Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Writing Contest: Valley of the Sun-Hot Prospects

Hi Everyone,

I've never submitted to this particular contest, but I thought some of you may be interested in the information. Looks like the deadline is this Tuesday, September 1st! :D

Good Luck!!

Hope you're all doing well.

Take Care,


****Permission to forward****

Finalists get their entry in front of TWO industry professionals.

GRAND PRIZE: The winner can choose between a book trailer, static banner and active banner from Bella Entertainment for the book of their choice (a $300.00 value) or $100.00 USD.

Fee: $25 for Valley of the Sun RW chapter members
$30 for non-chapter members

Postmark Deadline: September 1st, 2009
E-Submit Deadline: September 1st, 2009

Eligibility: Any uncontracted work by an RWA member in good standing. This includes both published and unpublished authors.

Enter: 3-5-page synopsis and up to 25 pages of story (30 pages max). Entry or synopsis may be shorter, but neither may be longer than specified.

Categories/Judges: Trained judges for preliminary round,
Editors and Agents for final round.

Editor-Talia Platz, Editorial Assistant, NAL
Agent - Paige Wheeler, agent, Folio Literary Management

Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal
Editor – Leah Hultenschmidt, Editor, Dorchester Publishing
Agent - Michelle Grajkowski, agent, 3 Seas Literary Agency

Romantic Suspense
Editor - Deb Werksman, editor, Sourcebooks
Agent - JL Stermer, agent, Donald Maass Literary Agency

Contemporary Long/Single Title
Editor - Katherine N. Pelz, Editorial Assistant, The Berkley Publishing Group
Agent - Sharene Martin-Brown,Author Representative, Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency

Series Contemporary
Editor - Johanna Raisanen, Harlequin Enterprises
Editor - Leanne Morgena, Senior Editor, the Wild Rose Press

Editor - Theresa Stevens, editor, Red Sage Publishing
Editor - Kelli Collins, editor-in-chief, Ellora's Cave

For More Information, entry form, and rules, see website at

Linda Andrews
Valley of the Sun Hot Prospects Coordinator

Monday, August 03, 2009

Signed Books Auctioned to Benefit "Light The Night"

*UPDATE 8/9/09: A Bonus: Two more signed books added to the bundle! Please see the bottom of the post for more info. Thanks!

Hi Everyone!

Our Team Jack's Mannequin--Anaheim is still adding items to our Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Light The Night" eBay auction. And the best part? 100% of the proceeds from the auctions we list will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society--Orange County/Inland Empire!

And a Big Time thanks to my friend, Jennifer Lyon, for contacting some of our friends and several of hers to ask them if they'd be willing to help us by donating a few signed books for our auction. The response to her call was amazing! I'm so touched by everyone's generosity. Thank you, Jen. As always, you're a great friend. :)

Several authors sent along their brand new releases, books in a series, and even complete trilogies--AUTOGRAPHED! How cool is that?! A total of 23 books in all, but starting bid is only $80!! What an outstanding collection for any reader or writer! :)

Here's the link:

So, a HUGE Thank You to the following authors who have so graciously donated signed copies of their novels to our Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Light The Night" eBay auction:

NYT Bestselling author Allison Brennan (suspense/thriller):


As well as an anthology (SIGNED ONLY BY ALLISON BRENNAN) with Allison Brennan, Roxanne St. Claire, and Karin Tabke.


NYT Bestselling author Kate Carlisle (mystery):


Toni McGee Causey (romantic suspense)


USA TODAY Bestselling author Maureen Child (paranormal romance)


National Bestselling author Sylvia Day (historical romance):


w/a S. J. Day (urban fantasy):


w/a Livia Dare (paranormal romance):


Deborah LeBlanc (horror, paranormal)


Jennifer Lyon (paranormal romance)


National Bestselling author Roxanne St. Claire (romantic suspense)


Bestselling author Debra Webb (romantic suspense)


Also in the bundle of signed books, we'll be auctioning off two more signed cozy mystery novels (thanks to Kate Carlisle!) :

DYING TO BE THIN by Kathryn Lilley

Please bid and bid often... help us raise some funds so we can find a CURE for blood cancers!!

Also, Please feel free to Spread the Word... tell your friends on your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or through good ol' e-mail and word of mouth! Thank you so much!!

And remember, if you prefer to make a direct donation to LLS, feel free to do so! Click HERE to view my "Light The Night" page and read why this cause is personal to me. Thank you!! :)

Take Care,


*8/9/09 UPDATE: BONUS BOOKS ADDED! A big, BIG Thank You to Karin Tabke
for signing and donating two of her books to our auction as well:


Thank you so much, Karin!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

More eBay Auction Items That Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

As promised, Team Jack's Mannequin-Anaheim has added a few more items to our eBay auction that will help us raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Please see the previous post, "eBay Auctions For Leukemia & Lymphoma Society" (June 24, 2009), for more Rockin' items and information. :)

We've recently added:

Rod Carew Autographed Rawlings Baseball

Up for bidding is a Rawlings Official League CROLB Baseball autographed by Hall of Fame legend and California Angel Rod Carew. Rod has also added the inscription "HOF 91". This item was acquired through the Angels organization and offered directly to us for this fundraising auction. Rod Carew is continually active as part of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and supports many of their events including the annual Light The Night Walk held at Angel Stadium. 100% of the proceeds of this auction will go towards Team Jack's Mannequin-Anaheim for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's 2009 "Light The Night" Walk. Your winning bid will help us raise money to fight and eventually CURE blood cancers.


Water Trout 8 CD set-AUTOGRAPHED!!! Plus T-Shirt!

OK Walter Trout fans... THIS is for YOU! Up for bidding is a set of 8, (That's right: Eight!) Walter Trout CDs. Not only do you get Walter's AMAZING blues/rock sounds but EVERY CD is autographed by WALTER HIMSELF! Albums include: Walter Trout and Friends: Full Circle, Walter Trout and The Radicals: Relentless, Walter Trout Presents: Deep Trout, Walter Trout and The Radicals: Go the Distance, Walter Trout and The Radicals: Livin' Every Day, Walter Trout: The Outsider, Walter Trout: Unspoiled By Progress, and the self-titled album: Walter Trout. And as if those items weren't enough, Walter's thrown in an Extra Large concert T-Shirt that asks the question: "Got Trout?"

Walter is a great friend and has offered up these amazing items specifically for this auction. Best of all: 100% of the proceeds of this auction will go towards Team Jack's Mannequin-Anaheim for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's 2009 "Light The Night" Walk. Your bids will help us raise money to fight and eventually cure blood cancers.

Note from Michele: I know I'd written 7 CDs in my post yesterday, but it's actually 8 CDs!!


James Stewart Autographed Poster - Ride With The Champ!

Supercross Fans! Up for bidding is a colorful poster autographed by 2009 Supercross Champion James Stewart. The poster was made to advertise James' popular "Come Ride With The Champ" day in Riverside, CA on June 20th, 2009. This item was signed for me in person and is being offered up for this charity auction. Poster will ship in a sturdy cardboard tube to prevent damage. Best of all: 100% of the proceeds of this auction will go towards Team Jack's Mannequin-Anaheim for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's 2009 Light The Night Walk. Your bids will help us raise money to fight and eventually cure blood cancers.

Okay, more items will be posted soon! And please don't forget about the signed CD from the B-52s and The 88's CDs (also signed!)... see previous post for more information about those cool items! :)

Please bid and bid often... help us raise some funds so we can find a CURE for blood cancers!!

And remember, if you prefer to make a direct donation to LLS, feel free to do so! Click HERE to view my "Light The Night" page and read why this cause is personal to me. Thank you!! :)

Take Care,


Friday, July 24, 2009

eBay Auctions for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!

Hi Everyone,

Okay, so our Jack's Mannequin Team--Anaheim has been brainstorming different ways to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Light The Night Walk" and one of them includes eBay auctions with 100% of the proceeds going towards the LLS--Orange County/Inland Empire.

Now, I know I shouldn't be surprised by this anymore... but I still am (we all are): The response to our call for donations has been outstanding! We cannot thank our friends and their friends enough. We're constantly blown away by those who reach out so willingly to help others. So thank you again to everyone who has donated and those who have agreed to donate items to the eBay auctions. You're amazing! :)

A few items are up and and running and more will be posted over this next week, as well as the following.

First up: Two very Cool and Rockin' bands!

Autographed B-52s Double CD -- FUNPLEX

Up for bidding is a copy of the album FUNPLEX autographed by the B-52s. This 2 CD album is signed by ALL 4 members: Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. This item was signed by the band and mailed directly to us for this auction. 100% of the proceeds of this auction will go towards Team Jack's Mannequin-Anaheim for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Light The Night" Walk. Your bids will help us raise money to fight and eventually CURE blood cancers.


3 CD Set Autographed by The 88

Up for bidding is a set of 3 CDs autographed by the The 88 - Kind of Light, Over and Over and Not Only... But Also. These 3 albums have been signed by ALL 5 members: Keith Slettedahl, Adam Merrin, Anthony Zimmitti, Todd O'Keefe and Brett Farkas. This set was signed by the band and handed directly to us for this auction. 100% of the proceeds of this auction will go towards Team Jack's Mannequin-Anaheim for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Light The Night" Walk. Your bids will help us raise money to fight and eventually CURE blood cancers.

If you're not looking to bid on the 3 CD set, then The 88 also donated a few extra CDs as well! :)

Kind of Light CD - Autographed by The 88!

Not Only... But Also CD - Autographed by The 88!

So please bid and bid often!

And I'll be posting more items soon... We'll be auctioning off something for everyone! Baseball fans will love the Rod Carew and Gaylord Perry signed baseballs donated to us by the Angels Organization (those items will be two separate auctions). Rock-Blues fans... be sure to check out Walter Trout's 7 CD set (7 signed CDs!!) that includes a Walter Trout t-shirt. Oh, and for the readers and writers out there... we're going to have a big bundle of signed books from some AMAZING and FANTASTIC authors (I'll release the names soon... I promise!). And of course, we have Jack's Mannequin signed items!

So help us raise some funds... your winning bid will go toward the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! But don't forget, if you'd prefer to make a direct donation to our "Light the Night" Team, you're more than welcome to do so! Click HERE to go to my "Light The Night" page and find out why this cause matters to me.

Thank you so much for your support!

Take Care,


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Online Writing Class: "Conflict and Pacing"

The details for a few more online KOD courses found their way into my inbox, so I'm posting the information for them here, too.

The deadline to sign up is the 27th of this month, so if you're interested in either class... probably shouldn't wait too long. :)

Hope you're all doing well and your writing is going smoothly!

Take Care,


************ ********* **Permission to Forward***** ********* ********* **

RWA's Mystery/Suspense Chapter is pleased to announce our COFFIN College of Felony and Intrigue KILLER INSTINCT online workshop for the month of August 2009.

WORKSHOP: Conflict and Pacing

Using the character's internal motivation to create conflict. Finding the right level of conflict for your story. Organize the plot to create rising conflict. Modifying conflict to individualize scenes and characters. Designing scenes for greater conflict. Heating up pacing with conflict turning points. If you're looking for an in-depth exploration of conflict in fiction, this course is for you!

INSTRUCTOR: Alicia Rasley

Alicia Rasley is a nationally known writing teacher and the author of The Power of Point of View (Writer's Digest Books, 2008). Her writing articles can be found at

KILLER INSTINCT workshops encompass writing and craft topics.

PAYMENT MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE 27TH day of the month PRIOR to the start of the COFFIN class. Cost of each Workshop is (Currently) $15.00 US for KOD Members, $30.00 US for non-KOD Members. (RWA membership NOT required to take the course).

For more information check out our website at

************ *****Permission to Forward***** ********* ********* *****

RWA's Mystery/Suspense Chapter is pleased to announce our COFFIN College of Felony and Intrigue MURDER ONE online Workshop for the month of August 2009.

WORKSHOP: Homicide Investigation

Over the last few years, John Foxjohn has spoken to many writer's group, workshops, and conferences about one of his specialties—police procedures. John's biography states, "He epitomizes the phrase, been there—done that."

For ten years, John worked in law enforcement. He started out on the bottom like all, but rose through the ranks rapidly. Patrolman, Patrol training officer, detective, then the last four years as a homicide detective. With over three-hundred investigated homicides, and an intense love of forensics, police schools that include fingerprinting, interrogations, profiling, and counterfeiting, John becomes the perfect person to write crime novels and mysteries.

John is also the perfect person to teach writers about police procedures. Many books today sit on bookstore shelves with the name John Foxjohn in the acknowledgements. But all the questions writers have asked him has led him to teach about what he calls the "problem areas" most writers face. John's class includes the differences and techniques of the interview and the interrogation. He'll also cover lineups, jurisdictions, and the structures of police and sheriff departments.

Other topics will include custody or chain of evidence, television fallacies and how they relate to writing, the beginnings of a homicide investigation, differences between large, medium, and small law enforcement departments, collection of evidence and processing the crime scene,and students will have an opportunity to ask questions about things that trouble
them in their knowledge or research.

INSTRUCTOR: John Foxjohn

Best-selling author John Foxjohn epitomizes the phrase "been there—done that." Whether consciously or unconsciously, maybe one of the first authors he followed contributed to this.

Many years ago, John became afflicted with a disease he calls "readaholism. " His addiction to reading led him to Louis L'Amour, and even today, he continues to reread books by this author. Louis L'Amour had a diverse background before he began to write and John followed that path—born and raised in the rural East Texas town of Nacogdoches, he quit high school and joined the Army at seventeen. Viet Nam veteran, Army Airborne Ranger, policeman and homicide detective, retired teacher and coach, and now he is a multi-published author.

Although John writes an entirely different genre than Louis L'Amour, he followed the author's path by using his diverse background and meticulous research. Although John's novels are fictional, many readers believe they are true stories. Like his favorite author, John creates characters that readers love and root for—not cardboard cutouts. John says, "Normal people have faults and strengths—they make mistakes and need to overcome them and other obstacles
thrown in their path. People judge others by how they handle adversity. That's how I attempt to create characters."

If you have read John's novels, you know that he is successful. John hasn't yet reached the huge success of Louis L'Amour, but I wouldn't bet against him.

John is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Elements of Romance, Kiss of Death, Lethal Ladies, Sisters-in-Crime, East Texas Writers Guild, League of Texas Writers, and more online writing groups than he can count. He is a full time writer and speaker and lives in Lufkin, Texas but travels extensively across the U.S.

MURDER ONE workshops encompass the technical aspects of murder and mayhem.

PAYMENT MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE 27TH day of the month PRIOR to the start of the COFFIN class. Cost of each workshop is (Currently) $15.00 US for KOD Members, $30.00 US for non-KOD Members (RWA membership NOT required to take the course).

For more information check out our website at http://www.rwamysterysuspense. org

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Already Thinking of Nashville, 2010.

I won't be attending this year's RWA National Conference in D.C, but I'm certainly looking forward to the one next year in Nashville! And once again, the Valley Forge Romance Writers will be running their annual Writer's Rafflemania where the winner will be presented with $1000 to help defray the cost of the conference.

Good luck! And if you're going to D.C this year, have a fantastic time!! :)

Take Care,


***permission to forward granted***

$1000 Toward National in Nashville, 2010

It's Baaaaaaaaack!

The 3rd Annual Writers' Rafflemania from Valley Forge Romance Writers
Win $1000 toward the cost of attending RWA National in Nashville, TN in 2010.

Tickets go on sale at Moonlight Madness at the RWA National Conference in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 16, 2009 and online at

2008 Winner - Nancy Naigle
2009 Winner - Meagan Hatfield
2010 ??? Could be you!

All information on our website ( ) or look for our table at Moonlight Madness.

Still Swimming

My apologies once again for this pertaining to something other than writing, but I'd like to update those who have expressed concern and support for Matt over the past year. :)

And a huge, huge, HUGE thank you to everyone who commented in the previous post! Matt is determined to beat this once and for all... he is truly a warrior.

The "update" quote is from my Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Light The Night" page. We all hope you will be able to join us on 8/22 at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California as we walk for a CURE (it's at night, so the weather will be perfect). We'd love to have as many of Matt's friends, family, and supporters there as possible!!

UPDATE (7/02/09):
Last Friday, we learned Matt's EBV-HLH and NK T-cell lymphoma have returned for another battle. This time, the lymphoma has manifested as two tumors in the brain and one in his knee. So, instead of celebrating with Matt at the walk, we'll be there with him as he once again fights these blood diseases. Currently, he's undergoing chemo treatments and will soon be participating in an experimental t-cell clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which we're all positive will put him back on track for a full recovery. And then we'll find the CURE for blood cancers!

Also, if possible, please consider a $5, $10, or $25 (or more) donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We need to find a CURE. And please feel free to pass this along to your friends... Thank you!

Thank you again for all of your kind words and support... you're the best!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Swimming in the Dark.

I've had Jack's Mannequin's song "Swim" on a continual loop all weekend, reminding me to never give up the fight. No matter what.

See, on Friday, we'd discovered Matt is no longer in remission and has one heck of a battle ahead of him. Again. This news hit all of us in gut...simply sucker punched. We'd thought sunny days were finally ahead of us and had just started to breath a little easier; instead, we now face more darkness.

But that doesn't mean those bright days aren't on the horizon. We definitely have to hold on to that.

Just recently, I'd posted a bit about his fight in "Not Giving In" and in "Here With You." And now, just as before, we need him to focus and give this next stage in his journey every ounce of energy he's got because his parents, brothers, sisters, nephews, niece, best friend, good friends, and even strangers need him to SWIM. We love him. We need him in our lives. We're all ready to do whatever it takes to help him.

So, Matt, just "swim in the dark." There'll be a sunrise soon.

Take Care,


P.S. I've posted the Internet version of the "Swim" video, newly released by Jack's Mannequin. It's from the JM MySpace page and was posted by JM for fans before the Official video is released.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Online Writing Workshop: Writing Romantic Suspense That Works

Here's another writing workshop I thought I'd pass along to you guys...

Looks like you'll need to sign up by June 27th, so you'll need to act quickly. KOD members pay $15, and non-KOD members pay $30.

Hope you're all well!

Take Care,


************ ********* *Permission to Forward***** ********* ********* **

RWA's Mystery/Suspense Chapter is pleased to announce our COFFIN College of Felony and Intrigue KILLER INSTINCT online workshop for the month of July 2009.

WORKSHOP: Writing Romantic Suspense That Works

It's twice - not half - as hard to write good romantic suspense as it is to write "just" a romance or thriller. Or maybe make that three times tougher. Your suspense plotting has to be impeccable, your romantic development an emotional grabber - and they've both got to work together on pretty much every page. And on top of that, you're writing in a genre that's already full of bestselling authors, talented newcomers and everyone in between. So how do you not only get
the basics right but find a way to stand out in a crowded marketplace? If you're looking for tips and advice, not to mention answers, this could be the course you've been waiting for.

INSTRUCTOR: Leslie Wainger

Leslie Wainger leads dual but complementary careers as a freelance book doctor and editor-at-large for Harlequin Single Titles, with a hand in series romance, as well. Authors she works with include Heather Graham, Linda Howard, Maggie Shayne, Sharon Sala, Emilie Richards and many more. She's also the author of "Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies" (Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2004) and the 2005 recipient of Romance Writers of America's industry award.
KILLER INSTINCT workshops encompass writing and craft topics.

PAYMENT MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE 27TH day of the month PRIOR to the start of the COFFIN class. Cost of each Workshop is (Currently) $15.00 US for KOD Members, $30.00 US for non-KOD Members. (RWA membership NOT required to take the course).

For more information check out our website at

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Writing Contest: 17th Annual Heart of the West Contest

Here's another writing contest that is electronic submission only -- a money saver. But you'll have to hurry to enter this one, as the deadline is July 1, 2009.

Good Luck!

Hope you're all having a great summer and your writing is going smoothly. :)

Take Care,



17th Annual Heart of the West Contest deadline is July 1 and will be here before we know it!

Now is the time to make your final edits, get your pages together, fill out that entry form, and EMAIL your manuscript(s). Yes, the contest is totally electronic, saving you precious money by not having to mail anything! Enter for the chance to get your story in front of one of the awesome acquiring editors and agents that we have judging.

Contemporary: Amanda Bergeron, Editor, Avon Books/Harper Collins.
Historical: Megan Records, Editor, Kensington.
Paranormal: Heather Osborn, Editor, Tor/Forge.
Mystery/Suspense: Lara Hyde, Editor, MIRA.
Inspirational: Jewelann Cone, Agent, Atlantis Literary Agency.
Published: Miriam Kriss, Agent, The Irene Goodman Agency.

17th Annual Heart of the West Contest
Sponsor: Utah Chapter of Romance Writers
Fee: $25
Receipt Deadline: July 1, 2009
Entry: Enter the opening twenty (20) pages of romance novels of all sub-genres (projected length of at least 50,000 words). Contest is open to published and unpublished authors. Unpublished authors are ranked separately from published authors. Published authors may submit only unpublished, uncontracted manuscripts. NOTE: If you have a romance novel published by a non-recognized RWA publisher, Utah RWA Considers you to be published.

First round judges: published authors and RWA trained judges
Final round judges: editors and agents
Multiple entries encouraged. Awardees will be announced October 10,2009, at the Heart of the West Conference in Park City, Utah. Winners will be awarded $40 and a certificate. Please check out the website for all the details.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Need Some New Writing Music?

How about the melodic tunes of Adam Merrin? His solo albums "Have One" (2007) and "Have Another One" (2009) get constant play on my iTunes and iPod while I'm writing... The songs "Closer To You," "Don't Cry" and "Slips Into The Air" are just a few of my favorites from "Have Another One." For me, the soft, evocative tones of several of Merrin's songs often help me envision scenes more clearly (a few of the songs are more "pop" and I do enjoy them as well, but I don't usually write while listening to them). Of course, before I've even typed a word, I always see a scene play out in my mind first... so having a "soundtrack" for the story I'm working on always keeps me inspired.

Also, if you watch TV, then most likely you've already heard at least one of Merrin's songs, such as "Closer to You," "Still Alright," and "Everything Has Changed," as several have been featured in these shows: GREY'S ANATOMY, KYLE XY, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, GREEK, BONES, REAPER, and NEWPORT HARBOR.

This past Wednesday, CD featured Merrin as the Editor's Pick on the Home Page and it's well deserved.

So, that's my music suggestion for the week! Check out his songs on iTunes, his MySpace page, and the awesome review at (bottom of page)! :)

What are you guys listening to? Any suggestions for me? Do you have playlists for your stories, too? I've got a couple of stories on the fire, so a couple of very different playlists for each those stories, ranging from dark/heavy rock to ethereal to epic movie soundtracks.

Take Care,


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Contest Over At "For Love of Words"

Here's your chance to win a bookmark and a copy of Shauna Roberts' upcoming historical novel, Like Mayflies in a Stream (Hadley Rille Books in October). So, you'll need to head over to Shauna's blog and read her June 10th post, "I Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans, Part I: At Least Leonardo Could Read It," then answer one of the contest questions at the bottom of the post. :)

Good Luck!


Monday, June 08, 2009

Check Out Stephen Parrish's Interview with Author Erica Orloff

If you haven't already, I highly recommend you head over to Stephen Parrish's blog and read "Going Deep With Erica Orloff" (June 8). They're discussing Erica's newest release, FREUDIAN SLIP (HQN), and it not only makes me wish Amazon would hurry up and deliver the book already (!), but the interview has given me a little more insight into the very cool and different storyline which I know will only enhance my experience as a reader!

So hop on over there! Go ahead. :)

Take Care,


National Marrow Donor Program - Be The Match Marrow Registry

"Life. It's in You." It's so easy to register: Just a few swipes on the inside of your cheeks with some cotton swabs...and if you're a match, you can be a hero to someone and their family. :)

An anonymous, international, male donor saved my 23-year-old brother-in-law's life and our family will never be able to thank this man enough. Never. A 10/10 match. This man donated a bag of stem cells, much like giving platelets at a donor center, and then stem cells were flown to our country and infused into my brother-in-law by an IV drip.

That day... December 13, 2008 ...became my brother-in-law's new Birthday. A new chance to live his life.

National Marrow Donor Program - Be The Match Marrow Registry

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Not Giving In.

Last September, my family and I participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Light The Night Walk" in honor of my youngest brother-in-law, Matt, who was fighting an extremely rare auto-immune disorder (EBV-HLH), as well as NK T-cell lymphoma. Since then, we've been through hell and have shouted, cheered, and cried from the ropes, feeling helpless, as he fought round after round. Until finally, he did come out victorious in the ring, and just in time to let his body gather the physical strength needed for his bone marrow transplant (BMT).

The BMT in December gave us all such hope! Then he just needed to make it to Day 100 without complications and we could all breathe easier again. But around Day 60 (mid-Feb.), he fell out of remission... the incredibly aggressive NK T-Cell lymphoma and EBV-HLH had returned.

Were we devastated? Depressed? Absolutely. But also determined.

"You gotta swim." That's what we tell one another, what we tell Matt, and have from the very beginning of this godawful ride. (The words come from Jack's Mannequin's song "Swim" on The Glass Passenger album.) In the months before the BMT, my husband had printed out the inspirational lyrics so they were large enough for Matt to read from his hospital bed, but they also reminded all of us who visited him to just keep our heads above and "swim for brighter days." If you care to, you can hear the song on the Jack's Mannequin MySpace page (it's the first song that plays when the page loads).

But the fantastic news? Within a month, he was back in remission. His new immune system kicked some lymphoma and HLH booty. :) Thank you to the anonymous stem cell donor, too! You saved a life back in December!

Yes, there have been up days and down days since, sure. But we're holding out Hope for more ups than downs now.

Which brings me to this...

Some of you may remember when I'd posted "Here With You" last September. Well, we're walking and fundraising with Team Jack's Mannequin in Anaheim again this year, but in August this time! Click here to go to my 2009 "Light The Night" page. (Or see the sidebar.)

And why did we chose Team Jack's Mannequin? Well, because the front man/lead singer of JM, Andrew McMahon, is an Acute Lymphatic Leukemia survivor, as well as a hero to many, as he gives to cancer research and helps others deal with cancer through LLS and his Dear Jack Foundation.

So, if you're able to help me raise some money to wipe out blood cancer... then WONDERFUL!!! Any amount is greatly appreciated. And believe me, I realize the economy totally sucks right now...I do. So maybe if you can't give, you wouldn't mind helping me spread the word? Or maybe donating and helping spread the word?! Wow, that would be awesome, too! :)

Of course, words of support and encouragement are always welcome! I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who has reached out to us this past year... your support means more than the world to our family.

Also, if you're in the area and would like to join our team, click the "view team" button on my page and join in! We'd love to have you!! Oh, and there are Jack's Mannequin Teams all over the nation, so you can find one close to you and join that one if it's more convenient! Last year, the Jack's Mannequin "Light The Night" team (nationwide) raised $100,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! How cool is that?! (Btw, when our family read that press release last November, it floored us. Absolutely stunned and humbled us. And the tears flowed.)

Thank you so much and I hope you're all doing well.

Take Care,


P.S. Remember... Hope. Courage. Determination. Strength. Cure.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Exploring. A Santa Monica Photoblog.

Over this past Memorial Day weekend, the weather was gorgeous here in the L.A. area, so my husband and I took advantage of it and explored a few of the local sights. I know, I know...I can just hear my friends now, "You? The palest girl in Southern California? Out in the sun, Michele? We don't believe it." But it's true I tell you; I left my cave. Anyway, on Friday, we chose to head up to Santa Monica, home of Pacific Park and Third Street Promenade...both of which are often used as settings in movies and TV shows.

Also, during this past year, I've gotten into habit of carrying my camera with me everywhere I go, so today I'm posting a photoblog of Friday's excursion. As you'll see, I took advantage of the color isolation feature on my camera... I have so much fun with that! :) But I am finding that by taking photos, I'm seeing everyday things--shapes and angles of buildings, trees, shadows, clouds, expressions--in a completely different way now and that it's helping me pull out those details while I'm writing.

Hope you enjoy! And yeah, I did get a little too much sun that day... just not used to it.

Oh, and tell me: Do you take your camera with you everywhere you go? Do you find taking pictures helps you with your writing? How about another art form?

Take Care,


(copyright 2009: All photos were taken by me on my Canon PowerShot SD 750 Digital Elph.)

Third Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica
(lots of shops, restaurants, movie theaters, and musicians)
Actually, I'm not sure where everyone disappeared to in this shot!

Also on Third Street Promenade

On the Santa Monica Pier... Pacific Park.

Still at Pacific Park...

Yep...still there. ;)

Trapeze School on the pier..."learn to fly."

The entrance. We came down a huge hill to get to the pier.
Which meant we had to climb up that huge hill. Ugh.

Route 66 ends here.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sparking the "Ah-ha!" in Writing...For FREE!

A BIG thank you to friend and fellow blogger SpyScribbler for sharing this link! Literary Agent Donald Maass is offering his new book, The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success , for FREE as a .pdf download. How cool is that?

Several years ago, I'd taken Maass's one-day "Writing the Breakout Novel" workshop and learned so much in those few hours! Seriously, it surprised me how many novel writing tips he'd given us that, frankly, as he'd listed them... I'd had one (or a few) of those "wow, that makes total sense" moments. Elements I probably should've thought of before, but hadn't. Sometimes it's only a spark that will lead to those "ah-has" in writing and perhaps Maass's new book will be that for you...for free.

Hope you're all doing well!

Take Care,


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The 88. A Celebration on May 21st at the Key Club.

Hey All,

For those of you in the L.A. area, check out this amazing show at the Key Club on Thursday night, May 21st. And if you attend, you'll be the first to receive The 88's brand NEW ALBUM -- FREE!! They haven't even released it yet, so it's super cool of them to do this!

They'll be playing a 2 set show on Thursday. The first set will be Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" and the second set will be a lot of favorite 88 songs and some of their new ones! Not only that, but the group is celebrating their new freedom... they're no longer with Island Records and they're ecstatic to be on their own again! Seriously, they're stoked.

So tell your friends and help them celebrate on Thursday! It's an all ages show, so bring your families! And get a FREE CD of their new unreleased album. :)

Tickets are available through this link.

Oh, and hey, remember when I blogged about kindhearted people in the music industry back in February? That was The 88! These are the guys who were given a budget for a music video by their record company, and with that money, they chose to buy gas for strangers (when prices were soaring) and ice cream for kids on the soccer fields in the L.A. area. They have the biggest hearts, they're the real deal, and they love music.

So, if you can... please check them out on iTunes, as they have 3 albums on there presently.

And just to give you guys a little background on The 88, here's an EPK I happened to come across recently. This was put together a few years ago, before they were signed with Island, I believe, and now they do have a new bass guitarist and a new guitar player. The song played throughout the clip is "Not Enough" from their album, "Over and Over," and it's definitely one of their more rockin' songs. It just goes off... so awesome.

Also from "Over and Over" is this classic song, "Nobody Cares." Enjoy!

Take Care!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Writing Contest: The Maggie for Unpublished Writers

Since this is one of the contests where my historical novel was one of the winners a few years back, The Maggie Contest for Unpublished Writers will always remain close to my heart. :) So yes, I had a fantastic experience and the first round judges certainly helped me in strengthening my writing and story-telling technique... At least, I seem to think so! LOL

The deadline for this contest is June 1st, so you'll need to get your submissions in quickly.

Good Luck!! Hope you're all doing well!



The Maggie deadline is fast approaching!

Now is the time to make your final edits, get your pages together, fill out that entry form, and mail your manuscript(s) to the appropriate 2009 Maggie Awards coordinator! Use this opportunity to get critiques from two published authors and for the chance to get your story in front of an acquiring editor. And don't forget the cool jewelry. The deadline is June 1, so procrastination is not allowed!

Be sure to include adequate return postage per the May 11 postage increase.

24th Annual Unpublished Maggie Awards
Sponsor: Georgia Romance Writers
Fee: $25 GRW members, $30 others
Receipt Deadline: June 1, 2009
Entry: synopsis, first chapter(s) of ms (35 pages total max)
Categories: contemporary series romance, historical (includes Regencies), contemporary single title, fantasy/paranormal, inspirational

First round judges: published authors
Final round judges:
Contemporary Series Romance: Susan Litman, Silhouette
Historical: Chelsea Gilmore, Avalon Books
Paranormal: Chris Keeslar, Dorchester Publishing
Inspirational: Emily Rodmell, Assistant Editor, Steeple Hill

Multiple entries encouraged, including up to three separate entries per category.
Awardees will be announced October 3, 2009, at Moonlight & Magnolias and will receive the prestigious Maggie medallion.
FMI, entry form, and rules, visit
Email Pam Mantovani at or call 678-957-6775


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Writing Contest: 2009 Heart of the Rockies Contest

Hi All,

I've never entered the Heart of the Rockies Contest, but I thought some of you may be interested, as the organization is accepting electronic submissions only... that's quite a money saver! :)

Good luck! And I hope you're doing well and your writing is going smoothly.

Take Care,


****permission to forward granted****

Colorado Romance Writers is pleased to announce the launch of the 2009 Heart of the Rockies Contest for unpublished writers! Check out our nine categories and don't miss out on getting your novel in front of acquiring editors and agents!

2009 Heart of the Rockies Contest
Sponsor: Colorado Romance Writers
Fee: $25 (CRW members) $30 (Non-members)
Deadline: June 15, 2009

What to Enter: The first two chapters and a 1-5 page synopsis, 35 pages total max. Save money on printing and postage! We are accepting electronic submissions only!

Categories: Short contemporary, long contemporary, romantic suspense, single title contemporary, historical, paranormal/time travel/futuristic/fantasy, inspirational, mainstream with romantic elements & Spicy.

Final Judges:

• Long Contemporary – Kathryn Lye, Editor/Harlequin
• Short Contemporary - Diana Ventimiglia, Associate Editor/Silhouette
• Single Title Contemporary – Elaine Spencer, Agent/The Knight Agency
• Romantic Suspense - Danielle Poiesz, Pocket Books
• Historical – Alexandra Machinist, Agent/Linda Chester Literary Agency
• Paranormal – Chris Keeslar, Senior Editor/Dorchester
• Inspirational - TBA
• Mainstream with Romantic Elements – Valerie Gray, Editor/MIRA
• Spicy – Lindsey McGurk, Editor/Samhain Publishing

FMI, entry form and rules, go to or email Maya Milhous at HORCoordinator1 [at] [Remove spaces]


Friday, May 08, 2009

Weekend Fun with KEANE

Seriously, I can't even imagine this world without music. For me, music, writing, art, discipline feeds the others. It may not work that way for everyone, but it does for me. :)

Do you guys know about the UK band Keane? Back in December, they'd visited L.A. and performed a couple of shows, but only one of them was an acoustic set--at The Largo (very intimate). So, Keane posted one of their songs from that concert on Vimeo to share with everyone and I thought I'd pass it along. It's one of my favorites. We're seeing them again this Saturday night at the Hollywood Palladium, but they'll be "plugged in" this time. Should be a fantastic show!

Also, here's my absolute favorite Keane song, "The Frog Prince," from their concert at the O2 Arena in London (2007). Tom Chaplin has a lot of energy on stage, so he tends to get a little warm up there. LOL. His wild hair cracks me up.

The members of Keane are Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley and Richard Hughes. Check them out on iTunes. Their newest album Perfect Symmetry is a lot of fun, but I still love Hopes and Fears and Under the Iron Sea!

Hope you're all doing well!

Take Care,


Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Hi Everyone!

Here's an online writing workshop that comes highly recommended by a fellow OCC/RWA member: "SCENE & SEQUEL - BUILDING BLOCKS TO GREAT FICTION" with bestselling author Patricia Kay. This four-week workshop runs from May 25th to June 20th and costs $30. For more information, please check out the information below and feel free to pass this along to any interested parties! :)

Hope you're all doing well and the writing is going smoothly!

Take Care,


***Permission to Forward Granted***

Patricia Kay presents:

Instructor: Patricia Kay
When: May 25, 2009 to June 20, 2009.
Cost: $30

For more info or to register go to:

Many writers, even published writers, seem to have a difficult time grasping
the concept of story construction using the principles of scene and sequel.
With a combination of 12 basic lessons, class discussion, homework, and
feedback on your homework, Pat takes the mystery out of Scene & Sequel.
Don't miss your chance to take this popular class.

Pat is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 47 novels of romance
and women's fiction which have been published in eighteen different
countries. An acclaimed teacher, she formerly taught at The University of
Houston, and has given writing workshops all over the country. She says
there's nothing more satisfying to her than seeing that light bulb go off in
a student's head.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pen to Paper.

Wow, it's awfully quiet out there... Are you all deep in revisions or on deadline? How's the writing going? Anyone writing the first draft of a new story, like me? :)

I love the shiny new ones, but man, they can be frustrating as hell. Case in point: I'm typing along, knowing exactly where I want to go with my heroine, when ten pages in... BAM!... I'm suddenly staring at a blank page.

Now, the stupid thing? I'd already envisioned what the next scene would be! I could see it play out in my head as clearly as if I were experiencing it, but for the life of me I could not describe it on the computer. And I'm embarrassed to say I'd stared at the blank screen for far too long.

So today, after staring at the bright screen a little longer, I decided to pull out one of my journals and finish the chapter by writing it in longhand. And it worked immediately.

Why do you think that is? The connection between pen and paper? My fingertips gliding over the pages? The physical act of writing out every word? Or perhaps just the change from staring at a blank screen to grasping a pen and knowing what I needed to write? Maybe it's a combination of all of that.

And you know what else? Not until I'd opened my journal today did I remember that I'd completed the first draft of my first novel, a western, by longhand. And I'd finished it so much more quickly than any other manuscript since.

Now I know why...

Because when I write longhand, I don't edit my work to death; however, I will cross something out and move on quickly or add something else in the margins. When I type out a story, though, I edit as I go and delete what I don't like, which means I sit in front of the computer way too long as I try to compose The. Perfect. Sentence. Not good for a first draft -- at least not for me (I say this because I know down the line some scenes will be deleted anyway, so why should I perfect them during the first draft? You guys probably don't have this problem... LOL). Of course, I want a clean draft. Who doesn't? But there's going to be revisions to give the story POP, right? And yet, that doesn't stop me from over-editing the first draft when I should just write it.

Okay, so what have I learned today? Write! Dang it.


What's going on with you guys? You're all being so quiet! :)

Oh, and have you ever written a story in longhand? Feel free to chime in with the "Are you crazy?! How can you write a 400-page novel by longhand?!" comments. I'm sure a lot of you are thinking it. ;)

Take Care,


Monday, April 27, 2009

Power of Storytelling. And How Stephen King's IT Scarred Me.

Yes, I meant to write "scarred" in the title of this post, not scared... And it turned out to be a good thing.

I discovered this Friday night when we had some new friends over for dinner. As I was talking to one of them, we began discussing what we do... he's a professional musician and I write fiction. Upon discovering that I write, he asked me which authors have influenced me, and I immediately threw out Stephen King.

That actually gave me pause. I hadn't read King in a long while, so to name him threw me off there for a second or two. I then explained to him that King's older stuff scared the stuffing out me when I was younger and I'll just never forget his stories. The novel IT, in particular, scarred me in the sense that I'll never ever, ever, EVER look at a clown without suspicion.

When I read that book, I was about 12-years-old and staying with elderly relatives in a rural town in Colorado. My parents didn't join me on that trip--just my grandmother, as they were her sister and brother-in-law. Their 90-year-old house creaked all night long and boasted the darkest basement in the US. If you've read King's book, then you might remember Bill's little brother, Georgie, has to go down into their creepy and dark basement to fetch something for Bill. And in this old house in Colorado, I'd decided to read IT... at 12-years-old.

Yes, it totally freaked me out. (I'm sure you've already figured that out! LOL)

But, heck if I could stop reading! That's the power of storytelling and I'll never forget the entire experience associated with immersing myself in that frightening novel. And obviously, it moved me enough to name King as one the reasons I write today.

How about you? Which authors influenced you... Any that you've recently discovered? Or ones that you'd read in your childhood? I'd love to hear your stories! :)

Take Care,


Friday, April 24, 2009

Whispers of the Supernatural

I love to hear stories of the supernatural, especially when I’m sitting with a group of friends and we’re trading tales. Can’t get enough of them. And the chill that scurries across my shoulders and down my back? I just draw in a shaky breath and scoot closer to the storyteller.

Did you think I’d look behind me? No way! ;)

And you know what? Almost everyone I’ve asked, even a skeptic or two, has a story in which they can’t explain the appearance of the misty figure in their bedroom…or a premonition they had…or even a dream where a loved one, who has already passed on, visits them in order to tell them something (or to comfort them).

This may be why I’m drawn to reading and writing about the supernatural. Because on some level, we do tend to relate to the stories, even if that connection is when you’ve walked into a room and spun around because you swore someone else was in there with you.

I do have so many personal stories and I’d like to share one today that I've posted before on another blog--hope you don't mind. And then, if you care to share your experiences, I’d love to read some of your tales. Oh, and by the way, this particular event has kick-started a brand-spankin' new paranormal story that I'm currently writing! Yay! :)

In July 2006, we traveled to York, England for the night, as we were to leave for Edinburgh, Scotland the next morning. (I bet most of my friends thought I was going to write York, Maine, my favorite place in the world. Ha! It’s the OTHER York. The older one. LOL)

Anyway, we’d arrived in York from London on Saturday around 6:30 p.m., which meant everything was pretty much closed, except for restaurants and pubs. So, we wandered the nearly empty streets and explored at our leisure, as darkness wouldn’t fall for a few more hours and the rain had lessened to a drizzle.

As I gathered information for a historical I was writing at the time, I stopped in the middle of the cobblestone road to admire a sign hanging outside one of the shops.

“Michele,” a voice whispered in my ear.

I glanced over my shoulder, expecting my husband to be there, waiting for me to move on. But I was alone. Huh. It wasn’t until looked in the opposite direction that I realized my DH was already 20 yards ahead of me and clearly occupied taking pictures.

Okay, I just thought I heard someone whisper my name.

So, I continued studying the buildings and did some window-shopping for a few more minutes. Then I turned in the direction of my husband, who waited for me down at the end of the street, and headed that way, ready to find a place to eat.

“Michele,” the voice whispered again. A male's voice.

I froze, but not from fear. Just curious as heck. What did the male voice want? Should I answer? Why would he get my attention, but not say anything else? Or even appear to me?

At that very moment, a ghost tour made its way down the street toward my DH. As the guide and his group passed me, he pointed to the buildings and spoke about the numerous reports of supernatural occurrences on this particular street.

Hmm, you think? All I could do was grin.

This is the street and the group gathered at the end of it is the ghost tour.

So, that’s one of my stories. I wish I knew what the voice wanted. (Or maybe there’s a connection between that York and my obsession with York, ME???? LOL)

Anyone want to share your story? A premonition? A dream? A ghost story?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More Writing Contest Info.

Hi Everyone,

I've never entered this writing contest, but I've heard good things about it. And bonus! The submissions are all electronic, so less out-of-pocket money on your part. :)

Below, I've posted some of the details for Indiana's Golden Opportunity Contest 2009.

Hope this helps... And good luck!!

Take Care,


*******Permission to forward*******

Indiana Romance Writers of America presents

Our detailed score sheet and considerate feedback can help you fine-tune your manuscript.

**Trained first-round judges, including published authors
**Acquiring editors and agents as second- and third-round judges
**Cash prizes for the three finalists in each category
**The Best of the Best winner is chosen from among the first-place winners in each category and will receive an AlphaSmart Neo

DEADLINE: Entries must be received by July 1, 2009. All submissions must be electronic (sent through e-mail).

ENTRY FEE: $25. Can use PayPal or mail a check.

ELIGIBILITY: Open to any author who is unpublished. (See web site for detailed eligibility guidelines.)

ENTRY: Beginning chapters (Prologue included) and synopsis. Pages and synopsis combined not to exceed 35 double-spaced pages.

FIRST-ROUND JUDGES: Either trained judges or published authors.

Historical/Regency: Becky Vinter, Editorial Assistant, NAL
Mainstream with Strong Romantic Elements: Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Management
Paranormal: Kerry Donovan, Associate Editor, NAL
Romantic Suspense: Megan McKeever, Associate Editor, Pocket Books
Single Title: Latoya Smith, Editorial Assistant, Grand Central Publishing
Young Adult**: Holly Root, Agent, Waxman Literary Agency

BEST OF THE BEST JUDGE: Allison Brandau, Editorial Assistant, Berkley/Jove

*Please note we are offering new categories this year.
**Young Adult does not need to be a romance.

1st Place: $35 and certificate
2nd Place: $30 and certificate
3rd Place: $25 and certificate

BEST OF THE BEST PRIZE: A Neo by AlphaSmart and certificate.

Further information and contest rules are available through our IRWA website:

If you have any questions, you can e-mail the Contest Coordinator at or

Best of luck! We look forward to reading your entries.

Garthia Anderson
Contest Coordinator

********Permission to forward********

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Never Give Up.

From the files of "Never Give Up On Your Dreams," here's a link to Susan Boyle's singing performance on another Simon Cowell show, "Britain's Got Talent." If you haven't seen this, it's pretty cool and it already has over 9 million views in only 4 days! Talk about a video going viral... WOW.

Also, sorry this post doesn't have anything to do with writing, but it's still the arts, right? Besides, the 47-year-old Susan Boyle did a fantastic job of flooring Simon when she sang "I Dream A Dream" from Les Miserables. LOL

Okay, and I'll admit it. I had tears in my eyes when it suddenly hit her how much the judges loved her voice. Sigh.

Hope you're all doing well and chasing your dreams!

Take Care,


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Online Writing Class: "Skips, Lies, and Videotape"

Hi everyone,

Here's another four-week online class that may be of interest to some of you. :)

I've never taken a workshop with this group or with these instructors, but it certainly sounds informative..."Skips, Lies, and Videotape: (How PIs Find the Missing, Nail the Fraudulent, and Obtain the Proof)" with Colleen Collins and Shaun Kaufman. I've posted some information and links below and you're welcome to forward to any friends who may be interested.

Hope you're all doing well and your writing is going smoothly!!

Take Care,


***Permission to Forward***

Skips, Lies, and Videotape: (How PIs Find the Missing, Nail the Fraudulent, and Obtain the Proof)

Instructors: Colleen Collins and Shaun Kaufman
Dates: May 4th – 29th, 2009
Cost: $20
Sponsored by: Heart of Dixie, RWA

If you have ever wondered what it was like to work at a PI and incorporate it into your books, then this is the class for you. This four-week class will cover the following: The Skips: Tracing Electronically. The steps of a skip and researching on the web, along with case examples. Tracing on foot and how to dig in public records. The fraudulent: from black market to white collar and the types of investigations. Types of proof and ways to obtain the proof needed for the case.

Colleen Collins ( has written 20 novels/anthologies for Harlequin (including one paranormal romance thriller for Dorchester w/a Cassandra Collins). As a private investigator, she specializes in skiptracing, witness interviews, surveillances, and infidelity investigations. She and her business partner Shaun Kaufman co-own Highlands Investigations in Denver, Colorado, and also teach workshops for writers who are developing PI stories and characters (

Shaun Kaufman is a retired trial attorney who specializes in forensic and financial investigations, domestic relations and civil surveillances, and criminal litigation assistance. Along with his investigative business partner Colleen Collins, he teaches the popular "Writing PIs in Novels" workshops ( He has published articles on private investigations in PI Magazine as well as on the Internet.

Register at:
Questions? Contact _online@heartofdixie.org_

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Need for a Happy Ending

Hi everyone,

Did you guys see this report on "NBC's Today Show" this morning? Apparently, during these tough economic times, people are turning to something they know will make them happy and the sales of romance novels are up, especially those stories published by Harlequin. :)

Executive Editor Margaret Marbury gives a brief interview, as well as a few readers and B&N workers.

Hope you're all doing well and the writing is going smoothly! I've been working on a story (actually 2 stories), so I've been a little scarce around the blogs... but I hope to catch up with you all soon!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Online Class: "Show and Tell: An Interactive Workshop"

Hi all,

A few years ago, I'd taken an online synopses writing course (the blurb, short, and long synopsis) with Shannon Donnelly and had learned quite a bit from her... So, that's why I'm posting the information for Donnelly's April online class, "Show and Tell: An Interactive Workshop."

Hope you're all healthy and the writing is going well! :)

Take Care,


****permission to forward granted****

Show and Tell: An Interactive Workshop
With Shannon Donnelly
April 13, 2009 – May 9, 2009

Enrollment Information at

COST: $20 for OCC members, $30 for non-members
Enrollment deadline: April 12, 2009
If you have specific questions, email


"Show, don't Tell" is a cliché that has almost lost its meaning. But "showing" and "telling" are both valuable tools for any writer. In this workshop, we'll use writing
examples to figure out the truth hidden in this tired phrase. The "telling" part of the workshop includes tips, tricks, and tech niques to help improve narrative and identify when it's time to tell your story. The "showing" part blends a set of exercises to strengthen an understanding of what makes a scene come to life.

1) Telling: Use of the Narrative Voice
2) Showing to Pull a Reader into Your Scenes
3) Descriptions: How to Make them Vivid
4) Deep Viewpoint to Show a Character's Inner World
5) Time, Transitions & Word Count--where Telling Helps
6) Showing and Telling--Not Absolutes
7) Write to Your Strengths: When to Show, When to Tell

Award-winning author of romance novels, children's books, video games, and non-fiction books, Shannon's work has earned praise from Booklist and other reviewers, noting: "simply superb"..."wonderfully uplifting"....and "beautifully written." Her numerous awards for writing include past finalist in the RWA's RITA for Best Regency, winner of the Golden Heart Award, Grand Prize in the "Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer" contest, (judged by Nora Roberts - which gave her a trip to Paris), the Laurel Wreath, Winter Rose, and multiple finalists in the Bookseller's Best, Orange Rose, Holt Medallion, Colorado ACE, and other contests. Shannon is a member of Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA), Orange County Chapter (OCC) of RWA, East Valley Authors (EVA), and the Published Author Special Interest Chapter (PASIC).

She regularly teaches online workshops, including a class for UCLA, and has spoken at
RWA's National Conference, as well as at RWA chapter meeting s and other conferences.
She can be found online at and

Enrollment Information at
COST: $20 for OCC members, $30 for non-members
Enrollment deadline: April 12, 2009

Coming in May – "Writing the Synopsis" with Camy Tang
Whether you've got a complete manuscript or you've just started one, this class will help you write a complete synopsis for your story. She will take you step by step so that by the end of the class you will have written a one-page synopsis, a 4-6 page synopsis, and also a more organic "character" synopsis.

For a full class roster, go to Check out our full 2009 list of workshops.

Want to be notified personally two weeks before each class? Be sure you're signed up for our Online Class Notices Yahoo Group! Sign up at the bottom of or send a blank email to

********** permission to forward **********

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Closest I'll Probably Ever Get to The President

So, if you watched the news yesterday, then perhaps you know President Obama visited Orange County for a Town Hall meeting at the Orange County Fairgrounds. Well, turns out he flew directly over our house in Marine One, along with 4 other helicopters, as he made his way from Long Beach Airport to the Fairgrounds and then back. Unfortunately, I wasn't fast enough to get all 5 helicopters in 1 shot, so I captured what I could. Most definitely an impressive sight... Oh, and quite loud, I assure you! LOL

Yep, I'm fairly certain this will be the closest I'll ever get to The President of the United States of America. :)

Pretty cool for a West Coast girl who never gets to see stuff like this.

Hope you all are well!