Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Holiday Feast

We spent Christmas at home, but not without friends to share the day. We planned a fish-fest. When in Maine…

The menu consisted of champagne, and appetizers of scallops, pesto and Gruyère cheese in phyllo cups served hot out of the oven. After that, we sat down to a cup of homemade lobster bisque with puff pastry croutons. So good!

The main meal was baked stuffed haddock with crab and scallop stuffing, rosemary-roasted Yukon gold potatoes, and a corn, sundried tomato and onion sauté, along with more champagne.

And for desert, a Grand Marnier dark chocolate mouse with homemade whipped cream, orange zest and dark chocolate drops on top.

My husband also found a new pleasure; coffee-nog. I'm sure you can guess the recipe.

I hope you all had a happy day and wish you all the best for the New Year.

ps - as you can see from the photo above, the crows ate well also!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Time Travel

I often get ideas for my writing from my dreams and last night was no exception. However, this one I'm going to need some feedback on.

In my dream Gregor Macgregor time travelled to this century and became a rock star! He looked a bit like Slash from Guns and Roses.

I woke up laughing, but then thought, huh, I wonder…

Let me know what you think about sending Gregor on a trip!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bah, Humbug!

I'm writing this as I wait patiently for the tech person to pick up the line to hopefully guide me to the reason this wonderfully technological devise isn't working. It's a digital photo frame and, of course, it won't repeat the slideshow when it reaches the end. I'm the first to tell you how much I enjoy technology, but when it doesn't work correctly… well let's just say the idea of tossing it out the window is very appealing!

Oops, here's the tech.

Great! After being put on hold several times to try and figure out the problem, she told me it's defective and it should be returned! It's a Christmas gift and there's no way this will all get done in the 10 days we have left. Crap!

So I hang up the phone and try it one more time before giving up. When I turned it on again, I noticed there was a couple photos still showing up that I had removed a little while ago. How can that happen?

It was like a hand slapping to my head. I have to empty the trash or the memory card still thinks the photos are in there. When I did that, it worked perfectly. Yay!

Moral of the story: keeping trying until every possible outlet has been used.

That, and in my case, always allow for operator error!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just in time for holiday shopping!

I received the proof copy of Despite Them last Friday as promised. It looks amazing! I've approved it and it's ready to be bought and read by all my dear friends who've pestered me for the last 2 years asking when the next book will be out. Just teasing! I love the fact that I'm lucky enough to have such a wonderful following.

Right now it's only available on It will filter it's way through to Barnes and Noble and the like a little later. Here's the direct link.

Thanks in advance for your support and, shamelessly I ask that you please write a review.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Black Friday and My New Book

Okay everyone, I was finally able to get all of my books up onto Kindle. Yes, even Despite Them! Now it's time for some shameless self-promotion. I thought, with your help, of course, that those who want to order the Kindle versions of my books can do so on Black Friday (Nov. 26th) and the rest of the weekend, and my books might actually get a good ranking. Maybe (dare to dream!) get close to the number one slot!

For those of you who'd prefer an actual book, I'm getting Despite Them printed in paperback, and with any luck, it'll be ready for purchase in December. I'm also working on getting the paperback versions of the Eyes of Garnet trilogy on CreateSpace, the Amazon print-on-demand company. They should also be ready in December. I'll keep you posted on Despite Them. My proof copy is due at the end of this coming week. It's a bit like birthing a baby! Exciting!

Here are the links to the Kindle books.

Eyes of Garnet:

Sightless: An Eyes of Garnet Novel:

Double Vision: An Eyes of Garnet Novel:

Despite Them:

For those who don't have a Kindle and still want to read my books on your PC or Mac, iPhone, or other device, you can download the App right to your device and start reading in minutes. Here are the links.

Kindle for iPhone Available for FREE Download:

Kindle for Android Available for FREE Download:

Kindle for PC Available for FREE Download:

Kindle for iPad Available for FREE Download:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What Dreams May Come

A few weeks ago I had a dream about how to solve my formatting problem on Kindle. Then I hurt my leg and couldn't get back to my computer to test the theory.

Until yesterday.

What do you know? Dreams really do come true! When I removed all the formatting in my Word document, POOF! it came up perfectly in the Kindle previewer. Now I've got to go through each book and do the same thing so it'll still be a little while before all four books are up, but at least the problem is solved. Whooohoooo!

On another note, Monday I was pleased to be well enough to get out and talk with the book club at the Brewer Public Library. It was my first book-related outing of 2010 and it was a blast. There were about a dozen people there and they brought Scottish and Welsh goodies to eat while we chatted about Eyes of Garnet. A couple had read all three books but most had just read the first. My husband and I had a bet as to what subjects would be brought up and we hit them on the head. The two that always make me smile are, "What happened to the nephew?", and "Why did you have to kill off all the brothers?"

Like I've told many folks, I'm only the typist; the story writes itself and I have little say in the matter. It never really appeases them but I told them to read the rest of the books to find out what happened to Teàrlach.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Uploading my book onto Kindle is proving to be a headache. I've finally given up and sent the file to a webmaster I used to work with for a fresh look at my html file. It's beginning to stress me out and I don't need that in my life right now.

So, I thought I'd share a little bit of Maine with you all.

October in Maine begins hunting season. And with hunting season, Mainers of all ages and status don their blaze orange. They wear it to the mailbox, to the grocery store, collecting seaweed, or just for a ride about town to enjoy the fall colors.

It's curious to me that 99% of these people never go into the woods where all the wild beasts hiding from hunters live. Perhaps I have it all wrong. Perhaps it's just an excuse to wear the color of Autumn and not feel foolish in clothes that rival the color of pumpkins.

Do I wear the official color of fall in Maine? Nope. Not even when I used to go into the woods. Why do I take my life in my hands when it's so easy to throw on an orange sweatshirt, you might ask? Because there is only 1% of the population who venture into the woods for a turkey in the center of my little town. It might save me from getting hit by a car crossing the street, but other than that, I believe it's just a fashion statement. And I've never been a slave to fashion.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Progress With Kindle

Thursday afternoon, after my husband returned from the post office, he plopped a little brown box onto my lap that had the Amazon logo on it. I tore into it to find the Snow Leopard system software for my Mac. I promptly retired to my office and proceeded to upgrade my system, which took about an hour.

Then I was onto Kindle.

It's never as easy as you imagine it will be. Inconsistencies in Word have decided to not indent any paragraph beginning with a quotation mark. This sucks big time. Do you know how much dialog there is in my books? A lot! So I sought the advice of the system people at Amazon. They told me I need to work in HTML and manually correct the code at the beginning of all paragraphs that start with quotation marks.

Great! What I thought would take a day to do has stretched into three and I'm not done yet.

And now that I'm working in HTML, I can't figure out how to view it in Word again, even though I've saved it that way.

I'm certain I'll figure it out, and the other three books will be a breeze. Have patience I keep telling myself. And have fun. Well, easier said than done, on both accounts!

I'll update you when I've figured it out and it looks perfect in Kindle. Hopefully, that will be very soon...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Going for it

After my last blog about whether or not I should put my books up on Kindle, with your blessings I got an overwhelming YES!

So, before I begin this process, I have to upgrade my system software so I can download something called the Kindle Previewer. This will allow me to see what my books will look like before I send them off into the ether and have them appear on a Kindle near you. The software should be here this week sometime and then I can begin.

I was asked if Despite Them is going to be put on Kindle as well. Yes it is! It may take a little more time to get an actual printed book out of it, but you'll all be able to read Gregor's story on whatever device you get the app for, or on your Kindle. Maybe, with your help, we can make it be a best seller on Kindle! How fun would that be?

I'll keep updating you on my progress and the ease of use (or problems) in world of ebooks technology. I'm pretty excited about the whole thing!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bad News

I called my agent yesterday about Despite Them. As I feared, the editor of Pocket Books didn't want to pursue the book with a contract. Here's what she said about my manuscript.

It was an intriguing story and she liked Gregor's character a lot, but she did not like the Scottish dialect used when he spoke. Then she went on, after she had already said she liked the story, that the writing didn't impress her the way she thought it would.

And it took her 5 months to tell me this bad news.

So here's my dilemma; do I change the dialect to be all English so these young folks who think they know what the public wants can understand what they're reading? Or do I keep it and try every editor in NYC until one says yes? You do understand that this could take years, if it ever happens.

I have had more compliments on the fact that I DO use the Scottish brogue because it makes the conversation feel more authentic. Never have I been told that it was impossible to read because of it.

Here's another option, one I've been trying out in my head since it came out.

Put my book on Kindle.

I know, I know, I've been talking about the piracy end of it, but I've been doing a little more research and found that unless you're a hacker and really have it out for me, there are some safety measures in place so once a book is downloaded to your Kindle or PC, Mac, IPhone, IPad or any other device, it can't be resent to someone else's device. This fact made my heart warm with joy!

I also found out that along with putting my book on Kindle, I can also get an actual book printed as print on demand, like I'm already doing with my old publisher.

I think this may be the best of all worlds. No agents taking 15%. No publishers telling me what and how to write and giving me 8% of all my hard work. The royalties on Kindle are up to 70%. I'm trying to find the bad in it, but not coming up with any faults.

What do you think? I want some feedback on this. Do I continue down the traditional path, or break out into the new world of ebooks? Let me know.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

No News is Good News?

I keep waiting for my agent to give me some news—any news—on what's happening with Despite Them. Pocket Books still has the manuscript, but apparently it has gone into a slush pile awaiting an overworked set of eyes to look at it. It's a bit disheartening. Do I continue with with next book? Is it really worth my time and effort? It's like this with most creative types. If you have a drive to create something and can't find a market it for it, do you just give it up? Questioning yourself can lead to failure. It can also lead to change, but that can mean doing something you're not passionate about. Or it can mean finding a new path, one you may not have ventured down if left to your own devices. Change can be good.

So, does this mean my writing isn't marketable with the big boys? I don't have the answer to that, though I wish to God I did. Some crystal ball to tell me I'm on the right track.

But if I was asked to change how I write or the subject matter which I write about, would I feel the passion it takes to create memorable characters and story lines?

I don't think I would. I've been asked to write about my illness. I can't. There's something about my own feelings and experiences I can't put to words. I've tried. Perhaps it's because I just want to forget it and move on with my life rather than reopening the wound and digging at it until it bleeds.

For now, I'll continue to let my characters play in my head, letting them come up with their own lives that always seem to involve murder and mayhem. I often wonder if that's my true self coming out. Devious, conniving, and always looking for trouble. Hmm. Something to think about.

Anyway, I know you're all waiting for something to read, but you'll just have to be satisfied with Diana Gabaldon and Sara Donati until I can get my break.

And thanks for waiting!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


This morning we got up early and went down to Stonington to try out a newly opened restaurant that serves breakfast. Fog was thick as we drove close to the water's edge. By the time we reached our destination we could barely see to the end of the inner harbor. The ghostly white veils settled in tightly, keeping all but the heartiest of fishermen at their moorings. Most washed their boats, or made those repairs they were meaning to get to, or filled bait bags for better weather. Those who did venture out were quickly swallowed by the unknown leaving me feeling uneasy for the wives of those men who go to sea in all weather conditions.

It made me wonder how, in the age of sail–without engines or radar–sailors managed the treacherous shoals and shallows to come home again.

After breakfast, we drove to an overlook to watch the scene unfold. There were harbor seals bobbing up around the boats, and crows vying for pecking rights on the bait boxes just in case a fisherman got careless and slopped some of the putrid fish over the sides. All the while, the fog rose and fell, much like a living entity, allowing us to see the village for a brief moment, then swallowing it up once again, leaving us to feel entombed.

Life along the coast is slower and the people who ply their trade from the waters are very in-tune with the earth and her fickle weather, much like farmers. And there's a certain charm and romantic vision one gets when visiting. Living it is a whole different story, and it's not always a pleasant one.

But for the visitors, the comments are always priceless and worthy of a spot here. Such as the woman from Connecticut who said how meticulous the fishermen were for parking their boats facing all in the same direction... Or perhaps the one where a couple from nowhere near the ocean commented on our drought not knowing our low tide is 13 feet from high tide...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Technology on Sale

If you know me at all, you know how much I love technology.

After several years of being a wealthy person's toy, Amazon's Kindle is now affordable for everyone. At $189, it's finally in the realm of where even I want to run out and get one!

Check it out at

I know in the past I've said how the piracy of books from such devices is a problem, but sales of books on Kindle, or Barnes and Noble's Nook are phenomenal, leading me to rethink it all.

Should I be seduced by money and have my Eyes of Garnet series put on the electronic market so those who use Kindle and Nook can read them, and say to hell with piracy?

Let me know your opinion.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Real Life

As I begin to do more things on my own, such as walking and getting my own meals from time to time, my thoughts skitter towards writing. While my back can't take long durations in the chair, at least my mind is working again.

I'd love to think I'll be strong enough to at least get in the Maine Highland Games in August. I need to set goals for myself because I can be lazy.

I'm still waiting to hear from my agent on whether or not the editor at Pocket Books liked the rewrite of Despite Them. Boy, I'd sure love a sweet 3 book deal (or more!) and have them want to look at the Eyes of Garnet series as well. My agent tells me to have patience, but that's not one of my strong points. It seems like forever that my writing has been out there with no one in the publishing world taking notice. I think it's my turn!

Anyway, I'll continue to plug along and take advantage of the mild, late spring weather while I continue to heal.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good to be back

It's been a long time since I've physically been able to write a blog. Some of you know of my predicament, but many do not.

I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma - a lesser known type of leukemia. It caused a compression fracture in my back, which lead to a broken hip and congestive heart failure.

I was in the hospital for seven weeks fighting this and have finally come home to recuperate. There is a long road ahead, but with so many supporting me, I'm getting stronger everyday.

As for Despite Them, it's still searching for a publisher, and as I get stronger, I'll continue writing on the second Macgregor adventure.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Laid Up

Sorry for my extended absence but I wrenched my back big time. The bed or the Lazy-boy are the only places I've been for three weeks now. Sitting up at my computer hasn't been an option until yesterday.

Since I'm out of work, it would have been a perfect time to be writing, but even that isn't getting done.

Day-by-day I see minute advances, but as with any major injury, time seems to stop and the healing process moves at a glacial pace.

Just thought I'd keep in touch.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Escapism and Bankruptcy

Have you ever read a book where the story is so well written you forget you're reading words? All you feel are the emotions the words evoke and you get lost in the pages.

That's true escapism.

The time is set, the place is lavish in your mind, the action is immediate from the very first sentence, and the characters already feel like they're people you know.

It's a rare book that will allow you to see everything so spot on it reaches out and settles in your mind like a great movies would.

All right, I'll tell you what book I'm reading that has me giving such praise. Mo Hayder's, Skin.

It's a detective thriller set in England, and is the 4th in a series. I came across it in my local library and will have to get the first three as well.

Now, on to the kick in the teeth news I received earlier this week.

On Monday, a frantic phone message from the publisher who did my Eyes of Garnet series asked me to read his email and get back to him ASAP.

I never received an email from him, and I have nothing to say to him unless he wants to talk about royalty payments—of which I've not seen for 14 months. Not a penny from Sightless or Double Vision.

So I emailed him telling him to resend his email and I'll read it and get back to him.

The next day, I received a letter in the mail saying James Rock & Co., Publishing is going bankrupt!

Needless to say, I was pissed to the max. I called him and he immediately told me he had cancelled the bankruptcy claim.

At that point I was still only somewhat relieved because when I asked when I'd receive my royalty check, he said—after promising once again he'd send it within the 30-60 days—he didn't know when he could get MY money to ME. Mind you, he has already taken in the money from the sales of my books, but has chosen to run his business with it instead of sending it to me.

I called my agent and she wasn't all that hopeful I'd ever see it without spending more money than he actually owes me to take some sort of action against him.

Perhaps I should be write a book questioning the sanity of those of us who choose this path...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

In the Meantime...

So, what does a writer do when awaiting approval from a publisher?


I had nearly 60 pages written on Gregor's next adventure when I was asked to rewrite Despite Them. I set the new story aside for a few months to go back and live in Despite Them. It was easy as it was already complete, I just needed to flush out my characters a little more.

Yesterday, I opened the as-yet-untitled next story and read through it. With a memory like mine, it wasn't like revisiting an old friend, it was more like, Hey this is pretty good, but where the hell was I going with this story line?

I have characters in there that apparently were going to be integral to the plot, but damned if I know how. I've reread it several times and am trying to get back into what Gregor was thinking. As with all of my characters, they speak to me, so I just need to start writing again, even if it makes no sense. I trust that he'll (Gregor) guide me to where he wants me to go.

He'd better!

So how does a story line come to me? If my characters aren't guiding me, I tend to read or watch movies to immerse myself into the time period, speech, and scenery. There's always a pad of paper and pen nearby for my epiphanies, then I can steer the plot along until my characters pick it up and run with it.

I never call it a writer's block because to me there's no such thing. Whether it's good or bad, there's always something to write about. It may not be the next paragraph or chapter, but it could be a scene that will morph into a twist or turn, or even a new character.

The process works for me, while other writers might simply see me as daft. Whatever. As long as I get back on track—and I will—I'll just stay the course and wait it out.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

As the New Year begins, I'll not start out by preaching about resolutions. I profess, I enjoy doing things in my own time. I'm not a procrastinator—quite the opposite. I've mostly been accused of doing things too quickly.

What I mean is why wait for the New Year to make changes in your life?

Anyway, after having a week and a half off from work, I've finally managed to complete the rewrite of Despite Them. It's off to a copy editor then will be sent to Grace.

I know I keep saying this, but having an open enough mind for constructive criticism has made this book so much better. I added over 3200 words to it and did NOT get Gregor laid.

I know consummating the act is what Grace told me the editors wanted to see, but two things compelled me not to do it.

1) No matter how I tried, it just didn't add to the story or fit in anywhere.

2) It's not a Romance, it's an Adventure, which means, though there is sex in the story, it's not four pages of foreplay enough to heat the room on a snowy day.

I hope Grace and the editors at Pocket Books see it that way, as well. I did mention to Grace that the next Gregor adventure begins with a sex scene, so It's not as though he'll never have a release. While I may kill off my characters as easily as one swats at files, even I'm not that twisted!