Saturday, April 30, 2011

Informercial anyone?

When my son was small, let's say between 3 and 10, he was an absolute maniac for infomercials. He got hooked on them while watching daytime tv with his grandfather. I would come home from work and hear something like "Mom, did you know that metal spring mattresses are not good to sleep on because the springs hit your pressure points, which makes you achy in the mornings?" or "It's the easiest cooking machine you'll ever need, Mom. It can cook, steam, boil, fry, practically anything you need. And if you call in the next seven minutes, they'll deduct one entire payment." etc., etc., etc. It was actually pretty funny although it did warp him on the whole bed thing. To this day (he's 17) he refuses to sleep on a spring mattress. Good grief.

But, I will say I, too, am a sucker for as seen on TV stuff. I love that my local drug store has an entire section devoted to that. I have purchased a few things like the Ped Egg (mom loves it), the Topsy-Turvy planter (did not work out so well for us) and the XPress 101 (Love it!). Some things crack me up like the Shake-Weight. Seriously, did no one ever stop and just WATCH that thing in action? How could you get through demonstrating that without laughing your ass off?

Some things are a huge surprise. The SodaStream is one. We are a huge soda family. As in, I should probably buy stock in Coca-Cola or Dr Pepper. I had the opportunity last weekend to test out the SodaStream in a real-life setting and holy smokes it rocks. Even if you take out the flavorings, the actual carbonating of tap water (TAP WATER!) is incredible. Add a little lemon extract and you've got a nice substitution for Perrier. But it also has lots of other flavors. We tried four and they were all awesome. I'm seriously leaning toward getting one.

I watch the infomercials half for the entertainment value, half for the what were they thinking value. But sometimes, I find a real gem.
How about you? Any "but wait, there's more!" moments you couldn't resist?

Happy Reading,
Jennifer August

Friday, April 29, 2011

Everybody Has An Idea

Every ? is an idea! 
It seems like everyone has a great idea for a book. Don’t you run into that? Almost always when I tell someone I write, they say they have a cool idea. Actually, I truly do enjoy hearing people’s ideas and I also tell them that I may use those ideas someday, if they don't mind. And most of the time they love that someone would want to use something that they had thought up in their own minds. I have compiled tons of notes for stories to come.

The other night, while sitting in my kitchen at the dining room table, I’m mumbling out loud about how I need a subject for my blog. I'm blank at the moment. My husband who is preparing dinner, or rather sipping wine more than cooking, begins telling me about how he has this idea for the next NYT best selling romance novel. Not wanting to burst his bubble, I said, “Okay, tell me about your story idea.”

Well, my husband's a golfing addict (and he's good natured and won't mind me poking fun at him), and one of our sons works for an exclusive golf course in town (now this might embarrass him because he's still at that embarassable age), so you can guess what the Hero and Heroine do, in his mind.

"The Hero is the assistant pro," my husband went on, "and the Heroine is the exec assistant to one of the members. The head pro is the villain getting inside information regarding Wall Street and Washington and turning it over to foreign spies who are also somehow involved with Donald Trump!" And he goes on and on, but when I started asking him pertinent questions about goals, motivation, and conflict for the characters, he said, “I don’t care about the why stuff! You have to figure that out.”

"Exactly!" I said loudly.

Sometimes the ideas
 just don't come!
But all you have to do is look
around or announce you need
a subject and boom,
you've got the germ!
Now if I tried, I could probably make something out of this, but right now I eat, live, and breathe golf stuff all around me, so I'll think about that one. Perhaps I’ll take a look at a later date. At the moment I write to escape and love creating imaginary worlds rather than my own.  

I’d love to hear ideas from anyone who is willing to share. Let me know if you are willing to allow me to use them, or not. All I need is a germ of an idea and my mind can go running wild and that's how it begins. In fact, my brain is going crazy over a spark that someone shared with me this weekend. We'll see where that one leads... 

Got any ideas?
Come on, share :-)
Happy Idea Listening.......and gathering.....
Wendy Treitel 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


We all know what that means, and we all hate it. Yes, that means someone, somewhere is keeping tabs on you. And as much as you might not like it, when it comes to writing it may be a necessary evil.

It is for me anyway.

The first of April I joined a group of writers in DARA to be more accountable for my writing. Since I had a request, I felt this was the best thing that could happen to me...and it has been, mostly.

I love the gals in my group. When I don’t do what I promise, they verbally kick my butt and tell me to get busy. When I whine, they tell me to keep on writing no matter what’s going on in life.

Needless to say, I would not be where I am, right now, today, without them peeking over my shoulder. While my critique partners keep my writing on the straight and narrow, my accountability buddies keep my fingers flying across the keyboard.

So, between my plotting group, which is an awesome bunch of five wonderful ladies with amazing brains that at times scare me, to my accountability group which keeps me typing away, on to my critique partners that amaze me every time we meet, I say thank you very much. I love you all, and I’d be so frozen with fear without you guys, I wouldn’t get a thing done.

So, it not only takes a village to raise a child, it takes a lot of creative people to write a book.

Write On!

Geri Foster

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Off The Grid - Adventures In Homelessness

Today we are delighted to welcome our guest, Russell Lighthall, to 4writers. Thanks for taking the time to be here today and share some of your exciting and often humorous experiences, Russell!
Russell Lighthall spent his younger years moving all over the U.S. as the son of a Navy Chief, going to twelve different schools through High School. This solitary existence was always eased by his love of reading and guitar.

 After graduating from Bellaire High in Houston, Texas he joined the U. S. Navy himself as a Communications Technician, receiving a Top Secret Clearance. After his discharge, he attended the University of Houston on the GI Bill, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

After thirty years in the Paper and Printing Industry and raising two beautiful daughters, he finally decided it is now or never to devote his energy to his real love, writing. He is now currently working full time on a detective novel along with keeping a journal of his current travels which he intends to also turn into a non-fiction book.

Last year I decided that after working for 46 years, and having virtually nothing to show for it, it was time to re-evaluate my situation. In all fairness, my many marriages (all my exes live in Texas) may have had something to do with my struggles! But be that as it may, I still was not happy with going from being a "fair-haired wonder" to an older, less valuable worker. My only choice in recent times had been to work in "Call Centers" while waiting to get my retirement in two years. So I decided to retire a couple of years early, but without the income! I get a small annuity, but not enough to pay rent. My two daughters were off starting families of their own. So nothing was holding me in Texas.

I Googled California and Florida to find a good location. My main priorities were a place with 1) a large homeless population and 2) warm nights year round. I figured if there was a large group of homeless, the police would be more lenient. I looked at Key West first, having lived there 3 years as a child, but the police have been hassling the Homeless in Key West to protect the tourists. And Key West is not a very large island. So Fort Myers Beach, Florida won the prize...ME! With an average nightly temperature in the 50's and a large transient population, Ft Myers seemed at the very least a good place to start.

So I caught a Greyhound for Ft Myers, and rode for 38 hours to sunny South Florida. A 38 hour bus ride! I got car sick twice, slept maybe 6 hours on the whole trip. Next time I fly (or walk)! Please understand, I never even had camped out before except one time for two nights! So I had no idea what the heck I was doing!

I got to Fort Myers with a sleeping bag, a radio, a pillow, and not much else! I caught a Trolley to Ft Myers Beach and ended up at Bowditch Park, which was run by the county. I went deep into the park, found a secluded area, and collapsed into my sleeping bag. So started my Adventure in Homelessness.

Over the next few days I explored Ft Myers Beach, while sleeping in the evenings at Bowditch Park. I showered at the beach showers, soaping up fast and rinsing off before anyone noticed what I was doing. I had a few dollars left for food and to buy a Pup Tent and a cheap Bicycle. I met a couple who were bar-b-queing at the park who had the "homeless look", so walked up to them and I was right! Emrys and his wife Julie told me about a Chapel where I could shower Monday through Friday,and also get breakfast! Chapel By The Sea is a non-profit organization run totally by volunteers from the area churches with space at the Presbyterian Church of the same name. So the next morning I got on my bike and after getting lost I finally found the Chapel. The church people were totally welcoming and I was able to get cleaned up, get breakfast, and also a bag lunch. So Monday through Friday I was good.

A couple of Highlights of my journey so far...

After a week sleeping in Bowditch County Park, and being eaten up by gnats and mosquitoes, I was told by some other homeless people that I needed to move or the Police or Park Rangers were certain to soon find me, so I packed up my meager belongings and headed to the other end of Ft Myers Beach. Unfortunately, that night I got caught by the Rangers and was kicked out of Lover's Key. So I'm on the Beach Trolley next morning with nowhere to go and no idea what's next when Providence intervened! I was telling the Trolley Driver about getting tossed out and another passenger said, "I have an old Campsite I don't use any more. Come with me and I'll take you there." And that's how I met "Vodka Steve". (Note: almost every homeless male here has a nickname. I've met Vodka Steve, Vodka Sam, Hawk, Bronco, my neighbor Pork Chop, and at least a dozen guys called Cowboy, to mention just a few.) Vodka Steve took me off the beach and over the bridge off-island to some woods and actually gave me an old beat-up pup tent at his old campsite.

Now, 6 months down the road, I have three tents I have accumulated. I have two newer pup tents and a large tent for sleeping. After a week of sleeping in the open with just my sleeping bag when I first arrived in Ft Myers, Florida, I bought a small pup tent, then was given another small tent at a Veteran's Stand Down, a yearly function to help Homeless Veterans. I finally bought a six-man tent, (which is really a one-man, let's face it, but I could finally stand up inside!)

I have joined the Library, so have a place to charge my cell phone and also have gotten a small DVD player and a Walkman Radio! Pork Chop, my aforementioned neighbor, has been camping out for 5 years, and is a wealth of knowledge about surviving as a Homeless Citizen.

One more Highlight:
Last week was the first time I met the Lee County Police. At a few minutes after midnight I was sleeping in my large tent when I saw three flashlights shining through the tent. A voice said, "Lee County Police, please come out." I said, "Be right out." The voice said, "Do you have any deadly weapons in there?" I answered, "Just my Scuba knife," as I opened the front flap of my tent and emerged from within.

The flashlights shone directly in my face as I came out, so much so that I couldn't see anything. "The lights are blinding me," I said and they lowered them. There were three deputies standing looking around. The one who was taking the lead and obviously was in charge asked, "Are all three tents yours?" I said, "Yes, all three are mine." "Please open them so we can see what's in them," the officer said. I opened both pup tents, explaining that I keep my clothing in one and my food in the other. One of the officers laughed and said, "You sure are organized!"

Things loosened up after that. I figured the worst that would happen would be they would tell me to pack up and leave. That wouldn't be thrilling, but I can live with it. I volunteered my ID from Texas. After taking down my information, (which I imagine he ran through his computer when he got back to his police car) the cop in charge said "Have a nice night." And they left, just like that. The good news is that obviously they aren't looking to hassle the homeless. But the bad news is I can't delude myself that I'm safe just because I'm inside my tent. I no longer feel insulated from danger in my tent at night.

But overall my journey has been an interesting learning experience so far. I have a year left until I get my Social Security and move back home to Texas, and every day something new and interesting happens. I'm keeping a Journal of my "Adventures in Homelessness" and the main thing I've learned is this is nothing like I imagined it! There is so much more going on in the "Homeless Universe" to document, but that will have to wait.

I intend to compile all my notes into a book when I get back home next year, and who knows, this may soon be a Major Motion Picture, coming to your city!

Russell Lighthall

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rambling Excuses

It’s the last week of April, a full third of the year gone. I find it amazing that it’s so late in the year. A lot of living has occurred in the last four months; a lot of writing, but not enough.
I’m a character writer and a very lucky one. Usually, my characters come forward and want to tell me their story (no, I’m not crazy-gifted)-all I have to do is write it-right? Wrong! So wrong.
I used to believe that, I was just telling the story as the character revealed it to me. Now, ever so many years later I know they give me the basis and it’s up to me to enhance, tweak and shape the manuscript into something readable. Something sellable. That is the goal; to write and sell and do it while I’m alive to enjoy the ride.
The current manuscript is proving difficult, I tell myself because it’s more challenging. The plot is more developed and the subplots-interesting. I tell myself it’s the best yet.
But, I’ve given the first three chapters to critique partners and they’ve read and commented on the manuscript. Both have asked me what I thought of their comments-I honestly don’t know. I’ve found more excuses to not open those documents than kids can think of when they forgot to do their homework. What if they hated it? What if the plot isn’t good enough? What if…?
I wonder if I’m the only one plagued with self-doubt so crippling that the fingers freeze on the mouse, can’t double click to open the document or if other more confident writers would just blow off the comments. Do I have the right stuff for this job? I don’t know, but I’m out of excuses so I guess it’s time. Past time maybe.
Life is good!

Friday, April 22, 2011

An ode to Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper, ah, how your sweetness does call to me. I crave Dr Pepper in the morning like most people drink coffee. We're both getting our caffeine fixes, just in different ways.
Last year for Lent I gave up Dr Pepper. It was very hard! In fact, it so traumatized me that this year I didn't give up anything.
Did you know there is a Dr Pepper museum in Waco, Texas? I've been and it's pretty cool. A girlfriend and I took a short road trip to tour the museum. It's a small, three story building filled with original pieces of furniture and store shelves from when the drink was invented in an apothecary store. Dr Pepper was originally invented as a cough medicine!
The second floor houses all sorts of vending machines, trucks and in-store displays.
My favorite part of the trip was the third floor where there were video kiosks scattered about the room. Each video showcased a decade of advertising from print to radio to television. I sang along with the old "I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too?" jingle and saw many others that I never knew existed. Very interesting to watch the progression of the brand through the years.
The one thing that hasn't changed is the sweet deliciousness. Nothing beats that first swig of Dr Pepper!
I'm a Pepper, are you?

Happy reading,
Jennifer August

The Easter Calendar


First I would like to say that my thoughts and prayers are with all of the people and families who have suffered because of the Texas Wildfires. I recently did a post on Possum Kingdom and am terribly saddened to know that so much of that area, and the poor animals living in the wild, has been destroyed by these fires. Please take a moment to pause and pray for everyone and everyhting involved in this devastating situation.

Happy Birthday to Me!
My birthday falls on Easter Sunday this year. While conversing with a coworker, I realized I couldn’t remember my birthday ever falling on Easter Sunday before. So of course I went to the internet to see if my birthday had indeed previously fallen on Easter or not. Check out this great link I found to the Astronomical Society of South Australia and a list of all of the dates for Easter for the years 1700 through 2299, along with loads of other useful and interesting info.

My birthday, April 24th, appears this year and not again until 2095, 84 years in between the times since my birth year (year date held hostage by it's owner pleading the 5th) my birthday falls on Easter Sunday. Then again in 2163, which is 68 years later and then 2231 which again is 68 years later. So I was right, I’ve never celebrated my birthday on Easter, not in this lifetime anyway - perhaps in another?

I vaguely recall hearing about the complicated dating method of the Easter Calendar in the past, but the information has obviously not remained in my brain and I’ve never associated the date with my own birthday before now. And the timing has definitely made me stop and think about many things. 

I have to say I feel highly special to be celebrating my birthday on such a glorious day!

This link to the *Calendars Through The Ages website has loads of information and variety of interesting calendars for various religions and nationalities. Below I am quoting from their website an explanation of what Easter is and how Easter Sunday is dated. Please visit their website for so much more interesting information.  * {Douma, Michael, curator. "The Christian Calendar-Easter" Calendars through the Ages. 2008. Institute for Dynamic Educational Development. 21, April, 2011.}

What is Easter?
In the Christian world, Easter (and the days immediately preceding it) is the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus in (approximately) C.E. 30.

When is Easter? (Short answer)Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon after vernal equinox.

When is Easter? (Long answer)The calculation of Easter is complicated because it is linked to (an inaccurate version of) the Hebrew calendar. Jesus was crucified immediately before the Jewish Passover, which is a celebration of the Exodus from Egypt under Moses. Celebration of Passover started on the 15th day of the (spring) month of Nisan. Jewish months start when the moon is new, therefore the 15th day of the month must be immediately after a full moon. It was therefore decided to make Easter Sunday the first Sunday after the first full moon after vernal equinox. Or more precisely: Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the "official" full moon on or after the "official" vernal equinox. The official vernal equinox is always 21 March. The official full moon may differ from the real full moon by one or two days. (Note, however, that historically, some countries have used the real (astronomical) full moon instead of the official one when calculating Easter. This was the case, for example, of the German Protestant states, which used the astronomical full moon in the years 1700-1776. A similar practice was used in Sweden in the years 1740-1844 and in Denmark in the 1700s.) The full moon that precedes Easter is called the Paschal full moon.

Two concepts play an important role when calculating the Paschal full moon: The Golden Number and the Epact. They are described in the following sections. The following sections give details about how to calculate the date for Easter. Note, however, that while the Julian calendar was in use, it was customary to use tables rather than calculations to determine Easter. The following sections do mention how to calculate Easter under the Julian calendar, but the reader should be aware that this is an attempt to express in formulas what was originally expressed in tables. The formulas can be taken as a good indication of when Easter was celebrated in the Western Church from approximately the 6th century.

What is the Golden Number?
Each year is associated with a Golden Number. Considering that the relationship between the moon’s phases and the days of the year repeats itself every 19 years (see astronomical basis for calendars), it is natural to associate a number between 1 and 19 with each year. This number is the so-called Golden Number. It is calculated thus:
Golden Number = (year mod 19)+1

In years which have the same Golden Number, the new moon will fall on (approximately) the same date. The Golden Number is sufficient to calculate the Paschal full moon in the Julian calendar.

How does one calculate Easter then?
Under the Julian calendar the method was simple. If you know the Golden Number of the year, you can find the Paschal full moon in this table: (Please see website for the table)

Can't have an Easter without
Easter eggs and bunnies!

Happy Birthday to all the April birthdayers

 and especially to the April 24th, Easter Sunday, celebraters!

Wendy Treitel

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Marketing Your Passion with Diana Cosby

Today, we are delighted to welcome international best-selling author Diana Cosby to 4writers. Diana, thanks for being here today!

Marketing Your Passion
by Diana Cosby

Guest Blogger: Diana Cosby

Once an author sells their book, they’re faced with the new challenge of marketing their work.  To me, it’s imperative that the author defines their goals.  What exactly are they trying to achieve?  Is it a sales number?  Do they want to reach a certain best-seller list?  With a clear goal in mind, it’s time to push forward, break down the steps in your marketing strategy.
I prefer to do something I call, “Marketing Your Passion.”  Simply, this is doing what makes business sense and what is fun.  Let’s be clear, marketing is HARD WORK!  There are no short cuts, but well laid out plans for maximum effect.  As marketing is hard work, why do something you dislike?  It will show in your actions and could come across to the reader as insincere. 
One normally believes as we’re authors our promotion should center around our books.  I personally disagree.  I believe that our readers like to learn who we are, and enjoy the connection of having common interests.  You do this by sharing your passions.  Write articles, volunteer, or give workshops about what intrigues you.  Your bio will give readers follow-on information to read more about you.
            How do you find venues to submit articles?  Look for blog owners seeking authors to appear on their site.  Write an article for a local newspaper.  Submit an article to a magazine you enjoy.  A personal favorite of mine is
Each weekday, a message will appear with a reporter or others seeking people to interview about different topics.  If a topic is of something that you’re interested in and have knowledge about, you can choose to respond.  If your query is accepted, in addition to an interview, quotes or whatever the person is seeking help on, credit to you will be given in the form of your name and a link in the article.
            So, the next time you’re drafting a marketing plan, define your goals, then choose areas in your life where you have fun.  In the end you’ll meet amazing people who share your passion.  Take care and I wish you every success!

Diana Cosby, International Best-Selling Author
His Captive-Alexander MacGruder
His Woman-Duncan MacGruder
His Conquest-Seathan MacGruder
His Destiny - Oct 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Writing or Editing

We all write books to tell our stories and allow the reader to get acquainted with the characters that have been screaming in our ears. We have plot twists, arcs, themes, GMC and wonderful endings...or do we.

Lately I’ve been in a lot of discussions about editing. Maybe because my book is in the final editing stage, and I’m half crazy playing wordsmith. The most asked question seems to be, how long and how much do you edit a book? Some published authors go over the whole book several times. Up to seven or eight edits.

I constantly edit.

Seem a little ADHD to you? It doesn’t to me. Because that’s the way I write. I simply puke out the very first rough draft. Then I began the editing process. Since I’m clueless about grammar, I try to be extra careful in that area, but I’m not always successful.

Another thing, I don’t always follow what I puked out. The plot can change dramatically. I may change locations, careers, ages, and GMC. Because, until I send it off to an editor, my WIP is still a work in progress.

I once had a friend who got a rejection from a publishing house and the editor said, ‘this is a very nice first draft.’ Ouch! You don’t want to get one of those. It says you haven’t finished editing, and you became lazy and sent it in anyway. The editor didn’t want to see anything else she had.

Many of us write great book, and some of us edit until we create great books. Either way is fine.

Make a list to check and double check everything you need to do to each chapter of you book. I made a list of twelve things I look for, add, take out, and layer. So don’t be in a hurry to send in something that isn’t finished. Remember, we’re not running a race.

Write On!

Geri Foster

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dreaming In Color with Morgan Fox

Today at 4writers, for readers, we are delighted to have debut author Morgan Fox. Morgan's super-hot werewolf menage - yes! you read that right! - will be released on Tuesday, April 26 from Siren Publishing. There is a link below, so be sure you bookmark it and support this rising star!
Welcome, Morgan and thank you for being with us today!

I feel lucky enough to dream in color and that my mind doesn't walk normal avenues.  I can watch everyday stuff on television or gaze at it through the windows of my house, but the world of the paranormal is so much more fun and exciting.   I simply can't resist the temptation that thrives inside me to create a place where amazing things can happen-paranormal things.  I love the men that live inside this world, or at least the ones that live inside my head.  These incredible, supernatural men are tough as nails, but are missing a vital piece to themselves...the love and touch of a woman, and that woman learns she needs him as much as he need her.  
I've written about vampires, demons, angels, immortal warriors, even dragons, but never werewolves and it wasn't until I had lunch with Shayla Black and discussed writing paranormal erotica romance that I ever considered doing so.  On my way home that sunny day, I envisioned the entire story and the power the werewolves had and how incredible a romance could be between two hulky werewolves and a woman destined to love them.  The story practically exploded in my head and within two weeks Seduced by the Moon was written and a week following that I had a contract with Siren Publishing.  Pretty amazing. 
My stories are often dreams I've had.  Truthfully, when I'm sitting at a doctors office, stuck in traffic, or cutting the grass, I'm coming up with new stories and the dialogue between characters is whirling through my head like I'm right there watching it unfold.  One thing I've been blessed with is an awesome imagination.  My husbands tells me that I chase butterflies all the time and he's right, except it's not butterflies I'm chasing - its hulky supernatural men. 
If I'm going to write erotica romance I'm going to go for the gold and write it as steamy as I can get it.  I don't blush easily, so telling the detailed, explicit story just comes natural.  I see it as it unfolds and I try to share that with my readers, so if hot, steamy sex is what the readers are looking for I can deliver.
--Morgan Fox 

Author Bio: Morgan Fox currently resides in Texas and has been writing paranormal romance for as long as she can remember.  As a teenager she wrote dozens of short stories about love, loss, danger and of course the seductive paranormal bad boy.  A graduate from the University of Texas at Dallas, she was raised in Florida but navigated to Texas as quickly as she could.  Most days, you can find Morgan on her computer diving headlong into her fierce imagination where anything can happen. When not writing, or thinking about writing, she enjoys cycling with her husband and reading all kinds of romance novels.  Finding time for all things she loves can be challenging, but with a supportive husband all things are possible. 

 Was it possible for a heart to explode out of a man’s chest?  Because that’s exactly how Sebastian felt being so close to Brie. Not being able to touch her was making him insane. The sexual tension blazing between them was so thick he could taste it. He knew she felt it, too, and had since they’d fucked in her bathroom, exchanging secret glances every chance they got, brushing up against each other with every opportunity. 
The memory of touching her had his fingers tightening around the steering wheel. The need to hold her in his arms, press his lips to hers, taste her succulent body, everything he wanted to do to her was driving him wild. 
Biting the inside of his of his mouth, he imagined what it would be like to take his time savoring her body. He didn’t want to just fuck her pussy and mindlessly ravage her body. He wanted to love her, sample every inch of her flesh until she was writhing in his arms from unbelievable bouts of passion. Passion he brought out in her. 
The heat of her stare was like fire blazing over the sensitive flesh of his body. The desire in her eyes awakened his soul. She stole the breath from his lungs and revved his blood. 
He heard her shift and glanced up into the rearview mirror to look at her, sitting in the backseat of his dually pickup truck, arms folded over her chest. Brie’s soothing voice pulled him out of his sexual thoughts and back into reality—a reality that reminded him that he was sitting next to his brother, racing down Interstate 20, running and  hiding from a serial killer.
Brie released a heavy sigh, then asked, “Are you sure we need to do this?”
“Yes!” Sebastian and Jonah replied in unison.
Brie blew out an exhausted sigh. Her eyes roaming over the tan leather interior. “I didn’t know you owned a pickup truck. I pictured you as more of a Mercedes kind of guy.” Her eyes darted to the back of Sebastian’s head.
“I have one of those, too,” he said with a deep husk in his voice. He glanced at her from the rearview mirror, holding her gaze, then he quickly looked away before the desire he felt for her rushed to his cock. Driving with a hard-on was a real bitch. “To be clear, there are a lot of things you don’t know about me.”
Like what the moon does to me, or how just being near you drives me wild, makes me want to ravage your body in ways you only dreamed...ways I only dreamed.
She rolled her eyes at him. “So tell me again, where are we going exactly? And how long will we be there?”
“We’re taking you to our ranch in east Texas. We have well over three thousand acres of land. Total seclusion. It’s the perfect place to keep out of sight while the Fed’s track down dear old Mason Levi.” He glanced back at the mirror again to see her huff out another breath, her patience thinning. He grinned. “Don’t worry, little lady, we’ll be there shortly.” Her eyes moved to meet his once again. He couldn’t help but feel his heart pound harder and harder in his chest as his eyes swept over her sweet, heart-shaped face.
Damn, did she not know how beautiful she was?
“And what if they never find him?”
“They will,” Jonah said without hesitation. “But if they don’t, you’ll have no choice but to live with us at the ranch...forever.”
“Forever,” she balked. “Are you out of your ever loving mind?”
Jonah cocked his head, his playboy grin gleaming across his face. “Some might say that, but honestly, you won’t have to worry about that because Mason Levi will be caught.”
“How can you be so sure?”
Jonah glanced over at his brother. They exchanged an understanding glance. With a nod, Sebastian said, “Because no other option is acceptable, Brie.” His eyes sought out her reflection in the mirror. “We will not have you living in fear for the rest of your life. Jonah and I will see that this nightmare ends for you no matter what it takes, but in the mean-time we’re all going to make the best out of this situation. Consider this a well-earned vacation.”
“Right, a vacation.” She snickered. “Something I have no experience with. What exactly does someone do on a vacation?”
Eyebrows raised, he glanced over his shoulder. Jonah said, “I can think of a lot of things we can do.” His dusty brown brow danced up and down.
The heat of embarrassment reddened Brie’s cheeks. Sebastian glared over at his brother, wanting to smack the back of his head. He’d have to wait till later to scold Jonah for his sexual innuendoes. Of course, if Brie didn’t appreciate that side of Jonah, she never let on to it.
“There are tons of things to do. We have private lakes for swimming and boating, hiking and biking trails, horses and livestock to tend to, and a house big enough that should you want to escape for privacy, nothing would stop you.” He smiled at her. “Trust me when I say there are plenty of things to do and tons of places to explore. You’ll have a great time.”
And maybe you’ll even have a helluva time as I fuck you senseless in my bed, on the couch, or in the woods…
He only hoped.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Some Action Is Required

Today’s the last day to file you income tax, if you haven’t done filed some action is required today.
I used to wait until the last minute to file mine, back in the day when we mailed them; I happily joined the line of late night filers driving past the post office. The reason is so silly, you see by waiting to file late I got the refund check back around my birthday, yep-money, money, money for my birthday!
But it’s the last part of the sentence that got my attention; some action is required, today.
Isn’t it like that every day? Some action is required of us every day.
We eat, we sleep, we work, we shop…endless lists of action needed and there are lists from those lists.
I lost my calendar two weeks ago, yep all those lists of things to do-gone. I was lost. I missed several appointments, lost schedules and my lists of things to do.
I put everything in the calendar: mileage, notes on current projects, words written, challenges, achievements, quotes, reminders and lists. I really use my calendar; it’s my life. Or maybe a more accurate statement is I write my life on those pages. It’s a tool I use.
It allows me to take action, every day.
Life is good.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

3 Cornerstones of Success

There are three things I believe every author must possess and use on a daily basis: Inspiration, Motivation and Determination.

For inspiration, I don’t mean story ideas or sudden thunderbolts of fully formed plot and characters. Instead, I mean surround yourself with people who inspire you, in any way you can. Some people don’t even know they’re a source of your inspiration, either, and if you can tell them, it’s a good thing. I had this conversation just the other day with a good friend of mine, Sophie Oak. We were at lunch and I casually mentioned how much she inspires me to do better, write better, be better. Her work ethic, her sense of community and her books are just phenomenal. She had no idea I felt that way and it really made ME feel better for having told her.

You never know when someone feels you’ve inspired them. Tell them. I have a few stories of people who have inspired me in different ways over the years: Shelley Bradley aka Shayla Black sat with me in a bar one time and told me I was a good writer and that she believed I could make it in this business. I carry that with me always. Here is this best-selling (now a New York Times bestselling author!) telling me she liked what I did. Wow. That was so many years ago, but I remember the spark in her eye and the fierceness in her tone when she said it. She meant it. And it meant the world to me. Still does.

Other people in my life are true inspirations: my mom and dad and their incredible love story of 46 years. Even though dad is gone, I still feel his love and presence everywhere. My son Connor, who is ridiculously proud of his mom’s chosen career. He inspires me to be silly and strong and to do all the things that I always wanted to do. My favorite authors whom I don’t know personally, but stalk when I can: Julia Quinn, Julie Garwood, Stephanie Laurens, Robyn DeHart, Amanda Quick. I read their books and they make me want to write. To keep writing. To never give up.

Which brings me to Determination. I just spent a grueling seven weeks writing an entire book. 85,000 words in seven weeks. It’s a hard thing to do and I don’t advocate such lunacy unless it’s the way you enjoy working. But I had a deadline and I was determined to make it. Because I’m determined to sell another book and another and another, etc, etc, etc. I am determined to make this my lifelong career. Some days, determination is all I have that puts me in front of the computer. Especially when I hate my current project. Or I’m bored with it. Or it’s spun into a direction I never intended and have no idea how to get myself out of. But, I sit down, I open my document and I try to kick some novel butt. I might write nothing but crap on that day, but as Nora Roberts once said, “You can fix anything except a blank page.”

The final important key to being a writer is Motivation, also known as Passion. I love what I do. Adore it. Then I hate it. Want to throw stones at it and burn it in a fireplace. Then I’m all gooey for it again. It’s like a bad bi-polar love affair. I’ve heard a lot of authors justify why they’re still in the game after years of trying with little to no successes, constant rejection, constant re-writing and always chasing the brass ball. The golden carrot. The <insert your own analogy here>. Whatever the reason, a writer needs to stay passionate and motivated to write. Even on those days they don’t want to. It’s kinda like going to the dentist. The sooner you do it, the better off you’ll be. Finding that motivation though can be hard. If you’ve ever been kicked in the proverbial teeth by an editor, an agent, a critique partner, a reader or a reviewer, you know just how hard it can be to stand up, dust the tread marks from your forehead, square your shoulders and sit back down to that manuscript. But you will. Because deep inside you, the motivation and passion lie wait. They stir and swim among the dreams of your subconscious. They demand to be let out.

So you do. And when you apply your inspiration, toss in that determination, let loose your passion and motivation… well, then you’re doing yourself proud. You are living.

Happy writing,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Text Messaging Codes

I recently upgraded to an IPhone ® and am trying to learn more about the fascinating language of message texting. Unfamiliar with all of the acronyms, I did a quick search on the internet and was amazed to find a huge A to Z listing of texting codes. I don’t text that often, but am beginning to participate more and more and would like to learn some of these keyboard shortcuts.

At the gas pump this morning, I saw a sticker on the pump announcing that you can now text your payment for gas! Not sure how that one works, but I thought that was kind of cool.

Below I have listed just a slight few of the more common text message acronyms, or the ones that I thought I might use. I am also attaching the link so you can check out all of the others.

Although most of mine will probably come from the senior list.

I know it's not necessary to say but I'm going to say it anyway,  PLEASE, DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE!

I recently received an email that I would like to share with you as well (Senior Texting Codes) – please look for this below the first list. I’m not sure where this email originated, but I thought you would all enjoy the list.

Happy Texting!
A few common Texting Codes

?                     I have a question
?4U                I have a Question for you
@TEOTD      At the end of the day
.02                  My or Your two cents worth
121                 One-to-One – Private Chat Initiation
143                 I Love You
1432               I Love You Too
182                 I Hate You
10X                Thanks
1DR                I Wonder
20                    Location
2NTE              Tonight
88                    Hugs and Kisses–also means Bye-bye (Mandarin Chinese txt msgs)
A3                   Anytime, anywhere, anyplace
AATK             Always at the keyboard
AFFA              Angels Forever, Forever Angels
B4N                 Bye for now
BAG                Busting  a gut
BASOR           Breathing a sigh of relief
BBL                Be back later
BICHOK         Butt in chair hands on keyboard
CTHU              Cracking the heck up
DIIK                Darned if I know
G4C                 Going for Coffee
IFYP                I feel your pain
ROFLMAO     Rolling on the floor laughing my ass off

Since more and more Seniors are texting and tweeting, there appears to be a need for a STC (Senior Texting Code)...

If you or your loved ones qualify for Senior Discounts, this is the code for you. Please pass this on so inter-generational dialogue can go on forever!
               (Or as long as the eyes can see that teeny tiny lettering).

ATD:                 At The Doctor's               
BFF:                  Best Friend Fainted              
BTW:                Bring The Wheelchair              
BYOT:              Bring Your Own Teeth              
CBM:                Covered By Medicare             
CGU:                 Can't get up              
CUATSC:          See You At The Senior Center              
DWI:                 Driving While Incontinent              
FWB:                Friend With Beta Blockers              
FWIW:             Forgot Where I Was              
FYI:                  Found Your Insulin             
GGPBL:           Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!             
GHA:                Got Heartburn Again              
IMHO:              Is My Hearing-Aid On             
LOL:                 Living On Lipitor             
LWO:                Lawrence Welk's On              
OMMR:            On My Massage Recliner              
ROFL/CGU:     Rolling On The Floor Laughing... And Can't Get Up              
TTYL:              Talk To You Louder              
WAITT:            Who Am I Talking To?              
WTP:                Where's The Prunes?              
GGLKI:            Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In