Research Confessions #MFRWAuthors #40

I have a confession…..I don’t do a great deal of research when I’m writing.  It all comes from my imagination….unless something pops up that I can’t make up.  Take, for instance, Teacher’s Pet.  There’s the classic romance triangle….man caught between the new woman in his life and the one who refuses to let go.  But in this instance, the woman scorned decides to claim sexual harassment.  I had to stop and contact a member of our school board to find out what would happen if a teacher were accused….not by a student, but by another adult in the community.

In another book, All She Ever Wanted, there’s a reverse Romeo-Juliet issue.  Marc’s father is doing everything he can to keep his son from being with Amber, and at one point even goes so far as to have her cafe shut down due to (bogus) Health and Safety issues.  I had to contact both a lawyer and a City Building inspector to understand what happens during that process.

When I was researching eating disorders for Love Weighs In, I re-read several books I’d loved on this subject, plus copied several pages of a library reference book…..then used very little of it in the actual book.  The toughest part was when I called an eating disorder clinic and it took me ten minutes to prove I did NOT have an eating disorder and was honestly doing research!

But How Can Research Open New Worlds?

I have another confession:  Back in college, when I could not decide between two men, I half-joked that I wished polygamy was legal, and the three of us could simply have an ‘arrangement’.  Ultimately, I did choose between them, and I chose the wrong one.  However, about ten years ago, I began reading more and more BDSM books and M/F/M or even M/M/F books, and enjoyed them.

So I was actually ahead of my time?  LMAO….but no, I never acted on it, and have been married to the same man now for nearly 30 years (not the one mentioned above, btw!  The relationship I chose ended shortly after, and I fondly call the other one ‘the one that got away’.)

Then There’s History….

My HS history ended with WW2, and I didn’t learn about Vietnam until a college Geography class.  I was thrilled when PBS aired the Vietnam Documentary last year, and it cleared up a lot of confusion.  I also gleaned some details from reading Danielle Steele’s Message From Nam.

What about YOUR experience?  Has research opened your eyes to new ideas, or historical truths not taught in school?

To join the discussion, go here.

I have another rare weekend off!  Con season is beginning to wind down; I only have two events this month, and two next month, in addition to my cousin’s wedding.  See you back here next week!

To Epilogue Or Not? #MFRWAuthors #39

I’ve always been told that if you have a Prologue, there needs to be an Epilogue.  OR… can have one at the end of a series.

I don’t use these a whole lot.  There’s both a pro and epi in All She Ever Wanted, and an epi at the end of Off The Clock, which wraps up the trilogy.

In my Women’s Fiction series, I think #5 has both a pro and epi in it, and so does #7.  #8-13 aren’t finished (or even written!) yet, and it’s been at least ten years since I’ve even looked at the finale of the series.  I can’t remember how I set it up.

What’s your take on this subject?

I’m heading off to Saluki Con this weekend, in Carbondale, Il.  Never been to this event before, but hoping to create some buzz for Bad Decisions, which releases Oct 19th.


My story in this anthology is Family Secrets: 

Ten years ago, a horrific act scarred Austin Finch emotionally.  When his sister Taylor moves back to town and unknowingly forces Austin to face his demons, will he find the courage to face his past?  More importantly, will his family ever forgive him for the terrible decision he made three years ago?


Contests Pro Or Con? #MFRWAuthors #38

Confession time:  I’ve never submitted anything I’ve written to a contest.  But I do have friends who have, so I can only draw on their experiences to talk about this topic.


It can definitely be a way of figuring out if you have any talent, by having an unbiased opinion about your writing, and it’s a great validation on your resume.


It does cost money, and it can also be an anxious time, if your story receives no feedback or is not advanced to the next round.

Click here to check out what everyone else has to say.

I have another rare weekend off!  Things are beginning to slow down; I only have 5 more signings between now and Thanksgiving:)

Most Hated Chore #MFRWAuthors #37

This goes along with last week’s post.  If there’s one household chore I hate with a vengeance, it’s cleaning the bathroom, specifically the bathtub or shower.

I don’t have an issue with cleaning the toilet, or even the sink.  But the bathtub and shower….ugh.

Part of it is the fact I can no longer bend over or even squat down, and my arms get tired reaching the back wall.  We even bought a cleaning tool that extends, but it’s awkward.  So in addition to my other inventions, I’d like a self-cleaning shower!

I hate mopping the kitchen floor too, but since the invention of Swiffer WetJet, it’s less annoying.

What chore do YOU hate the most?

Join the conversation here.

Had a great time at Cil-Con last weekend!  My adopted dad showed up, and turns out he knows many of the same people as I!  Then he even took me to karaoke on Saturday.  Got to meet Santiago Cirillo, another Walking Dead cast mate (he played Julio), and boy was he a scream at the after party!  That man should do stand up.

This weekend, I’m off to the Indy Author Event in Indianapolis, In, hosted by Saints and Sinners.  I’ve been upgraded to a full table, so I’m thrilled I don’t have to condense my display after all!

My hours at work are getting cut, starting next week, so I should be able to do more writing, now that I’ll only work 4 hours a day instead of 6.  Of course, this means my funds will be a little strained in October, but Con season is beginning to wind down.  I only have two more events this month, two in Oct, and two in Nov.  I’ll be able to save my funds, instead of using all of it for hotel and car rental fees, which is good, since our new anthology, Bad Decisions, will be releasing next month.  I’m hoping to have cover art to show off next week:)

What Every Mom Wants….#MFRWAuthors #36

Ever since becoming a mom, I’ve wanted someone to invent one thing:

A homing device for children’s shoes and maybe even socks.

Picture this:  You’re getting ready to leave and your toddler, who five minutes ago had BOTH shoes on, now can’t find one of them.  Where did it go?  Under the bed/crib?  Under the couch?  Under the desk?

No….it’s located behind the cat’s litter box, at the other end of the apartment/house.  Never mind the fact you probably propped your little darling in his/her swing or playpen; it’s still magically ended up somewhere you never dreamed of finding it.  Even if you tied the shoelaces together when you took them off your darling….in the morning one will be by the front door (where you left it) and the other will be buried at the bottom of the toy chest.

Then there’s always the ‘mute’ button…..this comes in handy when Mom’s had enough and just needs a time out!  But since I could also see this being abused, I’ll retract it.  But honestly….how many times do you wish kids came with an ‘off’ switch?  And I’m not talking the blessed nap time…..again, I could see this one being abused….can we just put the kids in stasis until they’re old enough for school?  Or off to college?  LMAO!  (Just kidding….)

Another thing I’d like invented is a lifelong laptop/kindle/IPad/phone battery, and electronics that never fail to work.  This includes all storage for data.  I remember a time when I had files backed up on disc, CD, Dropbox, AND a thumb drive…..and still managed to lose a file.  How does that happen???  I’m just praying that when I get back to work on books 8-14 of Arbor U that my original files can still be accessed.

Or that I could magically produce them out of my head ala Dumbledor’s whatchamacallit, where he pulls memories out of his brain and puts them in the cauldron.  Then all I’d have to do is take dictation!  Where’s that magic pen, that writes as quick as I think?  LOL!

If anyone manages to invent a way to keep books from being pirated, bring it on!  Or prevent SPAM.  I had to disable the comments on my other blog, since I kept getting SPAM messages on the same five posts from 2009!

What about YOU?  What invention do YOU think needs to be invented?

Join the conversation here.

I’m off to Cil-Con, in Mattoon, IL this weekend!  I’ve never been to this particular one, but it’s been highly recommended by friends.  If you make it to the Cross Country Mall in Mattoon, I’ll be in ‘Brian’s Love Shack’ area, along with a few other romance authors!  I’ll try to post pictures next week:)

“If I Could Turn Back Time…” MFRWAuthors #35

Couldn’t resist quoting Cher, lol!

The events are endless.  If I had the chance to time-travel, and simply observe, where would I go?

-Elizabeth 1’s court, to see if the real story;

-The life of Jesus, since not a great deal is known about him from age 12 (or so) until 33;

-2008 election, just to see which candidate I actually voted for (I was voting absentee and literally closed my eyes, picked a circle, then closed it up without looking!);

If I could change the outcome, where would I go?

-1987, and redo my final two college years, or at least cut out several bad choices in relationships;

-2002, and remind my hubby to lower the boom on his excavator and prevent him from hitting the power line which destroyed his heart valve;

-A few unnecessary trips to the ER with my youngest, due to being uncertain about ankle sprains.  I say it’s good to err on the side of caution; hubby thinks otherwise.

Though I realize if I change things in 1987 (or even 1986), the events of 2002 wouldn’t be my responsibility anymore!  But I’d also like the chance to see what my life would have turned out to be, had I made different choices.  My kids would look different; I don’t know if I’d be published yet; I don’t even know what career/job I would have.

Changing the past affects the future…..or does it?  There’s always that Outer Limits episode where a time-traveler kills infant Hitler…..only to have an infant taken away from a homeless woman and raised as Adolph.

To see what others have to say on this subject, go here.

If You could go back (or forward!) in time, where would you go?

I’m enjoying another free weekend!  Last week, I completely scrubbed down my Master Bath, and this weekend, plan to do some fall cleaning in my bedroom.  Copies of Heart’s Last Chance have been ordered, and I’m hoping they get here this week, instead of Sept 3rd as my email says.  I also have to mail out one copy of Catered Romance and two copies of Teacher’s Pet.  Also, just learned that proof copies have arrived for my new writer’s group’s anthology, Bad Decisions!  Now we just need to finalize the cover.  When we do, I’ll certainly share it.

Have a great weekend!

The Other ‘F’ Word #MFRWAuthors #34

There’s a little-known aspect to FEAR which sneaks up when we’re aspiring to attain something, the Fear of Success.  Sounds crazy, right?  I want to be successful, so why would I fear it?

But….as we’re looking forward to being successful, FEAR sneaks in…..but not in the way you’d normally think.

How so?

Think back:  Have you procrastinated on deadlines?  Procrastinated in general?  Over-thought your project?  Over-extended yourself?  Over-committed yourself?

If so, you’ve just experienced Self-Sabotage…..that sneaky, sneaky part of your brain which creates doubt that you’ll ever be successful, and you wonder why you ever tried this in the first place.

When you realize this Fear has taken a hold of you, the best thing to do is re-evalute your priorities and do everything you can to stay on task, complete all steps toward your goals, and hopefully you’ll defeat this Self-Sabotage tendency:)

Anything you’d care to add?

I actually have the next two weekends free!  Mall of America was amazing, even though I took 5 detours while driving out, and only 2 while coming back.  Turned out I wasn’t actually lost; just veered off slightly from the directions.  Sold 5 books, and enjoyed 2 1/2 days with my sister, niece, and nephew:)

Next event will be Cil-Con in Mattoon, Ill Sept 6-7.  I’m happy to be able to stay home for once this summer, ha ha!

Catching Up #MFRWAuthors #32 and 33

So I think I proved LIFE has to exist outside of writing; I discovered a week ago I could spend an extra day at the Indiana State Fair, and the coordinator gave me a sweet deal too good to pass up!  As a result, I not only forgot about the blog challenge entirely, but was so sleep-deprived this weekend, I fell asleep at my booth at the Collector’s Carnival Craft Show on Saturday!  Managed to sell 18 books in two days at the State Fair, then only 4 at the CCC.  If you bury yourself at the computer, then you’re going to realize one day you missed out on LIFE.

Now, onto this week’s topic, giving and taking advice!

I’ve been on both sides of the advice scale.  As a social work major in college, I ended up being the ‘ear’ of my wing, and helped several friends with their issues.  Did I make a difference?  I’ll probably never know.  Thankfully, I’ve never had someone say “I wish I’d never listened to you!” 

However, I HAVE said that to others!

Hindsight is always 20/20, and I’ve made a lot of decisions after consulting others.  Some advice has been good (mostly professional, thank god, when it comes to my writing career!), and some has been bad (always relationship-wise….isn’t that funny how that happens?)

I’ve stated this before; I face an uphill battle with my family, who question EVERYTHING I’ve done this year, in regards to promoting my work.  I’ll review at the end of the year and see which shows I should have avoided, and which ones I proved the family wrong.  At least this year, it was my own funds at stake, instead of the family’s, so my question is, why do they care?  Next year, if my Teen buckles down and makes the football team, I’ll definitely have to travel less, in order to attend his games.

It’s had to discern the good advice from the bad.  Ultimately, you have to listen to your gut, your own intuition.  Do you think this decision is the right one for you, or are you going along with the crowd?  That’s something else I’m trying to impress upon my Teen, who tends to just go along with his friends.  With a 7 year old granddaughter, she’s getting the same guidance….don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to your friends!

To read more, go here:)

Dreamscapes Anthology is LIVE!

I’m off to the Mall of America this weekend, for the Royal Touch Reader Event:)  Then I have two weeks off to catch up on writing, family time, etc. I know my boss will be happy to have me work 5 days in a row again, lol!

Dinner With The Stars….Or Not? #MFRWAuthors #31

First of all, I TOTALLY misunderstood last week’s topic!  Reading through everyone else’s post, I realized I was the only one who LISTED the contents of mine, not explained why or not it’s good to have one.  I never watched the movie; only listed things that are on my ‘forever wish’ list.  I already set Daily/Monthly/Yearly goals, so that one day, I might be able to cross one or two travel desires off my list.  Will I be crushed if I never get to see the ruins of ancient Crete?  No….I’m content with History or Travel channel, or even a friend’s photos.  But GOALS…..that’s another must, for if we don’t have goals, we simply drift through life like a jellyfish.

Now, onto this week’s topic, who would I love to have dinner with?

Naturally, Jason Momoa, Chris Helmsworth, or Harrison Ford came immediately to mind.  But I’d also love to sit down with my grandma again, and get the skinny on her childhood.  My parents know the backstory on my paternal grandparents, and maternal great-grandparents, but little is known about my mother’s mother up until she married my grandfather.  Maybe get the entire ancestral line together for one great ‘This Is Your Life’ rehash?

I know I get my musical ability from my mother’s family, and that Grandma was ‘forced’ to play as a child for parties, that’s why she never pushed my mother into any musical lessons.  But I dearly wanted to take lessons, and finally at age 11, my mother found me a piano teacher (this after I repeatedly asked to play the harp, lol!)

I also think my bad taste in men stems from her…..both my maternal great-grandparents and grandparents were divorced/remarried, and my mother broke that cycle by finding her soul mate at age 19.  Truthfully, I think I met mine at age 20, but didn’t recognize him until it was too late, and was then too stubborn to leave my then-current relationship!

So yeah, would just like to unlock a few mysteries in my family!

What about you?

Ready for photos?

Met actor Wyatt Weed, who was in an episode of Star Trek:  TNG, and Predator 2:)  He signed a P2 picture for my hubby, who was thrilled!

Met actor WF Bell, who played Anchor in The Walking Dead:)  He was nice enough to sign a picture for my daughter.

L-R:  Amy Hale, Cathy Jackson, me, Matt Jackson.  Amy, Cathy, and I are all romance authors:)

Friday night, we ate at a local brewery, Jackson Street Brew.  This is when I texted my daughter, “Look who I’m having dinner with…”  She texted back, “OMG!  Get his autograph, PLEASE????”

L-R:  Adrion and WF Bell, and John, a local reporter.  See the beer on the table?  There’s a coffee shop called ‘Villainous Grounds’, where we had a meet-n-greet.  The brewery created the ‘Villainous Stout’ for the weekend, and it’s delicious, if you’re a fan of Guinness beer.

I actually have a rare weekend off!  It’s our local Watermelon Festival weekend, but my colleague and I decided it wasn’t in our budget this year.  So I’ll be setting up Friday night at the 1st Friday Art Walk, then being able to enjoy the festival without having to worry about being away from my booth:)  Have a great weekend!  

Next week, I’m off to the State Fair Tuesday and Wed…..wish me luck!  Last time I was there, I only had 2 books out, and my shift was only 2 hours long.  This year, we have a larger booth, and I’ll be there 3-close Tuesday and 9-2:30 Wed.

Bucket List

There are several items on my Bucket List:

-Travel to Greece

-Travel to Italy

-Travel to Paris

-Spend a week at Disney World

-Spend a day or two at Universal

-Go back to Sea World, Busch Gardens, and Cypress Gardens

-Go back to St. Pete Beach/Treasure Island/Madeira Beach area

-Be a signing author at Penned Con

-Be a signing author at Weekend With The Authors

-Return to Ottawa in the summer (last time was over Christmas 2004 and COLD!)

Anyone seeing a THEME?

In short, TRAVEL is on my bucket list!

Non-travel items would simply be to fix up my current house; get my Brown House emptied and my office set up; and my Green House torn down.

What About You?  What’s on YOUR Bucket List?

I’m off to Heroes For Kids Con this weekend in Perrysville, MO!  Friday night has a Meet-n-Greet at Villianous Grounds, then Saturday is the convention.  I think I’m going to see how sales go before I decide whether or not to check out and drive home Sat, or spend another night in the hotel.  Expenses are tight, since I spent a little too much at the fair last week, and wasted $24 on a meal that wasn’t appetizing.

I’ll post some pics next week, since this post is a little long.  Have a great weekend!