A Brief Announcement and Redirection…

Yes, I realize I haven’t posted anything real in over a week. (Last Tuesday’s Get Out and Vote Post doesn’t count.) Sorry about that, but I’ve been very busy with normal everyday life as well as anything-but-normal NANOWRIMO life. I’m happy to say I’ve had great success with NaNo this year, though. And here’s the big announcement: I’m up to 31,000+ words! I’m having so much fun with this one. I’ll tell you more about it later, but here’s a little hint: It’s about magic and the odd places you go to find it. It is a romance and it’s still untitled, so if anyone wants to leave me a suggestion for a title, I’d welcome it.

But if you want to read a real post from me today, I’m going to redirect you to Jersey Girl Book Reviews. As part of my blog tour, they’ve put up a very nice post featuring a little info about me and WHERE THE HEART LIES, a guest post titled “Capturing Magic: Lightning Bugs in a Mason Jar” and even a very nice, well-written, four-star review! Here’s a little tidbit from the review:

Where The Heart Lies is a poignant story of loss, grief, secrets, love, redemption and second chances.–Jersey Girl Book Review

Can you guess how much I enjoyed that review? So pop over and let JGBR know how much you appreciate their kindness to your favorite author–no, not Nicholas Sparks or J.K.Rowling. ME, silly. 🙂

Why you should make your bed during NaNo, plus today’s blog tour stop

It’s day five of NaNoWriMo and I’m exhausted. The late nights, the weekend’s time change, and the chilly weather are combining to make me think longingly of my bed. It’s right upstairs, unmade and calling. Oh crap. If only I’d made it as soon as I got out of it!

To make it worse, I actually want to write. I’m loving my NaNo story this year. Writing 2,000+ words hasn’t been too much of a challenge. In fact, the first day I wrote 5,000+ words. NaNo should not be able to defeat me this year.

And yet.

First of all, who decided to put the time change on the first weekend of National Novel Writing Month? Okay, I realize to the rest of the world, this is November, but still. The time change always throws me off, and yesterday, when I could have slept an extra hour, I decided to get up and write an extra hour instead. Of course, if I hadn’t done that, I probably wouldn’t have made my goal before midnight, but still.

Second, I lay awake last night thinking of plot points and possible twists and the character I’ve just thrown in and how she’s going to betray the heroine…and I couldn’t get to sleep until nearly one o’clock. Then I had to get up and get my kids off to school so I could write this blog to complain about how tired I am.

Third, I did NOT make my bed this morning. Understand that most household chores go by the wayside during NaNo (or a routine writing spurt), but making the bed should never be one of them. It just makes it too easy to climb back into it!

Ah well, if you’d like to hear more from me after all this nonsense, visit me at The Brunette Librarian this morning for a very nice review of WHERE THE HEART LIES and my take on where all those people I write about come from before they spring out of my head and onto the page.

Sandy prayers and a blog tour update, plus a plug for NANOWRIMO

First off, let me say I’m praying for the people in the Northeast who are going to deal with Sandy’s full wrath in a few hours. I’ve been in a hurricane. I thought Irene was bad. That was the night and day where I could do nothing but pace the floor and listen to trees falling outside my house, praying none hit our roof. North Carolina just got swiped by Sandy this year, for which I’m thankful, but I’m watching and listening to reports of it bearing down on the New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia coasts. I have friends and family in all those states.

But the show—or at least the blog tour—must go on. I’ve got a Q&A up at It’s Raining Books today. Stop by and leave a comment for your chance at the fabulous prizes I’m giving away. And don’t forget to leave me a comment here for a chance to win a print copy of Foreign Affairs. I’ll be giving that away on Wednesday, but you’ve still got time!

Finally, I signed up for NANOWRIMO (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth) this weekend. I’ve already got a rough outline of my book, have named the main characters and started to work on character outlines. So I’m ready to come out guns blazing on Thursday morning. I have every intention of finishing a novel this month, and I challenge everyone out there to join me. If you’re a writer at all, NANO is a great way to see if you’ve got a novel in you. It teaches you discipline and the joy of writing every single day. And if you don’t find those things by the end of the month (regardless of whether you finish the 50,000 words or not), well, you probably aren’t a novel writer. At any rate, it’s a great way to find out.

I will be blogging this month about my struggles with NANO. I am warning you ahead of time that I may use this blog to complain and vent my frustrations. I will also use it to remind myself to breathe. November is a busy month anyway, but when you’re forcing yourself to crank out nearly 2,000 words a day, it can be downright active! I look forward to finding out what it holds in store for me…

Magicians and magic: I saw David Copperfield! (and a couple of updates)

That’s right. I’m fresh back from Las Vegas (well, actually, not so fresh, but then, who comes back from Las Vegas refreshed?) and I got the opportunity to mark something off my bucket list. I saw David Copperfield live on stage. To understand this, you have to understand that I’ve been fascinated by magicians and magic most of my life. When I was five years old, a magician chose me to go on stage to be on a flying carpet. He told me to keep my eyes closed the whole time, much to my disappointment, and I didn’t get to actually see myself “flying”. Of course, if I’d opened my eyes, I might never have believed in magic again, so I’m glad I wasn’t a rebel back then.

I had a brief fling with Criss Angel and David Blaine, but I started to see something kind of ugly in their magic, but I’ve always loved David Copperfield. I’ve seen almost every one of his television shows, and when my husband told me to pick out a couple of shows in Vegas, I chose (with his help) The Blue Man Group and David Copperfield. The Blue Man Group was cool, of course, but we’d seen it before and our seats weren’t that great. I splurged a little on David, though. We were right up front, so close that an usher questioned us to make sure we weren’t journalists. Technically, I guess I kind of am, since I blog and write and have a degree in it and all, but on Saturday night, I was that same five-year-old girl who kept her eyes firmly shut so I couldn’t see the trick behind the magic. And it paid off. The show was spectacular, and David Copperfield was as charismatic and entertaining as he’s ever been on any television screen.

So I’ll continue my quest for magic, whether it be in what I write, read, see in the movies or on television. But I may have been as close to the real thing as I’ll ever get on Saturday.

BLOG TOUR: Visit me today at Bunny’s Review for an interview and a review (4 carrots!) of WHERE THE HEART LIES.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment for your chance at a (signed) print copy of the romance anthology FOREIGN AFFAIRS with my story “Agapi Mou”. If you’d like to suggest reasons ALL my books should be in print, I’m sure my publishers will take them under advisement…

Today’s blog tour stops and a reminder about my Foreign Affairs giveaway.

Goddess Fish Promotions has taken me all over the net, it seems, and today we make two stops, both of which I’m enjoying very much. Over at Once Upon a Time I was asked a very simple but very intriguing question. Describe a trip that changed you. Think about that for a minute. I had a hard time settling on one trip at first, but finally I figured it out. After you read the post over at Once Upon a time, check out this flash piece that was inspired by that same trip: China.

The second stop today is actually a review! My Reading Addiction gives Where the Heart Lies four stars and highly recommends it!

This is a story of loss, redemption, second chances, and a little bit of skeletons in the closet to throw a wrench in it. Great story line and smooth transitions with multi-dimensional characters. I highly recommend it. —My Reading Addiction

Finally, don’t forget about my Foreign Affairs print giveaway! Leave me a comment between now and October 31 for your chance to win a copy of Foreign Affairs in print. In the comment, tell me why you think ALL my books should be in print. What would you use them for? To prop up that uneven table leg? Firewood? Paper the birdcage? Give me a compelling and creative reason and enter to win your copy of the first print book with my name on the front cover. Check it out:

Isn’t it beautiful? Wouldn’t you love to own a copy? Well, here’s a buy link in case you just can’t wait for the giveaway to end: Turquoise Morning Press Bookstore. And now I’m off to do some real work!

Nothing new to report here, but check out my interview on Megan Johns Invites!

Check out today’s guest post here: Megan Johns Invites. Beautiful blog, lovely romance writer (Megan Johns) and an interview with yours truly…what more could you ask for?

Okay, something new on BREATHE would be nice, and in a perfect world, you’d get it. But I’m incredibly busy right now, currently writing two romances because I can’t make up my mind which I want to finish first and helping sort out my kids’ school’s library. I’m having loads of fun stretching the old librarian muscles, but it’s time-consuming and energy-absorbing.

Plus, I’ve still got five more guest posts to write for my blog tour stops in November! So, after this quick note and breathing moment, I’m off to work…

How to make your setting into a character…and why you should. Plus, today’s blog tour stop!

I watched a movie last night that made a real impression on me. It was called “Saving Grace”, a British film set in a little town on the coast of Cornwall. What impressed me most about the movie (which on its own was very entertaining and made me laugh and cry), was that the town has become a character to me all on its own.

You see, I’ve been watching the British television series “Doc Martin” with my husband over the past few weeks. I’m so addicted to this show if I can’t watch at least one episode of it a day, I feel out of sorts. Last night my husband was on a Boy Scout campout and had forbidden me to watch “Doc” without him, so I decided to rent the movie the series had grown out of instead. I wasn’t sure I’d like it because, although some of the same actors are in it, they play totally different characters. None of the characters are the same.

Except the setting.

I’m not sure if they called the town by the same name, but it looked the same. The narrow curvy streets, the quaint cliffside architecture, the harbor clogged with fishing boats. Every time they showed the town, I felt a little happier and I knew it was because I recognized it. The town itself has become important to me, as if it’s a friend I visit when I watch the show. The setting of the story has become a character to me.

Setting is important to any story, of course. For the most part, you can’t let your characters carry on their story against a blank backdrop. City or small town, apartment or house, they need to be put somewhere. The question I’ve been asking myself ever since realizing the little town in “Doc Martin” had become so important to me is, “Can I do that in my stories? Is it possible?”

I think I’ve answered it. It is possible, because some authors have already done it. Think about Margaret Mitchell’s Atlanta. Didn’t you mourn the burning of Atlanta almost as much as her characters did? She must have really loved that city. Other settings I love as much as the characters in books: Hogwarts (Harry Potter), Prince Edward Island (Anne of Green Gables), and Bath, England (Jane Austen). In fact, if I look back on the books I’ve loved most, part of what I loved—usually a large part—was the setting. The authors not only provided a backdrop for their characters, they created living worlds.

Have I achieved this in any of my books? I don’t think so. Maybe I came a little bit close with Weeds and Flowers? Possibly. The setting of that book was the most important of any story I’ve told yet. I’m writing another one now set in my hometown of Brevard, N.C. It’s the first time I’ve tried it since W&F. Maybe the key is to love the setting as much as you love your characters, to let the setting influence the story and your characters. I look forward to exploring it further.

In the meantime, check out my guest blog on All I Want and More today for some background into the inspiration for Where the Heart Lies and an excerpt from the book. Leave me a comment for a chance to win fabulous prizes!

Book Tour Stop: Find out how I get my characters to fall in love.

I’m discussing falling in love with the queen today. The Queen of All She Reads is hosting one of my blog tour stops, and I’ve got a guest post there about how to convince your characters to take the plunge…and fall in love. It’s not as easy as it sounds! You can read about it here: Queen of All She Reads Guest Post. While you’re there, leave a comment so I can tell you how much I love you for coming by and enter you in my giveaways!

Summer colds, blog tours and free stuff!

Are summer colds the worst or what? I’ve been out of commission with one for the past week and a half. Every time I think my regimen of green tea and wine has defeated it, it comes back! Now it’s really just the sniffles (and a cough), not the sore throat and body aches I had last week, but it’s bad enough. And in an interesting twist of irony, I sound worse now and felt worse last week! So I’m getting more sympathy now than I did when I actually felt like a train had backed over me twice.

But I’m getting myself back on track blog-wise, anyway. And I’m taking this opportunity to announce the Where the Heart Lies Blog Tour by Goddess Fish Promotions. For three months, I’ll be stopping by some wonderful blogs to share my thoughts about writing, Where the Heart Lies, and a host of other topics. Here’s a schedule of the events, with links:

September 10: Welcome to My World of Dreams
September 17: Queen of all She Reads
September 24: All I want and more
October 1: MeganJohnsInvites
October 8: My Reading Addiction
October 8: Once Upon a Time…
October 15: Ramblings From This Chick
October 22: The Bunny’s Review
October 29: It’s Raining Books
November 5: The Brunette Librarian
November 12: Jersey Girl Book Reviews
November 19: Stitch Read Cook
November 19: Guilty Indulgence
November 26: My Devotional Thoughts

Each of these stops will feature a giveaway of a promotional postcard for Where the Heart Lies (signed, if you like) with a 10 percent off coupon from Carina Press and I’ll do one grand prize giveaway at the end of the tour for a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of Bartlett’s Poems for Occasions, which, if you’ve read Where the Heart Lies already, actually inspired the book of poetry Liam gives Alicia.

And speaking of giveaways, I’ve already been remiss in not mentioning the one going on over at Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind for Foreign Affairs, the romance anthology from Turquoise Morning Press with my story “Agapi Mou” in it. Drop by, read some thoughts from me and some of my fellow Foreign Affairs authors about the sexy men of the Olympics, and leave a comment for your chance to win a free e-copy of Foreign Affairs! Hurry, though, the contest ends on September 7!

Plus, stay tuned in October…some of my fellow horror writers and I are cooking up a Halloween surprise…hopefully.