just leave me a comment. If you’ve read this one, I’ll give you a copy of the new one – Christmas Present.
Something to sneak off a read when the company gets too much!
Yes, it’s release day for Christmas Present – a short story that I’m pretty sure it going to lead to a longer story because I really liked these characters. But for Christmas, or Yule or whatever you call it – a little gift.
Two lonely people find warmth and acceptance in each others’ company.
Two years ago today my book, Homecoming was released. This was my first small town romance. The inspiration was the cleaning out of my parents’ home after their deaths. That, in reality, was a three year process and fortunately I wasn’t alone to do it. Sis and Spouses hauled a lot of stuff out as well but there are a lot of flashes of me in the story.
I didn’t expect to like writing small town romance, having fled my own small town a long time ago. That said, it never goes away. Small town jumps out at you when you least expect it. Former teachers and school mates, church ladies, the bench gang (retired men outside the hardware store) all linger in the memory for good or ill. Sometimes it’s fun to revisit, from a distance . . .
Today I’m hosting an incredible writer and my good friend Cyn Hadyn. We’ve “known” each other through a mutual friend for years, but finally caught up in person (Thanks Bette!) If you’re into paranormal or historical, check her out!
Tell us about yourself – Firstly, I hate talking about myself. I’d rather talk about you or my books. Okaay, I will cooperate. I grew up in Pennsylvania, went to university in Colorado and Kansas, married a West Point guy and saw the world: Germany, Brazil, Panama. Before choosing a one income lifestyle, I was lucky enough to vacation in Egypt, Greece, Switzerland, France, Italy. Been back to Italy three more times since then, and let me just say, I LOOOOVE Italy. Before I retired in 2012 I had a three-part career, Museums, Archives and Military History. Retired from Civil Service in my position as Command Historian for Marine Special Operations Command. Now I’m living in Clearwater, Florida and enjoying the warm weather and being able to write whenever the muse prompts me.
What television sitcom is most like your family? Err, Addams Family. Why? Perhaps because all the women in my family have been born with fangs. No, seriously. Modern dentistry has kept us from outing ourselves.
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? Read, drink scotch, read, write until midnight.
Do you prefer…
Public speaking or public singing? If you’ve ever heard me sing, you’d know the answer to that. I’ve worked hard to cultivate the friends I have and want to keep them.
Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi, if I can’t have a scotch and soda.
Living without your cell phone or living without your computer? Is it possible to live without a computer?
Now about you as an author…
Did you always want to be an author? That’s like asking did you always want to breathe.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? I guess the Russians: Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. I read Brothers Karamazov and War and Peace when I was about ten. Yeah, aside from the unpronounceable names, I understood it. Read Sartre in college, and it had the desired effect, he drove me nuts, but fortunately not suicidal. Now I follow J. R. Ward, Lynn Viehl. Love paranormal writers. Also loved Dick Francis for his books on horse racing and Maeve Binchy for her Agatha Raisin detective stories, but for historical romance you can’t beat Diana Gabaldon.
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? I had a college professor, Arthur Bennett, who read some of my old Man From Uncle scripts and encouraged me to send them in. Never did so, and am seriously disappointed in my cowardice.
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite? Sitting in front of my computer late at night and just letting it flow. Least favorite is writing myself into a corner and having to figure out how to back out of it.
What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? Punctuation. Believe it or not, I was an English teacher in a previous life, and having to correct all of those papers ruined my sense of what goes where.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? Aside from a glass of wine? I sort of play computer mahjong for a few times to warm up before I write.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books? In my paranormal books it’s family. Family warped, see fang reference, or vanilla, but still family hanging together.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? If you were to ask my editor, it would probably be NOTHING. What I have learned is that writers are extremely supportive of each other. If you have a problem, all you have to do is reach out and you get instant help and instant support.
Latest in historical romance with a paranormal twist is Piper Paid coming out on 10 November 2014
It was to be a working vacation and a childhood dream come true. Alana MacLeod from Dunedin, Florida would learn how to use herbs to treat common ailments, and in lieu of course cost, would teach her Scottish instructor how to forage for and use edible plants in her cooking.
Alana ‘s dream was to open her own business, offering an unusual combination of herbal remedies, edible weeds, acupuncture and different styles of massage, but her renowned plastic surgeon father thought it New Age twaddle and refused to support her financially. Not unlike her stubborn MacLeod ancestors, Alana refused to take no for an answer and followed her beloved grandfather’s example by joining the Marine Corps and serving two tours in Afghanistan to pay for the unusual classes she needed to open shop in Dunedin.
One of her first stops when she reached Scotland was to honor her grandfather’s memory by visiting the site of the famous Battle of Culloden, and walk the Drumossie moor where on April 16, 1746, the British forces of King George II destroyed the power of the Scottish clans. She and her grandfather had war-gamed the battle from the time she was able to understand strategy and tactics, and as she walked the terrain, she could almost feel the agony the clans must’ve experienced at such a major defeat.
Once she left mainland Scotland for the Isle of Skye, and the home of the renowned herbalist Annie MacCrimmon, her time in Skye flew by until she had but two last lessons to learn. The first of which was, never, ever summon a fairy as a lark, because you wouldn’t care at all for the results. Especially if you found yourself sent back to 1745 and given the task of saving a MacArthur piper’s life as payment for the fairy’s debt of honor.
The second hard lesson learned was never put a ring you’ve just dug up in a patch of four leaf clovers on your left ring finger. One, you wouldn’t be able to get it off again, and, Two, you’d find yourself wed by clan custom to a MacArthur piper. If she did manage to save Alasdair MacArthur’s life, the fairy had promised to send her back to her own century, but she’d been so flummoxed by the beautiful creature’s appearance, she’d forgotten to ask what would threaten the piper’s life so she could save him, and more importantly, what would happen if she failed.
Alana is forced to call upon her knowledge of foraging and herbal remedies, her Marine Corps training and her MacLeod stubbornness to fit into eighteenth century Skye. Although the fairy hadn’t given her a deadline, Alana had set one for herself. She’d convinced the MacArthur piper to handfast with her rather than an actual marriage, and so she would move heaven, hell and a certain fairy to see her mission was completed within a year and a day. But time was running out, and curse that tricky fairy, it was looking like the life threatening event Alasdair MacArthur needed saving from was the battle that would occur on Drumossie Moor on 16 April 1746.
Contact info –
I grew up surrounded by veterans, loving them all. Every Sunday when visiting Grandmother, the boys – Daddy’s brothers would sit around and revisit their adventures in Europe during WWII. All but the baby were sent overseas. The same with Momma’s brothers. But it was Daddy’s sister that outranked them all. She worked in Europe and later in Korea as a physical therapist and I found her face on the Korean Wall in Washington, DC.
I know I had her in mind when I wrote Dance Partner – my take on a modern veteran disabled in Afghanistan. With her at his side, I have no doubt he’d ready to face anything.
Jim is back home and existing, but nothing more. The irony of going to a dance club isn’t lost on him. The redhead moving around the floor is the last thing he needs in his life. So what if he can’t take his eyes off her.
It’s been a great day for Wendy, and dancing is her favorite way to celebrate. The hunk’s eyes are on her, but he doesn’t approach. Intrigued she approaches him and learns a lot more about herself than she planned.
No way – a book in a month?? First let me say, it can be done. No you don’t have time or an idea that big – I’ve heard it before (I’ve said it before) but we both know that’s just an excuse. You’re a writer. Don’t expect to write War and Peace or Gone With The Wind – that’s not what this is about.
This is for getting that idea out of your head and writing it down without editing or correcting–I’ll repeat that for emphasis–just get the idea out of your head and on paper (or computer – you know what I mean). There’s plenty of time to revise and edit and pretty it up, this is to write it the first time. What has been referred to by others as the “vomit pass” –get it out.
But my idea isn’t “big” enough. Are you sure? Have you started on that writing down part? It might be a little late to practice for this year–but remember, we get a November annually–have you tried flash fiction? You’re given an image, one shot and you write 100 words on it. That’s what I did for Red Shoes. But once I had those 100 words down, I realized I knew what had happened before that and how it continued. It became a novella from one image and 100 words. If I can do it . . .
Now you know you have that idea that’s been in the back of your head for ages (maybe years) but you haven’t taken the time to stop and really look at it. Now’s that time. Take it out, investigate it, why has it remained in your head all this time? There is the kernel of a story there and you know where you want to take it, or have it take you.
Statistically 90% of the people that have that idea never write it down and of those 10% that do, 90% don’t send it to anyone to try to have it published or take the time to publish it themselves. That’s a lot of stories I’ll never get to read. Think about it.
I don’t know how to start. Okay, the first page, the first sentence can be very intimidating. I’ll let you in on a little secret. You don’t have to write linearly. The reader will never know if you wrote the ending first. Honest, I won’t tell if you don’t. If you have a scene that’s in your head, write it down. Keeping it in your head doesn’t help, but seeing it on the screen can lead to the previous scene or the next one. Yes, eventually you’ll have to connect those scenes, but you already know how that happens. You just have to get it out of your head.
Are you seeing a theme here? You’re a writer, your job is to write. For November, make it your main job, your top priority. Housework will always be there, no matter how many mornings you make the bed, you’ll have to again the next morning (same with laundry). Take the chance.
Another secret here–even if you don’t “finish” it, however much you get down will be more than you had and you will have started. No more white paper fear, no more trying to begin with the perfect sentence. You’ll be past that and into the story you want to tell.
It’s a great time to be a writer–there are so many venues to publishing now, there are so many genres and sub-genres to write and read, the pool isn’t that deep–jump in, you’ll be in great company. And maybe you will have cleared your head . . .
Just for fun, I going to share a ghost story I wrote back when I was writing X-Files Fanfiction – okay my dirty little secret is out, but I learned a lot about writing (and critiques) that way. Check out The Girl Under the Bridge. Lydia is famous around High Point, NC though I’ve never seen her myself. I wonder how I’d handle it if I did?
Are there any ghosts near your home? Would you go check them out if there were?
Hope you enjoyed the story – if so, you’re welcome to check out Wraith’s Heart, a more recent story of mine.
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Samhain!
Just a little something for you to check out — Ghost Photos
Some more ghost photos sent in my Mary Roya – enlarge the pics, look at the door at the top of the stairs and in the mirror – major cool!