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You know what they say, the best laid plans of indie writers oft go astray! Okay, that’s not exactly how it goes and I apologize to Robert Burns, but I’ve been living that old quote for the last 3 weeks.

Seriously, I have. I posted earlier this month about my plans for my books which are no longer available due to the closing of my publisher and well, all I can say is those plans certainly went astray. I started out strong, working on the edit and revision of Snow Shadows, the first book in my Eternal Shadows series which has to be completely edited because my publisher couldn’t find the final file and also because I want to change some things. Anyway, I made it about halfway through the book and then it was all “Book, Interrupted” or maybe I should make that “Writer, Interrupted.” No, I think “Book, Interrupted” works better in this case because the writer was still working but her attention was pulled away to another book…

the second book in the Appalachian Journey series. For those of you who don’t know, I also write under the name CC Tillery with my sister, Christy Tillery French. We write Southern Historical fiction and we have two books out in the Appalachian Journey series, fact based fiction about our great-aunt Bessie’s life in the mountains of North Carolina.

WW3-250The first book, Whistling Woman, has been on Amazon’s best seller list for Southern Historical fiction for the last year and a half and our readers have patiently–for the most part!–awaited the release of the next book in the series, Moonfixer. The Kindle version of Moonfixer was released a couple of days before Christmas and the next step was to release the paperback version…

and that’s where “Book, Interrupted” came into being thanks to CreateSpace. Don’t get me wrong, I love CreateSpace (usually!) and I love Amazon even more for making it possible for an indie writer to publish their work without going bankrupt in the process and most of all, that the author can actually make good money from doing what she loves.

Back to CreateSpace–like I said, I love it (usually!), but I have to say, putting your book on CreateSpaceIMG_5169-Mf1-500  can be a complete and total PITA at times. Frustration ruled the day for Christy and me while we were trying to get Moonfixer done, particularly the interior formatting and the cover. OMG, there were times I thought I was going to throw my laptop through my office window and then get in my car, drive to…wherever CreateSpace’s home office is (is it Charlotte? and…well, better not to give anybody else ideas so let’s just say, it wouldn’t have been pretty.

Anyway, we finally accomplished what seemed like the impossible and the proof copy is on its way to us as of yesterday afternoon.

Whew! So now I can get back to my “Book, Interrupted” and hopefully, I’ll have it out before the end of February.

Wish me luck–seriously!

 

CC Tillery has some big news to share! But first, a little backstory–toward the end of our book, Whistling Woman, the family celebrates Old Christmas, with Papa and Bessie telling Thee the meaning and the myths behind the holiday. The following is an edited section–no spoilers here!–from Chapter Twenty-one, Winter 1900, entitled, Breaking up Christmas:

Papa is talking to Thee:

“Ya’ see, boy, midnight tonight is when the baby Jesus was first presented to the world. That was when the three Wise Men arrived at the stables where Mary and Joseph had taken shelter so Mary could have her baby. The Wise Men had traveled for miles, following the light of a single star, because they wanted to honor the birth of their Savior. When they showed up and offered the gifts they’d brought, all the animals in the stables woke up, adding their praise to that of the three Wise Men and the angels singing up above. And to this day, they say if you go out right at midnight and stand quietly, you can hear the animals praying, and some say if you can get a look at them, you’ll see them kneeling, too. Don’t know how true it is, but I’ve heard tell that the wild animals out in the woods and up on the mountains wake, stand up, and then lay back down on their other side.”

I looked at Thee, his eyes wide and filled with love, and knew right then and there that not only could I forgive Papa, I had to for the sake of my family.

Loney, who loved Christmas, sat in the chair beside Papa with a nearly completed quilt top spread across her lap. She’d heard the story many times, but when Papa started telling it, she stopped sewing and listened as raptly as Thee. When the story was finished, she smiled and asked, “Have you ever seen the animals pray, Papa?”

“Can’t rightly say I have, but I’ve heard tell of people who sneak out at midnight and have seen it. ’Course, there’s folks who say it’s bad luck to go looking for the signs of Old Christmas, that if you do, something bad will happen to you. I don’t think that’s so, though, since the people I talked to that claim to have seen and heard it all looked hearty to me.”

“But if you just happen to be out and see a sign, then it’s all right?”

“Sure it is but why would a person be out in the barn at midnight?”

Playing along, Loney said, “Maybe they were late getting home and had to put their horse in the stable before they could go to bed?”

Papa laughed. “Could be, Loney, but we’re all safe at home, as most people are on a cold winter night, so I guess we’ll stay right here and let the animals and alder bushes do what they do without us.”

“The alder bushes?”

Papa winked at Thee. “Did I forget that part? Well, Loney, the animals aren’t the only ones who honor the birth of the baby Jesus. The alder bushes do, too. Right at midnight on Old Christmas Eve, no matter how cold the night is or how much snow’s on the ground, the alder bushes burst into bloom and some say they even sprout new branches. I’ve also heard it said that if you listen closely, you can hear the bees roar in the bee-gum, as if they wanted to swarm.”

Thee stood up, leaned on Papa’s knee and said, “Can we see the animals, Papa?”

“Maybe in a few more years, when you’re old enough to stay up until midnight but not this year, boy. This year, I’d say you’ll be fast asleep by the time midnight rolls around. Why, you already look like its long past your bedtime and here it’s barely gone dark. It’s a long time till midnight.”

Thee’s little face crumpled and Papa patted his head. “Tell you what, Thee, if you can keep your eyes open till then, I’ll take you out to the barn myself and we’ll see what we can see.”

Clapping his hands, Thee jumped up and down. Jack chortled and did her best to slap her tiny hands together, too.

“But Papa, what if it is bad luck?” Loney asked.

“Pshaw, girl, I’ve talked to lots of people who say they’ve seen just such a thing and they were all living and breathing when they told me.”

Loney picked up her needle and started working on the quilt top again. “Wouldn’t that be a lovely thing to see, all the animals honoring Jesus like that?”  She looked down at Thee and smiled. “I think it might be worth taking a chance on some bad luck, don’t you, little man?”

Thee nodded and clapped his hands again. “Tell us some more, Papa.”

“Why that’s all I know to tell, boy. Maybe Bess knows more.”

Thee ran over to me where I sat on the sofa. “Tell, Bessie, tell.”

I smiled at him and ruffled his hair. “I’ll tell you what else happens during the twelve days of Christmas, Thee, but it’s about people, not about the animals.”

He looked doubtful but sat down at my feet, prepared to listen.

“There are some things you shouldn’t do, like lend anything to anybody during the twelve days of Christmas because if you do you’ll never get it back.” I pointed to the fireplace. “You see how the ashes are piling up in the hearth over there? That’s because it’s bad luck to clean them out during the twelve days. It’s also bad luck to wash your bed sheets until Old Christmas is over.”  I leaned down and sniffed at Thee. “Good thing we only have one more day, else we wouldn’t be able to stand the smell.”

Thee giggled and dramatically sniffed the skirt of my dress, wrinkling his little nose.

“Tonight is Old Christmas Eve and at midnight people everywhere will be breaking up Christmas.”  His face crumpled again and I went on hurriedly, “That’s not a bad thing. What it means is most people will drink sweet cider and burn a piece of cedar or pine in the fire as a way of saying farewell to the season.

“Do they have to break it because it’s old?”

I smiled. “No, sweetie. You see, some people believe the twenty-fifth of December is the day when the baby Jesus was born and the sixth of January is when He was first presented to the three Wise Men and to the world. But a long time ago, most people believed the sixth was the day when He was truly born and that’s when they celebrated so that day came to be known as Old Christmas. There are twelve days between the two dates, from December 25th, the ‘new’ Christmas, to January 6th, the ‘old’ Christmas, and that gives us the twelve days of Christmas. During those twelve days, people have what they call Breaking Up Christmas parties. Tonight’s party is at Aunt Belle’s house and there will be lots of sweet cider to drink and music for dancing.” I leaned down. “And I’ll tell you a secret if you promise not to tell. Promise?”

He nodded.

I bent down and whispered, “Aunt Belle is planning on having a small fire in the street outside her house right at midnight so that people can burn a piece of cedar or pine to officially Break Up Christmas. Don’t tell Papa though, or he might have to arrest Aunt Belle.”

Thee laughed and whispered back, “I won’t. Can I go and see the fire?”

“If you do, how will you see the animals in the barn when they kneel down to pray?”

He frowned. Uncle Ned boarded his horse at the town livery stables so Aunt Belle didn’t have a barn or any animals he could spy on to see if they really did pray at midnight.

I took his chin in my hand and lifted it to give him a kiss. “Why don’t you stay here with Papa and Loney, and if you can stay awake, Papa will take you out to see the animals. You can see a fire in the fireplace any old time and Roy and I will be sure to burn a piece of pine in Aunt Belle’s fire to break up Christmas for you.”

Roy came in from the barn, bringing the crisp smell of winter with him. “You about ready to go, Bessie? I’ve got the horses hitched up and they’re champing at the bit.”

I stood, lifting Thee with me. “You keep those eyes open tonight, Theodore Norton. I want to hear all about what you see tomorrow.”

He put his arms around my neck and hugged me, whispering, “I will, Bessie,” in my ear. I squeezed him before kissing his cheek and setting him down on the floor.

Walking over to Papa, I kissed Jack on the top of her head first then bent further in to kiss Papa’s cheek. I turned to Loney who set her quilting aside and stood up.

“Have a good time, Bess.”  She stepped forward and kissed my cheek, which surprised me. Loney wasn’t usually given to outward signs of affection.

I took her hand and squeezed it. “You sure you don’t mind staying home with the babies? I can stay and you can go to the party if you want.”

She smiled. “I don’t mind a bit. You know how much I enjoy taking care of them. You and Roy have fun.”

I hugged her goodbye. At the door, I turned and looked at my family and the strangest sensation washed over me, as if I stood far away, seeing them in a dream. I could feel their love for me, just as I could mine for them, but there was a distance there, a deep chasm keeping them from me.

Now for the big news, in honor of Old Christmas, and as a way of saying thanks to everyone who’s been involved with this book for the last four years, Christy and I decided to have a special 12 Days of Christmas sale. That means from December 26, 2011 until January 6, 2012, you’ll be able to download the Kindle version of Whistling Woman for only 99 cents!

Enjoy and a very happy holiday season to everyone!

I just realized I’d neglected to post about the book my sister and I wrote and published on Kindle last week. How stupid was that? Pretty stupid, if you ask me and with all the promotions I’ve been doing, I can’t believe I didn’t put it up on this blog. Hmm, can we all say braindead?

So…here’s the deal. Whistling Woman is a book I wrote with my sister, Christy Tillery French, about our great-aunt’s life growing up in the mountains of western North Carolina in the late 19th century. It takes place in Hot Springs, North Carolina and is based on stories we heard from our dad and Aunt Bessie when she was alive. Along with the stories, the book includes bits of Cherokee folklore and medicine (our great-great-grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee), historical facts about Hot Springs and the surrounding area, and the Melungeons. It’s what some people refer to as faction, half fiction, half fact. It also falls under the genres of southern fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and coming of age. Quite a change for both Christy, who writes suspense and thrillers, and me, who writes mostly paranormal romance.

Anyway, the book was so much fun to write and Christy and I were amazed at how easy it was to work together. We have to give credit to Aunt Bessie for the ease in meshing our voices, there were times while we were writing and planning the book, both alone and together, when it felt as if Aunt Bessie was sitting beside us telling us her story. It was a wonderful feeling and I’m so grateful she did that! I probably should mention that Aunt Bessie was psychic, often knowing things were going to happen before they did, so it probably shouldn’t have been such a surprise to feel her there with us. And she was also a writer in her own right, penning articles for Reader’s Digest and several of the local papers here in western North Carolina. It was almost as if she came back to us for a spell and approving of what we were doing, guided us along to make sure we got it right.

To thank her, we’ve dedicated the book to her–in part. But the greatest part of the dedication is to our dad, John Tillery, who not only kept the stories about Aunt Bessie alive, but also painted the cover for the book and generously allowed us to use it.

Another thank you to him comes in the pseudonym we chose for the book. While Christy writes under her real name of Christy Tillery French, I write under a pseudonym. My real name is Cyndi Tillery Hodges and so we used our first initials and our maiden name for the pseudonym of CC Tillery.

I’m sure I’ll be posting more about Whistling Woman in the coming days–if I can find the time between trying to format it for Smashwords, going to Florida to visit our dad, and of course, the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holidays. For right now, I’ll leave you with the cover and the blurb:

A whistling woman and a crowing hen never come to a very good end.

In the waning years of the 19th century, Bessie Daniels grows up in the small town of Hot Springs in western North Carolina.  Secure in the love of her father, bothered with her mother’s desire that she be a proper Southern belle, Bessie’s determined to forge her own way in life.  Or, as her Cherokee great-grandmother, Elisi, puts it, a whistling woman.

Life, however, has a few surprises for her.  First, there’s Papa carrying home a dead man, which seems to invite Death for an extended visit in their home.  And shortly before she graduates from Dorland Institute, there’s another death, this one closer to her heart.  But Death isn’t through with her yet.  Proving another of Elisi’s sayings, death comes in threes, It strikes yet again, taking someone Bessie has recently learned to appreciate and cherish, leaving her to struggle with a family that’s threatening to come apart at the seams.

Even her beloved Papa seems to be turning into another person, someone Bessie disagrees with more often than not, and someone she isn’t even sure she can continue to love, much less idolize as she had during her childhood.

And when Papa makes a decision that costs the life of a new friend, the course of Bessie’s heart is changed forever.

Oh, and if you’d like to find out more about the book, the people who inspired the stories, and how we chose the title, visit our Whistling Woman blog. 

Very interesting and thought-provoking post by Jane on Dear Author; Publishers, It’s Your Move. In the article, Jane gives a list of 8 things publishers can do to reconnect with their readers and in number 4 notes that: “The great wealth of crappy self publishing offerings helps to increase the value of quality offerings but if the higher priced goods are crappy, then readers might as well pay $.99 instead of $7.99.”

I have to admit to a slight wince when I read the “great wealth of crappy self publishing offerings.” My sister, Christy Tillery French (the other half of CC Tillery) and I spent upwards of 4 months reading, proofing,and formatting then re-reading, re-proofing, and re-formatting many times over before we even considered submitting Whistling Woman to Kindle Direct Publishing. Quality was uppermost in our mind while we did that. We read countless books on how to format your e-book for the various e-readers and did our best to follow the directions of authors who have walked the self-publishing path before us. And from all indications, we got it right. Everyone I’ve talked to who has read or is reading Whistling Woman (available on Kindle for a low $2.99!), has commented on how clean the formatting is. Both Christy and I have read the book on our Kindles and (pardon the vanity) it looks beautiful. So I have to disagree on the quality of self-published e-books. There are some that are of an equal or higher quality than the e-books being released by the major publishers.

In fact, judging by the e-books I’ve read from the major publishers vs. the self-published e-books, I’d venture to say that whether you pay the outrageous prices from the big publishers or the much lower price for a self-published book, the odds of getting a poor quality e-book are about the same. I have a Sony Touch e-reader, a Kindle, and a Samsung Galaxy Tab with all the e-reader apps, and I have numerous e-books on each one. With the exception of one Stephen King book and a few books by fave authors, I’ve never paid more than $5 for any e-book. I just refuse to do it and I no longer have an auto-buy list simply because I learned pretty fast that in the world of e-books, high price doesn’t always equal high quality. So, being a cheapskate, a skinflint, and a Scrooge admirer of the highest order, most of the e-books I buy cost no more than $.99, and though I don’t know for sure, I’d be willing to bet I have just as many that were free. A great many of those books are self-published, as Whistling Woman is, and I’ve found very few that have glaring formatting errors, typos, or grammatical mistakes. Which leads me to believe that most self-published authors are at least making an effort to get it right.

I heartily agree with Jane’s admonitions to the big publishers, “Be synonymous with quality” but I have to add that a cheaper price doesn’t always mean cheaper quality. And yes, I know that Jane isn’t saying all self-published books are low-quality because the truth is, there are quite a few that are…well, crappy, but there are also quite a few self-published authors who take pride in their work and strive to make it the best it can be.

1.  My sister and I finished the manuscript for Whistling Woman, the book we’ve been working on for two years about our great aunt’s life growing up in the small town of Hot Springs, NC.  We took a few days, rented a cabin in Hot Springs, and worked on the first edit.  Now we’re in the process of editing it again–this time by email–and are hoping we’ll have it polished by the end of the year.  After that, beta readers!

2.  Although I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo–or whatever it’s called–I’ve been working on the third book in my Eternal Shadows series, Sun Shadows.  Last Monday, I set a goal of writing a thousand words a day and so far, so good.  A little over 9,000 words and counting!

3.  Edits, edits, and more edits on Whistling Woman.

4.  Working on getting the blog for the Writers’ Guild of Western North Carolina up and running.  Had a minor problem with WordPress–for some reason it wouldn’t let me add widgets to the blog–but that was solved by going to the forum and posting a question which was answered fairly quickly.

5.  The contract with Red Rose Publishing for my novella, Unwilling Angel, expires on the 18th of this month and I’ve been trying to decide what to do with the book when I have the rights back.  Numerous people have advised putting it on Kindle and thanks to one of the members of the Writers’ Guild, who is currently working to get his books on Kindle, I have a pretty good idea of what that entails.  It won’t be easy but I think I’ll probably try. 

Of course, first I have to get the rights back.  As per the contract, I sent two certified letters to Red Rose Publishing 60 days before the expiration date telling them I did not want to renew the contract, but haven’t heard a word back yet.  Which isn’t really a surprise given the problems other authors are having with this publisher.  I’m doing my best to keep an open mind until the 18th then I’m going to send an email to the owner and inform her that per the contract, the rights have reverted back to me and she needs to quit selling my book.  We’ll see what happens…

6.  After a blast of cold weather to start the month, we’ve had a string of perfect fall days here in the mountains.  I’ve been working to get my gardens put to bed while it lasts.   I wanted to plant bulbs but haven’t been able to find the time and I know I’ll be kicking myself next spring.  Oh well…

7.  Still more edits!

8.  Updating my website and this blog with the 2011 EPIC eBook Awards finalist button.  Yep, that’s right, Storm Shadows made it to the finals.  Yippee!  EPICon is in Williamsburg, VA next year and since my sister, Christy Tillery French, also has a book in the finals we’re seriously considering making the drive up there and attending.  I don’t have much hope that Storm will win, it’s in one of the categories that has the most finalists, but who knows what will happen.

9.  Edits, edits, and more edits with a little research thrown in on the side!

10.  More great news on Storm–The Long and the Short of It gave it a fabulous review last week which means it’s up for Book of the Week.  Woo-hoo!  If you’re so inclined, you can vote by clicking here.  That page also gives you access to Xeranthemum’s excellent review, if you’d like to read it.   Here’s a little taste of what the she had to say:

Storm Shadows is a well written and beautiful romance filled with charm, humor, vivid and lively descriptions and a well earned happily ever after sure to make a reader sigh in satisfaction. Despite the conflict, Ms. Hunter wrote a story that is uplifting and optimistic and just plain fun to read.

So, there you have it, the top ten reasons I haven’t posted anything here for almost a month.  As you can see, Whistling Woman is taking up the majority of my time with the Eternal Shadows series running a close second.  Next week it’s going to be all about Storm since I have an interview and a chat scheduled with LASR.  Which reminds me, I need to come up with a contest for the chat.  Better get busy…

BNTBTSBack cover blurb:

Natasha risks more than her life when she guards a defense attorney targeted by the Mafia.

Protection specialist Natasha Chamberlain thinks guarding a defense attorney from a disgruntled client should be a fairly normal job, but when she learns he’s been targeted by the mafia, she’s ready to call it quits. However, the attorney holds her to their contract and Natasha finds her own life placed in danger along with her bodyguard cohorts, Pit and Bigun. Natasha’s fiancé Jonce Striker is fit to be tied when he learns this, which only confirms to him that the bodyguard field is too dangerous for his love. After Natasha is shot trying to protect her client, Striker delivers the final ultimatum: leave the bodyguard field or lose him. Natasha makes her choice but will she live to regret it?

It’s no secret that I absolutely love this series.  I was hooked with the first book and my addiction only grows stronger with each one so instead of a review, I thought I’d share a few of the reasons why I like Ms. French’s Bodyguard series so much.

Number one—as Wilkie Collins said about cliffhanger endings, “Make ‘em cry, make ‘em laugh, make ‘em wait—exactly in that order.”  Ms. French does just that, sprinkling her books with touching moments, numerous laugh-out-loud scenes and then she ends them with a bit of a teaser that always leaves me wanting more and wondering what’s going to happen next.  The excellent writing and exciting plots are more than enough to keep me coming back, but that teasing hint of what’s coming in the next book hooks me every time.  In that respect, The Bodyguard and the Snitch doesn’t disappoint.  In fact, it just might be Ms. French’s best cliffhanger ending yet.  It seems Natasha…oh, wait, I don’t want to spoil it but you’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it.

Number two—the way the protagonist, Natasha, grows with each book, not only personally, but professionally too.   With each story, she’s a little bit more confident of herself, her job, and even though her personal relationship with Jonce Striker, the love of her life, doesn’t always run true, the reader knows through her actions and thoughts that’s she’s coming into her own there too.  Natasha is an independent young woman and though she makes mistakes, she’s determined to learn from them.  There are several places in this book where she catches herself doing something she doesn’t consider professional and makes herself stop, step back, and rethink the situation.  She doesn’t always win the battle but at least she tries.  This also happens in her relationship with Striker, both of which tell the reader the character is maturing as a professional and as a partner in love.  Ms. French obviously knows what she’s doing when it comes to developing her characters and I think she’s bringing Natasha along nicely, not rushing things, but letting her grow at a realistic pace. 

Number three—speaking of characterization, the secondary characters are fabulous.  Yes, the main characters are well-crafted, but I think Ms. French has an extraordinary talent when it comes to creating secondary characters.  Not only the ones who show up numerous times in the series, like Pit and Bigun—who I hope and pray will get their own book one day—or Stevie and Cameron—who are a delightful mishmash of trouble just waiting to happen—but Natasha’s clients in each of the books; a millionaire computer geek, a show dog, a rock star, and in this one, a defense attorney, are all characters that I’d like to see appear again in the series.  We get a little of that in this one with Roger, the computer geek, and Giki, the rock star, and I hope Ms. French continues to weave some of these fascinating secondary characters into later books.  Her characterization skills are wonderfully apt and quite multi-faceted and it often leads to some of the most humorous passages in the books.

Number four; the romantic relationship between Natasha and Striker.  I’ve always had a thing for star-crossed lovers, whether in books, movies, or TV shows; it is a plotline that I’m drawn to.  Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Desdemona, Sam and Diane, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in almost every movie they made together, David and Maddie, even Eve and Roarke in a few of J.D. Robb’s In Death series.  I love them all and Natasha and Striker can easily be included on that list.  It’s fun watching these two alpha-personalities clash and seeing the give and take between them as they struggle to keep their relationship from crashing and burning.

Number five; humor.  Ms. French has a sly sense of humor that often takes me by surprise which only makes her books more enjoyable.  It is, of course, evident in The Bodyguard and the Snitch and I ended this one with a smile on my face…and a gasp at what’s becoming Ms. French’s trademark teaser ending, which brings us full circle, right back to number one!

With The Bodyguard and the Snitch, Ms. French has written yet another outstanding book that now rests in its pre-destined spot on my keeper shelf.  As with every one of the books in this series, the plot is compelling, the characters and dialogue are original and believable, and the ending, well, let’s just say I’m hooked and can’t wait to find out what happens when Natasha needs a bodyguard of her own.  Can you guess who it’ll be?

We’re smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer and next Wednesday is National Dog Day so this week the Dames of Dialogue are honoring our furry friends with a Friday Favorites post about dogs!  Yep, that’s right, we’ve gone to the dogs!  Christy’s posted a great article about the benefits of having a dog in your life.

I’ve heard it said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend and a dog is a man’s…but I beg to differ.  In my case, the only diamonds that get me excited are baseball diamonds, especially when it’s the Red Sox out there playing.  As for dogs being a man’s best friend?  Phhffft!  Not in my house!  My canine pals much prefer me to my husband.  Hmmm, well, okay, that’s probably because I’m the one who feeds and takes care of them, but hey, every great relationship involves a little giving and a little taking and the love they give me in return far outweighs a couple of bowls of kibble a day!

 So, hop on over to the Dames of Dialogue and let us know what you think about dogs.  Do you have one or two or even more fur-faced friends in your life?  Tell us!  The inquiring dames want to know!

doghelp

But  before you go, see that badge over in my sidebar for the Animal Rescue Site?  Click on it and help feed a rescued animal.  It’ll take maybe 5 seconds of your time and I guarantee it’ll make you feel great.  It’s just one more way dogs can make you feel better!

The Dames are launching their Friday Favorites today on the Dames of Dialogue blog and the first subject up for discussion is makeup.  Christy has posted an interesting article about the history of what women–and men!–have used to make themselves more attractive through the ages.

Check it out and let us know what your favorite makeup item is in the comments!

If you’re a dog lover like me, and even if you aren’t, check out the interview with Amber Keirn on the Dames of Dialogue blog today.

Amber runs Wolf Creek Weimaraner Rescue in Knoxville, TN, and she gives us some insights on how she got started doing that.  There’s also a picture of Emma, my sister, Christy’s current hu-dog, as she calls them.  Find out why she gave these special dogs that name and take a look at Emma.  She’s a beauty and believe me, she’s everything Amber and Christy say is wonderful about this breed.

March came roaring in Sunday with frigid temps, accumulating snow, and high winds.  We still have snow on the ground but we’re supposed to be back up in the sixties this weekend.  Hopefully, the saying will hold true and March will go out like a lamb.

I’m hoping for the same thing in my writing world too.  I’ve been incredibly busy for about a week now, doing things with the Dames of Dialogue, a group formed by Maggie Bishop, my sister, Christy Tillery French, and myself.  We have a website, a blog, and now, a MySpace page–that’s what I’ve been working on and I have to tell you, its been a while since I did much on MySpace, so I’m having to relearn how to build a page from the ground up, so to speak.

Anyway, I hope you’ll check us out and if you’re on MySpace, friend us!  We’d love to see your name on our list of friends!

Along with the Dames of Dialogue, I recently joined the High Country Writers group which means I’m driving to Boone twice a month for the meetings, I’ve been revising Storm Shadows–hopefully for the last time!–,working on my WIP, Winds of Fate, posting a few entries on the DoD blog–while ignoring this one, shame on me!–and in my baseball world, Spring Training games have started which means it won’t be long now before the regular season starts.  Yippee!

And speaking of baseball, a bit of an aside to Manny Ramirez–Manny,  you know I love you, but please, sign the contract with the Dodgers already!  I’m sick to death of hearing about you, your agent, and the back and forth between you two and the Dodgers.  Seriously, 45 million for two years of doing what you claim to love doing isn’t enough for you?  Come on!

Okay, a couple of more things before I click the “Publish” button; I entered a copy of  Snow Shadows in the GoodReads book giveaway.  The offer ends March 15th, so if you’re interested in getting a free authographed copy, sign up.  Also, take a look at the Dames of Dialogue blog today–I’m in the spotlight!  Woo-hoo!  And without my sunglasses too!

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams