Thursday, September 29, 2011

Letters I never meant to send

Thinking about Thursday

I have probably 20 of these kinds of notebooks in a trunk in my attic. They are filled with stories and dreams. Some autobiographical, some completely fiction. So, why are they on my mind today? 

Because of the tragic case of Susan Powell. If you are not familiar with this case, Susan Powell is the mother of two who disappeared in early December of 2009. Her husband, Josh, has been considered a "person of interest" and now her father-in-law has been arrested for voyeurism (which may or may not be linked to her disappearance). 

While the mystery writer in me is undeniably drawn to the case,  I was appalled by a recent move by her husband and father-in-law to publish her teenage journals. 
From :

"Josh Powell's family claims Susan Powell was sexually promiscuous, emotionally unstable and suicidal. They were offering as proof several diary pages from the missing woman's teenage years.

Her family says the entries were written by a young girl still growing up and have no bearing on her disappearance. They got a temporary order in a Washington court prohibiting the Powells from distributing the journal pages."

Can you imagine? 

I was a closet writer in my teen years. My journals were filled with a mixture of reality and fantasy with no discernible difference in the two. I once spent two weeks grounded because my parents "accidentally" read part of my notebook. I was too indignant over the invasion of my privacy to admit most of it was complete fiction. (Mom~ the 21 year-old you thought I was planning to sneak out to see didn't even know I existed. He was a friend of a friend's older brother. I met him one time for approximately 2.5 minutes.)

Even the parts that were "true" weren't the truth. Why? They were being recorded through the eyes and mind of a teenage girl. Just as Susan Powell's family says about her journals, mine were written by someone still growing up. While who I was then may have played a role in  who I am now, it certainly isn't who I am now.  

What about you? Have you revisited your teen self lately? Can you fathom the idea of all that confusion and angst being on display for the world? Especially if you were unavailable to defend yourself?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jody Hedlund

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

Please Welcome

Jody was actually my very first follower on this blog and I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to feature her. 

First, let  me tell you about her new book The Doctor's Lady. You can check out the beautiful book trailer below.

I will openly admit I am not an avid historical fiction reader. I finished The Doctor's Lady in one day, staying up until the wee hours of the morning, because I had to know what happened. It is a quick moving, fascinating read about the life of a woman travel across the country in the 1830's. The characters suck you in. By the time I turned the last page, I was sad to end my journey with them.
You can enter to win a free, signed copy of the book by leaving a comment this week. 
The winner will be chosen on Monday, October 3rd.
*U.S. mailing address only, please*

Let's get to know Jody!

  What was the inspiration behind The Doctor’s Lady?

This book is inspired by the true life story of Narcissa Whitman, the first white woman to brave the dangers of overland trail and travel west. In 1836, she married Dr. Whitman, and then the next day left her childhood home and would never return for the purpose of starting a mission among the Nez Perce natives.
It was my hope in this story to bring Narcissa Whitman to life. This heroic woman has often been ignored and at times even disparaged. In reality, she exuded incredible courage to attempt a trip many proclaimed foolishly dangerous. It was called an “unheard-of-journey for females.” Because of her willingness to brave the unknown, she led the way for the many women who would follow in her footsteps in what would later become known as the Oregon Trail.

What message do you hope readers take away?

I hope readers are inspired to try new things and brave dangerous prospects in the pursuit of their dreams. When we go after the things that matter, we’ll have to take risks and we’ll experience setbacks and obstacles. But if we persevere, we can reach our destination and do great things along the way.

What do you like most about writing and being a published author?

As a writer, I love telling stories. I especially like the feeling that comes as I near the end of the book when everything looks hopeless, the characters are in big trouble, and somehow I’m able to wrap up the book in a satisfying way. I call it the first-draft love affair! I fall absolutely and madly in love with the story and think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.

As a published author, I love hearing from readers. I’m always thrilled to get emails or hand-written notes from readers telling me how much my story touched them.

What do you like least?
I struggle the most during the editing phase of each of my books. The love affair that started during the first draft comes to an end. I fall out of love with my books. By the last edit—called the Galley Review—I finally reach a point where I loathe the book, think it’s the worst thing I’ve ever written, and wish I could just throw it away. During the Galley stage, I’m fraught with insecurity and fear. My agent did a great job of talking me off the cliff during my fears with The Doctor’s Lady. She encouraged and inspired me to keep going no matter what happens. 

  What’s coming next?
 In 2012, my next historical romance releases. I’m really excited about this story because it’s set in my home state of Michigan. It takes place during the 1880’s at a time in history when the lumber era was at its height. Although the story isn’t inspired by a true person the way my first two books have been, I do include several real people, particularly a real villain by the name of James Carr who was notorious in central Michigan for his violence and for introducing white slavery into the state.

 The heroine of the story is a young woman, Lily Young, who is looking for her sister who’s caught up into the degradation of lumber camp life. While Lily searches for her missing sister, she fights against the evil that runs rampant around her, and she fights not to lose her heart to the lumber baron who turns a blind eye to the lawlessness of the lumber business.

   Where can readers find you?

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website:

 Thank you so much for stopping by, Jody!
Psst, you should also check out her first book 

So, do you like to read historical fiction?
Leave a comment or question for Jody to be entered  for a chance to win a free, signed copy of 
The Doctor's Lady!

My apologies to those who have tried to leave a comment and were unable to. Blogger must be having a hiccup because it is set for anyone to comment. 
Please email me at writer in waiting at gmail dot com and I will be happy to enter you in the drawing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Plot Swap~ Musical Style

Friday Plot Swap
Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one.
Need a plot ? Take one.
 We haven't had a musical swap in a while. These are the songs that have been stuck in my head this week. What's in yours? 
Someone Like You~ Adele

You and Tequila~ Kenny Chesney
What can I say? ~Carrie Underwood

So, swap with me!
Any songs floating around in your head as a soundtrack to your work in progress? 
Can you guess from these what kind of story I've got going right now?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Developing a Platform~ Guest Post

Thinking about Thursday

Developing a Platform
Guest Post By
Writing Coach 

Many writers realize that nowadays we have to have a platform. One really great way to build platform is through public speaking. However, many writers shy away from this because of fear of talking in front of large groups. While public speaking can be done in person, consider other options such as online workshops, webinars and other ways of speaking to a group without standing in front of a group.

Once you’ve gotten over that hurdle or determined where you’re going to speak or you’ve been invited to speak, the next thing a writer needs to determine is what they’re going to talk on. I suggest that writers write on something that’s related to the topic or what the theme of their book or the research associated with their book and their genre, without speaking directly to the writing process.

For an example, if you’re a suspense writer and your book is about kidnapping such as Amy Wallace’s was, she did a wonderful job of teaching and speaking and having a website surrounded around safety for children and protecting your kids and the FBI and things like that. While reaching out to people who are interested in the topic of her book she did not specifically talk on her book.

Another example would be if you write Regency romance, such as Linore Rose Burkard. She has a wonderful website and offers things like information on clothing of the era and social mores and etiquette. Therefore people who are interested in that time period can get valuable resources from her and also will begin to develop a relationship with her and read her books because they know her and they’ve seen her stuff.

As a writer consider speaking on topics that are based on the research that you’ve done for a particular book, novel or industry, and not just be like you need to speak about your book specifically, about publishing specifically or publishing journey specifically.

Engage individuals who are interested in the topics that you cover in your book and that will help you develop your relationship and thus your platform.

Thank you, Tiffany, for those great suggestions. 

Tiffany Colter has been published locally and nationally. Her publishing credits include Charisma Magazines, Suspense Magazine, Today’s Christian, Encounter, On Mission and The Toledo Business Journal. Online she has a successful blog that teaches business principles to writers the Writing Career Coach and she writes a monthly Marketing Column and a quarterly Feature for the Afictionado E-zine. Suspense Magazine regularly publishes her work in their “Ask Your Writing Career Coach” column.

She teaches on topics as diverse as Writing for Small Business Owners to Special Needs Adoption to Thriving during Financial Crisis. Her speaking is managed through Command Performance Speakers’ Bureau.

I happen to be an exception to the "writer=introvert" rule because public speaking has never bothered me, but I know there are people who fear it worse than death.  

So, what about you? Does speaking in front of people make you break out in hives? Or do you love being in the spotlight?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Jerrie Alexander

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday


I am thrilled to be featuring another one of my chapter mates from the North Texas Romance Writers of America and a fellow romantic suspense author. Jerrie is delightfully witty. I truly enjoyed working with her on this interview.

Let's get to know Jerrie!

 What made you decide to write?  What did you do before becoming a writer? 
I’d always wanted to write, studied journalism, but it wasn’t until I took a creative writing class, I found my love. Before becoming a writer? Funny, I went to work so we could afford to buy me a new car. Years and promotions flew by before I knew it. As a female in logistics, a field where men dominated, I had the opportunity to learn a great deal first hand about the way the male mind thinks, talks, and reacts. Not that anyone could really understand that jumble of nerves. (smile) I try and use those experiences in my male characters.

Do you have a writing routine? What does it look like? Where do you usually write?  
I have my office at home, and I’m surrounded by bookshelves. I try to write something everyday. Doesn’t always work out, but I try.

Is the life of a writer what you thought it be? What is different?
 You know, I didn’t expect it to be easy. It’s work, requires lots of study and practice. The good thing is I enjoy learning and improving. The more I learn the stronger my characters become.

 Tell us about your great news! I hear you are signing a book deal, winning contests,  all kinds of terrific stuff. 
I’m thrilled to say I signed with The Wild Rose Press to publish The Green Eyed Doll. It’s the story of a young woman running from her past. She falls for a sheriff hunting a murderer who paints his victims’ faces to look like a porcelain doll. As we all know...Keeping secrets can get you killed...The contest news? I’m excited that The Last Execution placed first in the Celtic Hearts contest and is a finalist in The Catherine contest. Placements to be announced in October.

Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and living a normal life? 
I push back from the computer and make time. It’s a must to keep my bearings and retain what little sanity I have left.(just joking.) It refreshes and refills my soul to spend time with my family and friends.

 What is the best advice you have received about this journey?  
That’s an easy one and the advice wasn’t given directly to me. Nora Roberts addressed the RWA conference in Orlando. I can’t quote her exactly. Her message? “Write the damn book.” No one cares like you whether or not you finish or sell the book. Family, friends, coworkers, sure they care but not with the abiding need that drives you as an author.

What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were starting out? That you had to develop a thick hide. Rejections don’t mean you haven’t written a good book. It means the story didn’t resonate with that particular reader.

What do you do to fight burnout? Do you ever worry about "running out of stories"? How do you combat that? 
That question made me laugh. I know a couple of people who could testify when I finish a book I’m convinced I’ll never have another original idea again. That I never write another word. Then something clicks and I’m off and running. I don’t combat it. I just keep pushing forward.

What kind of scenes do you have a hard time writing?
When there are multiple characters in a room, I get four or five people together, and I have to figure out how to distinguish between them without using the old he said or she said.

Do you ever write material based on your close relationships, such as a best friend?, and how do you balance that material with the need to tell an interesting story?
 There are a few scenes I’ve used from real life. One phrase comes from my best friend who refuses to eat at a fast food restaurant... she refers to them as Squat and Gobbles. She’s single and loves that I’ve used some of her comments and situations.

 What sources do you use for inspiration? ( Music, movies, people watching)
Books, books, and more books. I read a lot. Good authors inspire me. I want to be Allison Brennanwhen I grow up. Okay...too late for that. I’d like to see my work on the shelf with hers.

 What do you do when you aren’t writing?  
Other than read. Spend time with friends and family. My grand daughter is great fun and keeps me running.

 Tell us a bit about your work in progress.  
In The Last Execution, a homicide detective who believes in nurture versus nature decided not to give her child away. When her rapist is paroled and sets out for revenge, she’ll have to decide whether or not to trust the four-word-sentence speaking FBI agent on whose team she’s been temporarily assigned.

What is next for you?
I’m just past that stage I told you know never coming up with another story. I’m shopping The Last Execution, and have started a new wip about human trafficking and two ex-lovers reuniting. The working title is Hell or High Water.

 How can we find out more about you? Blogs? Facebook? Twitter? 
Everywhere except a personal blog.  @jerriealexander
I love to hear from people...look me up!

                     We should probably confess to your readers that you and I are not related! At least as far as we know.

Thank you, Dawn for having me here today. I look forward to hearing from your followers. 
 Thank you so much for chatting with us. It has been a pleasure.
                     May I ask a question? Blond or brunette for your hero...what’s your preference? I know my answer. What's your favorite?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Friday Plot Swap~Two snakes and some gnomes

Friday Plot Swap
Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one
I am feeling kind of random today. So, this swap is a mixed bag. In honor of all the responses I got to my gecko post yesterday, I've included two "EWWW"-inducing stories and, of course, gnomes. Because everything goes better with gnomes. 

Player startled by snake in helmet

Gravette High School senior Darrick Strzelecki said he felt something odd in his helmet during practice Tuesday, but thought it was only a tangled lock of hair or sweat beading up as the team worked on extra points. 

It was a 10-12 inch snake! Kind of makes my gecko look small and inconsequential, huh? Imagine working that into a creepy, stalker plot. Psycho girl puts snake in boy's helmet. 

Snake slithers out of moving SUV's hood

Rachel Fisher said she was driving the sport-utility vehicle on Sam Cooper Boulevard with her husband...when the snake emerged from beneath the hood and started slithering on the windshield.

"and that's why the car is totaled, officer."  
 This could be a great start to a romantic comedy or maybe a horror. It could easily set the tone either way!

Gnomes in protective custody  

 The creatures vary in sizes and materials and were part of what is believed to be an end-of-the-year prank at Capital High School.

About 20 gnomes were affixed to several locations at the facility, including on the roof, at the end of May.

This one cracked me up because I know kids who would pull this prank. But, what if one of the Gnomes was evil? Or what if one of the kids saw something he shouldn't while sneaking into a garden to steal a gnome? 

 So, swap with me. What would you do with these? Or your own stories this week? You can check out the comments of yesterday's post for more "icky" stories.

Why I can never do Yoga again

Thinking about Thursday

Why I Can Never Do Yoga Again
Not me.

     First of all, HUGE shout out to my Romance Biggest Winner Team ( Fantastic Four) for coming in FIRST PLACE this week! I knew we could do it! You can follow the competition at #RBW. Special thanks to Ashley March for managing the competition. Pssst, you should check out her new book Romancing the Countess

      Anyway, in honor of my team's accomplishment, I wanted to share with you the tragic, yet true story of why I no longer do yoga.  This was originally an email to a friend. I hope it makes you smile this today.  The thought of me doing yoga is pretty entertaining on its own, but I thought you might enjoy my story :)

   I used to love Yoga. Do it all the time, really enjoy it, helps keep me less stressed and calm ...but one morning, all that changed!

I got up like normal, laid out my mat, did my little routine with the TV, feeling very calm and centered. Sufficiently balanced to start my day.

Now for those of you who have never done Yoga, it is done barefoot. Just keep that in mind. I finished my routine. Stood up and started to roll up my mat. My mind a million other places... Did I sign that permission form? What time did Scott say he needed to get going this morning?
and the weirdest thought~ Why am I standing on a ice cube??

I stepped on something ice cold in the middle of my carpeted living room floor. I looked down... IT WAS A LIZARD!!!!! A baby gecko... and I stepped on it... BAREFOOT! 
It did not look like this!
All balance, centered calmness immediately left my body! I did get some cardio in as I RAN to the bedroom to wake up my loving husband ( Dead lizard removal falls in his skill set, not mine!)

So I am shaking him and swinging my foot around like a cat with tape on its paw, wiping it on everything I can find. " Get up! Get up! I just stepped on a a lizard in the living room. I think I killed it! You have to get up and get rid of it!!!"

Do you know what the manly protector of my household said, "If it is already dead, why do I have to get up right now and get rid of it??"
Not my husband
I can't print what I said back to him because it wasn't very lady like

I ran back into the living room ( More cardio) because I heard my daughter getting up and didn't want her to see the poor squished thing.

IT WASN'T THERE!!!! It had crawled half way across the floor and went it saw me took off and hid.

So while I am grateful that I did not kill it. IT IS STILL LOOSE IN HERE SOMEWHERE!!!

Of course, after Scott refused to help me, I kept hoping it had crawled into his shoe, but no such luck.

Sadly that is why I can never do yoga again... That combined with the fact I plan on having my right foot ( the one that touched it ) surgically removed and replaced with a new one... bathing it in lysol didn't help me much !