Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Plot Swap: TFLN Style

Friday Plot Swap
Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
Ever heard of Texts from Last Night? 
While some of the post are quite disturbing, they would definitely make for an interesting plot. 
Here are a few that got my mind working:
(203): Just signed my boyfriend up on a dating website so I could officially have a reason to leave him for my hot neighbor.
(703): Just woke up wearing a top hat and simpsons boxers. i also found more money in my wallet then what i had before going out, about $1000 more

(541): my math teacher staples burger king applications to failed tests 

So, Swap with me. 
Read any great texts lately?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's in your WIP file?

Thinking about Thursday

What's in Your Wallet WIP File?

    Rather than risk copyright infringement with Capital One (I know their ad people are reading my blog all the time, right?) I decided to use a picture of my poor (in every sense of the word) husband after we had to buy the entire family new shirts at Sea World. That whole, "splash zone" thing is seriously a warning. Who knew?

    But it isn't our best/only family vacation I am thinking about today. Nope, today I am thinking about a little folder on in my documents file titled "Work in Progress." I always have several  WIPs going at a time. Some are new and shiny. A few are polished and refined, but most are soft and warm. Like my favorite jeans. I know them, they have been with me for years. Several will never be finished. I just love the characters too much to let them go.

   Here is a peek into my file:
  • 6,000 word completed short story tentatively titled Homecoming
  • 50,000 word completed novel in various stages of revision. Currently out to crit partner. Awaiting final polish
  • 50,000 word completed NaNoWriMo novel from 2009 in various stages of revision currently on hold.
  • 51,000 word semi complete NaNoWriMo novel from 2010 on hold
  • 22 incomplete works in progress  varying in length from 1,023 words to a 17,000 word "character sketch" that took on a life of it's own.
So, what's in your WIP file?  
Are you working on your first novel? 
Or do you have several going/finished?


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Welcome Keri Ford!

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday


Keri Ford was raised in South Arkansas on a farm surrounded by family, horses, cows, donkeys, ostriches, emus, chickens, ducks, Canadian Geese, and enough dogs one would think they were a pound…and then she bought a Cosmopolitan when she was twenty-two. She doesn’t recall the fantastic sex tip that drew her to the magazine, but she vividly remembers reading an excerpt of Christina’s Skye’s Code Name: Princess. One elevator scene and quick thought of, I didn’t know people wrote stuff like this… and her life would never be the same. Visit to find out more about Keri and her books.

Let's get to know Keri!
Be sure to check out details about her latest release
at the end of our interview! 

   Do you have a writing routine? What does it look like? Where do you usually write?

What routine? J I have a very short attention span, so things that are patterned and routine and the same from day-to-day get me bored super fast. I’m a pretty laid back person, so I just go with it and work at different times. That doesn’t mean I’m not organized. I have lists and calendars and all that fun stuff to keep me up-to-date on my progress. And a deadline is a deadline, period.

and this is where I work. I live in a single-wide (which I often mock and now you know why!) and my desk is sandwiched between my husband’s recliner, the couch and tv at my back and one of my husband’s deer overhead. I have to be careful when I stretch and stand, because I have occasionally whacked the deer on the nose. I’m scared I’m going to knock the darn thing off the wall one of these days.

 Is the life of a writer what you thought it be? What is different?

You know I think it’s exactly what I imagined. Pajamas and fun. And then just the flexibility. I can dig in hard for a week and for two weeks after, take it easy. That flexibility I think keeps me going and interested in writing.  

   Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and living a normal life?

I have to make time for family. I can poke at the computer all day and all night seven days a week without stepping away to just hang with my family. It’s not that I don’t love my family, LOL I do, but I can get wrapped up in my writing and want to do that all the time.

When my son (4years old) is out of school, I try really hard to work in the mornings to lunch, or a little into the afternoon and then we play the rest of the day. That doesn’t always happen. Sometime we do the opposite and I work the afternoon, play mornings. I raised him to know that mommy is working and he does his own thing for the most part.

 What is the best advice you have received about this journey?

After reading some of my writing, Courtney Milan told me she felt like I was following the “rules” blindly. Those few words, that she probably didn’t realize would impact me so, completely turned my career around and got me on the right path.

 What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were starting out?

Don’t be afraid to at least look at and consider other publishing options. I was a bit of an e-pub snob for a couple years because I didn’t understand it, didn’t research it or anything. I wrote it off because it was different and not “traditional”. BIG MISTAKE. BIG. HUGE. (wink). After I looked closer, did some research, I tested the waters and I absolute love it. I love my publisher and all she does for me.

While the epub path may not be right for everyone, it’s great for me. I wish I had started looking sooner. 

  What do you do to fight burnout? Do you ever worry about "running out of stories"? How do combat that?

Maybe a few years down the road the road, I’ll start having those worries, but I feel like I’m just now gearing up and getting started with all the stories I have to tell.

   What kind of scenes do you have a hard time writing?

The sex scenes. OMG. They’re so frustrating. I have to write them in layers. I start with the mechanics. Insert slot A into B. Then I go back and put in all the feel goods. Then go back and add emotions. It is a long process that can take weeks to get a 3 page sex scene just right.

      Do you ever write material based on your close relationships, such as a best friend?, and how do you balance that material with the need to tell an interesting story?

I find I tend to base things off myself more than others. Not that I’m rewriting my life over and over again—no! But such as Nicolette in In The Hay is very wishy-washy on trying to find her career and path in life. That was me before I found writing.

The only time I’ve been tempted to write about someone I know it was in a negative light, but I really don’t want to idolize someone I don’t care for in that way.

    What sources do you use for inspiration? ( Music, movies, people watching)

Inspiration is everywhere, you just gotta wait for it to smack you around. I’m not picky, I take what I come up with, from wherever it comes.

 What do you do when you aren’t writing?

Trying to keep up with my family! My son is four and he is all boy and a handful. This spring we started planting a garden together, so that’s been a new thing to keep me busy!

     Tell us a bit about your work in progress.
I’m currently editing Making Her Nights, fourth in the Apple Trail Series. This book is so awesome and loaded with sexual tension. This book to me feels like the hottest one I’ve written in Apple Trail, but it so far has less sex scenes than the others. After years of dodging each other, these two finally admit their feelings and it’s just whew.

    What is next for you?

I have a trilogy of books scheduled to come out back-to-back in 2012. They spin off a character introduced in Apple Trail 5, Satisfying Her Nights. I don’t know much about them, so … I guess that’s all I have to say on it!
Thanks so much for having me today!
Thank you for talking with us!

Now Available! 
3rd in the  
Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas series
….two strangers visiting Apple Trail. When they get together will they put in roots in this small town or go back to their lives?
It’s been a White Picket Fence life for Nicolette. Charming, but tedious. She graduated high school, raring to go. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems though. The fear of being stuck in a rut, living a dull day-to-day life keeps Nicolette from settling on a career, despite her six years of college. When the chance arrives for her to housesit, she takes opportunity by the horns for a little playtime. She would experience life and find something that would make her happy.
Drew knows exactly what he wants. To run the family construction business. Too bad his dad doesn’t think he’s ready. They make a deal. Drew will help his cousin put up a new fence and after he’s learned hard work, the construction business is his. Drew’s not sure learning how to string fence line together will see him suitable for a career of paper pushing, but he’ll do it.
When Drew meets the wanna-be-free-spirited Nicolette, his determined thoughts of what he’s always worked for begins to sway. Nicolette’s finding the fun in life. But their relationship is temporary. A week tops.

Also available :

Through the Wall
On the Fence
For more excerpts and more, please visit Keri’s website: 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Plot Swap: Favorite lines

Friday Plot Swap
Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
What's your favorite line?
In the movie Light of Day
Michael J. Fox is trying to show his nephew how you can write a song about anything. They turn on the TV and catch a snippet of a man saying, "You've got no place to go." Then, write a song based on that line.
Sometimes, that is how I plot. I get a line stuck in my head, then I start to work on the setting and the characters. What would have led them to say that. So, here are a few of my lines from three different WIPs.
"When you pick out clothes in the morning, you never think they'll  be covered in your loved ones' blood by the end of the day." 

“You are marked as a seer,”he repeated.
            “And you are marked as a traitor,”she answered. “Neither of us would be as we seem.”

"Let’s name the Newfoundland, Tiny. Won’t that be cute? Everyone will think it's great.” She yanked the leash. “Yeah, great idea. Grant… Great idea… Almost as good an idea as you running off with Malibu Barbie and her Chihuahua. Seriously, I have tennis shoes bigger than that ugly rat."
Swap with me!
What's your favorite line? 
It doesn't matter if it is from your WIP,
your favorite book, movie, song, whatever. 



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Where were you?

Thinking about Thursday

Where were you?

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours
These small hours
Still remain
Little Wonders~ Rob Thomas

This week represents the 16th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. I was living in Oklahoma in 1995, working at a mall just outside the city. Like, September 11th, everyone in Oklahoma can tell you where they were when they heard about the bombing. 

So,  thinking about where I was lead me to thinking about where I was for other memorable events. 

April 19, 1995~ Studying for college finals with a guy I was DYING to have ask me out. My roommate had been at school taking a final. The school was evacuated. She literally burst into our house and turned on the TV.  My study partner jumped up, made a phone call to his National Guard commander and ran out the door. 
September 11, 2001~ Thanks to what I thought was the stomach flu (which was eventually revealed to be morning sickness), I was late for work and saw the first plane hit on TV. I went to school and spent the day trying to reassure my students. Calming their fears while hiding mine. 

But what about other moments in our lives? Moments that are only life changing for us? Our little wonders.
Leap from childhood to adolescence~ Standing in my parents kitchen, kissing a boy for the first time.

Moment of True Heartbreak~ Standing in Will Rogers airport, being told "I love you." Then, watching that person get on a plane and go back to his girlfriend.

Experiencing Paralyzing Fear~ Watching my two-year-old daughter jump from the third step of a metal bleacher, flip forward and land face first on a sidewalk before I could reach her. (She only had a bruise on her forehead. It was my heart that needed stitches!)

The minute I realized I was an adult and that pretty much sucked. ~ Holding a six week old baby, with a one- year- old playing at my feet while I stood in a hospital lobby, signing medical consent papers for both my parents to be treated. One for surgery for bladder cancer, the other to treated for a possible heart condition.

So, What little moments have formed your life? Where were you? 


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Name Dropping

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

Name Dropping

The above picture is from the book signing I attended on Saturday. I think  going to signings should be my new hobby. 
They are fun and this one even had cake! 
These beautiful, talented ladies are members of my local RWA chapter, 
(You should check out the home page just for the picture of the cowboy!)  
So, let me introduce you to them! 
From left to right.

Nikki Duncan  was signing 
the second book in her 
Sensory Ops Series:

who was featured on 
in February, was signing her latest release

had several books available.
I went with one of her Blaze romances.

also had several available. 
Following Roni Loren's recommedation, I chose

As you can see, I am building my "To-Be-Read" list for the summer. Tell Me Your Story. 
Do you like book signings? Have any great stories about meeting fabulous authors? 
What are you reading? Know any new authors I should pick up while I am creating a small mountain beside my bed? 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Plot Swap: Musical Style

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
Old Country Style
No matter if you like country music or not, you have to admit they know how to tell a story.  Here are three country songs that have always sparked my imagination. 
Yeah, the stage was set when the lights went out, there was death in Tuscon town. Two shadows ran for the bar back door and one stayed on the ground. 
Both belonging to another But longing to be lovers.
Promising each other that the night will only know
Parked on some old backstreet.They laid down in the backseat
And fell into the fire down below.But they would pay for their deceiving for a deadly web was weaving.Why they picked that spot that evening Lord, the night will only know. Well within the innuendos just outside the steamy windows, the night was shattered by a woman's scream. Motionless and frightened, the grip of fate had tightened And with trembling hands they wiped away the steam

Seven Spanish Angels (Willie Nelson and Ray Charles) 

She reached down and picked the gun up that laying smoking in his hand. She said, "Father, please forgive me, but I can't live without my man." And she knew the gun was empty and she knew she couldn't win.

I know there are many, many more. 
So, swap with me.
What is your favorite story-telling song (country or not)?



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Remembering The Good Old Days

Thinking about Thursday

Remembering The Good Old Days

Today, I am thinking about technology and how I ever lived without it. Sadly, my computer has come to the end of its cyber life. My personal IT consultant (who happens to be my husband) has given the professional opinion that my laptop is experiencing a fatal error and is not long for this world.

I am in the middle of a great online writing class. I have several author features coming up. I am starting a new shiny story!


As I started panicking about having to use his computer or my phone while I wait for my new computer to arrive, I got to feeling a little nostalgic.  

These used to be my computer. 

This used to be how I kept up with my friends.

This was where I learned about writing ( and everything else).

Of course, this used to be how my hair looked

Warm fuzzy feeling gone! 

Anyone else feeling nostalgic today? Or what to share their worse fashion choice? 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Weird Writer Behavior

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday
What is your weird writer behavior? 

I have a confession: 

I talk to myself. Pretty much all the time. Sometimes, I talk about what I am doing, sometimes I talk about what I need to do next and sometimes, I talk  about the lives of my imaginary friends. 

My favorite place to do this is in the car.  Thank goodness for the invention of hands-free cell phones! Now at the stoplights, I don't have to pretend like I am singing. 

It also keeps me entertained while cleaning. I've had arguments, first kisses and plotted murder, all while folding laundry, mopping floors and wiping down counters. 

If I ever get the opportunity to be a full time writer, my house will probably be much cleaner! Okay, probably not, but it is one of the possible benefits I keep touting to my husband.
So, Tell Me Your Story. What is your weird writer behavior? Do you talk to yourself? Follow strangers to finish hearing their conversation? Have a computer picture file of people you have never met?



Saturday, April 9, 2011

What's in a name? The Reveal

The names are all based on characters from the board game 

 Based on characters sketches I found
Miss Scarlett
Scarlett Mitchell~ I will admit to cheating just a bit here. Obviously, Scarlett represents Miss Scarlett. But, I had trouble deciding on a last name, so I used Mitchell as a nod to Margret  Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind. 

In my novel, Scarlett is an heiress turned actress who celebrates the opening night of her play by hosting a murder mystery party at her home. When she disappears in the middle of it, everyone wonders if it was part of the act.

Colonel Mustard
 Amber O'Conell~  Scarlett's best friend is a security specialist named, Amber( A synonymy for Yellow/Mustard) O'Conell ( an anagram of Colonel). When Scarlett disappears, Amber knows it isn't part of performance and starts investigate all of the "Usual Suspects"
 Sage Lacil~  Sage (a synonym for Wise which came from Professor) Lacil (an anagram of Lilac, a synonym for Plum/ Purple) is Scarlett's former tutor. He meets Amber at the play and become her love interest.

Mrs. Peacock
Beau Byrd~ Again, I will admit to cheating just a tad. Beau (short form of Beautiful) is Scarlett's leading man in the play. He is emotional, handsome and absolutely smitten with her. 

Mr. Green
 Kelley Priest~ The character sketch I found stated that Mr. Green is sometimes referred to as Rev. Green. So, obviously, Kelley (a synonym for green) Priest. Kelley is Scarlett's philandering, conniving, boyfriend with a gambling addiction.  When Scarlett disappears, Amber suspects she may have been kidnapped by one of Kelley's "financial backers".

Mrs. White
 Virgina Ivory~ Virgina Ivory ( both synonyms for White) is Scarlett's agent. On the surface, she is bland and uninteresting. She believes Scarlett's disappearance is just another play for attention. 

So, there you have it. The grand secret to my character names.:)
What do you think? Can you follow my logic? Or does it only work in my mind? 
Have a great Saturday!  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Plot Swap

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
Have you seen a news story that got your wheels turning? 
Do you have a plot in your head that would make a great story, just not one you intend to write?  
Leave it here on Fridays 
pick up a plot for your weekend writing time.
Here is what I have for you this Friday: 
If you get stuck, just start making up words!

Laughter is the best...crime prevention? 
So, what is going on in your world right now? The real or imaginary one. Do you have something you would like to share with the rest of us? Any inspiration to spread? 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What's in a name?

Thinking about Thursday

What's in a Name?

My first name is Dawn because my father was a morning person and told my mom,  "I just know she is going to be as pretty as the sunrise."

No Pressure there, right? 

My mom wanted to name me Cinnamon. True story.

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of starting a new manuscript is naming my characters. It is also one of the most challenging parts for me. 

I like names that mean something, even if I am sure no one else in the world knows the meaning. For example, the WIP I am currently revising has a wonderful dog named Alastair which means "Man's protector".Did you know that?

So, what about you? How do you name your characters? Do you frequent baby name sites? Name them after people you know? Find names that carry the meaning you intend? 

Do you have some names to share with us? 

These names are from a currently shelved, but completed novel.
Can you guess where they are from? (Hint: The novel was built around a theme related to the names)

Scarlett Mitchell
Amber O'Conell
Sage Lacil
Beau Byrd
Kelley Priest
Virginia Ivory 

Any ideas?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Signs of the the Time

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

Signs of the Time

During some recent revisions, I realized  my main character was constantly opening and closing his phone. 

His phone also rang several times and after speaking to the caller he would hang up.
I reached out to the "twitter-verse" for a phrase to replace rang. Virtually no phones ring any more. They vibrate, signal, chime, do the Macarena (shout out to my crit partner, Teri Anne Stanley).
I started wondering and, honestly, feeling overwhelmed as often happens in the trenches of revision.

How do we keep our manuscripts current without dating them?

I especially feel for YA authors. When I look back at some of my early attempts at YA (written when I was a YA:) ), my characters are passing notes in class and talking on the phone for hours. Today, they would be texting under their desks and chatting on Facebook.

So, tell me your story? What have you come across in your revisions that dated the story? How do you making sure it is current without appearing to be trying too hard?

What if you mention Facebook today, get a book deal tomorrow and a year from now when your book hits the shelves, some new and improved social network site has sent Facebook the way of Myspace? 

Does it bother you to read a "contemporary" novel and find out-dated references to technology or phrases? 


Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Plot Swap: April Fools Style

Friday Plot Swap

Let's Talk April Fools Pranks!

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
Have you seen a news story that got your wheels turning? 
Do you have a plot in your head that would make a great story, just not one you intend to write?  
Leave it here on Fridays 
pick up a plot for your weekend writing time.
Here is what I have for you this Friday: 
Here is my favorite prank for today.
The mouse and keyboard were invented before the Internet even existed. Since then, countless technological advancements have allowed for much more efficient human computer interaction. Why then do we continue to use outdated technology? Introducing Gmail Motion -- now you can control Gmail with your body.

So what is your best prank? What is the worst you have experienced? How could it be worked into a plot?