Do you have a special spot? Why I must start building a shed immediately.



I just perused an amazing series of photos showing some workspaces of famous writers. From Dylan Thomas to Roald Dahl, Virginia Woolf to Phillip Pullman, they have one thing in common, they create their magic in run down little sheds. No fancy computer desks or large screen televisions to be seen. We’re talking boathouses, bike sheds and everything in between.

It sounds rustic, doesn’t it? But to a gal who generally writes in the living room or at a desk squashed in the corner between a treadmill and a rocking chair, it’s an attractive notion. I have the urge to start construction on my own personal writing shed. I head for the hammer until I consider an important fact. I am also a mother, wife and the caretaker of an elderly dog and box turtle who will not appreciate my disappearance into my shed cave. Hmmm. I suppose my rustic writing  oasis will have to wait.

So what about you? Do you have a little spot that you call your own where you tend to your hobbies or work? Do share. And here’s a link to photos of some famous writer’s sheds. Would any of them appeal to you? Giving away a book, an amazon gift card and a fall surprise this month.



Throwback Thursday: the perils of writing about a planecrash.



It’s Throwback Thursday! Indulge me while I travel down memory lane for a moment. I wrote Turbulence in 2011. I know…ancient history!  Here is the blurb and the most unique problem I ran into while writing it.

Turbulence, blurb.
Someone wants to ensure that the flight bringing Maddie Lambert and a transplant organ to her father never reaches its destination. Someone who’s desperate enough to sabotage the plane. In the aftermath of the crash, Maddie finds herself stranded on an isolated mountain with the last man she’d ever trust again—her ex-fiancé, Dr. Paul Ford. He’s the man she blames for her family’s tragic loss, but now he’s the only one who can get her to her father in time. Yet what neither of them knows is that the danger has just begun.

The writer’s problem: The pilot I interviewed was very reluctant to tell me how to crash a plane. He was eager to share all about the safety mechanisms built into modern aircraft, and how they are extremely reliable in the hands of an experienced pilot. But Jim, I’d plead. I want to know how to CRASH the plane, not keep it in the air! Poor Jim. Went against his grain, don’t you know! In addition, my frequent flyer readers told me they  the subject matter kind of creeped them out.

Do you have a fear of flying? Or are there other modes of transportation that make you nervous? Giving away a triple prize this month. :)

Turbulence, cover

“My name is Inigo Montoya…” Can you finish this line?


My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Did you know the line? How about this one?

Mawige is what bwings us together today.”

If you got both of them, you’re a true fan of the 27 year old movie, The Princess Bride. The most amazing thing about this movie isn’t the actors (Manny Patinkin, Cary Elwes, Billy Crystal, etc.) or legendary director Rob Reiner. What’s most incredible is that the story broke the “Stick to your genre!” rule. It’s such an amalgam of comedy, adventure, love story, kids story, adult story, that the marketing department had no idea how to pitch it to audiences and pulled the movie trailers because they were so stumped. In my business, if you can’t tell the publisher where on the shelf your book fits, it’s probably not going to be contracted. That’s why it’s such a delight when a story breaks out of the box and appeals to many people in many ways. The Princess Bride did that, and that’s why it’s still beloved today.

Here’s a link to Cary Elwes’s new book about The Princess Bride, entitled As You Wish.

Are you a fan of The Princess Bride? What did you enjoy about it? Giving away a triple prize this month.


What’s your reading personality? Take a quiz!


Dog reading

We’ve all got them, those reading beliefs and behaviors that shape what kind of books we choose and how we tackle them. Are you the kind that reads everything from magazines to the back of the cereal box? Do you plod through a book with a slow start or chuck it aside? Do you go for the splashy romance or the  literary masterpiece?

Take this quickie quiz and post about your results! Giving away a triple prize this month!

Throwback Thursday: the book wherein I changed my hat


Killer Cargo Cover


This throwback Thursday I’m casting my memory back so far I might hit a dinosaur! WAAAAAAAY back in 2008, I wrote my very first book for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense. Here’s the blurb for this ancient tome.

Blurb for Killer Cargo: Transporting pet supplies–and the occasional bunny–is routine for pilot Maria de Silva. Discovering drugs amidst her shipments of kitty litter is not. Out of fuel in the Oregon wilderness, Maria barely escapes with her life when dealers meet her on the runway. She finds refuge at Cy Sheridan’s idyllic animal sanctuary–a whole new world for this girl. But Maria fears that her drug-smuggling client will take revenge against the man–and animals–she’s come to love. Is there a wolf in sheep’s clothing lurking in the woods?

The writer’s problem: This was the first time I switched from writing mystery to suspense. Sure they both involve following clues and yes, there is a mystery to be solved in each one, but the genres are different. In mystery, the focus is on solving a puzzle. In suspense, the protag is running for his/her life while solving the mystery. It’s tricky to get the hang of the pacing for a suspense vs. a mystery. No time to be cogitating on those clues and sipping tea, people! Suspense is a breakneck speed business, and it was a challenge for me in the first book to get into the swing of it.

Do you prefer mystery or suspense? Why? Giving away a signed book, an Amazon card and a fall surprise this month.


How to infuriate a romance reader…


mysterious eyes


Readers have a universal love the creative twist, the one of a kind character, the sparklingly original  plot. There are also some universally aggravating qualities that can crop up in romance novels sure to infuriate the reader. Here are my top three.

1. The “too stupid to live” heroine. I’m not sure why it is that this phenomenon usually applies to a female, but modern readers don’t tolerate stupidity in their heroines. No walking into the dark basement where the killer lurks without so much as a cell phone in her pocket. No way. Women are smart, and having them behave as if they aren’t is sure to insult readers.

2. The heroine that’s tougher than the hero. Yes, we want our heroines to be smart, strong, and resilient, but we don’t want them to overshadow the hero. They can be partners, help each other and take turns being the problem solver, but we don’t want a Rambo-esque heroine.

3.  The missing “HEA.” For those in the biz, HEA is short for “happily ever after.” It’s mandatory in a romance novel. If we’re going to sit through an entire novel, there better be a happy resolution by the end. It doesn’t have to end in a proposal (though those are nice) but we sure have to have the expectation that we’ve got that wonderful, love match. No happy ending? No happy readers!

What drives you crazy in a romance novel? Giving away a signed book, an Amazon gift card and a fall surprise!

Why you can’t name a hero Eggbert..



Let’s face it. The hero of a romantic suspense novel is just not going to be named Eggbert. Even the most skilled writer cannot morph that name into something macho (please forgive me, all the Eggberts out there.) Yes, names are important, they reflect the tone and feel of the book.

In my lighthearted romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, I can have an Aunt Bitsy and a misfit dog named Baggy. In my suspense novels? Er, not so much. In Jungle Fire, the german shepherd’s name is Axel, so the “name rules” apply to the animal kingdom too. Conversely though, it’s nice sometimes to juxtapose a very plain name on a fantastically complex hero. Case in point? Harry. Harry Potter.  Can  you get a name plainer than Harry Potter? Can you find a more complex character? Love that juxtaposition.

In romance, however, your hero is going to need a strong name (Dan, Cliff, Ryder, etc.) and your women need something that makes them relatable that fits the story. Is Buffy a great name? You bet, but not for a romantic suspense. And Bubbles, while perfect for that romantic comedy, is just not going to cut it in suspense. You see what I mean?

So how do you feel about the name your parents gave you? I am told Dana means “man from Denmark” but I always liked my name because it works for both genders and you don’t meet a million Danas around town. What about you? Love your name? Hate it? Would your name be great for a character in a romance novel?

Giving away a Target gift card, a signed book and a fall surprise in our October drawing.


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