Archive | July 2009


I’m following the Twitter Hashtag #Writegoal

In essence, if you type: #Writegoal into a twitter search, you can immediatley be surrounded by authors such as yourself, who have a common interest… to finish something they’ve started.

Think of it like a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) – only, you set the pace and you decide when you’ve achieved what you’re working toward. Make it, don’t make it. Reassess and reset your goals to be more achievable next time.

My #Writegoal has been to finish my WIP by the end of August. I’ve changed the date three times, due to summer and the perils of working/mama/writer-hood. The point is, I have some great new online “friends” who cheer me on, give advice, tips, tricks, and even the shoulder when I’ve run into plot issues.

Today, I was reminded that sometimes you just have to get the story out before you can polish it. I’ve been so ultra-focused on perfection, I’ve forgotten what it takes to get the draft out!

Here’s to tomorrow’s #Writegoal – which I am allowing myself 500 words of plot progression and 500 words of edits. We’ll see where the day takes us. Bop on over to Twitter, and see how we’re doing!

Prologues – Do or Die?

Yes, I know. I’m still supposed to be taking a bloggiesta. The WIP isn’t done.

BUT, as a writer, I’m treading water trying to decide what to do about a certain plot hiccup. Then, I decided, it wasn’t a hiccup at all.

I always want to slip in a prologue. They’re fun to write! They give us backstory that is needed (so we think) for character development. I’ve been lovingly massaging a prologue on my WIP for what feels like ages. Then, I had a moment of inspiration at 2 AM night before last.

Prologues are a no no. Agents tell us not to write them. Publishers say they’re unnecessary. But, my favorite authors all write prologues. Nora Roberts. Clive Cussler. Prologues! Something of key element to the story, the plot progression, a clue for the climax!

Ah. That’s what I was missing. Plot progression.

My prologue was simply character development. An explanation of WHY my heroine, a maritime archaeologist, was tentative about getting back in the water. But was it essential? Could I show those same elements elsewhere in the story, and not waste a whole 7 pages building up to that?

Instead, now I’m focusing on an event in history (which I’m creative licensing for my own purposes) – and writing a 3 page, exciting historical opening to my contemporary action/romance. I’m not sure if it will stick around, but it’s key to the climax and right now, it’s serving a purpose for me.

Back to writing my 1 k a day on Sapphire Tears – where Maritime Archaeologist is following a historical mystery before time runs out!  And now, readers will be privvy to at least a little part of that mystery in the prolouge.

Should it stay? Should I reveal it through conversation/discussion later in the story? We’ll see. But for now, at least, I can stop treading water, and get back to swimming.

Bloggiesta Month…

Yes, I know it’s the middle of July. Alright, it’s almost the END of July — but here’s the deal I just made with myself. And by God’s grace, I just might stick to it.

For the next month, I’m taking a much needed “Bloggiesta.”

When readers can sit down and inhale a book that took a year to write and release – in, um, a day… who has time for blogging? Facebook? Twitter? and now, so help me, GLUE? What’s that all about? I am often asked in interviews, etc. “How do you have time to do it all?”

I finally have an answer I can/have to live with. I can’t. I’m not superhuman. I’m an author. And, as an author, I have an over-burgeoning responsibility to use the talent that I’ve been blessed with and — um — write.  And, when I’m not writing, I’ll be honing my craft. Why? Because when a skill becomes your heart’s desire, you need to sharpen your sword. You need to practice. You need to write.

My bloggiesta reading list is:

  • Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
  • Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
  • Story by Robert McKee

and, for fun, I’m reading — Both by James Rollins:

  • The Last Oracle
  • The Doomsday Key

My creative energy has been requested elsewhere… so…

Instead of blogging, I’ll be getting things done around the house, at work, and on my current work in progress. As much as I love you all, and am enthralled by the visitors, your comments, etc. – If I don’t get back to my current cast (whom I’ve left in desperate peril), I’ll have nothing for you to read in the spring!

I’ll leave you with this:

Can an archaeologist unearth the truth before she loses the greatest treasure of all?

When maritime archaeologist stumbles into an ancient treasure, she finds her colleague murdered and her own life in jeapordy. She must trust a faithful FBI agent to protect her while solving an ancient mystery to free those whom she holds most dear.

In a hurricane of love, loyalty, and deception — Chandra Drake is confronted with the ultimate choice: Does she sacrifice everything that matters to her heart and expose the truth?

On that note, I’ll be back to chatting, e-mail, face book, twitter, blogging, etc. when the first draft is completed.  My challenge – 1,000 words a day (through edits or pounding through the ending) until it’s done.

What do you think?

Authors and Marketing

A really cool post from Kat Meyer on author tools:

If you haven’t “Got Glue” yet, check out why you should.


One Lovely Blog

Hey, everyone!OneLovelyBlogAward

Just a quick thank you for my friend Skyhe Moncrief – and her lovely nod to this blog. I’ve been watching this award be posted around, and am tickled pink you thought of me.

So, I give the nod back to you, my friend: Skhye Moncrief – You don’t scare me, Skhye. But, please, stop trying. LOL.  I’m shaking my way through Spell of the Killing Moon and just might have to wait to finish it until Halloween. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know her, Skhye can tell you anything and everything you ever wanted to know about reference books. I am desperately in need of shelves, as my growing stack of writing books are threatening to topple down on my head the next time Southern California decides to do the hippie-hippie shake!

Now, it’s my turn to pass the baton on to my next lovely friends for their lovely blogs where I love to dawdle and spend my time:

Laurean’s Lore – who makes me laugh on a regular basis

Miss Mae – because you are so good at rallying the masses and keeping the ball rolling. You amaze me, girl!

Jeannie Ruesch -Happy Endings – My writer mama and friend, who I’m quite sure is the best website designer in the romance industry! 🙂 with the best tag line: Will Design for Chocolate. Can you imagine?!?!

So, take your awards, ladies!

Congratulations! The baton has been passed. The rules of acceptance are simple…
1) Accept the award, and don’t forget to post a link back to the awarding person.
2) Pass the award on.
3) Notify the award winners.



Starting the “Build & Stabilize Your Platform” Month!

Watch this video and consider where you are in the construction of your author platform:

Consider your social networking grade:

  1. Do you have a Web site?
  2. Do you have a Facebook or Myspace account?
  3. Do you have a blog? (must update more than once a month in order to say “yes”)
  4. Do you have a Twitter account? (again, must update more than once a day to say “yes”)
  5. Do you belong to any online groups, such as Yahoo Groups, Book Clubs?
  6. Have you started BRANDING yourself…
  7. Are you still writing? (Give yourself 2 points for this one.)

If you scored 5 or above – good for you! leave us your links and let us grade each other!

If you scored 4 – you’re on your way. Chances are, you’ve made friends across the country, if not the globe!

If you scored 3 or below…We need to talk.

Let me help you over the next month as we work together to build and/or stabilize your Author Platform! Your first step, at the VERY least — set up a free blog site. We are authors, yes? So, chances are, you should have something interesting to say.  So, let’s blog about it!

Step 1. Use one of the following:


Post a profile picture.

You don’t  have to do anything else just yet.

Just register. Post your book cover if you’ve got one. Say “Hello, World” if you don’t. Just do one thing today to help others know you’re here. You’re writing.You have something to say that others should read!

Once you’ve done that, let me know and we’ll move on to step 2!

Post any questions or comments you might have! I’m here to hold your hand as we get going into Books 2.0 together.

Double Booked!

All or Nothing, cover art by Kimberlee Mendoza

All or Nothing, cover art by Kimberlee Mendoza

I’m double booked today! discussing motherhood and All or Nothing!

Come visit me as I am interviewed by the lovely Emma Lai…

And, drop by and share your favorite healthy recipe!

Have a wonderful Friday!


Reaching for that 5 Star Review

By Another Name, by Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig

By Another Name, by Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig

Today, I have some questions for my fellow authors, readers, and book reviewers:

What’s in a book review?

What makes a good reviewer?

This book, By Another Name, has struck readers on a variety of personal levels:

  • Were you bullied in High School?
  • Were you a target of bullying?
  • Did you know someone who was?

Chances are, you can answer yest to one or more of the above without blinking.

My character, Rosalee Timmons, chooses to return home with her new life and new name, to face down the demons of her past.

That said, the topic of today’s post is reviews. How to accept one, even if it’s not what you’ve hoped it would be. Do I want 5 star reviews on everything? OF COURSE. Do I receive 5 star reviews on everything? Not on my first release. My full length novel, All or Nothing, has received startling and humbling reviews thus far. I wait with bated breath to see what will happen next on that one!

It isn’t that the By Another Names reviews are saying – RUN! Don’t purchase this book! – these are carefully crafted, thoughtful, thought provoking reader reviews from people who’ve been impacted by this tale.

Case in point, I just received a 3 1/2 star review from : Manic Readers:. Of course I wanted 5 stars. Who wouldn’t?  It’s these 1/2 stars that keep me guessing. Keep me reaching to write a better book. One that will go that extra mile and push it to the next level.

Conversely, I received a 4 star review from You Gotta Read Books, classified as a You Need to Read – my reviewer had some interesting points on being the brunt of bullying.

My Manic Review was written by someone who deals with bullying on a daily basis. Wow. Talk about being slayed, instantly!  She wanted more interaction and explanation from Lindsay — Kade’s sister. She wanted to know WHY Lindsay chose Lee as the focus of her torments. I suppose, this is where your reviewer’s life experience weighs in to how they feel about a story. (this kind woman is a former DEAN for crying out loud! Talk about the perfect person to review this book.

So, I appreciate every word she said. I also went to the Manic Reviews site to peruse other ratings and see where this story measured. (I also stumbled on a few that I want to read, to see how I might improve my ability to pen a tale that leaves such a feeling of immense satisfaction.) After reading more reviews at Manic Readers, I also appreciate the extra half-star, and the suggestion for readers to pick it up.


So, how much do you bring to the table when you sit down to review a book? I’m guessing about as much as you take with you when you write that story. It’s about life experience seasoning your writing (or flavoring what you’re reading).  And if it makes me strive to write a better book, then I appreciate every review.

Some questions to ponder:

  • What are your favorite book review sites? or do you go with your gut on Amazon?
  • Would you buy a book that someone else rated with a less than sparkly review?
  • Have you ever slammed a book — or flung it against the wall — and then recommended readers stay away from a book? and why?

All or Nothing – Summer Tour Schedule

All or Nothing, cover art by Kimberlee Mendoza

All or Nothing, cover art by Kimberlee Mendoza

Thanks, everyone who came to join me yesterday at Petticoats and Pistols! What a hoot that old corral is, what and with half of you all over at RWA, I’m sure! It was an amazing day and I appreciate everyone’s support and comments! If you missed it, you can re-read the adventure in the Copper King Mountain Range, and see what stumbling across an historical archaeological find has to do with writing novels HERE.

This week, I’m double booked! I’ll be at on Friday dishing about motherhood, writing, and summertime!

AND on Friday,  I’ll also be at Emma Lai’s Blog – being interviewed by the INTERVIEW QUEEN!! *squee* I’m so excited about this one. I hear she asks tough questions – so I’ll be putting on my thinking cap for this one! 🙂

Thanks to all my new friends, and hope to see you real soon.

Guest Blogging at Petticoats and Pistols!

Sherds from Point Reyes archaeological sites - (c)

Sherds from Point Reyes archaeological sites - (c)

Good morning, everyone!

How did I go from archaeology to writing romance novels…? What does this broken plate have to do with my breakthrough in plotting historical fiction?

Come on over to Petticoats and Pistols – where I’m guest blogging tomorrow – and find out!

We’ll be chatting all day, and one lucky commenter will receive an e-book of All or Nothing – with my compliments…

Look forward to seeing you all there!