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