Friday, January 28, 2011

Not Another Blog Tour!

Yes! I'm participating in another blog tour and this one is all about the romance. After all, next week is February, the month of love. So, join me and ten other TWRP authors for a blog tour of themes about romance and writing. Meet some TWRP authors and learn about their books and their personalities. There's also eleven chances each week to win a prize, so visit all the blogs to increase your chances of winning. And all you have to do for a chance to win is post a comment on the blogs. The more you post, the greater your chances of winning the weekly prize.

There will also be a grand prize at the end of the tour worth over $50! So come on and check us out starting next Wednesday, February 2 as we talk about the significance of first lines.

One February 9, we'll discuss where creative ideas come from. February 16, it gets personal as we talk about how we met our significant other. And lastly, on February,23, we're talking aout how to develop unique characters. Hmm. I'm going to have to think about this one myself. lol~

For a list of blog hosts and participating authors as well as a list of prizes, please visit

Looking forward to a month of fun and romance! So, come on. Join us!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Inspiration Inspires Imagination

I often find the most mundane of facts fascinating, and it often inspires my imagination. Others read some obscure fact or witness a seemingly normal occurrence and are inspired to invent.

Karl Friedrich Benz of Germany invented the first gas-powered automobile powered by an internal combustion engine. But it was America's own Henry Ford who made the automobile affordable by utilizing assembly lines in his factories.

The idea of utilizing a production assembly line came to Mr. Ford after he saw a dis-assembly line the Armour and Swift meat packing plants used to process meat.

And nature inspired Swiss inventor George de Mestral to create Velcro. When he and his dog returned from a walk in the woods, they were both covered in burs. He looked at the burs under a microscope and got the idea for a new type of fastener. He named his invention Velcro from the words velour and crochet.

 And Martin Cooper became inspired to invent the cell phone from watching Captain Kirk speak into his communicator. Much of the futuristic technology in the science fiction series Star Trek is based on real science.
Makes me wonder if teleportation might one day be possible. It's not something I'd want to try. I saw the movie, The Fly!

But fiction and fantasy are often based on real science. Or inspire real science. In Robert Heinlein's Glory Road, he has a character reading from an electronic tablet in his future world as books are no longer made from bound pages. Since Glory Road was first published in 1963, it makes me wonder if the inventor of e-readers might not have been a science fiction fan.

I'm more of a romance fan but I also enjoy science fiction and the paranormal, especially when there are romantic elements. My favorite paranormal/horror writer is Dean Koontz. I enjoy Stephen King's work, but Mr. Koontz has a unique way of combining science fiction, horror, and/or the paranormal with a dash of romance. In Dark Rivers of the Heart, Mr. Koontz combines suspense and science fiction with romance in a tale of a man, a woman and a dog on the run from a high-tech rogue government agency.

I like the concept of rogue government agencies. The idea stayed with me after reading this book and played a big part in my own paranormal romance. Later, I read Fear Nothing, the first book in Dean Koontz' Moonlight Bay trilogy. The main character, Chris Snow, has XP--exeroderma pigmentosum. I was fascinated by the idea of a "real" disease that prevented the sufferer from venturing out in daylight without risking severe burns and skin cancers. I read all three books in the series and began researching the disease while contemplating ideas for a vampire book. Around the same time, I saw a re-run of the old Jean-Claude Van Dam movie, Universal Soldier. And by 2005, I had completed my first draft of Out of the Darkness.

Books, movies, life, and the most mundane of events can trigger the imagination. And inspiration can come from any direction. As a writer, I'm always reading or listening, hoping to get an idea for that next book. And when I'm reading, I often wonder what inspired the writer.

So, if you're a writer, what inspired your latest release? And if you're a reader, what inspires your decision to choose a paranormal over a historical? Or suspense over horror?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Slightly Tarnished has a release date!

I'm so excited. I have a release date for my historical: Slightly Tarnished. Just in time for my 31st anniversary!
Here's the info:
Title: Slightly Tarnished
Imprint: English Tea
Rating: Spicy GLV? no
Keywords: North Carolina, Victorian Era, marriage of convenience, suspense, disabled
Page Count: 308
Print ISBN: 1-60154-923-7 or Print ISBN 13: 9781601549235

Digital Release Date: 2011-06-03 Digital Price: 6.75
TENTATIVE Print Release Date: 2011-06-03 Print Price: 14.99
Victorian romance laced with danger.

When a brooding English earl with a SLIGHTLY TARNISHED reputation marries his dead wife’s American cousin to save her from her uncle’s vengeful schemes, the sea captain’s daughter with a taste for adventure sparks desires he thought long dead.

Nicole Keller has always been headstrong and independent, but after a failed business venture and a sinking ship take her father, her home, and her childhood sweetheart, Nikki must support herself and her mother. But moving to England and marrying Chadwick Masters, Earl of Gilchrest isn’t what she has in mind. And falling in love with the mysterious earl could endanger both their lives.


“This will be your room.” He opened the door and stood to one side so she could enter. “I’m afraid you will have to continue to make do without a lady’s maid. The only household staff I employ are Mrs. Lomax, Dickens, Cook, and my groom. My driver lives in the village as do the few maids I hire on occasion to help Mrs. Lomax with the laundry and heavier cleaning.”

Nikki smiled. “That’s quite all right, Lord Masters. I’m used to doing for myself, and it’s only for a week.”

He returned her smile and leaned forward, his warm breath fanning her cheek. “What happened to Chad? Surely we’ve gone beyond such formalities now, Nicole.”

Gooseflesh rippled over her skin. Her body quivered. “I don’t think it would be proper for me to call you by your given name.” She risked a glance at his face and wished she hadn’t. His eyes no longer looked worried. They were hot—almost feverish. Her skin heated.

“It didn’t stop you before,” he said, his deep voice a husky rumble. Despite the heat, Nikki shivered.

Oh my!

“I don’t think this is proper either,” she stammered when he brushed his lips against her temple. A delicious tingle skittered down her spine.

“No, probably not,” he said, nibbling her neck.

A strange tension rippled through her muscles, tightening them with pleasure. She arched her neck, granting him access as he slid his lips along the column of her throat. Her hands bunched the skirt of her plain, serviceable dress. Her stomach quivered.

“What are you doing?” she asked, breathless and giddy.

He pulled his hands from his pockets and pulled her closer. “I’m seducing you, I think.”

“Seducing me?” Her heart hammered against her ribs.

“Hmm. You’re doing it again.” Then he lowered his mouth and kissed her.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Resesarching the Story

I've always loved trivia and researching useless and little known facts. I often spend days searching the itnernet for that one tidbit of information that grabs my interest and gives me the next story idea. The only bad thing is that I sometimes forget to write and spend hours on the computer researching.
Searching the internet for historical information on England is how I came up with the idea for my soon-to-be released historical, Slightly Tarnished. While scrolling through articles on London, I came across information on a period of time in London known as "The Great Stink."

Just the title of the article intrigued me. And in 1997, I spent weeks researching and plotting a rough draft.

Before  "The Great Stink," sewage emptied into cesspits under homes or poured directly into open drainage ditches. Run-off washed into the Thames and cesspits backed up into houses.  Sir Marc Isambard Brunel came up with the idea of tunneling beneath the Thames. 

He submitted a plan to drain London's sewer to the lower side of the river by building a tunnel under the Thames. Work began on the original tunnel in 1825 but after several accidents and severe flooding, the tunnel was sealed in 1828.

In 1834 Parliment loaned The Thames Tunnel Company the funds to complete the project and Brunel's son Isambard Kingdom Brunel acted as chief engineer. The senior Brunel redesigned a tunnel shielding to prevent flooding and work on the tunnel began again in 1840. It was completed in 1841 and in March of that year, Queen Victoria knighted Sir Brunel.The tunnel officially opened in 1843 but the stinch continued to plague London.

After completion of the tunnel, the Metropolitan Commission of Sewers ordered all cesspits closed. House drains were then connectted to the sewer system and drained directly into the Thames. As a result, there was a cholera epidemic in 1848-1849 and by 1858 the stinch from the river became unbearable.

"The Great Stink" created new interest in Sir Brunel's sewer tunnel. Many cried, "Dilution is the solution to polution!" But adding more water to the tunnel systems didn't stop the stink. It reached its peak the summer of 1858 when thousands were forced to flee the city. But Parliament remained in session, trying to find a soultion to the problem.

Government officials and citizens who either refused to leave the city or had no country estate to go to, draped their windows with curtains soaked in chloride of lime to keep out the odors and "dangerous miasmas."

A new sewer design was needed and civil engineer Joseph Bazlgette was put in charge of the project. By combining the old with the new, he helped create a separate system for human waste and storm drains.

The Queen was so pleased with the results of the larger tunnel system, she ordered engineers to construct a rail system inside the tunnels. The sewer tunnel was quickly transformed into a promenade and tourist attraction. The tunnel still exists today and is part of London's famous underground.

Currently, I'm researching ideas for the sequel to Out of the Darkness, my paranormal vampire romance. For a creepy peak into one of the websites that inpsired part of Into the Light, see the video at:

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Writer's Pain

When I first started writing, I thought it would just be for fun. And maybe one day, I'd get published. It soon became an obsession.

My first attempts at writing were poetry and children’s books. But in 1996, I decided to write what I loved reading. Novels. Specifically, romance novels. My first book was a medical thriller and my first heroine had the same job I had. She was a radiologic technologist. (RT, x-ray technologist, or radiographer. Take your pic but don't call us techicians.) My fingers flew across the keyboard, typing story ideas and plot lines as they came to me. I didn’t plan the story out. I didn’t even have a rough draft. Just a basic plot in my head. It took less than six months to write what turned out to be the most God-awful book ever written.

It read like a boring radiology text book with a few characters thrown into the mix. I made every mistake new writers ever make. There were tense changes, no true POV, no uniformity of writing, and too much technical detail and backstory dump. I don't think I even submitted it. Anywhere.

The book no longer exists. It was written in Lotus Works and the floppies aren't compatible with today's technology. No great loss. The plot was dated so it would no longer work anyway. My radiographer still used film screen technology and developed films in the darkroom. Most every hospital and urgent care now uses computed radiography or digital radiography. No film. No darkroom.

My next attempt at writing was a time-travel. Again, the words flew from my fingers and I thought it was brilliant. Until I went back and tried reading it from beginning to end. Ug! That was a painful experience. But at least that story still has potential. So, maybe someday…

Until then, I have other stories both written and yet to be written. I love starting a story. The excitement is still there and the ideas are still flowing. I know how the story starts and I know how I want to end. But getting to the end? Now, that's when the fear sets in.

Once I reach the dreaded sagging middle, I freeze. What if I can't do it? What if I finish and it sucks as badly as that medical romance I wrote in 1996?

When I’m in the editing phase, the hard part is over. The book is finished. And it’s just a matter of fine-tuning and adding emotion to the story. But sometimes, it takes a while to get to that point.

I’m really more of a pantster than a plotter. I always plot a general outline of characters and the basic story premise, but once that's done, I just sit down and write. There's an excitment about getting to The meet. The kiss. The black moment. But that's where the excitement ends for me. I can't seem to move forward. And I have to make myself finish the book. I sit down at the computer and think of all the loose ends I have to tie up in the story before I can reach my happily ever after. Then I think of how long it took to get those first books published, and my mind starts to wander.

Invariably, I start web-surfing. I look for ideas for new stories or read blogs or just waste time on Facebook.
The good news is I'll never run out of story ideas. The bad news is I may never finish the damn book!

I know Out of the Darkness was good. And I know Slightly Tarnished is even better. Reading the final galley on those two books infused me with such pride. I couldn't believe I'd actually written such good books. Seeing the covers for those books and knowing I wrote them should make it easier to write the next book. That's what I always thought would happen anyway. Instead, I see those books and I'm afraid.

From first word put to paper until publication, Out of the Darkness was five years in the making. And Slightly Tarnished? Twelve! It was the third book I ever wrote. It only took a year to write but eleven years to edit to the point where it was publishable. And I think that's the key to my fear.

What if every book I ever write takes that long to publish? I don't think I can be that patient a second time.

Fortuantely, it's nice to know I'm not the only author who feels this way.

Amy Corwin is one of my critique parners. She's a multi-published author who's published Regency romances and paranormal. And she’s soon to publish a mystery but that’s not my story to tell. You can follow her publishing success at:

Amy says, “I can edit with joy. It’s this painful midway-to-the-end that is horrendous re: initial writing. The first few chapters are a breeze. The rest is blood pouring out of my veins.”

I know exactly how she feels!

So, what is your least favorite part about writing? Or, if you’re a reader, what do you most hate to see in a romance story?

Let me know. Maybe it will improve my writing skills and help lesson my pain. Lol!