville and met Jan Scarbrough and Maddie James at a movie theater, where we saw Julie & Julia. The movie was great! So impressive, in fact, that it almost made me want to cook! Fortunately we went out for lunch instead.

Still thinking of the movie that evening, I started looking at books. (Not cookbooks either. Sorry--not really my thing.)

I found what I wanted at Fictionwise: My Life In France, by Julia Child. I was quite taken with the romance of Julia and Paul Child as depicted in the movie.

Have any of you read this book? Do you recommend it? I'm pondering the purchase...


Monday, August 17, 2009

Betsy surprised me

Whoa. I had no idea sweet little Betsy McClain would become a bit of a star. When we first met her in my novella contained in Ladies of Legend: Finding Home, she was a very pregnant secondary character, an absolute doll, and rather wide-eyed about the world outside Legend, Tennessee. She was Midnight Shelby's first friend in town. Betsy's husband Mike was in the story, too, but always stayed in the background. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with him, because I knew I wanted Betsy to eventually have her own book.

After that novella (Midnight in Legend, TN) we hadn't heard from Betsy in a while. But she has popped back onto the scene in a big way with Where Her Heart Is. I don't look at Fictionwise constantly--really, I don't--but this morning when I checked, this book was #107 in all romance.

My overwhelming thought is that people all over the country (perhaps even in other countries) may actually be reading Betsy and Mike's story, and coming to care for them and their daughter LizBeth Ann, that cutie pie.

I know it isn't a best seller, but this is amazing to me, and very humbling. Many, many thanks to everyone who has bought the book! Many thanks, and...

Welcome to Legend!


Friday, August 14, 2009

So beautiful, it makes me cry

This isn't exactly "Hold the Presses!" news, but I changed the song on my MySpace page. Last time I changed songs, I looked for this and it wasn't available.

What is it? The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, sung by Roberta Flack. Click here to go to the page. When the page loads, click the play button. It's in the left column.

But... You might want to grab a tissue first.


Thursday, August 13, 2009


Sigh, and sigh again. I loved this book. It reminds me of why I started reading romances, eleventeen years ago. The wonderful tender love story, the exotic locale...

To read the blurb and purchase the ebook, click here. To read the blurb and purchase the paperback, click here.

And to learn more about author Nicola Marsh, visit her website and blog.

Don't mind me. I'm fine. You know my tag line, right? "Try a romance novel on...for sighs!" This story did that for me.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Holly and the Ivy--Christmas 2010

Okay. Seriously, I am not going to mention any more new book contracts this week.

Once I'm done telling you about this one.

Jeannie Adams will be introduced to you in next month's release, Under the Mistletoe. That's the ebook title, and the novella title for the print anthology Three Decades of Love: A Ladies of Legend Christmas Anthology.

Jeannie, however, is not a main character. She's the best friend of my heroine, Dorothy Robbins.

Well, next year, Jeannie will have her own romance, The Holly and the Ivy, in the 2010 Ladies of Legend Christmas anthology. I hope that when you read Dorothy's story this year, you'll get an idea of the fun character Jeannie is. She deserves her own book, and her own romance. In fact, she deserves handsome Eli McClain, a high school classmate she always competed with.

Cover art will be a while in arriving. Like maybe a year. So this very happy 1970s girl will be our Jeannie for the moment.

And did I mention that the Christmas 1975 love story of Dorothy Robbins and Charles McClain will be available for your reading pleasure in September? As in, NEXT MONTH!?!? Ho-ho-ho! Should have the cover art in near future, and you know I'll post it pronto!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home Sweet Legend

Am I a tease, or what?

I dropped a hint yesterday, and I'll tell ya the scoop today. This past weekend I received a contract for the sequel to Where Her Heart Is. The book's title is Home Sweet Legend, and it's slated for release at Resplendence Publishing in March 2010. Home Sweet Legend is the love story of Greg Andrews and Chloe McClain (Martin's sister).

Both of these characters were introduced in Where Her Heart Is. Greg is the owner of Deluxe Home Improvements, and Chloe is a painter of landscapes of her beloved Smoky Mountains. Both of them are temperamental artists. I love their dialogue--it's as if I can see sparks fly when they get irritated with each other. They are two of my favorite characters!

I won't have cover art for the new book for several months, so thought we'd make do with this for now. We'll pretend Chloe and Greg are standing at the edge of Lake Legend, okay?


Monday, August 10, 2009

A lovely WHHI weekend

Where Her Heart Is certainly had a lovely weekend. I actually saw it hit #233 in all romance on Fictionwise. Wowzers. Now, this might not be much if you're a big-name author, but for me, a very teeny tiny-name author, #233 out of 11,000+ is something to celebrate. So I smiled a lot and ate fried fish. (What? There's a different way to celebrate?)

News flash, Aug. 10, 7:45 a.m.: Just now when I checked, it was at #131. I need to stop watching... I know the big Sales Rank Plummet will happen soon!

Another bit of nice news for Where Her Heart Is arrived this weekend. It will be available in print next year, packaged with its sequel. We talked about the logistics of putting a story of this length into a trade size paperback for release in September, but waiting makes loads more sense paper-wise and fun-wise...

Yep! A Magdalena Scott Anthology! Bring on the fried fish--I'm smiling already. :)


Oh! If you don't already have an e-copy of
The Blank Book, you might be able to win one today at Barbara Vey's blog. Not sure what time she posts the free stuff Monday, so you might need to check later in the morning. And now I think of it, I haven't had confirmation that it's going up today, but Barbara's blog is always a fun read.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Book Drive

More about the effort to help the Louisville Free Public Library, which sustained heavy losses due to Tuesday's flash floods.

Author Shiloh Walker is doing a book drive. All the information is available at her blog. Just thought I should drop in and post this, since yesterday I had said the library couldn't accept book donations. Shiloh has organized an effort so that books can be donated now, to benefit the library. Read the details here.

Sorry I hadn't let you know about this earlier. I admit to some disorganization (what?!? me?!?) recently. Just when I'm learning to severely limit my internet time, I miss something important. Wouldn't ya just know?

Okay. I really wasn't going to be here today. Limiting the internet time, you know...


Friday, August 7, 2009

(Mostly) blue skies

There was some devastating flooding near Magdalenaville early this week. The Louisville Free Public Library sustained considerable damage. Read about how you can help over at Maddie James' blog. I had thought of giving books, but evidently they're not at a point to accept those yet.

Magdalenaville lucked out with Tuesday's storms. We had a lot of rain and wind, but survived relatively unscathed.

The part-time temp job has been a godsend. What a nice opportunity to connect with a lot of people from my working past! Not only do I love seeing people, I love watching the looks on their faces as they try to process why I am where I am. It's that daggone mean streak of mine, I guess. Usually I explain within a few seconds, after the initial puzzlement crosses their faces.

The Progeny is off on a five-day trip to Michigan. He's worked hard this summer, and definitely deserves a few days of fun. Before long he will be heading back to college. Amazing.

I've spent more time with my cozy mystery class in the last day or so. I've named my sleuth (again), rethought the murder victim, chosen the killer (so into this killer) and murder setting, and decided on the weapon. (I especially love the weapon!) Thursday morning on my walk I even came up with a title. Sorry to be a tease, but I don't want to jinx myself by talking about specifics too soon. Alas, the class ends this week. I'll miss it!

OH! And Where Her Heart Is has done really well at Fictionwise since its release early this week. Much better than I expected. It's also available at Resplendence Publishing. Many thanks to everyone who has bought the book!

This is my wrap-up for the week. I hope to visit with you again on Monday!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Doorstep Daddy by Shirley Jump

I recently read this book, and really enjoyed it. A sweet story of a man who can't allow himself to be happy until he finally lets go of a painful event in his past. The heroine is a single mom struggling to keep everything going, and wishing she could spend more time with her daughter. A major "secondary" character is Sabrina, the eight-month-old baby who brings them together (with the help of a lovingly pushy neighbor, Mrs. Winterberry).

You can read the blurb and buy the ebook from Harlequin, or if you prefer print, follow this link to Doorstep Daddy.

Learn more about author Shirley Jump at her website and blog.


This is a book recommendation, not a review. I leave reviews to the professionals.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


There is a spiral staircase in the office where I work. At the top is...filing. Fortunately that staircase isn't nearly as long as the one pictured here.

I've always been intrigued by spiral staircases. They seem romantic. Not so terrific for carrying loads of files up and down, but what a lovely setting for a scene in a romance novel.

I like pretty stairways. During my teenage years our family lived in a big old house with a fancy stairway. A long straight descent, then a landing/turn and three more steps into the living room. I imagined getting married there. We'd have just a small gathering of family and friends, and I would be a vision in white, walking down the lovely stairway. Ooh! Aah! But we moved right after I finished high school, to an underground house with no Ooh! Aah! possibilities at all.

While looking for a picture of a spiral staircase, I saw this little bit of clip art that reminds me of the area where Gregory Peck's character lived in Roman Holiday. Love the movie, love the gorgeous settings. This isn't exactly like it, but it reminds me of that beautiful setting in a beautiful love story. Poor Audrey Hepburn. She never had a chance of withstanding the charm of it all!

Does anybody else have a thing about stairways, or is it just me?


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Now at Fictionwise!

I'm pleased to let you know that Where Her Heart Is can now be purchased at Fictionwise.

It's also available at Resplendence Publishing.

Where Her Heart Is tells the story of Betsy and Mike McClain, a young couple who must rediscover each other, and decide whether their broken marriage is salvageable.

Click either link, purchase, download, and--I hope--enjoy!


Monday, August 3, 2009

A big conversation

Had a big conversation this weekend. It was long overdue.

We talked about the writing, and what it will take to reach my goals. And oh yeah, the goals were re-examined, too. Some days they seem beyond my reach. Some mornings I wake up and wonder why I even try. But after the conversation I feel better.

Generally speaking, the plan is to get organized in all facets of my life. I used to be an extremely organized person--had quite a reputation for it. In the last several years though, I've been anything but. I think lack of organization affects me the way visual clutter does.

Extraneous stuff messes up my focus.

Now I have my goals and steps, story and promotion ideas all neatly compiled in one lovely Word document. It even has bullet points! I'll refer to it often, update, and check off items that have been accomplished.'re wondering who I had this big conversation with? Well, myself, of course! Just me and my Evil Twin.


Saturday, August 1, 2009 style

Hey, it's the weekend! Going to the movies tonight? Or maybe staying in, watching an old favorite?

Here is one of my favorite love stories, Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Audrey is an innocent princess in disguise, hiding from the constant limelight. Gregory is an embittered newspaper reporter badly in need of The Big Story.

Of course they fall in love. It's Rome, for goodness sake. And it's Audrey and Gregory. SIGH.

(Warning: this movie doesn't have the happily-ever-after we romance novelists strive to provide. But the ending is very memorable...)

What's a favorite romantic movie of yours?