Thursday, January 31, 2008

Taming the Beast within.

When I started working on the story that became Measure of Healing, I chose to work with cougars as my Weres for a couple of reasons. First of all, I’d never seen a Were-Cougar. I’d seen Wolves, Lions, Tigers, Bears , oh my. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) I’d even seen dragons, opossums and armadillos. These last two were in a young adult novel series about vamps and Weres. But I’d never seen a Cougar.

Then there was the way this story got started. It shares a common origin with the story being released next month by Elyssa Edwards, Mating Stone. It too is a paranormal with shape shifters. And both started as writing challenges. Neither of these two came from some sudden inspiration. Neither came from some a flash of creative insight. Both came because someone challenged me to write a story with a certain set of parameters. This time the challenge came from my friend Llew. I almost always take Llew’s challenges. She is extremely creative and a wonderful writer. One day you will all own books by Llewellyn McEllis.

Measure of Healing came about when Llew challenged a group of writers to write a fiction story based on a current events article. As I flipped through the pages of news on the internet I wondered what I could write about, I came across a story about the conservation efforts in the Everglades in Florida. Most particularly about the attempt to preserve an isolated pocket of cougars who were misnamed the Florida Panther.

This group of pumas (the official scientific term for cougars) had become cut off and had not retreated from humanity’s encroachment by fleeing westward. As man moved down the Florida peninsula, they became trapped and restricted to smaller amounts of territory, now almost exclusively living in the Glades. I’d been working on a different story about werewolves. I’ve long been fascinated by Weres. Not so much the ooh, scary man gets bitten and now howls at the moon type, as the we aren’t exactly human type. Yes, I’m a sucker for what some horror aficionados like to call the tame or “defanged” werewolf.

I heard L.A. Banks and Carrie Vaughn talking about this transformation last September. Both agreed with an opinion I’ve heard expressed by several authors of vampire and Were stories. There is something primal and sexual about the lack of control of the werewolf. The primitive, base feelings that this creature taps into are, in the correct settings, highly erotic. A Were is the ultimate alpha male. He doesn’t care about society and what the world tells him he should think or feel or want. He knows what he wants and he will move heaven and earth to get it. For a woman there can be something very sexy and satisfying if that thing your alpha Wolf…or Cougar wants is you. How he gets what he wants is the line that separates paranormal from horror. And the honest truth is there just aren’t very many horror Weres out there anymore.

So being in a Were state of mind already, I wondered what would happen, how it would impact the world if the animals being pushed toward extinction were Weres. Being intelligent and sentient live forms they would eventually decide to push back. And even more importantly, what happens to Weres if their base animals become extinct? And if the Florida Panthers were part of a larger Were community, what were they doing about the problem?

These questions formed the frame that became Measure of Healing. Alejandro Ramirez is a Florida Cougar, or at least half of him is. Dr. Gabriella St. Jerome is a human doctor whose past has become tangled in the Were world that she hates. In Measure of Healing she has to over come those feelings not just toward the Weres, but toward one in particular. Problem? If she does over come, it just might lead to the death of everyone involved.

Oh, by the way, Mating Stone, which is due out from Ellora’s Cave on February 8th came from a challenge to write a story set in February that included an amethyst, a Mardi Gras mask, a kiss and a groundhog. Were-Groundhogs? Naw…

Eternally Yours Contest

What could you spend an eternity doing? What is your passion? Your hunger? Your deepest desire?
Each day beginning February 5 and running through February 14 one of the ten authors will complete the line,
"My darling I could spend eternity…" on either their blog or website. Collect all ten answers and e-mail them to with Eternally Yours in the subject line to win some hot, romantic books. There will be three lucky Valentine winners.

The prizes –
1st prize--5 books

2nd prize--3 books

3rd prize--2 books
Entries must be in by February 16 at midnight EST. All books and prize winners will be drawn randomly.
Sandra Cox Silverhills
Mona Risk To Love a Hero
Brynn Paulin Tribute For the Goddess
Bronwyn Green Mystic Circle
Cindy Spencer Pape Stone and Earth
N.J. Walters Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke
Elyssa Edwards Mating Stone
Amarinda Jones Shades of Gray
Kelly Kirch Time for Love
Anny Cook Honeysuckle
Most of these authors will also be participating in a chat on February 4th from 1pm-8pm at Love Romances Cafe. If you have not signed up for the chat loop, it's at

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Do Not Talk Funny

I find myself saying this on a regular basis. Usually to my SO, but from time to time to others as well. It seems that though I am currently residing in a place where people "mash" buttons, "might could" do things or are "fixin ta" do things I still "talk funny."

I grew up in south central Illinois. (And just for the record, the s is silent.) Anyway, the region where I grew up was near some of the larger coal mines. When the mines in West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky failed, many of the miners relocated their families to portions of Illinois and Indiana. It wasn't until many, many years had passed that I realized that those people had had an impact on the way we speak.

I was teaching a unit on a book called Dovey Coe. This is the story of a young girl in the North Carolina mountains who is accused of murder. As I was researching the Appalachian dialects, I began to notice something. The very speech patterns they were identifying were present in mild forms in my speech and that of the people where I grew up.

While teaching Across Five Aprils (my favorite Civil War era book) I learned that yes, just like in the book, many of the people of Kentucky and Tennessee had moved into our part of Illinois and some families were divided during the war with one son fighting for the Union and one going back home to fight for the Confederacy.

We'd always heard people from Northern Illinois accuse us of having a "Southern accent," but dismissed it. It turns out they were wrong, and not wrong. People from where I grew up have an odd blended dialect that resembles mountain talk. Some examples:

We have words for some things that are different in ways that don't fit the regional differences:

fireflies= lightening bugs

ghosts =haints or haunts

valley =holler


bowl or plate =dish

We say somethings differently:

across (sounds like) across-t

wash (sounds like) wa-r-sh

squirrel...two syllables? Nope. Just one. squrrl

hoop (sounds like) hup

roof (sounds like) rough

hoof (rhymes with rough)

And my editor has helped me notice that my writing and speaking style has an odd sense of formality to it, and older pattern of words, that she rearranges from time to time. I remember a lengthy conversation about how it had to be "an herb" not "a herb."

My point? A lesson in patience I guess. The next time one of my colleagues "might-could be fixin ta mash that there button." I'll just smile and shut up.

Oh, and meet the most beautiful newborn little girl in the world. Carly Georgette has officially made me a great-aunt. And anytime that starts to bother me, I just remind myself that makes my younger sister Staci a grandmother.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wanna Win Free Books?

Eternally Yours Contest

What could you spend an eternity doing? What is your passion? Your hunger? Your deepest desire? Each day beginning February 5 and running through February 14 one of the ten authors will complete the line, "My darling I could spend eternity…" on either their blog or website. Collect all ten answers and e-mail them to with Eternally Yours in the subject line to win some hot, romantic books. There will be three lucky Valentine winners.

The prizes –
1st prize--5 books
2nd prize--3 books
3rd prize--2 books

Entries must be in by February 16 at midnight EST. All books and prize winners will be drawn randomly.

Elyssa Edwards- Mating Stone
Mona Risk- To Love a Hero
Brynn Paulin- Tribute for the Goddess
N.J. Walters -Seduction of Shamus O'Rourke
Amarinda Jones -Shades of Gray
Sandra Cox- Silverhills
Bronwyn Green -Mystic Circle
Cindy Spencer Pape -Stone and Earth
Anny Cook -Honeysuckle
Kelly Kirch -Time for Love

As a special treat, these authors will be participating in a chat on February 4th from 1pm to 8pm at Love Romances Cafe.

When Anny Cook showed me this list of books I was so jealous. I want to win them! This list includes some of my favorite authors and their exciting new releases. So climb on board, check out the blogs and websites for these authors. Find out what they could do for an eternity and win enough books to keep the last howls of winter at bay.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sunrise, Sunset

You know the old song from Fiddler on the Roof? The one they sing during the wedding scene? I was reminded of the lyrics to that song today.

"When did she get to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall? Wasn't it yesterday when they were small?"

The reason for this sudden journey into the land of show tunes? My oldest nephew just made me a great aunt and my younger sister a grandmother. Yep I said younger. At 24, settled, married, house and job under their belts, he and his wife just brought little Carly into the world. (Spelling may change depending upon when someone tells me for certain.)

I'm telling you it's not possible. Just the other day he was three years old, riding his first bike-that I bought for him- and falling off of it (yes editor of mine, I just typed off of). I know it wasn't more than a day or two ago that he was dressed up like a ninja, running around trick-or-treating. I swear yesterday he was going to his first school dance. He can't possibly be becoming a daddy!

I guess perhaps this has all been a bit more of a bitter pill to swallow since we recently made a very important decision in my house. We've decided to try to have a baby. My SO is 11 years my junior and has just reached the time when having a family has become important. It's been a hard sell for me. I was there about five years ago and thought I had moved on. But now we have decided that it is what we both want.


I worry that I'm too old. That I won't have enough energy. That I'll be a bad parent. And most terrifying of all, what if it doesn't work? What if now that we are actually going to try, actually going to want this, what if the answer from the great powers that be is, "No"?

So when I look at my nephew I see his youth. I see my lack of it. I see them tackling something that at 24 I was in no way ready for. Something I was afraid to try too soon, and now fear I may have left too late.

Monday, January 21, 2008

MeMe'd x3

Okay my friends, I've been meme'd three times over. For those of you who don't know what this means, it means I've been "blog-tagged" and have to give out six random facts about myself. Well, you're only getting six, not 18 because...well...frankly, I'm not that interesting.

1. I love peaches. I will consume almost anything with this flavor. Tea most especially but certainly not excluding alcoholic drinks. Imagine my delight when I discovered a sparkling peach wine to celebrate at New Years. Yummm

2. I'm a nerd. Yep, I can nerd-out with the best of them. I get excited about diagramming sentences, Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even more embarrassing things which I refuse to reveal. I have multiple costumes not used for Halloween but for things like Cons and Ren Fests. (YeeHaw folks, an excuse to have picture of Spike two days running makes me a happy girl.)

3. I'm afraid of alligators. No, you don't understand, not just afraid--phobia afraid. My SO is from Florida and I hate going to visit the in-laws. Not because of the in-laws, but because this requires going to the land of the alligator. I tell you they are lined up at the Georgia/Florida border waiting to get me.

4. I know several children's books by heart. The SO is a Youth Services Librarian and I am often the practice dummy for story times. So certain phrases have been altered in our house. "I don't care," must be immediately followed by "said Pierre and so the lion ate him then and there." "Me too," must be followed by "said the chick." And the word "terrible," cannot be said in isolation but must be followed by "horrible, no good, very bad day. Mom says somedays are like that, even in Austrailia."

5. I have OCD and ADD so I HAVE to lose interest in what you're saying... (I so need someone to make that into a tshirt. I'd buy one for every day of the week.) I can loop on things until my darling one looks at me and asks if I've taken my medication. This OCD manifests itself most particularly in my books. I have books on my shelves and they are organized by author and then in chronological order of the series. If one of my books is out of order I must fix it. Right now. The SO will torment me at times by moving books on the shelf. If a book I haven't read yet is on the shelf of books I have read I must fix it. NOW!

6. I live in a zoo. We own four dogs, a cocker spaniel named Shiloh who is literally insane, a Brittany named George who thinks he can cook and subsequently almost burns down the house about once a week, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Gracie Sue who is unaware that the breed standard says "not for rough play," and a miniature dachshund named Wendell who believes he is human. We have two birds, a blue parakeet named Pip and a green and yellow one named Green Bird. We have three neon tetras who do not have a name except for fishies and a snail my SO now has us all calling Snailie-po.

I have delayed in resonding to my meme'd stated because I cannot think of six people to tag in return. I do promise to do so, but that must come at a later time.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Answering the Age Old Question

It has been a battle of taste that has raged for years with no clear winner. The question that has set friend against friend, sister against sister and mother against daughter:

Who's hotter, Angel or Spike?

The last week or so has been a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon. The library where my SO works recently got the entire 7 season collection on dvd. We've finished the first season and started the second. It is in this second season that the conundrumm to end all conundrums came to be. Which vampire is the hottest? Is it tortured, vampire with a soul, Angelus (Angel) or the cocky, funny, alpha male vampire William the Bloody (Spike)?

We're supposed to love Angel. He's a vampire with a horrendous past. He was one of the bloodiest and cruelest ever created. He killed his entire family. Hell, he created Spike. But he was given back his soul. Now, haunted by a conscience and in love with the little vampire slayer he has become a good guy...of sorts. We're supposed to love him because Buffy does.

We're supposed to hate Spike. His caustic wit, his merciless nature...I mean, he killed a little kid. Granted said little kid was only a kid in body and was actually the annointed one who was controlling the othe evil vampire, but hey, he was cute. And Spike torches him. Spike wants to kill Buffy. (We won't discuss the chip debaucle that marked the point at which Buffy jumped the shark.) We're supposed to root against him.

Sorry, can't do it. Yes, Angel is a cutie. Yes, he's a dark, brooding, tortured soul. But he's also a whining, whishy-washy pain in the arse and a borderline pedophile. He was what, 25 or so when Darla turned him? Buffy is 16! You spent an entire two seasons reminding us that there is a close to 250 year age difference. Icky factor- in a big way.

Spike doesn't want to kiss Buffy until she's at least legal. Spike is a decisive undead man who knows what he wants and does it. He's brutal and you know exactly where you stand with Spike. And he does have a softer side. Look how he watches after Dru. So sweet. And he's quite lovely. I've never been much for blonds, in fact I've always loved the dark, strong type. But give me my Spike any day!

Of course, a girl does have to keep an open mind.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Weres are Here

Release day for Measure of Healing is here!

I'm very excited and evidently so is Mother Nature. We've had our first trackable snow in Atlanta, GA in 4 years. Trackable snow means it's sufficient in amount on the ground that you could see a rabbit's tracks. What a great treat for this winter missing Northern girl! That or she was trying to make our current setting look more like the mountains on the cover.

I think you're going to like Alejandro Ramirez. Alej is a tough-ass, motorcycle riding, works with his hands kinda guy. He also happens to only be half human. The other half is Were. Were-Cougar to be exact. Not usually the warm fuzzy family type, Alej finds his Cougar instincts constantly at war with his human side, especially the one cultivated by the loving human family that takes him in when his Cougar mother throws him out.

Dr. Gabriela St. Jerome is a strong-willed woman who doesn't want anything to do with Alej. It's not that she doesn't think he's a nice guy, he probably is. But he's exactly the kind of man who will get her dead. Very dead.

Add an injured child that one fiercely protects and that the other can heal and you force these two adults to deal with their fears, prejudices and passions.

Measure of Healing is available at

For an excerpt check out my webpage at

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

One More Day!

Tomorrow will be release day for my second book, Measure of Healing from Cerridwen Press. As much as I love my first book, Access Denied, and as much as James and Leah are a huge part of me and incredibly special to me (I'll probably always be more than a little in love with James); this second book is hugely important.

Measure of Healing marks the first book in a world I began creating four years ago. I'd not read a paranormal romance at that point and honestly didn't know they existed. I'd never seen or heard of people like Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurel K. Hamilton, Christine Feehan, Susan Krinard and the countless other brilliant paranormalists. I didn't know there was such a thing as a paranormal romance, but I was writing one. I wrote a fanfiction story four years ago where I took a minor character from a series of books and put him in my own little world.

From that grew a world my characters call Semira. They call themselves the Children of Semira, or Semiraht. In their language it literally means "heaven." My Were creatures came to this place seeking peace from the wars and violence of a home realm they call Gehenna. The theologically literate know this word means "hell". So my shifters came to this world looking for a place to call home, a Garden of Eden in which they would be safe. When a disaster forces them to tie themselves to the lifeforms of this realm in order to avoid being sent back to Gehenna, they become Weres. And their natures, their way of life and their identity changes forever.

Measure of Healing is the first story set in this world and focuses on the Cougars. February 8th will mark the release of another book, released as Elyssa Edwards by Ellora's Cave, that also deals with Children of Semira. (You might say Elyssa and I share the same imagination and often the same brain.) Mating Stone, and it's sequel Lovers' Stone due in July, follows a family of Bears. I'm currently working on another book that will finally look at our favorite of Werelings, Wolves.

So if you're in the mood for a bit of paranormal romance with a powerful brooding male and a quick witted, strong heroine, slide on over to Cerridwen Press tomorrow and check out Measure of Healing.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Blog Sharing with Sandra Cox

Today my blog isn't about me or my writing. (Thank goodness because after the first day back with the kids at school I may just have to crawl in a hole and sleep for 12 hours.)

So Cerridwen Press writer Sandra Cox, known for her wonderful previous releases Boji Stones and The Crystal, will be favoring us with a blurb and excerpt from her Cerridwen release Silverhills. Thank you so much, Sandra.

Silver Hills
By Sandra Cox
Available here.

Set in the 1870’s, Silverhills is the epic saga of tough, handsome Brandon Wade and lovely tempestuous Alexandria O’Malley.

Brandon is driving a herd of longhorns over the Chisholm Trail when a youth appears out of nowhere riding a magnificent black stallion and packing a deadly-looking six gun. In need of trail hands, Brandon hires the young man on. Not till weeks later during the middle of a terrible stampede does Brandon learn that his young sharp shooter is a beautiful woman. A woman, full of fire and passion, that he burns to possess. A woman steeped in mystery who refuses to disclose her past.

Alexandria is on the run and must be able to disappear at a moments notice. When she hires on to the cattle drive, she doesn’t expect the powerful attraction between herself and her trail boss or the response of her treacherous body. Will love and desire cost Alexandria her life. . .or save it?


Brandon squatted down in front of her, the brown blanket partially covering his arms and exposing his hard chest and flat stomach. “And now, Alex O’Malley, I think its time we had a little talk.”

Alexandria gave him an uneasy look.

He stared at her, his eyes hard and searching. “Who the hell are you?”

“What kind of fool question is that?” Alexandria scoffed trying to brazen it out.

“If you have any sense at all, you won’t push me, O’Malley, not tonight,” he warned quietly.

Her chin came up and she looked him in the eye. “My name is Alex O’Malley.”

Before Alex could react, Brandon reached out and grabbed the front of her poncho and ripped it from top to bottom. The poncho slipped from her shoulders, leaving her bare to the waist, except for her bound breasts. He grabbed a fistful of material, his fingers pressed against her bosom.

She clenched her hand and swung. “Bastard,” Alexandria spat, as she hit him in the jaw.

Brandon barely registered the blow, aware only of the rise and fall of her breasts against his fingers. His grip on the cloth tightened.

“Let go of me,” she groundout, rubbing her aching knuckles.

“Who are you?” His voice was ragged.

Alex spat out, “Alexandria O’Malley.”

He abruptly removed his hand.

Alex grabbed the torn poncho and wrapped it around her.

“How old are you, Alexandria O’Malley?”


Brandon’s face registered relief.

“Why the masquerade and why my trail drive,” he asked in a grim voice.

“If I had realized those four-hoofed horrors were your particular longhorns Mr. Wade,” she snarled, “you can be damn sure I would have kept riding.”

“And the masquerade?” he demanded.

Alexandra glared mutely at him then turned away.

As the silence between them grew, the foreman watched his wrangler. He bit back a grin as the light from the moon revealed the determined jut of her jaw.

Studying her, Brandon wondered yet again how he could have ever mistaken her for a boy. The days in the sun had tinted her skin a warm apricot. Raven-winged brows sat above glittering amber eyes, now hidden by heavily fringed lashes. Her cheekbones were high and stained with color and she smelled of rain.

He removed Alexandria’s soggy hat that she usually wore pulled down on her forehead. Short, auburn curls fell about her face. His gaze moved to Alex’s full mouth and lingered.

“Okay, forget it for now. But make no mistake, O’Malley, someday you will tell me and of your own free will.” He dropped the subject. “We’d better turn in. It’s been a long day. Lay down and I’ll share my blanket with you. You’re chilled to the bone.”

“Not in this lifetime or the next,” Alex said grimly, trying to ignore his bare chest.

Wade’s eyes traveled over her. “You’re perfectly safe with me, O’Malley. To me you are just one of the boys.” And I’m hell bound for lying.

So? What are you still doing here? Go on, buy the book. You know you want to. What could be more enticing than rugged cowboys, hot-headed strong-willed heroines and forbidden attraction?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

And so it begins...

Tomorrow my winter break is over. *sigh* I have to get up early, about 4:30 am so I can get dressed and make my commute to work. Why couldn't I have been born rich? Had a trust fund? I'd have put it to so much better use than some people who can't keep their panties on or their faces out of the tabloids.

Why didn't I marry rich? No, I had to marry for love. A poor librarian. Wanna know who has to have a Master's degree, be licensed by the state and gets paid even less than a teacher? Yep. Librarians.

So tomorrow I go back to my classroom. Report cards await. Such a joyous time of parents screaming and kids crying and wondering if they can still bring up that grade. No sweetie, it's already on the report card in your hand. I'm not a tough teacher. To quote the brother of one of my current students (I taught big brother about 2 years ago.) "If you fail Mrs. R's class, you must be stupid." A gratifying observation if not very helpful.

Since tomorrow is a work day, I'll take my dachshund with me. He loves to run about the room, sleep on the desk, etc. while I putter about. If I have to leave for something, he curls up in his carrier and snoozes until mom gets back.

*Sigh* At least it's not Wednesday yet.

And a reminder:

Measure of Healing
Jacquéline Roth

January 17th

Alejandro Ramirez’s Were-Cougar mother drove him out after his first transformation at the age of fifteen leaving him to seek out his human father and find the family his human side craved but that his animal side can never embrace. Now a man, he finds himself responsible for a traumatized Were-Cougar child. When he turns to the Weres for help, they send him to a human. Dr. Gabriela St. Jerome knows of the Cougars and hates them with every fiber of her being. But now she must swallow that hatred to work with Alejandro to help a Were child who has been thrown into transformation far too early by the horrific death of his mother. As they are forced together in the remote woods of the North Georgia Mountains, both find their mutual attraction overwhelming. But if Brie gives into this man and her own passions, it will cost her dearly. It will cost her her life.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Double Your Pleasure

Today's blog includes two reviews for books by two amazing writers. If it seems that I'm mentioning these two a lot, it's because they are writing the books that I am excited about reading.

Maid for Death
Amarinda Jones
Ellora’s Cave
Buy it

Maid for Death opens incredibly hot and maintains its burn all the way to the last. This book is one of Ellora’s Cave’s Quickies. And, yep, that’s just what it sounds like, a short story of intense, scorching erotica. Cassandra Kent is a young Aussie who is working her way through the UK. Her latest job is as a chambermaid at the Philbeach Manor Hotel. On Halloween night she gets more than just a dirty room to clean, she gets a ghost and a ghost hunter, both interested in having carnal knowledge of her body.

Jones leaves the reader panting as she moves from one sizzling scene to the next with more than enough plot to keep you intrigued as well as hot under the collar, or wherever it is you get warm.

Cherished Destinies
Anny Cook
Ellora’s Cave
Buy it here

Anny Cook delivers the next installment in the Mystic Valley series with all the style and humor we are used to from her. Though this story deals with much more serious situations, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, she still manages to deliver a warm and sometimes funny dual love story to readers featuring the characters we’ve come to love. (You’d think by now Dancer would understand about getting caught with his sharda down.) Cherished Destinies tells the story of two very damaged people. Both were brutalized and violated, one through a particularly violent rape and one through systematic beatings, emotional abuse and sexual assaults.

Arano is the son of Jade and Merlin, brother of Eppie and Wrenna who we met in earlier stories. Arano has long been in love with Silence who is many years his senior. But Silence is bonded to Homer, a man who treats her cruelly. When Homer dies during Eppie and Dancer’s bonding storm, he leaves a terrified and confused Silence who does not know the first thing about taking care of herself. Arano slowly and carefully begins to take care of Silence teaching her to take care of herself and teaching her to find her place in their community. The couple defy the conventions and rules of Mystic Valley to have their relationship and are rewarded when the Valley itself sanctions their bonding.

But Arano is torn in his loyalties. His twin brother Arturo has recently been the victim of a brutal and vicious rape. His violators have been found and judgment delivered to them. But healing for the young warrior and judge is slow as he must also face his twin’s finding of a mate and what that means for the two of them. But Arturo’s family and the valley take steps to make sure the wounded young man finds his destiny and his own bond-mate.

The story is wonderfully told and engaging. The characters we’ve come to know and love add such rich life to the borders of these painfully touching stories. Cherished Destinies is a welcome addition to the series.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Loneliest Job

A few months ago I heard Holly Black, author of Tithe and the Spiderwick Chronicles say that being a writer was the loneliest of jobs. She pointed out that even in the most regimented of cubical infested offices you at least have the knowledge that on the other side of that cloth and Styrofoam wall is another living breathing human being.

As writers, often times we do work in a situation of isolation second to almost no other profession. Unless you are part of a team, you write alone, edit alone, revise alone and in many cases suffer the pain of rejections alone. It can sometimes be hard for a non-writing significant other or family member to get it. They pat you on the back and say, "It's okay. Just write something else," or some other inane but well meaning thing.

This makes the contacts we form with other writers and with our readers vitally important. Finding a first or beta reader is a difficult job for a writer. You can't simply ask a friend. What if your friend isn't into paranormal romance and you've just whipped out the worlds best were-opossum story ever to be seen? Your friend isn't into fantasy, and you've just finished world building the most amazing place filled with dragons and fairy-folk? You've written the best CSI type murder mystery and your friend can't even spell forensics, let alone understand the science.

I have to admit I’m lucky. I belong to an online workshop that lets me put my work up for critique. The workshop is fairly diverse and we have writers, poets and artists. Some write for fun and some are more serious. But having that support is important. My first novel, Access Denied, would never have been finished if not for the support of some members of that group who kept prodding me to keep going. Don’t tell their husbands, but they all admitted that they had fallen in love with my hero, James, and were going to make sure I finished it.

My current work in progress is about two chapters and an epilogue away from being finished. What is done is in the hands of two very special betas, my SO and a friend of mine named Steve. Steve is the king of grammar and punctuation. He's also the one who tells me when my male character is acting very male. My SO is the one who reads it and tells me where it doesn’t make sense. “But why would he use magic? Wouldn't it just be easier to walk over and set the table?”