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.