Thursday, December 30, 2010

Guest Blogger: Author Susan Hatler

It’s so fun to be here on Patricia’s blog—waving hello, Patricia and everyone!

As the New Year approaches, it’s natural to reflect on life, and it feels great to know that I’m doing what I love. Spending time with friends and family and, of course, being a writer….

10 Things I love about being a writer:
• 1. Thinking is working.
• 2. Watching movies is working.
• 3. Reading is working.
• 4. Making things up is working.
• 5. Hanging w/writers is working.
• 6. Commuting is two feet.
• 7. People-watching is research.
• 8. The dress code rocks (mainly sweats & slippers).
• 9. I can write anywhere (laptops travel).
• 10. The subjects to write about are endless.

I just got back from a mini Writing Retreat with two of my awesome writing buddies, Virna DePaul and Rochelle French. We typed, we bounced ideas off each other, and spent most of the two days in our sweatpants. Complete and total heaven. There’s just something about spending time with other writers. It’s like we’re all in tune and we just get each other. For example, when we met another writing friend, Poppy Reiffin, for dinner, at that lovely Italian restaurant in Walnut Creek? I zoned out in the middle of conversation.

Do they wave a hand in front of my face? Sprinkle some parmesan to get my attention? Oh, no. Rochelle just says to me, quietly, “You’re thinking about your story aren’t you?” Me? My characters chatting in my head in the middle of our pasta party? Uh, yes, actually. It’s so great to be understood.

In addition to getting a ton of writing done, Virna managed to whip together a trailer for my new contemporary romance short story that will be published in TMP’s Valentine’s Anthology next month. Here's the trailer:

Hope you have as much fun watching it as we did making it.

Patricia, thanks for having me here and letting me share some thoughts on writing. I’d love to come visit again. Until then….
Happy reading, happy writing, and an early HAPPY NEW YEAR to all!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cracker Barrel Rocks

Here's a tribute to my favorite on-the-road-again place to eat!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

The Healer's Apprentice is Melanie Dickerson's debut YA novel. It is a retelling of the story of Sleeping Beauty. Although I have not read it, I have heard only good things about this book. I am huge fan of the trailer. Everyone who has read the book says it is a terrific story, so if you are looking for a last-minute gift for a girl, this might be a great choice. Melanie is a member of Heart Of Dixie and a such a sweet person. You can learn more about her and her books on her blog

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Week

Christmas is only 5 days away! Hope everyone has their shopping done! I'm blogging today about the life of Cole Younger at

Thursday, December 16, 2010

An Interview with Kim Smith

Thank you for this interview, Kim. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: I have been writing since the early nineties, but not seriously until the last five or so years. I love to craft stories of all kinds, and I am a photographer/videographer as well. I think creative people find a lot of ways of expressing themselves.

Do you write full-time?

A: I don’t write full-time, and really wish that I could. I hope maybe when my children are all out of college, then my writing full-time desire will be fulfilled.

You’ve met an old friend from high school and you want to pitch the romance, A WILL TO LOVE to him/her in five minutes or less. What would you say?

A: It’s about a man who lost his wife to cancer and now has to run their bed and breakfast all alone. He thinks he will never love again until a fiery Irish woman who is a famous writer comes to stay at The Inn.

Who was your intended audience for this book? Have you been able to crossover into other audiences as well?

A: My intended audience would be mostly women although men have read it and loved it as well. Of course, crossing over would be awesome too!

Why did you choose your particular genre?

A: I have loved reading romances since I was a young teenager reading Harlequins and I guess I have never stopped thinking that I could write one as well.

Do you ever experience self-doubts with your work?

A: Oh yes. I have self-doubt about every four pages. It’s irritating, too! But when the doubt monster comes out, I beat him into shape by writing free-style for a few minutes. Sometimes self-doubt is nothing more than lack of a handle on the story and where it is going.

Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?

A: I usually am sitting in my living room with the television on, and with all the lights on.

What kind of research did you have to do during the writing process?

A: It’s funny but this time around I did very little research. I knew of the bed and breakfast I wanted to pattern the story after, and I knew its history. I love it when I have all the tools with which to write a story!

Who is your publisher and how did you get accepted by them? Did you pitch your book yourself or go through an agent?

A: I am published by Red Rose Publishing and Moongypsy Press. The way I got published is a long story, but in a word, it’s good to know people. You never know when your online contacts will turn into an opportunity.

How are you promoting your books thus far?

A: I post everywhere all manner of things about the book, but the biggest bit of promotion I have done is a blog tour through Pump Up Your Book Promotions with Dorothy Thompson. DT is the nicest lady and the best promoter in the industry.

If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?

A: Don’t be afraid to open your mouth and tell people about your work!

What’s next for you?

A: I will soon have another YA and the next book in the mystery series.

Thank you for this interview, Kim. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?

A: Yes, my website is: and my blog is and I hang out on Facebook and Twitter

Kim Smith is a forty something author of mysteries and romance. She lives in the Mid South region of the US with her hubby and Chia Pom Tinkerbell. She is currently working on the next in her mystery series and a fantasy YA.

The Gift of Time

Time and life go hand-in-hand because there is only so much time allotted to a life. That truth is often overlooked by humans. True time slips by us, quietly and unnoticed, even though we glance at our watches or wall clocks constantly. We have our schedules and appointment books, all based on time. Yet, few of us really think about what time is.

Time doesn't discriminate between rich or poor. We all get 24 hours each day we live. Once an hour has passed, it is gone forever. No amount of money can buy it back or create more of it. You can't amass time to use later. You can't reclaim time that has passed. Time is the gift that comes with life.

Yet, we usually take time for granted. We waste time. We make excuses, thinking there will be plenty of time. However, our gift of time has come with no expectancy guaranteed. The very luckiest among us will live past 80 and time will end while they sleep. Will that time be well-spent?

If you knew you'd die in your sleep tonight, could you say your gift of time had been well-spent?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Writer's Christmas Wreath

What writer would not love this wreath? Sabra Agee made it for the Heart of Dixie Christmas party and I think it was the most creative gift at the party. The picture doesn't do justice to all the work and detail she put into making it. My favorite dessert was Cathy Stewart's Better Than Sex cake. It lived up to its name. The cake was delicious!! I have posted more photos of our RWA chapter party on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guest Blogger: Anna Kathryn Lanier on GMC

Goal, Motivation and Conflict

Yesterday, my newest story was released. A GIFT BEYOND ALL MEASURE is a sequel to my short story THE PRICELESS GIFT and it was a long time in coming. As soon as I finished The Priceless Gift, I knew I wanted to write Jacob's story. He's the brother of the heroine in The Priceless Gift. However, it wasn't an easy story to write. I had trouble with the plot, but finally, I did come up with a heroine for Jacob and a story line and I wrote the story. Then I sent it off to my editor.

She sent it back saying she loved it, but that it needed work. The characters were “two-dimensional.” I needed to improve the story and then I could resubmit it. I re-read the story. Wow! I thought I'd nailed it, but I hadn't. The hero, the beloved Jacob, had no GMC--Goal, Motivation or Conflict. He was just there.

Oh, I had given him backstory and he went through angst, but he didn't have anything that he 'needed' or 'wanted.' He didn't have a GOAL. He didn't have MOTIVATION. He didn't have CONFLICT. Aside from the fact the story took place in his house and he seduced the heroine, Tessa, there was no reason for him to be in the story.

Not exactly hero material after all.

To help me fix this major problem in my story, I pulled Deb Dixon's book Goal, Motivation, Conflict off the shelf and flipped through. For those who are not familiar with this book, I highly recommend it. Deb writes an easy to read and understand explanation of GMC.

So, what is GMC? In a nutshell--the hero needs a goal, something he wants or needs. Then he needs a reason, or motivation, for his goal. Then, and this is important, he needs a conflict that is stopping him from getting his goal. The more conflict stopping him from getting what he wants, the better.

It should also be mentioned that there is an internal goal and an external goal. Deb says, “If you can see it, touch it, taste it, hear it, or smell it…that's external….If the character has to feel it (experience emotion) then you're dealing with the internal side of your character.”

While I had given Jacob a wishy-washy external goal (buying a ranch), I had not given him an internal goal, or made the external goal worthy enough. I had to mold Jacob's backstory to form an emotional reason for his goals.

From the beginning I had it that he'd grown up on a ranch in Hawaii, but as an adult, had become a lawyer instead of a rancher. Now, he wanted to be a rancher. I realized in re-reading the story that I had to add layers of emotions and memories to feed into his goal. I was able to make the goal of a ranch both an external goal, and to an extent, an internal goal. He wanted what he missed the most--the family life he'd grown up with and missed greatly.

Cue the heroine.

Tessa jumped into the picture to give him part of his internal goal. As a cook for the ranch, she filled his home with scrumptious, home-cooked meals, just like his mother made. Enticing aromas filled the air and an enticing cook roamed about his house, bombarding him with emotions he didn't quite know how to deal with. He had to come to terms with his conflict of not involving himself with someone “more screwed up than he was.”

Once I added this layer to the story, my editor loved it even more and offered a contract on it, for which I'm really grateful.

A Gift Beyond All Measure is now available at


Arriving home for Christmas, the last thing Jacob Scott expects in his house is a sexy, shotgun-toting stranger. Worse, his attraction to her bothers him even more than the gun. Still reeling from the deception of his long-time girlfriend, he's not looking for romance.

Tessa Jones has learned one hard lesson--when everyone in your life has failed you the only one you can trust is yourself. Facing the whispers of the townsfolk and an arson charge, Tessa unexpectedly finds herself trusting Jacob with more than her legal troubles.

Struggling between the promise of the present and the hurts of the past, can these two lost souls overcome their pain long enough to discover a gift beyond all measure

To help celebrate the release of A Gift Beyond All Measure, I am giving away a free cookbook, full of many of the recipes Tessa cooks in the story, along with a handful of recipes from 'family and friends.' You can obtain a free pdf copy of A Gift Beyond All Measure Cookbook at my website,

And, I am also hosting Holiday Cheer on my blog--a different recipe for holiday cheer every day through now and December 31, 2010.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hot Cocoa: Fun Facts and Recipe

Hot cocoa or hot chocolate as we say in the South dates back the ancient Mayans and Aztecs. It was nothing like the hot cocoa we have today. Milk was not used and it was served cold with a blend of wine and chili peppers. EWWW!

Chocolate was brought to Europe in the 1500's and in the 1600's chocolate houses, much like coffee houses, were found throughout England. The most fashionable chocolate house was White's, which opened in 1693. Later, like many chocolate houses, White's became a gentlemens' club and still exists today.

Besides being enjoyed as a drink by the aristocracy (cocoa was very expensive), it was used to treat various stomach disorders, liver disease and fevers. In France, chocolate was used to "fight fits of anger and bad moods". I think it is still used for that by women everywhere!

Cocoa progressed through the decades and some of the historic names associated with hot cocoa are present today. In 1842, John Cadbury is selling 16 types of drinking cocoa. 1879 milk chocolate is invented in Switzerland using powdered milk invented by Nestle. In 1926, Hershey introduces Hershey syrup, 1935 Carnation comes up with instant hot cocoa and in the 1950's Swiss Miss produces packets of hot cocoa for airline passengers.

Hot cocoa has become a well-loved comfort food. What is better on a cold winter night than a cup of hot cocoa? And, this is definitely the week to enjoy it as the deep freeze continues. Here are my recommendations:

Instant chocolate mix:

I give Land of Lakes five stars! It is the best instant hot cocoa mix that I have used. Great rich chocolate taste. It is an expensive brand, compared to Nestle or Swiss Miss. But the flavor, which doesn't taste instant at all, is worth it.

A simple delicious recipe for making hot cocoa yourself and cheaply, too:

1/3 cup dry milk
1 tsp cocoa
1 tsp sugar
Add 1 cup of hot water. Stir and enjoy!
you can also mix with cold water and heat in microwave)
This hot cocoa will have a creamy milk taste, more chocolaty and less sweet than the store-bought mixes.

Regardless of how you prepare it, I hope you enjoy a hot cup tonight!

Tuesday's Quote

The only thing that I have done that is not mitigated by luck, diminished by good fortune, is that I persisted. And other people gave up."

- Harrison Ford

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Guest Blogger Today: Elise Warner

Hello Patricia-it’s a pleasure being here today and having the chance to talk about the background for my cozy mystery Scene Stealer. My novel takes place in New York City, the home town of a born and bred New Yorker-me.

Taking the subway to Lincoln Center to buy tickets for their theatre subscription series, I couldn’t help noticing a well-dressed little boy and a scruffy looking man seated across from me. Something was wrong-the two didn’t seem to belong together. The unlikely pair stayed in my mind and developed into the characters I used in my cozy.

The little boy became little Kevin Corcoran, the spokes-child for the Cowboy Bob’s Big Bad Burger commercial. The scruffy-looking man turned out to be his kidnapper, a character actor named Larry Dunn. An actress I had once toured with developed the traits of a retired school-teacher, Augusta Weidenmaier, a strong and caring woman who becomes an amateur detective in her quest to find the child.

No matter how long you may live in my city, you can easily stumble across something you’ve never seen before and I used New York as the backdrop for my story. Parks, Off-Off Broadway theatres, dark streets that hide the few cold-water flats that remain and buildings so tall they hide the sun. Buildings you’re sure weren’t there a month before. You can visit a talk show; study acting or dancing, voice or acrobatics, wander around Greenwich Village, find a place to dine on Restaurant Row, see a celebrity at Sardi’s and, if you stumble across the right street, watch a motion picture or television show being filmed.

I became more aware of New York’s sounds and smells and tastes as I wrote Scene Stealer; the taste of fast food, the smell of garbage and the clean scent of rain, the fragrance of a fresh cup of coffee. The screech of a taxi, the blast of construction, the music issuing from car radios and elevators and shops and most of all, the many different languages and accents you can hear from one end of the city to another. I tried to use this experience in my mystery and I’d like to include a page from the first chapter.

SCENE STEALER Excerpt – Chapter 1

After a chance encounter on the subway, Miss Augusta Weidenmaier, a retired schoolteacher living in New York City, is determined to help the police in the search for missing 9-year-old child actor Kevin Corcoran.

I must have been staring at the child. They were such an unlikely pair: the boy clean and neatly dressed, the man unkempt. For a moment our eyes met; his were frightened, seeking help. Or was it my old lady’s imagination gone wild? No, I understood children. All those years of teaching elementary school, I knew this child was afraid. The man seated next to the boy nudged him and the child lowered his eyes.

As usual, the Broadway/Seventh Avenue local at Sheridan Square was crowded; I stood to one side to allow passengers to exit but the man pushed his way on, dragging the child behind him. A new rush of passengers hid them from my sight when the subway stopped at 14th Street.

Such a darling boy; why did he seem familiar? Of course! The child was the spitting image of that little tyke in the Cowboy Bob’s Big, Bad Burger commercial. The commercial where the boy, dressed in chaps and a ten-gallon hat, twirls a rope and dances a hoedown with animated French-fried potatoes. Big blue eyes and a warm smile people returned. But this adorable child wasn’t smiling.

The train stopped at several more stations. Where were we? I couldn’t see a thing with that portly gentleman standing directly in front of me. I craned my neck to see around him but garish sprays of graffiti obscured the sign indicating the station; I could barely decipher the lettering. This stop was Columbus Circle; the next would be Lincoln Center. Folding my unread magazine, I clutched my purse and umbrella and murmured, “Excuse me. Pardon me,” over and over again as I tried to make my way through the throng. I managed to reach the door just as the train announced its arrival at the 66th Street station with a nerve-jangling screech.

Two extremely rude teenagers blocked the door. One was lost in the cacophony of sound that leaked from his oversized earphones. The other was engrossed in paring his fingernails. A gentle thrust with the tip of my umbrella and I was able to make my exit.

The child and his companion were about fifteen feet ahead of me. When the boy looked back, I thought I could see his lower lip tremble. Impossible, he was too far away and my vision, though I hate to admit it, is not what it used to be. The man placed his hand on the child’s shoulder; they picked up their pace, reached the stairway and melted into the crowd.

Was it the young actor who performed in the commercial or was it someone who looked very much like him? And why wasn’t he attending class this morning? Today was Tuesday, a school day. A very special Tuesday for a retired gentlewoman like me; at 9:45, Alan Gilbert was scheduled to conduct the New York Philharmonic in an open rehearsal of Strauss “tunes” at Lincoln Center. The public was invited to attend. I eagerly awaited a morning spent with Mr. Gilbert and was pleased to have obtained a $10 ticket. It wasn’t often I could afford such a treat. My concern for the boy abated as I thought about the music, Maestro Gilbert and what was reputed to be the maestro’s “blazing heat and power.”

The traffic light turned yellow, then green. Car horns blasted the air with impatience. I checked to see if the vehicles flowing past would obey the signal, since at my age the body slows a bit, and was about to step off the curb, when the little boy tugged at the sleeve of my jacket.

“Ma’am.” The child gasped, then took a deep breath. “Help me.”

“What is wrong, child?”

I never heard his answer. There was a sharp poke in the small of my back and the next thing I knew I lay sprawled flat in the gutter.

For more about Elise-please log on to, Scene Stealer is available through,,, and wherever eBooks are sold. Scene Stealer is also produced by in an audio version.

The First Christmas Card

Who doesn't love to get Christmas cards? Many times it is the only time you hear from certain relatives and faraway friends. I love the ones that come with notes about what has been going on in their lives and photos as well. Of course, with the Internet and E-cards, there may be a time in the future when the pretty cards that adorn my house now will be a thing of the past.

So, I thought writing about the first Christmas card would be a great way to start off December. I'm calling the first Christmas card as one that was designed for sale. Prior to 1843, many people sent handwritten Christmas greetings to their families and friends. A London businessman, Sir Henry Cole, decided he just didn't have time to hand-write notes to all his customers and loved ones. He turned to a friend, John C. Horsley, an artist with England's Royal Academy to design a card that required only his signature. He could tuck it in an envelope and mail it.

Horsley designed a three panel card featuring a cheerful Victorian family in the center and on each side was an illustration of feeding the hungry and clothing the poor. You can see a copy of the card at The Victoria Files

A thousand copies were made for Cole to send out. The greeting used: A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You has remained one of the favorite holiday card greetings.

Cole's Christmas card idea caught on in England rapidly. Within a few years, everyone was buying and sending cards. The mass production of art and text on a postcard was made possible by lithography. And, it was affordable to mail a card due to the Penny Postage Act.

A card cost a penny to mail. Can you imagine that?

Thanks for stopping by and tomorrow I will have guest blogger, Elise Warner, discussing her new book, Scene Stealer.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Guest Blogger: Paty Jager, Author of Spirit of the Mountain

Patricia, Thanks for having me here today.

My August release was Spirit of the Mountain, a paranormal historical set among the Nez Perce of NE Oregon. I grew up in their beloved Wallowa Valley and have always had an interest in their culture. When the idea came to me to write about Native American spirits I knew exactly which tribe and band to use in my story- The Wallowa Lake band of Nimiipuu. This is also the band of the infamous Chief Joseph. While this story starts before Chief Joseph's time, the second book in the trilogy deals with the coming of the White man to the valley, and the third book is set during the Chief Joseph's race for the Canadian border.

I use the Nimiipuu coming of age ritual of the vision quest as the catalyst for this book. The heroine is visited by a white wolf while on her quest and the wolf tells her she will save her people. This gift bestowed upon her by the spirit or weykin is said to be the greatest ever given a female. Wren, the chief's daughter doesn’t feel the weight of the gift until an enemy Blackleg warrior asks to marry her to bring peace between the bands. Marrying the Blackleg will take her from the mountain people she holds most dear in her heart, but it would also fulfill the gift her weykin bestowed upon her.

While walking the mountain and contemplating her fate, she stumbles upon a wounded white wolf who resembles her weykin. She feels no fear and helps him, believing he is her weykin. The white wolf is the hero, Himiin, who has just battled a dark spirit wolf on his mountain. He is fearful of the maiden for multiple reasons but when she speaks of her marriage to the enemy he is compelled to help her and ultimately falls in love with a mortal.

I wove the factual with the fictional to make a story I hope will enlighten the reader about the Nimiipuu and entertain them with the paranormal aspects.

Blurb for Spirit of the Mountain
Wren, the daughter of a Nimiipuu chief, has been fated to save her people ever since her vision quest. When a warrior from the enemy Blackleg tribe asks for her hand in marriage to bring peace between the tribes, her world is torn apart.

Himiin is the spirit of the mountain, custodian to all creatures including the Nimiipuu. As a white wolf he listens to Wren’s secret fears and loses his heart to the mortal maiden. Respecting her people’s beliefs, he cannot prevent her leaving the mountain with the Blackleg warrior.

When an evil spirit threatens Wren’s life, Himiin must leave the mountain to save her. But to leave the mountain means he’ll turn to smoke…

Wren’s eyes glistened with unshed tears. “My gift is to save The People. The weyekin who came to me in my vision quest said this.” She wrapped her arms around herself as if staving off a cold breeze.

Himiin hated that they argued when they should relish their time together. He moved to her, drawing her against his chest, embracing her. The shape of her body molded to his. Her curves pressed against him. Holding her this way flamed the need he’d tried to suppress.

He placed a hand under her chin, raising her face to his. The sorrow in her eyes tugged at his conscience. To make her leaving any harder was wrong. But having experienced her in his arms, he was grieved to let her go. Even for the sake of their people.

Her eyelids fluttered closed. Her pulse quickened under his fingers. Shrugging off the consequences, he lowered his lips to hers. They were softer than he imagined. Her breath hitched as he touched her intimately. Parting his lips, he touched her with his tongue, wanting to see if she tasted as sweet as she smelled.

If you'd like to read more about me and my books or enter my website contest go to: Paty Jager

Patricia, Thanks for having me!

History Hoydens

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Writer's Journal Book Giveaway

This month you can win a copy of The Creative Life by Julia Cameron at Writer's Journal website. Click Here. I have the audio version of Cameron's The Artist Way and I can't say enough good things about it. You can read more about The Creative Way and Cameron on Amazon. Click Here.
This contest ends on Nov 30th.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Saturday brought about the close of a busy week for me. I bought a new computer and I have spent most of the day installing programs and all that good stuff that you have to do when you change computers. It hasn't been something I've enjoyed doing. I've had a few cussing fits. But, the computer does work fast and that make things easier.

However, I still prefer my old computer for writing. It is strange how certain things actually send signals to your brain. I only use my old computer for writing only and I can say without hesitation that I certainly prefer my old monitor to this new HD one. The resolution on the old one is so much easier on the eye. Back to the signals, any time I sit down in front of the old computer, I know that means it is time to write. It is like my brain knows this is where we write and it is time to write. I really don't have much luck writing other places with the exception of revisions which I have down on other computers in my house.

I did take a break today and I went to see The Next Three Days, a new suspense movie with Russell Crowe. It was a well-acted drama, although sometimes Crowe seemed to be going overboard with his character's long stares at his wife. I think this was supposed to show his love for her but sometimes it came across as a bit strange. Overall, this movie is okay but not really that entertaining. I wish I'd went to see Harry Potter instead.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

"The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist."

From The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles is written by the author of Bagger Vance, Steven Pressfield. It is a small book with simple one paragraph to one page chapters on the creative process and how to overcome "Resistance", which is the force inside us that prevents us from accomplishing our "work". Pressfield compares the amateur to the professional by their reaction to Resistance.

It is a wonderful little book that is very inspirational. With its stand-alone chapters, you can open it up on any page and read. It offers great insight on how we resist doing our work and how easily we find excuses for doing so. I've used many of the ones he mentions. I keep this book handy, much like a devotional. Many times I pick it up and read a couple of pages for encouragement, especially if Resistance has me in its grip.

I must say this little book has never failed me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Featured E-Book: Lying Eyes by Amy Atwell

Her jewels were real, but her life was fake. No-nonsense jewelry designer, Iris Fortune, yearns for a normal life. But life as Vegas magician Cosmo Fortune's daughter is anything but normal, especially since dear old Dad is also a scam artist. When Cosmo's latest scheme goes awry and he pulls a real-life disappearing act, Iris is left holding the bag.

Now Iris must be a master of illusion. Play the poised partner to her politician fiance while trying to save her father and stay out of reach of Mickey Kincaid, the sexy thief who claims he's only after her jewels.

Detective Kincaid is deep undercover and seeks Iris out because of her connections to Cosmo. He never expected to be so drawn to her. While working with Iris to find the elusive conman, Mickey learns a killer has Iris in his sights and he must do everything he can to save her without blowing his cover.

Mickey's put his life on the line before but never his heart and now he's not sure which is most dangerous....

Lying Eyes is Amy's first book for Carina Press and you can buy Iris and Mickey's story now.

Just click here and enjoy!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Young Adult Writers Conference

If you are interested in writing for the YA market, the Writers League of Texas is having a writer's conference in the spring targeted toward the young adult market. Find more info here: http://http//

The Magic Box

Roku is a small box, only a few inches wide, that allows you to stream in a variety of programming from the internet. The box costs about $60 and allows you to stream in Netflix. I didn't have the game boxes you can use for this, so I decided to try out Roku. I definitely recommend it! It actually works great. It is wireless but I decided to use a network cable to attach the box to my wireless router. Not only can you stream in Netflix, but a number of other sites as well. Pandora is great for music, plus there many more music sites to choose from as well as other programming.

Roku comes with an easy-to-use remote control. I was amazed that you can fast-forward, reverse or pause the movies. If you stop a movie and later on decide to watch the rest, when you load it, it is ready to play where you left off. Hulu is coming soon to Roku, which will be terrific. And, there are lots of documentaries that are often helpful when it comes to writing.

And, the best thing about streaming in programming like this rather than watching television:

There are no drug commercials. YAY!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

First Halloween Costume for M & M

Clouds Over Texas

During my flight to Houston, I decided to photograph the clouds. They were beautiful that day. The trip went well and I had a great visit with my son and his family. Mason and Madeline are three months old and as cute as can be. I enjoyed getting to spend a little time with them.

I have been updating my blog and changed the title to reflect my pen name. I almost decided to go with a new URL but I decided I would keep this one. I also finally relented and I'm working on a Facebook page as well. I actually think I'll like the Facebook page really well because you can make brief notations on it.
I wish I did have more time to be online but with working full-time, plus writing which I love to do leaves me with little time to devote to online posts.

Tomorrow is Friday! Yay!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Beauty Shop

Back a few generations ago, there were three occupations available to women in Southern communities. Teacher, nurse or beautician. Officially, a beautician was a cosmetologist but she was always known as a "beautician". She went to "Beauty School" to become a beautician. After completing her training, she took the state license exam and if she passed, she was a beautician. I would say 75 percent of the beauticians in this area worked (and still do) in the small shops they built beside their homes. You can drive through any rural area and you will pass a house with a shop and a small sign at the end of the drive indicating that a beauty shop is located there. Actually, the sign isn't necessary. All the ladies in the immediate area know of its location. Many are regular customers and all beauticians have heard more than their share of gossip. The elderly hoard the place on Saturday, having their hair done in the same style they've worn since 1960, because it is tradition to have your hair done for church on Sunday.

I go to such a shop myself. I have never gone to a glitzy hair salon. Instead, I prefer the unpretentious little shop, belonging to an old friend. I've been a regular hair-cut customer for over 20 years now. My beautician is a country girl, who loves plants and anything to do with gardening. I love going in the summer when all her flowers are in bloom. And the inside of the small shop reflects the same garden atmosphere. With sunny walls, frogs, turtles, birds, and flowers welcome her customers. It may not be glitzy but it is a gem of a shop where I never have to wait and the price is great. God bless Southern beauticians.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Call

I have to say nothing is more exciting for a writer than getting a call from an editor who has read your work and loved it. However, it is bad though when you're in a cell phone dead zone and you have to go outside for reception where it is a 110 degrees and the yard guy is zipping by on a riding mower. I did manage to communicate enough with Angela James, the executive editor at Carina Press, to learn they had read my historical romance novella, Almost An Outlaw, and want to publish it. For all my old buddies out there, this is my "Jesse James" book.

The call is the moment when all the hard work that a writer has to put into a project becomes worthwhile. For me, it is great to know I've actually written a story, which stood on its on merit when read by total strangers at a publishing house. AWESOME!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Photo of the Week: Blue Butterfly!

Early this morning, I looked out my back door and saw this gorgeous blue butterfly on the gravel. I don't recall ever having seen a blue butterfly like this one before. So, of course, I made a dash for my large Canon instead of the small one, hoping I could get a photo of this gift from Nature before it flew away. As it was, I got outside with my camera and butterfly seemed content to flutter about on the gravel while I snapped away. Do butterflies bring good luck, I wonder?

Finally, it came time to say farewell to my lovely visitor. However, I was the one to depart back into my cool house. I looked out an hour or so later and the butterfly was still there. That made me wonder if this was its last day? I went out to see if it could fly and it did fly about some before landing again on the gravel. I returned inside and checked a while later, this time the butterfly was gone. I'm hoping it met up with a fairy and headed for the woods.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Easy Desert for Memorial Day

Easy Cool Whip-Pineapple Pie

1 package of vanilla pudding mix
1 can of crushed pineapple
1 container of Cool Whip
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 cup milk

Mix pudding with 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup pineapple juice.Add Cool Whip and crushed pineapple. Blend and pour into graham cracker crust. Chill and enjoy!