Saturday, March 31, 2007

DA da da da da, GO GATORS!

IT'S GREAT TO BE A FLORIDA GATOR!!!


If you're a Gator, it needs no explanation. And if you're not a Gator, well, I feel your pain.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Springtime!

Haven't gotten a lot of writing done this week 'cause I've been in the midst of spring cleaning. Thank goodness spring only comes once a year and after a week or so I'm over this madness!

I did stop by Goerings Books, my favorite independent bookstore, to pick up a copy of Six Frigates--The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy by Ian W.Toll that they'd been holding for me. I'd read a review of the book in the NYT, got it from the library, and liked it so much I knew it would be a valuable addition to my home research library.

I've also been reading Julian Stockwin's "Kydd" novels, about a RN seaman during the Napoleonic wars. I'm enjoying it very much, and part of what I like best about it is the view from the bottom of the ship--the war through the eyes of an able seaman, not a Hornblower or Aubrey.

And since Pinner's shoes was right next to Goerings I had to stop in to say "hi" to the guys, and it wasn't their fault that I left with an absolutely adorable pair of red patent leather open toe flats.

Just another case of spring fever.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Saturday was "Open Mic Night" and having had three glasses of wine and two single malts (which is about two glasses of wine and two scotches more than I need), I read a passage from Pirate's Price to titillate the crowd and generate interest in my April 22 signing.

It seemed to be well received, and my DH and designated driver told me afterwards I wasn't slurring my words, so I'm guessing all was OK.

Today I woke up to a nice piece in the books section of the newspaper about my winning the Eppie Awards. My only regret is that they kept mentioning my Evil Twin Skippy--rather, my alter ego, the one whose name isn't on the front cover of all my books.

Ah well, everything that gets word out is good, so I can't complain.

Friday, March 23, 2007


We Are Not Amused!

Yofi begs to differ, and says what I need is a big dog in a small package.

Your Ideal Pet is a Big Dog

You're both energetic, affectionate, and a bit goofy.
And neither of you seem to mind very slobbery kisses!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

It's been a busy week, and a productive one. Some writing, but not enough--never enough, but I got past a fight at sea scene that's been dragging me down. I've got enough done now to work with, and I have to keep reminding myself not to lose focus--I'm writing a historical romance, not trying to channel the spirit of C.S. Forester.

In the shameless self promotion corner, I have this news to share: I'm scheduled to do a signing at Borders Books on Newberry Road in Gainesville, on Sunday, April 22 from 1-4 p.m. This Borders is right off I-75 next to the Oaks Mall, so if you're in the North Florida area I hope you'll have a chance to drop by. My alter ego is also doing the Spring Membership campaign at WUFT FM/WJUF FM Classic 89/Nature Coast 90 on Friday, April 20 and Friday, April 27 during Morning Edition (6-9 a.m.). I may even read a snippet of some of my work on-air, so I hope you'll tune in.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I did get some writing done today, and I'm in the middle of a scene where my privateer is chasing down a slaver that just unloaded its human cargo and is now full of gold and silver. Good stuff. But I took a break and looked at all the stuff I'd cleared out of my pantry for Spring Cleaning last night and decided to experiment with a batch of Cleaning the Pantry Cookies.

I had the dregs of a box of 7-grain organic hot cereal, knowing I wasn't going to eat any more of it this year. And I had a half a bag of orange flavored dried cranberries. And some drinkable yogurt (kefir) from the farmers' market.

I intended to make a healthy scone, but ended up with reasonably tasty cookies. Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 400F

Mix together in large bowl:

1 1/2 cups multi-grain hot cereal (think mushlike cereal)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cinnamon or nutmeg, if you like

In a separate bowl, mix together:
1 cup liquid yogurt or buttermilk
3 1/2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 to 1 cup currants or raisins or dried cranberries

Pour all the liquid at once into the dry ingredients. Mix just until moist. Drop by large spoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheets. These cookies spread out rather dramatically.

Bake for 15 minutes on the top rack, or in a convection oven. Cool on a rack. Enjoy!

And now, back to Lucky Jack, Sophia and their privateering in the Caribbean.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


The Rule of Three

People ask me "Where do you get your ideas?" and my usual answer is, "In the shower. Or while I'm walking the dog."

There's something about relatively brainless activity that frees up the portion of your brain that's buried under the focus of whatever task you're doing at the moment. Other writers tell me this is true for them as well.

So today I was walking Yofi and thinking about The Rule of Three. This is a writing tip I picked up from Diana Gabaldon, based on her experience penning Scrooge McDuck comics: If you want to set something up for a joke, or a memorable scene, do it three times. For example, in Smuggler's Bride I have the line "Don't insult my mama" twice, and on the third time it's part of a pivotal scene that, I believe, makes that scene more memorable.

In my WIP, tentatively titled A Pirate's Treasure, there's something about the hero's eyepatch. At this point, I've already mentioned it more than three times. I'm trying to decide now if I want to pare back those references, or leave them in and expand that running plot device. At the moment, I'm in the middle of what may turn out to be a sex scene, and the issue of the hero's eyepatch may play a role in the outcome of the scene.

Yes, no kink is too weird for me!

So we'll see. Or not, depending on whether you wear an eyepatch.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007



Booksigning weirdness

I was walking the dog this morning and in between scooping poop, I thought back to the Barnes and Noble booksigning last week.

Let me just state for the record there's no link here between dog poop and booksignings, it was just one of those moments.

Anyway, at the booksigning there was a lady at my table who was leafing through my books, and said she's the kind of reader who always reads the last page before buying a book. I nearly leaped over the table to snatch the copy of Smuggler's Bride out of her hands.

"I have a surprise at the end of the book," I said. "If you read the last page, you'll know what the surprise is and it won't be as...surprising."

She said she didn't care about that, she still wanted to read the last page. At this point I was inching my books back over to my side of the table.

"But writers put a lot of effort into making plot twists work so that you, the reader, will get the maximum enjoyment from the book. If you read the last page, you won't enjoy it as much!"

She was beginning to look at me like I was crazy. Maybe it was the slight edge to my voice--it had been a long, tiring day with airplane insanity--but I finally browbeat her into buying my book without looking at the last page. For all I know she snuck a peek on her way to the cash register. She did bring it back to be signed, so I couldn't have been too scary, but honestly! There's a Big Secret in Smuggler's Bride and that's part of the fun of the story. Why ruin it?

Other authors told me afterwards I was too harsh. Maybe. But I'd like to think my passionate defense of the denouement helped make the sale.



Saturday, March 10, 2007

Two Winners at Epicon


See that graphic in the sidebar? I got it tonight at Epicon. Twice. Captain Sinister's Lady and Pirate's Price were both nominated for best historical romance. Both won in a tie.

I now have two lovely awards I can use as matching bookends, and the satisfaction of having my books recognized by the Electronically Published Internet Connection as being the best in e-books in historical romance. I'm grateful to the Eppie judges and to all my readers who made this possible. Thanks, everybody!

Friday, March 09, 2007

EPICON

I got to the Surfside Inn at Virginia Beach in time to dump the stuff from my small roller bag, transfer my books and gear to it, and get on the bus for the book signing at the Barnes and Noble.

That went well. We were there with Sherrilyn Kenyon, best-selling romance author, and she packed the house. We all benefited from the overflow of fans milling around. I signed and sold books, including ones to a couple of booksellers which is one of the best ways to get your work out and about.

The hotel is...affordable. But it faces the ocean, and while I am a Floridian and get to see this view a lot, I never tire of sunrise over the Atlantic. There wasn't a coffee set up in the room (in their defense, they offer 24 hr coffee in the lobby), but I like to take off my clothes at the end of the day and make a nice cup of tea. We all have our kinks. There is a microwave, but the only cups are the flimsy plastic wrapped "We charge for rooms by the hour" variety. This morning when I went to breakfast I noticed they had ceramic mugs. I threw myself on the mercy of the restaurant manager who was reluctant, but finally parted with a mug. Now I can have my cuppa tea.

I never thought I'd have to travel with my own mug, but you live and learn. And I promised to return the mug on Sunday when I check out.

More on the convention as it develops...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

It was a good news/bad news kind of day.

Bad news is, I didn't win the Florida Book Award. But since the winners included veteran bestselling authors like Randy Wayne White and Brad Meltzer, I can't complain. Pretty stiff competition. And entering the contest got my books out to more Florida librarians, so that's good.

The good news is I'll be doing a signing at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 4485 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach, Virginia on Thursday, March 8 from 6-9 p.m. I'll be there as part of Epic's 10th "Epicon" conference, and I'm also a finalist for the best historical romance Eppie for Captain Sinister's Lady and Pirate's Price.

I hope I'll see some of you there!

Friday, March 02, 2007

So last night I decided to do something about the weather, sort of. We have a weather radio, always a good idea when you live in an area prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and lightning strikes. We were in the path of that storm that rolled through Louisiana, so I put it in our bedroom and went to sleep. The radio worked like a charm. It went off almost every hour during the night, telling me there was a severe thunderstorm watch in Baker, then Levy, then Suwannee, then Dixie, none of which affects me. Those are counties to the north and west of me.

I don't think I can fine-tune it to only go off if a tornado's headed for my street, since the alert zones are controlled by NOAA. And I know having it close to hand was the right thing to do, in case we were in the watch/warning area. Nonetheless, I feel like I gave up a good night's rest for no reason, especially since it didn't even start raining here until 6 a.m.!

But now it is raining rather steadily, which is a good thing. We've been overly dry and there have been some forest fires, not to mention the farmers complaining at the market about how little rainfall they've had. Also, the temperature is dropping, which is also good. It climbed up into the humid low-pressure 80's yesterday and I discovered my bedroom air conditioner is in need of repair. Since I won't need it again this week based on the forecast, that gives me an opportunity to have the repairman come out at his convenience and mine, rather than in an August emergency.

Tomorrow should be rainy and cooler, but it looks like we're out of the range of that storm that devastated the midwest and Louisiana.