Friday, September 30, 2011

Barbie's Bunkhouse: it worth it?

So today is the last day of September. Someone please tell me where the ENTIRE month disappeared to! I had plans, goals, a story to finish and another to get a jump on finishing!!! 9/1/11 was my start date. 9/30/11 finds me quite befuzzled.

I thought I had found some sort of balance between the family, the day job and the writing. it wasn't the best, but it was semi-working out. Only there were 2 full weeks when Friday would come and I'd think "holy crap! I wrote nothing all week!" I've found out I'm not the night time writer I used to be (have I complained about this before??). 8:00 comes and my brain tunes out, shuts off all flow of creativity and refuses to cooperate. Oh, I can surf the net, play mindless games, even read or critique. But actually write? Nope, not gonna happen.

Now, out of my frustration with the balance (or lack there of) of work/writing, comes the the question of "is it worth it". Yes, I know the answer. It IS worth it. and if you ask any of my fellow M&M authors they will agree, and they will agree that it's not easy. And they will listen to me whine and still support me.They will ply me with chocolates, margaritas and wine and encourage me to not give up.

I get that, I really do. But seriously? As another month begins, I'm feeling almost overwhelmed at the projects that have piled up and the opportunities that are waiting and that I need to jump on or risk losing them. let's face it, I'm not going to make tons of money off of my books. The need for a change in the day-job is becoming a beacon I can't ignore much longer. And if that happens...what kind of writing time am I really going to have?

A couple years ago I was completely driven in my writing. Every spare moment I was behind my computer working on something. it caused a lot of tension in my house and I certainly don't want to go back to that sressful, dark place. I seem to have found a balance, but it leaves no room for the driven Barbie Jo to spread her wings. So what happens next? Yup...befuzzled.

Okay, so I know it's worth it and I guess I have to ride out this wave of doubt. But I feel like I've been out of the pool for so long, how do you conquer that fear and jump back in? This has been a very long road. If I'm not being creative, my soul is not happy. Giving up is not an option, as this is who I am.

Anyone have scheduling lessons they'd like to share? I think I need a personal assistant, or nanny, chef, maid, dog walker, hmm.... There has to be a way to do this before I have a nervous breakdown trying!!! or have to go to rehab....

have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cassy's Corner- NaNoWriMo

The fall is approaching rapidly and with that comes for many writers their preparation for NaNoWriMo.  Every November a wonderful group of writers join together across nations to try their hands at completing 50,000 words in a month. National Novel Writing Month. The plan is not to work on a current project, but rather to begin a new one and focus only on getting the words on the page. No editing, no self-recrimination, no letting the daily grind get in the way—just write.

It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? We want to write. Here is a full month in which you tell your family they are on their own for dinners. They need to channel surf quietly. They must understand that you are a writer and offer the respect that comes with that commitment. After all, you have pledged to write those 50,000 words and they should honor their belief in you give you the space to do that.

I did it two years in a row. Not this year. Why? I found that the focus was great. The word production was fantastic. The family did just fine. BUT. What I wrote took an extreme amount of editing. Two years ago I had a great idea- a sure winner. No doubt about it. I wrote a quick outline for a story that was surly to be a winner. As I was pounding out the pages meeting my daily quotas I stalled. It was dragging. No problem at all I thought.

So, I wrote scene after scene that I was sure would be important to the book. They just happened to be out of order. This certainly wouldn’t be an issue for I’d fix it in the editing process. I was accomplishing two important tasks at once. First, I was capturing parts of the story that might have been lost if I let the writing wait until I really got to that part. And, second, I was meeting my daily word count. Seems clear.

When the month was over (Thanksgiving was squeezed in there somewhere) I looked at my pages. Yup, I made the 50,000 word goal and received a computer generated plaque to hang on my office wall. And, the trouble began.

I took the scenes, printed each on separate pages, and laid them out on my long dining room table like playing cards. My outline gave me a full picture of what it needed to look like. Easy from here. I’d just shuffle the scenes into the order that would match my overall plan. Right?

It was a mess. A total mess. It took me a year to work through all the pieces that were missing, out of timing, wrong POV, lacking transition…the list is longer than that. I still think it’s a darn good story. It has lived on a thumb drive for three years. In its current state, it deserves to stay there. But I know it has wonderful potential.

I hope the NaNoWriMo group continues. I wish it all the best. Truly. It has launched winning writers. It has turned kids into writers. It has inspired many who thought they never could do it that, YES, they can. But, I wish they’d send someone here to rearrange all my scenes to make my 50,000 words into something that you’d want to read.

We need to write in our own style. We need to respect what works for us. Outlines, yes/no? Plotting, yes/no? 1200 words a day, yes/no. Writing from home, sneaking time at the office, booking a table at Starbucks, yes/no.

NaNoWriMo, I love you. I respect you. I applaud you. But, I will watch with excitement as I hear of your success as I stand on the sidelines.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kari's Kave: Daylight Savings...

Every summer I say I am going to continue getting up at 5:45 AM like I do all school year long with the kids.

Every summer I fail...

Only, this summer I actually did it. To my surprise, it was so much easier than the rest of the year. Often times I would wake up before the alarm went off. No one else in the house would be up. Just me, the coffee pot, and my computer.

It was awesome!

I finally felt like I was getting used to getting up early after all these years.

I was wrong!

This year is killing me. Why is it so much harder to get up now than it was in the summer? Lightbulb moment...duh, Kari!!!

Daylight Savings.

What the hell is daylight savings...saving??? Certainly not my sanity.

It is so dark when I get up now. My body assumes I should still be in bed. When the sun is already up, I can just pop right up and start my day. Okay, so I don't "pop" exactly. More like crawl, but the point is, I still manage to get my lazy behind up.

Life would be so much easier if the sun kept rising early. Then I would have less to grumble about. So before I leave you, inquiring minds want to know...does the sun or lack thereof affect how you start your day? For that matter, does dark and gloomy weather affect your mood and how you write? Cold and snowy days versus warm and sunny? I need sun or at least be able to see to get up easier, but I like stormy weather the best to dive into a writing marathon.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled program...or back to choose. Personally, I'm headed back to the coffee pot!

PS Pete Morin's new book Diary of a Small Fish is out today! You have to check it's awesome.

Here's a bit about Pete and his book:

When Paul Forte is indicted by a federal grand jury,everyone suspects prosecutor Bernard (don’t call him “Bernie”) Kilroy has more on his mind than justice. Then the FBI agent in charge of Paul’s case gives hima clue to the mystery: Kilroy is bent on settling an old family score, and he’s not above breaking the law to do it.

Paul is already dealing with the death of his parents and divorce from a woman he still loves. Now, with the support of an alluring grand juror, Paul must expose the vindictive prosecutor’s own corruption before the jury renders a verdict on his Osso Buco.

Pete Morin hasbeen a trial attorney, a politician, a bureaucrat, a lobbyist, and a witness(voluntary and subpoenaed) to countless outrages. He combines them all in this debut novel.

Pete’s short fiction has appeared in NEEDLE, A Magazine of Noir, Words With Jam, 100 Stories for Haiti, and Words to Music. He published many of themin a collection titled Uneasy Living, available on Amazon and Smashwords.

When he is not writing crime fiction or legal mumbo jumbo, Pete plays blues guitar in Bostonbars, enjoys the beach, food and wine with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two adult children, and on rare occasion, punches a fade wedge to a tight pin surrounded by sand or water. He lives in a money pit on the seacoast south of Boston, in an area once known as the Irish Riviera.

Pete is represented by Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Anita's Attic: Reviews - Love It! Hate It!

Reviews are part of every author's life, from your family to critique partners to the real audience...readers and reviewers. I dreaded getting reviews because I don't have very thick skin and I can sometimes take things personally, something that isn't good for an author. But since Awaken came out in May, I've been really lucky with reviews. At first, I couldn't find a bad one. The worst I had was "loved it but got a bit cluttered" or something like that. But from listening to other author's experiences, I knew bad reviews would eventually find me, and they did. The amazing thing is THEY DIDN'T BOTHER ME. I just laughed. I think my husband got more upset than I did. And it proved that readers do have different tastes. As you’ll see from the reviews I’m posting here, what one reader loved, another hated.
After 20%, the amount of leaps in logic and lack of world building have me at a loss…
...the world that Clenney has created is fascinating and has great potential for many books. I enjoyed the fact that the author paid attention to every detail, she gave you enough information to keep you puzzled in one chapter but held the answer until further into the book. I just couldn't put the book down… I can't wait for the next book!
I had high hopes for this story, but was disappointed. …At 50% of my way through the Kindle version, I had figured out the plot.
I cussed this book up one side and down the other. It took so many twists and turns, I wasn't sure where it was going. When it finally got there I was worn slap out, but deliriously happy. This is a PHENOMENAL book. A great debut to a new MUST READ series.
I had a difficult time getting through the middle. The romance was good, but the story was lacking. Too much talking about the same topic and not enough action. The reunion with the introduction of so many ancillary characters strikes me as a mere set up for sequels. I skimmed this section (twiddling my thumbs) wondering when I'd get to the denouement. I wasn't the least bit interested in these reunion characters.
I think I enjoyed this story more in the second half. Once they had tracked down Faelan's family (the descendants of his brothers and sister). It was great to all of a sudden have a load of new people involved in the story.
I literally do not know what to say about this book. It ended. I read the last page. I did not want it to end. I read the last page again. It still ended…It's not that the book didn't come to a wonderful, climatic ending. It did. I just did not want it to end. It was action packed. It was pack with intrigue and suspense.
First half of the book was just okay - definitely became more interesting once the characters went to Scotland.
Fast paced, grabbed me from the start, original complex story!
This novel had a wonderful leading couple. I was drawn into their romance and thought that the issues they faced were well thought-out and expressed. Where this novel flopped for me was the lack of plot editing. There were more loose ends than I can stand to list…
The storyline that ran through-out this book was fantastic. I really liked the whole Warriors vs Demons. The story had so many twists and turns, it constantly keeps you guessing. Just when you think you know what's going to happen and who the bad guy's are... something else happens and completely throws you off the scent. It was beyond genius!
The storyline was just magic.
The premise for the book was interesting enough but I couldn't get past the bad writing. I am glad I only paid 99 cents, but am disgusted at my wasted hours spent hoping it would get better. It never did. It had a great premise. If it was edited to 1/2 the pages and their attraction was more believable, I may have enjoyed it. Instead I am just angry about my invested time.
I loved this book from the very first page. The writing was evocative, had a lovely touch of humour and lots of sensitivity. The story had plenty of action, romance and mystery, and I so much wanted to spend more time with the Warrior, Faelan that I re read the book as soon as I finished it.
I must say it quickly became a favorite read. I don't know if I can recall any book ever making me so worried or so warm and gooey - sometimes all at once.
Bloody hell where to do I even start... It was INCREDIBLE! I was sucked straight into the story from the very first page to the very last word.

This shows that two readers can love or hate the same thing in a book. It’s all subjective, and as writers we have to remember that the review does not define the writer. However, I have learned a lot from the negative comments. For one thing, I’ve had a lot of comments about Bree. Everyone wants to know what the mystery with Bree is. I was trying to leave it to be revealed in the second book, but in hindsight I wish I had tied up her mystery a little better. I’ll always have mysteries that will play out over a series, but in future books I’ll try to find a way to leave the reader feeling as if it's been solved, then hit them with a shock in the next book. Also, one reader pointed out that I have too many questions in my writing, and she's right. I do have a lot, maybe too many. It didn't bother most readers, but I can certainly tone it down.

So from the good and bad reviews, I can glean something that will make me examine my writing and perhaps become a better writer, but the ugly ones are usually just bitter readers who wish they could write. Those I'll ignore.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Liz's Lair: Trust me!

Yesterday, we celebrated my son's birthday, and everyone came here for one of his favorite meals. My son and daughter-in-law have two girls, Ellie, who is 2½ and Alice Elizabeth, was is six months old. They use the Ferber method to get the kids to sleep on their own at night. It involves setting a bedtime routine and following it religiously. Although I'm not sure I could do it myself, I am amazed at the results. The girls go down without a problem for naps and at bedtime.


Today, Alice wasn't feeling 100%, and she managed to get herself so tired, she wouldn't cooperate. When I went in to console her, I lay down on the bed beside her, and she immediately stopped crying and turned on her side, close enough to touch me. As I patted her bottom, she stared into my eyes for a few minutes before going to sleep.

I can't even tell you the way I felt with that beautiful child's hand on my face. It dawned on me, even at the early age of six months, this baby trusted me and felt secure with me beside her.

Caden, my daughter’s 3 ½ year-old, had severe colic and milk allergies when he was a baby. It was so bad we had to make a schedule for his round-the-clock care because nobody could do it longer than eight hours. On my shifts I held him nearly the entire time. And I had a certain way I would hold him that would calm him down. Fortunately, with the help of a special formula, the colic disappeared when he was 3 months old. But even today Caden and I have a special bond. He trusts me implicitly.

Thinking about what to blog about this week, I decided trust would be a great topic in light of what I just shared with you.

This week, MORTAL DECEPTION will make its debut on Amazon, and a lot of people have been waiting patiently for it. (It was a whole lot more involved than I could even imagine!) Although MD is a great mystery with a plot that might bring a tear or two to your eyes, it's not a cozy.

I've said before I write two kinds of mysteries, straight and cozy. For those who might not know the difference, cozies are usually set in a small town with an amateur sleuth who just happens to fall in the middle of a murder. Usually, they are theme based "Coffeehouse mysteries by Cleo Coyle, Fortune Teller mysteries by Kari Lee Townsend, Mind Over Murder mysteries by Rochelle Staab.) If there is sex in a cozy, it's very little and behind closed doors. IXNEY on bad language and gruesome murder scenes, although the new cozies have a few "naughty words."

Straight mysteries, on the other hand, have no such rules. Anything goes. So, in order not to confuse my cozy readers with the mainstream mystery lovers, I decided to write the cozies and only the cozies as Liz Lipperman. My mainstream mystery/suspense novels will be written with my pseudonym, Liz Roth, which is actually my maiden name. Look for another of my mainstream mysteries, SHATTERED DREAMS, next February.

MD is a straight mystery, and as such, has sex and language, but it's a great plot with characters I adore. To celebrate the release of my cozy, LIVER LET DIE, coming Tuesday, October 4, I'm offering MD for $.99 throughout the entire month.

Cozy readers can trust when they pick up a Liz Lipperman book that they will not be surprised. On the same token, readers of Liz Roth will know they are getting a mainstream mystery that isn’t PG rated.

So, now I want to know what are some other ways writers can gain the trust of the reader? Or if you are a reader, I'd love for you to tell us why you stay loyal to certain authors. One lucky commenter will receive a download of MD when it comes out this week.

To tickle your interest, here's the trailer. Disregard the Liz Lipperman.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Barbie's Bunkhouse: Or should I say Laboratory???

OMG...Schedule the flippin labotomy because I need a new brain!!!!!!!

Seriously, this is soooo not pretty this morning. Oh, I remembered my blog yesterday afternoon around 4:00 while driving to my daughters soccer game and reminded myself to put it together that evening. Left the game by 6 to make it to her open house at school and was there til 8:30. got home to find frustrated hubby (who drove from Montreal to son's football game in the city, and left at half time to come to Diva's first ever school soccer game) who's over tired, hungry, had many glasses of wine during my absence, and couldn't figure out how to help #1 son create a line graph in excel for his science lab data.

so guess who was up til midnight trying to figure it out??? Oh yeah..that would be me. I love my spreadsheets, but damned if I could figure out how to do it. We would get parts of it, but couldn't manipulate the actual data the way he needed to. ugh. It was more frustrating than trying to get your alpha male hero to show his softer side while saving the heroine during heavy gunfire. aint happening.

But at 8:30 this morning (after struggling and vowing I would figure it out) - I DID!!! and I sent #1 son a text telling him I got it!! he' very proud of me.

I ended up transitioning to the usual home mumbo-jumbo of things I put off all week because if I'm not running around, I'm attempting to put some freaking words on the page. My Novella MUST get done before I decide to have a bon-fire with it and everything else in the back yard!!! Hey, I told you this wasn't pretty - yet you kept reading.

As I was checking emails it suddenly dawned on me that today is my day to post on the blog. I had a panic moment to say the least. But now I'm sitting with my disney glass full of wine, composing my thoughts and getting read to spend the next hour and a half in my story before the afternoon crazy errupts.

I'm ready. I had my tea leaves read by our very own Kari Lee Townsend and I'm waiting to see if it comes true. we clearly saw the number 4 in the center of the future side of the cup which we interpretted to mean 4 weeks, and then we saw either a bear or a sheep meaning I needed to be patient and not rush things. So basically we just finished out week one. I have 3 more weeks to hear what we hope will be good news about my cozy submission (or anything else for that matter!) And if it all will hear me scream across the Americas and beyond.

So okay, maybe I don't necessarily need a labotomy. I'm just vain enough not to want the scar through my head. (ewww) I do think I need some definite GIRL TIME and allocated WRITING TIME. But on the other hand, Laboratory isn't too bad either cuz I could certainly experiment with beverage combo's and tweaking up a couple story lines on some projects I'm working on.

Go forth and write - or read if you're not a writer. Enjoy the weekend and find time for the things that mean the most!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cassy's Corner- Serendipity

As I have said in prior postings, my husband and I are in Italy. We return home in a few days, which will be a shock to our systems. I really don’t know where the month has gone. There have been so many moments over the last weeks that could easily become scenes in one of my books, scenes that would be slightly over the top if I didn’t know them to be true.
I have been silent for the last few days as we had to travel to Forte dei Marmi for business Jon needed to manage. I didn’t take my computer, hence no rapid typing of email. On our drive back my GPS talking lady directed us on a path we weren’t used to taking. Okay, we thought, a new route. We’re always open to an adventure. The drive was lovely. Until, that is, we realized we were not only totally lost but couldn’t figure out how to solve it.
Now understand, we had my iPhone with all its maps and various apps that keep you on track. We had two  regular maps. We had two people (Jon and me) who really did know the area. We had GPS. And, we were lost. When we passed the same building for the fourth time we began laughing until tears flowed down our cheeks. Originally we thought we’d stop for some lunch on our way back. Now we were just hoping to know how to get back.
I kept digging euro out of my bag as we went on and off the A1 so many times I lost count-- 13 euro in tolls (18.55 dollars to be exact), and the same damn buildings kept showing up. Sometimes they were on the right, and sometimes on the left. Truly, we thought we were nutty. It was like being caught in a time warp we couldn’t decipher.
In the spirit of “making lemonade,” we decided that this was an opportunity to visit a unique hotel, just to check it out. My husband monitors properties all over the world and this one has been on his list. It’s one of the side effects of being married to an architect. So, I typed in the new coordinates for the hotel and without knowing if our GPS system would yet again fail us, we headed into the deep countryside. Folks, I’m talking deep countryside. No sign of much more than brown corn fields, sunflowers long gone, and very few markings for letting you know where you are.
Yes, we made it. Our decision was to stretch out our backs from the hours in the car, use the facilities, and have a glass of wine- just a short stop over before we ventured home. Right? We had the wine, used the bathrooms and giggling,  decided to spend the night. It’s a wonderful thousand year old convent transformed into a hotel. Why not stay? Serendipity can’t be over rated.
So, we went to the front desk to reserve a room- TA DA! As we entered the building, Jon let out a whoop. Please know, Jon never “whoops.” Standing at the desk was his old roommate from graduate school. They lived together for 3 years. They worked for the same firm for 15 years. His former wife was the maid of honor at our wedding. We have more stories than, as my mother-in-law says, Carter has pills.
The evening was fun. We had drinks before dinner, a long dinner of getting caught up and a real sense of reconnection.
Who would think that 8 or 9 thousand miles from home we’d find an old friend out in the middle of no where? All because our GPS system led us astray. Rather, led us in exactly the right direction.
Now I need to figure out how to write about this without it seeming totally unbelievable.

Kari's Kave: QR code...what the heck is that?

Okay, so I'm always looking for the latest and greatest. I came across this post and was so excited. This is the coolest thing I've seen in a long time.

It's called a QR code. (Quick Response code)

It looks like a small square bar code and basically has a link to whatever you want (your website, the page to buy your book, etc) embedded within it. You put it on your bookmarks, business cards, T-shirt, flyer, etc. Anything at all. People with cell phones (ahem...basically everyone) can download an app. Then when they use their camera phones, it will take them directly to whatever link you attach it to immediately. A link to buy your book, a link to your website, etc.

Here is the link to Robin Sullivan's blog. She knows a ton about marketing and publicity. Her blog is worth following for sure.

And then you might be wondering how to create these codes. It's not that hard. Here is another link that will take you to a site for generating QR codes.

Here's another site for generating QR codes

Here's a great article for finding QR code reading devices for your camera phones

Well, that's about it for now. Anyone else find anything new and really cool out there? Inquiring minds want to know :-)

PS...I am giving a book signing at the Barnes and Noble in Dewitt New York on Erie Blvd. from 7 to 9 pm tonight! I will be reading an excerpt from Tempest in the Tea Leaves and then giving a tea leaf reading demonstration by reading our very own Barbie Jo's tea leaves. Followed by a short Q&A and then signing books. Anyone in the area, stop by. Everyone else...wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Anita's Attic: Embrace the Highland Warrior Excerpt

I remember when I first sold. It seemed I waited forever for the book to come out. Now, Awaken has been out for four and a half months and time is flying. I can't keep up. Embrace the Highland Warrior will be out in just six weeks, and I'm not ready for the whirlwind that a pub month brings. Where did the time go? I'm posting an excerpt from Embrace. Cody and Shay have a lot of history and a lot of sparks.

Cody sighed. Might as well get it over with. He removed the shackles, returned them, and bent over her. “Shay, wake up.”

Her eyes flew open. She planted both hands against his chest and shoved, knocking him on his back, then sprang on top of him. “How dare you handcuff me to a bed?” she yelled, punctuating each word with a shake that rattled his brain. He didn’t fight back. She had to get it out of her system, and he didn’t blame her. He’d be more than pissed if someone shackled him.

She landed a fist into his stomach, and the breath rushed out of him. Okay, enough was enough. He captured her hands and rolled, trapping her under him.

“Get off me, you oaf.”

“I’ll get off when you stop beating the snot out of me.”

She let out a war cry and lunged for his throat, teeth bared. Intrigued, he hesitated a second too long, and she sank her teeth into his neck. A jolt of desire shot straight to his groin. He’d never been one for the rough stuff, but damn! He pulled back before she could do more than leave a bruise. He trapped her legs with his and held her hands above her head, letting his full weight press her into the soft mattress. She still struggled but could move only enough to get him excited.

“I’m sorry, Shay. I had to do it. It was too dangerous to let you go traipsing through the woods. I had to keep you safe.”

“What if he was hiding in one of the other bedrooms and sneaked in here while I was handcuffed to the bed? You left me so I couldn’t even protect myself.”

“Lach heard him out in the woods, but that’s why I locked the door, just in case. If this guy had broken it down to get to you, you would’ve screamed, and I would’ve come running. I was never far from the house.” He’d heard every name she called him.

Her eyes still flashed fire, but her breath was steadier, and she kept glancing at his mouth. He thought that was a good thing. He wondered if she’d calmed enough not to hit him, because he should move. She had to notice the effect all the wiggling around was having on him. He felt her hips push against his, and he groaned. He relaxed his grip and lowered his head, letting his lips touch her chin. He kissed his way to her mouth, and she head butted him in the nose.

While the stars exploded in his head, she shoved him aside and bolted out the door. He jumped up and went after her as she pounded down the stairs. He caught up with her outside. She was swinging her purse like a whip, headed for the car.

"Where are you going?” he demanded.

“Get away from me.”

“You can’t leave.”

“Watch me.” She opened the door. “I’m tired of people hiding things from me. I thought you were going to stop. Now you’re handcuffing me to the bed.”

“I explained it to you.”

“Don’t touch me,” she said, jerking away when he grabbed her arm.

“You’re not leaving.”

Shay straightened her shoulders. “You can’t stop me.”

He grabbed her, tossed her over his shoulder, kicked the car door shut, and stomped up the steps.

“Put me down!” Shay kicked and twisted, cursing at him. He dumped her on her feet inside the door.

She blew her hair out of her face, and as soon as she could see, she threw a punch at his chin. He deflected it and grabbed her arm. “Stop hitting me.”

“How dare you throw me over your shoulder like some kind of caveman,” she spat, trying to wrench her arm free. It didn’t work, so she used her knee.

“Ah, not there.” Cody trapped her knee. “I made the mistake of letting you leave here nine years ago without listening to me. By God, I won’t do it again. You’ll listen if I have to sit on you,” he growled.

She drew back her other arm, and before she could throw the punch, he had her on the floor and was sitting astride her, pinning her wrists to the floor. She bucked and twisted, but he held her down.

“We can do this all night if you want, but you’re going to listen to me this time.”

“Listen to more lies? You’re still hiding things from me. Like the fact that you have Nina’s entire house under surveillance. Like the fact that you’ve got a Bat Cave in your basement. Like the fact that you were in Scotland when the stalking started.”

“You think I’m your stalker?” he yelled. “Me! I’m trying to keep you alive. We’re all trying to keep you alive. That’s what the clan’s been doing your whole damned life, trying to keep you alive! And just like always, you’re making it hard as hell. Your father wasn’t a bloody spy, and that thing in your living room wasn’t a man!”

Monday, September 19, 2011

Liz's Lair: Analogies Gone Bad!

I am a confessed analogy freak. I love reading them, but I really love making up my own. I used to be the queen of clichés, but my agent hollered at me so much, I switched to analogies. Now she just shakes her head when she reads my stuff. She tried her damndest, but she couldn't tame me. In my defense, my editor likes most of the ones I use and even comments with LOL in the bubbles on track changes.

I have to admit I go out of my way to avoid clichés because let's face it, it's one day at a time for me as I mentioned. But seriously, I just don't understand what all the fuss is about. If I said I was three sheets to the wind, you'd know I was a tad tipsy. Slept like a log, lying like a rug, drop-dead gorgeous, sweating like a pig, ants in his pants, ace in a hole, barking up the wrong tree – – oy vey – – you get the point, but honestly, I couldn't have painted you a more vivid picture. In each of those cases, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

So I decided to go back over my own manuscript to show you a few of the analogies that tickled my agent/editor/or just me.

He was dark and brooding, as if he'd just been told his pony finished fourth.

Her stomach growled like a mother bear protecting her cubs.

She whirled around, expecting her little bubble of excitement to burst like a piñata at a birthday party with eight-year-old boys on a sugar high.

He would've gone down faster than the Titanic if the younger man had suddenly gone Rambo on her.

When the man turned to face her and flashed his pearly whites, Jordan's heart began to beat like a drummer on speed.

That's not gonna happen my dear. I've seen you drive. You’re like Jeff Gordon on a Red Bull high.

You have to admit analogies give you a pretty good picture without using an adverb. I Googled bad analogies and found the list that supposedly came from high school kids who were asked to write an analogy. Here are my picks for the funniest.

Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a ThighMaster.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.”

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

When she spoke he thought he heard bells, as if she were garbage truck backing up.

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

And my favorite: Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

So that's what I did all day yesterday—read analogies on the Internet and cracked up. I'd really love to hear some of your analogies from your own work. I'll ask my blog mates to pick a winner from one lucky commenter who will win a free download of MORTAL DECEPTION if I ever get it on Amazon. (It’s coming. I promise.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Barbie's Bunkhouse: Is Fall FINALLY here?

Thank you my FaceBook friends to answered my plea for blog topics! I now have a file for future use. Now...if I could just go back in time to around 2007...back to when I was more organized and in control of my life - then MAYBE I'd be on time to post!! Ugh!!

But Today's post is about Fall, or Autumn as some like to call it. MY FAVORITE season!!! Fall brings on cooler temperatures - cuz we all know how Barbie feels about heat and humidity (insert growl). My house was actually cold this morning, and the outside temp at 5:45 a.m. was 41 degrees. YES!! If it could stay anywhere from 45-80 degrees and NO humidity, Barbie Jo would be a VERY happy woman! Let's just say, I have always had an overactive internal furnace, I am warm year-round and have been known to wear sleeveless blouses to work in the dead of winter. I'm just hoping as I get older I don't get hot flashes...I get cold freezes! Cuz my circuits are fried enough. And based on this summers crazy and unseasonably high temperatures - I've told my husband we may just be retired NORTH. (like Canada)

Here in the Northeast, Fall also brings the picturesque changing of the leaves. Our colors are beautiful, and people travel from far away just to cruise the Catskills and Adirondacks. These folks are called "Leaf Peepers". I don't have to travel, as I have this beauty right in my own back yard. Now, raking the fallen leaves is a different story, but it's great exercise and even more fun to get a huge pile and jump into them - brings out the kid in everyone!

Apples are getting ripe, pumpkins and squash are getting big and ready to pick. Hayrides and corn mazes are always a fun time with family. Oh, and let's not forget the smell of warm cider, woodstoves or firepits, and the scent of leaves in the crisp cool air.

Let's not forget - fall means FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!! Love it, Love it, Love it!!! High School, College, NFL - it's all good! Did I say I love it?? :-)

I must say I transfer my love of the Fall season into my writing. My stories almost always take place in either the Fall or Spring. Occasionally I will use summer, or LATE summer (ha ha), but mostly Fall. Fall means snuggle weather (perfect for a budding romance)! To me there is nothing better than going for a walk on a cool morning or afternoon with someone you love, talking and enjoying the beautiful scnery that is Fall. *sighe* Or snuggling on the couch in front of the fire and watching football on a Sunday afternoon! (which isn't conducive to my writing, but has been known to happen)

Well, Fall doesn't "officially" happen until October - but I welcome it today with open arms and cheers of joy! Farewell ungodly heat and stupid humidity! Goodbye mosquitoes! Hello hot chocolate and months of snuggles!

I'm sure the impression of Fall is quite different based on your geographic location. So do any of you welcome Fall? Is it a fav season? What are the things you look forward to and enjoy as the temperature drops?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cassy's Corner- Adjectives and Adverbs

I scheduled this post yesterday to show up early today. I've been traveling today and this is the first chance I've had to log on. I found the file and am now reposting it. My apologies for the delay. Cassy

We all have been lectured that using adjectives and adverbs in excess, or even at all, is a sign of poor writing. I don’t know how many times I’ve read or heard, “show don’t tell.” Yet, many of the hugely successful writers use them—all the “ly” words and the flowerily descriptions. Of course they can get away with it; they are the big guys. But, really, do we need to put all the modifiers in the trash can?

I have been on a bit of a mission lately. I’m reading book after book across genres with an attempt to better understand what grabs me and what doesn’t. I’m on a self- constructed learning curve. Of course being by the pool in Tuscany doesn’t hurt the process. I even noticed that my dear husband worked through a “Nora” to understand what I’m fussing with. He said he skipped all the romance scenes, which makes me wonder what was really left over. I never asked him to read it, his choice.

But back to the point. Does one have to have thousands in sales to have permission to use an adjective?

I rewrote a scene yesterday. It was not over the top with description, but yes, there was a mention of the sky, the color of the sunflowers, and a sense of the breeze. I’m in Italy, how can you escape all of that? I then rewrote the scene and tried to get rid of the meandering prose. My protagonist fussed about the dilemmas facing her as the flowers did wave in the mild wind, without much comment on my part. Yuck. It didn’t feel the same.

I am not proposing that we write the flowery excessive lines that make one want to cringe. I am proposing that we allow our readers to join us on our adventure. And, that takes adjectives and adverbs to differentiate the average from the extraordinary.

When you write and then edit, do you find that you need to expunge the descriptors? Do your characters “think” outloud so your readers follow the train of thought? How do you create smell, taste, touch, fear, anxiety, desperation? Are there words that keep reappearing in your text that over time lose their punch?