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Showing posts from September, 2010

Abundant Love Through the Years

ABUNDANT LOVE THROUGH THE YEARS by Catherine Mann

Today, my husband’s grandmother turns 90! Certainly that in and of itself qualifies for our September theme of abundance in years. I would also say Mamaw quantifies a person who treasures up and shares love in abundance.

As a romance writer, I’m always fascinated by the many forms happily ever after can take. Today, I would like to celebrate the abundant romance of my husband’s grandparents - Mamaw and Buster.

The framed photo shows that they obviously dated and married during the WWII era. The photo was taken on their wedding day (they’re the couple in the middle.) Months later, Buster shipped out just after Mamaw learned she was pregnant with their first child, my future father-in-law. She gave birth without Buster there. During the Battle of the Bulge, Buster was shot three times and was reported dead. Later, she learned he was in a prison camp where he stayed for the duration of the war. She told me once how she learned from that expe…

Abundance of Animals

Still on the subject of abundance. Catherine Mann just blogged about abundant puppy love and it made me think of the abundance of animals I've had in my life. I so admire Catherine and others who do so much for animals. I did once, not in an official, but a very unofficial way. Like chasing a chipmonk who'd revived inside my car after I rescued him on my way to work, or challenging the cat ready to pounce on a baby squirrell who'd fallen from a tree onto a sidewalk, or giving my heart and soul to baby kittens who'd been born in a culvert pipe during a storm. Before I had kids, all my maternal instincts went toward animals. I've always loved animals and our family usually had dogs, but I've had some strange critters come and go. When I was young, my dad found two orphaned crows. Our property backed up to a National forest and we raised the crows. It was so cool to have them circling the sky and come down and land on our shoulders. Eventually they flew away and d…

An Abundance of Chaos

I live in an abundance of chaos. I’m not the most organized person around (okay, those of you who know me can stop laughing hysterically at that understatement now). Still, I managed pretty well before two kids with special needs, six cats, and two ill-behaved dogs. Nowadays I’m lucky if I can walk through all the rooms in my house without having to step over things, I spend half my time hunting for my keys, glasses, the book I want, or anything else, and let’s not even go into finding two matching shoes (see ‘ill-behaved dog’ and ‘teenage daughter’). My desk would be a lovely place to work if it weren’t piled high with papers, books, and everything somebody can’t find a better place for. My house is such a mess that I hate having anyone see it. Did I mention that both kids have ADD and are virtual hurricanes who constantly drop things in their paths?

Some days my inability to manage the chaos drives me nuts, and the state of the house makes me want to tear my hair out. It’s r…

An Abundance of. . . .

After almost a month's worth of blogs on abundance, we've had an abundance of everything from books to wolves. We have, however, forgotten something very important; something a romance novel wouldn't be complete without.

I'm here today to remedy that.

So, to borrow a few words from Geri Halliwell,
there's going to be a little change in the weather. . . .


Humidity is rising
Barometer's getting low
According to our sources
The street's the place to go

'Cause tonight for the first time
Just about half past ten
For the first time in history
It's gonna start raining men

























It's raining men, Hallejulah!
It's raining men, Amen


























It's raining men Hallejulah!
It's raining men Amen


























I'm gonna go out
I'm gonna let myself get
Absolutely soaking wet





















It's rainin' men Hallejulah!
It's raining men




















Every special men
Tall blond dark and lean
Rough and tough and strong and mean


























God bless Mother Nature
She's a single woman too
She took over heaven
And she di…

An abundance of competition

I wasn't sure if I should post this or not, but hey...someone has to say it.
The competition among authors for readers is rough, and getting rougher!

I'm not a competitive person, except with myself. Give me a challenge and this little Capricorn will rise to meet it or die trying. So, my way of beating out the competion is to write the best book I can and promote the heck out of it. But these days, is that enough?

With the advent of ereaders becomming common and affordable, print authors are competing with e-authors. And with so many places offering free reads, eauthors are competeing with anyone who has a computer.

How are we to survive?

Our fans. Fortunately there are still people out there who will pay for a book by their favorite authors. It's because of them we write. It's because of them our publishers get paid and can pay us.

Now, here's a story I heard that made me so mad I'll have to say my mantra a few times after I type it. I wasn't there, so I can&…

An Abundance of Books

The best thing about writing is the books -- not just the books I get to write, but the books I get to read. I've worked in bookselling all my life, so I've always had a good excuse to spend my time reading anything and everything. But writing has changed and enriched the way I read.

There's no better way to learn the craft of writing than by reading good books. Through reading, I've had some of the best writers in the world of romance teach me how to put a story together, and each of my favorites taught me how to add the elements that make it stand out.

So here's my syllabus for a course in romance writing, covering a comprehensive assortment of skills through writers with special strengths.


Voice: Janet Evanovich. There's a reason why the Stephanie Plum series became a bestseller. The screwball New Jersey bounty hunter is a fantastic character, but what really makes the novels work is the way Evanovich lets Stephanie's unique personality shine through her f…

An Abundance of Time--not something I have

You know the old adage, "If you want something done, ask a busy person?"

I must have that plastered on my forehead. As many of you know, I recently got a part time job. It sort of fell into my lap and has possibilities for all sorts of good things, not the least of which is the project that I'm becoming involved in... which is where the time thing comes in.

Next week, I'm going to be pretty MIA from everything: my life, my home, my family, probably my writing... everything. I'll be doing some computer training for this project I'm going to implement at the office. And I'm excited about it. But, trust me, I'll be glad when the training is over. I haven't worked full time since before I had kids, though I did have two part time jobs simultaneously that were over 40 hours per week, but one of them was while the kids were asleep, the other while they were at school. I was always there for them. And, of course, I wasn't published with deadlines and c…

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PLOT SUMMARY AND A HOOK

By Deb Werksman

I noticed in my recent pitch sessions that I'm getting a lot of pitches that are really plot summaries, rather than providing the kind of sales hook that I'm looking for.

Let me start by telling you why I need the sales hook.

When I find a project that I think we should publish (it meets all my criteria), I take it into an Editorial meeting where I present it to our publisher, editorial director, and all the other acquiring editors. I may be first in the lineup, I may be last in the lineup, I may have 1 project to present or I may have 10, and all the other editors may have 1 project to present, or they may have 10. We may have 1/2 hour for the meeting, or an hour for the meeting, or 90 minutes for the meeting. So I may have 3 minutes to present a project, or 5, or 1 minute.

The first thing I have to have, is a 2-3 sentence "hook" that has people totally enrolled in and excited about us publishing this book. What the hook tells them is WHY the reader will…

An Abundance of Wolves!

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to talk two of my co-workers into going on an adventure and we drove 2 1/2 hours south to walk with wolves at the St Francis Wolf Sanctuary in Montgomery, Texas.

It was hard to get a picture of the carved wolf head beyond the gate, but here is the gate to the estate of the St Francis Wolf Sanctuary.



Wolf Dog Grieving:


Part of the reason I write that my werewolves have long lives is I don't want them to lose their mates at an early age. This is a part wolf, part dog, but looks very much like a wolf and acted like one, who lost his mate, Spirit, three weeks earlier. This was the first time he came out of his home to sit on top of it after losing her.

He actually came to the fence and howled a couple of times, but it was hard to get a picture of them howling. They'd howl, then pace and with their long legs, moved very quickly.


One thing that can distinguish a wolf from a wolf dog is the narrow chest, longer legs, and many …

An Abundance of Books

When I take in my surroundings, the thing I see in the greatest abundance is books. No, I don't see that pile of laundry or those dirty dishes. Some people have selective hearing. I have selective vision.

I have books overflowing from my bookshelves, stacked in the corner of my bedroom, on my bedside table, on the coffee table, and stored in huge boxes in the basement for when I need to replenish my supply upstairs.

BOOKS, BOOKS, EVERYWHERE BOOKS!! Some of these might look familiar to some of you.

I have a book in my purse, my desk, my car, and the bathroom cupboard. They're tucked away all over the place!

I tend to read four or five novels at a time and I have no plans to decrease my bookly abundance. I just keep adding to it. I DO plan to read every last one of them. I love books. The weight of them, the look of them, the smell of the paper. Their multi-colored covers all lined up on a shelf. I have always loved books and hope I'm never without them in my life. And don'…

My Schedule Overflows with Abundance

by Amanda Forester

The one thing I have in abundance is commitments and scheduled activities. What I lack is time. I work, I write, I volunteer, I raise two kids, and every third Thursday, just for a special treat, I let myself get a few hours sleep. Ok, the part about sleeping isn’t true. But it feels like it’s true.

Here is a casual picture of me checking my schedule in my negligee, like I always do. . . hahahaha. Oh, I crack myself up sometimes. No, that’s definitely not me. Stress kitty over here is far more accurate.

Yesterday I got the kids off to school, went to work (and stayed an hour late to deal with “issues”), and then prepped dinner in advance and began the after school routine. That day we had an eye doctor appointment, swimming lessons, piano lessons, and soccer practice.

Perhaps I had overscheduled just a bitsy bit. But… it’s so hard to say no. Even with the acknowledgment that I already have too many things on our schedule, I am still considering more. I know… I need h…

An Abundance of Blogs

Just a few years ago I would not have been able to define what a blog was. The ones that I had heard of were personal blogs that friends had and it made no sense to me whatsoever. I mean, who cares about my kids or wants to read my opinion on the TV show I watched last night? And why in the world would I waste my time writing about my job or the book I read? That was all a “blog” meant to me.

I know there are still many of those types of blogs out there and I do scratch my head over it a little. But I also know the power of the internet better than I did several years ago and I realize how essential blogs are as a way to communicate with people far and wide. Now I am very thankful that people start blogs as a way to chat about books since more and more readers are making choices based on what a favorite, trusted blog had to say about it. I am overwhelmingly grateful that blog owners open their sites to authors, allowing this unknown person to come on and spout off about their books. …

The Writer's Abundance

If you’re a fiction writer, you swim in a sea of abundance. Yes, Grace, you say, abundant deadline pressure, abundant self-doubt, abundant time management challenges, abundant pain in the butt from sitting too long at once, abundant chocolate wrappers on the floor around where you sit for too long too often, abundant whining from other writers…abundance on every hand.No, silly, not that kind of abundance. And I’m not talking about material abundance either though we’ve all heard the statistics: If you have a roof over your head, some food on the premises, some money in the bank, a computer, and a little retirement, you’re in the top one percent of the globe for wealth. That kind of reminder always makes me feel a little scolded, and while it’s good to appreciate one’s blessings, that isn’t the kind of abundance I refer to. As a fiction writer, you have abundant imagination. You can create whole worlds just sitting in your Thoughtful Spot and pondering. You dream up families and f…

Cast of a Thousands

In keeping with the theme of Abundance this month, I thought for a while about what my favorite things are to have in abundance. The never ending basket of chocolate at my day job? Wonderful friends? Fan mail? Honestly, I love each and every one of those items and I can never have enough of any of them. But I am an author and so my mind eventually circled back to the art of story-telling. And do you know what I love in abundance?

Secondary characters.

How random is that?

But these are the characters who make movies, television shows and books really sparkle. They add depth and dimension that wouldn’t be there without them. They make you want to know their story and they tell you so much about the protagonist with very little effort. One of my favorite movies of all time is Casablanca. I am a huge Humphrey Bogart fan, but for me, it was the secondary characters who made that movie the classic it is – from the self-serving Captain Renault to the loyal, piano-playing Sam to the idealistic …