Tag Archives: Blog Challenge

Face-time…

Week 26 already?? Yowza. Okay, so the prompt this week is My Favorite Indulgence. Why, then, is my post titled Face-time…?

Good question, and easy to answer.

I’ve mentioned about a million times on my writing blog and my menopause one  I am a skin care fanatic. F-A-N-A-T-I-C. I wasn’t always this way, though. In my teens, and through my early forties, I was a total sun worshipper. The darker I could tan in the summer, the better I  liked it.

Than I got melanoma and the fun went out of sun bathing for me. Now, I shun the sun like a vampire queen. After the melanoma was treated I switched my sun worship to skin worship. I began getting professional facials on a monthly basis – no inexpensive thing, that! I invested in 100 SPF sun lotion – again, not cheap, and I now have an entire wardrobe filled with wide brimmed hats in every color imaginable. I typically wear mid-to- long sleeves and I never go out of the house with first slathering myself in sun block.

A little excessive?
I prefer to to think of it as a self indulgent process of prevention.

The real self indulgence here though, is that I still get those monthly facials from an aesthetician. The prices have gone up yearly, but I don’t care. She keeps my skin glowing and healthy and is my first line of defense if she spots anything untoward cropping up. If she does, she tells me and I make an immediate appointment with my dermatologist.

If I had to give up something in order to continue paying for those treatments, rest assured I would. Even if it was something vital, like dessert!

To see what the other authors in this hop consider self indulgences, click here: MFRWauthor

And when I’m not getting facials you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Get your hands off my…..

I have simply lucked out these past few weeks with the writing prompts on this blog challenge. Today is another easy peasy piece for me to write.

The prompt is “the item I can’t live without.” As a writer, you may be thinking, “Well, it’s got to be a computer? Or a dictionary? Or a grammar book.”

Respectfully I say, you would be wrong.

Teeny bit of backstory: I am of Irish descent. I was born with jet black curly, kinky hair, hazel eyes and skin the color of pasteurized milk. In the 1960’s when I was a kid, no one believed much in sun block. In fact, the more color you had on your face and body during the summer, the better everyone thought you looked. Since I am so fair, I typically burned at least twice during an active outdoor summer. The fact my mother would slather me in baby oil and iodine didn’t help the situation any. In fact, I would venture to say all that oily manipulation added to the depth and breadth of my burns.

Flash forward to my teens, twenties, and thirties. Sun block was more popular and had numbers attached to it. Most dermatologists suggested you use it when ever in the sun and reapply often. I did. But I used an oil called Ban de Soleil that had an SPF of 2. Going without the block would have been better, probably.

In my forties I started noticing wrinkles on my face. By then, dermatologists world wide suggested – heavily – to stay out of the sun, and to never leave the house without a block on. I complied.

In my fifties I was diagnosed with skin cancer. First basal cell, then the more serious melanoma. I’ve had several surgeries to remove sections of my skin on my face, back, and legs. The scars left behind are not pretty. I venture to say they are hideous. With all of this, I became a vampire, shunning sunlight at all costs. If I do have to spend anytime outdoors, be it on a walk, or traveling, I now always wear long sleeved shirts, a hat, sunglasses, and a 100 SPF block that’s so thick it makes Desatin look watery. ( the mothers in this group will know what I mean, here.)

So, the item I simply can not, will not, and should not live without EVER is…sun block. Everyday, everyplace, no matter what.

I am an advocate for keeping skin protected whether you are 6 months old or 90 years young.

Everyday, everyplace, no matter what.

To read what the other authors in this hop can’t live without, simple click here.

And since I am never in the sun, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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#SaturdaySeven Love Quotes #LASReviews

As a romance writer, I’m always looking for the most romantic way to state a declaration of love. In my opinion, these 7 authors have done it just right.

Jane Austen

Ernest Hemingway

Leo Tolstoy

A.A. Milne

Miss Austen, again

William Goldman

Jodi Picoult

I wonder what the other authors in this blog hop are talking about today. Find out HERE

Looking for me? Here I am: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

and one last shameless plug: Check out my new AUDIOBOOK version of 3 WISHES, available now at Audible // Itunes // and Amazon.

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#MFRWauthor Blog Challenge. Character profiles

I’ve talked a great deal about how much of a people watcher and relationship voyeur I am in previous blogs on my website.  I have to admit, people watching is the best way for me to develop characters. Watching how strangers  act, listening to how they talk and treat others, how they speak, the gestures they make, all go toward making a character more life-like on the page.

But what happens once I see and know the character I want to write about? Well, then I do an indepth profile of them using a worksheet developed by ONE STOP FOR WRITERS and authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. One Stop is a paid membership service to their on-line support system which lists thousands of characteristics inherent in the human personality. Many of you may have heard of their breakout book THE EMOTION THESAURUS.

I own this book in print and believe me when I say it’s dog-eared, yellow markered up, and used almost daily. I also own an ecopy of it so I can always have it with me when I’m working and not home. To go along with this book I also have copies of the others in the series:

      

Each of these books is an excellent, must have reference book when writing anything emotion-worthy and characteristic-driven about your characters.

I also have a Book Bible for each book I write that lists all the characters, their physical characteristics, their relationship to one another, and their GMC’s. Because I write so many book in series, this is a fabulous way for me to ensure I never give a character green eyes in chapter one and brown eyes in chapter 8. Plus, if I’ve killed off their beloved cat in backstory, I can’t show them petting the cat in chapter 2. My mind is so chockfull of “stuff” that trying to remember each detail is just a wee bit of  a hardship for me. Having it readily available at a few taps of my fingers is paramount in keeping everything flowing smoothly.

Character profiles have come a long way since the times when just listing the physical details was the only thing important. Readers are invested in their fav characters and series and have looooooooooooong accurate memories when it comes to the minutia. If you have any doubt of that just ask anyone who is a long time soap opera watcher about the backstories of any of the main characters. They will give you chapter, book, and verse in major detail. Why do you think it’s called a “show Bible?” ( see what I did there? Bible…chapter, book, verse?)

Heehee.

Since this is blog hop, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.

AuthorBlogHop

Looking for me? here I am:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

and one last shameless plug: Check out my new AUDIOBOOK version of 3 WISHES, available now at Audible // Itunes // and Amazon.

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Things only my family would understand

Goodness! Week 10 already. Today’s topic is a little, well, I don’t want to say intrusive, but it kinda is, because I’m wondering if I have to explain WHY only my family would understand. I’m gonna take the easy way out here and just list them without explaining why. It’s not only easier, it’s less embarrassing. You guys have enough imagination, you might be able to answer why I’ve listed these things. If you can’t…oh well!

In no apparent order, only my family would understand:

  • my insane, almost pathological need for privacy
  • why shopping gives me a panic attack
  • my love for old black and white movies from the 30’s and 40’s
  • the reason I don’t remember my sophomore year in college
  • why I consider mayonnaise sandwiches comfort food
  • my uber-defined personal space bubble
  • my issues with food.
  • the reason I dislike Tom Brady
  • why I’ve dyed my hair since I was 16

It’s gonna be interesting to see if the other authors on this blog challenge put up their reasons and don’t take the embarrassed coward’s way out that I did! Click on their links and find out.

 


7.

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Because I’m nosy…..


Week 4 of the #MFRWauthor 52 Week blog challenge brings us a topic that should be fairly easy to write about, because most of us didn’t spring from the womb with a pen in our hands and a publishing contract in our arms, but had other lives and occupations before being published. At least, I think we all did!! Maybe I should just speak for myself. Hee hee.

Anyhoo…

If I wasn’t devoting myself full time to writing, I imagine I’d still be employed as a Nurse, or a Contact Lens technician. But I’d like to take that thought a little bit further. If I couldn’t write AND I wasn’t a nurse/CLT/ what would I be doing? I think I’ve mentioned before how nosy I am. Several times, in fact. So nosy that I’ll talk to a rock. And the nice thing is that people never seem to mind my obvious inquisitiveness, especially when I preface a question with, “Now, I’m only asking because I’m nosy so don’t think you have to answer me if you don’t want to…”

Yup. They answer me. Every time!

So I think if I wasn’t a writer, I’d be a perfect Private Investigator.

I can see it now… Me, in a well-tailored black trench coat ( because Khaki washes me out!), thigh-high leather boots under the coat, and over them a large men’s white tailored shirt cinched in at the waist and that comes to mid-thigh. I can even see myself with a fedora atop my golden (Bottle blonde) hair, looking uber sexy and all mysterious as I grill bad guys and follow suspicious perps in cars with my own hot, fast, ride.

Everyone would, of course, talk to me. After all, I’m charmingly nosy. And sexy!

 

Jessica Fletcher’s got nothing on me.

Neither does Mrs. Peel.

I’d be the chick who discovers the identity of the master jewel thief, or where the hidden treasure is kept. I’d help the police solve the unsolvable cold case, or figure out who killed Major Barret in the solarium with a gun…oh, wait, that’s something else!

Hee hee.

I think I’d make a pretty cool P.I.

Now, I just have to find a trench coat on sale…..


 

Since this is a blog hop, hop on over to these other authors and see what they’d be doing if they weren’t writers. Wonder how many would be PIs


And when I’m not out being nosy, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

 

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A little slice of writing Heaven…

When I decided to write full time after having my first book published, I knew I needed a spot of my very own. A space just for me to escape to and write away. I’m lucky enough to live in a huge house with a finished attic. It has 2 rooms and one was used as a playroom for my daughter when she was a child. The other is basically a storage room chockablock with Christmas decorations, suitcases, furniture no longer is use. You get the idea.

Since my daughter moved out of the house I decided to use her former playroom as my “office.” And that term in a loose one. I had an old desk that I situated near the window in the room which overlooked part of our woodland property. Since I live in the woods, this seemed like the perfect place to write.

Not so much. After a few weeks of writing full time -and sticking to a fairly inflexible writing schedule of 8-10 hours a day, this position proved not so wonderful after all. You see, even though my nearest neighbor is 1/4 mile away geographically, our backyards abut. The neighbor has two very large, very NOISY dogs who spend most of their days outside, fenced in, in the backyard. The fenced in portion is a mere 200 feet from my property line so I could hear the dogs barking LOUDLY ALL DAY LONG.

Can I just say: I lovelovelove dogs. But these two? Not so much.

I needed a new space to write in peace and quiet.

“What about the other room?” hubby asked when I told him my dilemma?

I hadn’t considered it before because the room was, as I’ve said, a storage room. A hovel. A hoarder’s paradise. To use it, the room would not only need to be culled, it would need to be redone because the walls were plain sheetrock and the floor, well, there wasn’t much of a floor.

“No prob,” said hubby. Can you see why I adore this man?

First, I cleaned everything EVERYTHING! out of it. Did I say hoarder? What’s worse than a hoarder?

Then, hubby got to work. He plastered the walls then painted them in two colors I’d requested – muted sage and buttercup, and then laid a new floor. The entire project took three weeks because he could only work on it during the evenings when he got home from work.

This office was a real office, not just a desk. Now I had a desk, a few bookcases, and plenty of room to store all my book swag, books and all the accouterment that go with marketing and publishing.

Oh, and there’s a window in this office too that I put my desk in front of. I get to watch the seasons change daily since it overlooks our forest. When I’m daydreaming I get to observe the deer, squirrels, chipmunks and birds frolic and play in front of me.

It’s the perfect place for me to just drift away and ….write.

The best part? Since it’s on the opposite side of the house I never hear those damn dogs barking anymore.

Le sigh. Perfection.

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to read about the writing rooms of the other authors in this blog.

 

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I’m a word banker…#MFRWauthors

I retired from my long time job in 2015 when I got my first book contract. So many people asked me at that time, “What are you gonna do with yourself now that you don’t have to go to work every day?”
Hello!!! After informing them that I was trading my hated job for a life long dream job and explained that I would now be writing full time, they still said things like, “But surely you can’t write all day?” and “But what else are you going to do to fill your days?”

I remember thinking at the time that people, for lack of a better word, can be really stupid. But that’s another blog… This one concerns word counts and I told you the story above as a precursor.

I approach word counts like I approach a job: all in. What that means for me is that I have a minimum goal I have to reach every single day that I write ( and I write every single day) before I can do anything else. You wouldn’t just leave a job in the middle of the day to go grocery shopping, or to have lunch with friends. You’re working. You have a job to do and you get paid for it.  That’s my approach to word counts.

Every day I write 2000 words minimum in whatever book I am currently working on, my WIP ( Work in progress). After that 2000 is done, I then decide if I want to keep going, or do the stuff I need to do to, you know… adult. Like, grocery shop, laundry, ironing, clean the house, do banking, pay bills. Even take a shower!

The fact that I’m blessed with chronic insomnia (and I never thought I’d hear myself say that was a blessing!) helps. I can get so much written between the hours of 3 and 6 am every day, that’s it ridiculous. My entire first book SKATER’S WALTZ was written during these times.

Word counts are, to many writers, a bane. A necessary evil. If they set a goal and then don’t make it, they feel many things: unworthy, like a failure, inept.

To them and all writers, I say STOP! Word counts are simply ways of tracking what you have written.  Only during the month of November if you participate in  NANOWRIMO should you worry about how much is “good enough” to write every day. Creativity can not be forced. And it shouldn’t be. If you write 6 words or 6ooo in a day, so be it. Those 6 words are probably the best you’ll wring from yourself, so good. Yay. 6 is better than none, right?

Now, you’re probably thinking, “but she said she writes 2000 every day before she does anything else, and yet she’s telling us not to worry about how much we write?” Correct. I am. But that’s what I need to do. Every writer, like every book and every story, is different. I know a contemporary romance writer who sets as her goal 100,000 words per month. If you take a month at 30 days, that means she has to write 3,333 words every single day no matter what. She has an assistant, so she doesn’t need to do the mundane things like social media updates, laundry, and grocery shopping. Lucky her. Most of us don’t have assistants, though. So again, whether you write 6, or 6ooo words a day; 10000 or 100000 per month, word counts are individualistic.

And necessary. Oh, so necessary. Don’t try to compare yourself with others when it comes to word counts. Like I said, everyone is different. As long as you write – and what you write is good – then, so be it.

Because this is a writer blog hop, click on some of the other authors here to see how they approach their writing word counts…or even if they have them!!

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Book Pet Peeves…I’ve got a million!


Dialogue that doesn’t ring true to the characters. Misplaced modifiers. Sex just for sex sake. Hunky guys who don’t know they are. The alpha whose entire personality and being is changed overnight by the love of a good woman.

The list could go on and on and…you get the picture. I’ll pick one just for space saving sake ( that way this blog won’t be 50,000 words long!)

The one that really gets me is the last one. You’ve got an alpha male who basically is a walking, talking, take-no-prisoners-be-the-leader kinda guy. He rarely smiles. He’s built like a combat tank. He vows never, ever, EVAH to get close enough to anyone that he’d feel any kind of emotion for them. Your basic misanthropic hunkadoodle. I have a writing friend who calls these types of guys ALPHAHOLES. Perfect description.

Enter the heroine. In 250+ pages she does one thing  – it could be anything from biting her bottom lip to punching the hero – that miraculously changes everything that has gone into this man’s internal makeup for 30+ years. Overnight. One thing.

And he’s a changed human for the rest of his natural days. He’ll never again be the silent, sacrificing all for the mission, defender of the world at the sake of his own happiness kind of guy. His entire demeanor changes. His way of thinking evolves. Overnight.

Overnight.

I’m just not feeling it, peeps.

I read a lot. A LOT! And I’m a wicked fast reader. I’m a Netgalley reader/reviewer, plus my Kindle has more books loaded onto it than I think it was constructed for. I can read a book a day – and not the Harlequin 200 paged ones, either. I just finished the hardback version of COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts in a day and that baby topped out at 468 pages.

So, I read a lot and I’m a widespread reader. I’ve seen an awful lot of these silent but deadly alphas written lately by traditionally published and self-published writers. Some of the story arcs make sense and give a reason the male transitions his entire makeup when he realizes his love for the heroine – many do not. Actually, A LOT do not.  There’s no justifiable reason this guy turns from hating mankind to kissing babies in the street and adopting orphan kittens. And that just burns me because people don’t change over night. People, basically, if truth be told, don’t change. I understand this is fiction and we have a great deal of literary license when it comes to characters/people. I get that and believe me, when it’s written correctly, this situation can happen in romantic fiction.

 

Give me a redeemed criminal who’s rehabilitation is believable, that there’s a legitimate reason he went straight( JD Robb’s Roarke, for instance ) and I’m hooked. Show me how a wounded soldier who thinks he has nothing to live for works through that emotion -logically – with the heroine and I’m hooked( Marianne Rice’s WOUNDED LOVE for instance).

Don’t just give me an alphahole and have him change overnight because the heroine is spunky or cute or a ballbreaker! That just doesn’t ring true, folks. Not in romance, and not in life. Not in my experience, any way. IF you like these types of heroes and stories, then YAY. Have fun reading them. I don’t and when I realize I won’t get that hour or two I invested in reading an implausible character back, well, I’m not a happy camper.

‘Nuff said….

Because this is blog hop there are a bunch of other writers who have their own peeves. Stop by and visit them.

 

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

OH, the Places I’d go!

Be it ever so humble…..

I’ll admit this freely – I don’t travel well. My husband calls me the “ugly American” and it’s too true. I am a spoiled homebody. I  like nothing more than staying in my house, in my jammies, reading a book or cooking for friends and family. Yeah, I know. I live and lead a very boring, limited life, so this blog topic was one that required a huge amount of thought on my part. The last time I traveled anywhere was when my daughter was in college, doing a semester in Barcelona and then in Dublin. My Husband and I went to visit her in both places.

And just FYI, she graduated in 2011. What year is it now, hmmm? Yeah. That’s the last time I went anywhere.

So, the Top 5 places I’d like to visit.

Well, let’s see…

I actually had to go out and buy the book 1000 Places to see before you die because I couldn’t even come up with one.

I don’t like planes – they are a necessary inconvenience, though. I dislike trains even more, and forget about being in the car longer than an hour without stopping to stretch my legs. Total torture.

So…those 5 places.

Hawaii might be nice because it’s like…Hawaii!! Lava and beaches and leis. But it’s such an asshugging long trip from the East Coast to get there. I might have to make a few stops along the way, like Washington DC. The architecture, the history, the scandals. I could spend a few days there without problems. But I’ve been there already. Numerous times. This is supposed to be a post on places I haven’t visited yet.

Okay, so #1. Hawaii.

2….hmmm. Tuscany. I think I’d like to see Tuscany because I loved that book Under The Tuscan Sun. It would be great for my cooking skills to learn how to make authentic Tuscan dishes using fresh Tuscan ingredients…like wine!

3…..(scratching head) The Swiss Alps because I liked Heidi. My in-laws actually went to the Swiss Alps on a trip once and my mother-in-law told me it was absolutely her favorite part of that vacation. Seeing the Matterhorn, riding the Glacier Express. She loved it and since she’s such a good judge of things, I figure I would too!

4….(biting nails, now) Australia, and mainly Queensland because I lovedlovedloved The Thorn Birds. I was so heartbroken when Colleen McCullough died, I actually went to Church that day and said a prayer for her soul. She brought the Australian outback to full, vivid, life with her writings and she is sorely missed.

5….(really digging deep now!) Got it! San Fransico because I loved the JoyLuck Club. Amy Tan is a fabu writer and I remember reading this book in a day because I was so invested in the characters and their lives as they navigated through their heritage, culture, and tried to assimilate into the American lifestyle and the Bay Area without trading in their old world ways. Her writing is lyrical, fluid, and flows from the page.

So. I could stop In San Fran on the way to Hawaii, and after a week swimming the Pacific shores, move on to Australia. Next stop from there,  Tuscany and finishing in the Swiss Alps.

That wouldn’t be so bad.

Le sigh.

This was a hard blog to write, peeps. Really hard considering I don’t leave my house much!

Let’s see if the other authors in the blog challenge have as hard a time as I did coming up with 5 places… I’m going to bet they didn’t.

 

 

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