Here is a little tidbit about me. Most people look forward to summer. Not me! Winter is my favorite season and when the warm weather starts to come, as is happening this early in Chicago this year, I feel a little sad. The cool quiet of winter will soon be over.
One of my all time favorite things to do is be the first person to leave footprints in a field after a snowfall. If there is one last snow before the season is over, take a minute to look closely at the snow at night. It sparkles as if someone sprinkled glitter all over, so clean and crystal and prettier than diamonds. Take a walk in the snow and leave a trail of your own footprints behind.
My love for writing comes out of my love of reading. Why do I read? I find reading is my number one way to relax. Reading while taking a bath is even better! It is no secret that my favorite genre to read is romance. There are a few reasons why I love this genre the best:
1) I know there will be a happy ending. This is fun for me because I know a little secret. I know a secret that the characters don’t know. They will have a happy ending and it is fun to go through the mishaps that will lead to the sweet end. We all know it’s not the destination. It’s the journey.
2) The main characters are women. I love strong women who love strong men. I also love quirky characters too.
3) Goodness will prevail. Evil will lose. Right makes might and love wins out. In romance, this is always true!
I am so excited that my short story, The Last Gift (The Possession Series) is on sale at Amazon in the Windy City RWA Anthology, A Lovely Meal. The ladies at Windy City RWA decided to dedicate the anthology to Cathie Linz who lost her battle with cancer this year. All proceeds for the anthology will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer Alliance. I’m so happy to be part of this project with so many wonderful writers: Dyanne Davis, Savannah Reynard, CJ Warrant, Katrina Bauer, Cindy Maday and many others.
Click on the book cover to buy the book. Both print and digital ebook are available now on Amazon!
Print version at creatspace: Digital version on Amazon:
This article was first seen in the Chicago North RWA Newsletter in November 2015.
Do you believe in ghosts? I do. Have you ever seen a ghost? I’m not sure if I have, but maybe. As a kid, there were lots of places in my house that gave me the creeps. You know, that feeling when the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, because it feels like someone or something is watching. It’s that feeling that made me want to write ghost stories. I believe there is more to life after death than we know. I’m not alone in that belief either. The Huffington Post claims 45% of Americans believe in ghosts.
A couple of years ago, as I was writing Possession of the Heart, I had the chance to investigate a haunted house with a friend, Linda Legac who belonged to a ghost hunting society in Illinois, SHADE, Spirit Helpers and Demon Experts. During the investigation, I got the chance to use a variety of paranormal investigation tools: EVP recorder, K2 EMF meter, Ovulus, Laser grid. Ghost hunting was filled with hours of collecting images and sounds and just feeling the energy of the surroundings. As we sat in the dark, we stared at the walls speckled with green dots from the Laser grid waiting for a ghost to pass through. We talked into the silence, hoping to catch a disembodied response on the EVP recorder. We didn’t see any ghosts that night, but the Ovulus, a machine with a digital dictionary that calls off words with an electronic voice, said some interesting things. It repeated the name of one of the other investigators, and it said the words “danger,” “fire” and “down” each time we went into the basement. Kind of creepy, but we went down there anyway.
I love writing paranormal romance, but every time I’ve worked on my ghost stories, strange things have happened in my house. The lights have flickered or popped and burned out. Doors, which were closed, would be open. I’ve even had objects moved to different places. Maybe I forgot that I moved them, or maybe… just maybe it was a ghost. Once, I decided to turn a guest bedroom into a writing office. I thought this was a great idea. I would have a private workspace with a door. I brought in a small table, set up my laptop, and I put in my ear buds to settle into my writing. After a little while of writing and listening to music, I swear I heard a noise in my headphones. I’ve watched a lot of ghost shows, including some in which ghosts made noises through telephones, TVs, radios, and even through ear buds. Watching it on the television is a lot different than hearing it with your own ears. I ripped those headphones off so fast and have never written another word of my ghost stories alone in my “office” since.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Robert Frost. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” Though, for the Halloween season, I’ve changed the quote a little bit. When writing paranormal ghost stories, remember: No fears in the writer, no fears in the reader.
Don’t forget to check out Dyanne Davis’ post.
This was a very busy writers weekend for me. I got a lot accomplished and I feel very proud of myself. Yes, that’s me patting myself on the back. I was interviewed for the first time. My first author interview was exciting and terrifying all at once. The thing about being interviewed is that you get very comfortable and then you feel like you are talking too much. At least I did. But let’s be honest. It’s supposed to be about you, right? Geez, I hope I didn’t say anything crazy. Time will tell. The interview is supposed to come out in November in the Chicago North Newsletter.
One of my favorite things to do is take a walk with my dog. Here are a few pictures I’ve collected of my dog during some of our walks. When I’m not writing, I love being walked by my Great Pyrenees who never lets me forget to smell the flowers.
This was a very exciting year at Romance Writers of America conference. Two of my friends were up for the RITA award: Sonali Dev for her book A Bollywood Affair and Clara Kensie for her book Run to You. The RITA is the most prestigious award in the Romance Writer Community, so this was beyond exciting. Congrats to both of them.
Clara Kensie and Sonali Dev
Even more exciting was watching my friend, Clara Kensie win for Best First Book, especially when Nora Roberts is giving out the award. Here I am with Clara, Robin and Rita!
Awards ceremony, celebrating with members from the Windy City chapter and the Chicago North chapter.
With my own chocolate RITA. It was quite tasty.
Savannah and I got to meet one of the cover models. Too much fun.
Some nice views. The first picture is New York from the plane. Do you see Lady Liberty? The second picture is Times Square from my hotel room. The third picture is in Central Park.
Don’t forget to check out Dyanne Davis’ blog. Take a peak and see what she’d been doing lately.
Many of you know I spend some time in the peace and quiet of the deep woods during parts of the summer. As I was walking the dog along a lone dirt road the hairs on the back of my neck and along my arms stood up. I peered through the dense trees on the left looking for any movement, then, I looked right. I always do this, though I’ve never actually seen any animals other than a cute chirping squirrel once and a lot of deer tracks. I perked my ears and listened for rustling. Nope, nothing. Just that eerie feeling. I know animals are out there. They have to be. It’s a forest for crying out loud. My dog chose that moment to stop and turn around (he usually walks for at least a mile). This time, he was done and who am I to argue? We turned back toward the safety of our little cabin and once inside, I read a book. Weeks later I heard a story that a man a few miles down, walking on the same road had a similar experience: standing hair, feelings of being watched. He turned around, and down the road, a wolf was following behind.
Last night while I walked my dog through the neighborhood, later than usual around ten at night, I felt a little creeped out. I live in the best of both worlds from the deepest woods to the big city of Chicago. That hair standing, someone watching feeling felt the same regardless. Maybe it was just the late hour on a hot summer night with the wavering tree shadows? Maybe it was because more people were out since the weather was so nice? Whatever it was, I paid closer attention to my surroundings. A cat sat licking it’s leg in the middle of an alley. A couple rushed passed on their bikes. Laughter wafted on the streams of a charcoal barbecue party. Nothing happened, it was very uneventful but maybe that’s because I was being dilligent. Call it the sixth sense or intuition, maybe it’s something scientific like electromagnetic waves. I believe in it.
Be sure to visit Dyanne Davis’ blog to see what she’s talking about this week!
When Dyanne Davis asked me to be her blogging accountability partner, I had trepidation. I wanted to say no but how could I do that? Writing, writing anything is battle between your fearful self and your courageous self. So, I asked myself, are you about to say no because of fear? The answer was yes, I was afraid. Fear of judgment, ridicule, embarrassing myself. FEAR that horrible four-letter word that makes me want to shut off the lights and hide under the covers in the fetal position sucking my thumb cuddling my blankie. (I never had a blankie like this, but I might consider getting one.)
I felt like needed to try to control the blogging situation, so I wrote down a long list of inspirations to help keep my blogging ideas flowing on a day when my brain had run dry.
Here are a few of those ideas on a much longer list. I won’t bore you with the entire list:
*My friends’ achievements
*Photos I’ve taken
*My writing journey
*Places I want to visit
I’m glad to revisit this list because it’s giving me some great ideas for future blogs! When I blog again in a few weeks, I will have returned from Nationals and will have the experience to share. See you soon! Think about your inspirations and how you push your fear aside.
Here is a fun picture I took last week. Can you find the frog (really, it’s a toad)?
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”– Mark Twain
I’m in the middle of writing a short story, two actually but I had to take a break before finishing either one. Now, I need to finish them both but I’m finding it difficult to get back on the wagon. The wheels are rusty and I feel like I am out of writing shape. It must be like riding a bike, right? Open the MS and get going! It’s that easy, right? So I went hunting for inspiration. My friend, Savannah Reynard posted this timely quote from Jodi Thomas on facebook today: “If I had to face the mountain of work needed to write a book, I would probably never start, much less finish. So, how have I managed to write 40 novels?
“I don’t think of the whole book. I set daily or weekly goals. Five pages a day. A chapter a week. Cleaning up 50 pages in a weekend. When I start doing my ‘I can’t do this! I can’t do this!’ dance, my husband always says, ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ And, I calm down and say, ‘One bite at a time.’ Then I go back to work not trying to write a book that day, but just taking one bite—one chapter—one page at a time.” — Jodi Thomas
Dyanne Davis has a great post about the Fourth of July Celebration. Check it out and enjoy.