Wednesday, March 27, 2013

End of Book Craziness

Yes, I'm at the end of the book, almost at deadline, and I'm pulling my hair out.  See, I have a little secret.  I *hate* writing the end of a book.  No, not because I'm going to miss living in this world with these people.  By now, I'm pretty tired of them and want them to get together and go off and live their imaginary lives without me.  I hate the end of the book because it's damn difficult to write.

There's a fine line between maudlin and touching.  I puzzle over striking the right balance between a satisfying ending and one that's over the top and hokey.  We all know they're going to get together in the end.  It's a romance, after all.  The HEA is guaranteed.  It's the how and why and what he says and what she says and does etc.  Do I write a wedding?  Or just the proposal and acceptance?  Is it enough that they confess their love?  (Not usually.) 

So I'm there in the current book.   And complaining.  Loudly. 

Sigh, I'd better get back to writing it.  I'm right there, and the book will be finished today. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Musings

So last night I was reading and half-heartedly watching American Idol and I sent myself an email to remember to blog about the book I'm reading.  It's unlike anything I've ever read.

I'll get to that in a moment.   First up, on an email loop I'm on, someone mentioned this article.

Self-Published Authors Are the Cool Kids

It's very true.  It used to be, if you self-published, it was only because no one else wanted your stuff.

These days, some of the most amazing things are happening.  I heard Belle Andre speak at the Novelists, Inc. Conference in NY last October and her story was jaw-dropping.  The same with Barbara Freethy. 

And then I read this article - hugh-howey/self-published-book-wool-movie  and knew I had to buy this book on Kindle.  This is the book I'm reading.  It is amazing - interesting story, totally well written (the detail of the writing makes me envious!)  It will make a great movie too.

Like a lot of authors, I've published my backlist.  Those ten books are doing ok, providing me with some income.  Ok, the amount suprised me when tax time came.    I'm under contract, constantly on deadline (I'm nearing the end of a six book contract), but like a lot of authors, I have other stories swirling around in my head waiting to be written. 

For the first time ever, I'm considering writing a book and self-publishing it.  But on the other side of that coin, I have a fabulous agent, and might let her shop the book if I ever finish it.  (I'm bad about that.  Writing the contracted books takes all of my time, so I never get around to writing anything else.)

So, what's an author to do?  Like everyone who works for a living, I'd like to make more money.  I'll have to think about it.

And continue to write.  And write.  And write. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Karen Whiddon on 

Click the above to see my .99 ebook Want You Back (Previously published by Kensington Precious Gems)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Sorry I've been a bit remiss in posting here.  I'm down to the wire - my book is due in less than two weeks, plus I have the final galleys to proof on another book, so I'm super busy. But oh - the Boxer Rescue people are coming to do my home evaluation this weekend!  I'm oddly nervous, like one gets for a job interview at a job you really, really want.  Pick me!  Pick me!  I'm sure I'll get over that, especially once we start talking about dogs. 

I walk for 20 minutes every morning, and again at lunch, and again right before dinner.  This sunrise greeted me when I walked outside yesterday.

Beautiful, isn't it? 

On another note, some of you might remember the ducks that appeared in my pool last year.  They're Mallards, and last year they showed up on April 4.  This year, they appeared earlier. 

My dogs want to kill them.  I have to run out there and chase them off.  (Plus I don't want them in my pool.  Ducks = duck poo = yuck!)

So anyway, I've got to get back to work.  here are my three fur kids, squinting into the sun.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ummmm. Friday

Today's going to be one of those random post Fridays.  Freaky Friday?  No.  Frivolous Friday? Nah.
Ok, so we'll stick with just "Friday".  Come to think of it, this post is too serious for any kind of moniker.

I have wanted to volunteer for animal rescue for a long time.  First I said, once I no longer work full time.  Once I began working from home, I filled out an application and they came back saying since my female Boxer (then a puppy) wasn't spayed, I couldn't volunteer.

So.  Time passed, she got older, I got her spayed.  I filled out the application and planned to send it in right after Christmas.  And my husband Lonnie had health issues.

So now.  Yesterday on Facebook, Legacy Boxer rescue posted a dog they were pulling from an area shelter.  No matter that he wasn't pure Boxer (usually they only rescue Boxers).  This pup had been starved and had Demodex Mange so bad that his skin had become infected.  He was emaciated and so weak he could barely move.  They were going to pull him this morning, but desperately needed a foster home.

I couldn't not volunteer.  I contacted the head of the rescue, sent my app in and scanned and emailed my dogs medical records.  I talked to my husband and we were prepared to try and help this dog any way we could. 

But another person, already an approved foster home, stepped in.  The dog is now at the vet, where they are trying to save his life.  His body temp is only 93 (normal is around 102).  They are asking for prayers.  I gave those, of course.  Everytime they post a picture of him, I cry.  How anyone could do such a thing to a poor, defenseless animal, astounds me.

I'm glad someone stepped in to help him.  But I'm now ready to try and do my part.  Some people are called to volunteer with the homeless (Hai Lavenia and Dixie), others work with children.  My calling is to help with animals.  This is what I want to do.  So I emailed the Boxer Rescue and asked them to continue to process my application, so I could be approved for the next dog that needed urgent help. 

When I was in church the other Sunday, something the pastor said resonated with me.  This happens frequently, as in the "Forgiveness of others is a gift you give yourself."  This time, the pastor said "It's time to take action when God calls on you to help.  Quit saying someday.  Do it.  Do it now."

And so I will.  I will do whatever I am able, to help those poor creatures who cannot help themselves.  I don't have a lot of spare money, so I can't give a lot of that.  But I do have time.  And love.  This, I can give.

Author's note:  A few hours after I posted this, that poor, abused dog passed away.  Despite the vet's efforts to save him, his poor heart gave out.  I hope there's a special place in hell for whoever treated this dog that way.  My heart is broken.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ideas and Plagarism

Recently, I learned an unpublished author brought a lawsuit against a published author and her publisher (in this case Harlequin, which is also my publisher) for allegedly plagarising from her contest entry.  It didn't matter that Kate Walker hadn't even judged the contest, this person believed because of random things like patent leather shoes and eye and hair color, as well as unplanned pregnancy, that her "idea" was stolen.  I can only believe this plaintiff didn't read a lot of romance, or she'd have been suing hundred of authors. 

The judge, of course, dismissed the suit.  The entire thing is here, if you're so inclined to read it.

It reminds me of when I used to attend chapter meetings and an unpublished author I used to critique with was so worried someone would steal her idea.  Or of the random people who have come up to me over the years and offered to give me their idea and "let" me write the story, and we could split the profit.  As if the idea is the hard part.  I have so many ideas, I couldn't possibly write them all.

You can take ten authors and give them the same idea, along with the same plot elements (example, unplanned pregnancy), and ask them to write a story.  All ten - every, single one - will be completely and utterly different.  Why?  Because it's breathing life to the story, writing the characters and their backstory, working out the resolution,where originality comes in.   We all bring something unusual to the table, something uniquely personal.

Take one movie idea - an asteroid hits the earth and wipes out civilization as we know it.  Make three movies with the same idea.  All different.

I feel for Kate.  She's been through hell this past year, over something she had no control over.  She didn't judge the contest, she'd never seen the entry, and there was no plagarism.   So I'm going to buy her book on Kindle.  The Proud Wife is here, if you want to show your support.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time Change and Monday

It's Monday.  I told you I'd see you on the other side of the weekend.  We went through Daylight Savings Time this past weekend.  Is it just me, or is it getting earlier and earlier?  Personally, I despise changing the time.  I hate getting up in the dark and it staying light until later.  It's supposed to be light in the mornings, not at night.  But that said, I'd rather it stay on one time forever than keep changing.  Even if we stay on DST.  Changing is inconvenient and the dogs hate it (me too.)

Ok, rant over.

We are in a new week and I'm powering up to do some heavy duty writing.  I get pretty regular emails from people wanting to know what to do if they want to write a book, and I direct them to my fellow author Laura Resnick's web page Writers Resource.  She clearly has spent a lot of time compiling this page and I'm too lazy to put in the same amount of work, so check it out if you want to write a book. 

Meanwhile, I've got some writing to do. (PS, I've gotten used to this keyboard now.  Sort of.)

Friday, March 8, 2013


It;'s Friday.  I have several random thoughts to post today, some of them on writing and others not.

My friend Stephanie Doyle has an awesome post today Storytelling Rules about how, even after 15 published books, she still feels like she doesn't know what she's doing.  Her newest Harlequin SuperRomance is out and I can guarantee you it's a good read.  Check out her blog too - it hit a chord with me too.  (I seriously typed a comment, it said it was accepted, and it never showed up.  I tried again, same deal.  I just don't get it!!)

Anyway, the book I'm writing right now will be my 36th published book.  And, like Stephanie, I often feel like I have no idea what I'm doing.   She nentions she can't tell the difference between the book that got nominated for a Rita last year (which I read, and it was fabulous!) and any other book she's written.  I'm the same way about my books.  The book I have coming out in September - The Lost Wolf's Destiny - is one my agent says is my best book yet.  She said that about The Wolf Prince too, which is out now.  Yet, like Stephanie, each and every book is my favorite while I'm writing it.  Some, like the The Millionaire Cowboy's Secret, which is out in May, I'll never forget because that's the one that I accidently deleted, permanently, I may add, the last two chapters within five minutes of finishing the book.  I spent the entire Saturday before the book was due rewriting - as best I could from memory - the last forty pages.  Oy!

But as to what's good and what's great - well, that's entirely subjective.  (Side note, I just finished reading Kristan Higgins The Best Man.  Loved that book - adore all of her books.  And Romantic Times gave that book a 2.  Yep.  And for all of the reasons I loved it.  I had even commented to my friend Anna Adams how well Kristan Higgins writes men.  Shrug.)

I can give writer tips to non-published writers, but since everything seems to change book to book, what might be a valid tool on one book is not on another.  Yep, there's stuff I learn inherently over time and many books, but there is also stuff  I struggle with on each and every book.  Sometimes it's different stuff.  Go figure.

I'm finally over my cold (yay!) mostly.  However, the cold store from hell has struck, so I'm stuck in the house until that goes away. 

Simple pleasures - still adore my Sodastream.  Just had to refill the CO2 cartridge.  I have every flavor and enjoy making diffent ones each day.  Both my daughter and my father have/had birthdays this month, and both wanted a Keurig, so it will be interesting to see how they like those. 

Last random thought - I'm so glad the United States finally passed the Violence Against Women Act.  Those of you who know me are aware I've lived through that horror a long time ago and by the grace of God, I made it without getting killed.  Yet the terror/shame/sorrow of those times never leaves me, and I am so glad that other women will get the help I never could.  And I hope and pray that it saves lives.

Have a wonderful weekend!  See you on the other side.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Tuesday.  Still sick, but feeling like I might be rounding the corner on the way to getting better.  My husband went and got a new 10 pack of Puffs Tissue and my father came by with something called Cold Eeez.  I actually slept last night and this morning I'm not quite as bad off - Yay!  Still sick, but I can see the wellness.  I took Garlic yesterday as well and drank a big glass of V-8 juice.  Shrug.  Giving my body all the help I can!
This morning I cut up and onion, two stalks of celery, peeled and chopped two sweet potatoes, and put them in the crock pot along with chopped garlic, chopped collard greens, low sodium chicken broth, two boneless chicken breasts, and seasonings.  It will cook all day, then I'll shred the chicken and we'll have a healthy chicken stew.  I've made this three or four times before and it's always yummy.  And for me, there's something theraputic about the act of prepping vegetables.  Not sure why, but I think about my current work in progress and work out plot problems.  So it's all good.

A cold front came through, changing out record tying 89 degrees to 40 with howling winds when I got up this morning.  Our high temp today is only supposed to be in the low 50's.  Much more suited for March, which has always been windy.

Here's a picture from when I made this same chicken stew back in October.  Yumm!

Monday, March 4, 2013


I have been sick all weekend.  It's just a cold, but it's that kind of annoying cold that keeps you up all night.  I've gone through more boxes of tissue than I care to count (I should have bought stock in Puffs!)

I was feeling too cruddy to go out to eat on Friday night, though on Saturday I sucked it up and went to breakfast since it was my daughter's birthday.  I also went on a short shopping expidition with her - she bought SHOES!  I can see she inherited that trait from me.

But yesterday I even skipped church.  I didn't take to my bed though - I have had enough trouble sleeping at night.  I've loaded up on the Mucinex D and the generic Zyrtech, plus I've got Halls Mentho-Liptis.  And coffee, hot tea, and even cocoa.  I have work to do after all - the book is now due in less than a month.

It's really hard to write when you can't stop sneezing, your eyes are watering, and your head feels ten sizes too big! Not to mention the sore, runny nose.  Blech.  I hate colds.  But I still have to write.

So off to finish checking email so I can get to work.  And hoping my Rudolph-like nose finally clears up!