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so you have to believe it right?  Well, in this case I do.  Mr. Wilde, poet, novelist, dramatist, and critic, said, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”

Life, in this case, is the trial going on in Catoosa County Georgia in which Tonya Craft, a teacher is accused of allegedly molesting three of her students.  I have no idea if Ms. Craft is guilty or not but when I saw her story, I was somewhat astounded because it so closely resembled something that happens in the second book of my Eternal Shadows series–the “art” in this case, though I use that term very loosely!

In Storm Shadows, which will be released soon, by the way, the heroine, Betty Sue Corn, is a middle-school librarian and she is wrongfully accused first of improper behavior in front of her students and then of sexually molesting some of her students.  She is suspended from her job while the school board decides what to do with her and while she waits, Nathan–who’s feels he’s responsible for her suspension–offers her the use of his cabin on Eternity Mountain.  And of course, while she’s there she becomes involved with Marc, one of Nathan’s blood brothers.  Marc, living under the same curse as Nathan and the other two Tassel men, Matt, whose story was told in Snow Shadows, and Luke, whose story is next in Sun Shadows, is an immortal shape-shifting cougar with psychic abilities.  He is determined not to have anything to do with Betty Sue because he’s been “seeing” her for years in his visions and he “knows” if they get involved one of them will die.

Given that I first started writing this book over a year and a half ago and at the time I’d never heard of Ms. Kraft, although she was first accused in 2008, I’d say this one’s a close call.  So what do you think…is life imitating art or art imitating life?

Hmm…maybe it’s a case of six of one, a half dozen of another.  And speaking of another, here’s my favorite Oscar Wilde quote:

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”  Love that!

ETA:  Tonya Craft was found not guilty of the charges today.  I’m sure that’s a relief but what happens now?  She’s lost her job, her home, and two years of her life.  I’d say make the students who accused her do something to pay her back somehow…but they’re not even ten years old!

Got a Google alert last night that the ebook of Storm Shadows was up at Mobipocket which means it should be up at Amazon and Fictionwise soon.  Yippee!

Here’s the gorgeous cover L&L Dreamspell came up with:

 

 

Looks like next week’s writing challenge needs to be updating my website and this blog with the cover and the blurb.  Now that’s the kind of challenge I can get behind!

I know, I know, that’s not really a challenge since I’ve done it before but since WordPress seems to be going through some sort of midlife crisis right now, updating my sidebar and the Storm Shadows page is sure to be a challenge.  

And what’s up with WordPress anyway?  I’m kind of tired of seeing that message asking me if I’m sure I want to navigate away from the page I’m on every time I try to link to something or insert a picture or…can’t remember the other thing that gave me that message but the point is I’m tired of getting it when I’m not trying to navigate away from the page.  I sincerely hope all the techies are working on that problem and that they get it fixed before next week!

BTW, this is my fifth and final post for this week!  I met the first challenge!  Now I need to come up with 51 more–okay, make that 50 more since I know what I’ll be doing next week.

snoopy_dance

Lots of things to celebrate today:

1.  It’s Read an E-book week!  Hip-hip-hooray!  Haven’t been bitten by the e-book bug yet?  Then why not go for a quick, easy, feel-good read  to get in the spirit, so to speak.  Come on, you know you want to and have I got just the book for you!

*Warning, blatant self-promotion ahead!*

Check out my novella, Unwilling Angel.  A short, fast read guaranteed to lift your spirits!  And if you want something with a little more, um, bite  to it, take a look at Snow Shadows, about a Cherokee shape-shifter who doesn’t bite–unless you want him to!  Available in e-book at your favorite online e-book supplier and mine; FictionWise.

2.  Baseball, baseball, and more baseball.

First, the World Baseball Classic.  Did you see that game last night between the US and Venezuela?  Wow!  My man, Youk, hit another homerun–that makes two!–and I’m betting he’ll hit more before it’s over.  Adam Dunn ain’t doing too bad either!  Better yet, now that the WBC has started, that means the regular season isn’t far behind.

Second, Manny Ramirez finally signed with the LA Dodgers so now we won’t have to see his name pop up everywhere.  No offense Manny, but even I got tired of seeing your face splashed all over the online sports news.  I mean, really, what are you trying to be?  The (insert whatever pop-celeb you’re sick of hearing about) of baseball?

Third,  Alex Rodriguez opted to have arthroscopic surgery on his hip instead of trying to play through the season with a torn labrum.  From all reports, he’ll be out for 6-9 weeks.  If I’d been in his shoes, I would’ve done the same thing but…with everything that’s happened in his life lately it seems like awful convenient timing.  Just saying…

3.  The sun is out, all the snow is gone, the temperature is in the high 70’s, the squirrels–both gray and white–are capering, and the birds are singing their little hearts out.  Spring has sprung here in the mountains of North Carolina and I’m loving it!

4.  Got an email from my publisher last night asking for a short bio for the PMS: Poison + Murder = Satisfaction anthology.  That means it should be released soon!  My short, The Secret Life of Alice Smitty, is one of the stories.  Double woo-hoo!

5.  Made it through another revision of Storm Shadows this weekend and I think it’s just about ready to be submitted.  For right now, Betty Sue seems to be satisfied with her character and her happy ending.  Whew!  Now, let’s just hope she stays that way!

So there you have it, five reasons I’m doing Snoopy dances.  Don’t you just love it when the angels give you multiple reasons for dancing?

…gathered over the past week from around the blog-o-spere:

1.  From Karen Knows Best, a post by Azteclady (this was last weekend)  about piracy in the world of ebooks.  The post itself was interesting, but the comments that came after were even more so.  Seriously, are there people out there who actually think downloading e-books from sites that offer them for free isn’t stealing?  Apparently there are.  Come on, people get a clue here, you’re taking someone else’s hard work and not paying them for it.  Hmm…sort of on a par with plagiarism. 

2.  There were multiple posts this past week dealing with New Concepts Publishing and their latest vendetta against the authors who’ve been trying to get their rights back.  Well, they gave some of them back but in shall we say, a less than professional manner, posting the author’s pseudonyms and giving their real names.  Why do they think authors use a pseudonym?  Trust me, there’s usually a good reason and it’s not because they hate their real names!

3.  From the EREC blog on June 23rd, a new market for romance writers–and readers!–coming from Grass Roots Magazine, Love Stories Magazine.  Click on it and check it out!  Their submission guidelines will give you the scoop.  Pays $300 dollars for a short story and $50-75 for poems.  I don’t write romantic poetry, but I have a feeling Ms. Veinglory speaks the truth when she says, “a paying romance poetry market, that’s like finding a unicorn!”

4.  Also from June 23rd, one of my favorite Red Sox blogs had a post that had me laughing so hard I almost hurt myself!  The blog?  Basegirl.  The post?  Walkoffs and Bulldogs. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.   The hilarity?  Kristen (Basegirl) and her friend Amy discuss Jason Varitek’s awesomeness and come to the conclusion he’s the “Banana Republic cut” when it comes to catchers.  I have to agree with them, since I’m almost as big a fan of Tek’s as I am of Manny.  Hey, I didn’t name my car Tek for nothing!  Well okay, it had a little to do with the fact that I drive an Aztec, but note the spelling, TEK, which is in Red Sox Nation, the name for our stupendous catcher/team captain.

5.  I think this one comes from the comment section of #1 above, but I can’t be sure and I don’t have time to go back and look it up.  It’s something I came across early in the week, and it struck me as “words to remember” so I copied and pasted it to my file on Book Promotion Ideas.  It comes from best-selling author, Nora Roberts.

“Most of us who write, as most of us who write know, want to write. Want to be alone, don’t want to go out there in the world. Some of us go out there when we’re told we must, and we do just fine. But that is NOT how we want to make our living. Moreover, it’s not in our skillset.”

Can you believe that?  Nora Roberts feels the same way I do about writing and promoting her books.  She wants to be alone, I want to be alone.  She doesn’t want to go out there in the world, I don’t want to go out there in the world.  She just wants to write, I just want to write.  But here’s the real wisdom in her comment: “Some of us go out there when we’re told we must, and we do just fine.”  

Thanks, Ms. Roberts, I’ll try my best to remember that!  In fact, I may just make it my mantra as I move closer to the release date of my book.

I’ll do just fine…I’ll do just fine…I’ll do just fine…oh, God, where’s the bathroom?  I think I’m going to be sick!  Is there a doctor in the house?  I want my mama!

What do you do with a character who refuses to do what you want her to do?  Do you force her to fall into line or do you just throw up your hands and let her go the way she wants?

I’m in a down and dirty catfight with one of those right now and it’s driving me crazy.  Not so much the fact that she’s winning, though I’ll admit that has me a feeling just the teensiest bit peeved, but when I read back over what I’ve written each day, I know she’s right.  And damn it, I find it hard to argue with that.   

The thing is…I’ve been told by numerous people, all who know a lot more about writing than I do, that a writer should never, never let the characters take charge of the story.  Yet, it seems with every book I write, there’s at least one character that does exactly that.  And it’s something of a major struggle for me to make that particular character behave according to an outline or the vague guidelines I have in my head and the pithy notes I’ve scrawled on scraps of paper and scattered all over my office.

This character, one Betty Sue Corn–and some day I’ll have to tell you the story of how I got her name, it’s a good one–is a timid, logical, don’t-rock-the-boat kind of woman.  She’s approaching forty, an old-maid librarian at a middle school, and considers herself practical and extremely ordinary.  But when I got her up on Eternity Mountain, the setting for my Eternal Shadows series, and she met Marc, the hero of the story, she turned into a  smart-ass, daring, and at times, flatout bitchy woman.  And let me tell you, I just know she’s not going to be happy if she doesn’t get to be a kick-ass heroine in the end.

But this is a romance.  A paranormal romance, which gives you a bit of leeway with the characters, but a romance, all the same.  The hero’s supposed to rescue the heroine, right?  Well, yeah, but she’s not having any of that!  And given a number of posts I’ve read recently on the romance blogs, and the comments made on them, readers are getting tired of the hero always being the one who saves the day.  So, maybe I should let her do what she wants to do, let her be the white knight, so to speak.  God knows, I did it in the first book of the series, Snow Shadows.  No, I’m not going to give away anything and I hope you’ll forgive this bit of BSP (blatant self-promotion), but the heroine in Snow Shadows, Ellen, doesn’t just lay down and whimper when her happy ending is challenged.  She fights back, or at least tries to.

Difference is, that was my idea, not the character’s!  But Betty Sue has a mind of her own, she’s taking this book in directions I never intended it to go.  And I don’t know whether to be glad that she’s keeping me from the dreaded “midway hump” or flat-out pissed about it.  All I know is the working title for this one, Storm Shadows, is turning out to be the perfect choice for this book because she sure is stirring up a storm of massive proportions in my brain.

<sigh>  I guess I’ll just have to wait till the dust settles to see how this one turns out.

 

So, I topped 35,000 words on Storm Shadows yesterday and was anxious to get back to it this morning.  The words were right there at the front of my mind and when I sat down at the computer, I could just imagine them flowing in an effortless stream from my brain to the keyboard.  I was happy, content, eager to work.  As I waited for the file to open, I sent up a prayer to the Romance gods that the dreaded “Midway Hump” would bypass me on this book.  Then I shoved up my sleeves, flexed my fingers and got busy. 

Less than a minute later it happened.  My muse popped up and shattered my world by uttering three little words.

Her (smirking):  You’re an idiot!

Me (eyes wide, mouth dropping open):  What?  What?  WTF are you talking about?

Her:  Watch your language, who do you think you are, one of your heroes?  I said, you’re an idiot.

Me (blinking owlishly, trying to hold on to my temper):  And just why am I an idiot?

Her (gesturing to the computer screen):  Pay attention to where you’re going with this story.  You can’t do that, it’s inconsistent with Snow.

Me:  I’m not working on Snow Shadows, that’s finished.  I’m working on the second book in the series, Storm Shadows.  Now, go away!

Her (rolling eyes):  That’s my point, Snow’s finished, its in the hands of the publisher, the ARCs have gone out, it’s ready to be printed.  You might even go so far as to say it’s etched in stone.  You can’t change…

Me (jumping up to dance and wave my hands over my head):  Only a couple of more months.  High five!

Her (crossing her arms over her chest):  Do you have any idea how stupid you look?  Sit down, shut up, and most important, listen up!  Your prologue on this one is inconsistent with Snow.  Hell, the whole thing is inconsistent.  Marc is always going on about his fear of death and about dying, you even have one part where he says he’s died before and he’ll do it again.  The curse, you mental genius, the curse, do you even remember the curse?  He’s immortal, he can’t die! 

Me (sitting down and sighing):  I know, but he doesn’t actually die and the legend I’m using for Marc is different.  I can–

Her (shaking a finger):  No, no, no, a thousand times no.  You can’t, and as long as I’m participating in this book, you damn well won’t!  Go back to the beginning and fix it.  Don’t make me get mean, you won’t like me when I’m mean.

Me (sulking):  You’re always mean.

Her:  No, I’m not.  What I am is consistent.  You’re writing a series, constistency is extremely important.  That (pointing at computer) is not consistent.

Me (sneering):  What was it Thoreau said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”?

Her (throwing her hands up in the air):  OMG, you are an idiot.  First, it was Emerson who said that, not Thoreau.  Second, when it comes to books in a series, a foolish INconsistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.  And the minds of your readers aren’t little.  You don’t think someone will catch it and call you on it?  Quit stalling and change it!

Me:  No!  Look, I know what I’m doing here.  I’m the writer, for God’s sake!  What I’ve done so far will be resolved later in the book.

Her (left eyebrow arched):  And how, pray tell, are you going to do that?

Me (mirroring her move, arching my right eyebrow):  I have some ideas.  You’re not the only one with an imagination, you know.

Her (snarling):  Your imagination is useless without me.  Now, how are you going to fix it?

Me (hunching shoulders):  I don’t know yet, but it’ll come to me.  Maybe I can…no, that won’t work.  How about…no, that won’t do it either.  I know, I know, I’ll…shit!

Her (laughing as she fades):  That’s what I thought.  Tell you what, when you figure it out, give me a call.  

Me:  Wait!  Wait!  Come back!  I need you to help me fix this, I need your input, your creativity, your thoughts.  I can’t–

Her (looking smug, hovering near the ceiling):  Go on, say it.

Me (sighing):  I can’t do this without you.

Her (shaking her head):  Somehow, I don’t think you really mean that.

Me:  I do!  I swear I do!

Her (pointing at the floor):  Not good enough.  Come on, you know the drill.

Me (getting down on my knees):  I’m sorry I doubted you.  Please, I need your help.  If you desert me, I’ll never finish this book.  I’m begging you, don’t go away and leave me here to do this alone.

Her (shoving up the sleeves of her bright yellow sweatshirt with a glowing lightbulb and the words “Muses do it in your head” emblazoned on the front):  Much better.  Now, get up and let’s see if we can fix this mess you’ve made.  Here’s what I’m thinking…

 

I don’t know why, but I haven’t been in the mood to blog about anything lately.  It’s not that there isn’t anything going on in my life.  There’ve been quite a few times during the last week that I saw or read something that made me think, “oh, gee, that would make a good blog topic,” but well, I moved on to something else and before long, the “blog oomph” faded away.  I guess you could say my “blogging muse” has gone on vacation.  Not that I blame her, the weather has been beautiful here in western NC and I imagine it’s even better out on the Outer Banks or up in Virginia Beach or even down in Myrtle Beach.

While my blog muse has been lolling on some tropical beach somewhere, though, my paranormal romance muse has stepped up to the plate.  I’ve been working on Storm Shadows, the second book in my Eternal Shadows series and making quite a bit of progress.  I’m now at 23,000 words, about a third of the way through, I figure.  Next up, the middle–arrgh!  I don’t know about other writers out there, but the first oh, say, twenty thousand or so words of a book are always the easiest for me.  After that, I tend to get bogged down for a while, but when I get over the “hump” it gets easier again.  So, over the next few weeks, I know I’m going to be struggling which I hope will give me more incentive to sit down and write a blog entry about the things that strike me as “blog-worthy.

Okay, here’s the Reader’s Digest condensed version of my blog entries for the week:

1.  Moonshot Manny hit his 499th home run.  Yay, Manny!

2.  The Red Sox are limping along in second place in the AL East.  I’m blaming the fact that they’re on the road!  They can’t seem to buy a win when they’re not at Fenway, but they won last night against the Orioles, so maybe it’s only something to worry about when they go west of the Mississippi.

3.  The Tampa Bay Rays are in first place.  Huh?  Seriously, who would’ve ever guessed that would happen?  Not me, but it has me thinking that maybe dropping the “Devil” from their name wasn’t such a bad thing, after all.

4.  A new release and three re-releases of Cassie Edwards books–found these on the top shelf of my grocery store’s book section last week and well, I guess you know what I did.  Yep, hid every one of them.  Bad enough that she’s still being published, even worse that all of them had the word “Savage” in the title.  You know how I feel about that, don’t ya’?      

5.  With the release date of Snow Shadows getting closer–about three months now!–I’ve been debating over whether or not to upgrade my membership at Author’s Den.  I’ve had a membership with them for a little over a year now, but it’s the free “Lite Membership.”  Not a lot you can do with it, but my sister has their “Gold Membership” and she says she gets quite a few hits and sales from it, so I’m thinking maybe the time has come to upgrade.  Problem is, there are several options and I just can’t figure out which one I want to go with.  Bronze?  Silver?  Gold?  And now they have something called a Platinum which costs a whopping $800 a year.  $800?  Wow!  Um, I should probably wait until my book comes out and see how it goes, don’t you think?

6.  And speaking of my book coming out, I’ve received several advance reviews for Snow Shadows this past week.  So far, so good!  A couple of my favorite lines from the reviews:  

“This story is absolutely captivating!” – ParaNormal Romance

“…a fascinating story wrapped around Cherokee history and legend.” – Midwest Book Review

“There are some very dramatic moments on the mountain and I enjoyed every one of them.” – Coffee Time Romance

Not too shabby, huh?  And arrgh!  I hope I didn’t just jinx myself!  Keep your fingers crossed for me that the rest of the reviews are just as good! 

7.  Finally, I want to leave you with this link (thanks to Emily Veinglory at the EREC blog!):  Romance Epublisher Name Generator.  It does just what it says, generates a name for you if you want to be a Romance Epublisher.  A lot of fun and I thank Ms. Veinglory for the laugh! 

My name for Sweet Romance?  Misty Butterflies.  And the one for Erotic Romance is even better and very fitting, in my opinion – Scarlet (definitely Southern) Mountains (where I was born, where I live, where my Eternal Shadows series takes place, my favorite setting to write about, and my favorite place to be!)

Go ahead try it!  I’m off to put in my real name and see what I get! 

  

 

Well okay, not so much here in the mountains where it’s another rainy cold day, but in Florida, with less than a week to go until the first game, baseball is definitely getting warmer because…Manny’s in the house!  For the first time since 2005, Manny arrived on time for Spring training, and from his statements to the press he’s ready to play and looking forward to this season.

Could it be his last as a Boston Red Sox?  I have a hard time believing that and hope it won’t happen.  But then, as everyone knows, I’m a Manny Fan Girl.  I just can’t imagine the Red Sox without him, can’t imagine watching a game where there isn’t the Big Papi/Manny threat hovering over the opposing pitcher’s head, can’t imagine a time when another player will take on the job of taming Fenway’s Green Monster.

The Red Sox without Manny?  Say it ain’t so–ever!

And then there’s Jacoby Ellsbury.  I caught an informative and interesting article about him in Men’s Vogue the other day.  Did you know he’s the first Navajo to play in the Major Leagues?  Just another reason for me to appreciate him.  I’m not an official FG of his yet, but the more I learn about him the more I like him and I can see myself becoming one, especially after reading the article.  Here it is if you’d like to read it:

http://www.mensvogue.com/health/feature/articles/2008/03/jacoby?currentPage=1

Like I said, very interesting.  Put longer hair on him and he could be the cover model for the book I have coming out later this year, Snow Shadows.  Yep, he could be my Cherokee shape-shifter, Matt, especially since he spent his time in the off-season beefing up.

Hmmm, I wonder if he’d be open to posing for a pic of a paranormal romance hero who, in my editor’s words is “SO HOT!”  (hee-hee, I’ve been giggling over that little tidbit for days!)

The thing is…I’m about 50 pages into the next book, Storm Shadows (working title), and now I’m starting to worry about making the hero of this one, Matt’s brother Marc, “HOT!”  Can I do it?  Well, the only thing to do is write the story.  And now that I have a picture in my head of Jacoby Ellsbury, I think that will help immensely because the brothers in each of the four books in this series look very much alike, about the only difference being the color of their eyes and the length of their hair.  Jacoby’s is still shorter than Marc’s, but not by much.

So thanks, Jacoby, for the inspiration!

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams