Thursday, September 27, 2012

Creative Liberties or “Can you get internet access and cell phone reception in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?”

As fiction writers, we sometimes have to be “creative” and ignore common sense, or reality, in order to make things work.  The best example of this comes when watching police dramas on television.  I’m always amazed how they can get DNA results and autopsies back in 60 seconds.

In Magic Moment, Chase Donovan heads to the boat he keeps docked in Magic Lake Island, New Jersey.  He stumbles upon two men assaulting Laura Roberts, the bookkeeper who works for his father. The men, assuming Chase is aware, refer to his father having sanctioned the use of the boat to kill Laura.  Although taken aback, Chase decides it's safer for Laura if he plays along with these men.  Insisting he’ll finish the job, Chase runs them off the boat. 

Chase frees Laura from her restraints.  After a heated tussle, he convinces her that his words were pretense.  When Laura refuses to go to the hospital or call the authorities, he tends to her bruises.  He is bewildered by what’s taking place around him.  He fears for their safety and persuades her they need to leave the area and should sail to his aunt’s house on the Chesapeake Bay.
While writing this story, I needed Laura to be suspicious of Chase and for an act to take place where she’s eventually convinced of his sincerity in wanting to help her.  I decided to have her find him reading articles on how to help a woman who has been assaulted and traumatized.  She finds him reading on the internet.  I also needed for Chase to be able to hear voice mail messages from his father on his cell phone.
When I wrote the first draft of this novel in late 2008 and early 2009, I posed these questions to others.  “If you’re in the middle of the Atlantic, can you get online?” And “how about using your cell phone?” Back then the answers I received ranged from “no” to “maybe” to “interesting question.”  I searched the internet myself and found, “yes, for a cruise ship, but very expensive.”

As I wrote the scenes, I decided if a cruise ship could have internet access and cell phone capabilities, so could Chase.
And, there goes my “Creative Liberty.”

Just in case you’re curious, here’s a sneak peak at the internet scene:

As she opened the cabin door, a pleasant, tangy sea breeze tickled her senses. Stiff limbs hindered her movements, but she climbed the stairs to the deck. The sun blazed in the clear blue sky. The boat teetered, alone, in a vast mass of water. A brisk chill nipped the air, and Laura hugged herself.

“Chase,” she called. No answer. She called his name again, this time her voice having an edge.

He wasn’t in the wheelhouse. She darted back down the stairs. If he had been moving around in the bathroom or “head” as he had called it, she would have heard him.

“Chase.” Panic gripped her. “Chase.”

Her heart pounding, she ran through the narrow corridor and stopped dead in the eating area. Propped up on the stool, he was asleep at the bar with a half-filled liquor bottle and an empty glass. His head rested on folded arms, his breathing deep. A laptop was also on the bar. The monitor was dark, but the yellow light blinked. Laura hit the space bar and print appeared on the screen. Several windows had been minimized.

Clicking on one minimized window, she skimmed the on-screen print and gasped, amazed at the words she read. She clicked another window and saw a search engine page. Chase had been reading articles on women who had been assaulted. Her eyes scanned the list of titles. He had wanted to understand, wanted to know how he could help her. From what she had observed of Chase in the last three years, she never guessed he had this sensitive, compassionate side to his personality. Her perception of Chase had been that of a friendly, but overindulged, self-absorbed playboy.

Who would have guessed?

Magic Moment is currently available for preorder on

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Available on

Just wanted to share...the link for Magic Moment, which will be officially released by Crimson Romance on October 1st, is available on Amazon.

(a very exciting and "magic" moment for me).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thinking The Good Beginning

Eons ago I went to a writing workshop with a focus on what makes an interesting beginning to a novel.  Back then, I still typed stories on an electric typewriter.  I remember the intense discussion among the participants along the lines of should a writer start her novel with action or with dialogue – which would be more effective in drawing in the reader?

I got nothing out of the debate, but I did take away a snippet offered by the workshop's presenter.   She said editors were busy people, with a lot of submissions coming across their desk.  If they weren’t hooked by the third page, they would put the manuscript down and go on to the next one.
While that fragment has always stuck in my mind, my own personal feeling (as both a reader and a writer), is that the heroine and hero must be introduced, preferably come in contact with each other, within those first three pages. 
I would love to hear your philosophy on a good novel beginning. 

In the meantime, here's the the beginning of Magic Moment, to be released by Crimson Romance on October 1st (

                                                              Chapter One

“Laura. Laura Roberts.” The deep, detached voice came from behind her.
Laura swiveled on the round, brown vinyl-covered stool, meeting the hard eyes and two dour faces. Her last name was Roberts, but she didn’t reply, didn’t even nod. Neither man looked familiar. Who were they?

“Special Agent Ross Saunders, FBI,” the grimmer of the two said, waving a badge and I.D. before her eyes.

She stared at the men. FBI?

Sanders tucked the folder inside his jacket pocket. “This is Special Agent Ed Phillips,” he said with a quick nod to the man standing to his left. “We’d like to ask you some questions. Come with us please.”

Laura had seen the two men enter the diner. Identical navy suits, both appeared to be in their forties, graying crew cuts, and equally sour expressions. Although not the customary Rita’s Diner patrons, or Food Mall clientele for that matter, Laura had turned her attention back to her iced tea without giving them a second thought. Now they stood in front of her, flashing badges and identification cards too quickly to read, let alone give her time to note if the picture matched the face.

“FBI? There must be some mistake.” She offered with a polite smile. “I’m Laura Roberts, but I doubt you’re looking for me.”

Saunders’ brow crinkled. “Laura Ann Roberts?”

Ann had been her mother’s name. Laura’s cordial manner disappeared and anxiety crawled through her. “Yes.”

Saunders pushed the glass out of her reach.

“What — ”

He grasped her fingers. “You’re the one. Come with us.”

Laura yanked from his grip. The other agent cupped her elbow, sliding her off the stool.

       “Miss Roberts, don’t make a scene,” Saunders whispered. “Come with us. It will only take a few minutes.”

       Laura glanced around the nearly filled-to-capacity diner. The customers, although employed by different proprietors, worked in the Food Mall. Those who hadn’t been gawking, suddenly stopped their conversations and meals to take notice. This was a popular lunch hour, and she was now the afternoon’s gossip.

      “Laura, everything okay?”

       She recognized the male voice and managed to stifle her plaintive groan. Could this calamity get any worse?

      Chase Donovan had joined the fracas. Dressed in jeans and a black leather jacket, he was tall and athletic, in his mid-thirties, with a wavy mixture of light, nearly blond, and medium brown hair.

     He was also her boss’s son.

     A bewildered expression covered Chase’s handsome, chiseled features. He stood so close that as Laura jerked from Phillips’s hold, her elbow nearly whacked Chase in the stomach.

     Saunders identified himself to Chase. “We need Miss Roberts at headquarters to answer a few questions.”

     “I’d like to see some I.D,” Chase said firmly.

      Saunders arched a dark, hairy eyebrow. “And you are?”

     “Chase Donovan.” He rested a hand lightly on her shoulder. Laura stiffened at his touch, unaccustomed to Chase putting a hand on her, even if in a protective manner.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Magic Moment

One of the greatest highs an author can experience is when that acceptance letter (or in the 21st century that acceptance "email") arrives.  After years of seeing my short stories and book reviews in print, I am finally going to have a novel published. 

Magic Moment (I would love to hear comments on the cover) will be released by Crimson Romance on October 1, 2012.

Crimson Romance ( is a part of Adams Media (which is a part of F+W Media).  F+W is known for Writer’s Digest.  Adams Media's main focus was nonfiction until 2011 when they acquired Tyrus Books to publish crime fiction novels. 
My favorite Adams Media book in my personal library (a must have for any dog lover) is Puppy Miracles:  Inspirational True Stories of Our Loveable Furry Friends by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger.
Here's the Blurb for Magic Moment:
When the FBI brings Laura Roberts – a quiet, reserved bookkeeper– in for questioning regarding activities at the warehouse where she works, an uneasy Laura resigns her job – only to be attacked by thugs.

Chase Donovan intends to spend a few peaceful days on his boat getting his head together – and finds a woman being assaulted by two men who say his father told them to do it.

Chase doesn’t want to believe his father could hurt anyone. Laura doesn’t understand why she’s a target. Can they learn to work together to discover the truth – before someone dies?

Finally, a big "thank you" to my From the Heart Romance Writer chapter mates, Mary K. Norris and Vonnie Davis, and to Liana Laverentz.  They are always able to help me out with my "technical difficulties" (as in navigating my way around my computer). 

As we get closer to the October 1st date, I'll be posting excerpts from Magic Moment.  I hope you'll all stayed tune.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The “I’m a Published Author” Feeling

 A few weeks ago I was completing an application to the U.S. Copyright office for the copyright registration on my novel, Magic Moment.  It wasn’t the first time I had filled out such an application for one of my stories.  I have two registration notices for previous works framed and hanging where I can see them.
So, as I sat at my computer on this particular Sunday, typing the necessary information, I thought, “this so makes me feel like an author.”  I remembered when I was doing promotion for “Burgers and Hot Chocolate” and Winter Wonders.   I had been interviewed in Long and Short Reviews and was asked “when did you first consider yourself a writer?”
Well, my answer dated back to my college years and when I was a student at my local community college.  The college had a writing contest each semester and during my second year there, I had won in the short fiction category.  I said in my LASR interview that the initial recognition, along with congratulations from professors, friends, and family, made me feel like a writer.
But, now as I considered that answer, I realized anyone can be a writer.  I was an Office Manager for nine years and wrote lots of memos (“Please submit your summer vacation request by May 1st.  Those submitting after that date, your request cannot be guaranteed”).   Few to none of those memos my supervisor asked me to write would ever be published (and I wouldn’t want them to be).
While anyone can be a writer, not everyone who writes is a published author.  To be published is a dream, a goal of almost everyone who sits down to write a story.  But not everyone who sits down and writes a memo on vacations considers being published. 
So, I’m curious, and would love to hear others’ thoughts and opinions.   My question to you, dear blog readers, is when did you first get that “I am a published author” feeling?