Friday, December 31, 2010

And the Beat Goes On

Saying goodbye to 2010.

New Year's Eve--a time to look back at the past year. It's been a time of continued unrest in our world. If one good thing has come of the political climate in our country it's that more people are now politically involved and vocal. We're all still reeling from the earthquake economy that continues to shift beneath us. Our spirits and patience have been tried and tested. And, yet--we're still here!

It's a time to also look back with gratitude for the blessings of 2010. I have much for which to be grateful. I still have a job. I have a nice apartment. I have the love of a fantastic family and irreplaceable friends. And, of course, I have Binky, my constant cat companion. 2010 was a year of achievement as four of my novels were published between January and November. Whew!

Welcoming 2011.

Ready? Set? It's time to look forward to the coming year. Time to make resolutions (half of which I know I won't keep. Okay, more than half.) I've decided to set goals instead of resolutions. Resolutions seem so stiff, set in cement. Goals are somewhat flexible and can change. That way I have something to work toward, and I won't feel like such a failure when I run out of steam halfway into the year and my resolutions are nothing more than vague memories.

I read my 2011 horoscope yesterday. I don't put a lot of stock in horoscopes, but I want to believe this one. It said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that I would see a big shift in my career goals and would achieve acclaim and prosperity. My interpretation: A best seller with a big advance. So that's my lofty goal for 2011. My lesser goals include: (1) getting two books under contract for publication; (2) finishing two more manuscripts that are now in progress; (3) and the ever present and oft forgotten goal--to lose weight and become more healthy. (This was formerly a resolution that never made it past Valentine's Day. Maybe it'll have a better chance as a goal?)

So, what does 2011 have in store for my readers? Love, Sam will be coming out in paperback, probably in February. I don't have the exact date from the publisher just yet. I have three completed novels that I'll be sending out to agents or publishers in the coming months: Unconditional, Act of Contrition, and Wake-up Call. I'm working on a Christmas-themed romantic comedy that I hope I can have ready for publication next Christmas. It's going to be a busy year.

Here on One Woman's Write, I'll be continuing to post The Writer's Alphabet, featuring posts by some fantastic guest bloggers/authors. So be sure to check in especially on Fridays for their words of wisdom about writing and publishing.

My wishes for our world are for peace and the understanding that we humans are more alike than we are different. I wish for a balanced economy and for leaders who will make responsible decisions for the betterment of all (regardless of on which side of the aisle they are seated.)

Here are my New Year's wishes for all of you as we cross the finish line of 2010 and set ourselves for the start of 2011: I wish you love, laughter, good health, and that you have all you need and get at least some of what you want.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with love, laughter, good health, and safe travel. The Writer's Alphabet blog will resume on Friday, January 7. See you all then.


Friday, December 17, 2010

F is for First Person

This week I'm happy to welcome author Karyn Lyndon who shares her thoughts on writing in First Person.

When I selected Good in Bed as my summer beach read in 2001, it wasn’t because I had heard of the author—this was Jennifer Weiner’s debut novel. I also didn’t choose it because of the way it was written. After all, I hadn’t read it yet. It wasn’t the genre, either. I’d never even heard of chick lit. Nor did I pick it because of its cover.

What compelled me to spend $12.95 for that book over all the others? It was the title! Who could resist the promise of a sexy read that the title inferred? As it turned out the book featured very little sex. Good in Bed was the name of the column the main character’s ex-boyfriend wrote about how BAD in bed she was. But as I delved into Weiner’s easy-to-read first person writing style, I didn’t feel duped--it was love at first person!

What did I learn from her book? Well, the most obvious lesson is to spend some effort writing a title that sizzles. But what I really garnered from reading Good in Bed was the knowledge that I didn’t want to write Stephen King-ish horror stories in boring old third person like I’d done with my first attempt at novel writing. I wanted to write funny, contemporary stories where the main character seemed so real, reading the book was more like chatting with your best friend at Starbucks, or sneaking a peek at her diary.

As I read each chapter it felt like Cannie was talking directly to me. She shared the same self-deprecating comments that constantly circled my brain, topics like her less-than-perfect body and other familiar insecurities. The raw emotions, the funny asides, the lifelike twisting of events seemed more like actual anecdotes from the author than from a fictional character.

And I couldn’t wait to try it!

When I first sat down to write CurvyKathy31: Confessions of a Chat-aholic the words seemed to flow easier through my fingers. Not only did I now LOVE reading in first person—I loved writing in it, too. It was easy! And easy has always been my preference.

About half way through my manuscript I joined my local chapter of Romance Writer’s of America. At one of my first meetings the speaker said something that felt like lightening striking my heart. She explained that first person was a harder sell than third person. Harlequin didn’t even accept manuscripts written in first person. Now, while my intention had never been to write a romance novel, the speaker’s words hurt.

What could any editor or agent have against my personal favorite person? Still believing there must be readers out there just like me who couldn’t get enough of “I” pronouns and the acrylic-clear point of view of the main character, I eventually finished my book. On a chick lit email loop we began debating what to rename our Yahoo group. Publisher’s began to ask for light women’s fiction as though uttering the words “chick lit” would steal their souls. (This article seems to have taken a turn toward other letters in the alphabet--like C & L. Sorry. Back to F.)

Undaunted by the obvious prejudice against first person and all things chick lit, I began my second novel, For Richer or Repo. But this time I wanted more of a challenge. Maybe first person was TOO easy. (Nope, no such thing.) So I decided to write the first person book in more than one character’s point of view.

My critique group warned against it, proclaiming it would be too difficult to discern which character was speaking. But that was an easy fix! I just headed each scene with the POV character’s name. Just when I had settled on four characters telling their side of the story, a fifth one popped up wanting to tell his!

Yes, it was more difficult, but writing was never boring. When I felt too fatigued to go on, taking my place inside another character’s head always brought me new inspiration. And I must give credit to my critique group for challenging some of my word choices and keeping them true to each character.

So let’s recap my first person learnings. It’s fun to read, easy to write, harder to sell and I love it!

That’s about it. Oh, and now that memoirs are popular (I heart Jennifer Lancaster’s books) they have become my favorite source of reading material--also in what? FIRST PERSON!

Karyn Lyndon lives with her husband and son in North Texas. She spends her days editing advertising for a major retailer and nights writing humorous, romantic tales. Her debut novel, CurvyKathy31: Confessions of a Chat-aholic, is written in first person from one point of view. For Richer or Repo, her second published novel, is also written in first person but from five different characters points of view.

Visit Karyn's website at:

NOTE: I want to be sure to mention that Karyn's book, CurvyKathy31: Confessions of a Chat-aholic, has finaled for a 2011 EPIC e-Book Award. Good luck, Karyn. (though I should be cautious. We're in the same category. Last year, I congratulated a competitor, and she won!) Linda

Friday, December 10, 2010

E is for Editing

This week I welcome author Jim Woods who lends his expertise on the subject of Editing.

by Jim Woods

There are three stages of editing before publication, with the initial stage, self-editing, being perhaps the most important. Once upon a golden time the gift of story telling, in handwritten script, or composed on old-fashioned typewriter keys, was all that was necessary to sell a story or a book. Someone from the publisher’s editorial staff worked closely with the writer in coaxing the promising tale into publishable form. Those good old days have joined the rest of ancient history.

Nowadays if the writer isn’t also the first-line editor, there may not be another reader. With your manuscript presumably complete, put it away for a week or two, and then read it objectively. Start by eliminating words. You can do it! Line through the words with a colored pen; hit the delete key. Take it out! Examine the copy word-by-word and take out all the words that really don’t have to be there. Sure, this is going to slim down the manuscript; that’s part of what we’re after. Look critically at each adjective. Make sure each of them imparts exactly your intended characteristic to the noun it modifies. Look at all the short, choppy sentences. Combine them. Vary the sentence lengths and patterns. Search out those favorite words you have used twice in the same sentence and four times on every page. Find a different word for ninety percent of them. Rewrite! There is nothing sacred about a first, or second or third draft. None of it is final until it goes to press.

Going to press is pushing the schedule a bit. It’s time to turn the manuscript over to your professional editor. Not your mother who’s an English teacher, and not your daughter who’s a psychology major. Of course you are going to impose on friends and family to read your Great American Novel. Of course they will shower you with accolades. Now seek out a real editor whose expertise and opinions will make your work saleable.

That editor may be a friend, or at least friendly, but more than likely you’ll see him/her as an adversary. It’s not his job to stroke and soothe. You need someone who can get down to the business of editing, unencumbered by personal feeling for the author. Choose wisely, based on the recommendation of other professionals. Once you have come to a professional and financial understanding, accept and act on his advice and criticism.

Review your editor’s corrections, make the ones you agree to or that the editor has convinced you should be made, and once again, re-write. Now, does this mean automatically the publisher of your choice will accept your story or novel without further change? An emphatic No! However, it does mean the publisher may take the time to read the story through simply because it was presented to him professionally in the first place. Let’s assume it is accepted. Now the publisher’s staff editor gets his crack at it.

Your independent editor would not have known which publication or publisher would wind up with your creation. Style guides are decidedly similar, but different publishers and organizations hold differing opinions on word usage and punctuation. As a writer myself, I once was exposed to a company editor whose first “rule” was that the word “albeit” was never to be used--period! Unfair? Dictatorial? Of course. However, to satisfy the editor who authorizes the payment to you, you’ll just have to take out his personal “albeits.” Publishers and Editors do not necessarily adhere to democracy.

That final editor and his staff also will do some fact checking if warranted, and the publisher’s legal expert will vet for libel, plagiarism, privacy invasion and copyright infringement. Finally, the copy editor will check the spelling of every word, even though the author originally employed his computer spell-checker. The author may have a say about substantive changes to his manuscript but is unlikely to get a voice in style and grammatical changes. Editors do not relinquish that control.

One time I sold a short story to a Canadian anthology. I had been thorough with the pre-editing and the story had been passed-on by a second editor. The setting was the southern region of the United States; the language proper for the time and locale. In the publisher’s final editing, two or three of my carefully selected words and phrasings had been Anglicized, an alteration necessary for that publisher’s primarily north-of-the-border market. It may not have destroyed my creation, but certainly sullied my story’s authentic Southern flavor. The editor had the last word, as usual. . . and the editor is always right.


Jim Woods is an independent editor assisting book authors, small presses and corporations with line, style, and substance editing; applying his expertise to novels, short story collections, nonfiction and corporate image. Formerly, he was in-house Editor, Managing Editor and Contributing Editor with two commercial magazine publishers. His professional associations include American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) and Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA). He lives and works in Tucson, Arizona.
See his website:

He is author of the writing tutorial, SO YOU WANT TO BE AN AUTHOR?
Gypsy Shadow Publishing:

And the fiction works, SHE SERPENT, GUNSHOT ECHOES, and ASSASSINATION SAFARI, Champagne Books:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

D is for Dialog--and Digital Voice Recorders

As we continue your journey through The Writer's Alphabet, we have a discussion on D--for Dialog and Digital Voice Recorders presented by guest blogger, A.J. Maguire.

A.J. Maguire:

I'm going to be honest. If I see large hunks of exposition, my eyes sort of skim over it. Not because the writing is bad or anything, a lot of the times there's really great poetry mixed in with the prose, it's just that I want to see the characters in action. Dialog literally is action. It's the basic driving force of your plot and your novel. Dialog doesn't just tell us what's happening, it lets us see it. And it lets us get to know the characters better than any internal monologue ever could. Because it's what a man does that defines him and the same goes for our characters.

You can tell us all you want that Character Bubba is a snarky grump but until he opens his mouth and proves it, it's all a bluff. And I'm not meaning that you sit down and tag his lines with – “Shoulda seen the twit,” Bubba snorted gruffly. I'm not arguing tag lines because when it comes right down to it, nobody really cares about the he said/she said. What they really care about is what was said. It's about content. It's about the voice of your character coming to life on the page. And the only way you're going to get that is if you listen.

Something that helped me with this is a digital voice recorder. (Hence the title of this segment.) Last year for Christmas I bought this little nine dollar voice recorder from a pawn shop with the intentions of practicing reading my work out loud. I had been listening to Scott Sigler's podiobooks and he really inspired me to think outside the box of what I considered a traditional writer. So, I bought the recorder and started recording my rough draft as I was writing it. So at the end of the week, I would sit down and record what I had written. And then, during the rest of the week, I would listen. In my car (preferably when I was alone) or while I was doing dishes (headphones are wonderful assets) and it really helped me to keep my focus.

The unexpected bonus of this little experiment, however, was that I could literally hear where the dialog was wrong. I'd be elbows deep in soap and realize that Bubba would have said something a lot meaner to Mary Sue, not only because he's a snarky grump but because she'd just overheated the ships motor and now they're stuck and, for goodness sake he's still mad at her for blowing up his 20” flat screen TV two chapters ago.

On top of all that, I could hear if the phrases were all wrong for the time period, because we all know that dialog also paints the setting of a novel. There are real language differences that need to be shown in the dialog. You can't go having your 17th Century female say the equivalent of “OK”. It just wouldn't happen and every pettifogger in the world would have your brains on toast if you tried. Dialog has to be a reflection of each individual character and the setting around them. It has to be rife with conflict and personality and give the reader a certain respect for the characters involved. Because if your reader doesn't get involved in what is being said on the page, then they're likely to stop reading.

Author Bio:

A.J. Maguire's debut novel Sedition is due to be released January 2011 from Wings ePress Her second novel Witch-Born is set for release by Double Dragon Publishing in 2011 She is a proud military veteran and mother of one toddler who unwittingly listens to everything she writes (except the adult parts, she has some morals.) You can view more of her work at

Friday, November 26, 2010

C is for Conflict

Today we continue our journey through The Writer's Alphabet with our feature post by author, Mary McCall who talks with us about Conflict. Please help me welcome Mary and share your thoughts.

C is for Conflict

Conflict can make or break a fiction work. It’s what keeps readers reading when it is added to characters they love and want to root for. So let’s do a simple breakdown of the types of conflict we can expect to face if we want to create a page-turner by constantly raising the stakes.

Internal conflict: this is your character’s fatal flaw or Achilles’ heel. Here we run into what should be a cardinal law of writing: God is the only perfectly infallible being in existence; therefore, characters should have flaws, weaknesses, and sometimes-unlikable traits. Readers don’t generally want to read about perfect characters. They can’t relate to them. They want to laugh with the hero or heroine, cry with him, overcome evil, find happiness… The hero shouldn’t be the strongest man in the world, but he should have just enough strength and/or ingenuity to win his most crucial battle. For a reader, there is no fun in an invulnerable hero. Readers like characters that have to fight hard and rely on their wits to overcome conflict (and they should be in conflict a lot).

As a writer, your story should test to the limits, your main character’s reaction under stress. Without vulnerability, your character will never show character to survive, triumph and overcome and learn something about himself along the way. Remember, Achilles had his heel, Superman has his kryptonite, the werewolf has his silver bullet … A little weakness makes the character more identifiable and sympathetic to the reader. Overcoming that weakness is what makes that character a hero or heroine. A bad habit that the character is trying to break will humanize him for the reader and increase tension and conflict. Remember, readers' love most the characters that they most strongly identify with--people like themselves. Readers want admirable characters who entertain them.

Now that you know your character’s internal conflict, grab a sledge hammer and bash it. That’s external conflict. That’s plot. If a character wants something but has no trouble obtaining it, you have no story. Thus, you need an antagonist, demon, or some other obstacle placed in the character’s way. Who most wants to stop the protagonist, and why? What motivates the villain? What does she/he have at risk? Are the actions she/he will take worthy of a respectable villain? And are both the protagonist and antagonist likely to be found in this setting? Are the protagonist and antagonist for the most part evenly matched? Does your antagonist have at least a few redeeming traits?

Overcoming one obstacle should lead the protagonist to another. Constantly raising the stakes, making the protagonist reach deep within him/herself to reach the final prize. Thus, as the story moves along, we see character emotional growth. And yes, character growth must happen. This has been known by great story tellers for centuries, but first recorded by Aristotle. He called it the “recognition and reversal” stage of drama and attributes it to the human need in the audience to see moral progress in life. The hero shouldn’t just save his life; he should also improve it by the end of the book. The reader can sit safely in a recliner, on the beach or wherever he/she chooses and experience the adventure along with your characters, feeling justice, love or whatever your character is aiming for has been met.

For those who write romantic fiction or fiction with romantic elements, I’ll mention one other conflict. That which exists between the hero and heroine. No relationship is perfect. There’s going to be a clash, misunderstanding, family enemy, or some conflict in the relationship. We can take this only so far. At some point, these characters must identify (even if it’s grudgingly) several things they can admire about each other – whether they mention this to the other or not. But if they hate each other from the beginning to the end of the story, you don’t have a romance. At some point, love has to enter the picture and become more important to the pair than whatever conflict exists between them.

This is part of my Purple Month contest. If you leave your e-mail in any response, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a .pdf copy of Highland Treasure on three days from now, and a drawing for a signed hardcopy of Highland Treasure and a Purple Goodies Box at the end of the month.

Take care and happy reading and writing!

Author Bio:

Mary writes humorous and adventurous historical romances. She is member of Romance Writers of America and served as the first PRO Coordinator for RWA; She is also a member of Hearts through History Romance Writers, of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers; of The Golden Network; FH&L RWA, and River City Romance Writer She is also a member of Savvy Authors, Sisters in Crime and the Malice in Memphis chapter of SinC. She loves history with a particular fondness for the Greek through Medieval periods. She is honored to have received the Legenda Aurea Service Award & Scholarship. Legenda Aurea, Latin for "the golden legend," is the highest service award presented by HHRW’s Executive Board to a member who has provided outstanding service to chapter and who has become a legend among the membership. Mary resides in Memphis, Tennessee with her Maltese who has a very Latin name, Regina Benita Catarina. You may visit her blog at, or e-mail her at To get your copy of Highland Treasure, just click on the cover.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

B is for Backstory

Today talented writing duo Angelica Hart and Zi will, in their own unique style, teach us a bit about Backstory.


Ah ha! Bet you are thinking this article is all about coffee or cream or even the juxtaposition of the usual into the unusual.

Z: Huh?
A: Go with it...
Z: Ooookay!

Well, we're actually going to discuss a book's backstory. Think of your novel as coffee and your backstory as cream. You usually add just a bit of cream to your coffee not the other way around, except for Zi, but that's a pot of another kettle.

Z: Huh?
A: Go with it...
Z: Ooookay!

Anywho, many novice writers are so anxious to share their research and development, they bog down the opening with as much information as they can.
Z: By the way don't you drink tea?
A: That's not the point...
Z: But...
A: Do you want to write this?
Z: Thought you'd never ask. (With a hip bump moves Angelica's chair aside until he is settled before and computer.)

The backstory is a vital part of plotting. It stimulates the story, and gives the characters motivation. After all, each character has a past and present, and a certain amount of that has to be conveyed. And, even though you might know this characters inside, backwards and upside down, the reader doesn't need to hear about the protagonist's fifth grade science project that blew up spewing purple dye all over Mrs. Greenspan. Unless, of course, it is vital to the story's conflict.

A: Hey wait, that wasn't a backstory but an actual event. You were in sixth grade when that happened, weren't you?"
Z: No comment. The case is still pending.

So, here are a few key factors to K I S S (Keep It Simply Simple) your way to the perfect amount of backstory.

While creating your character, make their history rich. Make certain you write down everything from your characters' most embarrassing moments to who they took to the senior prom and if they prefer chocolate to vanilla ice cream, and then, don't use anything but that which is pertinent to the story. Plus, only go back in time as far as is necessary. The opulence of your character will come through just because you know them so well. It will shine in their speech, their mannerisms, and the way they think.

IT -
There is always that IT factor in every story, the thing that is the crux of the story. For the present conflict to exist there must be something in the backstory that is relevant and must be told, and sometimes in great depth. Still, sprinkle it in, slowly, a bit at a time. It's like adding sugar to that ole coffee. Too sweet and people will make a face, or in a narrative just get bored and put the book down.

There are simply some great places you can add backstory that work better than others. The prologue is usually a great spot to drop a few spicy tidbits like cinnamon in your brew. Here you can tell rather than show more easily than anywhere else in the story. Using the character's memory is another great tool. Something current can trigger a recollection. Also, a flashback is great method of allowing the reader to see what had happened to create the present circumstance. One of the most basic conduits for the backstory is dialogue. Characters can reflect, explain, and address basic aspects of the plotline all while sitting across from each other having, well, a cup of coffee or climbing Mt. Everest, all depends on your story.

Remember simple is better. Don't be so enamored with your backstory that you distract from the action. Too much of it hinders the flow of the story. What had happened to set the plot in motion needs to be streamlined. Pare down your paragraphs and pages of information to a single line. Sum it up and place it strategically in the prose.

The backstory is the stimuli and the foundation of the book, but it is not the totality of the story, nor is it the pure action that keeps the readers moving along. So, when you ask yourself if you want a little plot with your backstory, remember to tell yourself to hold the cream.

A: Huh?
Z: I'm just tying it in to the beginning.
A: But...
Z: Hey, how about a cuppa?
A: You buyin'?
Z: Don't I always.

Angelica Hart and Zi

Bio: Creative synergy sizzled when the authors, from Delaware, USA, met and soon a literary partnership formed. They live several miles apart but meet every week day to dive into their collaboration of taking readers to new places and other worlds, to help them suspend reality, and to simply entertain.

Their combined accomplishments include book publications in print and/or electronic versions of eighteen titles, ten romance specific, EPPIE finalist for three books, Cecil Whig award, Hob-Nob Reader's Choice Award, written over 500 shorts with numerous published in both nationwide and small press magazines, articles published in various local, city and statewide newspapers, including four as a Guest Columnist in addition to trade articles. Both are members of various writing groups.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A is for Author

Today I’m starting a new series of blog posts called The Writer’s Alphabet. Every Friday, I’ll post a blog, many by guest bloggers, featuring the next letter in the alphabet and some topic starting with that letter that pertains to writing. I’m kicking off the series with A is for Author.

Believe it or not, there is a distinction made between ‘writer’ and ‘author’. A writer is one who writes. An author is one who is published. At least that’s what I’ve been told, though I’m not sure every dictionary is that discriminating.

When I first started to write, I hesitated to even pronounce myself a writer. But, then, I finished a full manuscript and wrote those magical words ‘The End.’ I could claim the title now. The first time the words, “I’m a writer” came out of my mouth, they felt foreign and were, I’m sure, spoken at a whisper. I soon got better at saying it aloud and, before long, listed that first on my resume. I’m a writer and, oh, yeah, I do social work to pay the bills.

After groping in the dark, as the uninformed generally do, trying to find the next step in the process, I submitted my manuscript to Wings ePress. And within a few weeks, I opened an email that left me dumbstruck. It offered a contract to publish my book, And the Truth Will Set You Free. Once I had signed the contract, I received an email disclosing a password to the Author’s Only page on the website. I logged in and a new page opened. The announcement at the top read: Congratulations! You are now an author. I am now an author! But it wasn’t real until I got my cover art for that book, bearing the title and my name in bold print. Never mind the dance I did when I got the book in my hands.

You know that saying, “If I knew then what I know now…” Well, if I knew then what I know now, I’d shout from the rooftops, “I’m a writer.” Does having a work published make me an author? I don’t know. If you write something, you are the author of that work. I’m not big on distinctions that divide. I’m a writer. I author books. I’ve learned a lot along the way. But I don’t know it all. So I’ve invited some fellow writers/authors to guest blog over the next twenty-eight weeks on topics about writing. I expect to learn a lot, and I’ll bet you will, too. And, yes, I know there are twenty-six letters in the alphabet. But we won’t be posting on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

So, I hope you’ll stop by on Fridays to garner some wisdom from my guest bloggers--fellow authors/writers--as we work our way through The Writer’s Alphabet.

Linda (9-time author, but always a writer first)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


On this Veteran's Day, my thoughts turn toward my father, Dale R. Rettstatt, Jr. He was a veteran of World War II and a soldier all his life.

He served with the 398th Infantry in Europe and earned a Purple Heart. Shrapnel in his neck and skull served as a constant reminder of his service, but he never complained, even when it was obvious he suffered one of the blinding headaches that would nearly cripple him at times. He continued to serve in the 430th U.S. Army Reserve in Brownsville, PA, retiring only shortly before he died in 1981.

My father never talked much about the war, at least not with us, his family. I don't know what he talked about over a beer with his buddies. I knew him to be a patient man, quiet--sometimes to the extreme. I always wondered about the young man who went off to war at the tender age of eighteen. What was that young man like? Did he laugh more easily? Did he talk more freely of his dreams? Did war change him, as it is known to do? I'll never know.

I knew my father as a soldier because he marched in the local parades with his Army Reserve Unit and prepared for two weeks of reserve camp every summer with the enthusiasm of a kid going to summer camp. He loved his country. He loved the Army.

And he loved his family. I knew him as a soldier, but I mostly knew him as Daddy--the man who snuck cookies to me and my sister when he came to say goodnight and tuck us in. The man who taught me to drive, even after I drove him for a block with two wheels on the sidewalk (long story). The man who rescued me from a college party gotten out of hand and then kept a straight face when I told my mother that, yes, I'd been drinking but only because someone spiked the punch. The man who spent an entire day (and made four trips to the hardware store) constructing a wooden frame for a hooked-rug wall hanging I'd made. In the end, the frame didn't fit. And it didn't matter. I'd spent the day with my dad.

A man who was steadfast, loving (in actions, if not in words), generous, dependable, quiet, and loyal. A man who had a wry sense of humor that, if you were fortunate, you got to glimpse.

On this Veteran's Day, remember the men and women who have served our country and those serving today.


Monday, November 1, 2010

New Release: Love, Sam

Love, Sam is now available in e-book at Champagne Books. Just click the cover to read the blurb and excerpt (or to buy the book :).


The Inaugural Hot Dames & A Dude Writing Retreat

I returned home last night from attending the Inaugural Hot Dames & A Dude Writing Retreat in Little Compton, Rhode Island. And, look--I brought home the word count trophy.

I had a blast with a fantastic group of talented and entertaining writers. And let's not even mention the setting and the food. Oh, okay. Let's. The house, complete with fireplace (and a few spiders, but that's another story) was a great setting for this retreat. Spacious and comfy. As for the food, I'll be fasting for days. We wrote. We ate. We talked. We ate. Some sang karaoke. We ate. A few of us drove to the point to see the ocean. Did I mention we ate?

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet some cyber friends from my online critique group. You ladies are great and I felt as if I'd known you forever. I got a tour of the town before I left. Little Compton is life as it should be.

Now I'm back at home and have to reorient myself to get back to work--both at my office and on my book. And I'm renewed with energy for both. The trophy, displayed above my fireplace, will serve as inspiration.

(Besides, it was nice to be included in the 'Hot Dames' category.)


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This Just In...

Next Time I'm Gonna Dance
has finaled for a 2011 EPIC eBook Award in the Mainstream Category.
To read an excerpt and reviews, visit my website at
Be sure to click the book cover on the right here to find out more about the special promotion going on now through December 31 and that will raise money for Komen for the Cure.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

A 5-Cup Review for Renting to Own!

Renting to Own has received a 5-cup review from Coffee Time Romance and More. You can check it out here:


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Interview with Sandra Cox

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing multi- published author Sandra Cox. Sandra is quite prolific and has books published in several genres, including YA Crossover, Paranormal Romance, and metaphysics. Her latest book, Sundial, is a time travel romance now available at Class Act Books.

Thanks for being here today, Sandra. So tell us, how long did it take to get published? What was that experience like when you got the first contract?

A long, long time. When I finally did get an offer, it was a feeling of both validation and an incredible high.

What is your writing routine and the setting in which you usually write?

For the past several years, I’ve written in the Mole Hole. My office is in the basement. But lately I’ve been seduced by soft breezes, the sweet fragrance from the garden and the singing of birds. I take my laptop and go out on my screened in porch to write of an evening after I get home from work and on the weekends.

Do you belong to any writing groups or critique groups?

For several years, I belonged to FTHRW, an online critique group. I really feel it is thanks to the crit partners that I finally got published.

Has any of your work received an award?

Silverhills was an Eppie finalist. Shardai and Makita received Golden Wings, and Rose Quartz and Black Opal, Capa Nominations. Thanks for asking.

Wow, that's impressive, and you’re welcome. Now, tell us a bit about your most recently published book, Sundial.

Sundial a time travel romance has just been re-released with It’s about Sarah Miles, a successful artist who specializes in painting gardens. While painting in a garden, she finds an old sundial with the words ‘fate cannot be altered’. Intrigued, she touches it and her incredible journey through time begins. (Excerpt at end of interview)

This sounds like a very engaging story. (LR adds to her TBR list) What are you working on presently?

I’m working on the third in my Hunter Series, about a young fashion conscious woman who is a vampire hunter.

What’s the most fun you’ve had when working on a manuscript?

I enjoy the Hunter Series. Zoe is a hoot. She’s a dedicated vampire hunter, but she refuses to leave the house with a chipped nail or shoes that don’t match her outfit.

Oh, she sounds like fun. I love characters who have distinctive quirks.

I know there are a number of writers who inspire me and have influenced my writing. Who are the authors you enjoy reading? Who inspires you with their writing?

Nora Roberts and Stephanie Meyer

How do you balance writing with promotion and the rest of life?

With great difficulty. Like most writers, I have a day job. My kids are grown so that just leaves the seven to ten animals that at any given time reside at our house. My husband and I have five cats, a dog, and foster cats for a local rescue group. I try to write every evening and on the weekends. If I drop a ball while juggling, it’s usually promotion. I really admire other authors that stay on top of this.

I hear you. It can be a true balancing act at times. Promotion time can be the first thing to go, and it’s so important. I struggle with the same thing.

Where can you be found on the web?

Thanks for asking.
And I’m on Facebook and twitter.

And where can readers purchase your books?

The easiest place to get to is The books can also be purchased directly through the publishers:,,, and

What else would you like to share with our readers?

For a chance to win a ‘seeing’ necklace, a $10 Starbucks card and an autographed copy of Sundial, leave a comment at my blog: Just mention Linda and Sundial in the comment section. The contest runs from October 15 – November 14 at 5:00 p.m. Sundial Tour Hostesses Are Invited to Enter the Contest.

Thanks so much for having me, Linda.

You’re welcome. It was my pleasure.

And, now, for your reading pleasure, here is an excerpt from Sundial by Sandra Cox.


Sarah, her niece Meghan, and cat Monet have gone to a garden to paint:

A flash of color blinded her. Sarah blinked then squinted. For the first time, she saw that Monet was seated beside an old sundial.

“Meghan, come here. You’ve got to see this,” she called out excitedly, her headache forgotten. She heard an exaggerated sigh.

“You said not to come.”

“I’ve found an old sundial. Or rather Monet has.”

“A real one?” The rustling began again, as Meghan started pushing her way through.

“Appears so,” Sarah squatted down to study it. “Looks to be a hundred years old. I bet it’s valuable. You should see the intricate detail. This will make a great piece to paint!”

As Sarah studied it, she noticed the words. “There’s writing on it.” She read aloud, “Fate cannot be...drat, moss has grown over the rest of the words.”

A wave of superstitious terror washed over Meghan. Suddenly, the pieces all fell into place. And as the old woman had prophesied, she believed. “Sarah, don’t. Get out of there now. Please, Sarah, please,” she cried, her teeth chattering.

“What’s wrong with you?” Sarah asked irritably still studying the sundial.

“There’s actually heat radiating from it. Surprising, it’s not that warm out.”

“Sarah, please,” Meghan pleaded. “Don’t you remember what the old lady said?” She fought her way through the overgrowth, not feeling the scratches a thorny branch left on her face or the warm blood trickling down her cheek. But it was as if the thicket conspired to keep her out.

Tears streamed down Meghan’s face as she pushed at the bracken separating herself and her aunt. She broke through just as Sarah reached down to brush the moss from the sundial.

“No, Sarah, no,” she screamed. Later her mind would play the scene over again in slow motion: Sarah’s hand reaching out; Monet jumping playfully at her fingers, bringing them both in touch with the sundial; the boom; the jagged streak of white; and then nothing. They were gone, leaving Meghan alone in the clearing with the sundial.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Special Promotion for Breast Cancer Research

Between now and December 31, 2010, a special promotion is being offered by Champagne Books and myself. Next Time I'm Gonna Dance--a fictional story of one woman's determination to not only survive, but to thrive, following a second bout of breast cancer--will be offered at a 20% discount. In addition, all royalties from promotion sales will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Here is your chance to read a remarkable story of courage and determination (don't take my word for it--read the reviews on my website:, and an opportunity to give to a wonderful cause.

Purchasing a copy (or copies) of Next Time I'm Gonna Dance is easy. Go to my page at Champagne Books and select either trade paperback or your e-book format. Use the code Cure010 (Cure zero one zero) to receive your discount and register the royalty donation. It's that simple. And since the promotion runs through December, it's a great time to shop for Christmas!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Be sure to order your copy of Next Time I'm Gonna Dance now. And, if you can, support events in your area such as Race for the Cure to help raise funds to eradicate this disease.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Unknown Authors Are Like Broccoli

When you’re looking for something new to read, where do you look? Most people check out the new releases in their local bookstore, glance at the NY Times Bestseller List or the bestseller list on Some look for new releases from their already-known, tried and true, favorite authors. I have my favorites whose new releases I watch for, also—authors like Lisa Scottoline, Sherryl Woods, Elizabeth Berg, and Janet Evanovich.

As readers, have you considered the lesser known authors published with small presses who just might have a gem of a book waiting for you? I never did until I became one of those small press authors. Now I have occasion to read excerpts and novels by my fellow authors whose names may still be unfamiliar to you. Reading material can be an acquired taste.

I never tasted broccoli until I was twenty-two. Seriously. Didn’t know what it was or how it should be prepared. My mother was a meat-and-potatoes kind of cook. Our most exotic vegetable was glazed carrots. I lived for a time with friends who had more eclectic tastes and broader culinary experiences. And I discovered broccoli—and cauliflower, and asparagus, and kiwi, and a whole new menu of foods that I enjoy.

Why not make a resolution to broaden your reading menu in the coming year? Sample a new main course. You don’t have to give up steak and lobster. But add something new to your plate. When you order your next
Tami Hoag or Linda Howard , have a side of Lynn Romaine. Check out her romantic eco-suspense, Long Run Home. How about Deborah Hale or Cathryn Fox with a helping of Carol McPhee? Try her romantic suspense novel, A Structured Affair. You might enjoy Kris Radish or Nicholas Sparks topped off with Linda Rettstatt's women's fiction for dessert. Something like Shooting Into the Sun. Have an appetizer of Kimberley Dehn 's romantic comedy, Southern Exposure before diving into your latest Mary Kay Andrews or Jennifer Crusie.

I know some of you are saying, “But I don’t like broccoli.” Well, I’m sure a few folks shook their heads and hesitated at the first presentation of Cherry Garcia ice cream. And it’s now one of the bestsellers for Ben & Jerry’s.

So, go ahead. Dig in. Visit the websites of these authors and check out the links below of just a few e-publishers and small presses. You just might add new flavorites to your reading menu. But, like broccoli or Cherry Garcia, you don’t know until you taste for yourself.

Wings ePress
Champagne Books
Class Act Books
The Wild Rose Press
Turquoise Morning Press

Happy reading!


Friday, September 17, 2010

New Review of Shooting Into the Sun

Shooting Into the Sun has been reviewed by
NovelTalk. Here's a snippet and the link to the
full review:

"Linda Rettstatt brings together two sisters in this story. It’s a very emotional journey for them both. I thought she did a fantastic job of bringing Rylee’s photography into the story as well. I really didn’t feel meeting a hitchhiker was an ideal way to bring the hero into the book but she skillfully drew me in to the idea. The hero and heroine were perfect for each other."

Reviewed by Dyan Hunter

Click here to read the full review.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Love Sam - The Cover is In

It's here--the cover art for Love, Sam, coming in November from Champagne Books.

Here's a blurb:

Love, loss, grief--human experiences that cross all boundaries of age, race, or gender. Love, Sam is the story of Trish Garrity, a young woman who has to find a way to go on after the tragic loss of Samantha Preston, her partner of six years. Facing death, Sam writes twelve letters—one to be opened on the first of each of the twelve months following her death—intended to help Trish become more self-accepting and to guide her through grief.

Kudos to artist Trisha FitzGerald--once again.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Women's Fiction: Is It Only for Women?

In a discussion recently on a writer's online loop, the question was raised about Women's Fiction as a genre and whether the stories that fit this genre could be enjoyed by men.

Author Lisa Craig presented the distinctions between women's fiction and romance in an article for in which she offers varying definitions of women's fiction. The focus seems to be on the woman facing some challenge, crisis, or opportunity and finding her own inner strength to move forward. The story may or may not involve a romantic relationship and, when it does, the hero gets much less page time than the heroine. The romance is secondary to the overall plot.

The question is, are women's fiction stories 'only' for women? I was approached by a man at a book fair who picked up one of my novels and asked, "What is this about?" I gave him a blurb on the story. He then asked, "Is this a women's book?" I explained that it was women's fiction--a story a woman would find engaging and entertaining, and that a man might learn something from. To my amazement, he bought the book. I asked if he was buying it for his wife. He said, "I'll probably give it to her after I read it."

I once conducted an eight-week group for women at midlife. At the closing session, one of the women asked if I would consider running the same group for the men in their lives so they would better understand what the women were going through. Of course, they then agreed getting the men there would take a small army or a guarantee of pizza, beer, and a sports event. If men like Nicholas Spark, Richard Paul Evans, and Nicholas Evans can write stories that appeal to women, why shouldn't those same stories appeal to men? Personally, I think we underestimate men when we assume they won't connect with the feminine perspective in a book. As a reader, I enjoy fiction written by men and featuring male protagonists.

When you think about it, what better way for men to gain some insight into how women think, feel, and behave?

Christmas is coming in a few months. Buy your guy a woman's book for a change. Share your favorite women's fiction story with him and see what happens (and then come back and let me know :)

Happy reading.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shooting Into The Sun

is now available in trade paperback
from Champagne Books.

Professional nature photographer Rylee Morgan invites her recently un-engaged younger sister to accompany her on a business trip across the country. Lexie, the wild child of the family challenges Rylee to stretch her boundaries and live outside the neatly constructed box in which she's placed herself for safe keeping.

A perfectionist, Rylee lives life in the same way she's learned to use her talents with a camera—dictated by rules. A cardinal rule of photography is that you never shoot into the sun—and Rylee doesn't take chances. Rylee is haunted and driven by ghosts from her past. She locates the father who abandoned her and Lexie sixteen years earlier, and she finds herself falling for a hitchhiker who is crossing the country to lay his own ghosts to rest.

Rylee must now face her fears, dare to step beyond the safe boundaries she has constructed, and risk her heart. She must risk Shooting Into the Sun.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Book Club Contest

Win the naming rights to two characters in an upcoming novel.

If your book club chooses any one of my published novels to read and discuss, your club could win the naming rights to two characters in one of my upcoming novels. (Some restrictions apply--names must be G rated and not more fitting to the sci-fi realm. No aliens, please :) Winner will be announced on December 31, so you have plenty of time to get a book and get started.

All you have to do is visit my website at and contact me via the email link below the Book Club Contest Announcement on the front page. You can browse all of my books on the website, read excerpts and reviews.

Happy reading!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Love, Sam - Coming in November

My next novel, Love, Sam, is due for release in November from Champagne Books.

Love, loss, grief--human experiences that cross all boundaries of age, race, or gender.

Trish Garrity has to find a way to go on after the tragic loss of Samantha Preston, her partner of six years. Trish now has to face the future alone, and she's not sure how to do this. With the help of twelve letters Sam wrote prior to her death, Trish is guided through the first year of her grief and to a place of self-acceptance and inner strength--strength she'd always thought she drew from Sam.

While you wait for Love, Sam, why not visit my website and browse one of my other books:


Saturday, August 7, 2010

And the Winner Is....

The winner of my book give-away contest is:


Congratulations, Jennifer. Head over to my web page and email me to claim your book choice.

Thanks to all who entered the contest.


Friday, July 23, 2010


It's almost that time--another birthday! (And, no, this is not a self-portrait!) Now that I've cleared that up, here's how I plan to celebrate another year of life. I want to give one of you a present.

Starting now and running through midnight on August 6, anyone who goes to my website and signs my guestbook with a brief message about any of my books will be entered into a drawing. The winner will receive your choice of any one of my books in either pdf electronic download or signed trade paperback.

Here is the website link: Near the bottom of the page is a link to sign the guestbook. I'll post an announcement on Aug. 7th for the winner to contact me via email to claim your prize. It's that simple. So---Three--Two--One--Go!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Coming Early: Renting to Own

I received great news this week--Renting to Own, that had been scheduled for an August publication date, will now be released by Class Act Books on July 15. Here is a preview of the cover designed by Bev Haynes.

Here is a blurb:

Lily Champion's life has been anything but stable—until now. She has a good job, a house she is renting to own, and a soon-to-be-five year old daughter, Chelsea. But, true to her past, the ground soon begins to shift beneath Lily, threatening her foundation once again. It takes all of her determination and trust to make peace with the past and restore her hope for the future. Falling in love, however, was not a part of her plan.

If you enjoy a heart-warming women's fiction story with a strong element of romance, you'll enjoy Renting to Own.

Click on the cover to be taken to my Class Act Books page.


Friday, July 2, 2010

One Year Anniversary

Olivia (Binky)

Today is the one year anniversary of Binky (Olivia) becoming part of my household. I adopted her one year ago today and brought her home to live with me. Now she lets me live with her in her nice apartment.

How has Binky changed my life? I have to think beyond myself now. She relies on me for food, shelter, a clean litterbox, and general care. Binky's an independant sort of cat, but has gradually grown to be more affectionate. She constantly makes me laugh with her antics, too. Laughter has a lot of healing qualities, so I guess she's become my therapist, as well.

Sure, having a pet can be restricting. You can't just decide not to come home after work. She's waiting for her dinner. It's more of a challenge to plan a trip as you have to arrange for her care. I've learned the hard way that you can't sleep in too late on a day off because, if I feed her too late, she eats fast and upchucks. So she gets me out of bed at a reasonable time. I get much more writing done that way :)

Binky and I will toast our year later with two little glasses of milk. And, yes, I'll give her a special treat tonight for dinner. Afterall, she deserves it. While I'm at work all day, she's here holding down the furniture and guarding the place.

Binky is a truly sweet cat and has had a positive impact in my life. If you're considering getting a pet, please consider adoption. Shelters are overloaded with sweet, loving animals just waiting for a person to own.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Check Out My Interview at My Reading Room

I've been interviewed by Crystal at My Reading Room. Please stop by if you have a chance. Pull up a chair and chat.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

COMING SOON: Renting to Own

I just finished the edits on Renting to Own, due out in August from Class Act Books. I fell in love with the story all over again, so I thought I'd share a blurb and short excerpt with you.

Back cover blurb: Lily Champion's life has been anything but stable—until now. She has a good job, a house she is renting to own, and a soon-to-be-five year old daughter, Chelsea. But, true to her past, the ground soon begins to shift beneath Lily, threatening her foundation once again. It takes all of her determination and trust to make peace with the past and restore her hope for the future. Falling in love, however, was not a part of her plan.

"Lily, I need you in here. Now."

Not now. Lily Champion looked at her watch—five-twenty.

Veronica Steadman appeared in the doorway and glared at her. "Lily? Now, as in right now?" She turned and stalked back into her office.

Lily grabbed a steno pad and followed. Veronica sat on the edge of the polished oak desk, the phone to her ear. She waved a finger, indicating Lily should wait. Perspiration dampened Lily's palms. She couldn't be late again to pick up Chelsea, and she couldn't just walk out on Veronica.

"You're pacing like a caged cat. Sit down," Veronica ordered, hanging up the phone.

"Can this wait until tomorrow? It's after five o'clock, and I have to be somewhere."

"Where you have to be is right here. I'm scheduled for court first thing in the morning, and I need you to go through these depositions, make sure there aren't any typos."

"I'll take them with me and meet you at the courthouse at seven-thirty in the morning."

"No." Veronica sat behind her desk, leaning back in the leather chair. She locked Lily in a piercing stare. "You must get your priorities straight. I need an assistant who wants to work. A lot of people would be grateful for this job."

"I do want to work, but I also have other responsibilities. I can't leave my daughter at the daycare center past six o'clock."

Veronica waved a hand through the air. "Then I suggest you hire a nanny or something. If you want to keep this job, you'll get it worked out. And if you're going to continue as my assistant, you have to be available to work my hours." She leaned back in the plush leather executive chair and swiveled from side to side, oozing self-importance.

Lily imagined the chair tipping and Veronica crashing through the glass window, falling to the pavement twelve stories below. She shuddered.

Veronica leaned forward and snapped her fingers. "Hello? You haven't heard a word I've said. I hope you're more of a help to Arthur than you are to me. Otherwise, I don't know why we keep you."

With mechanical movements, as if she'd stepped outside of her body, Lily stood. Her hands balled into fists at her side. "Veronica, I think I have my priorities straight. And, you're right, I'm not the kind of assistant you need. I have a life apart from this office, an important one." She paused to swallow and to still the quiver in her voice. "I-I think you need to find someone else. I'll clear my desk on my way out."

The screech followed her from the room. "You can't just walk out. You have a job to do. You have to give reasonable notice." A pause. "Don't even think about asking for a reference."

In her mind, Lily flipped a middle finger at Veronica. Here's reasonable notice. She dumped her few personal items into a plastic bag and carefully placed the framed photo of her daughter in her purse.

The elevator made a slow crawl to the twelfth floor. Once inside, Lily pounded on the button for the garage level. She raced through the parking garage and, with a shaking hand, shoved the key into the ignition of her old Toyota. She fumbled in her purse for her cell phone and dialed the daycare.

"Mrs. Colucci, this is Lily Champion. I'm running late, but I should be there in ten minutes, fifteen max. I know. I'm sorry. It won't happen again."

It sure wouldn't happen again. With no job, she couldn't afford daycare. But with no job, she wouldn't need care for her four-year-old daughter. Lily's stomach burned as she realized what she'd done. She lived paycheck to paycheck, and she'd be lucky to get one for this past week, having failed to give reasonable notice.

Tears stung her eyes and she wiped them away angrily. "Just because that bitch, Veronica, doesn't have a life, it doesn't give her the right to judge mine," she muttered, lurching the car to a stop in front of the brick ranch that housed the Small World Daycare. She glanced at her watch. "Shit."

Mrs. Colucci met her at the door. "Lily, we've been through this before. We close at six o'clock sharp. It's not fair for you to be late so often. I have a family, too."

Chelsea ran to Lily, throwing her arms around her waist. "Mommy, I thought you forgot."

"I would never forget you."

Renting to Own, coming August 15 from Class Act Books


Monday, June 7, 2010

Meet Author Rebecca Savage

I'm so pleased to welcome Contemporary Romantic Suspense author Rebecca Savage to join me here today. And I know you'll be happy to get know more about Rebecca and her writing. While she's here, I'm slipping over to her blogs at and at to chat.

So, let's meet author Rebecca Savage.

Rebecca Savage’s Publishing Journey

An avid reader can become a prolific writer. Such is the case with me. I started out in my teens reading Louis L’Amour. I have one hundred ninety of his paperbacks and fifteen of his books bound in leather. I read them all, loved them and saved them. I only read one romance during my teens, titled The Daring Deception. Lately I’ve tried to find it so I can buy it, but I haven’t been successful in my attempt to locate it. I only want it for nostalgic purposes, since I had no idea I’d eventually become a romance junkie and writer. In essence, that book was my romantic beginning.

I never read another romance until 2003 when I graduated with a Masters in History and decided to read something for fun. A friend of mine always carried a romance novel in her purse and read constantly. I borrowed a couple of books from her, and the rest is history. I was hooked.

I read all kinds of romance, but only write contemporary suspense/intrigue. I had a top secret clearance in the Air Force when I served as a Morse Code operator/supervisor, so I seldom have to research, yet. I’ve done a bit of digging to confirm things I already suspected to be true, but mostly I write from experience or imagination and stick to the facts as much as possible.

I read books from August 2003 until May 2004, and I was lying on the couch reading one day and thought, “What would I write if I wrote a book?” I like action movies that make you think, a story with a good plot with a hero and heroine trying to figure out what’s affecting their lives, bringing them together, and pulling them apart. I started there. I decided to write a suspense/mystery, since neither the reader nor the characters knew who was after the hero/heroine, although sometimes both the reader and characters do know who the villain in my works is, but the villain is allusive.

So, all those books I read, and still read, were a learning process, just as everything else in my life has led up to where I am now. I was a good student, a good military leader, a good reader, and I hope I’m a good writer. Only time and sales will tell.

I wrote a trilogy in summer 2004 while off for the summer from teaching. I wrote another trilogy in summer 2005. I joined RWA in October 2005, after searching for a publisher on the internet and seeing advice to join organizations like RWA and local chapters. That’s how I ended up at CRW, but not until March 2006. Teaching slowed down the process. Darn those daytime jobs.

CRW taught me so much. My first meeting I learned writing is a business and how to write a query/synopsis. I had no idea there were such things. I also learned how extreme the competition is. I had no idea so many writers existed and wanted to be published or what a game it is. I learned it’s all about persistence and taking the steps to get there. I also learned I’m a fly by the seat of my pants, character driven writer, not a plotter.

After joining RWA/CRW I went back to those first six novels and began self-editing based on things I learned about craft: voice, passive, throw away words, POV, etc. I started submitting to agents, editors, and publishers. I took any and all advice from the rejection letters and fixed anything I was told was wrong.

I didn’t start working with Critique Partners or judging or reviewing for magazines until this year(2007). I wasn’t ready, even though I might’ve thought back then I was. I had to climb the ladder. I had to learn craft and even technical programs. I had no idea what track changes on Microsoft word was. I know. Seems silly, huh? Like everyone should know these things.

When I first started coming to meetings, I thought I was so writing illiterate, and I was. Terms most writers are comfortable with totally escaped me. I didn’t know what POV was, or lots of other things. I didn’t go to college to be a writer. I wasn’t an English major. I’d never been a journalist. I worked on a Masters in History. So my background was foreign to what most successful writers have under their belts.

That didn’t stop me. I just kept plugging along. I had no idea how long it’d take. I thought I’d submit and get published. End of story. Boy, what an eye opener the past few years have been, and when I moved from South Carolina and could no longer attend CRW meeting, I joined MORWA in St. Louis, Missouri.

I landed in a few writers’ woes and pitfalls along the way, but my writer friends have shown me the right way to do things. I submitted to an online agency, and it turned out to be bogus. I paid eighty dollars for my stuff to be looked at, and they tried to weasel me out of more. Thank goodness CRW stopped that mistake.

So my fist pitfall was a hoax agency, and then I contracted with an e-publisher that went out of business, but just kept my work and didn’t tell me anything. Come to find out, my editor was holding my ms, and after the ninety days – thank goodness for that clause – she emailed me and told me of the issues within the company. That company no longer exists.

I was allowed to pull my work from their company and resubmit elsewhere. I did. I got a contract for the trilogy I penned in 2005. I signed with The Wild Rose Press: Fueled By Instinct, Cloaked In Assassination, and Destination Ever After. My other trilogy wasn’t ready yet. It was my first attempt at writing, and I’d worked on it, but it took a lot more tweaking to ready it. Now I’ve published it with Champagne Books, and the first book released in January 2009 and made the bestseller list for February 2009 and is listed as Best Book: Coincidence, Combustion, and Consequences are the three titles in that trilogy. I also have a book published by Double Dragon/Carnal Desires: Guard My Baby.

In the meantime, I wrote another story in 2006 after joining CRW. I submitted to Harlequin and was asked for a full ms. The editor liked it, but not enough. I sent that story to an agent, along with a note saying Harlequin asked for a full. When Harlequin rejected, she did, too, but she asked to meet with me in Dallas at nationals.

I wrote another book after RWA nationals and submitted it to her. She liked it and asked for me to fix a couple of things. I made the changes and resubmitted. She asked for one more thing. I fixed that, too. She asked for one more thing, and I’m in the process of doing those changes now and will resubmit soon.
In other words, it’s all about not giving up. I suppose there’s a time to quit, but as long as a writer is not at a stand still – work on something else while going through the process of one edit – then it’s not a bad thing to take awhile working and dealing with a possible agent/publisher.

What author(s) inspired you?

My inspirational author is Nora Roberts because I'd like to sell like she does, and she is good, but also she wasn't the first person I read. The first was a Harlequin series, so any published author counts as inspirational.

As authors, we know the importance of reading, but it can pull us away from our own writing? What do you like to read and how much time do you have for pleasure reading in a week?

I only write in the summer. I spend the school year editing and promo and such because I'm a teacher and I like to have large chunks of uninterrupted time to write. And I don't like writing when I'm tired after a long day at school.

Tell us a bit about your books.
I have two trilogies, one is a stalker trilogy, one is a series of tough women: CIA, DEA, FBI operatives. I also have a set of six coming out; two are already out. I'm working on the third this summer and trying to finish my dragon story. Most of my working on Contemporary Romantic Suspense and so is the dragon story...with a twist.

Guard My Body (Double Dragon/Carnal Desire)


A hard core CIA covert ops expert like Nash Kincaid takes everything seriously, especially his mission to retrieve classified information from his contact, take it to the right people, and stop the deaths of thousands of children at the hands of home-grown terrorists.

A librarian with a wild side could throw a ringer into his plans, but Ayden Devlin takes most things seriously, too, even when she decides to live out the lives of the characters in the books she reads by helping her sister Leigh, a spy for the CIA. She lets Leigh insert classified information into her mouth where there’s a missing tooth, so she can safely transport the info to Nash.

Nash and Ayden meet in a biker bar, and a hit man tries to kill Ayden. Nash throws his body in the path of a bullet to save her. A bullet grazes Ayden’s head and knocks her out cold. When she comes to, she and her rescuer have to establish trust. They don’t know each other, and the mission has gone awry. It takes time to convince each other of their respective honesty and identity.
It takes no time at all for them to realize they’re hot for each other, and not much more time to realize it’s more than heat. Love blooms, stoked by building passion, the flames rising higher with each new dangerous encounter.
Will they survive to share their love and lives?


Who the hell sends a librarian to do the job of an undercover CIA agent?
Covert Operation Expert Nash Kincaid - at least that's what his latest passport said - sat in a seedy biker bar, sipping on his tap beer, waiting impatiently for a librarian - of all people - to show up and make a Top Secret information drop.
He scowled and scoffed silently into his foamy brew at the very balls of his friend and fellow comrade in arms, the man who'd set up this preposterous rendezvous. How the hell had Ace ever gotten it in his head that some stuffy old bookworm would be suitable for a transfer of classified information? So what if this Ayden person happened to be Ace's partner Leigh's sister? That didn't mean she could pull off something like this.

And who the hell is the amazing-looking chick that just walked in the door?
Nash's eyes widened, and his blood simmered beneath the surface. He let his eyes wander down, and then roam back up, the woman's sexy form. Her slim but amply curved silhouette stood out against the shadows of the barroom. Bright neon lights poured over her sexy outline, illuminating her body in vibrant red and yellow hues, cascading over and around her like waterfalls of color for her to bask in. She wore a skin-tight muscle shirt and a short leather skirt. The shiny, sequined material clung to curvy hips, stopped inches above shapely knees, and topped off endless, toned legs. Her fiery hair hung loose, reaching her narrow waistline, flowing like a billowing sea of red. Nash wanted to grip her waist with one hand, run his other through all that mass of organized tangles, hold on tight, and plow into her beckoning body like a madman.

Okay, so maybe her body didn't beckon him, but he sure as hell wanted it to.
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What is the one thing that you think is the most important resource for any writer? Why?
I think they should write what they know to some extent, then research when needed. I was a Morse Code operator in the US Air Force for ten years so I use that, and I coach Mock Trial and work with lawyers so I use that, and I teach history and social studies and German and I speak Italian and I've been to seven countries and thirty-six I use all that.

What is your greatest challenge when you're working on a new book?

World building and keeping the fast pace and using good dialog and not bogging the story down with backstory or too much internal dialog.

If you have ever experienced writer's block, how do you move past it?
No, writer's block yet, just tough world building on the dragon story.

Would you like to share a bit about any work in progress?

My two WIPs are the third of the series I mentioned and it's called Guard My Life, about a woman being kidnapped and transported in a casket and sold into slavery overseas...but the hero is undercover cop who rescues her...and he knows her from past experience they had together.

Where can you be found on the web?

Go to my website and you can click on any link on my contact page to find me elsewhere:

Anything else you would like to share with the readers here today?

Just this: Never give up. Never let anything hold you down. Rise above it.

Thanks so much, Rebecca, for coming by.