Archive for November, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Okay, I see these things all over the place and my friend Jaci told me what it was…. so I’m gonna give it shot.

1) I get to get rid of these stories inside my head. Writing is the one thing that shuts them up and it’s cheaper than therapy.

2) While I can’t exactly work in jammies (have to leave to take the kids to school and the sitter) I don’t have to wear business attire or nursing uniforms. BIG Yippee.

3) I get to meet other people who finally understand the fact that yes, there are stories in my head and nope, i don’t exactly know where they came from

4) I can buy pretty much any book I want, without guilt, and smile at my husband and say, but it’s for research!!!!

5) I’ve gotten to meet some of my favorite writers that I’ve read for years.

6) I can finally play on the computer all I want and it’s justified.

7) I get to meet people who love romance as much as I do.

8) I get to travel as much as I want and can afford, or as little as I want to…

9) I get to bribe friends into giving me early reads…by trading my stuff for theirs.

10) I got to see an excerpt from one of my books in Cosmo magazine.

11) If I want to take off a day or two… or a week…I can.

12) If somebody totally ticks me off, I can pound out my anger on the keyboard… killing them on paper. Nice, neat and LEGAL… without all the moral problems.

13) And last but not least… I love what I do. It’s what I always dreamed of.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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I’m BACK….

Well, mostly… still not reading much email and I’m not really working, although there is this ghost of an idea I’ve been playing with. Will have to see how it turns out. FYI, surgery sucks. I really did like the drugs, though. Talk about la la land. Hopefully the carpal tunnel symptoms will clear up now. So far, they seem better.

Got to tell you, though, I’ve gotten some serious reading done while I’ve been recuperating. And I needed it. Man, my brain batteries needed the recharge, so I guess the surgery wasn’t a bad thing.

So far, in the past 10 days, I’ve read

I See You by Holly Lisle
Sex and the Single Ghost by Tawny Taylor
Harmony’s Way, Tanner’s Scheme and Dangerous Games by Lora Leigh. :O) And these aren’t due out for a while, although Harmony is popping up on some book shelves.
Pictures of You by Shelby Reed
A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

Today, I’m going to get caught up on the In Death books by JD Robb. I’m a little behind, reading Origin in Death, and I think I still need to read Memory and Born. I’ve also been reading Alison Kent’s Complete Idiots Guide to Erotic Romance.

All of the books were great, but I’d have to say that my faves of these were the Holly Lisle, Shelby Reed and Lora’s Harmony. What have you all been reading?

Also had an ebook release this week from Samhain Publishing. Talking with the Dead was originally at Triskelion Publishing, but I expanded and revised it.
Surrounded by death, a man with a terrible gift reaches for life.
A horrific tragedy blasted open a door in young Michael O’Rourke’s mind—cursing him with the ability to talk with the Dead. Nearly two decades later, Michael has moved from victim to survivor, using his abilities to seek out those who would go unjudged.

With his gift, he talks to those who’ve died violently and seeks out their killers. Only once he’s found the murderer, can the victims be at rest. After his last case, the only thing he wants is peace and he hopes to find it in the small town of Mitchell, Indiana. But something is horribly wrong—the dead are waiting for him there, as well.
***CHRISTMAS CONTEST*** check out my other group site, After Midnight, ten prizes in all. And I think that catches me up on everything!

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Guilty Pleasures

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Karl and I were sort of naughty–no, no, no, not that! We called the kids and told them we loved them but we weren’t going to be home for the holiday. Was that bad or what? We felt like little kids doing something we weren’t supposed to do.

But you see, we had free tickets to see Loretta Lynn in concert (she was absolutely fabulous!) and entry into a slot tournament. I cannot pass up a slot tournament. We had to go right by Billy’s house so we did end up spending Thanksgiving with him and his girlfriend. That was nice. Our daughter and her family were going in the opposite direction.

But then we crept out of the house early the next morning and played all weekend and had the best time! I didn’t take any work whatsoever. That was a first in a very long time. I didn’t realize how often I take something to work on. When we got home I felt refreshed and eager to write.

Karl and I don’t “escape” that often. I highly recommend it. For us, we love to go to the boats—The Horseshoe. We always feel pampered and it’s a party atmosphere, the rooms are suites (I could do without the mirrors on the one wall!)

That’s our guilty pleasure. Where is your favorite place to go? Wherever it is, I’ll add a gift boxed scented candle to one lucky winner who adds their fav place. It doesn’t have to be with someone. Maybe you just like to curl up with a good book? I’ll announce the winner tonight.
Karen Kelley
Available Now! Hell On Wheels/Brava
Available Now! Texas Bad Boys/Brava
04/07 Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind/Brava

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Shop Black Friday that is. Did you brave the malls? WalMart? Stand in line freezing your backside off to get a Wii or another must-have toy? Elbow, trip, push, gouge you way to a sale rack for that best sale ever? And did you get it or wind up empty-handed. My son waited for four hours—from 3 AM to 7 AM for that Wii thing!! 

Yep, this is the time of year where we spend forever shopping for just that right present. Weeeeell, maybe I shouldn’t use we as I’m doing terrible in the present department!

So tell me, what great prize you got so I can be totally jealous? What special thing for that special someone you know will really make their Christmas morning because it’s what they want and your wait and search made it all worth the effort?

And the price?? What totally terrific price did you pay? I heard someone got a personal DVD player for 39$! Holy moly!
What a find!

Tell me your Black Friday tale!

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An Attitude of Gratitude…

For those of us who live in the U.S., Thursday is the day we pause to count our blessings. In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I decided to blog about the good things in my life…

1) I am grateful for our 2 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, and 2 granddaughters. They are at the top of my list of blessings.

2) I am thankful for extended families. There may be squabbles and disappointments over the years, but they are still family.

3) I am grateful for friends. When I was a Brownie Scout, we learned the song, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” I think we need to add a verse about special online friends, as well!

4) I am thankful for health. When you lose friends and family members to cancer and other terrible circumstances, you more fully appreciate how precious a gift it is to have good health.

5) I am thankful to my Creator for the wonderful home we call earth. I love the measured change of the seasons, and the little miracles of nature both large and small. From the quiet buzzing of the honey bee on a summer morning, to the fragile, fleeting beauty of a rainbow, to the mighty roar of a powerful waterfall, we live on an amazing planet.

6) I am grateful that love is always stronger than hate. And that even in the midst of the most hopeless situations, there is always someone who keeps the tiny flame of hope alive.

7) I am glad that friends and family forgive me when I make mistakes, and I am grateful to have a God who forgives as well.

8) I am grateful to wake up each morning and know that it is a new day, unblemished and fresh.

9) I am grateful for the innocence of children. When I was teaching second grade, I worked for weeks with my crop of enthusiastic seven-year-olds on the play version of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. We put it on for the parents two days before the holiday, and it produced laughs and tears as we all saw the event through “the eyes of a child”.

10) I am grateful for challenging work. I loved teaching, but it is a really wonderful gift to be engaged in the career I have dreamed of for so long.

11) I am grateful for my fun and creative husband. The love and support he gives me is interwoven through each of the previous ten items on this list.

My litany of blessings could go on for pages… the country of my birth, the strength of the human spirit, books and movies, technology, the softness of a baby’s cheek…

On any given day we can look around us and find people who are better off than we are and people who are worse off. Our challenge is to operate from our little niche on the planet and play the hand we are dealt. Return anger or indifference with kindness. Offer a smile in the face of rudeness. Give, expecting nothing in return. Be ready with a helping hand when others stumble.

Have an attitude of gratitude and reap the benefits of a blessed life.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all, and may the calories in the feast you consume be vaporized before they land on your thighs!


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The third book in my O’Fallon series, I’ll Be Seeing U, is out and the setting is O’Fallon’s Landing (a little river town on the Mississippi I made up) right outside Memphis. I loved writing about these four great guys but now it’s time to move on and the next books are set in Savannah, meaning I’m going from made-up place to an actual place. What was I thinking??

And I’m here to tell you that using a made up place is one heck of a lot easier then the real deal! If you make it up, it’s name the streets whatever you want. Put the police station, library, grandma’s house wherever it suits you.
But now…holy cow…it is Savannah! It exists, I cannot put a bank where St. John’s church stands and I can’t put a rowboat on the Savannah River unless I want it run over by a freighter.

As I sit here looking at the map of Savannah plastered over my computer I’m thinking…holy moly, is it worth it??? Okay, I know Savannah is worth it but is me setting my book there worth the effort. If I just made up Savannah, call it Sweet Tea or something equally southern would that work as well?? Sure would be easier. ‘Coure I couldn’t use all the neat stuff that makes Savannah unique either. Hummm…

So, the question is… What do you all think? Do you like reading the made up towns? Or…do you like reading about New York, Las Angeles, Vegas, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Ohio?
What works for you all?
And…what is your favorite setting?


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Give Me a "V"!!

Okay – I know we’re not supposed to talk politics on this blog. I promise – no party bashing from me! But I want to urge every one of the Scamps who live in the USA to get out and vote tomorrow. Our political process has flaws, of course, but it is still one of our great strengths and one our important privileges. Whenever I cast my vote in any election, I can’t help but think of Thomas Jefferson and all those other visionary guys who had a dream of a democratic system that would make all citizens equal.

I will say that I’m going to be SO happy to see an end to the political ads on television. I swear I have most of them memorized word for word. I heard a statistic about the money that has been spent across our country for TV ads this time around, and it is far, far more than in the last presidential election! My hubby likes to stir things up, and he says we should be like some countries who give every candidate X amount of money for their campaign, and no one can spend any more than that. Hmmm…

One thing that has really been “different” this time is an avalanche of pre-recorded political phone calls. I am not exaggerating when I say we’ve had as many as 25 or 30… and some of them have been from big guns like Rudy Guiliani and Fred Thompson. Ha! Wonder what they would do if I called them and asked for an autograph. 🙂 And by the way – those calls are exempt from the rules about the “Do Not Call List”.

My DH is going to be on the road tomorrow, so the two of us did early voting last Thursday. We stood in line for 40 minutes, and the guy “guarding” the line said they had seen at least 600-700 people at that location during every day of early voting. I hope that means a huge voter turn-out this year.

If you’re not a registered voter and should be, shame on you! Nothing you do as a citizen is any more significant than being part of the process. It’s the only way to make our voices heard and to be a part of the solution to national problems.

So get out and vote tomorrow… and when you press that red button to finalize your choices, remember the heroes who struggled and fought to build a nation and a government by the people, for the people!

(Feeling all red, white, and blue in a good kind of way!)

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A question a lot of authors get asked (and I’m no exception ::g::) is: Where do you get your ideas?

When someone asks this, I’m never sure they really want the answer, ‘cuz it’s involved, yeah? I did a whole series on it on my Amazon plog, but I think most readers, reviewers, interviewers mean, “Where do you get your ideas for the plot of the book?” when they ask the question. I think maybe because a lot of people assume the plot comes first. And for some writers, it does. But for me? The characters always come first. And somehow the plot develops from them.

That could mean that the plot is a natural progression from the place in life my characters are at when I meet them. It could also mean that I look at the characters and ask the question, “How can I cause them the most trouble?” I mean a book that has no conflict for those characters you come to love is pretty boring, right? So, I set out to cause them trouble…or facilitate them causing each other no end of complications.

But I think people want to know where the idea for those complications come from…and the answer is everywhere, but mostly some kind of imaginative morphing on a theme from reality. You’ve heard the adage that truth is stranger than fiction and well, it’s an adage because it’s right!

I’ll read a newspaper story, hear someone talking in the mall, see something on the news, read an interview or article in a magazine and my imagination gets sparked. Something like, “Oh, wow…I can so see that happening to Jillian (my heroine in my current WIP).” And thus a plot or scene is born.

The plot or plot elements often come from research. When I went to Vancouver B.C. to research their film industry (‘cuz that’s where Jillian is working), I came away with tons of ideas to complicate my plot and develop a more intricate story. The same thing happened in my merc trilogy as I researched Army Rangers and mercenaries…comments my interview subjects made sparked entire storylines. Very cool, you know?

So, the answer is that I get my ideas by spinning real life through a very fertile imagination. You may never recognize the germ of actual happening in the story I write, but maybe one of the reasons so many readers have said my books feel so realistic is that deep at their heart, the stories are real.

There is nothing imagination can conjur that can compete in sheer fascination appeal with truth.


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Title Game

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I love writing. I love being able to make my living as a writer. I mean, how many jobs are there that let *figuratively* kill off the people who totally tick you off? How many jobs let you work in your jammies all day long, if you want? I can take a break when I need it, I don’t have people breathing down my neck, or stealing my pens, or the cokes I left in the fridge.

Pretty close to the ideal job. At least for me.

But like alllllll jobs, there are the down sides. Deadlines are stressful. Worrying if your editor is going to like your book~very stressful. Will the readers like it? This redefines stress. There’s promo, which can be a pain in the butt. And there’s the days when the story just isn’t flowing, the characters are screaming at you, or worse, not talking at all.

But the worst? UUUGGGGHHHHH… blurbs and titles. I hate blurbs, but if I can hammer out the basics, I can do okay. Then there are titles. I really, really hate the titles.

A title, after the cover, is the attention getter. If you don’t have a decent title, will the book tank? Romance titles can be really tricky. You don’t want something that reminds people of the days of bodice rippers, purple prose, etc etc… You want to make sure the title somehow conveys something important about the book.

A good title is crucial. Fortunately the title for the book I just turned in, the title sort of came naturally. About a Hunter that doesn’t really Hunt any more and his own salvation is more or less what happens in the book. That one was easy. I wish they always were.

You have to find something between Love’s Anguished Rhapsody (and no, I don’t know if that’s a real title) and Spot the Spotted Dog. Something romantic, without being boring or overly flowery. Something clever, funny, evocative…. egads, it’s no wonder I hate coming up with titles. I’ve often run screaming to a friend or one of my editors pleading for help when it’s time to title the book.

There are some titles that were so clever, I remember them even if I never read the book. Like the book I saw at the library last week. I Gave You My Heart but You Sold It Online. I don’t see myself reading it, but it’s a memorable title.
Some good titles…
Dance with The Devil
Dead Witch Walking
Dead Until Dark
Love Lust and Pixie Dust
What are some titles that stick with you?
**just as a side note, I’m going to be temporarily abandoning you all…I have hand surgery coming up (another one of the downsides to be a writer…carpal tunnel) but I’ll be back in December. **

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