Monday, November 30, 2009

Back to the grind

Back to the grind this morning after four days off work. May I share a secret? I know, I shared one Friday and it's hard to remember too many secrets... Okay, you don't have to keep this under wraps.

I'm glad to be heading back to work this morning. (Hey, this surprises even me!) I'm glad the alarm went off at 6:00 and I couldn't ignore it and roll over for an hour or so. I function so much better within a routine...a schedule. Ah, blessed organization!

Try not to notice that my slippers are mismatched. We're not perfect around here, you know.

And I imagine that by 4:00 I'll be glad to head away from work...

I'm going to try to curtail my blogging in December, and only post three days a week. We'll see how that particular schedule goes, shall we? It seems every time I try to cut back, important (to me) things happen and I feel the need to share them with you.

Happy Monday!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Shhh... It's a secret!

On the morning of Thanksgiving Day, I took a walk. This isn't unusual for me. What was unusual was that I saw two city police vehicles in the first few blocks. I met the first one and waved; the officer waved with more animation than I expected. The second police vehicle was following me. (Did I mention I was walking?) I heard the sound of an engine running, and when it didn't go by me after fifty yards or so, I looked around and saw the second cruiser. This one had its lights on.

Usually one pulls over when a police vehicle has its lights on and is following... But. Did I mention I was walking? The officer's window was down and I asked, "Are you looking for something?"

"Oh, no." He kept up with his very slow progress, finally passing me and then pulling off to the side.

The thoughts that went through my mind were that perhaps there was a desperado, or a rogue white tail deer, terrorizing our town, and these guys were looking...

But the officer said he wasn't looking for something. Huh.

As I trudged up a hill, two teenage girls in running gear trotted past me. Well, this never happens. I seldom see even one walker when I'm out, let alone a runner. Another half mile and I headed toward home the same way I had passed originally. I met dozens of walkers and a few runners. Some greeted me by name, others said Happy Thanksgiving.

That's when I realized I had thrown off the police escort for the YMCA walk. Those officers thought I was the leader of the pack! And guess what! It'll just be a secret between you and me that such was not the case.


Just FYI--Wednesday I posted Reason #5 that You Have Not Read The Blank Book.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reason #5 that You Have Not Read THE BLANK BOOK

Back by Popular Demand, our next installment in The Top Ten Reasons that You Have Not Read THE BLANK BOOK. Please visit the annals of this series by typing reason # in the search box at the top left of the blog. Blogger will find all the previous reasons and put them at your disposal for easy edification.

Okay. Here is Reason #5.

"The guy and girl are, like, such an unbelievably unlikely couple. I mean, a movie star dude coming to a small town and falling in love with a woman who has never lived anywhere else? Puh-lease!"

Oh, but my dears, this is the stuff of which dreams are made! Movie star dudes are wasting away wishing they could meet and fall in love with small town girls and live happily ever after. Small town girls are wishing somebody interesting would stop in at the local five and dime and sweep them off their feet and into a new, exciting life.

Plus. There is a whole lot more to Alice Williams than the title "small town girl" would suggest. Robert Diamond is handsome, debonnaire, and even a nice guy when he's not sleep-deprived. They need each--nobody else will do--because of what The Blank Book is doing to their lives.  They both have history... Well, we don't want to get into all that, do we? That might be giving too much away. I don't want to spoil any surprises for you.

Fortunately if you buy ebooks from Fictionwise, The Blank Book is one of the many titles discounted 45% this week. WOW.

To read the blurb and an excerpt, click the cover in the right margin here for whichever you prefer--ebook or paperback. I hope you'll give Alice and Robert a chance. They really are such a neat couple.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Books! and, like, ways to read them!

Since I'm too lazy to write anything original, I'll share some links. If you already know all this, please accept my apologies.

Fictionwise is having yet another big sale. They're celebrating Black Friday all week, with 45% rebates on multiformat titles, and 45% micropay rebates on secure titles. There's also a sale on the Ebookwise reader. This device uses older technology and isn't particularly tiny or sleek, but I know people who have the Ebookwise and absolutely love it!

Literary agent Nathan Bransford posted a blog yesterday, The Top Ten Myths about E-Books. I get a kick out of his sense of humor, but he's also a very pragmatic guy.

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine said she was considering the Google Droid phone from Verizon, which can read ebooks. I was mortified that I hadn't heard of the Droid. I did run across a very engaging review of it by someone who considers herself non-techy. Go to Dear Author blog to read the review.

When my iPAQ gives up--no signs of that yet, thank goodness!--I'll likely go to a phone that can read books and keep my calendar, etc. I love the idea of all that capability in one cute little package.

And for those of you who think Brave New World when talk turns to e-reading, here is a link to my favorite big, wonderful bookstore in Louisville, Kentucky--Borders on Shelbyville Road. I started going there when it was an independent called Hawley-Cooke, and when the Hawleys and Cookes sold out, I transferred my loyalty to Borders for keeping the store going. I told a friend at work about the store last Friday; she tried it this weekend and fell in love with the place. If you've read The Blank Book, this is the store I had in mind when Alice went book-shopping and saw the movie poster on her way out. The photo doesn't do justice to the store, which is beautiful, and on three levels. (There isn't a coffee shop. I made that up for Alice.)

Well... I feel as if I wrote a blog, even though all I did was give you some links. Happy reading!


Monday, November 23, 2009


Last night, thanks to a writer friend, I think I figured out what has been missing from my current WIP.

I celebrated with a supper of popcorn, and while munching this healthy meal, finished reading Lakeshore Christmas by Susan Wiggs. Then I needed to clean my beloved bifocals, because I had specks of runny mascara on them. The book ended beautifully. I dare you to read it without shedding at least a few tears. Happy tears--you know the kind.

The love story is between small-town librarian Maureen Davenport and former child star Eddie Haven. But there is so much more going on. This book is about miracles and second chances and working together as a community.

Lakeshore Christmas is available in hardcover or ebook at various locations, including Barnes & Noble. You can learn more about Susan Wiggs at her website and her blog.

(In case you didn't know it, I love Susan's books, and I hope to eventually write well enough to put specks on my readers' bifocals.)


Friday, November 20, 2009

Was this a crazy week, or is it just me?

I don't know what the sign of the moon is right now, but if it isn't full, it should be. It seems there has been an overabundance of stress and drama the last several days in various parts of my life.

Don't worry--I'm not going to load you down with details. I'm guessing you have plenty of your own stress, anyway.

I'll just say that I'm worn out with it. Hoping really hard that the weekend will be pleasant.

If all else fails, I can always come here to Magdalenaville and take a few minutes to chill out on these cute little steps. Feel free to do the same.

Happy weekend!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Let's talk romance

Boy, sometimes I like clip art a whole lot. What a nice picture, huh? Wow. I type in "romance" and up pops this gorgeous picture. Sheesh...

Anyway, I do have a topic, and that topic is the chat I'll be participating in, with several other Resplendence Publishing authors. It happens online, tonight from 8:00 to 10:00 PM EST.

There will be lots of different types of romances discussed, and blurbs and excerpts tossed out for your reading enjoyment. There are usually prizes at such events, too, if that piques your interest at all. (I don't know about you, but my favorite kind of prize is a free ebook download.)

Tonight, November 19, join us at CoffeeTime Romance for the chat. Follow this link to participate.

I'll just hang out for a while and look at this clip art if nobody minds.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What motivates you?

I'm not just talking to writers, but to everyone.

What motivates you in your career? What is the reason that you get up and do your job on Tuesday when you just had a horrible day on Monday?

I once had a co-worker who would answer that with, "I love my house."

She was single and had no one else to rely on to make the mortgage payments, but she was--is--also a very talented and energetic woman. She could have gone out and gotten another job pretty easily. (Note: this was years ago and the job market was quite different.) So, why did she stay in a job she said she disliked? I don't think it was money, though I think she believed it was.

Stream of consciousness, I'm going to throw out some possibilities for what motivates you. Grab onto one or more, or discard the lot and add to the list.

1. Money
2. Fear
3. Love what I do
4. This is my calling
5. Love my co-workers
6. Short commute/great working conditions
7. Self esteem
8. Respect/adoration from others
9. Never thought of changing
10. Work hours accommodate my personal life
11. Family business/no choice
12. It gets me out of the house
13. My work makes a difference
14. If I don't do it, nobody will

Can you tell I'm in one of my analytical moods?


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Big sale at Fictionwise

Fictionwise is offering Multiformat books at a big savings this week--30 to 40 percent off, depending on whether or not you are a member. I am a member, and that 40 percent off price tag is very tempting!

Multiformat books are generally offered by small presses, so this sale should be good for the little guy.

All my books are available at Fictionwise
. Just in case you were wondering...


Monday, November 16, 2009

Swirl. But the good kind.

Saturday I received some lovely feedback from the first Legend anthology, Finding Home. (Thank you, Jennifer!) You can read her nice comment on Friday's blog post.

I spent much of Saturday reading and editing my current story, and Sunday I started moving forward again. (I didn't want it to be another holiday story, which is where it was accidentally going. Oopsie.) LizBeth Ann is a minor character in this story, and it's such fun to write LizBeth Ann dialogue again. What a cutie pie!

(In the back of my mind, I'm mulling over the next project, which I think will be more romantic women's fiction instead of straight romance. But that's the back of my mind, a place known more for its cobwebs and confusion than for anything else. Still, mulling is enjoyable, and surely burns a calorie or two, so why not?)

Also on Sunday I learned that books have been ordered for a December 5 signing of Three Decades of Love. The signing will be held at Salem Apothecary, on the town square in Salem, Indiana. This is the afternoon of a community event called Christmas Around the Square, and it should be a busy and festive time. Another fun thing about the December 5 signing is that Jan Scarbrough plans to be there signing the anthology with me!

I attended a great concert with friends Friday evening, talked to The Progeny on the phone Sunday (OMIGOSH, that's what his voice sounds like! I'd nearly forgotten!) and did other non-writerly stuff like adding to the Goodwill donations bag and throwing a few things away. All in all, a terrific weekend.

Now if we can just carry over that feeling into the work week... What do you think the chances are?


Friday, November 13, 2009

Magdalena is on a BookTour. Kinda.

I have really been a slacker on my internet promotion stuff recently, but I did finally remember to add a booksigning to my BookTour page.

If you're not familiar with BookTour, it's a nifty tool for both readers and writers. You can search for a favorite author, and see if there is a signing in your area. You can sign up for email updates within a certain distance, and get email notice of authors who are coming to your area.

I put a BookTour widget on my website Appearances page, and the Appearances button here at the blog goes to the website, so I only have to put the date once at BookTour, and it goes everywhere.

As long as, you know, I remember to do it once.


Happy Weekend!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Monday I had issues with three computers. My new laptop locked up for (this is an estimate) the milliontieth time. Then at work I could not log on. Typing the password exactly as it was given to me, all I got was an obnoxious na-na-na-na-na computer sound. So I went to another computer and things were going fine--until I got tossed out of the program I was using.

Four times.

I forget what happened Tuesday.

Wednesday morning as I did my usual check Gmail, check Yahoomail, put up a blog, Twitter, Facebook, check the weather forecast, all in separate tabs, the new laptop locked up again. There was nothing for it but to shut the thing down. Just like I did Monday (and maybe Tuesday. I forget). Not a good habit to get into.

Thank goodness I finally took the advice of my tech guru. He had said perhaps I should go back to Mozilla Firefox because Google Chrome isn't up to dealing with all my insanity. That isn't quite the way he worded it, but that is the gist. I downloaded Firefox, imported my bookmarks, and so far, so good. As I write this, I intentionally have all those same tabs open.

I have to admit, I'm really proud that I was able to accomplish this small task by myself, instead of just yelling at the new laptop, sending a frazzled email to the tech guru (oh yeah, I couldn't do that; locked up!) and digging out the old laptop to try to write.

Writing is what I was supposed to be doing. But I couldn't even open a Word document... cuz it was locked up...

All is well, for now. And I wrote about 3,000 words on the new laptop yesterday. But I still have my chisel and stone tablet in storage, just in case.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sigh of relief

There are no bookstores in my small town. A few stores sell books, and there is a Bible bookstore/gift shop, but, as is becoming more the case across the nation, we don't have an independent we're-here-just-to-sell-brand-new-books kind of shop. I know people who have considered it at times, and I imagine they're glad now that they didn't make the investment. Many independents are having a grim time of it, as are chains.

I was holding my breath this morning when I saw a link at the RWA-WF chapter website about Waldenbooks closing approximately 200 stores. Waldenbooks, about thirty miles away, is the nearest actual brick and mortar bookstore to me, a little shop tucked into an old shopping mall. Somehow through the years the mall has remained viable, and evidently so has the bookstore, because it isn't among those listed in the PR Newswire article. So I breathed a sigh of relief, and plan to buy something there next time I'm in the area, in celebration.

Last year I mostly gave books for Christmas, and this year looks like more of the same. Maybe books and bookstore gift cards. Hm...


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The RWA-WF CyberTour is a busy place! Please meet Terri Dulong, a fellow member of RWA-WF, and author of recently released Spinning Forward, a women's fiction title.

Tell me about your book.

A New Englander born and bred, the last place Sydney Webster expects to find herself starting over is on an island off the west coast of Florida. Yet here she is in Cedar Key, trying to pull herself together after her husband’s untimely death and the even more untimely revelation of his gambling addiction. Syd takes shelter at a college pal’s bed and breakfast, leading her to discover her true identity and feminine soul. Her passion for spinning and knitting draws attention due to the unique composition of her wool and a door is opened. She finds herself in the embrace of a community rich with love, laughter, friendship . . . and secrets. A tale of new beginnings, old friends and lives forever bound.

What pulled you into the story and made you think "I have to write this?"

The actual people of Cedar Key, the small town where I now reside, made me feel I wanted to write about the closeness and caring of a small community. As far as my main character, not all women have the final say-so when it comes to decisions or financial matters in their marriage and although it may seem fine and easy at the time, my story deals with the fact that women owe it to themselves to be aware of these issues. For Sydney, her uninvolved attitude came back to bite her.

What is your writing process and where do you write?

When I’m on deadline, I begin around ten in the morning and generally work six to eight hours a day. When we moved to Cedar Key, we had a writer’s studio built for me, detached from our house but connected by a screened lanai. So this is where I work.

What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

I’d have to say my favorite thing about writing is all the feedback I get from my readers. Their comments on my characters, plot, how my story affected them, etc. Least favorite? Call me Pollyanna, but I really don’t have one. I love writing and the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a story.

What is next for you?

My Christmas novella that I’m doing in the anthology with Fern Michaels headlining will be released November 2010, the same time that my second book in the Cedar Key series will be out.

SPINNING FORWARD released by Kensington Publishers Oct. 27, 2009

Book #2 in the Cedar Key Series and Christmas Novella with Fern Michaels headlining the anthology to be released November 2010

Monday, November 9, 2009

Now at Amazon and thanks for families

Three Decades of Love is available at Amazon. Go here to look at the buy page. It generally takes a few days for all the bells and whistles to kick in, like the excerpt, search inside, and having it show up on my author store page. This is the first, and of course very exciting, step. Yay!

I'm pleased and surprised to report that I added nearly four thousand words to my NaNo story this weekend. Yay for the inspiration provided by innocent people who don't realize their behavior might show up on a page of one of my books.

For various reasons, I have been focused on Real Life lately, both good and bad. It all makes me particularly grateful for family and friends. How appropriate that in the midst of the last few days' sorrow I was suddenly reminded of a bit of my mother's wisdom. It helped me see things more clearly. Today is her birthday, and a cousin and I are lighting candles.


Friday, November 6, 2009

We lost one

I'm very blessed to have grown up with a wonderful extended family. (This isn't them. This is clip art.)

Yesterday one of my uncles passed away, and tonight and tomorrow we'll gather to honor him.

I am such a product of my environment, a small community where we generally do visitation at the funeral home one night, and gather again for the funeral the following day.

My uncle's sweet widow will be swept up in hugs and stories tonight, and her fridge and kitchen counters will groan under the weight of the food brought in by friends and church members. Funeral day will be wrenching, we'll hear a sermon as well as a eulogy, and most likely the church will serve a meal to the extended family afterward.

I'm such a product of my environment, where for the most part, people live to old age, families have annual reunions, and when you're sad, everybody cares. I guess it's pretty obvious why I write the kinds of stories I do.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Paperback and widgets

The paperback anthology was released yesterday. I am looking forward to the UPS guy delivering author copies. He just has no idea how much he lights up my life when he delivers books that have my name on the front.

Here is the buy page for Resplendence Publishing. The book should be up at Amazon in a week or so.

NaNo is going well. The site has some word count widgets, and I've tried to embed one here, but it wasn't functional at the time. I'll keep trying, because--call me crazy--I love a good widget.

Maybe a word count widget would be a useful thing for me to have twelve months of the year instead of just during November. I'm thinking it should be suspended from the ceiling of the sitting room, right at my eye level.

Or not.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Publisher's Weekly - wahoo!

Three Decades of Love, this year's Legend Christmas anthology, is in the book blurbs on Barbara Vey's Publisher's Weekly blog! Wahoo!

A million thanks to Joyce Ann (honorary citizen of Legend, though I still owe her a key to the city...). Joyce Ann reviewed the stories. And of course all of Romanceland loves Barbara, who is a big proponent for the genre in the publishing world (and the regular world, too).

The print anthology will be available soon (be still my heart!), and as I've probably mentioned a quadrillion times, the novellas are sold separately as ebooks. The Christmas Heart, A Groovy Christmas, and Under the Mistletoe are ready and waiting to get you into the holiday spirit.

(Have you never noticed that when I'm excited, I use more parentheses?)




Tuesday, November 3, 2009

CyberTour: Deb Stover and THE GIFT

Deb Stover is doing a CyberTour on blogs of members of Romance Writers of America Women's Fiction Chapter. This is a nifty way for members to introduce their blog readers to other members' books. I only recently met Deb online, and haven't read her book yet, so this is all new and exciting!

Plus I've never hosted a cybertour before. So okay, I'm a smidge nervous. Fortunately Deb isn't. See she's smiling? Thanks, Deb, for visiting us here at Magdalenaville! Now for the interview...

Tell me about The Gift.

Certain members of the Dearborn Family are born with some variance of an empathic gift. Beth's "gift" manifests in a particularly frightening manner, by enabling her to experience the final moments of those who've died violently. As an adult, she chooses a career as a homicide detective, and--obviously--is very successful. However, the experience of being "murdered" repeatedly takes a terrible toll and she turns to alcohol for solace. When she hits bottom and seeks treatment for her addiction, she is convinced the only way she can stay sober is to somehow suppress her gift-turned-curse by avoiding places where the spirit of someone who died violently might contact her. She leaves her position and takes one as a nomadic insurance investigator.

Her new career keeps her safe and sober for three years. Convinced her gift has faded from lack of use, she finally accepts an assignment involving possible life insurance fraud, which leads her to a small town in eastern Tennessee.

Ty Malone's wife, Lorilee, disappeared over seven years ago. Though the town and his father-in-law remain convinced she ran away to pursue a career as a painter in Europe, he has always maintained that the only thing that could keep his wife away from her children is death. It's time to learn the truth, so he petitions the court to have her declared legally dead. The life insurance claim brings investigator Beth Dearborn into his life.

The Gift is part mystery, part ghost story, part suspense, part romance, part thriller. The novel also touches on the issue of women and alcoholism on various levels. Beth is a recovering alcoholic, and the reader will also meet a character who is a practicing one.

Both Beth and Ty will be forced to face their greatest fears to learn the truth, and to find happiness.

What is your writing process and where do you write?

I prefer to write at my desk, mostly for comfort. Since I have rheumatoid arthritis, ergonomics are extra important. I have a special keyboard, keyboard tray, chair, mouse, etc. I love my laptop, but if I spend too much time on it, I pay the price. I'm typically a very early morning writer--a lark--and often wake hours before dawn to work while the rest of the house is sleeping soundly. I love quiet, and rarely listen to music while working--especially in first draft. While editing, I can listen to anything, but in first draft I can't have any lyrics. They pull me out of the story.

I'm very much a "pantser"--and I have to say I hate that term. I much prefer Jo Beverley's "writing into the mist" description. I start with a character in a situation, then start writing. Once I have a global idea of the general plot and the cast of characters, I write a narrative synopsis and send it to my agent. Once we go to contract, do any revisions to the proposal, if requested, I plunge ahead. I confess my finished product does not always follow that synopsis verbatim. And I NEVER outline. Perish the thought....

What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

My favorite thing is that it's my favorite thing. Okay, seriously, I love being able to work in my pajamas. I stagger out of bed in the morning, get my fuzzy slippers and robe, my mug of strong coffee, and plop myself in front of the computer with an adoring dog at my side. Much better than dressing up and fighting traffic on the freeway.

My least favorite thing would have to be worrying about the business side of this, and promotion. In a perfect world, writers could just write and not have to worry about numbers and promo and covers and... ::sigh::

How do you fight writer's block?

I wish I knew. Once upon a time, I didn't believe in writer's block. Then life kicked me in the teeth and taught me otherwise when my husband's cancer came out of remission. Losing him to cancer gave me a case of "writer's block" that lasted years. I'm just now climbing out of that deep, dark hole. I'm not sure there's anything a writer can do to fight it, other than nurture our muse and keep trying. I finally had to ask my editor to give me a new deadline. She had left it at, "Whenever you finish it..." Ha! I finally said, "If you don't give me a real deadline, I'll never finish this book." She did and I did. I guess I'm one of those writers who has to have a deadline to get anything done.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

It's your book. Trust your instincts. There are no rules. Critique is a smorgasbord--take what you want and leave what you don't. There are a thousand how-to books, workshops, and know-it-alls out there dying to tell you how to do your job. There is no special handshake. There is no secret potion. There is no magic elixir. You only have yourself, your muse, and the blank screen/Big Chief Tablet/whatever medium you choose. Keep throwing the spaghetti against the wall until something sticks.

Happy reading!


The Gift ~ Now Available! ~ Love Spell

Monday, November 2, 2009

I've gone and done it

I've gone and done it--something a little wild. No, I didn't bleach my hair blonde and go shopping wearing an orange knitted hat. Wilder than that!

I joined another chapter of Romance Writers of America. That's three for me! (I'm usually not a "joiner." Really.) This new chapter is so new that I'm a charter member. The chapter was created for those who write or seek to write romantic women's fiction. Soon I'll have lots more to tell you about this, like the chapter's official definition of romantic women's fiction. When the website and blog are live I'll give you the links. Can't wait to show you the pretty logo.

I'm thrilled to be a part of the group, even though I'm just an upstart. Several of the other members are women whose books you've been reading--and loving--for years. I'm already learning lots!