My One True Love turns Fifty

My wonderful sweet husband is the big five-oh today. Neither of us is sure how that happened. We just started climbing the hill, and oh, hey, we're over the top and sliding down.

I'm just hoping this side of the slope is a lot smoother than the climb. Besides, we can always roll.

The first time I saw him twenty-five years ago, I was attracted at first sight. I came to Texas to visit a roommate from college and while we were doing the tourist things like Billy Bob's and the downtown cowtown strip, Peggy dragged us to this dive of a bar The Wedgewood Lounge because her friend from church (Pat) kept inviting her to come see his band play and she didn't want to go alone.

I could see why. There were more people in the band than there were occupants in the bar, one of which was slouched and sleeping over the bar.

But that was it for me.  Good thing he was wearing jeans instead of his black spandex he claimed he sometimes rocked out in cuz that would have been a deal killer. *Shudders* What may never have been over black spandex. Oh, did those happen to get lost in the laundry?  Sorry dear.

But spandex aside, I married an intelligent, confident, funny, sweet, forgiving, generous guy.

I love you sweetheart. Happy Birthday, Pat!!!

WIP Blog Hopping

I was tagged by my good friend and fellow chapter mate from North Texas Romance Writers of America chapter, Jerrie Alexander. She’s funny and generous and a wonderful writer. I’ve been anxiously waiting for the arrival of her first book The Green Eyed Doll.

What is your working title of your book?  Reaped

Where did the idea come from for the book?  I was reading Tom Brokaw’s book The Greatest Generation and the thought of what it would be like to randomly be plunked into the middle of another world’s war in another person’s body must be like. I know, that premise has nothing to do anything about WWII, but that’s how my bizarre brain works.

What genre does your book fall under? Young Adult Fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I would want actors that aren’t well-known because when I write I don’t imagine any real person’s face so I wouldn’t want my character forever slapped with a really famous actor’s persona like that.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? She died on that lonely country road when their truck flipped, but woke up in a sterile facility with scientists calling her a different name, and in some other girl’s body.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? After six years of being with a traditional publisher, I have fallen in love with everything about self-publishing. Guess I like the freedom and control of it all.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? This book idea so far has been the one-that’s-gotten-away. I had the idea for it at least ten years ago and have written the first chapter many times and then tossed it. It’s gone through several transformations, from a an old man plunked into a young man’s body in a battle similar to WWII, and now it’s completely different about a teenage girl whose soul is scientifically “reaped” and placed into a test-tube grown body. Trouble is, she wasn’t supposed to retain her memories, but does.

This is one of the reasons why I decided to do National Novel Writing Month to push myself into actually writing this thing and finally get it out of my head and onto paper where it belongs. So, long answer to your question: In a month, I hope to have the first draft completed in a month.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I’d have to say James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series due to the mad scientist experimenting on kids aspect.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 
Just the whole identity factor. How much of who we are comes down to who we are physically verses who we are inside. Then take those both away, bodies and memories, and who are we then? Would we have the same values or even personalities deep down or does that all filter away?

I have tagged Gina Lee NelsonLee Thompson, and Jesse Kimmel-Freeman  to learn more about what they are working on. So go on over and see what they're writing. 

Making of a Cover: Death & Kisses

This was a fun cover to play around with. Much more difficult than usual. This is my first published Young Adult book so just finding the picture took a long time. Since the story is about a girl who no longer fits in with her crowd at high school and also has some dark elements dealing with death and ghosts and revenge, I thought this first picture fit the bill, with this bright flower floating in dark water.

Then I group emailed my siblings. Oh man, I opened a can of opinions. More than 100 emails between us all later, and after one sister pointed out that with the title and the flower, it looked more like a "self-help book to aid people in saying their final goodbyes to loved ones"--Yikes--I scrapped this cover design completely.

The title itself brought even more controversy, but I figured that was good since I wanted something edgy that would make potential readers do a double-take. It has been titled Outcast for about 3 years while it found a literary agent and she tried to place it, that it was hard to let go of that title. If there weren't already so many books and albums with that title I would have gladly kept it. Death and Kisses though. Controversial. I'm pleased. We'll see how it goes.

Back to finding just the right cover picture. It took a while, but this picture finally felt perfect.
I love the dress, I love how we can't see the girl's face. I love the rose. However, since a haunted pond plays a big part in the story, I wanted water. This is where Smart Photo Editor comes in to change up the background.

We added water to the bottom of the background, but the lighting didn't mesh in the two color versions of both background pictures so we made the background black & white and kept the girl in color and the lighting blended perfectly. It also gave the book a surreal quality, which totally fits the vibe of the story. In keeping with the ghost and death theme, we also painted the rose black.

I wanted the bottom of her dress to be darker so it looks like water is seeping into it so we played around with that on Photoshop.

Next step is playing around with the fonts and colors and word placement. I could do that for hours. Then a coworker of my husband's had a brilliant idea to make the flower's stem pop out from behind the letter "S". Honestly, that is my favorite feature and so easy to do once my husband (the Photoshop, Sagelight, Smart Photo Editor genius--yes, he uses all those programs and more for different effects on one cover) showed me how.

At this point I thought it was done. I loved it as is, but no. You know how creative people can't stop dinking  around? A writer will always find something to edit in her book, even after it's published. Well, my artist husband is the same way, so he threw these at me:

Dang it. Now I love both this first one and the black and white background. I honestly could not decide so I took it to Facebook and had my friends choose between them. I paid close attention to my younger fb friends since this book is really for them, and nearly 90% choose the black and white background. I was surprised, thinking for sure teens would choose the color. Just goes to show you, you can't second-guess kids.

The next challenge was to make a version with a spine and back flap for the paperback version. Usually I pick pictures that have a width to already accommodate the extra for the back, like this, but this picture didn't have any, so we either had to find a picture to go with it or simply go with a black back. I found a forest that kind of goes with the original forest so we used that after darkening the trees a bit and converting it into black and white. I also had to redo the title words to make them fit, which meant redoing the flower between the two "S's" this time, but like I said before, that was easy and kind of fun to do, so no biggie.

                        For your Kindle            For your Nook          Coming Thanksgiving in Paperback

If you have any questions I can help you with for your own covers, just ask me, well, okay, I'll probably have to ask my husband, but he loves talking ask.

New Release: Highland Shapeshifter

For the Kindle       For the Nook        Paperback 

Flung into the 21st Century, Highland shapeshifter Col Limont needs to find the healer Charity Greves in order to get back home and save his family.

However, the healer’s sister, Lenore, is determined to do everything she can to keep Col from dragging her sister back to 13th Century Scotland into his family’s supernatural war. But when monsters and a strange yuppie trio also try to stop him, Lenore has to reconsider her options.

But by helping Col, she’ll lose her sister.


Resolved, she edged forward and dragged the heavy tarp off the creature underneath.
And stared.
It was just a man.
He sat against the sewage pipe, arms pulled behind him, either tied or handcuffed. His head hung forward, dark hair obscuring his face. His jeans were ripped and loose, as was his dirty T-shirt, splattered with blood and mud. Cuts and abrasions speckled his arms and she’d guess there were more under his shirt and on his face. Anger at his harsh mistreatment rose up in her.
“You’re into trafficking humans now?”
“Ha!” Starch flung his large hands up. “Hardly human. Shapeshifter. And a powerful one at that. Took three ghouls and a troll to subdue him and that was after they tranqed him.”
“Is he still drugged?” She crouched down beside the guy, squeezing her hands into fists to hide the anger. This wasn’t right. “What’d you give him?”
She touched his arm and he flinched. Her heart went out to him. He looked young and innocent. A year or so younger than her, maybe eighteen or nineteen. Too young to be caught up in whatever mess this was. Her instinct was to soothe, but she couldn’t show any softness here. Grabbing his chin, she lifted his head.
And the world narrowed down to a pair of mossy green eyes.
Energy shot into her, buzzing strangely across her skin in a lightning rapid pulse. An instant familiarity burned through her, as if she knew him, though she was certain she’d never seen him before, but there was something. Staring into his battered face, a connection rippled between them, tangent and swift and then was gone as quickly as it came.
Stranger still, she wanted that connection back.