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Monday, December 22, 2008

A Cowboy's Christmas Prayer

I've been neglecting the blog--I've had bronchitis since just after Thanksgiving. Once I finally gave up on getting over it myself and got prescriptions from the doctor, I had a nasty reaction to them and ended up feeling worse than I did with the bronchitis. So needless to say, since I started feeling somewhat human again last week, I've been scrambling to catch up with the baking, the card-sending, the shopping and the wrapping.

But I was so excited to find this poem! It's something I enjoyed listening to on my mom's old Jimmy Dean Christmas album. I can still hear the scratchy sound of that record as I read the poem even now. My cowboy silhouette (background) may be temporarily missing for the holidays, but as most of you know, I love all things cowboy and this is the perfect Christmas wish! I hope you enjoy it!

By S. Omar Barker (1894-1985)

I ain't much good at prayin', and You may not know me, Lord-
I ain't much seen in churches where they preach Thy Holy Word,
But you may have observed me out here on the lonely plains,
A-lookin' after cattle, feelin' thankful when it rains,
Admirin' Thy great handiwork, the miracle of grass,
Aware of Thy kind spirit in the way it comes to pass
That hired men on horseback and the livestock we tend
Can look up at the stars at night and know we've got a friend.

So here's ol' Christmas comin' on, remindin' us again
Of Him whose coming brought good will into the hearts of men.
A cowboy ain't no preacher, Lord, but if You'll hear my prayer,
I'll ask as good as we have got for all men everywhere.
Don't let no hearts be bitter, Lord.
Don't let no child be cold.
Make easy beds for them that's sick and them that's weak and old.
Let kindness bless the trail we ride, no matter what we're after,
And sorter keep us on Your side, in tears as well as laughter.

I've seen ol' cows a-starvin, and it ain't no happy sight:
Please don't leave no one hungry, Lord, on thy good Christmas night-
No man, no child, no woman, and no critter on four feet-
I'll aim to do my best to help You find 'em chuck to eat.

I'm just an ol’ cowpoke, Lord-I ain't got no business prayin'-
But still I hope You'll ketch a word or two of what I'm sayin':
We speak of Merry Christmas, Lord-I reckon you'll agree
There ain't no Merry Christmas for a man if he ain't free.
So one thing more I'll ask You, Lord: Just help us what you can
To save some seeds of freedom for the future sons of man.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Special Guest: Paty Jager

My last guest blogger, Kat Henry Doran, is a long-time friend and CP. So it's fitting that today's guest blogger is someone I've known nearly as long. Paty and I met nine years ago (I measure by my oldest son's age, I was nine months pregnant when we first began emailing after I judged her MS in a contest.)Over the years, we've bonded not just over a shared love of the old west but motherhood, baking and all the fun stuff that goes along with it. Her topic today is fitting since Paty is my go-to gal for all things horses!

Please welcome my special guest, multi-publihsed author, Paty Jager!

Bud- The Equine Model

I’ve stated this before on other blogs- my horse- Bud, is the horse on the cover of “Outlaw in Petticoats” my recent release from The Wild Rose Press. Since you can all see how gorgeous he is let me tell you a little something about him.

Bud is the prodigy of my daughter’s mare, who she bought with her own money when she was twelve and used in 4-H for four years before purchasing an abused mare who she calmed and used as her 4-H project. Her little- 14.1 hand mare- had three other offspring before she was bred to a young stud. The owner wanted to see what kind of foals the stud would throw, so they gave me a good deal on a stud fee. And eleven months later on a dewy May morning there was Bud on wobbly legs.

I was able to run my hands over him and pet him. I did this every day and put a small halter on him. Both my daughters were away at college and one of their friends came over one day to visit and help me put a new halter on Bud. She got an arm around his neck and then he tried to get way, dragging her toward the pond. He stopped, planting his feet, and dumped her over his head into the water!

When he was old enough to start training to saddle, I’d catch him and saddle him up and walk him around. During the learning to be saddled process, he would twist and pull the blanket off before I could set the saddle on it. Yes, this big boy has a sense of humor!

Last summer he had a set-to. I wanted him to go into the dry land for a ride and he wanted to walk through shoulder high grass so he could nibble. With us both having different mind sets, he started hopping and bucking. I hung on until he calmed down, then I bailed off and growled through clenched teeth, “You don’t ever do that again!” He was shaking and looking as if he wasn’t sure what happened. When he’d calmed down, I walked him into the dry land and mounted. We finished our ride, with him jumping at every little thing.

As for the photo shoot for the cover picture, he was a true gentleman. I saddled him up, strung all the props on his saddle, and we marched out through the property looking for a place to take the photo. When we found the spot, I unloaded the props and he went to eating the grass. I’d push on his hips to make him move different ways so my daughter could figure out the best angles and photos, but he was very tolerant of us. More so, than a person would have been.

Bud is eight years old and with his personality and stocky build, he’ll be around many, many more years for my riding pleasure.

If you have read my latest release, Outlaw in Petticoats, featuring Bud on the cover, I’d appreciate your vote over at Love Western Romances.

Nicole, thank you for having me here today. I enjoyed sharing my equine friend with you all!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Guest Blogging Today

Come visit me today at the Scandalous Victorians blog site as I talk about social etiquette in the Victorian era. You just know I had to work in something about cowboys...

Another blog worth checking out (I read it nearly every day) is the Behind the Garden Gate blog over at TWRP. Check it out if you have time!

Happy Reading!


Monday, December 1, 2008

In Esteemed Company

We all (assuming everyone reading this is a fellow author) dream of finding ourselves on a best seller list. Finding yourself on a bestseller list with the likes of Stephen King, James Patterson, Clive Cussler, Janet Evanovich, Sherrilyn Kenyon and JD Robb is almost too good to be true. But I've been following this site for a few weeks and finally have stopped trying to convince myself that it's a mistake. It's real!

Check out the Sony E Reader store listing of best selling mass market paperbacks and find yours truly at #10 (down from #2 a couple of weeks back!) with Small Town Christmas!

I wonder if these big guys are looking at any of these lists and wondering "who in the heck is this Nicole McCaffrey person and how'd she get into our exclusive little club?"

If I'm dreaming, please don't wake me!

Friday, November 21, 2008


My CP’s and I have been having difficulty getting together lately. Between sick kids, traveling for work or just lifus interruputs in general, we’ve only met twice since September. Meliss still didn’t make it, but Kat and I had a great time. (Since we meet at a mall Barnes & Noble location, it’s probably also the last time we’ll have a quiet place to meet or a halfway decent place to park until mid-January or so, LOL).

It was fun to catch up, but best of all, when we’d finished critiquing we did some brainstorming. I’ve had only the tiniest seed of an idea for a time travel story (involving the civil war, of course) –and by the time we left, we had practically plotted the entire thing! (Now if only I had time to actually write it, LOL). I was so excited I tossed and turned half the night thinking about it!

Don’cha just love when that happens?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guest Blogging: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year....

Well, LOL, almost. But whether you're a Bah Humbug or a Christmas nut, (like me!) you can't help but feel just a little inspired by the snow-globe like snow that has been falling in my neck of the woods the past few days.

I'm blogging about my life-long love of all things red and green and twinkly on author Dayana Knight's blog today.

Be sure to leave a comment, I'll be giving away a free PDF copy of my holiday release Small Town Christmas .

Now sing along with me..."It's those holiday meetings and gay happy greetings when friends come to call...."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Welcome Speical Guest: Kat Henry Doran

They say time flies when you're having fun, so maybe that's why it's so hard to believe I have considered today's guest among my very closest friends for close to ten years now. I can still remember the day she invited this frustrated writer to join her critique group. It literally changed my life, since I probalby wouldn't be writing today if she hadn't. (Or at least not writing as well, LOL)

So it's rather fitting that my first-ever guest blogger is the woman who taught me everything I know about writing. She does it better than anyone I know. Without further adieu, I give you Kat Henry

Doran. (Please excuse the underlining, I have no idea how to get rid of it!)

Hey, my friend, thank you so much for offering me the opportunity to make a few comments about characterization and how to create viable, unforgettable characters.

First, we should think about the characters we already know and love, then decide what makes us keep returning to either watch them on the TV screen each week [Brenda Lee Johnson from TNT's The Closer] or read [again] our tattered copies of Kathleen Woodiweiss or Harry Potter or Eve Dallas and Rourke.

I will grant you that some of Ms. Woodiweiss' books go back to the 70's and 80's but the characters are unforgettable:

1. “Ashes in The Wind” takes place in the American Civil War. The hero, Cole, is a US Army surgeon; Alaina is a rose of the south, who must disguise herself as a boy in order to survive.

2. “A Rose in Winter” is a funny, dangerous, and mysterious story patterned after Beauty and the Beast.

3. “Shanna” has the hot sullen influence of the Caribbean Islands as a background and moves between England, the Caribbean, and the pre-Revolutionary War American colonies. The heroine, Shanna, in order to meet her father's dictate that she marry, finds a man in an English jail who is bound for the hanging tree. She has him cleaned up; they marry based on her promise of one night of marital bliss—but just as the bliss is about to take place, she chickens out and sends him off to be hung. He escapes and follows her to the Caribbean as an indentured servant. Of course he's looking for “bliss” while she's looking for peace and quiet. Another hoot of a story.

4. And we cannot forget “The Flame and the Flower” the story of Brandon Birmingham and his marriage of convenience to Heather, whom he calls the “little purple flower of the moors”.

How do we build characters? How do we intrigue the reader into turning the pages, and coming back for more? Try throwing them into the deep end of a strange pool—and be sure to keep a few boulders hidden beneath the surface to keep them on their toes.

Brenda Lee Johnson, a police officer known as The Closer for her skills in closing cases by getting suspects to confess, is a transplanted Georgia peach who finds herself lured to the Los Angeles Police Department by a former lover/Deputy Chief of the LAPD with promises he never intends to keep. Brenda finds herself heading up a renegade bunch of detectives who investigate priority homicides. She is a woman who has built her wardrobe at the local Volunteers of America store, never leaves a room without her over-sized handbag over one shoulder; has a passion for anything chocolate; and every other word out of her mouth is “Thank yewww, thank yewww very much.” Now going into the fourth season [I think], each of these characters is a story in and of themselves. Lt. Provenza, who never dates women over 30, well . . . 40—if he's in the bag. Lt Flynn the late 40's Lothario with a toothpick hanging out of his mouth who has taken indolence to new heights. Detective Sanchez with dark, haunted eyes whose talents lie in understanding the culture of the barrio and Hispanic gangs. Lt Tao is a wizard with computers and Brenda's aide Sgt. Gabriel, a hunk if there ever was one with eyes to burn the soles off a woman's shoes, is destined to be chief one day. He's bright, savvy, intelligent and devoted to Brenda.

As evidenced above through Woodweiss' leading characters and the squad of detectives comprising Priority Homicide on The Closer, one way to build intriguing characters is to make them vastly different from each other. This takes some planning. I use a tool which I call the Character Interview. This is a multi-page document, a former RWA chapter mate brought back from the New Jersey Romance Writers conference many years ago. It has undergone many changes over the years but the concept remains the same. In long hand, I interview my lead characters. Before I can do that however, I have to know at least one basic thing about them.

In “Captain Marvelous” I wanted a heroine with a brain and balls to match, who will do anything to achieve her career goal of becoming a physician. Throughout the story she vows to let nothing and no one stop her. That's all I needed to interview Annie Wolfe. Why does she want to be a doctor? Why will she never marry and have children? I asked her to tell me about her family of origin; where did she grow up; did they have money, live from paycheck to paycheck, or did they eat out of dumpsters? Then I asked her to tell me about her family of the heart. Who are her friends, heroes, enemies? I need to know how she relaxes, what turns her on, what turns her off in terms of favorite foods, music, patterns of dress; what kind of car does she drive? How does she drive [like a speed demon or careful and cautious]?

I decided the hero had to be the exact opposite of Annie: staid, rigid, always in control, a single parent who wants more children, someone who follows the rules no matter what. I interviewed him, too. Captain Ronen Marvelic [get the title of the book here?] is a New York State Trooper with a steel rod up his spine. After being banished from the cultural hub of Western New York he arrives in the bowels of the earth known at Nohmensville, quickly turned into No Man's Land. This is a place where a man would take a woman to the local drive-in for a Rambo marathon or to the town dump to shoot rats. He encounters the woman who lives in the apartment across the hall from him, a long-legged, softball playing smart mouth named Annie Wolfe, aka the Wolfgirl, for her abilities at short stop. He thrives on opera; Annie considers it all a bunch of fat ladies singing their brains out. He loathes sports of any kind; she has life-sized posters of baseball players and golfers papering her apartment. Ronen is assigned to investigate the murders of six women; Annie is coerced into helping him by developing victim profiles. Throw in a landlady who's a throw-back to the 60's, a decrepit town doctor, and a 17 year old college bound teenager and the fun begins.

Before I close, I must put some emphasis on a special type of character which I have found some authors forget: Location, location, location, or setting, setting, setting. It is my belief the setting becomes another character as in:

1. Say the word/name Hogwarts and all kinds of images jump out at us.

2. Los Angeles with its freeways, and streets with similar names made Brenda Lee Johnson's life a nightmare for the first two years of the show. She continually got lost trying to find crime scenes until she bit the bullet and asked Sgt Gabriel to drive her everywhere.

3. Kathleen Woodiweiss used New Orleans and the wilds of Minnesota for “Ashes in the Wind”. Who doesn't love New Orleans?

4. She used pre-Revolutionary War Jamestown Virginia for the conclusion of Shanna. For the Caribbean portions of the story her descriptions of indentured servitude are evocative and thought provoking.

5. In my second novel, “Try Just Once More” I used Saranac Lake in Upstate New York's Adirondack Mountains because I love it, but also for its place in history for landmark strides in the pre-antibiotic treatment of TB, the influence of the Olympic games, 1932 and 1980, in nearby Lake Placid, and its small town atmosphere in general. Much of TJOM takes place at the local hospital. I am a nurse so I am comfortable writing “medical stuff”. I would not advise it for all writers—unless the POV is in the non-medical character's frame of reference. Just like if you're going to write “legal stuff” you better know what you're talking about or your story will tank faster than the Andrea Doria.

I'd be happy to share the Character Interview. People can contact me at or visit my website:

Nurse, insurance investigator, forensic nurse examiner, professional workshop presenter, seamstress, author, wife and mother; Kat Henry Doran has been there and done all that--and more.

A native of Upstate New York, Kat uses the years she spent haunting police stations, Emergency Rooms, and criminal courtrooms, advocating for victims of sexual violence, as background for her writing which has been described as brutally realistic and starkly honest.

Even though Kat has retired her speculum and no longer paces the corridors outside Grand Jury and police interrogation rooms, she continues to advocate for disenfranchised women, currently through Panties For Peace.

For excerpts of her books and information on the professional programs she presents, check out

Nic, thanks for offering me this opportunity to show off!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Please stop by and visit the Scandalous Victorians today for my blog on Veteran's Day.

Click here to sing along with Toby Keith. This song always makes me proud to be an American and proud of what our troops have accomplished. May we support them, not just on Veteran's Day but every day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Dancing

Well, I don't want to get political but let's just say...I was NOT in a good mood when I awoke this morning. *G*

And then I found this in my inbox, and all feels right with my world once again.

Hi Nicole, I have to tell you, I am reading your book The Model Man right now. It is **fabulous**

, and I am really enjoying it. Your dialogue is great, and your character development even better. Your book is waaaaayyyy better than the last three Harlequin Presents I have read.

Whatever you are doing right now, you should stop, and get back to writing!! :-)


oooh...sounds like Martha knows I haven't been writing, LOL. I can't disappoint her now can I? I really need to find a way to get out of this funk and get back to writing! Bless you Martha!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get Out There and Vote!

Whether your candidate is running a bit behind, or the front runner, don't forget to vote today! Never mind the polls that say she/he's so far ahead he/she can't lose--or so far behind he/she can't possibly win; polls can't predict who will actually turn out and vote.

So get out there and exercise your right as an American citizen!

Snoopy for President, anyone?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are We Crazy to do What We Do?

I have kept this quote taped to my monitor for ... well longer than I've had a monitor! LOL. There's something comforting about it. Kind of like a reaffirmation that, no, I'm not crazy, there are others like me. What do you think--are writers crazy, or is it the rest of the world that has it all wrong?

Anyway, from one writer to another... enjoy!

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: a human
creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him, a touch is a
blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an
ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death.
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to
create, create, create - so that without the creating of music or
poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath
is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some
strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is
creating. - Pearl Buck

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Coming Out of the Closet (so to speak)

It's more or less and open secret what I do for my day job, but I haven't ever really talked about it here. So it's time to come clean! That creak you hear is the sound of a closet door opening and me stepping out, LOL. I'm blogging today as my alter-ego on author Dayana Knight's blog and thought it might be of interest. Stop by and check it out!

BTW have no fear, I am working on plans to regenerate my blog. I'm interested in doing thirty days of guest bloggers for the month of November. Drop me an email at if you're interested in hanging out with me next month.

Nic (who promises to be back soon!)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cowboy Wisdom

I've been neglecting the blog a lot--but I have a good reason! I've run out of things to blog about, LOL. Anyway, found this on one of my loops a couple of weeks back and decided it was blog-worthy.

Cowboy's Guide to Life:

~ Don't squat with your spurs on.

~ Timing has a lot to do with the successful outcome of a rain dance.

~ _Don't interfere with something that ain't botherin' you none


~ The easiest way to eat crow is while it's still warm. The colder it gets,
the harder it is to swaller.

~ If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

~ If it don't seem like it's worth the effort, it probably ain't.

~ It don't take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.

~ Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.

~ If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin'
somebody else's dog around.

~ Don't worry about bitin' off more'n you can chew; your mouth is probably a
whole lot bigger'n you think.

~ Always drink upstream from the herd!

~ Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad

~ Generally, you ain't learnin' nothing when your mouth's a-jawin'.

~ Tellin' a man to git lost and makin' him do it are two entirely different

~ If you're _ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look
back every now and then to make sure it's still there with ya.

~ When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person,
don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.

~ When you're throwin' your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around
by somebody else.

~ Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back.

~ Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important
to know what it is, but it's sure crucial to know what it was.

~ The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back
into your pocket.

~ Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years ago today...

I was going to post a new blog today. Probably more sniveling about how much writing I didn't get done, or how I'm still learning to use my time wisely while both kids are in school.

And then I remembered what day it was.

Funny how those things don't seem so blog-worthy now.

I found lots of images I could have used to go with today's blog. Most of them involved burning buildings or smoke pouring from gaping holes in the towers.

This one is more in keeping with how I want to remember this day.

To quote President Bush from this morning's ceremony at the Pentagon: "When buildings fell, heroes rose." May we always remember that.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Downright Shameful!

Yes, I've been neglecting the blog. Along with most other things, LOL. But with the kids in school (finally!) a full week next week, hopefully I can get back to my regular blog schedule.

Until then, please hop on over to visit my friends at the Slip Into Something Victorian blog site and check out the blog I posted earlier this week.

Until next time...


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

When the Muse Refuses

It seems lately I’ve talked about personal stuff and other nonsense on the blog. I haven’t talked much about the very thing I signed up to talk about when I started blogging. Writing!

Part of the reason I haven’t been talking about it is because I really haven’t been writing. I’ve been working on edits—which is not my favorite part of the process. Not by a long shot. The other half of the dilemma is what I need to write is not what I want to write. Last summer, when I was approached by three other TWRP writers about this anthology we’re writing—Sons of Summerville—it sounded like a lot of fun. It still does. But after writing Small Town Christmas in 2006 and spending a lot of time in 2007 on The Model Man…I’m burned out on contemporary writing. Remember, first and foremost, I’m an historical writer. (Ironic, isn't it, then that my first two sales were both contemporary? LOL)

In 2006 when I wrote STC, I had been immersed in historical writing and researching for the better part of six years; it felt good (and a little scary) to take a break and write contemporary-- and just as good when I sat down and wrote TMM. I love those characters and that story, but … I need a cowboy fix! (Hence the eye candy today)

I do have a few scenes written for the Sons of Summerville* story, and what I have so far I really like and my CP’s seem to like it, as well. But yesterday I threw caution to the wind and started working on a story that’s been in my head for a while now, one that I’ve been researching for quite some time. Texas Wild Card, the sequel to Wild Texas Wind. There’s a character in that story who has been begging for his own story pretty much since he appeared in the first scenes of chapter five of WTW. And it felt good! I was walking on air all day long, and still have that gushy, gooey, giddy feeling that comes from having spent time writing.

So what do you do when your muse refuses? Has there ever been a time when you’re supposed to be working on one thing, or planned to work on it-- but your muse was sending you in an entirely different direction?

*For more about the Sons of Summerville anthology, check out the blog I posted on Romance Book Junction a couple of months back

Sunday, August 3, 2008

For lack of anything better to blog about...

Dear Migraine,

How nice of you to pay a call today. Again. You’ve been my constant companion now for seven days straight. Quite frankly, I’m really growing tired of your company. You’re there when I wake in the middle of the night, you’re there when I go to bed; you’re there first thing in the morning, too.

I’ve tried everything to get you to go away. Prescription medication—it works for a while, but two hours later you’re back again. Over the counter stuff with way more caffeine in it than I need. It rarely works, and always leaves me with that jittery, over-caffeinated feeling. Niacin, that lovely B3 vitamin that makes me feel flushed and warm and makes the tips of my ears burn. Sometimes that will make you go away. But so far nothing has sent you the message to go away and stay away.

What is it this time? Stress? Hormones? Changes to the barometric pressure? What brought you to my doorstep this week? I’d really love to know so I could do something about it. I realize we see more of each other in the summer than we do in winter, but this is ridiculous. We're simply spending way too much time together.

You realize, of course, that when you come all I want to do is lie in a darkened room with an ice pack on my head (don’t feel bad, my mother has much this same effect on me and it doesn’t stop her from visiting, either.) But I can’t do that. My life can’t stop because of you. I’m a mom, I have a job, and a house to keep up. Yet you manage to suck all the joy out of life anyway. I can’t read, the words blur and dance on the page even with my glasses on, so reading to my babies at bedtime is out. I can’t watch TV—the lights are too bright and the moving images make me feel even more dizzy and nauseous than I already do. I can’t do half the things I'd like to, and certainly not with my usual energy. Even the act of walking across the room is painful, every foot fall slams into my brain like a brick wall. Even if I tiptoe. But I’m stubborn so I don’t give in to your demands. I tough it out, until I can tough it no more. I head to bed early, hoping a good night’s sleep will send you packing. I wake in the night, feeling somewhat better and hope that you’ll be gone when morning arrives.

No such luck.

Thus has been the pattern now for seven agonizing, painful days.

I hope you’ll take this message in the spirit it was intended, migraine, and not be offended. We go back a long way, after all--more years than I care to remember. And really migraine, it's not you--it's me. I'm just not that into you. I'd say we can still be friends but there's just too much water under the bridge for that. I think a clean break is best. For both our sakes.

So go away. And don’t come back anytime soon.

Your friend in pain,

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Worth Blogging About

Yes, I've been neglecting the blog. But really, there just hasn't been much blog-worthy going on. I wish I were like some of my blog buddies ... okay, all of my blog buddies, LOL, who can come up with interesting things to say each and every day. No one has ever accused me of being quiet, and yet... I'm clueless most days on what to blog about.

With summer vacation in full swing, and my nose to the grindstone as much as possible to keep on top of my workload, there just hasn't been much happening. My oldest son started summer school this week; don't even get me started on my feelings about this. I went to school when teachers actually taught--if a student wasn't catching on, they took a little extra time to work with them. Not anymore. (No offense to those of you out there who are teachers; my anger is directed at one particular school district. I've talked to plenty of "good" teachers about this; sadly, my son's teacher wasn't one of them. ) Now sending that student to school for two weeks in the summer is supposed to make up for it. Nothing quite like dragging an 8 year old out of bed at 7 a.m. after he's gotten used to sleeping til ten for the past month. Anyway, summer school is held at a school over near my parents, about 3-4 miles from my house. Not far, but in morning traffic, a good 15 minute commute. With gas prices the way they are, and mom and dad's house only a block from the school, it hardly makes sense to come home. School is only 90 minutes long, so by the time I get home, toss in some laundry, load up the dishwasher, etc., it's already time to head back over to get him.

Anyway, I had a point to this blog, didn't I??? Ah yes. Drum roll please. My something worth blogging about is.... my new website!! Ever visit someone's website and think wow, I wish I had a website like that! Well, it happened--and now I do. The incredibly talented Pamela Roller put it together for me. I absolutely love it. I really, really wanted to do my own webpage, but the little time I had to devote to it just wasn't enough. It's hard for me to give up on something like that, but when I saw what she could do... I just knew I had to have her do my webpage! And she didn't disappoint! It's both sides of me--the feminine "girly girl" side that likes hearts and flowers and pearls--and the old west, historical side of me that thinks things like six shooters and cowboys are way cool, LOL. I still need to update some of the information, but I'm so delighted about the way it looks!

Won't you stop by and check it out?
These pictures, btw, are of a recent outing. My "back yard" so to speak. No, I don't live right on the water (I'm still a few best sellers away from that!) but within walking distance. I was amazed at how calm these swans were --they can be quite aggressive even when they're not with a baby. But the big guy here on the left was actually taking crackers and bread right from people's hands. They were amazing -and beautiful- to watch. The sea gulls and geese were out in full force, too. It was funny to watch people trying to drive past who had to slow down to wait for the geese waddling across the road, or actually had to back up and turn around because the geese were too slow.

Home sweet home. What is it about writers and water, anyway?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Very Happy Fourth!

If you are, or have ever been, a migraine sufferer, you’ll understand when I say I’ve been to hell and back this past week. Weather has always been one of my worst migraine triggers; summer is probably the season where I see them the most. Whether it’s the constant back and forth from muggy outdoor heat to cool air conditioned indoors, or the frequent fluctuations from damp to dry or hot to cool conditions, it’s enough to have me ducking and running for cover.

The past week saw a lot of those kinds of fluctuations and a lot of migraines. It also saw a family funeral (the stress of which also triggered a migraine!) So I apologize for not getting back with blogs about the book signing.

So how did it go? LOL. Well… it went. Christine(in the green Starbucks apron along with me, center in the blue jacket, and my two CP’s Kathy and Melissa) was sweet to set it up. But she and I both realized within a very short time that most people venturing into Starbucks that night were in search of coffee. Not books. The weather cooperated with a picture perfect summer evening—so perfect in fact that it turned out to be one of the quietest evenings they had seen in Starbucks for quite some time. I sold all of two books, one each of The Model Man and one Small Town Christmas. Both to the same person. A friend who came out to the book signing. But nothing ventured nothing gained, so at least now I can say I’m a seasoned pro at book signings. And next time… maybe I’ll bring a book to read, LOL.

I did get to take some time out for some serious rest and relaxation on July 4th. My hubby always takes the week of the 4th for vacation. Rainy weather kept us all indoors those first couple of days, and with me with a migraine to begin with, it was not entirely pleasant with all of us being cooped up together. But the Fourth was the most perfect summer day you can imagine (and the first day in nearly a week I woke without a migraine!) Not too hot, not a rain cloud in sight—just sunny blue skies and comfortably warm temperatures.

If I’ve said it before, it bears repeating; no one knows how to celebrate the Fourth of July like my adopted hometown. Our town parade sees marching bands from other towns who don’t celebrate on the grand scale that we do, as well as pretty much any politician running for office. There’s always a big turn out. My dh has dragged me along to this for thirteen years now, and at some point, he stopped “dragging” LOL, I pretty much go willingly. After the parade there’s an old fashioned celebration on the grounds of our town hall with games for the kids, music, craft booths, food and lots of relaxation. Hot dogs, Italian sausage loaded with peppers and onions, lemonade, apple pie on a stick—it’s all there. The kids played games—after all these years, the duck pond is still my favorite!—and browsed the crafts and other goodies. There’s a gentleman there every year who sells homemade lollipops; my kids look forward to that. I look forward to the fudge lady whose peanut butter fudge tastes almost as good as the kind my dad used to make. After lunch, we sat around beneath the shade of one of the many, many maple trees, enjoyed the band and a cooling breeze. Not once did I think about work, laundry, writing or any of the things I “should” be doing. I think it’s probably the only day of the year I’m really able to fully relax. This year's celebration was made even nicer by my father-in-law joining us; in the 60+ years he's lived here, he's never once gone to the parade, so the boys were glad to have Papa along and we all enjoyed the festivities together.

My boys are still too young to stay up until ten o’clock to go to the town fireworks (the oldest could stay up that late, but I think by the time we got back he'd be pretty wiped out!). My youngest especially was feeling the effects of a change in his asthma medicine and quite tired, but my 8 YO stayed up to watch the Macy’s fireworks on television and we snuck outside to oooooh and aaaaaahhh over what we could see of the fireworks happening at Town Hall, and a few neighbors joined in the celebration with their own displays, so he didn't feel too deprived, LOL.

The good news is I feel refreshed, relaxed and ready to return to the daily grind of work and writing tomorrow. How about you?

How was your holiday? Do you celebrate quietly with loved ones –or host the biggest cook out in the county?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Think of Them as Something Friendly--Like a Firing Squad

That’s one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies. Jessica Lange, as Julie Nichols, says that to Dustin Hoffman’s “Dorothy Michaels” about the television cameras he’s facing for the first time in the movie Tootsie.

It also sums up my feelings about my upcoming book signing this evening.

So why am I doing it? Good question. I think because I was just so flattered to have been asked—and, quite frankly, it goes with the territory. Writers have to do this sort of thing. But it really does work against the basic nature of a writer. Think about it: in order to do what we do, there has to be a little bit of hermit in us. And there’s plenty of it in me! Like I told my CP’s at our critique meeting last night, I don’t like being put on display like that. People will be looking at me, talking to me. I don’t like people! LOL. Truth be told, I wouldn’t mind it so much if I were in a group book signing at a conference—people there would probably be romance readers and writers and if they happened across my table, hey great! But this is a coffee shop in a little suburb. People won’t be coming in specifically looking to buy a book. No, with the temperatures expected to be in the upper 80s today, they’ll be in search of a cool drink and a little R&R.

Sigh. The last time I was this nervous—dreaded being on display this much—I was in a white gown and veil.

And that turned out all right.

So maybe this will too.

I’ll be back tomorrow to let you know.

I will be signing books and trying to make intelligent small talk tonight from 7-9 p.m. at the Starbucks Victor Cobblestone, 200 High Point Drive, in Victor, NY across from Eastview Mall in the old cobblestone house.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pucker up!

Since kissing is so much a part of what we write about (let's face it, what could be more thrilling than that first kiss?), I thought this article was more than appropriate--and kind of fun.

Pucker up!

1. Two out of every three couples turn their heads to the right when they kiss.

2. A simple peck uses two muscles; a passionate kiss, on the other hand, uses all 34 muscles in your face. Now that's a rigorous workout!

3. Like fingerprints or snowflakes, no two lip impressions are alike.

4. Kissing is good for what ails you. Research shows that the act of smooching improves our skin, helps circulation, prevents tooth decay, and can even relieve headaches.

5. The average person spends 336 hours of his or her life kissing.

6. Ever wonder how an "X" came to represent a kiss? Starting in the Middle Ages, people who could not read used an X as a signature. They would kiss this mark as a sign of sincerity. Eventually, the X came to represent the kiss itself.

7. Talk about a rush! Kissing releases the same neurotransmitters in our brains as parachuting, bungee jumping, and running.

8. The average woman kisses 29 men before she gets married.

9. Men who kiss their partners before leaving for work average higher incomes than those who don't.

10. The longest kiss in movie history was between Jane Wyman and Regis Tommey in the 1941 film, You're in the Army Now. It lasted 3 minutes and 5 seconds. So if you've beaten that record, it's time to celebrate!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Win a Sony e-reader!


The Wild Rose Press wants you to have a SONY eReader!

All this summer (June 11 – August 31), every time you purchase a title by any of these sponsoring authors (see list below), you will be eligible to enter our drawing to win a SONY eReader. The drawing will be held on Tuesday evening, September 2, 2008 at our weekly chat (9:00 p.m. eastern). (You do not need to be present in the chat room to win).

When you purchase any title from these authors simply email your order number to: SONYREADER@thewildrosepress.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Make sure you have a current email address and/or include your contact information so we can find you if you win.

You may enter as many times this summer as you wish. If you purchase more than one title in the same order, feel free to send two emails and include the order twice. We will verify that you did indeed purchase more than one title.

The following are the sponsoring authors for this wonderful contest. Please look for their author information on our web site and enjoy some fabulous reads this summer from these participating authors:

Jules Bennett

Donna L. Bolk

Laurel Bradley

Rachel Brimble

Pam Champagne

Lynda Coker

Christine Columbus

Sandra Cormier

Amy Corwin

Sharon Cullen

Donna Dalton

K.M. Daughters

Debbie Doggett

CarolAnn Erhardt

Valerie Everhart

Cindy Green

Kathleen Grieve

Larry Hammersley

Stacy Dawn

Sharon Horton

Tara Haff

Anna Kathryn Lanier

Marly Mathews

Nicole McCaffrey --yers trooley! :o)

Devin McKee

Sandy Wichersham McWhorter

Donna Michaels

Stacey Joy Netzel

AnneMarie Novark

Cindy Spencer Pape

PL Parker

Katie Reus

Jane Richardson

Jennifer Robins

Donna Marie Rogers

Emma Sanders

Kathleen Scott

Robin Shope

Misty Simon

Carol A. Spradling

Debra St. John

Lily Stone

Browyn Storm

Beth Trissel

Leanne Tyler

Brenda Weaver

Nita Wick

Teri Wilson

For information about the Sony eReader click here

For questions on this contest, please contact LisaDawn MacDonald at lisadawn@thewildrosepress.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or Martha K at Martha@thewildrosepress.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or Rhonda Penders at rpenders@thewildrosepress.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Please put the words SONY eReader contest question in your subject line.

Good luck!

*No purchase necessary to win the SONY eReader. If you do not purchase a title, you may enter the contest by mailing a post card to The Wild Rose Press, Sony eReader Contest, P.O. Box 708, Adams Basin, NY 14410. Please include your name, email and contact information. In addition, you must write down three titles from any of the participating authors. Postcard entrants will be added to the names of email entrants and a winning entry will be drawn on September 2, 2008.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Downright Scandalous!

Once again I'm blogging with my friends the Scandalous Victorians today. I talk a little bit about my upcoming TWRP release Northern Temptress and the brave people who inspired the story! Hope you'll stop by!


Monday, June 9, 2008

Interview with Regan Taylor

Well I did it. After spending the day being nauseous and nervous, I did it.

I talked to Regan Taylor of Talking Romance. And lo and behold, I had fun! Regan is a wonderful interviewer, she put me right at ease and cliché as it sounds, it felt like we were just two old friends enjoying a chat on the phone. Never mind the potential for thousands of others listening in, LOL. There were a couple of places where maybe I could have said more or where we both paused and maybe I giggled too much, but I felt good about it afterward.

Afterward of course, came the “shoulda coulda’s.” At one point Regan asked me about my guilty pleasures, what I read in my down time. I rattled off the list of authors on my keeper shelf: Maggie Osborne; Jodi Thomas; Linda Lael Miller; Johanna Lindsey; Pamela Morsi. Then we started chatting about e-publishing and e-readers and I meant to come back and name some of the TWRP authors and other e-pubbed authors I’ve come to enjoy (Paty Jager; Carol Spradling; Leanne Tyler; Ashley Ladd; Sarita Leone) But as conversations do, we veered onto something else and I missed my chance to promo some of my favorite authors you may not have heard of.

Then later we were talking about what I have in the works and I was so focused on my historical offerings I totally forgot to mention Sons of Summerville, the contemporary anthology I’m working on with three other TWRP authors.

But the bottom line: I had a great time and look forward to talking to Regan again soon. I’m also going to try and listen to her show more often, it’s at an odd time of day for me (Sunday afternoons at 5 pm EST) but once we get into summer vacation, that won’t be such a busy time of day.

Meanwhile, if you want to listen to me giggle and stumble over my tongue and probably sound pretty darn foolish overall, click here. Don’t mind the name, my friend Faith was kind enough to swap dates with me since my last interview didn’t work out.

Til next time!


The Struggle is Real Week 8: When Life Hits Back

  It’s been nearly two weeks since my last post. Did anyone notice I was missing?   But I have good news/bad news.   The good news. I wr...