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After a break last week–our victim interview subject had the flu–the Dames’ Dozen is back with B.J. Foster, author of Bayou Shadows and the upcoming Carolina Shadows.

Shadows, shadows, as in Snow Shadows or even Storm Shadows?  Not to mention my current WIP, tentatively titled Sun Shadows.  Yep, I’m sensing a kindred spirit here!  Ms. Foster writes romantic suspense while my Eternal Shadows series is paranormal romance, but still…

Anyway readers, step out of the shadows and hop on over to the Dames of Dialogue blog for Ms. Foster’s inspiring interview.  And don’t forget to leave a comment!

My sister, niece, mom, and I went on a mini-vacation last week to Cherokee and Hot Springs.  The whole trip was wonderful but I enjoyed the day we spent in Hot Springs most of all.  It was fascinating to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, so to speak.  And every single person, from the librarians in both Hot Springs and Marshall who shared their wisdom and allowed us to look at records from the late 1800’s where we found quite a bit of information on the Daniels and Henderson families, to the owner of the hardware store in Hot Springs who steered us in the right direction for the cemetary where our great-grandmother was buried–we didn’t find it, but that was no fault of his–to the administrative assistant of the court house in Marshall where my great-grandfather conducted quite a bit of business while he was constable of Hot Springs, was incredibly helpful and friendly.  Whew!  How’s that for a run-on sentence?

Anyway, we have a ton of connections in Madison County, NC, and I’m so glad we found them all.  Our acknowledgement page for this one is going to be long.  I just hope we don’t leave anybody out!

Over the weekend while I was still working to clear out my email inboxes–I tell you, I used to hate getting junk-mail and I hate even more getting junk-email!–I got a bit of happy news; a contract from L&L Dreamspell for Winds of Fate!  Snoopy dances all around! 

Next up for me is the release later this month of the LLD anthology, Romance of My Dreams, with my short story, Third Time’s for Keeps.  After that, late this year or early next year, will come Storm Shadows, the second book in my Eternal Shadows series.  Winds of Fate will be my seventh book–or eighth, if you count Unwilling Angel twice since it was released by two different publishers.  Nah, I think I’ll go with seven.  After all, seven was considered a sacred number by my Cherokee ancestos.  So, seven books!  Can you believe that?  Not too shabby for someone who started writing as a way to deal with depression after learning she had MS.

So now I’m thinking about changing my blog name again.  The last time I did that, I seriously considered using the name Cait-of-Nine-Tales but I only had four–or maybe it was five–books out at the time.  I still like that name, and next year, when my seventh book comes out, I think I just might do it–hopefully, it’ll inspire me to get the next two finished and submitted, which will truly make me a Cait of nine tales!  Providing a publisher accepts them, of course!

May has been incredibly busy for me, both in my real world and in my writing life.  A couple of weekends ago my mom and sister came over for the Blue Ridge Book and Author Showcase–which was okay, except in the workshops we attended, the authors were more intent on promoting their books than they were on teaching us anything.  But it’s the first year of this event and I’m hoping it will get better in the future.  I’m also hoping I’ll get signed up in time next year to get a table!

The best part of that weekend was on Friday when we went to Hot Springs to do a little research on the book Christy and I are writing about our great aunt’s life.  Hot Springs is an interesting little town and I wish we’d had more time to look around but the weather wasn’t the best–cloudy and rainy and just all-around yucky.  We couldn’t find the visitor’s information center, which used to be housed in an old red caboose near the library so we went in the library to get directions.  The librarian, Deb Linton, told us the caboose had been moved back to the railway station and they were in the process of building a new welcome center, slated to be opened in mid-summer. 

Too bad, but Ms. Linton was kind enough to share some of the local history books and records with us.  She also gave us some information on Dorland-Bell where our aunt went to school way back in the 1890’s.  Aunt Bessie was one of the first graduates and a copy of her diploma, dated 1899, is included in the book The Season of Dorland-Bell, by Jacqueline Burgin Painter, who just happens to be my cousin.  There’s also a picture of the first town officers which includes my great-grandfather, complete with handlebar moustache and shiny silver star, as the town constable.  I’m looking forward to going back and looking for some of the houses Grandpapa built–he was also a builder and a blacksmith–and trying to find the grave of my great grandmother, who I was named for.

Then last weekend, Christy and I met in Johnson City and made the harrowing trek over the rainy mountains once again to attend the May We Write conference put on by the High Country Writers group we both belong to.  That was great and we had a lovely time–well, if you don’t count the drive up to Blowing Rock in the rain.  I swear, I love living in the mountains, but I think I’d love it even more if I lived back in Aunt Bessie and Grandpapa’s time.  You know, back when they traveled by horse and buggy!

So, along with spring cleaning, that’s what I’ve been up to.  As far as my writing world, the anthology, PMS: Poison + Murder = Satisfaction which includes my short story, The Secret Life of Alice Smitty, was released in print and is scheduled to be released in e-book next week.  I have got to get the cover up on my sidebar!  I received the contract for Storm Shadows–woo-hoo!  I’m almost through with Winds of Fate–yippee!–and I’ve started writing the next book in my Eternal Shadows series, tentatively titled Sun Shadows.  It tells the story of Luke, the brother who’s determined not to fall for Jon’s tricks and get snared by the heroine Jon sends up to Eternity Mountain.  I haven’t gotten very far yet, but so far it’s going pretty good.*

*Crossing my fingers that I didn’t just jinx myself!  I haven’t really gotten into the heroine’s part of the story yet, but I’m hoping she won’t give me as much trouble as Betty Sue did in Storm Shadows!

So, that’s whats been happening in my world in the busy, busy month of May.  Oh, and did I mention the Red Sox are in second place in the AL East, just half a game behind the Blue Jays?  Yay!  Of course, the Yankees are only a game and a half out, and we all know the Yankees.   Added to the fact that you can never count them out of the race, this year they have something to prove–mainly that they can spend over a billion dollars on a new stadium then charge outrageous ticket prices and their fans won’t bat an eyelash as they shell over their hard-earned cash.  Hey, how’s that working out for ya’, Mssrs. Steinbrenner?

Happy Patriots’ Day!  To those of you in the South who may not be familiar with this holiday, it’s a New England thing and commemorates the battles at Concord and Lexington which started the Revolutionary War.  You know, when Paul Revere made his famous ride or as Longfellow put it, “Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere…”  Yeah, that one.  It’s also the day when they run the Boston Marathon and of course, the Red Sox play an afternoon game at Fenway.  Reason enough to celebrate in my book!  Especially since, to quote their home page, “Patriot games: Sox sweep away O’s in rout.”  Woo-hoo!  A happy day, Patriots’ or otherwise, for every Red Sox fan!

Another reason to celebrate, at least for me, I just typed “The End” on Storm Shadows!  Double woo-hoo and a couple of Snoopy dances to boot.  Whew!  Usually I’m reluctant to end a story because I know there’ll be a downtime when I wonder what to work on next and a period of adjustment when I miss the characters, but in this case, I’m more than ready to let Betty Sue and Marc go–well, okay, more Betty Sue than Marc because she gave me fits every step of the way. 

And this time I don’t have to wonder what next, because I’ve already started on the next book in the series which is about the third brother, Luke.  I have the heroine pictured in my mind and pretty much have her personality figured out but I don’t have her name.  Can’t decide for the life of me what to call her.  I need a name that fits her character just like Betty Sue fit her character–or so I thought when I started writing Storm Shadows.  But that changed over the course of the book.

I also need to come up with a title.  The working title is Sun Shadows, which works in two ways, first, this one takes place in summer which is a season associated with sun and warm weather and second, it’s a sort of play on the word “son” since the heroine has a son who wreaks havoc with Luke’s happily-ever-after.  But, I don’t know, Sun Shadows sounds pretty bland and boring to me so maybe that will change before I finish writing it.  Then again, maybe not.

Anyway, I’m going to take the next couple of days to do some research, a lot of gardening and as little housework as I can get away with and then it’s back to writing.  Oh, happy days, indeed!

I’ve been ignoring this blog for the last week or so as I set up a new blog for the Dames of Dialogue on WordPress and transferred all of our posts from our other host to the new site.  We had a few problems getting it up and going, but with the help of Sheri at WordPress Support, those are all behind us now and the blog is–at last!–live.  We’re at http://damesofdialogue.wordpress.com/.  Drop by and say hi!

Other than the glitches with setting up the blog, the last week has been a good one–well, if you don’t count the weather.  We’ve had days and days and days of rain and I don’t think it’s ever going to stop.  I thought April was the month for rain, but this year, March has been like a monsoon season.  Beyond the misery it causes my dogs, I’m ready for a few days of sunshine so I can get my garden started.  Dare I hope that since March has been so rainy, April will be full of sunshine? 

A couple of important happenings this week in my writing life.  First, Snow Shadows is now available at Mountain Lore Books and More in beautiful, historic downtown Hendersonville!  Yippee!  I’m in a bookstore!

Second, I received the contracts for the two anthologies I have stories in with L&L Dreamspell; The Secret Life of Alice Smitty in PMS: Poison + Murder = Satisfaction and Third Time’s for Keeps in Romance of My Dreams.  Which means they should be coming out soon.  Double Yippee!

Other than that, I’m still editing Storm Shadows.  Bleh!  I’m beginning to think I’m never going to get this one to the point where I feel comfortable sending it to my publisher.  That sucks, especially since I got the proof file of PMS the other day and Lisa and Linda were nice enough to edit the bio I sent them to include mention of both Snow Shadows and Storm Shadows.

I’m hoping that might work as inspiration for me to get that thing finished!

Spent most of this past weekend learning how to get around on Squidoo–very confusing for a computer moron like me!–and rewriting the prologue for Storm Shadows, which I’m happy to say, I think I’ve finally gotten right.  Hopefully, the rest of the revisions on the book will come easier now that I have a beginning I like.

Other than that, not much going on in my life right now except…yeah, you guessed it, baseball!  The U.S. stayed alive in the WBC yesterday by beating the Netherlands, a team I thought just might win the whole thing due to their drive and enthusiasm.  Hey, stranger things have happened, right?   

Dustin Pedroia is no longer playing for team U.S., but is back in Florida because of what turned out to be a strained left abdominal muscle–and thanks to Youk for talking him out of staying and trying to play through the injury!  Julio Lugo is scheduled for surgery on his right knee tomorrow–Lugo on the DL?  Who’d’ve thought?  Sorry, couldn’t resist the sarcasm.  I know there are a lot of people out there who like Lugo but it seems to me every time I turn around he’s injured.  I’m beginning to side with the fans who are screaming for Boston to get rid of him because he’s not worth what they’re paying.

Speaking of players who might not be worth their paycheck, Manny Ramirez is already on the Dodgers DL.  Hmm…I have to wonder at that.  Could it be that Manny’s not happy?  And could it be that L.A.’s about to get a taste of Manny being Manny?

I can’t say, but I can say my fangirl crush on him is–thankfully!–over and done with.  I’ve seen more than enough and given his comments after Jonathan Papelbon’s interview in Esquire, I think the time has come for me to leave him behind.

So this is the end of my Manny era.  I’m turning him over to the L.A. fans and I sincerely hope they enjoy his antics.  I also hope he lives up to their expectations.  He probably will, but who can say for how long?  In all likelihood, before the end of this season, they’ll either love him or wish they’d never heard his name. 

Say it with me all you LA fans, “That’s just Manny being Manny!”

As for me, I think I’ll turn my attentions to Jon Lester (who the Red Sox just signed for five years!)…or Mike Lowell (welcome back, Mikey!)…or maybe Jacoby Ellsbury…or David Ortiz…or Tim Wakefield…

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams