Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Quick Hello

Today, my grandmother turned 93, my girls argued all day, the NO Saints ended their season at 7-9, Sean Peyton will remain the Who Dats' coach, my dog pouted because she didn't get a ride in the car, the cat terrorized everyone, and my mom cooked. :-)

I spent my day reading/writing/editing. Or attempting to do so. Two Furbys and two little girls chattering away can break the concentration of the most stout-hearted. Between watching all the activity, speaking Furbish, and working on the book, the last Sunday of 2012 finds me tired but looking forward to 2013.

I will post my New Year's Resolutions in the next day or two.

In the meantime, to celebrate the first time we're seeing a year with four different numbers since 1987--as pointed out on Facebook--I'm offering a Smashwords coupon for Wicked Allure.

Coupon code for a 100% discount is VR64R. It expires 01/30/2013.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Reminder of What's Most Important

With all the turmoil in my life at the moment, yesterday's events...words cannot describe my gamut of emotions. I know what the sudden, unexpected death of a child does to people. Though it happened 22 years ago, I still remember my mother's call about a little boy she thought of as a grandson. She called and said, "I'm just calling to tell you ----- drowned. I have to go." It wasn't until later I realized she'd been in shock. She was numb. One moment, he was playing with his older brother and his kitten...the next he was gone. My mom had been waiting for the boys and their mother to return home. I thought about calling around the time, then I changed my mind. I told myself she'd tell me she'd call me back because she'd be busy. It is a decision I've regretted. I still believe if I'd have called she'd have said, "the boys are outside. We have to check them."

I have always believed it takes a village to raise a child and it takes a village to look after one another. Knowing I'd never hear him call me "Wessie" again, I felt I hadn't done my part in that mantra. I was heartbroken. His family and my mother were inconsolable.

Yesterday, as I watched the coverage, listened to the press conferences, cried with the president, I looked at my 7 and 9 year old girls, whom I homeschool. Months ago, a young man murdered his mother, father, and brother but couldn't act upon going on a shooting rampage at a nearby high school. At the beginning of this school year, another young man was arrested after it was discovered he had intentions of going to an elementary school and shooting it up. But for a few miles, if they were in a brick and mortar school, my girls would've been there.

Last night, as my mind raced and tears leaked from my eyes, I sent up prayers for the souls lost in Newtown, CT. I reiterated questions from over two decades ago. Instead of "why him" and "why now", I asked "why them" and "why now". Now, as then, I couldn't find answers.

After a while, I dragged my girls away from the BrainPop movies and told them we'd listen to music. And we did. We ate popcorn and we danced to Waka Waka. I picked up my 7 year old and swung her around as I once did my 9 and 16 year olds when they were small. I answered the girls' questions about what had happened at Sandy Hook Elementary and promised them they were safe. We were safe. I sent a message to Zoey and told her how much I loved and missed her and wished she could be with me so I could hug her too.

And I realized that this hour, this minute, this SECOND is important. The last second  is gone and the next may not come. How I spend that time and what I do with it is just as important. Being the best mother, daughter, granddaughter, and friend I can be is important.

Later, as I lay stuffed between the two of them with our toy poodle at the foot of the bed and one of our cats laying near my head, I know I am blessed. Two of the most important people in my life were right next to me. Another was downstairs in her room and the other is 4500 miles away.

I think of all the gifts that will remain unopened because of yesterday and my heart hurts. I am grateful my girls are here to badger me about presents they want and I can't afford. I imagine little fingers sticky with candy and am humbled my girls are here to demand pizza. I hear their laughter and am overwhelmed at the sound.

I am filled with both empathy and sympathy and will continue to keep my prayers going up and I will continue to remember what's most important.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reaching the Goal for Angelo Riguero's Family

Ellora's Cave Publishing Company has organized a ChipIn Drive in memory of Angelo Riguero. For the full story, please go to

You will find a link there or you can click on the link below.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Across The Miles

The holiday season is a time when thoughts of family, home, and hearth are strongest for me. Growing up, our family celebrated Easter, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas together. There were times when we were also together for Mardi Gras, Mother's Day and Halloween. However, Thanksgiving started the holiday celebrations. Back then, department stores didn't start advertising for Christmas in conjunction with Halloween. We were allowed to enjoy each holiday with a singular focus and anticipate the next one. Thanksgiving meant prayer, food, and football. Christmas meant parties, egg nog, funny milk, food, gifts, and church. New Year's was champagne and noise.

A side note: funny milk is so named because of the alcohol in it. ;-)

Life is fluid, though. Always changing. Always in motion. As children turned into adults, they began having their own celebrations. Some moved away, leaving a void in a lot of hearts. Christmas across the miles is bittersweet. You appreciate the memories you have and wrap them tight, holding all close to your heart. The laughter. The joy. The food. The traditions. All create wisps of pleasure that puts a smile on your face and bring tears to your eyes.

Eventually, the longing drifts away and the special times are tucked into a special place in your heart. Holidays across the miles demand new memories and experiences seperate and apart from your loved one(s). We hold to the hope that, one day, when distance doesn't separate you, old memories will become new again.

For some of us who are spending the holidays across the miles with half a world between you and another person, love will forever bind us.

How We Got Published

There are times when I’ve been asked how do you get into the publishing industry? How did you get published? Are you self-published? How did you get your agent? Can you tell me your secret?

Well. My first thought to that last…can you tell me your secret is: Hell. To. The. No. It isn’t because I don’t want to tell share the secret, mind you. It’s just that there is no secret. I promise you. If there was, someone would’ve sold it years ago and made a bundle from it.

So, no, I don’t have a secret. I do have a recipe, though.

1 kernel of an idea
Several months of writing
1 completed novel
A Few Weeks of Revising
1 final draft
A cup of market research
1 to-the-point Query letter
A bout of patience
An ounce of determination
A pinch of stubbornness

Start with the idea and do any necessary research. Block out writing time and get that book finished. Let your completed novel simmer for about a week, then reread and revise. Check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and plot holes. Let simmer another week. While the revised copy is simmering, start your market research. Identify the genre of your novel, and sub-genre if any, a make a list of agents who acquire the type of work you’ve written. Do a final read-through, then write a query letter that describes the characters and the conflict, offers the number of words, any previous writing credentials and any recognition your current project might have received. Contact the agent just as their submissions guidelines state. Arm yourself with patience and start on your next book. Mix your determination with your stubbornness to honing your craft, keeping an open mind and, most importantly, refusing to give up.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happiness Summed Up

Sometimes, we're happy and we have to take a moment and realize it. Perhaps, this explanation will help you to recognize that fuzzy feeling immediately  :-)

                                               Photo from

Confessions of a Perfectionist

I’m guilty.  So guilty as a matter of fact that I spend a sleepless night or two before I finally bring myself to do.  I think that I should just leave well enough alone.

But I can’t.  The memories are driving me to senselessness.  Those memories leave me no choice.
My fingers shake.  I sit at my computer and find the file.  I look at the object of my despair.
The book.  Guilt resurfaces.  I couldn’t do this if I was a traditionally published writer.  I wrestle with my conscience.  The nasty little word resurfaces in my mind. 

Wlong. You can’t let that go.  The word is along and the mistake is giving me hives.
You’ve reread the book after mistakes were mentioned.  Why?  Why do such a thing?  I know I won’t be able to let that go.  I give in and make that correction and several others I’ve found.  Then, I log into Create Space, and upload a new file.

It still doesn’t look right. I don’t submit the file immediately.  Instead, I surf through the pages again, stare at the cover.  I promise myself I’m not going to do this again. Finally, I’m satisfied and upload the file and send it in for approval.  Afterwards, I go to my Kindle account and do the same thing.
I receive the new copy with the new cover—and I make the mistake of reading it again.
I nearly keel over when I read the sentence that, in paraphrase, states that Madigan pulled his length into his month. 

OMG.  This is never ending.  That pulse-pounding roaring in my head starts again and the knowledge that I won’t rest until that, too, is changed. 

I promise myself this is the absolute last time that I will read Wicked Allure, so this will be the absolute last time I make changes.

Then, I remember, we’re writing sequels.  When I start typing my part, I’ll have to reread Wicked Allure to get back into the characters.

Does anyone hear me groaning?

Note to reader: This was originally posted on Books-N-Kisses Blog,, during a stop on my BTS Virtual Tour. To answer the question. YES! I groaned. And YES I also did it again with the ebook to get it properly formatted for it to be on the iBookstore. I haven't reread 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale at Liquid Silver Books

CYBER MONDAY.  All books 50% Off!
A great chance to scoop up great books by your favorite authors!
Click below and start saving now.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Life's Lessons Applied To Your Characters

Kelly DeLeon is driving us to madness! In Madi's book, her character is the quietest and most understated. She's the one who wants everyone happy. In Wicked Allure, her character was great. In Scandalous Allure, her book, we're pulling our hair out. She's quiet and she's a little shy. Of course, like Madi and Brianna, she has her own issues with Karolyn, candidate for bad mother of the century. She's facing some serious challenges but she internalizes everything. She's damn hard to befriend. I think even Beau is getting a little frustrated with her. He just wants to get out of the dilemmas separating them and she's playing Pollyanna.

We apply something we've gone through in each of our books. I must tell you, even Karolyn is an amalgamation of several women we know and the product is, well, her, in all her hateful spite. Once upon a time, I was shy. I still have moments of shyness. And, yes, I want to make sure everyone's happy. You'd think having a character so close to one's own personality would be easy to write.

Think again. Kelly gets her feelings hurt very easily. I'm more prone to laugh at myself. To Karolyn, youth, beauty, and money is everything. She can't see beyond herself to help her daughters. On the other hand, my mother has always been there for my and I'm always there for my daughters. I try to instill in them brains is more important than beauty, that no one is perfect, and let nothing hold you back. I've told them don't fret over what is out of your hands and vanity is shallow and meaningless...

Hmm. Let me digress a moment here. The last part of that last statement above? The biggest lie I ever told. Case in point: My dentist once told me I needded braces, something I'd known for quite a while. Somehow, one of my bottom front teeth had loosened, so the braces would not only serve to set it back in place but it would also correct my underbite. I'm now in month 49 of what should've ended at month 36. Every time I'm subjected to chains and brackets and wires and rubber bands, I can only shake my head. Vanity thy name is Leslie. If I'm not vain, why do I suffer the Medieval torture devices?

As for not fretting over what's out of your hands...If I ever thought I was perfect or beautiful, (which I assure you I never have), my kids keep me grounded. With them, it is either put up or shut up. In late 2007, my vitiligo returned. This time, it isn't only a small patch on my back and hip, it has spread to my face. On and off, I've felt decidedly sorry for myself. In an effort to make me feel better, my three girls renamed a vegetable in my honor. About six months ago, cauliflower became vitiligo broccoli...

Applying such a problem to one of our characters might be just the thing. I can imagine Kelly having to toughen up and face her fears and insecurities. Growing up in the shadow of Karolyn, Brianna, and Madi seems to have wreaked havoc with her sense of self. Of course, we can do no such thing. Scandalous Allure will pick up only a couple days after the part where Wicked Allure ends. She didn't have vitiligo in the first book. Consistency is as important as well-rounded characters. I like characters who can show their weaknesses as well as their strengths. I want a HEA as much as the next person and the DeLeon sisters, as well as the Steele brothers, will find that by the conclusion of the series. But life isn't tied up in nice, neat little boxes, so I don't see why novels should be.

As most writers mention, our characters become like family. For them to show us their true selves, we must show them ours. Digging deep within and lending them the benefit of our life's experiences and the lessons learned from them.

In the upcoming Picture Perfect (1/21/2013, Liquid Silver Books, ISBN: 9781931761222), our heroine, Alexis Morgan, is attempting to recover from Hurricane Katrina and the turmoil of being the product of a single woman and a married man. In reality, we lost everything in Katrina and my father left my mom for another woman. A couple of the scenes from Alex's POV is taken from my own personal experiences.

In the March 2012 release, Wicked Allure, both my mom and I went through what Madigan went through with Zach. Our endings were not the same as Madi's, however.

Having said everything else, I land right back at Kelly's tight-lipped character. She knows about us. When in the world will she open up and let us know about her?

A Little Clarity on a Lazy Sunday


My mom and I write novels together. However, I write the blog. Sometimes, you may see 'we', 'ours' and 'I' and 'mine' in the same paragraph. I try to catch the errors, but I've noticed I don't find all of them. Many apologies. :-)
We all spent a bucolic afternoon taking photos on the iMac and listening to Christmas songs. (Yes, bucolic. I know the word refers to the countryside and rural life. There are wheat fields lining both roads you turn off to get to our house and cows, horses, goats, and roosters languishing nearby. There's also skunks, possums, and snakes.)
I'm preparing to watch the new Real Housewives of Atlanta and counting the days until the new episode of Scandal. I've attached one sheet of the many photos we took today. Have a great week!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I have much to be thankful for. My daughters. My mother. My family and my friends. My memories.
Thanksgiving Day allows me to bring my appreciation to the forefront of my thoughts.

I'm grateful for my family:
Over the past few weeks, I've thought a lot about Thanksgiving 2005 when we were thankful for the simplest of things. We were still living in a hotel, without a home, but we'd found our family again, we had each other, we had a roof over our heads, and we had our lives. There was much left to be done but the peace and love amongst us overflowed. Of course, we are like any other family, but, in the end, we love one another and I'm glad to call them my family.

I'm grateful for my mother and my daughters:
I listened to two songs tonight that made me feel nostalgic: Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings and Celine Dion's Because You Loved Me. The first always brings to mind my mother and the second makes me think of my daughters. When my oldest daughter was a baby, I had to dance with her to put her to sleep. She'd laugh and giggle at the faster dances and, as we began to wind down, we ended the night with the Celine Dion song. It worked like magic and she'd fall asleep quickly, her cheek on my shoulder, her arms around my neck. Perhaps, the songs are interchangeable when I think of my mom and my girls. All four of them give me wind beneath my wings and I am all that I am because they love me. And because I love them.

I'm grateful for my friends:
Most of my old friends scattered to all points north, south, east, and west after Katrina but I've met new friends who have given me new memories and new experiences. I cherish all of you.

I'm grateful for my memories:
In our house, the day after Thanksgiving we began decorating for Christmas. It is as much of a tradition as Thanksgiving itself, one I grew up with and then have continued with my girls. Right after Christmas, we'd bring out the Mardi Gras decorations, listen to the songs, get ready for the balls and the parades, and eat King Cake. Thanksgiving not only brought our family together but it began a holiday season stretching to Fat Tuesday.

As I've gotten older, I've learned to take time each day to ponder my blessings. Each small appreciation reminds me of the bigger picture and of just how lucky I am to have the people who are in my life and to live in one of the greatest nations in the world.

From my family to yours, may you laugh with abandon, love without fear, and live with wind beneath your wings.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Friday, November 16, 2012

I'm Still Learning...

The sentences below with the white background? I did that by accident. The more I tried to undo it, the worse it became. The highlighting has no special meaning, other than I'm still learning.


The End of an Era

On and off, I have belonged to various book clubs: The Literary Guild, Book-of-the-Month, Doubleday, Rhapsody, Black Expressions and Harlequin. I enrolled my oldest daughter in her first book club when she was less than a year old. My mother began reading books to me when I was four months old. I began reading to all three of my daughters in utero. Therefore, when Zoey came to me in late 2007 and asked for a book called Twilight being offered through Children's Book-of-the-Month, I read the summary and...groaned. Vampires. I couldn't understand her growing fascination for all things paranormal. Her reading tastes were proving very different than mine. Which was great. But vampires? Werewolves? Ghosts?

Let me pause here and say I love all of the above as long as I can add romance at the end. Romances with vampires, werewolves and ghosts is a great big go. Otherwise, I'm a NOTORIOUS chicken. Beetlejuice stretched it for me. We stayed overnight at a Natchez, MS bed and breakfast for a booksigning. The b&b was an old house. Beautiful. But old. Added to that were the paintings of the 19th century family who owned the home. I swore their eyes followed me. You might not believe in the paranormal, but to each his own. ;-) I do. At the time, Zoey wasn't yet three. She and I slept in the bed closest to the door while my mom slept in the bed on the other side of the room. I was so bad, I refused to go to the bathroom, alone, in the middle of the night. Yep, I woke up my momma to come with me. HOWEVER, she was well aware if someone decided to pay a nostalgic, apparition-y visit to their home while I was there, if she hadn't reached the car by the time I did, she'd have to find another way home.

So here were we, eight years later, and Zoey wanted me to order a book about a coven of vampires and the human girl who enters their lives. I hate to admit, but, until then, I was clueless. After I read the summary, I was still clueless. I bought the book, though.

She devoured it.

Once she finished the book, she kept after me to read it. "Mommie, I know you're going to love it. You have to read it."

I peeked at the first page...and grimaced. It was in first person, until then an immediate deal-breaker for me.  I set the book aside. After a few days of "I know you're going to love it if you read it", I gave in and decided I'd stick with it until the bitter end, even if my eyeballs exploded. She'd promised me it was "chicken-proof" and it was more romance than anything else.

I read Twilight and fell in love with it. I thought it would take me a week, or four, to read. I finished it in a day. Although I enjoyed the book, I didn't want to see the movie. I didn't want what I liked about the novel ruined in a screen adaptation. After a Tween worthy badgering, I brought Zoey to see the movie.

And fell in love with it. Out of the five movies, Twilight ended up being the only one, I didn't see on opening day. Twilight was also the only one Zoey and I went to the movies EIGHT times to watch. No, Twilight was the only movie I ever spent money on to watch eight times at a movie theater.

Since the Twilight books, I've read other recommendations by Zoey. Most recently, Andrea Cramer's Nightshade Series. They always were bonding experiences for us. But the Twilight Series were something special. Watching the final movie in the series was a bittersweet experience for me. It was the ending of an era, a poignant reminder of everything ending sooner or later. There will be no more countdowns to the next movie. No more logistical planning to arrive at the theater early enough to ensure you get into the first movie of the day but not too early where you have a long wait.

It was the ending of an era in another way, too. Zoey and I saw the movie with four thousand miles between us.

The end of one era always ushers in the beginning of a new one: Fifty Shades of Gray here I come.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Glamorous Life of a Romance Writer

I looked around with pride at the den, completely devoid of furniture, fresh, white paint on the walls, the old carpet removed. The scent of glue and vinyl hung heavily in the air, brought on by the newly laid linoleum. Replacing the carpet had banished the scent of children, dog, and cats.

I was proud that the project was finally completed. It had taken two days but the room looked new again.

As with everything, reality intruded. It happened fast, but oh-so-slowly as I unstuck my arm where it was glued to my shirt. I thought a good patch of skin would be left on the green material but it just gave me a very good wax job. I, of course, had bigger problems than just having my arm stuck to my clothes thanks to my resting the unsuspecting appendage at my side. I was nearly stuck to the floor.

I try not to wear shoes. Don’t get me wrong. I love killer heels but can only take them for so long having them on my feet. Therefore, as I laid the glue and scooted out of the way, the sticky stuff attached to my bare feet. Yes, it depended on which way my body was positioned, but, still…

Zoey, my oldest daughter, is always searching for a good FB moment. Before she left, I had to threaten her with dire retribution if she posted nine tenths of the things she wanted to post online about me. Unfortunately, for what I went through this was more You Tube, than Facebook. The pulling of my skin as I tore it away from my shirt would’ve been evidence enough that this was perfectly and painfully real, not to mention the crunchy sucking motion as I jerked my feet from the floor. Zoey decided to take “pity” on me. She said, “Momma, you’re a romance writer. What a glamorous life you live.”

Glamorous life, indeed.


Scroll down to the blog from May and you'll see the original welcome post. That's right! May! As in six months ago. I have Crystal Cuffley (Redheads Review It Better) & Regina Lavonne (Heartfelt Promos) to thank that it is finally going. Not touching the HTML also helped them and me. It seems like everytime I think I have HTML figured out, I actually try to make it work and discover buttons and badges all over the place. I even managed to delete myself as an admin on the blog.  Jokes, curses, and tears aside, I'm going bananas because I can't figure out the basics of HTML. I promise myself one day I will.

2012 has been ... interesting for me. With about 47 days left to the year and 68 days left until the release of PICTURE PERFECT, I'm already starting a happy dance. I'm so grateful to have my family, friends, and fans. 'Til next time! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

To the one I love, who is far away, I miss you more each day. I didn't mean to make this rhyme, but, you know this happens some of the time. Your sisters and I switched exercise routines and, yes, I tried the Gangham thing. I'm sure you don't need to read the post below to know that dance just isn't for me. I had all the rhythm of a tree. :-)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Missed The Lessons

October 28, 2012
For the past few weeks, my life has been filled with drama, so this realization is coming days late.  I’m a big fan of The Wendy Williams Show. In the Houston area, her show airs at 10:00AM. Several weeks ago, she had Earvin “Magic” Johnson as a guest. While the interview had serious moments, it was fun and upbeat and included a conversation about Soul Train. Both Ms. Williams and Mr. Johnson agreed that almost everyone learned how to dance by watching Soul Train.  

I think I missed the lessons.
Unimaginable, given the show’s thirty-five year run. The show’s first episode premiered four days shy of yours truly reaching eight weeks old. I love music. I have always loved music. The type of music I listen to depends on the mood I’m in that day. I like to sing, but I’m tone deaf. I can’t carry a note. Period. My girls insist if someone only created a show for people who like to sing but can’t, I’d win hands down. My singing is so cringe worthy, I’ve been banned from singing in the house.

Then, there’s dancing. As I said, I missed the Soul Train lessons, even though, as a child, I was a regular viewer of the show. I can do cartwheels. I can bend and stretch. I can dive bomb a bed with my girls…but dancing…? No. That’s not to say that I won’t dance because I do. I just don’t dance with grace and style. Of course, Karma can be unforgiving. My daddy couldn’t coordinate clapping his hands and nodding his head to the beat.  Add in his feet and it was a disaster. But he was able to laugh at himself and didn’t mind that watching him dance was, for me, an LMAO moment every time.
This entire conversation came about when we watched Psy’s Gangham Style. I told my children, I was going to do the same gyrating, galloping dance. Their promise is if I do they will record me and post it on YouTube. My saving grace is YouTube will not post any videos with copyrighted material without the express permission from the copyright holder. They can attempt to post me Gangham Style dancing but it won’t remain on the site long enough for anyone to see. J If it does? Oh, well. There’s nothing I like better than a good laugh, which is why I encourage my girls to live life to the fullest, love yourself and your fellow man, and laugh as often as possible.

In closing, my advice to you is learn from my mistakes. There’s a lesson to be learned everywhere. In all my star-struck youthfulness as I tuned into Soul Train, I missed loads of free dance lessons. Being from New Orleans, a town where a Second Line might break out in the middle of a funeral and waving a white handkerchief has nothing to do with surrender, I regret not jumping on the Soul Train.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Welcome to On The Precipice!

Of insanity that is.  With three daughters, one mother (who's my writing partner), six cats, one dog, and one goldfish, I may have already slipped over.  Currently, I homeschool my daughters and am working on four WIPs.  I love jokes, the raunchier, the better!  Once upon a time, I was a regular subscriber of Playgirl Magazine.  'Nuff said.  Welcome to my blog.  Let's have a wicked good time together.