Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Round Robin....

I can't believe it! I wrote my installment on Wednesday so I wouldn't be late this week and guess what? Forgot to post it. I'm such a loser. :-( I'm in San Diego on a family vacation. If you entered my sorry, I'm not going to draw a winner until I get back.

So last week Kaia James left us with this: Nice job removing our hero/heroine from the bunny ears and mud fight, btw. :-)

So here is the next installment.

The sound of tires on the asphalt was soothing, but Leanne was too tense to let it lull her. She didn't know what kind of trouble Suzy could be in, but it was bad. If she had something that belonged to this Marchasi, the consequences could be fatal. But what could she have? And why would she have it? Suzy wasn't always the fastest fish in the ocean, but she usually didn't try to swim with the sharks, either. What she lacked in common sense she made up for in street smarts. If she knew Marchasi well enough to take something from him, she had to know how dangerous he was.

Leanne sighed and looked beside her at Aaron. He drove with a single minded concentration that told her he was probably having the same kind of internal dialogue she was. "Well," she asked. "Figure anything out yet?"

He glanced away from the road. "Not a thing."

"Can I ask you something?"


"Why are you helping me?"

He seemed to consider this for a moment and she couldn't stop the rush of embarrassment. What had she hoped? For some declaration of feeling? They'd only just met. But if he said, I don't know, it was going to hurt. Why, she didn't care to examine. It just would.

"You need it," he said at last.

She stared, her mouth dropping open a little. "I do not."

"Sweetheart, you are a woman crying out for help."

"I am not."

"Look at yourself. Why are you dressed like that?"

She sputtered for a moment, not sure if he was insinuating or insulting. "What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"

"Nothing, if you have a press conference scheduled. But honey, we're not headed for the office."

She folded her hands primly in her lap and looked out the windshield.

"Hey," he said. "I'm not trying to hurt feelings. I'm just making an observation. You're too uptight."

"And that's not supposed to hurt my feelings?"

Aaron gave a deep sigh and pulled to the side of the road. He put the car in park, but left the lights on and the engine runnning. Turning in his seat, he watched her huddle against the door. "Look at me," he said.

She was too hurt, too humiliated to do as he said. She didn't want him to see her, to see the pain in her eyes. Because she knew he was right. She'd been the good sister for so long, she didn't know how to be anything else. He probably thought she was fool, all dressed up to visit the likes of Fat Frank the mud king and God knew who else. But it went against the grain to relax, to pull on a pair of sweats or jeans when she left the privacy of her house. Who knew what could wait on the other side of the door? Who knew what kind of ambush might be lurking to catch her unaware and expose her?

Slowly, Aaron leaned over, took her chin in his hand and turned her face. "Look at me," he said again.

His voice was deep and softer than the air that swirled around their car. His words drew her attention to his mouth. He had full lips and white teeth. A five-o'clock shadow covered his jaw and gave him a dangerous look in the close confines. Against her will, her gaze traveled up, over the solid features, to the slate-blue eyes. He wasn't looking at her like he thought she was a fool.
He reached over and pulled the two strategically placed clips from the back of her head and her hair fell free to swing against her shoulders. He smiled as he touched it with his fingers.

"What are..."

But she didn't have to finish the questions, because he was moving closer still and she already knew the answer. He was going to kiss her, that's what he was going to do. And she was going to let him. Something tightened in her chest as she waited for his mouth to settle over hers. It seemed to take a long time, but finally he was there, his face blurring before she closed her eyes and then his lips were on hers.

The kiss had one, sweet, tentative second before Aaron shifted and wrapped his arms around her. He pulled her hard against him, hauling her to the middle of the seat so he could have her closer. Leanne felt a surge of something she didn't quite know how to classify. It was passion but it was power as well. Some feminine trigger that she possessed had moved him to this. He wanted her. As unbelievable as that seemed, he wanted her.

"Leanne," he said into her mouth.

"Yes," she breathed back.

"Stop thinking."

And then his tongue slipped between her lips and she did exactly as he said.

Life as I know it...

No news to report today. I'm just trying to stay focused on the writing. Some days that's easier than others. I finished Kallie's pages on Sunday and I think she's got a dynamite book in the works. You'll be seeing her on a bestseller list someday soon, I'm sure.

Looks like a monsoon may be brewing. I hope so. I love storms...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday morning, early and at it

Haven't posted for awhile, mostly because I've been trying to make some major life decisions. I've had a week of highs and lows and its left me feeling a little sea sick. I hope my next post will have some good news in it, but I guess that's up to the powers that be and my guardian angel. All I can do at this point is put my faith in both.

On a lighter note, I am reading my cp's 100 pages and they are great. Don't fear my friend. I'll have some pages back to you this morning. :-)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Saturday afternoon, 4 chicks, champagne, mud fights, bunny ears and a bun

You'll have to read the Round Robin to really understand the title of this post. I won't give you any hints, but the 4 chicks of 4 chicks and round robin got together yesterday to drink, laugh, snark and otherwise enjoy the fact that we are such good friends. Here are some pictures to prove it. (and because I'm going to take the other picture -- the one I've been bitch-slapped for having posted on my website because certain robins were wearing pajamas -- off the web.)

First picture, left to right, Kallie Owens, Calista Fox/aka Ava McKnight, Erin Grady and Kaia James. Second picture, back, Kallie Owens, Calista Fox/Ava McKnight, front, Kaia James and Erin Grady.

Life is good and I am forever grateful for the meeting of these three friends.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday morning, blogging instead of writing

I received two emails this week that totally blew me away and renewed my hope. The first was from a fellow writer Goldie Browning who was letting me know she'd just finished reading Echoes and loved it. She then devoured Whispers and let me know that she loved that as well. Turns out, she's recently completed her novel that has parallel stories and it sounds like it's a terrific one. Hopefully we'll all see it on the bookshelves someday in the not too distant future. Good luck, Goldie, and thank you for writing to me.

Then, this morning, I received an email from Su at Earthly Charms telling me she'd just finished Whispers and loved it. Sue designed the very cool door hangers I had made for Whispers that say "Shhh, I'm reading" on them. She also did the interview for the Motivated Writer. I've heard from quite a few readers who said they'd read the interview.

Anyway, these letters really gave me a boost I needed. I am so excited about the book I'm working on. I've developed so new ideas that I believe will layer the story with a dark, paranormal flavor that has all my senses sparking. I do have to come up with another title though. Currently it's called Vanished, but since I thunk'd it up, several other books have come out with the exact same title. This has happened to me with both Echoes and Whispers. In fact, when Echoes first came out, I went to the bookstore with my daughter and we were looking for it on the shelf without luck. So I asked the bookseller and he directed me to the more famous writers' novel which came out the month before much to my dismay. And then he told me, "I should read that one because it was probably just as good."

Heavy sigh.

My friend Kallie Owens is going to be sending me some pages to critique soon and then she's going to mail them off to a big agent who is dying to get them. She's got a dynamite story and I'm looking forward to the reading.

Okay, enough avoiding the "real" writing.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Corrections and such

I was wrong (yes, it's true) about not one but two things. First I said check in tomorrow for a new post on the Round Robin story, aka Pandora's Box. Well, apparently yesterday I was thinking today was Friday. Big wrong. Wishful thinking wrong. And second I thought Kallie was up for the next installment, but apparently I've misplaced an entire week. Kallie posted last week and I have to tell you, it's a good one! She left it with a hook.

So Calista is the one to pick up the ears and get dirty. (gotta read it to get the joke, here). Unlike yours truly, Calista is punctual about her posts. More that that, she's early. Get up to speed. You'll find the whole shebang here (from first post to last):

And the latest installment here:

That's all the fun for tonight.

OH yeah, there was a big fat story on me in the Gilbert pages of the Arizona Republic today, complete with picture. It was very cool. Also interviews on Writerspace
and the motivated writer:

Okay, enough shameless self promotion.... at least for tonight.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A day in the life...

Last weekend Cathy McDavid and I did one of our last signings on our "Big Fat Book Tour." Cathy wrote a series of articles about it that will be in RT this fall. I'm sure they will be lots of fun. Here are two pictures--first is (left to right) Erin Grady, Jennifer Ashley and Cathy McDavid. Second picture is of Erin and Cathy (Jennifer was home busily working on her next book. Probably Cathy and I should have been doing the same, but it was a fun signing and the Chandler Mall Barnes & Noble is awesome. )

So a freelance reporter (EJ Anderson) from the Arizona Republic interviewed me this week about Whispers and my other books. The article should be in tomorrow's paper. I'm excited about it.

I continue to get letters from readers who are loving Whispers. It's wonderful.

The new book is coming along. I'm getting some great ideas as I go, but that's pretty much how I write. I don't know what is going to happen until I get there. I've tried outlining, but it doesn't work the same for me. I can't envision it in outline form and therefore get the whole picture to embellish. I have to do the draft.

By the way, check out the interview posted on Writers Space, ParaNormal Romance:

AND, look for a new post on the RR story coming from... I think Kallie has it tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Gothic...continued....

So Heather, (, has been kind enough to provide me with this definition of Gothic. She also has a very interesting post on crappy first drafts which I agree with 100%. That internal editor will absolutely KILL anything creative in you if you let it.

Anyway, on to Gothic....

The Gothic novel, or "Gothic romance" . . . flourished through the early nineteenth century. Authors of such novels set their stories in the medieval period, often in a gloomy castle replete with dungeons, subterranean passages, and sliding panels, and made plentiful use of ghosts, mysterious disappearances, and other sensational and supernatural occurrences; their principal aim was to evoke chilling terror by exploiting mystery, cruelty, and a variety of horrors. The term "gothic" has also been extended to denote a type of fiction which lacks the medieval setting but develops a brooding atmosphere of gloom or terror, represents events which are uncanny, or macabre, or melodramatically violent, and often deals with aberrant psychological states. (adapted from A Glossary of Literary Terms)

Thank you, Heather. I think it's a good definition. I don't write medieval, although I do love to read it, but I think I'm all about the "brooding atmosphere of gloom" and "events which are uncanny".

Anyone out there read my books? Have an opinion on this? I'd love to hear about it. Actually, what I'd REALLY like to hear about is what you think I do right. (no pun intended there.) I think for a lot of authors, yours truly in particular, it's hard to know what it is that is really connecting with readers. Is it the hero? The "brooding atmosphere?" The "uncanny events?" The heroine? The story itself?

I stumbled across a blog the other day that just broke my heart. They were bashing one of my books, and I don't mean in a good way, ha ha, and one of them said something about it having such potential but I'd missed the mark. I wanted to know how I'd missed it, but was too busy licking my wounds and crying my eyes out to type (just kidding). Actually, since the book they were bashing won 3 awards and was a finalist for 5 others, I decided not to ask. Plus, they even went so far as to say the cover was awful, which is just a flat out lie. :-)

ANYWAY, enough about that. what I want to know is not what I do wrong, but what I do right. If you have a minute, let me know. What is it that you like about my books? (asked with fingers crossed that no one says, "when it's over.")

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


So, I've discovered that I am being called a gothic writer. At first I wasn't entirely sure what this meant. What I thought of as gothic wasn't necessarily a good a thing. Then I picked up another book that was also referred to gothic and I loved it. I'm still not entirely sure what gothic means, but I'm thinking it has to do with the mood of a story. Generally dark and atmospheric. If that's the case, then I guess I qualify. Anyone have a different take on that?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Round Robin: Pandora's Box

Sorry guys, a day late again. My excuse this week is a real one. My dad's been in the hospital and I've been spending time out there letting him know he's loved and we're all anxious for him to be on the mend and back home. My mom has been his angel, hovering over him and making sure the docs and nurses at Mayo Hospital give him good care. He's doing better now and I'm hoping he'll be back at home next week.

Anyway, on to the story. If you haven't read it yet, Kallie has put it all together on one page. I have to admit, I'm really excited about it. I'm thinking if it keeps up this way, the four of us, Kallie Owens, Kaia James, Calista Fox (aka Ava McKnight) and I should seriously think about making it into the real thing--a book.

What do you think?

Okay, to catch up on the story, go here:

And here is my addition....

The digital readout on the dashboard of Aaron’s 4-runner showed it was almost three am. It had taken longer than it should have to get the pictures downloaded from the blow-up doll’s phone and then review them. He supposed they’d both hoped that once the pictures were enlarged, a clue would jump out at them. Some big reason why Suzy had been abducted. At the very least, a big who. But nothing more had been revealed. With few options, Aaron had suggested they take the pictures to Fat Franks. With any luck, Frank would still be there and he might see something in them that Aaron and Leanne had missed. A big might, but neither of them had a better idea.

He glanced Leanne. She’d changed out of the flannel pajamas in record time, emerging in black trousers with crisp pleats and a pale silky blouse the color of oysters. She’d tamed her hair into a coil at the back of her head and looked ready to go in for her nine-to-five, not to track down the maniac who was threatening to let crabs eat her sister alive.

“What the hell do you do?” he asked her suddenly.

Surprised, Leanne looked at him. “I’m a public affairs aide to Dr. Willem Goldwater.”


She smiled. “Golden Billy?”

Christ, Golden Billy? THE Golden Billy? The Golden Billy who claimed his company had developed an alternative fuel that would run in any car—without modifications—and would cost pennies to the gallon?

“Do you know what it’s made of?” Aaron, the scientist, asked.

“Of course not,” she answered primly. “And I can’t discuss it with you.”

Suitably reprimanded, he pulled into the lot of Fat Franks and shut off the engine. They sat in deep silence for a moment, staring at the place.

Fat Franks Tooney Salooney looked exactly like one would expect. Large and box shaped, it had been added onto over the years until it had a maze-like feel too it. It was the last place you wanted to be if there was a fire.

By way of decoration, music notes had been painted all over the front in varying sizes and Looney Tunes characters cavorted among them, blowing more notes out of enormous trombones and miniature trumpets. On the roof was a super-sized hotdog bun with Bugs Bunny lounging in the center. Aaron always wondered if Fat Frank had bothered to get usage rights for the characters or if he’d just decided to go with it and wait until someone sued him to take them down. Aaron would bet the latter.

The place was closed now and bathed in darkness the cartoon characters looked eerie, their frolicking positions somehow sinister. Like gargoyles perched on the walls, ready to swoop. He smiled grimly at himself. He sounded like one of his female students, scared of the dark.

But whether it was manly or not, Aaron was scared. Scared for Suzy, who he’d only met once or twice, but had liked. Scared for her sister, Leanne, who was huddled against the passenger side door, staring out at the black night like a lost child. And, damn it, scared for himself and this mess he knew he shouldn’t be getting into.

With a deep breath he looked at Leanne. “You ready?”

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I survived the slumber party, for those of you who might be wondering. It was touch and go for awhile there, but I'm still alive. I also finished the proposal I've been working on for my new book. Yay! What a relief to have that done. Of course now I have to write the book, but I've got some good ideas simmering so I'm looking forward to it.

Hey, check back tomorrow. I think it's my turn to work on the round-robin story. Hmm....wonder where our brave heroine is now?