Thursday, December 30, 2010

A fresh start

Midnight Shelby is one of my favorite characters. She's beautiful and exotic, and she's a risk taker. After a painful divorce, Midnight left New York City. Legend, Tennessee barely showed on a map, but she discovered it in some internet research, bought a big old building, and moved there to start over.

And now...Midnight is starting over again, but in a different way. Her novella will be re-released by Turquoise Morning Press in February. More later about the print book with all four of the first Legend stories. The series has grown quickly, but it started with the Ladies of Legend: Finding Home anthology of Claiming the Legend by Janet Eaves, Midnight in Legend, TN (by me), Bed, Breakfast and You by Maddie James, and The Reunion Game by Jan Scarbrough.

It seems like a good time of year to talk about a fresh start. And it was high time I showed off Midnight's lovely novella cover.

Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Putting up a tree

Thought maybe I should go ahead and put up a tree. This one goes right along with my current mindset of trying to simplify life as much as possible.

Have a merry little Christmas!


Thursday, December 2, 2010


The writer's life isn't all "up," even when real life is going reasonably well. So I thought I'd share some really nice news about the Legend Christmas novellas. Each of them was recently reviewed at Two Lips Reviews, and each got That's really good!

In chronological order, here is the link for Janet Eaves' 1945 Through Her Eyes, Jan Scarbrough's 1969 Not Quite Christmas, and my 1978-set novella, The Holly and the Ivy. Many thanks to reviewer Rose...her honorary key to the town of Legend is in the mail.  :)


Saturday, November 27, 2010


I have been thinking about colors lately. My son and I had a discussion about text color on book covers the other day. And I've been thinking about (not doing, but thinking about) painting the living room...

And...well...I'm updating my hair color. Pretty excited about this--I'm going with whatever the natural color really is. Lots of white, I can tell. Not as much chestnut brown as there used to be. But you know what? I think I'm okay with it. If I'm not, I have a box of color in the bathroom drawer. I seldom fly without a net.

It goes right along with my re-reading of Simple Abundance, about becoming authentic. I used to have (without the box) dark brown hair. Further in the past--elementary school--I was a blonde, but few remember those days. A neat thing is that I keep happening on people who are also in the process of going natural. A cousin of my husband's, a friend of mine whom I don't see often. I find myself noticing and appreciating gray or white hair all the time. It's surprisingly pretty!

I call it Silverizing. Because, you know, I can if I want.

I just finished reading Anne Kreamer's terrific book, Going Gray. Highly recommend this even if you're not planning to silverize any time soon. (I love the cover photo. Love it.)

This is not huge news. I realize I'm not rocking your world. Just sharing. I figure, as complicated as my life is right now, I'm adopting silverizing as my new hobby. Easy and inexpensive. And, believe it or not, fun!


P.S. I will attempt to link to IndieBound when possible for books. Just a reminder to buy books at independent bookstores if you're able and so inclined.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My two lives

Life on the plateau isn't as good as it was, but although we're sliding off, it is a gradual descent. I am so grateful my husband still has no headaches from the brain tumor. Grateful, too, for the amazing love and encouragement many, many people.

Still, sometimes it is my "other" life--the writing life--that bails me out of depression. Like today when Maddie James told me about the glowing review of A Piece of Her Soul posted on the Amazon book page for the anthology Something Spooky this Way Comes. Many thanks to the reviewer, Arkali, for a much-needed UP on a mostly DOWN day.

And guess what?!? It looks as if early December may bring paperbacks of the 2010 Legend anthology, A Christmas to Remember. Stay tuned for the unveiling of the anthology cover. I'm looking forward to it; the novella covers have been particularly nice this year.

Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY is hosting the annual Kentucky Romance Writers booksigning in just a few days. I haven't done a big public writerly thing in a while; maybe I've forgotten how! We'll find out on Saturday, November 20, 2:00-4:00 PM. I'm hitching a ride with author Jan Scarbrough. I betcha we'll talk writing stuff on the drive. *Sigh*


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Story Collection

Surprise! I'm writing again, and it feels great!

I can't dedicate much time to writing, but what a thrill to have a short story in this nifty collection, coming soon from Turquoise Morning Press.

I know I am the caregiver around here, but this short story has been great medicine for me.

If you haven't already bought your copy of The Holly and the Ivy, it's available now in Kindle format at Amazon.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ready for a Christmas snuggle?

Eli McClain, that bad boy singer and Jeannie Adams, faithful stuck-in-the-mud Legend resident, are so darn cute together. They have a history, and if love conquers all, they a future.

Read more about Eli and Jeannie on The Holly and the Ivy book page at All Romance eBooks. While you're reading--and shopping--check out Janet Eaves' Through Her Eyes and Jan Scarbrough's Not Quite Christmas.

Hey--it's Christmas, right? Better treat yourself to all three of the Legend Christmas novellas! Go ahead. This excuse only comes around once a year.

Happy reading!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Return to Legend

Wow, I am deeply in like with the covers for this year's Ladies of Legend Christmas novellas--
Jan Scarbrough's Not Quite Christmas, Janet Eaves' Through Her Eyes, and mine--The Holly and the Ivy.

I wanted you all to be the first to know that they are NOW AVAILABLE in electronic format at Resplendence Publishing. Whee!

Read the blurbs and excerpts by clicking on the novella titles in the first paragraph here. There are lots more Ladies of Legend books. If you haven't read them all, check out the Legend, Tennessee website. Our little town of Legend is always a good place to spend some time. After all, it's "Where Romance Lives Next Door."


Monday, September 6, 2010


Yesterday and today I've sat through a couple of long meetings. Meetings with myself. The meetings looked almost nothing like the picture at left, except there was a tree nearby.

The first meeting was to take stock--I began with a list of the numbers 1 to 100, and next to each I wrote something to be thankful for. I stopped at 100, but could have gone on for a while. Most of the "things" weren't things at all, as you might imagine.

Then on one side of a steno pad, I made a list of the negatives in my life. On the other side of the vertical line, I wrote the positives. Not just random positives, but things that are positive about my problems. This was an eye-opener.

I've been re-reading Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. These two exercises were in some of the recent chapters. (The book is set up to be read January 1 to December 31, but I started in August with the first chapter. Such a rebel.) I've loved this book for years, but it is more worthwhile to me now than ever before. I had intended to do the next exercise, but got busy with something else.

So I began the next exercise at about 3:30 this morning! It happens once in a while--I wake up with our family's problems on my mind. So I decided to lose some sleep in order to gain some peace of mind. I wrote out the conversation with myself. With my husband's illness, so much about our lives has changed. My mind is constantly full of what I should be doing--worries, questions, possible solutions--but it's just a chaotic swirl. Writing things down always helps me, and today was no exception.

I won't bore you with details, but I must take a sabbatical from writing. I don't have time and energy to do what I have to do in real life, and do my writer gig too. If I try, neither will be my best.

Each day lately when I fail to work on a story, I feel like a failure in general. In order to get through our family's situation as well as possible, I have to take care of myself--mentally, physically, and spiritually. If I don't do that, I can't take care of anyone else. 

I intend to post here at least once a month. I hope you won't forget me; I won't forget you. There are books I want to write, and one of these days it will be time for that.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In my mind

On a recent shopping trip, my friend told me I should not be looking at short skirts. As a woman of a certain age, I am beyond that. Wearing a short skirt would make it seem as if I were trying to look twenty-five.Well, I'm not trying to look twenty-five. But I feel good, and I thought if I liked the skirt it would be okay...

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm twice twenty-five and change. But I don't creak, at least not very often...

And then the picture CD from our family reunion arrived. OUCH. Not only am I not twenty-five, I look four times that, at least. I have chicken neck and am making weird faces, and NOT SMILING. What's up with that? I am a person who smiles a lot. Or at least I used to be.

So today I started Smile Therapy. It will make me feel better, and the wrinkles it causes will be at the corners of my mouth instead of between my brows.

I am smiling as I type this. See my smile?  :)

I think it would look good with a miniskirt...or maybe not...


Saturday, July 17, 2010

No more assumptions

Just a quick word today on an entirely different topic--the reinvention of me.

Remember back in 2008 when I said I was reinventing myself? And then my husband got sick and the reinvention process got really serious?

Here is something I have learned. I am not always wrong. Believe it or not, this was a huge surprise. The context of this realization is that we have received several billing statements this year that were in error. Many, but not all, are medically related. We are talking thousands of dollars that we did not owe, but for which we were being incorrectly billed. When this happens I sigh heavily and go into The Mode. Make calls, follow-up calls, send emails, follow-up emails, and produce records. Most of the time people are very pleasant on the phone, yet a correction almost always requires at least one follow-up call. The process often takes weeks.

I am not writing this as a rant. It is an epiphany to me that I need to watch everything so very closely. Who has time to second-guess every single bill that arrives in email or snail-mail? Just guessing this isn't just happening at our house; likely everyone needs to make the time. In this case, time is definitely money.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Celebrating the completed first draft!

Whee! Breaking out all manner of bubbly to celebrate the fact that I finally completed the first draft of my Christmas novella.

I am mortified to be so horribly behind on my deadline, and I am also extremely grateful to Resplendence Publishing and my editor, who have been wonderfully patient with me. This is, of course, the worst time of my life, and I struggled like crazy to try to get my head into the story. I did not want to renege on the contract, but was still afraid I could never finish the novella.

Thank you for being with me through this past week for the word count challenge. Your encouragement, and the fact that my daily count was hanging out in the air for the whole world to see, are what got Jeannie Adams and Eli McClain to The End.

As I said, it's the first draft. This afternoon I start back through it, and likely will do at least one more pass before sending it in. But what a huge, huge thrill to have gotten to this point. Thank you all for caring and for helping! I hope that, like my daily walks, the daily word count has now become a habit I can maintain most of the time.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Day Six

I took Sunday off from writing, and today my muscles were sluggish. But I did finally manage 2,028 words for this 24-hour period. Giant sigh of relief. I was determined to make it, but still wondered...

And on another, somewhat tragic note, I went to the grocery today. Fortunately they have a resuscitation committee on hand for people like me who are surprised at the magnitude of their total bill. Aack!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day Five

Well, gosh darn it, my face is mostly gone again, but at least my hair is back to the right color. Must be the dark roast coffee... And here is our faithful companion Spot, who (in real life) had a bath this morning in spite of his better judgment.

Just wanted to drop in, share cute clip art AGAIN, and let you know I wrote 2,014 really fun words today. It is wonderful to feel productive, and to enjoy the story. Finally, Jeannie and Eli are real to me. Before this week they were--um--fictional. Can't have that, can we?



Friday, July 9, 2010

Report for Day Four

The word count challenge continues, as does my enjoyment of new clipart images. Here we discover one reason I don't write more words per day.

I should be typing with both hands! Instead of drinking--let's see, that looks like orange juice, right?--with one hand.

So, lesson learned, and I'll try to keep this mind in future.

Fortunately, today was a good day, word count challenge-wise.

2113! I didn't make up for yesterday, but I didn't fall further behind, so it is a victory!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone--and let's keep both hands on the keyboard, okay?


Day Three. Not Entirely My Fault.

It is not entirely my fault that word count for Day Three (Thursday) is slightly under 2,000. Um... 739, actually.

Disappointing to say the least, but I want you to know it was partly caused by my inability to find a Coffee IV clip art in my new Veer Images. Sometimes the stars just do not align.

Today will be better.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Report from Days One and Two

Really enjoying these new clip art pieces. Here I am trying to figure out how to drink coffee after accidentally erasing my face when I bleached my hair. Oopsie.

So the writing challenge is going well. Day One (Tuesday) I wrote 2,049 words, and today 2,074.

I might be able to do more, but don't want to strain a muscle. Especially with this face injury already in full swing.

Tomorrow--we take over the world! Bwahahaha... Or I write 2,000 words. Actually, I'd prefer that.

Check in with me tomorrow. Keep me honest. Keep me motivated. It's working great so far. Thanks, everybody for the comments, emails, Facebook stuff, etc. What fun! (Coffee helps, too. May have to do an IV if my mouth doesn't reappear by tomorrow.)


Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I'm sorry--just could not restrain myself. Somehow I have new clip art in my computer, and when searching for "laptop" I found this. Obviously my writing process is wrong on so many levels.

But seriously. What I'd like to request is that you help me for the next few days. In order to reach my goal, I want to write 2,000 words each day, for six days. Today being Day One, we will complete this task on July 12. (I'm going to take Sunday off.)

At the end of each day, or the beginning of the next if I'm too sleepy to function, I will post the word count for the twenty-four hour period. Your mission (yadda yadda) is to check in and see how I'm doing. Heckle me if I'm slacking, etc.

Today so far I have zero words. So on my mark, get set--go!


Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Gotta love an email that contains a lovely gift. Yesterday I opened an email from Night Owl Reviews and got a fantastic surprise. Not only had reviewer Maria read Home Sweet Legend, she really, really liked it.

She gave it a 5 out of 5! So here is the beautiful Top Pick emblem that I am allowed to display, so potential readers can know the story struck a chord with a reviewer.

Of course all of this is subjective. This business is painfully subjective, which is why I am standing on my mountaintop enjoying the experience while I can.

Here is a snippet of the review:

"I loved this novella by Magdalena Scott; it’s a sweet romance with just a little bit of spice and is part of the “Ladies of Legend” series by a group of authors. This novella can be read as a stand alone book, it’s not necessary to read the rest of the series first. The characters are well written and the plot moved at a very comfortable pace. This story truly brings out nostalgia about living in a small town, where everyone knows everyone else and where the community comes together to help each other achieve the best."

To read all of what Maria said, go to Night Owl Reviews.

Whee! ...Now back to work on the Christmas novella...smiling...


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Just enjoying the sea breeze

Here I am, in front of our beach house, finishing yet another 100,000-word novel. Whew! Only three weeks for this one!

But seriously. Say hello to the nice clip art lady. She is here to help me share good news that Home Sweet Legend is now available at All Romance eBooks, where it was featured (last time I looked) in the "What's Hot" section.

It also showed up today at Amazon for Kindle. My Amazon author page isn't exactly bursting at the seams, but it has a nice cozy feel.

So, I'm a writer, true? Because I have books with my name on them? That makes me a writer? And rich and famous and the coolest mom on the block?

Uh, no, don't think so. What makes me a writer is sitting down at my laptop even though I don't have a beachfront house, even though real life intervenes, even though I would sweat blood trying to eke out a 100,000 word novel in a year. (I think.)

And even though most people will never ever see my cozy Amazon author page. I write because it's who I am. A finished story is a wonderful gift I give myself. Lucky me to get to share it with you, if you're interested.

Thank you for joining me in the little celebration. Clam bake at the casa later...


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Now available. *Sigh*

Many thanks to the wonderful people at Resplendence Publishing, who have been so good to me during my husband's illness.

Home Sweet Legend released today as an ebook on the Resplendence site. In the near future it will be available at third party retailers like Fictionwise, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks, and Amazon. Eventually it will come out in paperback as a two-book anthology with Where Her Heart Is.

To read an excerpt, go here. I love Greg and Chloe. Just love them. Definitely hope you will too!

A neat thing about the timing for this--Maddie James' new book, Romancing the Scone, also released today. Maddie's matchmaking chef series is a spin-off of the original Legend book. If you were needing a Legend, Tennessee fix, today should help.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Items in, items out

We continue to enjoy a plateau of "okay-ness" here. My husband's strength is increasing, he is able to get out daily because of nice weather, and so many lovely memories have been made, thanks to friends and family.

Happy memories in.

Also in is my new cover. Home Sweet Legend is the story of Greg Andrews and Chloe McClain, who were both supporting characters in Where Her Heart Is. I love the cover's rich texture, the fact that Chloe's art is represented there with the paint brush and the interesting light on the models, and particularly because it makes me feel the passion that exists between these two characters from page one. The story is sweet in that there is no love scene, but there is lots of tension and innuendo. What I have put them through--shame on me! But it will all be worth it. :) Publication date to be announced... You'll hear me shouting about it later.

Going out is stuff. I've been purging stuff, little by little, the last few months. Today the floor-length crinoline (yes, seriously, I have one of these) is going into one of the bags for Goodwill. I think I only wore it once, for our local pioneer festival. It's amazing what one can accumulate without even trying.

The less stuff I have, the lighter I feel, and the more capacity I seem to have for enjoying life. What a great trade-off.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So many pretty flowers

Yes, I know it's a dandelion, but isn't it amazing? There are lots of these in our yard right now. They looked so pretty when they were yellow, too--before changing into this beautiful yet ominous seed-delivery unit. On the way to a much-dreaded appointment Monday, I was enthralled by a field of wild mustard. I know it's a weed, but that big field of yellow was gorgeous anyway.

Our other "pretty flowers" include the fact that my husband is now strong enough to use a walker part of the time and is no longer stuck in the wheelchair. He can walk without help for brief spans, but a walker gives him needed stability. This is the man who, last fall, was mowing our yard, and a couple of the neighbors' yards, too, if they got busy and didn't have time. This is the man who tilled and tended a huge garden every year, who could out-work many guys half his age. Because he was just plain strong. And determined.

Now he has a small collection of vegetable and flower plants for a miniature garden in our back yard. It will be good for him to get out and dig in the dirt. I didn't realize he would regain this much strength, didn't realize he might have another season as a gardener. I'm so glad to have been wrong.

Yesterday I gave a talk about my writing career. I had notes but didn't refer to them; just stood there and talked, then answered questions. I mentioned my husband, and the fact that the career has been pretty much dormant for a few months. One of the ladies asked about him, and through some tears, I told her the story. Told her, too, that I recently laid down a book by one of my favorite authors because a character is suffering with Glioblastoma Multliforme, the same thing my husband has. That particular book will likely stay on my virtual shelf for a while. Just not ready for it now.

Edits for Home Sweet Legend were light, and I am so grateful to my new editor, Wendy, for her kind words. It's good to be doing some writing stuff, intermittent as it is. Good to be tending my miniature garden of words part-time. Thank you for visiting it.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

At long last

Omigosh, how long has it been since I sent a manuscript in for first-round edits? A million years, maybe?

As of just a few minutes ago, Home Sweet Legend is on its way to my editor at Resplendence Publishing. Sure hope she likes it!

We're still resting on a plateau here; my husband is physically stronger, and the beautiful spring weather has helped both of us.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


We seem to be resting on a plateau.

My husband's condition had worsened more or less steadily, radiation and chemotherapy notwithstanding, since his diagnosis December 22. But for the past three days he has been a bit more himself. I feel as if we are resting on a plateau after being on a three-month downward slide.

I don't know whether this plateau is wide or narrow, whether it has a steep drop-off or a gentle slope beneath it. Just very, very grateful that it is here for us. We have had more semblance of quality time, as he has been in my reality more often than in the one the brain tumor is creating.

Spring arrived a few days ago--the same day we were "gifted" with a ramp that makes it possible for me to take him out for a wheelchair walk whenever we want to go. We have a routine for all our daily tasks; it even allows me some time to write while he naps--at least on the days I don't have loads of paperwork to slog through.

Life is good here on the plateau. The respite is so refreshing.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

She's back!

Chloe McClain, back on my computer screen, giving Greg Andrews a rough way to go, and an introduction to falling in love, Legend-style.

Wow, I have missed these people!

I have a story to finish, a deadline long gone... And an opportunity to fall in love with Legend, Tennessee all over again.


Friday, March 5, 2010


There are some books I consider, some I definitely want, and some that are auto-buys.

Take Susan Wiggs' newest, The Summer Hideaway. I pre-ordered, even.

A friend of mine, fellow Kentucky Romance Writer member Cammie Eicher, recently saw her first book published. Congratulations, Cammie! Here's the striking cover for Out of the Shadows.


Happy weekend...and happy reading, everyone!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happily ever after?

If you read my January 18 post, you may have been wondering how we are doing. The answer is, in spite of everything, we are doing okay. We are determined to do okay.

These days I run into people all the time who have lost a loved one to this brain cancer. It takes the person away from you bit by bit, and you suffer a little differently as he loses each part of his personality or his functionality. Alzheimer's took my mother bit by bit over a period of ten years or so. Glioblastoma is likely to complete its work here in months.

At this point I am still able to care for my husband at home. There are lots of friends willing to come and help, day or night, at a moment's notice. My cell phone contacts have probably doubled in the last few weeks, because of so many offers of help.

Every day we get a card, or an email, or a call, or a visit, from people who care. Friends have shoveled our walks, picked up our groceries, invited us out to dinner. Dozens of people have taken my husband to his radiation treatments, over thirty miles from here. Six weeks of treatments, and except for me, he will likely have a different driver each time.

The community is pulling together and pulling us through this. It's not the happily ever after I would have chosen, but it's the one we have. Somehow, it will be okay.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow will out

I can't help but smile today, because we have a beautiful snow covering our part of the world. I love snow. It's cold, inconvenient, and really heavy to move--especially when you can't find the snow shovel and are moving it with a scoop shovel--but I love it!

Somehow, for me, snow transcends all that stuff. Even though my husband isn't having a particularly good day today, and yesterday sure wasn't much fun for either of us. Even though The Progeny couldn't make it home for a much-anticipated visit, due to the weather between home and school. Even though it's more work with the shoveling and cleaning up after Spot when he's been out, and mopping up after whoever comes through the front door today, it's all worth it.

Just because it's beautiful, I guess. It makes me happy.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nice to know the industry is still out there

Last night I actually spent a little time with my Google Feed Reader. Marked a lot of things "read" that I didn't have time to read, chose the option to hide the total of items unread so I wouldn't feel overwhelmed by how far behind I've gotten...
Then I started going through Publishers Weekly posts, and discovered that iPad had been introduced--and I had managed to hear about it on the same day. It looks interesting. Here is a link to the Publishers Weekly article, which is nice and short. There are a gazillion places to read more about it.

It might be a nice option for people, though right now it's really pricey. I like that it isn't "just" an ebook reading device. But once again I'm reminded how happy I am with iPAQ, which fits in my purse (or even my back pocket), and does lots of things (similar to iPad, it seems). In the last couple of months, I've pulled it out and read when there was time in hospital waiting rooms, doctor offices, etc. I keep medical notes in my laptop and sync to the iPAQ so I can refer to them away from home.

Anyway, no real point here except I'm interested to see a new device introduced that can do several things. I imagine that's the way ebooks will be read in the future.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Reinvention, the hard way.

Maybe you have noticed I haven't been here lately. Maybe you have noticed I haven't been at anybody else's blog lately, either. Today I decided I'd just as well tell you what is going on.

We have a crisis in our family. My husband has a cancerous brain tumor. It's fast-growing, inoperable due to its location, and is also considered incurable. He has changed so much in the last several weeks due to this horrible thing--he's gone from being the smartest, most capable person I know to someone who relies on me for just about everything.

When I first started writing this blog, in October 2008, I said I was going to reinvent myself. Back then my thinking was very, very superficial. In the last couple of months--especially this past month--I have been reinvented because of this cancer.

We live in a small town and are surrounded by hundreds of people who care about us and are incredibly supportive. Home-cooked meals have been brought in, volunteers take my husband to his daily radiation treatments, and we had a huge turnout for the pitch-in dinner held in my husband's honor. We receive cards, emails, calls, hugs, and more types of help than I can name.

But essentially, it comes down to me. Little me, the gal who avoids decision-making because she's bad at it, who hasn't checked the oil in her car in all these years of marriage because it was done for her... I'm not the same person I was a few months ago, or even a few days ago.

It's reinvention. I guess I'll be a better person because of it.

Lately a few people have asked me if I'm still writing. I had a book due to come out electronically in March, and I haven't quite finished writing it. Haven't touched it since (I'm guessing) mid-November when we were beginning to try to figure out the cause of my husband's symptoms. But if I can, I would like to write again. I want to go back to Legend, Tennessee, and reintroduce myself to the characters I left in the lurch so many weeks ago.

People do, I know. People persevere in creative pursuits even while their hearts are breaking and they are emotionally exhausted. Not sure if I'm that kind of people or not.

Thanks for listening. I have missed being here...


Monday, January 4, 2010

CyberTour: Susan Crandall and SLEEP NO MORE

We have a guest today, Susan Crandall, a fellow RWA-WF member whose novel Sleep No More is now available. Welcome, Susan! Now...

1. Tell me about your book.

SLEEP NO MORE is the story of Abby Whitman, who was a sleepwalker as a
child, setting a fire that destroyed the ancestral home and scarred her
younger sister for life. Abby's sleepwalking passed with puberty,
but the guilt did not. She lives alone, structuring her life to insure
that if her sleepwalking reoccurs no one else will be in harm's way.

Now Abby's mother has recently died, her sister is being her usual
manipulative self, and her father is showing signs of Alzheimer's.
And her sleepwalking has returned.

One night Abby awakens behind the wheel of her van at a fatal accident.
Sleepwalking, or more specifically, sleep-driving, is the only
explanation she can come up with for her presence at the scene. But it
soon becomes clear that there was a third party involved, and that
person begins making threats for Abby not to tell what she saw. But
Abby has no recollection of the accident. She seeks the help of a
family acquaintance and psychiatrist, Jason Coble to try to figure out
what happened at the accident and why someone is threatening her.

Abby's journey toward truth and self-forgiveness uncovers long
buried secrets in both her family and her town. Secrets someone will go
to any lengths to protect.

2. When did you first begin writing?

I didn't actually begin writing until I was in my thirties. My
younger sister sort of dragged me into it. She came to me one day with
a stack of paper and admitted she'd been writing in secret and
wanted me to look over her work. Being the older sister and an avid
reader, naturally I had an opinion. We worked on some stories together,
then she stopped writing, but I was totally hooked. I could no more
stop writing than I could stop reading. The first novel I wrote solo
was RITA and National Readers Choice winner, BACK ROADS.

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

I absolutely love the beginning stages of writing a book. I love the
brainstorming, the research, the exploring of possibilities, the laying
awake at night pondering "what ifs." It's the stage when
everything is possible and you aren't yet hampered with the reality
of making all of the parts work.

My least favorite? This may sound contradictory, but it's the blank
page, the blinking cursor waiting like a teacher with a tapping foot.
It's that stage between all of the daydreaming and actually having
something concrete to work with. It's the place where you have to
begin to make the real choices that will chart the course of your
character's journey. Once I have something started, it's fun to
work with it, expand, delve more deeply into my characters.

4. What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Because my son is writing his first novel, this is an easy question; I
give the same advice on a weekly basis:

1) Read widely, and read like a writer. When an author has elicited a
particular emotion from you as a reader, take the work apart and figure
out how he/she achieved it. Study the story construction, the pacing.

2) Continually hone your craft. Learn from workshops, classes, and just
chatting with other writers.

3) Learn to trust your writing instincts. We writers are filled with
self-doubt, constantly questioning the quality of our work. If
you're a writer, there is something special inside you that lead you
to it. Don't follow every suggestion made by everyone who has
glanced at your work. Carefully evaluate criticism. It's a
valuable tool, but it must be weighed.

4) And lastly, put on your armor and send your work out there into the
world. No one is going to come knocking on your door and say, "I
heard you're writing a book. I'd like to publish it." Yes,
you'll probably receive rejections. That's all part of the

5. What is next for you?

Now that SLEEP NO MORE is safely launched, I'm focusing on two
novels. One is a mainstream women's fiction. The other is a
slow-boil psychological suspense. I'm having a great time with both
of them!