Sunday, March 30, 2008

Join us at our next Book Signing!

Tina LaVon
Kathryne Kennedy,
Kim Watters
are signing their books
Saturday, April 5th
Chandler, AZ

Authors from across the country are attending the Desert Dreams 2008
Conference and will be signing their books on Saturday afternoon.

Don't miss this event,

which is open

to the public!

Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort & Hotel

In the Santan Room

One San Marcos Place

Chandler, Arizona

For a list of authors selling and signing their books

go to

Friday, March 28, 2008

Interview with Charlotte Chalmers

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Charlotte Chalmers. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called The Madness of Celia Summers. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Certainly. It would be a pleasure. My novel, The Madness of Celia Summers, is a romantic comedy revolving around the titular Celia and her job as an art therapist at an old people’s home. The book features a cast of eccentric and colourful characters from the home and explores Celia’s romance with a police constable, the shy and delectable Alex, who is a single father and comes with baggage, in trunks!

Here is the blurb.

Celia Summers, intrepid mother of two, loves her work as an art therapist. She’s proud that she gives her elderly independents something to look forward to each day, even if her partner, Martin, is disparaging of her efforts.

But then Martin has a secret agenda Celia knows nothing about. Meanwhile she defends her geriatric charges, fights to secure gallery space for their artwork, and fights to keep The Harbour, a home the residents can truly call home, from being closed.
She takes on the might of the town council; to the point of leaping from a church steeple to bring attention to the plight of her independents, no matter that she might fall and end up splattered all over the pavement. When she does fall, however, it’s much more painfully.

Police Constable Alex Burrows, the son of long time Harbour resident, Colonel Burrows, whose sense of humour has made her laugh, whose tragic personal circumstances have made her cry, whose smile has stolen her heart; turns out to be just as much a liar as Martin.
Can Celia ever trust again? Can Alex get past her protective cadre of friends, forgotten by most of the people in their own lives, and convince her to trust him, to love him, as he does her?

The Madness of Celia Summers is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

There is a scene where her partner, Martin, stares goggle-eyed and exclaims, “Good God! I really have no idea why you work here. It looks like a scene from One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Celia presumes he’s referring to her elderly independents, suitably clothed for their class: Colonel Burrows sports brand new Reeboks he’s ‘gone over the wall’ into town especially for; Eleanor Simpson is elegantly clad in Capri pants and slippers, May Binton in Adidas shorts, shoeless and couldn’t-care-less; the rest of the group following similar suit.

So, Martin thinks it’s madness to work with these elderly eccentrics, especially when the work is not very remunerative.

Alex, the hunky policeman thinks it madness to be abseiling from a church steeple for the sake of her seniors.

And Celia gets good and angry, her campaign for her elderlies scaling new heights of madness, when she discovers that Martin has sunk to an all time low.

So, The Madness of Celia Summers seemed appropriate somehow.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

I have experience of working with older people. Also, I am fortunate enough to have such a residential home locally, upon which the novel is loosely based.

That said, I did have to do a little research into exactly how people do go about throwing themselves off buildings, and whether local authorities would allow them to. Also, I had to look into local planning authorities and how planning applications work.

The art and craft side of things I didn’t need to do much research on as I do have and art degree.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I can probably best answer that by revealing how the novel came about. I was driving along one sunny Sunday and a sentence came to mind: It was a perfect summer’s day, candyfloss sky, ice cream clouds skittering by… That fast turned into a paragraph: Harbour resident May Binton also skittering by, Colonel Burrows in close pursuit, other ideas regarding exercise on the lawn than group aerobics, judging by the glint in his eye. Thus, my eccentric elderly independents were born, whom I adored writing about. Celia, of course was in charge of the class, and by the very nature of being caring was a little bit vulnerable at first, thus involved with someone who might take advantage of that vulnerability. Well, obviously there had to be a gorgeous, caring hunk who would come along and love her, just as she was, but he had to be flawed. Perfect doesn’t really exist, so Alex, with all his imperfections, came along. And I absolutely loved writing him. But then, who doesn’t love a hunk a uniform? (Yum!) KW

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

My hero… Oooh, George Clooney. Can’t help it. He is adorable. Martin I think would have to be played by Hugh Grant. (Can't argue there) KW

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Though I enjoy a good tearjerker as much as the next person (and why not? It’s therapeutic!), I always feel I need to bring humour to my writing, so obviously I enjoy reading romantic comedy. I’m born and bred in the UK, so I’m not sure whether everyone will have heard of these talented authors but I particularly like Marian Keyes, whose first novel Watermelon made me hoot, despite the diabolical predicament the heroine found herself in, as have her subsequent masterpieces. Cathy Kelly (an Irish Author, as is Keyes. I think I’m attracted to their warm, quirky sense of humour) is a firm favourite. Her books are absorbing and her characters, quite simply, flesh and blood. Catherine Alliott is witty and hilarious, as is Kathy Lette, whose Mad Cows and Foetal Attraction are responsible for getting me hooked on humour. Her work is described on her website as ‘read at your own risqué,’ which I think sums it up admirably. She’s brilliant!

What do we have to look forward next?

My new novel, recently contracted by The Wild Rose Press is called Naked Fully Clothed and is also a Romantic Comedy. I am very excited about this, because it is one close to my heart. Here is the blurb, as yet unedited (and, yes, I do have a penchant for policemen!).

Single mother, Leanne Curtis, has reached crisis point. Then she gets arrested—for soliciting, which does even less for her self-esteem than finding naked footprints on the windscreen of her boyfriend’s car. On the inside.

Lee vows never to fall in love again, ever, particularly with her good-looking arresting officer, PC Paul Davis, in his bite-the-buttons-off blue uniform. Her offering him lodgings is strictly a business arrangement. She has better things to do with her life than fall in love. Attend to the all-important task of blackmailing her ex-boyfriend into repaying monies he owes her, for a start. With a little help from her friends: Jade, who has absolutely no time for love, which only exists in Mills & Boon books anyway, which is shame because there is someone who’s very much in love with her—and willing to woo Mills & Boon style, if only she’d stop pushing him away. And Nicky, who’s exhausted with two truculent teenagers and a toddler to care for, and who is pushing her husband away to be there for Lee. She’ll make it up to him, she decides. Wear something racy and lacy and…draw pupils on her eyelids, which is the only she’ll be wearing come-to-bed eyes.

Thanks, Charlotte!

To celebrate her book release, Charlotte is offering a free ebook of The Madness of Celia Summers to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

I’m a working mum and writer! I work in financial services, my dream to pursue a career in the arts having been put on hold by early marriage (which came with a mortgage as well as a man attached!), until I found an outlet in writing.

I’ve now been writing for a rather long time (ahem) and I live in the small town of Droitwich in the UK, where I strive to stop my witty son typing – THE END – halfway through my manuscripts and to keep up with the demands of my three rescue dogs, one of which only has three legs, which is quite sad…for me that is. The dog can’t count!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Contest Winner

And the winner is......

Barrie Summy.

She won a t-shirt from CJ Lyons in her
Much Cheaper Than Therapy
blogger giveaway.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Neurotic Writer Enters a Conference Contest

Therapist: “Suzie, it’s been a long time since our last meeting.”

Suzie Writer: “Sorry about that. I had a lot of work to do to get ready for the Desert Dreams Conference Writing Contest.”

Therapist: “I thought you said your manuscript was polished.”

Suzie Writer: “It is, but there are other considerations. For example, you have to look at the final round judges and decide if it’s worth entering.”

Therapist: “I don’t follow you. Don’t you enter for the feedback?”

Suzie Writer: (Laughing) “Only novices enter purely for feedback. If you final, you want the editor or agent judging your work to fall in love with it and ask to see the whole manuscript. I want to make sure my judge publishes time traveling pirate vampire books or there’s no point in wasting my time…or their’s.”

Therapist: “That’s a very intelligent and strategic move on your part.”

Suzie Writer: “Exactly. In the Desert Dreams Contest, only editors and agents read your first ten pages. After checking out what the judges publish, I have to look up their sign.”

Therapist: “Their sign?”

Suzie Writer: “Yeah, their astrological sign. If we’re not a match, then they won’t get me, or my work. Next, I check to see if the entry is going to be judged when Mercury is retrograde. No point in submitting it during a time of miscommunication. I also have to check my astrological chart for the year. I want to submit during my best months. I also have to ask the contest coordinator what their sign is to see if my entry will be handled in a timely manner. If not, I have to adjust my time schedule and check for Mercury in retrograde all over again.”

Therapist: “You must be exhausted.”

Suzie Writer: “You don’t know the half of it. Next, I have to check everyone’s birthdays using Numerology.”

Friday, March 21, 2008

Interview with CJ Lyons

I’d like to welcome our guest today, CJ Lyons. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called LIFELINES. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

LIFELINES starts on the most dangerous day of the year, July 1st. That's the day the new interns, fresh out of medical school, start working in hospitals.

Not the best day to start a new job in a new city and a new hospital. But that's what Dr. Lydia Fiore must do. She grew up on the mean streets of LA and is certain she can handle anything Pittsburgh's Angels of Mercy's ER has to offer her.

That was before she loses a patient. The wrong patient; the Chief of Surgery's son. And Lydia has no idea why he died.

As she investigates, she befriends three other women at Angels of Mercy who will become more than her friends, they will become her lifelines. Because Lydia's quest for the truth quickly turns deadly…..

LIFELINES is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Actually my agent, editor and I went through 71 titles without coming up with the right one! Since this was the start of a new series, something fresh and different, we wanted the perfect title to reflect the entire concept, not just one book.

Thank goodness the head copy editor read LIFELINES as she was preparing to assign it and she came up with the title.

Needless to say, not only did I thank her in the acknowledgments, I also sent her a box of home-made pralines!

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

I've practiced pediatrics for seventeen years, spending several years in some of the country's busiest trauma centers, so the hospital atmosphere came pretty natural for me.

And I lived in Pittsburgh during my pediatric training and have visited the city often over the years, so other than asking my relatives who still live there to double check a few facts for me and snap some pictures to keep me in the mood (you can see them on my website under Photos), I was pretty comfortable writing about the city.

I did have a friend who is a ACLS and paramedic instructor go over the manuscript looking for technical accuracy since I knew the American Heart Association had just changed a lot of protocols and I didn't have time to wade through the 600 page manual.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Wow, that's so hard to answer! I enjoy writing Lydia, the main character in LIFELINES, because she's who I want to be when I grow up.

But I also love writing Gina, the emergency medicine resident, because I share so many of her insecurities and I love working through her issues and watching her grow and change. She's going to go through hell before she gets her happy-ever-after, but it will be well deserved!

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

The entire time I was writing LIFELINES, I envisioned Gary Dourdan (from CSI). He has the most gorgeous hazel eyes. And he has that smooth, mellow voice. Of course, if George Clooney wanted to play Trey, I wouldn't say no, either.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Too many to count! The amount of support and encouragement I have received from published authors has been overwhelming. A few stand out: David Morrell, Heather Graham, Lisa Gardner, Susan Wiggs, Tess Gerritsen, and Allison Brennan, among others.

What do we have to look forward next?

The second book in the series, CATALYST, tentatively scheduled for Jan, 2009. In it, Amanda, a medical student, investigates a mysterious illness that is killing patients. Then she begins to suffer the same deadly symptoms….

Thanks, CJ!

To celebrate her book release, CJ is offering a LIFELINES t-shirt to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...


CJ Lyons has lived most of her life on the edge. Trained in Pediatric Emergency Medicine, she has assisted police and prosecutors with cases involving child abuse, rape, homicide and Munchausen by Proxy. She has worked in numerous trauma centers, on the Navajo reservation, as a crisis counselor, victim advocate, as well as a flight physician for Life Flight and Stat Medevac.

A Golden Heart Finalist in Romantic Suspense and winner of the Golden Gateway, CJ is a member of RWA, MWA, ITW, and Sisters in Crime. Her work has appeared in CrimeSpree, Romantic Times Book Review Magazine, and Spinetingler. She has presented keynote speeches and workshops at numerous national conventions including MWA's Sleuthfest, Romantic Times, Colorado Gold and RWA. She was the Chair of ITW's inaugural and highly successful ThrillerFest.

Her medical suspense novel, LIFELINES, will debut from Berkley March, 2008. Publishers Weekly called LIFELINES a "spot-on debut…a breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller" and Romantic Times gave it 4 1/2 stars and made it a Top Pick.

For more information go to

Buy LIFELINES March 4 in stores everywhere.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Betcha Didn't Know...

I thought since Easter is coming around real quick, I’d share some little known and interesting facts about Easter.

  • The celebration of Easter has roots in three different traditions - Hebrew, Pagan and Christianity.

  • Easter was given that specific name because early Christians wanted to convert others and they thought everyone was familiar with the name, because it was an old spring tradition.

  • The White Lily is a symbol of Christ’s resurrection for Easter.
  • The hare and the egg became the symbol of Easter. Both are signs of fertility. The hare changed over to the rabbit because rabbits were far more common than hares.
  • The basket became a tradition, because it was a custom for Cathlolics to bring their food to mass in order for it to be blessed. It was also an ancient agrarian custom to bring a family’s first crop to the local temple.

  • Jelly beans didn’t become a tradition in the United States until the 1930s.
  • The first edible Bunny began its tradition in Germany. It wasn’t made of chocolate but of pastry and sugar.

Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Lily R Moon. Lily has won an autographed copy of Liquid Hypnosis and a $25 gift certificate to either Barnes and Noble or The Wild Rose Press.

The next drawing for the same prizes will be July 20th. To be eligible for the drawing, you need only become a member of my Suspensebytina Yahoo Newsletter Group. Find and Click on the Yahoo icon for this group on the right side of the blog.

And Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Here's a little tidbit about Easter you may not know.

Easter is early this year. Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full Moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but that is pretty rare.

Here's the interesting info. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population has ever seen it this early (95 years old or bove!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier!

Here are the facts:

1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in theYear 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818.

So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Easter and Jellybeans

The exact origin of the Jellybean is somewhat foggy likely lost to time and a lack of permanent record keeping methods. Most historians, however, agree that in the USA they were first linked with Easter in the 1930s. That is when people began tucking them into Easter baskets likely because of their resemblance to small eggs.

Eggs have long been a symbol of fertility and spring renewal associated with Easter. The Jellybean's beguiling resemblance to small bird eggs was evident, and that along with their colorful appearance made them a natural addition to Easter festivities. The American appetite for Jellybeans seems to be ravenous and growing annually. In the USA candy makers manufacture approximately 16 Billion Jellybeans annually in anticipation of Easter. Moreover, in recent years some Grocery stores have doubled the space designated for highlighting Jellybeans near Easter time.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Interview with EPPIE Winner Liana Laverentz

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Liana Laverentz. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here. Oh, goodness, are those Godivas you have over there? Please pass that little gold box my way, and some of that wonderful smelling mocha coffee, too. [wiggles around in seat, gets comfortable, accepts coffee and chocolate] Thank you so much. [tastes chocolate, smiles beatifically and sighs] There, now I’m settled.

Congratulations! I understand you have a release out that just won the EPPIES called Thin Ice. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous book?

I’d love to. Thin Ice, also known to friends and family as “my beloved hockey book” is the book of my heart. I first wrote it seventeen years ago, and it went through three complete revisions and two rounds of submissions with traditional publishing houses, before it was published by The Wild Rose Press last year. I was thrilled when it won the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf award last fall, and had a blast going to New Jersey and meeting the great and very gracious people in that super-classy organization, as well as several of my fellow Wild Rose Press authors. It was so nice to finally be able to put some faces to names I see regularly on the loops.

Thin Ice is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I have a quote here by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says, “In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.” I took that to mean that Eric’s courtship of Emily had to move very slowly, due to the demons of her past. I also thought it fit because Eric is a professional hockey player.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Oh, I did a ton of research. For one, I didn’t know the first thing about hockey when I started the book. You might say I learned right along with Emily, who also knows nothing about hockey at the beginning of the book, only she’s predisposed to hating the sport because of its more violent aspects. I subscribed to The Hockey News (even wrote a letter to the editor once, I got so into reading it!), read books by former hockey players, watched and went to countless games. I would take a pair of binoculars and choose one player to focus on for the entire game, taking notes all the while. Most often it was Raymond Bourque. Fortunately, he scored a lot of goals, so I was able to just watch the magic happen. In later years, my son, who wasn’t even born when I first wrote Thin Ice, started playing hockey, and I got to experience first hand the very chilly environment where the embryonic hopes and dreams of playing in the NHL are born.

I also read countless books written by emergency room doctors, describing their experiences, and I have a two-inch-thick folder on domestic violence issues. I had to research cars, because Emily needed a certain type of car for a special reason, and when time passed and my first choice went out of production—a Crown Victoria Station Wagon, I had to go shopping online for another big car, her Suburban. That was fun, including a friendly disagreement with a car aficionado friend, who insisted she needed a Jeep Grand Cherokee, because it was classier. The NHL reorganized several times over those seventeen years, and each time I had to re-write the book to reflect the addition of new teams and re-structuring of the conference divisions. For instance, Eric’s team was originally named the St. Paul Saints, because the Minnesota North Stars were based in Minneapolis. Then the North Stars moved to Dallas, and I had to re-write the book to reflect that. Then the Minnesota Wild moved into St. Paul, and I had to move the Saints over to Minneapolis. External circumstances were constantly changing, and each one entailed a start-to-finish reading and revision due to the ripple effect of changes in a manuscript.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Definitely Eric. He’s my idea hero. There’s no doubt he’s alpha male strong, inside and out--but his greatest strength is in his capacity for compassion and gentleness. He seems to resonate with readers, as well. I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “I want my own Eric.” (me, too! KW)

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

Oh, gosh, I have no clue. It would have to be someone in his thirties, and I don’t watch enough TV or movies anymore to know who the choices would be.

How about we toss that one out to the readers, for a chance to win an autographed copy of either Thin Ice, or Jake’s Return, my other release with the Wild Rose Press, and I’ll choose a winner? Send your recommendations to liana[at] I’d love to hear what you think. If you’ve already read Thin Ice, you can leave your recommendation on the blog here today. If not, I’ll keep the voting open until April 15, and announce a winner on my website.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

LaVryle Spencer, Lisa Gardner, suspense author Eileen Dreyer, who also writes romances as Kathleen Korbel, is probably my all-time favorite. I like to read Nora Roberts for pacing. When I finish a manuscript and am getting ready to do a final read-through, I will read a Nora Roberts book to put me in the mindset of making sure the story moves quickly.

What do we have to look forward next?

I am currently working on revising my first novel, a murder-mystery romance titled Ashton’s Secret, for re-release with The Wild Rose Press in late 2008. I also have a suspense title I am working on, Justice is a Lady, about Samantha Dallas, an assistant DA who goes on the run with Alexander Caldwell, an undercover FBI agent, when Samantha is framed for murder. Part of the suspense is Samantha doesn’t know Alex is one of the good guys. The people who framed her are the same people he is investigating.

Thanks, Liana!

Thank you! And thank you for the coffee and chocolate. (Our pleasure)

Liana will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio: Liana Laverentz is the author of two contemporary romances with The Wild Rose Press, Thin Ice and Jake’s Return. Thin Ice is a 2007 New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Award winner, a 2008 EPPIE Winner, and was a nominee for Best Romance of 2007 at Long and Short Reviews. Her next release, a re-release of her first novel, Ashton’s Secret, a murder mystery romance, will be available from The Wild Rose Press in late 2008.

Liana is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Washington Romance Writers, and Pennwriters, Inc. In 1998, she won the Pennwriters Meritorious Service Award.
Liana also hosts a monthly chat on the Long and Short Reviews Yahoo Group the first Thursday of each month, where we discuss ways to find our balance between writing and Life, which tends to get in the way of our writing more often than not. Read Liana’s articles on Finding Your Balance at then mark your calendar to join us at

Check out the author’s website at You can buy Thin Ice at

Thursday, March 13, 2008

FOR WRITERS: Victorian Research Books

The great thing about mixing fantasy with history is that you can tweak whatever you want...but still, there has to be enough historical details and 'feel' of the time period to make your book believable. With that in mind, I thought I'd share some of the really helpful research books I used for ENCHANTING THE LADY.

INSIDE THE VICTORIAN HOME by Judith Flanders / Is a detailed look into every day Victorian life. Although it focuses on the middle class, it's a wonderfully comprehensive look into the entire era.

ENGLISH THROUGH THE AGES by William Brohaugh / Although this book isn't just for the Victorian era! It's a dictionary of the birth of words, so if you're wondering if one of your characters would use a certain word in your time period, you can look it up here, and it will tell you the first (known) recorded use of the word.

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE VICTORIAN WORLD by Melinda Corey and George Ochoa / Important events and people with dates and descriptions.

WHAT JANE AUSTEN ATE AND CHARLES DICKENS KNEW by Daniel Pool / I referenced this book a lot! It covers just about everything with pretty good depth.

TO MARRY AN ENGLISH LORD by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace / Wonderful descriptive photos of people and houses and castles. A great view into Prince Albert and his 'set'.

VICTORIAN LONDON The Tale of a City 1840-1870 by Liza Picard / Great detail on the streets, homes, theaters, etc. of London and more. I just picked up this book at Borders, and I think it will be another essential reference for me.

THE MACMILLAN DICTIONARY OF HISTORICAL SLANG by Eric Partridge / This is an old book that hasn’t been reprinted, so I only found it on Amazon used, for a chunk of change. It only has an alphabetical reference, so you have to know the word in order to look it up. I have been going through it when I have a few minutes, for Victorian slang (I get a little tired of using ‘bloody’, which was truly a nasty word at the time. And for some reason, I can’t see my hero using ‘blooming’ ;}.) So, if you’re looking for words or common phrases of the era, check back with this blog, I’m compiling a list to share.

I used several more books, and of course, some on-line research, but the ones listed above were generally helpful. For specific subjects, like clothing, I used my local library. And on a research note, I'm sure you probably have a good dictionary, thesaurus, Strunk & White's ELEMENTS OF STYLE, and a good grammar book. You may not have, however, a reverse dictionary, and it saved my brain more than once. I have the Reader's Digest ILLUSTRATED REVERSE DICTIONARY, and it works like this: Let's say you can't remember what that thing is called that's attached to the saddle and goes under the horse. So you looked up 'saddle' and wah lah! there's an illustrated picture of all the parts (and the strap is called a 'girth'). Here's one that I needed for ENCHANTING. I wanted to illustrate how wide my little dragonette opens her mouth, and thought if you could see that little skin that hangs down in the back of the throat it would be graphic enough:}. So, I looked up 'throat', which led me to 'mouth', and there it was, and it's called the 'uvula'.

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The History of St. Patrick's Day

For those of you with inquiring minds because sometimes you just can't have to much information!

Conceived in 5th century Ireland, the March 17 holiday initially was a reverent Roman Catholic observance humbly paying homage to St Patrick the patron saint of Ireland. In keeping with that sober tone, until the 1970s, Ireland's, pubs were mandated closed, in veneration of the holy day. The holiday's observance is the day St Patrick died, believed by historians to be somewhere around 460 A.D.

There was no parade.

Imported toAmerica and other countries by nostalgic Irish immigrants, the hallowed festival was launched in their newly-settled homelands to inspire unity, assert a presence, and to celebrate their cultural integration. After Irish immigrants found their way to America, the Colonies celebrated St Patrick's Day for the first time in Boston, in 1737. In New York City, the earliest celebration was held in 1756 at the Crown and Thistle Tavern, according to the U.S. Department of International Information programs.

Some interesting tidbits:

Shamrocks are added to St Patrick's Best beer brewed by
The Strangford Lough Brewing Company.
(That's got to taste better than those fat, little worms)

The symbolic color of St Patrick's Day was formerly blue not green.

Corned beef is not traditional.
(No wonder I can't stand it)

Patrick was sold to an Irish chieftain.
He spent six years in slavery, until escaping.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Agent Warning!

Warning!! Warning!! Warning!!

The opportunity to sell your novel to the perfect agent or editor may pass you by.

The following industry professionals will be attending the Desert Dreams Conference in sunny Arizona, April 4th-6th. The registration deadline is March 15th, so don't delay!

Jessica Faust, Agent, BookEnds, LLC
Michelle Grajkowski, Agent, Three Seas Literary Agency
Leah Hultenschmidt, Editor, Dorchester Publishing
Elaine Spencer, Agent, The Knight Agency
Bob Mecoy, Agent, Creative Book Services
Toni Plummer, Assoc Editor, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press
Johanna Raisanen, Editor, Harlequin Superromance
Rachel Vater, Agent, Folio Literary Management
Angela James, Editor, Samhain Publishing

Don't miss this opportunity to pitch your story!
Go to for more information.
This is your final warning!
Act quickly!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Interview with Marianne Arkins

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Marianne Arkins. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called “One Love For Liv”. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I think the blurb says it best:

Liv is out to prove her high society fiancé is cheating on her. Can she do it without breaking a nail—or falling in love with Mike the mechanic?

Olivia “Liv” Leigh, wealthy socialite and spa owner, suspects her fiancé of cheating on her. Drastic steps are required to discover whether appearances are deceiving. And if those steps require a bit of stalking, a change of appearance, a hippo-sized dog named Spike, and sacrificing her manicure to clean house for a sexy-but-sloppy man whose neighbor is determined to break several of the strangest Guinness world records, why should that be a problem?

Mike, a happily single auto mechanic, is more than content sharing his bachelor pad with piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and a sneaky ferret. But when a half-crazed woman in a bad wig shows up on his doorstep, what’s a nice guy to do?

Why, invite her in, unknowingly help her in her search for the truth and, in the process, fall head over heels for a woman who’s never been less his type.

“One Love For Liv” is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Actually, I’d marketed this story as “Isn’t She Liv Leigh” (the name of my heroine), but my editor didn’t think it said anything about the story, or even sounded like a romance. But she wanted a fun sounding name and we tossed ideas back and forth. It took a while to find a title we both thought was okay. Then it was run by the other editors in an editor meeting and… Poof! We have “One Love For Liv”.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Not too much, except for looking for really strange Guinness Book World records for my secondary character, Frank, to try to break! I have to admit that was fun… did you know there is a record for snorting cooked spaghetti out of your nose for distance? Ugh!

(Thanks for the visual!) KW

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Frank. Definitely Frank. He was so easy-going and fun… yet so worked up about breaking a record. I loved having him do all the odd things he did. He as a hoot. Mike, the hero, was fun, too. He spent most of the book trying to teach Liv how to loosen up, and I enjoyed having him surprise and shock her.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

I modeled Mike after Tom Welling and I can’t imagine a better person to play him. I stumbled across this picture of Tom looking scruffy with a ball cap on backward and thought THAT’S MIKE.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

The queens of comedy, certainly: Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and most recently paranormal authors Lyndsay Sands and Kerrelyn Sparks as well as Deborah MacGillivray—who wrote the quirkiest set of books I’ve read in a long time. I also think Nora Roberts is the queen of characterization. She amazes me how well she draws her characters, makes them solid and makes us care about them.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have another release coming soon from The Wild Rose Press, a cowboy story entitled “A Change of Heart”. I have another short story under consideration at Samhain, and am working on finishing two other novels. Hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot of me around!

(We'll be looking for you.) KW

Thanks, Marianne!

To celebrate her book release, Marianne is offering a free ebook of your choice from her list of available books ( and short stories to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

About the Author: Marianne was born in California, met her husband in Colorado, got a puppy and got pregnant, then moved with the group of them to the frozen north of New Hampshire where her thin blood keeps her indoors six months of the year. It's the perfect scenario for writing! She has seven published stories with The Wild Rose Press, and has a novel, "One Love For Liv" available from Samhain Publishing. Check out her website or blog for more information or to see what's going on inside her brain. If you dare. (Hmmm. Sounds intriguing!)KW

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Easter Eggs and Jelly Beans - A New Poll!

It's time for another poll just in time for Easter. Check it out on the side bar. What's your favorite jelly bean color or flavor? Come on. Let us know by voting. I decided on the old fashioned jelly beans, just because there would be far too many to name. So come on and vote, and lets see what bean is the winner!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Wild Rose Press March Contest

March is White Rose Month over at The Wild Rose Press.
Come help us celebrate the season of renewal, and Easter and all things that make this month special.

Don't miss out on the jellybean hunt beginning March 5.

Go to
This link takes you to the page on the garden gate that discusses our jellybean hunt.

Basically, there are jellybeans planted throughout the bookstore section of the web site. There are a certain number of jellybeans and then one bonus jellybean. Entrants should send their guess to
and at the end of the month one winner will be drawn.

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Looking for an Agent or Editor?

What do these editors and agents have in common?

Jessica Faust, Agent, BookEnds, LLC
Michelle Grajkowski, Agent, Three Seas Literary Agency
Leah Hultenschmidt, Editor, Dorchester Publishing
Elaine Spencer, Agent, The Knight Agency
Bob Mecoy, Agent, Creative Book Services
Toni Plummer, Assoc Editor, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press
Johanna Raisanen, Editor, Harlequin Superromance
Rachel Vater, Agent, Folio Literary Management
Angela James, Editor, Samhain Publishing

They will be taking appointments with attendees of the Desert Dreams Writer's Conference in Chandler, AZ, April 4-6th.

Don't miss this opportunity to pitch your story! The deadline to register has been extended to March 15th.