The Call

My 14-yr-old son has cystic fibrosis so one day from another we plan for the unexpected. A few days before Thanksgiving his oxygen level decreased dramatically. I have monitors and tanks at home so I could keep him stable, but I instinctively knew something different than usual was going on. So I called our pulmonologist Dr. H's office and started packing our hospital bags.


I glanced at my laptop, thinking I'd just leave it home because it was going to be a big day of checking in and tests, etc., but on an impulse I just grabbed it.


It was a long day of checking in and lab work, getting into a room, etc. That morning Dr. H pulled me aside to discuss putting in place an advanced directive for every following hospital visit. We'd spoken about it before so it wasn't a shock and I understood that it didn't mean my son was so bad that he was going to die right away, but it did mean that at his stage, anything can happen suddenly and if I happened not to be there, even if I had just stepped down to the cafeteria, our wishes on what actions are taken would be respected. It's basically like a menu. Would you like chest compressions administered? Oxygen? Intubation? Medicines for pain? Be wheeled to the ICU or remain in your familiar room? I won't share here what treatments I did choose or didn't because that is personal not only to our family, but my son as well.

Regardless that I knew it was coming, it was heart-wrenching to actually put into place. I had to go into a treatment room for about 10 minutes to sob alone before getting my composure back enough to go face my son.

That evening, I finally went out to the parking garage to get our bags from the minivan and just left them untouched in the room. Around 9 pm, emotionally exhausted, I glanced at my bag and thought about checking emails, but decided to go to bed. Couldn't sleep so pulled the laptop out for a distraction.

There it was. The email. I'd like to discuss representation. When is a good time for me to call you sometime today or tomorrow? Well, today was gone, but Holy Crap! Talk about emotional leaps. I allowed myself a little jump and squeal, but my son was sleeping and it'd been a heckofa day already. I wanted to be a little more excited, you know, have that euphoria that writers describe when they get their call, but I couldn't quite get there under the circumstances. What kind of karma is that? Advance directive in the morning and the dream I'd been working toward for years and years and years come true the same evening?

For the past month and a half, off my emailed query, I'd been dutifully and happily sending her first my partial, then the full, then the synopsis to the next 2 books (which I'd scribbled out in about an hour--the synopses, not the books).

I emailed her back and set a time for the following day. Which I'm grateful I had another day to actually speak with her because I had had that time to settle in my emotions that even though we'd put things in place, they were just a precaution for what ifs and scenerios later down the road. I was much more ready to be estatic.

Several nurses and a respirtory therapist were in the room. The child life specialist was just walking in with her hand out to clasp mine when my cell phone rang. With one glance at the area code, I lifted my hand, apologizing that I really needed to take this call and walked out.

So right there, pacing the medical center hallway in front of the elevators, I accepted representation with Naomi Hackenberg of the Elaine English Agency.

And jumping up and down, calling my husband, and then my sister--ensued. It was a great beginning to the Holidays.

I have an agent! A great agent!

Silver Linings

I thought this picture was appropriate because I am experiencing just that. Within several hours of each other I had a darkest dreadful moment and then the moment of joy that I had been waiting 18 years to have. I can't go into details yet.

Hywela Lyn




A fellow Wild Rose author, Hywela Lyn is a truly gracious and welcoming lady. Fine writer as well. It was my pleasure to interview her for the Examiner, and as always I like to replicate some of those interviews here.

Hywela, can you tell us about your latest book Children of the Mist?

The story takes place about six years after the events in Starquest. In that book the heroine visits Niflheim, planet of telepaths, in her search for the man she loves, and becomes friendly with one of its inhabitants, the beautiful Tamarith. This world takes up only a small part of the original story, but I became fond of the mist shrouded planet and her people. I wanted to find out more about them and the history of Niflheim. I also felt Tamarith deserved her own happy ending. Several of the characters from Starquest are also in this story, but it is Tamarith and Vidarh who hold centre stage

When Children Of The Mist opens, their world is in danger from a deadly virus, but the inhabitants don't realise how close they are to losing their freedom and their whole way of life. Vidarh, son of a hardworking farmer, journeys to Gladsheim, the main settlement, to join other telepaths there, to unite in sending a message into space to try to reach the only person who may be able to help them. During the course of the story, Tamarith and Vidarh find themselves facing far more than the elements and are in danger of losing their very lives. Vidarh discovers things about himself, and about Tamarith, and there is a dramatic revelation about the origins of their planet, before they are able to confront and admit their feelings for one another..

What drew you to writing futuristic romance?


I've always been fascinated by the beauty and mystery of the stars and the idea of space exploration. I like to think that one day we'll be advanced enough to colonize uninhabited planets and learn to live with nature instead of causing devastation and global warming through our greed and exploitation. I love nature and wild, lonely landscapes. I get a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction creating new worlds and drawing on the scenery and legends of my native Wales. For me, the challenges and unknown dangers of space exploration are similar to those facing the pioneers of the old west. In my stories it's those very dangers and challengers that bond my hero and heroine together, and draw them inevitably toward their eventual 'happy ever after'.

What is something most people don't know about you?

As well as writing, I also enjoy oil painting. I rarely get time for that now, unfortunately, although I still do the occasional pencil sketch and now and then paint horseshoes with 'canal boat roses' for friends,.

Anything you'd like to add?

I think that's it, except that I love to hear from fellow writers, and readers who can email me at
Hywelalyn@hywelalyn.co.uk or leave a message on my website or blog. I'm also collaborating with Mary Ricksen and Sharon Donovan on a new 'fun' blog which runs on Fridays only, called 'The Author Roast and Toast.' It's only been going a few weeks but already we're 'booked' until the middle of the New Year. I'm also writing an historical western, as a bit of a departure from my futuristic and fantasy stories, and have entered excerpts in the Classic Romance Revival excerpt contest.

My Blog: http://www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com/
My website: http://www.hywelalyn.co.uk/
Facebook:: http://www.facebook.com/HywelaLyn
My Space: www.myspace.com/hywelalyn
WRDF: http://romancewriterandreader.ning.com/profile/Hywelalyn

Winner

And the winner of the necklace is: (drum roll please) Opal Campbell. Hope you enjoy it. I personally love it!

Long overdo contest




Lisa Aaron of Jeweled Ambrosia hand-crafted a specially designed necklace for my book Upon Eagle's Light. All the jewels match the book cover with a beautiful eagle's wing at the center point. I love it and wish I could enter myself and keep it, but that would defeat the purpose of a honest contest so I'll just have to have her make another similiar, though not exact.
Anyway, this contest is fairly simple. All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter and let me know that you did so by leaving a comment. You can either click on the newsletter sign up box below or email me privately at cloverautrey@gmail.com with your email or leave your email in the comments. However you'd like. The contest will end on Oct. 20th.

Wendy Watson



I've interviewed another NTRWA pal for the Examiner. Wendy Watson. She is great. She gave a workshop for us once called "writing naked" which was very fun and extremely informative, but then she is a professor by day so she should be able to keep a bunch of students, fellow writers in this case, engaged.




Wendy's book Ice Scream, You Scream (love the title--though it makes me hungry) is out this week.




I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM is the first in a series of cozy mysteries featuring
Tallulah Jones, proprietor of Remember the A-la-mode, who solves murders in
between scooping sundaes. In I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, Tally's got a
struggling business, a crumbling historic house, a two-timing ex, and a big ol'
mountain of debt. She's forced to swallow her pride and cater dessert for
a company picnic thrown by her ex Wayne and his new girlfriend Brittanie.
What's more, Tally's high school beau, Finn Harper, returns to town just in time
to witness Tally's disgrace. Then Brittanie drops dead, and everyone in
Dalliance, Texas, starts placing bets on whether Tally or Wayne killed
her. It's up to Tally to find the killer before she gets fitted for an
orange jumpsuit.



What is something most people don't know about you?



I'm an enormous geek. In high school, I hit the nerd trifecta: Quiz Bowl
team, competitive computer programming, and math summer camp. I'm
not ashamed of that, mind you, but given that I'm now in a more right-brained
field, my inner mathlete surprises some people.



Wendy Watson's next book in the series, SCOOP TO KILL, is due out next July (National Ice Cream Month!).I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM Launch Party, Denton Barnes & Noble - October 20, 7:30 p.m.Death By Decadence: A Chocolate Tasting and Book Signing (with Misa Ramirez), The Book Carriage in Roanoke - October 23


"Murder By Numbers: Plotting the Mystery Novel," (part of Mansfield Writes!), Mansfield Public Library - November 6, 7-9 p.m.

My pal Mary Malcolm

Mary is one of my NTRWA chapter mates and she is so sweet and funny. She's just one of those people that everyone likes to be around because she makes them feel great. Anyway she was generous enough to let me do an interview with her for my Examiner column, which I always like to reprint here.

Diner Girl has only been out a few short weeks yet it is already your publishers #1 Bestseller. How does that make you feel?

I don’t think back flips translate on paper very well, but that’s how I feel. I feel like a back flip. *grin* No, truly I am surprised/ecstatic/thrilled/terrified and have wet myself at least twice. Don’t judge me.


Tell us a little about Diner Girl.

Diner Girl is such a sweet little story. You can absolutely read the back cover blurb anywhere, so instead I’ll tell you about the behind the scenes story. I took a creative writing class with Von Jocks and wanted to write a romance novel. I’d been thinking about a situation for weeks, the idea of having to whether out a storm with a total stranger and how that would go. So, my thought was, what if this stranger turns out to be your perfect kindred soul but you’re so busy living your life that you don’t see it right away? That’s what Diner Girl was born from.

Jennifer is this busy-living-her-life waitress who wants to succeed on her own terms. Mark has more resources than he knows what to do with, yet can’t see his own passion past his believed obligations. When they come together, it is obvious to the reader pretty much from the beginning that these two were meant to be together, but they have to make it past their own pain, and reset their priorities before either can realize they are meant to fall in love. I love this concept. I think a lot of people can relate to that. Perhaps they’d met their perfect kindred soul but were so busy living their lives they forgot to “live” in their lives. I want Diner Girl to reflect the idea that life is short and you should embrace love when you find it. That’s my only goal for this book.

What's something most people don't know about you?

I can write backwards, in cursive, readably. I Love that about me. *grin*

Anything else you'd like to talk about?

Let’s talk about ducks. No, kidding. Mostly, I want to encourage people to follow their passions. When I started that creative writing class, I’d actually been on track to go to medical school. Math and science are easy for me and I’m naturally curious, so I had always wanted to be a doctor. Thing was, when I started writing, I found it consumed me. If there is something in your life that you Love, something that you would spend every spare moment doing if you could, then do it. Don’t be responsible. Forget about what others think or getting that bigger television or that cup-o’-java once a day. Follow your passion and believe that your love for it will make others love it, too.

Where can readers find you?

Well, of course my website. I’ll be attending the North Texas Two Step conference on November 6th and 7th. Um....Every third Saturday of the month, you’ll find me curled up with thirty of my closest friends at La Hacienda Ranch in Colleyville for the NTRWA meeting. When work permits, I attend the DFW Writers Workshop in Euless on Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM. Oh! I love this little coffee shop in Burleson, called J.J. Mocha’s. If anyone wants to e-mail me at: marymalcolm@yahoo.com, I’d love to set up a time when I’m not working to meet you there for a cup of coffee, or tea, and definitely a cup of their soup or a cinnamon roll. Mmm, love that place. Also, I practically Live at Central Market in Fort Worth. Truly. It is my Mecca and where I go to breathe. If you ever are in the area and want to breathe with me, I’d Love to meet you there!
Thank you, Mary, you are such a sweetie!

Saoirse Redgrave: A Tale of Werewolves


Saoirse Redgrave’s cell phone novel 13 to Life: A Werewolf’s Tale was picked up by St. Martin’s Press in a 3 book deal after taking first place in the 2008 Textnovel contest.

Teenage love, loss and--oh, yeah--Werewolves. Monsters are everywhere and what if the most frightening isn't a werewolf at all? Jessica's life seemed tragic enough since the loss of her mother, but meeting Pietr turns her world upside down again. The newest member of Junction High, Pietr has secrets to hide--secrets including dramatic changes he is undergoing that will surely end his life early.

Saoirse, you wrote 13 to Life in 5 weeks. Did you do several installments per day? How long did this novel end up being? I've heard the norm for Japanese cell phone novels are around 6000 characters. For St. Martin's to pick it up I imagine it would have to be longer. Beside any expected revisions and edits, did you have to change alot from text novel to traditional novel?

Because I was experimenting with the medium, I thought a lot about how I wanted to present things. I thought about limited time, schedules and readibility. I did a lot of odd jobs back in college (factory stuff and tour guiding mainly) and I thought about the schedules we kept on the line. Break time was freakishly short. So I decided to post 2 (occasionally 3-4 as we approached the contest's end) segments every day. One before work and one sometime in the afternoon. It kept me on the site's main page because I was updating relatively frequently. [I wanted bite-size chapters with a hook in the beginning and a cliffhanger at the end to keep it fresh in readers' minds. And I wanted readers to feel they'd contributed. I built a blog about the characters, added playlists, brief bios about the primaries, snippets of info about werewolves and the paranormal. And I posted a number of polls related directly to the action. The trick was posting the polls, getting the answers and then writing according to public opinion (and almost immediately). It kept me on my toes. The polls helped determine what both Derek and Pietr looked like, who the werewolves were, how Pietr's family wound up, who Jess went to Homecoming with and what the first dance was she and Pietr danced together to. It was fun!

The main things that changed in 13 to Life from the abbreviated TN version and what will release next year from SMP relate to subplots, description (I had more room to build the world and describe my characters), some important twists and a totally--totally--different ending that lines things up for book 2. Essentially I went from 50 pages to 350 pages--79,000 words, but the heart of the novel remained the same.

More with Saoirse Redgrave...

Rosemary Clement-Moore






Rosemary Clement-Moore is one of my RWA chapter mates and is also one of the sweetest people you'll meet. She helped me out with the first interview I did for Examiner.com but I wanted to leave a longer version of it here. She is also the 2009 Romance Writers of America’s Rita Heart winner in the Young Adult Category.

A lot of exciting things are happening for you recently. Hell Week took this year’s RWA RITA for YA and you also have a new book The Splendor Falls coming out this week. Tell us a little bit about Hell Week.

In Hell Week, aspiring investigative journalist Maggie Quinn gets around her colleges rule against freshman on the newspaper staff, by writing a story only a freshman can--she goes undercover during Sorority rush. She’s stunned to get a bid from the most exclusive, successful house on campus--but there’s more to the Sigma Alpha Xi’s than fraternity mixers and study parties. There’s something supernatural going on, and while Maggie’s targeting them with her girl detective mojo, something truly fiendish just might be targeting her.

I once saw a mother have to prod and practically pull her daughter over to speak with you because the 13-year-old was completely star-struck. You were so sweet to her. Is that a typical reaction from your fans?

I get reactions across the board. Some girls are flustered, some talk a mile a minute. I have to admit, whenever I hear a squeal of excitement, I always turn around to see who’s standing behind me. I suspect some of the shyness isn’t just star-struck-ness, but also that I’m a grown up, and they may think I don’t have time to talk to them. The secret is, I don’t feel much like a grown up, and I love to talk to readers, especially teens. One of the things I love best is when a girl tells me she feels like she’s found a friend in my character, or that she identifies with Maggie because she loves books, or because she’s a bit of a nerd, but still very happy with who she is. That’s the more rewarding than anything.

The Splendor Falls has been described as a modern gothic romance. Can you tell us more?

In the classic gothic novel, there are elements of horror and suspense in a gloomy old castle or ruin full of buried secrets and lurking dangers. The Splendor Falls follows the traditions of Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart, but with a thoroughly modern heroine. Sylvie is grieving the end of her dance career when she’s shuttled off to stay with her late father’s cousin in Alabama, in a ramshackle antebellum mansion where the past is a little too alive. When she starts seeing things that aren’t there--a girl in the woods, a watcher at a window--are these really ghosts, or is she losing her mind along with everything else?

You've been the driving force to get a Young Adult chapter of RWA established. What kind of benefits will this specialty chapter offer to authors?

The Romance Writers of America has a lot of practical advice and resources for published and unpublished writers of all sort of fiction--not just of what you think of as a Romance Novel (i.e., the clich├ęd couple in a clinch on the cover). A romantic subplot, after all, is hardly limited to one section of the bookstore, and the principles of writing apply across genres.

The purpose behind the YA chapter is to share information that’s more specific to authors of books aimed at the teens and young adults, considerations both in craft and in marketing. The YA genre is extremely strong right now, not just with teens, but adults, too.


Anything else you'd like to add?

If you’ve never read anything from the teen or YA shelves in the bookstore, you might be surprised by what’s there. It’s not all teen vampire romances. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those!) But “Grown ups” often dismiss something because it has “teen” on the spine. A young protagonist doesn’t mean it’s a “kid’s book.” The best novels are those that offer something to readers of every background and age. I got a letter recently from a woman who said she, her mother and her daughter all loved my books. What’s more awesome than three generations of fans!

Thank you so much, Rosemary. Rosemary can be found on Sept. 18th-20th at FenCon VI in Dallas.
--

Boot Hill



Boot Hill in Tombstone is one of those places you gotta see at least once, even though it is very small. If you didn't want to linger, you could probably walk through the area within 5 minutes. It is well tended with a quiet somber atmosphere, even with a multitude of tourists strolling the ground with their cameras--it is the final resting place for several larger than life people after all. The graves are similarly marked with painted white wooden gravemarkers and black lettering, obviously not the orginal markers, which was a little disapointing. Most of the graves are piled high with stones, a few with gates around them. There are no brilliantly colored flowers, just the scrub brush and small cacti that are natural to the dusty desert region. Boot Hill really is a hill at the far edge of town, not a towering one but more of a sloping rise that has a great view of the plain beyond. In fact all the feet were planted facing the direction of the best view on the downward slope.




Evermore by Alyson Noel

A friend of mine advised me to read Evermore because it had some eerily similar things in it to the manuscript I completed. Okay, my mouth was hanging open, unattractively at that, after reading the first couple of pages because Evermore's couple meets in the back of a high school classroom as the heroine takes a seat after being taunted by the popular girls. My couple meets in the back of a high school classroom as the heroine takes a seat after being taunted by the popular girls. Crrr-aaap!

Then I read on and the similarities ended, thank you very much, cuz I was literally dying and thinking I was going to have to rewrite everything. Ugh!

But the two stories have nothing in common so we are all good. Not that Ms. Noel had anything to worry about, it was all me, but you know...

Anyway, Evermore is a fantastic read with surprises. I like that. At first it seemed a lot like Twilight, you know, girl meets incredible looking boy who is mysterious and we think he is a vampire, only the actual writing is far tighter and better. Then just when I thought I had the plot pigeon-holed--BAM--it's not what I thought at all. I totally love being caught by surprise like that. Well done, well done. I can see why this book is so popular.

Trip to see my sisters

My sister Bekie is the best. She flew myself and my younger sister Heather out to visit her in Arizona simply because she knew we needed it and wanted to see us. I can't begin to describe how much fun we have and how little sleep. You'd think we would have exhausted our topics after a few hours, but not us, we gabbed so much hours at a time flew by. It was heaven. No kids, no husband, no responsibilites. Here's some of the highlights:

Newest Cover

I love my newest cover. I think it captures the whole essense of the story with the horseman racing across the plains. Kimberlee Mendoza did the cover and I think she got it right on. What do you think?