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Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Friends: Meet Sarah Simas

Today's Friday Friend is someone I've known only a short while, but somehow, she felt like an old friend right from the start. Her enthusiasm and drive reminds this jaded "been there, done that" author just why I got into this business in the first place. Cause I love it! I'd forgotten that.

Sarah, tell us about The Lovestruck Novice, and why you chose to gear your blog toward the beginning writer.

I'd only been writing a short time when I started having words like POV and Active Writing thrown at me like darts and had no clue what they meant. So, I started asking questions and did my homework. Luckily, I have a great group of experienced writers who were more than willing to let me pick their brains. As I started growing as a writer, I knew I had to pay it forward and help other newbies. So, I started The Lovestruck Novice.

It’s been a long time since I started out in this business. What challenges do you find as a writer just starting out?

When I started writing, I had no idea about the current industry standards. I formatted my pages like I would an essay from college. Double spaces after a period, spaces between paragraphs, and a list of other editorial nightmares.

I only knew what I read. Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood, and Jude Deveraux lined my bookshelves. Fine and dandy, right? Sure for reading purposes, but not so much for writing. My first draft had so many -ly's and -ing's!! I remember wondering if I was leaving a trail of red ink out the door when I left my first critique session. Books from the 80's and 90's are wonderful! Just not great examples of current writing practices. LOL

I think anyone trying to break into writing needs to research their genre. Looking for support, I joined some writer's Yahoo groups and started lurking. There is a lot of good information that gets passed around on loops. *heehee* It's where I find the authors to interview and tidbits for my other blog.

I call "lurking" research and my hubby calls it stalking. LOL I find I learn more when I listen and observe. I also follow links. If someone has a link in their siggy line, I'll follow it. You never know what information, tips or sites they list. I've met quite a few of the authors I've interviewed that way.

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you write the genre you do.

I'm a huge fan of romance novels. I snitched my mom's copy of Silver Angel in Jr. High to take with me to camp and was hooked. I cut my teeth on some of the greatest names in romance. After I'd read a book, I'd find myself wondering why an author didn't have a character do this or do that. By my senior year, I'd already tried to write my own novel. LOL I still remember the beginning scene. Merciful heavens, I hope I've progressed!

When I'm not writing, I'm a stay at home mom. If not submerged in housework, I'm chasing around two toddlers. I have a 3 y.o daughter and a 2 y.o son. This fall, I'm so happy that my girl is starting preschool. I like imagining that I'll have a lot more free time, but I know I'll be just as busy! Before I was a mom and a writer, I was a foreman in a quality control lab for one of the world's leading mozzarella cheese makers. There are some juicy stories I have tucked a way from that blip of my life! *sheesh*

How long have you been writing?

I've been writing for almost a year. Right after I had my son, an idea hit me for a prologue. I tried to write the scene out but kept getting lost. I had no idea of what I was doing! LOL Life got busier when I started watching my nephew. I had two 2 y.olds and an infant all day- everyday. I often felt my mind was leaking out of my ears! So, I put the story on hold until last summer when the scene just wouldn't leave me alone. I had to write the story or go crazy!

Where do you get your ideas?

I get my ideas from words, songs, conversations, etc. Anything is fodder for my imagination. For my current WIP, I think I had been watching a movie about a serial killer and that sparked a vision of a scene in my mind. I took the idea and ran with it. I'm constantly scribbling away when I hear something funny or think up a scene. Usually, my best ideas come to me either when I'm doing dishes or just before I fall asleep.

Describe your typical writing day.

I think one of the good things milking cows and feeding calves through college taught me was the benefit of being up early. I'm usually up at 5:15am or so to write before my kids awake up. After that, it's all down hill until naps. Writing during the evening and night is difficult. So, I have to be very organized and as productive as possible! Someday's, I'm lucky to write at all!

What was your “Aha!” moment—when you knew you had to be a writer?

Probably when my story idea wouldn't go away. The devious killer (who oddly I've come to love writing the most) wanted his story told. And we all know that once unleashed, sometimes characters just won't shut the heck up!

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

CRAZY! Writing gives me time just for me. Plus, I get out of the house every Friday night for my critique group. *score!*

Tell me your best cure for writer’s block?

I'm still trying to master writer's block! Usually, I'll go back and work on edits. I find this helps me get refocused on where I'm heading.

Tell us a little bit about your current WIP, In Pursuit of Love

IN PURSUIT OF LOVE is my current WIP. It's set in England during the Regency Era. I've had a lot of fun putting my heroine, Melanie, through the ringer. Here is my newbie attempt at a blurb:

Orphan Melanie Wainscott returns to London to reclaim her birthright and unlock the secrets of her past. When her quest for the truth attracts the attention of a killer with a score to settle, Melanie must fight for her life and chance for true love.

EXCERPT: - In this scene Melanie is locked in the boudoir of a brothel where she is about to be sold to the highest bidder. All her attempts at escape have been futile and panic is gripping her hard and fast. Bradford stumbles upon the girl he nearly seduced by a pond but days before while searching for his father's missing ward.

Melanie’s knees threatened to buckle. Her skin tingled with awareness. His magnetism was palpable. She felt as drawn to him as the tide to the shore.
He stood paces away, but his heated gaze scorched Melanie’s skin. A bevy of emotions overwhelmed her when he stepped into the room and shut the door quietly behind him.
The time for the auction was close at hand and her nerves were as frayed as an old rope. His presence soothed her better than a dram of outlawed whisky.
Elated by his arrival, she threw decorum to the wind and ran to Bradford with open arms.
Melanie met with a wall of warm flesh. The heady scent of sandalwood and leat her hit her senses like a storm. She sighed when he wrapped his arms around her. The cut of her gown left a ribbon of delicate skin exposed down her back. His gentle caress sent shivers of delight down her spine.
Being held within Bradford’sl embrace filled Melanie with renewed hope. She squeezed her arms tighter around his waist. She was safe.
“Look at me.”
His voice was thick and weighted with promise. Melanie’s stomach fluttered. She longed to know if Bradford felt the same fire upon his skin when she touched him. Unable to deny him, she lifted her eyes to meet his smoldering stare. In an instant, Bradford lowered his head and captured her lips for a long, hot kiss.
Over and over, he plundered her mouth while his hands ran the length of her body. She rose up on her tip-toes and settled shaky arms around his neck. The delicious feel of his body pressed against hers was intoxicating. She felt the fevered clip of his pulse beneath her fingertips. Lightly, she stroked the back of his neck.
When he broke off the kiss, Melanie felt robbed. Warm hands cupped her bottom and pulled her closer. His breath whispered across her shoulder and Melanie trembled. She opened her mouth to speak, but words failed to form.
He nuzzled the base of her neck. “Let me take you away from here.” He place a soft kiss on her shoulder. “Be mine.”

Wow--did she say she's only been writing a year????

Anything else in the works you can share with us?
I'm always busy looking for authors to put in the Hot Seat for TLN. I've also got some ideas going for a Depression Era romance and a Contemporary Romantic Suspense.

I'd like to thank Nicole for turning the tables on me! It was fun seeing what being in the Hot Seat feels like. I guess I should have remembered the saying- Turn about is Fair Play! LOL

LOL. Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Words for Women to Live By

The busy month of July continues... so with no time to post a "real" blog today, I thought I'd share this.

1. Aspire to be Barbie - the bitch has everything.

2. If the shoe fits - buy them in every color.

3. Take life with a pinch of salt... A wedge of lime, and a shot of tequila.

4. In need of a support group? - Cocktail hour with the girls!

5. Go on the 30 day diet. (I'm on it and so far I've lost 15 days).

6. When life gets you down - just put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

7. Let your greatest fear be that there is no PMS and this is just your personality.

8. I know I'm in my own little world, but it's ok. They know me here.

9. Lead me not into temptation, I can find it myself.

10. Don't get your knickers in a knot; it solves nothing and makes you walk funny.

11. When life gives you lemons turn it into lemonade, then mix it with vodka.

12. Remember wherever there is a good looking, sweet, single or married man, there is some woman tired of his bullshit!

13. Keep your chin up, only the first 40 years of parenthood are the hardest.

14. If it has tires or testicles it's gonna give you trouble.

15. By the time a woman realizes her mother was right, she has a daughter who thinks she's wrong..

Have a great week!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Friends: Meet Paisley Kirkpatrick

This week I'm joined by another Scandalous Victorian, the lovely Paisley Kirkpatrick. Adopted mother, loving aunt, gracious cheerleader--that's the role Paisley plays for everyone she meets. Her writing journey is an inspirational one, and I'm delighted to have her here today as a Friday Friend. The fact that she's a fellow Western fan and writer just makes me love her more. *G* Oh, and I'll let Paisley tell you why I chose a pic of Gerry Butler to post here today.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing in 1989, but didn’t join RWA and learn the proper way to construct a story until Fall of 1999. I’d been reading a lot of the ancient Harlequins and had no idea what POV was or any of the craft rules we live by. In fact, when someone read my first story, she gave it back to me after reading only a few pages. Told me to learn what POV is. My claim to fame is: In one paragraph with five sentences I had four different points of view and one of them belonged to the rock.

Where do you get your ideas?
I have often wondered where my ideas come from. I really don’t know. Plots just appear in my head and the characters start telling me their stories. I don’t know how many stories there are, but if I don’t write them as the characters want, they stop talking to me.

Describe your typical writing day.
I use the morning hours to edit what I have written the night before. For some reason I like writing late afternoon and into the night. Early morning I feel stiff mentally and need to experience part of the day until the writing juices start to flow. Since I now have a laptop along with my main computer, I can write as late as I like. The length of time depends on my hands as I have carpel tunnel syndrome that slows me down if I push too hard.

What was your "Aha!" moment—when you knew you had to be a writer?
My dream was to write a book. I’d always told my children to dream big if you are going to dream and never stop until you achieve that dream. I’ve finished three stories and am into my fourth. So, actually, my dream has already come true even though I am not yet published. I’ve loved the journey, the learning, the friends, the thrill of putting together plots and having feedback from people who’ve read my chapters.

If you weren't a writer, what would you be?
A secretary – which is what I did for years in the accounting business and in property management.

Tell me your best cure for writer's block?
People always raise their eyebrows at me when I confess my cure – I listened to the music to Phantom of the Opera or watch the movie with Gerard Butler as the Phantom. The music, or maybe the Scot, always seem to break through the muse that is blocked and ideas flow like crazy. So far, this method has never failed to work for me.

Tell us a little bit about your current WIP.

Prey of the Huntress is my current WIP. It takes place in 1853 in the mountain community of Paradise Pines, located in the Sierra Mountains of California. The setting is a few years after the gold rush of 1849. Rebecca Ryder arrives to accept her inheritance only to find it is not what she expected – a rundown shack and the ownership of the local newspaper. She knows there is a gold mine somewhere and to keep her property she must discover its location to pay the property taxes. The hero , Trevin MacGregor, owns the property around her inheritance and he and his brothers run a cattle ranch. They need the property she now owns to be able to move their cattle. Her grandfather had promised them the “gate” they need to safely move their livestock through the mountains, but changed his mind and leaves it to Rebecca. The MacGregors try to take her land by paying the back taxes, but she is able to take care of business first and saves her land temporarily. Now the next property tax payment is due in six weeks. She must find the gold mine entrance or the cattlemen will take her land.


A tremor shook the shack a good ten seconds. Her hands flailed. He grabbed her arms and held tight when she lost her balance. They rolled down the side of the roof and over the edge, landing with her on top of him.

“Are you all right?” she cried, running her hands over him.

Stunned, he couldn’t move, couldn’t catch his breath.

She laid her ear against his chest. “Your heart’s still beating.”

He moaned, opening one eye a crack and then the other. “You’re dangerous, lady. What kind of power do you have to knock me breathless every time we meet?”

“You’re a monster for scaring me like that.” She got to her feet and brushed off her skirt.

He rolled onto his side enjoying every moment of her scolding. God, but she was even more beautiful than he remembered.

“What happened? Did the cabin move or was it my imagination?”

“The cabin definitely moved. We’ve experience several earthquakes over the past few days.” He got to his feet, wincing and rubbing his aching backbone. “I need to talk to Garland’s granddaughter. Where is she?”

“I’m Garland Boone’s granddaughter and new owner of this grand place. My name’s Rebecca Ryder.”

“But,” he stopped, shaking his head at the discovery, “Garland led me to believe you were much younger.”

She snickered. “I’m not a bit surprised. Grandpa always referred to me as his little rebel. Guess he forgot I grew up.”

He limped to an overturned crate. Sitting, he rested his head in his hands. Good God! What an impossible position. He glanced at his huntress and saw more trouble than he wanted to deal with. His brothers wanted Miss Ryder gone but he couldn’t - wouldn’t - let her go.

“Are you sure you’re all right?”

“No, I’m not all right. Your grandfather promised me rights to the passageway through the Black Gate. He reneged and my brothers are ready to skin you alive.”

She stepped away from him. “Are those your sentiments as well?”

He glanced up. “No. I’d like to think I’m the mature MacGregor.”

“You have a strange way of showing your maturity, Mr. MacGregor.”

“What’s that supposed to mean. You don’t know me well enough to make a judgment like that.”

“No? Let me see. Does ‘that harebrained female is not keeping us from running our livestock through the Black Gate,’ sound familiar? Or, my favorite, ‘A woman’s place is in front of a stove or warming a man’s bed.’”

Good Lord, she heard the twins’ outburst in the lawyer’s office? He jumped to his feet. His head started spinning. He reached out and she wrapped her arms around him.

“You’re not all right.” She led him to the cabin’s front door. “Come inside and rest before you collapse. What were you thinking dragging me off the roof with you?”

He dropped his arm over her shoulder and let her help him along the narrow space to Garland’s rocker. “I thought I was saving your life.”

He sank onto the chair with a deep moan. Garland has some whisky in that cabinet over there, I could use a drink.” He nodded toward the bottom of a stand.

“You shouldn’t have alcohol, Mr. MacGregor. You might have a concussion.”

“I didn’t hit my head. I landed on my back with you on top of me, remember?”

“Aren’t you the grumpy one?”

He glanced at her tapping toe. “I’m sorry. I’m miffed at my brothers for speaking out of turn at your expense. I should have cuffed them when they poke ill at your expense. They’ve been a handful since our parents died and my other two brothers and I’ve taken on raising them. I’ll see they apologize appropriately to you.”

“Thank you, but it’s not necessary.”

He nodded at the cabinet again.

She grunted and knelt before the opened cupboard. “There’s only a couple bottles of Scotch in here. Will that do?”

“It’s only the finest whisky made.” Jesus did he need some of the drink.

A huge rat bolted from between the bottles plowing against her chest, knocking Rebecca on her buttocks. Her frantic glance up at him came with a loud shriek. In a quick moment she moved onto his lap, pulled her feet high off the floor and buried her face against his chest. “Is that horrid thing gone?”

This was more than he could ever have hoped for. She was right where he wanted her, in his arms.

Anything else in the works you can share with us?

I have a trilogy of three sisters who travel west, each traveling in a different way and they all end up in Paradise Pines. Have started sending the stories to contests.

Thanks, Paisley, for stopping by and visiting with us today! Be sure to stop by and visit her gorgeous website!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Friends: Meet Susan Macatee

I think it's rather fitting that my first guest blogger for my new Friday Friends series is Susan Macatee. I've known Susan for about five years now and her journey from unpublished to multi-published author, whose first full length release is out today from The Wild Rose Press is particularly inspiring.

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you write the genre you do.

I’m Susan Macatee and I live with my husband and three grown sons in Philadelphia. Along with my husband, I’m also a Civil War reenactor.

I write romance, primarily in the historical and historical/paranormal genres, set in the Civil War era. My love and knowledge of the Civil War period in American history compelled me to set my stories in that time period.

How long have you been writing?

Basically, I’ve been dabbling since grade school, but I started writing toward publication when my youngest son, now in college, started kindergarten. So, about 14 years.

Where do you get your ideas?

Facts about the Civil War and historical biographies inspired a lot of my stories, but I also get ideas from reading other novels, movies and television shows.

Describe your writing day

I do my best writing during the early afternoon hours, so after spending my mornings working out, running errands, taking care of household tasks, and checking email—after my half-hour lunch break—I settle down to my computer to work on my primary writing project. After an hour and a half, I take a short break, then usually switch to another project. I always have more than one writing project in the works.

What was your “Aha!” moment—when you knew you had to be a writer?

I’d always entertained the thought of writing, but it wasn’t until—after spending about nine years as a stay-at-home mom for my three boys—my youngest was starting school, that I decided I needed something of my own to do. I signed up for a writing course and never looked back.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

I loved to draw as a kid and always thought I’d go into a field like design or illustration. And in college, I really liked the psychology and sociology courses I was required to take as part of my English major. I took a few courses beyond the basics as electives and considered majoring in one or the other for a time. So, I could have ended up as a designer, illustrator, therapist or counselor, if I wasn’t a writer.

Tell me your best cure for writer’s block?

Actually, I don’t get writer’s block, because I always work on multiple projects. If I get stuck or feel my enthusiasm ebbing on one project, I just jump to another and before long, I’m itching to get back to the first one newly inspired.

Tell us a little bit about Erin’s Rebel.

Erin’s Rebel is my first full-length romance. The story is a time travel, where my heroine, a modern-day reporter, travels to the year 1863. There she meets the hero, a Confederate army captain and the romance begins.

Blurb: Philadelphia newspaper reporter, Erin Branigan, is engaged to marry an up-and-coming lawyer, but dreams of a man from the past change those plans and start her on a journey beyond time. After a car accident, Erin wakes to find herself living in the 1860s in a Confederate army camp.

Captain Will Montgomery, the man of her dreams, is now a flesh and blood Rebel soldier who sets her soul aflame. But the Irish beauty holds a secret he needs to unravel before he can place his trust in her.

Can she correct a mistake made long ago that caused his death and denied her the love she was meant to have? Or is she doomed to live out her life with nothing but regret?

The sound of her name on his lips made her skin tingle. She tore the paper off the package. At the sight of the brooch, her breath caught.

"Do you like it?" he asked anxiously. "I had it made just for you."

Eyeing him, she had a hard time finding her voice. This was Erin O'Connell's brooch, the very one that had sent her back in time. It shone in her hands, new and unworn from time and wear.

What did this mean? She must be following Erin O'Connell's footsteps. As far as she knew her being here hadn't changed anything. Will was still destined to die this year.

"I didn't mean to upset you, Erin. If you don’t want the brooch--"

"No." She clasped the pin against her chest as the meaning of his gift sank in. "It just means so much to me."

His look of concern softened into a lopsided grin. "I'm happy you feel that way."

"Thank you, Will." She slipped the brooch into the pocket of her wrapper, then stood on her toes, lifting her arms to circle his neck. She kissed his cheek, inhaling his musky scent.

His mouth was on hers, hot and urgent. The softness of his moustache and chin beard tickled her lips. She opened to him, her tongue slipping inside to taste him thoroughly. He groaned, pressing the length of his body against her.

Anything else in the works you can share with us?

Besides Erin’s Rebel, I’ve got four releases coming out with The Wild Rose Press this year. The first is a short story, Angel of My Dreams, part of the Civil War romance anthology, Northern Roses and Southern Belles; another full-length Civil War romance, Confederate Rose; a stand-alone short vampire story, Sweet Redemption, that will be released as a e-book and a short Christmas story, The Christmas Ball, that will be part of a TWRP Christmas anthology, An American Rose Christmas.

Besides those, I’m working on two new full-length projects. One is a post-Civil War romance that’s a sequel to an earlier novel now out-of-print, the other is my first ever science fiction romance.

For more about me and my books, visit my website:

Thanks for stopping by, Susan! And congratulations on the release today!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blogging with the Victorians today...

Not even the fuzzy, foggy effects of my migraine meds could keep me from talking about my latest research into Civil War spies.

Stop over at the Slip Into Something Victorian blog site and check it out.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Author of the Month..... me????

I'm blushing furiously.... I'm featured on MyShelf as Author of the Month for July!

To check out the interview, click here

To read Faith V. Smith's wonderful review of The Model Man, click here

Wow, what a way to start the month!!

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...