May 132015

Since we first met at a monthly meeting of the Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America, I’ve been a fan of Nancy Gideon. She was the speaker that day, I was a newly returned member in the audience. I don’t even remember what her topic was, but man did I leave that meeting enthusiastic about writing and inspired to get my current work in progress finished and submitted.

Nancy is one multi-talented and multi-faceted author. It’s great to host one of her many gifted personas, Dana Ransom. Take is away, Ladies.

Guest Post by Nancy Gideon

I’m thrilled that Amazon has chosen my Dana Ransom contemporary FROM THIS DAY FORWARD as part of their May Big Deal event. Beginning May 8 and running for the next few weeks, this original romance will be available for only $1.99! Continue reading »

Jan 252013

Had the occasion to be on the road very, very early yesterday morning. And the blanket of snow most of us got last night was truly beautiful.

I was awe struck watching the white stuff glimmer and sparkle as we drove over it. I also thought the glow was caused by the headlights shining down from the car and that this stunning show would soon be over.

We pulled up to our destination, shut off the lights, stepped out of the car and guess what? The snow continued to twinkle and shine. The road, the sidewalk, the driveway the lawn, it all shimmered and winked.

And, as I said, was the display ever beautiful.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Next week I’ll have some good news, I think it’s good news at least, about the Class of ’85 reunion series I mentioned last week.

See you then.
Jan 182013

Glad Tidings; Next Tuesday at Two; and To Be, Or Not alternately pictured on the side here, are part of the Class of ’85 series from the Last Rose of Summer line of The Wild Rose Press. The premise is a twenty-fifth reunion for a fictional Summerville High School class of 1985.

These stories take place in the present day and have a make-up-for-what-was missed flavor to them.

There’s a certain self-assurance that comes with having staying power at anything, up to and including life. Older heroes and heroines, while more tolerant of others as I said, also seem more confident in themselves—set in their ways if you will—and maybe less apt to change those ways for someone else.

These are characters who know where they are going and have collected enough experiences from where they’ve been to have a pretty good idea about what they don’t want out of life. Maybe they’ve experienced lost dreams or dreams hung onto for so long it seems they never will come true. Then when they do, are all the sweeter for the wait.

My inspiration for the books came from the overall description of the series: Did you ever wonder what happened to…The Prom Queen? The guy most likely to serve time in federal prison? The couple voted most likely to succeed? If intrigued with the opportunity to rewrite a bit of history…or exact a little revenge…The Last Rose of Summer invites you to a reunion of the Class of ’85.

Who couldn’t write any number of stories based on that? Because, like it or not, what happens to us during our high school years shapes who we are at the time and who we will become in the future. Who among us hasn’t received an invitation to the event we either celebrate or dread—maybe both?

Reunions denote re-connection and most certainly the opportunity for second chances. To turn what might have been into what will be. And realize the happily ever after promise of romance.

There’s something new and exciting coming up with these books in February. Stay tuned.

Jan 042013

A fellow author on The Roses of Prose blog I’m a part of made a comment recently that struck me as profound. Make those New Year’s resolutions – I plan to recycle mine.

Isn’t that what we do anyway, whether intentionally or not?

This year I am going to:

  • Lose weight
  • Exercise more
  • Argue less
  • Love more
  • Do good deeds
  • Eat healthier
  • Take out the trash without grumbling

We don’t always accomplish them, so I’m one for taking the ‘easy’ way out.

Bottom line: I resolve to do the very best I can, though not always, as often as I can for as long as I can into 2013 and beyond.

Dec 212012

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times . . .

Not only does that sentence begin the Dickens classic, it also describes the past couple of weeks in my life. Well, maybe not quite so dramatically, but it did provide a theatrical way for me to begin.

Over said past couple of weeks, I had very precise plans for the use of my time. Among other things, I planned to finish my Christmas shopping, continue on my work in progress, wrap presents, continue on my work in progress, decorate the house, continue on my work in progress…you get the idea.

But, to paraphrase another famous quote, while I was making plans, life had other ideas.

In the process of helping to care for a couple of grandchildren with viral infections-keep them quiet so they can rest-I’ve had the occasion, several really, to watch lots and lots and lots of television shows. Shows of the basic made for little children to understand variety. And Lord bless whomever it was who invented the DVR.

One of the cinematic highlights was the classic cartoon version of Cinderella. After the seventh or eighth viewing, or it could have been the ninth, I discovered something interesting. A few things, really.

My first come to realize moment was that each time I watched there were character interactions, subtle plot changes, even entire scenes that I missed or didn’t completely understand. Once I got most of those under my visual belt-and I say most because I’m sure there are many more that have failed to register in my brain-I found I began to diagram the story for goal, motivation and conflict.

As with any, well, classic that has endured over time, the plot and storyline are tight, precise and easy to follow. Again using the concepts of goal, motivation and conflict. Cinderella’s desire for a happy future; the cruel step-mother’s desire for power, control and prestige; the ugly stepsisters’ desire to be, well, desired; and all had numerous obstacles each is given to overcome.

Woven in and around the quests of these humans, there’s the constant game of cat and mouse, literally, portrayed in the evil family cat’s unending pursuit of the good mice who are Cinderella’s friends.

Now, every time I watch-and I’m sure to have many, many viewings in my future-I’ll also enjoy a true learning experience as I find many, many more plot devices, goals, motivations and conflicts to discern and dissect.

Even when there isn’t time to actually write, there is always time, and the opportunity to study the craft and, hopefully, improve my own stories in the process.

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. . .And I’m making the best use of ALL the times I can.

Dec 142012

Stories that take place in winter are fun and easy to write. In my opinion, at least.

When you think about it, around the holidays emotions are more pronounced, expectations are higher, demands for time – and perfection – take on new and, some might say, ominous overtones.

And that’s just the beginning of the sentiments and sensations an author can tap into. Take the winter season itself. By its very nature, pun intended, winter begs to be described.

Stinging cold.

Frigid air so cold it crackles.

Fingers so cold they feel like they’re on fire.

Rubber tires, rigid and stiff.

That first gasp of air on an icy morning that pierces your throat and burns your lungs.

Air so cold it makes your eyes water.

Freezing rain encases everything it touches in a tomb of ice.

A blast of arctic air, the polar express, rolling into the streets.

Snow so cold it creaks.

Ice films on puddles that crunch when disturbed.

Ice crusted cars.

Slick roads. Cars sliding out of control.

On the ‘other side’ are descriptions about warmth and comfort.

A blast of engine heated air flows into a newly started car.

Extra blankets on the bed, a loved one held close.

Seasoned wood sizzling in the fireplace.

Mittens, scarves, hats and boots.

Warm lips kissing chilly cheeks.

As I think about it now, this same type of column could be written about Spring, Summer and Fall.

I’ll have to think about that.

One final note, I’d like to remind everyone about The Roses of Prose, a writers’ blog I’m a part of. Each of us have written a special holiday story that will be posted every day in December. Please stop by to read our gifts to you.

Dec 072012

Boy’s winter boots – Toddler size 9.

I picked the paper ornament off a tree at my local Y and read its simple message.

It was a few days after Black Friday and the retail frenzy was in full swing. LOOK AT THIS! BUY THAT! HURRY OR YOU’LL MISS THE BEST DEALS. SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! Yeah, while you SPEND! SPEND! SPEND!
‘Tis the season to make sure to get the best bang for the least buck.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t have many, many presents to buy and wrap this month. And then some. Three of my four children and three of my four grandchildren have birthdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In our family, it’s like cramming almost a year’s-worth of celebrations into four short weeks. Not that I’m complaining. I wouldn’t trade the family time and fun we have ‘cramming’ for anything.

But, as they say, there’s more to the season than giving and getting.

With the modest request tucked into the zipper pocket of my purse, I set out for the nearest sporting goods store. (I’ll be honest here, the one where I can get a family discount.) After some minor searching I found the perfect pair of heavy duty, blue (of course) snow boots.

“What are some gift ideas for you for Christmas?” my daughter asked and my thought process ground to a halt.

“Give me a moment,” was my initial response, followed by, “I’ll have to get back to you.”

Something I have yet to do. Because aside from having my family close, I have no clue what else I want for Christmas. What I do know is that I had a good time wrapping the boots I took back to the Y with the ornament attached.

Because, for me, the most special gift I’ve already received was being given the means and opportunity to go to the store and make a very important purchase.

Boy’s winter boots – Toddler size 9.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

As a final note, I’d like to let everyone know about The Roses of Prose, a writers’ blog I’m a part of. At The Roses of Prose each of us have written a special holiday story that will be posted every day in December. Please stop by to read our gifts to you.

Nov 302012

Losing my job a few years ago led to the realization of a life-long dream for me. When I was abruptly downsized from a position I’d held for over three decades, unable to find another job, and a recent emptynester, I had a lot of free time on my hands.

Time I filled doing what I love—writing romantic fiction.

When one door closes another one opens, is an adage I firmly believe in, much like the main characters of Honorable Intentions my first contemporary romance published by The Wild Rose Press

Cop turned personal security agent Samantha Wells and conservation officer turned environmentalist Chase Canfield are burned out from the demands of high stress careers. Add to that, each also struggles with contentious family issues and relationships. Resigned to lives of little reward and even less happiness when they meet, Chase and Samantha begin to rediscover and reap the rewards of everyday values and, most importantly, love.

Honorable Intentions is available, in either print or electronic format, at The Wild Rose Press or can be ordered through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book stores.

The story takes place on a luxury cruise to Alaska. Think Father Knows Best meets Anna and the King. Loyalty to family; accepting responsibility for your actions, whether good, bad or indifferent; and, above all, wanting the love and happiness we all strive for are the basic tenets of Honorable Intentions. Though by form and nature a romance, the book illustrates the importance of being true not only to yourself, but to the people you count as your family and friends.

A precept even more important during the upcoming holidays.

Nov 162012

What writer doesn’t remember their first byline? The excitement of seeing their name in print. For me, this special event was my name atop an article for the monthly magazine of a non-profit I worked for. The topic was a new breast cancer screening project that had been set up in our area. Breast self exam was just emerging as a preventive measure against the disease and was being taught to patients. The purpose of my piece would be to educate the public in general and members of the medical profession in particular, about the availability of the new program.

Conducting the research was simple. I called to make an appointment, told them my purpose, and they were thrilled at the chance for some publicity. Though it was a little odd to conduct some of the interview while topless and having my breasts examined, I found actually experiencing the topic to be more efficient than listening and taking notes while someone talked to me about the subject.

I’ve been fortunate since to have had many more articles, short stories and romance novels bear my byline.

However, seeing my name in print when the first article came out was a thrill I will never forget. As with many of our life events, the first time is always special.

Nov 092012

Where does the time go?

It seems like we just brought the summer clothes out of storage and it’s already time to put them away in favor of winter wear. Then we need to figure out the menu and other details for Thanksgiving, prepare the gift lists and then shop for Christmas. Not to mention dispose of the jack o lanterns and leftover candy.

Because Halloween is over.

Up here in the north country we have an advantage of sorts. A distinct change in the weather that alerts us to the arrival of the next season be that spring, summer, fall or winter.

Which brings me to the topic for this week – pacing.

A while back, I was happily writing along on my current wip (work in progress), took my characters through the steps of this event and that to the final chapter. I finished the last sentence, proofed for typos and such, then sent the manuscript in.

My first edits came back with overall suggestions to expand on some story arcs. But what really caught my attention were notes, questions really, at the beginning of a couple of key chapters. Specifically, my editor wanted to know – “How much time has passed?”

Apparently I had made clear where my characters were, who they were with, how they felt, what they were doing and why. However, I’d failed to explain in what exact sequence all of this activity took place and, in relation to what had happened before.

That kind of fix is easy enough with lines such as;

It had been six days since . . .

Over the past several weeks . . .

In the ensuing months . . .

At noon the next day . . .

You get the idea.

In my mind, such as it is, I knew the timeline of what was going on. I just made one mistake. I hadn’t allowed my reader to get there yet.

What do you think? As fiction writers and readers, do I have a point?

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