Monday, April 30, 2012

Z: Zombies

My final A-Z Blog challenge post is about zombies. Believe me, I never thought I would ever be writing about zombies, but they seem to be all the rage now. I decided that I needed to see what all the fuss was about so I read Pay Me In Flesh by K. Bennent (aka James Scott Bell).

Until I read this book, my only knowledge of zombies was from watching the movie,  Shaun of the Dead and I laughed through the whole thing.

What I didn't do was laugh through this book. Pay Me In Flesh is about a lawyer in Los Angeles who finds, after being shot, that she was brought back from the dead and is now a zombie, or undead. While defending a vampire on a murder charge, she searches for the person who turned her into a zombie.

The end of the book left a lot of unresolved issues, enough that I assume there will be a sequel. The story was very well written, but I would expect no less from Mr. Scott, who is an excellent writer. I did find a few typos in the text, but not so many that it distracted my reading.

I asked myself if I would read another zombie book and my answer is maybe. If there is a sequel, I will likely read it, but I doubt I would add another zombie book to my library.

How about you? Do you like to read zombie books?

Carol

A-Z Blog Challenge

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y: Yippee, it's almost over

I suppose I really shouldn't say yippee, but I needed a Y word today and it seemed to fit. This was the first time I participated in the A to Z April Challenge and found it to be exactly that, a challenge.

Don't get me wrong, it was fun, but for me it was difficult to blog daily and coming up with the topics for a few of the letters was demanding. For the most part, the first thing that popped in my head is what I wrote about.

The toughest letters for me were P, T, W, and X. For the letter P, I came up with so many ideas, it was hard for me to choose just one. The letter that caused me the most difficulty was X and the one that caused me the most work was Z. Obviously, I haven't posted that one yet and I don't want to give it away. All I'll say is that I had to read a whole book for that letter.

Will I participate again next year? My answer right now is no, but I'm sure that when time rolls around, I'll suck it up and o it again. Hopefully, I've picked up some new followers. If you're one of them, please don't expect me to keep up with the daily posting. With a full time job and trying to write another book, there's just not time for me to do this daily and congratulations to my fellow bloggers who will complete the whole month.

Carol

A to Z Blog Challenge

Friday, April 27, 2012

X: Xenolith

I love collecting cool looking rocks, but I have never found a Xenolith rock. A Xenolith is a fragment of foreign rock within a host rock. To be considered a xenolith, the inclusion must be different in composition from the rock surrounding it.


Xenoliths most often occur in igneous rocks. For those of you who are a little rusty on Geology 101, igneous rocks are rocks which form by the cooling and solidification of molten material, either magma or lava.

That my friends, concludes the geology lesson for today. I'm going to start looking for one of these.

Carol

A - Z Blog Challenge

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W: Waltz

I don't dance, well actually I don't dance because my husband doesn't dance. I think the waltz is my favorite dance to watch. It's so elegant. I love watching old movies with large crowds waltzing around a ballroom. I just watched the movie, Holiday with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn last weekend and it included a scene of people waltzing.

In the 1800's, California banned the waltz because of ho close the two partners danced together. Did you see The Legend of Zorro with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones? In one scene, they danced a very risque version of the waltz. If you haven't seen the movie I highly recommend it.

There are many versions of the waltz, mostly based on the country of their origin. I've linked a couple videos below to see.

Video from Dancing with The Stars

Video from The Legend of Zorro



A - Z Blog Challenge

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V: Vacation

Everyone has a favorite vacation spot and my husband and I are no exception. Our favorite vacation destination is the mountains of Tennessee. We love the area so much that it has always been our plan to retire there some day. The closer we get to retirement and the worse the economy gets, the more that dream seems to be fading.
The cabin that we usually rent sits on a small stream that flows by. My favorite thing in the morning is to sit out on the back porch and enjoy my first cup of coffee. My husband would have already left to go fly fishing, so its a calm way to start the day. The afternoons are for sightseeing, shopping, or just relaxing. We usually vacation in the spring, but have visited in every season.

One vacation that I never got to take was going to Florida to see a space shuttle launch. As a big fan and follower of the NASA space program, it had always been on my bucket list to see a launch, but since the shuttle program has been scrubbed, it looks like I'll never see one.

Just last week, the Space Shuttle Discovery was retired and delivered to the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum as a permanent display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center located in Chantilly, Virginia. Since I can't see a launch, I'm hoping to make this our next vacation so I can at least see the shuttle in person.


A - Z Blog Challenge

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U: Upside Down Recipes

Normally, I put my recipes on my food blog, but this recipe, Upside Down Banana Muffins, is to yummy for just a food blog. I wanted to share it with everyone. However, as a little bonus, if you visit Carol's Food Bites, you will find a second upside down recipe for Caramel Apple Upside Down Cupcakes.


Upside Down Banana Muffins

Cake:
6 T. butter
1/2 c. milk
1 C. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 eggs
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla

Topping:
12 T. butter
3/4 C. brown sugar, tightly packed
1 banana, thinly sliced
1 t. cinnamon
rum, to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° f. To make the cake batter, place the butter and milk in a small pan over medium heat.. Warm the mixture, stirring occasionally until the butter is melted and then let mixture cool. 

Spray a little cooking spray in each cup in the muffin pan. Into each cup, put 1/2 T. of unmelted butter, 1 T. brown sugar, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Place the pan into the oven until the butter melts. Remove from oven and add a few slices of bananas and a squirt of rum. 

To finish the cake batter, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix well. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla together. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir well into a smooth batter. Pour the batter on top of the bananas, dividing evenly among each cup. 

Bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly browned and dry around the edges and pulling away from pan.Cook pan on a rack for about 5 minutes. With a knife, loosen each cupcake from the edges and then place a cookie sheet over the pan and invert, turning the cupcakes onto the cookie sheet. Serve warm. Makes 12 cupcakes.
 
Enjoy,
Carol






Monday, April 23, 2012

T: Television

I have to admit that I'm addicted to television. I know it's a terrible habit, but it's one I've had for years. Luckily, my husband is not a big fan of TV, so I pretty much can watch what I want.

Police shows have always been my favorite, so you can probably guess that I watch most of the forensics shows on right now. But, my favorite show is ABC's Castle, about a mystery writer teaming up with a police detective. What a perfect match up for me to watch and Nathan Fillion, who plays Richard Castle is pretty easy on the eyes.

The main thing I wanted to write about is one particular television show and how it brought me so many friends from all over the country and even the world, and I have the internet to thank for that. Back around 1998, I started watching the military drama , JAG. It aired on NBC for one season, was cancelled, and the revived by CBS where it ran for nine more seasons. I've never gotten as hooked on a TV show as much as I was with JAG.

About that time is when I started becoming active on the internet. I did a search for JAG and found an email discussion group, several actually. I became rather involved with one of the groups and because of a mutual admiration of one of the recurring characters on the show, I met the person who eventually became my best friend. Although we don't see each very often because she lives in California, she still remains my best friend today.

But back to my involvement with the show. I was approached by some other fans with the idea of putting on a fan convention for the show and of course, I said yes. Soon after, the producers of JAG put their support behind the convention and before I knew it, I was on a plane for Los Angeles for my first convention.

I was a part of six conventions and they were all different and all great. I met all of the cast members and actually became friends with two of them, exchanging email addresses with one. I visited the production offices once, meeting many of the producers and writers.


My favorite visits were to the set, once during an actual taping of the show. My friend and I tried to stay out of  everyone's way and not to be noticed. But, the cast and crew wouldn't let that happen. Different cast members came up, introduced themselves, and wanted to know about us. Crew members asked us to join them on the lunch break and when we told them we wanted to take some pictures of the set first, we were warned that some of the crew sleep over lunch on some of the darkened sets and to be careful not to trip over anyone.


JAG ended in 2005 and so did the conventions, but my friendships with Sandy, Kathy, Rick, Susan, Cathy, and Maeve are still there and going strong.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

S: "Saved by the Sheriff"

Saved by the Sheriff is my second romantic suspense novel and is available from Secret Cravings Publishing in several e-book formats at http://bit.ly/ScpPre or in paperback or Kindle at amazon.com or for your Nook at http://bit.ly/y72Po8

You can view the book trailer at http://bit.ly/xHn619

New York City writer, Jaime Wilson wants the Assistant Editor job at Real Mystery Magazine. In order to get it, she has to write a kick-ass story, and what could be better than a 30-year old unsolved murder in a small town.

When Jaime visits Royal, Indiana to investigate, she soon finds that someone in the town doesn't want the mystery solved and she becomes a target. After an arrest for trespassing and an attempt on her life, Sheriff Ben Hunter lets her stay at his place where he can keep an eye on her while she continues to work on her story.

She didn't count on falling in love with the sheriff and he didn't think he would have to work so hard to keep her safe. Finally, when she finishes her story, she has to make her choice whether to stay with Ben or go back to New York.

Carol

A to Z Blog Challenge

Friday, April 20, 2012

R: Research

When I'm writing a novel, one thing I try my best to do is be as accurate as I can with details. It could be as small as choosing the right wine with dinner or as big as describing what the Eiffel Tower looks like at night.

I think I realized how important it is to get the details correct from my husband. He's a former police officer who loves to read mysteries. He likes to point out errors in police procedure or in the type of guns used. His favorite is when someone uses a silencer on a revolver. The sound doesn't come out of the barrel on a revolver, but from around the cylinder. Hence, a silencer on a revolver does nothing. Yet in books, and even in movies, you still see it done.

In my recent book, Saved by the Sheriff, I wanted to give an accurate portrayal of a small town sheriff without making him look like Barney Fife. This is where I was able to pull from my own experience. The book takes place in rural southern Indiana, which is where I live. Between my husband being a former deputy sheriff and a former job, where I sometimes worked with local law enforcement, I had a good idea about the workings of a small Sheriff's Department.

Locations are another thing I like to research thoroughly. When I wrote my first manuscript, yet to be published, I located a part of it in Montana. I've never been to Montana and the internet was still fairly new, so I asked a friend who lived there to help me. She sent me brochures from the area that I was writing about and answered so many questions that I had. Now, I Google the city or town to start my research. I also usually request a vacation guide from the Tourism Office, which will give me maps of the area and information on landmarks, lodging, shops, and restaurants.

As I said, with Save by the Sheriff, I drew from my own experience. When you read the description of the fall colors along the river, you'll know that I was describing it from my personal experience.

Carol

A to Z Blog Challenge

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q: Quotes

"A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?" - Albert Einstein

"I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

"A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets." Steve Jobs

"
There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded." - Mark Twain

"Eating rice cakes is like chewing on a foam coffee cup, only less filling." - Dave Berry

"I have a theory about the human mind. A brain is a lot like a computer. It will only take so many facts, and then it will go on overload and blow up." - Erma Bombeck

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P: Photography

We all need a break from our normal routine, be it your day job, writing, or being retired. My break is taking pictures. I was in early high school when the photography bug hit. I suppose it started when I took the photography project in 4-H. Everyone told me what a good photographer I was and one year, I just knew I would be a shoe-in to win the Grand Champion ribbon. When I got to the county fair that night, I went straight to my project. There they were, my ribbons: Champion and First Place, but no Grand Champion. That ribbon went to Myron. I had one more year left in 4-H and I vowed to myself that I would beat Myron next year and I did, even scoring a Blue Ribbon at the State Fair, which was very hard to do back then.

I'm still taking pictures and still love it. Mostly, it's just for fun, but I've had photos published in my local newspaper several times, a regional newspaper along with an article I wrote, and once I even had several photos published in a national magazine.

Recently, I started participating in the year long, 365 Project, where you take and post a photo every day for at least a year on their web site. I started January 1, 2012 and did pretty good until I missed a day at the end of January. Unfortunately, since then I've missed several days. It sure didn't take long to exhaust all of the photo ops between my house and my office. Recently, I started back again, but it's going to take a while to play catch up at the end of the year. My 365 is going to have to extend well into 2013. All of the photos in this post were taken by me and if you want to see more of my pictures, click 365Project to visit my page there.

Carol

A- Z Blog Challenge

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O: Organization

Part of my life is very organized and another part of my life isn't. With my writing and at my day job, everything has its place. But, at home, my desk is a disaster area, dishes are piled high sometimes, and the carpet usually needs vacuuming. Today, I'm going to talk about being an organized writer.

I think every writer has their own way of organizing their work. When I started, I never thought I would use a three-ring binder, as was suggested to me once by another writer. I thought it was too bulky and a hassle to deal with. I started out my keeping notes and research in a vinyl folder, but soon found that it was too easy for things to fall out of the folder. I tried the binder, actually only to prove that it wouldn't work. What I found out was that it was perfect. Now, I have a binder for each book that I write. Each binder has sections for tracking my word count, chapter outline and synopsis, research, and notes. Yes, it is still bulky, but nothing falls out of the binder like it did with the folder.

Other things that I have found invaluable in my organization are Project Folders. I found mine at Walmart. They are pre-printed on the outside and inside with places for project name, date, reference, contacts, action steps, and notes. I mostly use the Project Folders for non-fiction articles. I also keep a mini recorder with me most of the time to record ideas that come to me when I can't writ them down. A digital recorder works best, but I have a mini-cassette recorder which works best for me. There's also Post-it Notes®. There's also planners, calendar books, small notebooks, cell phones for notes, and don't forget to back-up your work often and on different drives. I use the hard-drive, two flash drives, and an external drive. Some people email the document to themselves.

Organization can be an important key to becoming published.

Carol

A - Z blog challenge

Monday, April 16, 2012

N: Naming Characters

When someone finds out that I'm a writer, there are two questions that I get asked most often. Where do you get your ideas and how do you name your characters? I've already covered the idea question in my post on April 4th. So, today I'll tell you how I name my characters.

Many times a name will just pop in my head. That's how I named the sheriff, Ben Hunter in my current release, Saved by the Sheriff. Then, there are times, that I grab a phone book to look for a name. Normally, when I do this I don't use both the first and last name from the book. I will choose a first name and then look for a last name to go with it. If I can't find a name I'm happy with after looking through the phone book, I will resort to the internet. There are hundreds of web pages out there to use to name your characters. Below are a few that I like to go to when I'm stuck for a name.

Behind the Name - the etymology and history of first names.

The Random Name Generator - for first & last names.

Fake Name Generator - for male and female characters

If you find that you don't like these sites, I suggest going to Google and search for "name generators." One thing that I do not do in my books is use someone's real name, even if they're a friend or relative. I might use their first name, but never with their real last name. I just don't want to take a chance on them not liking what I have done with their namesake in my book.

Carol

A - Z Blog Challenge

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M: "Masters & Disasters of Cooking"

Today's M is for my cookbook, Masters & Disasters of Cooking. I self-published this book and can't tell you how much fun it was to write. I'm sure we all have completely messed up a recipe at some point in our lives. For me, it was several times. Each time, I learned from my mistakes and have now turned into a pretty good cook.

Masters & Disasters of Cooking contains comical stories about both my cooking and baking successes as well as my complete disasters. All stories are accompanied by a masterpiece recipe.

To order your copy in time for Christmas, go to Lulu.com. Below is an excerpt from my book.

There's a souffle in the oven
Don't you just hate to work so hard on something only to find it ends up in a total disaster? Whether it be a dish for a special meal or carving a wood project for someone, it is so disappointing when it doesn't turn out quite right in the end.

On the other hand, when your project comes out perfect, you feel like you're on top of the world. For instance, my mother once gave me a souffle dish as a gift. I had never eaten a souffle, much less made one. All I knew was that you had to be very careful or it could fall while baking, or worse, not rise at all.

I decided one day to finally give it a try, so I readied for the challenge. I issued orders for the day to my family: no door slamming, no stomping around the house and for goodness sake, do not open the oven door. Basically, just stay out of the house.

The recipe I chose was for a chocolate souffle, after all how could you go wrong with chocolate? It didn't look too difficult to make and my favorite part of the recipe was coating the inside of the dish with sugar. Ah, chocolate and sugar, two of my favorite ingredients. After mixing everything together, I poured it into the dish. So far, so good.

In the oven it went for 35 minutes. That had to be the longest 35 minutes I've ever spent. My oven door doesn't have a window and I wanted to peek in so bad, but I was determined to keep it from falling and kept my curiosity in check.

Finally, the buzzer sounded alerting the end of the baking time. Slowly and carefully, I opened the oven. The souffle towered above the rim of the dish, just like all the pictures I had seen. I was meticulous as I removed the dish from the oven and placed it on top of the stove. I sprinkled the powered sugar over the top and took a step back to marvel at my creation. It was absolutely beautiful; a work of art, I thought. I had to show my husband and went to get him.

When we returned, I couldn't believe what I saw. It looked as though someone had punched their fist right down the middle of it. It had fallen. In my haste to leave the kitchen, had I walked too hard resulting in disaster? It was no longer my beautiful chocolate souffle.

After we tasted it I felt better, maybe not on top of the world, but better. At least that had turned out good and we enjoyed a wonderful chocolate dessert that night. What I found out much later was that souffles deflate in less than two minutes after being removed from the oven. Now why didn't the recipe say that? It would have kept me from the devastation I had felt. I think maybe next time I will try a cheese souffle.

Chocolate Souffle
1/2 C. milk
1 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/4 t. cream of tarter
whipped cream (optional)

In a double-boiler, melt chocolate over low heat. Remove and set aside.
In another saucepan, melt butter, then stir in flour and cook for about two minutes, but do not let it brown. Add chocolate gradually, stirring constantly. Cook until thick. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add egg yolks one at a time. Beat well after each one. Set mixture aside.
Beat egg yolks until foamy and then add cream of tarter and beat until it can form a stiff peak. Stir a large spoonful of egg white mixture into the chocolate. Mix well and then pour it into the remaining egg white mixture. Fold together gently, but thoroughly.
Butter and sugar the inside of a 1-quart souffle dish. Pour chocolate mixture into dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the souffle is puffed up and richly browned. Serve immediately with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 4 servings.
Enjoy,
Carol

Friday, April 13, 2012

L: "Love, Lies & Deceit"

Love, Lies & Deceit was my first romantic suspense novel. It's available in different e-book formats at Red Rose Publishing and for a Kindle at amazon.com.

Against regulations, rookie CIA officer Julie McBride and her training officer, Jason Reid fell in love. But, when Jason is arrested for treason, Julie has to decide whether she believes in him enough to risk her own career and life to help him prove his innocence.

Love, Lies and Deceit excerpt:

Back on the highway, Julie took the George Washington Memorial Highway to Alexandria and to her apartment. When she walked in the door, a strange feeling came over her. She turned on the light and looked around the room. Everything looked in its place. She put her keys and purse on the table and walked into the kitchen. That's when she noticed the glass sitting next to the sink, used. She knew she hadn't dirtied a glass that morning. She walked into the living room and got her gun from the desk drawer. The only place someone could be hiding in her apartment was the bathroom or the bedroom.

She walked toward the bathroom. The door stood ajar. With her foot she pushed it all the way open and turned on the light. No one was inside, or hiding in the shower. Once in the hallway, she stepped toward the bedroom. This door was open, but the room inside was dark. With gun in one hand, she reached in to flick the switch with the other. But, before she could turn the light on, a hand grabbed her arm with the gun and flung her on the bed. Someone landed on top of her and pinned down her hand with the gun. Her attempt to scream was stifled because a hand clasped over her mouth. She tried to struggle, but he was too strong.

"Stop fighting me and don't scream." The man took the gun out of her hand.

"I'm going to take my hand away from your mouth. You aren't going to scream, are you?"

She shook her head no. Gradually, he removed his hand from over her mouth until she was able to speak. "Get off me, you bastard!" She had recognized her assailant's voice.

He rolled off and she turned on the light. Jason stood on the other side of the bed from her. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"I needed to talk to you."

"You couldn't pick up the phone and call me? I would have come to your apartment." She rolled her neck to make sure she was okay.

"My phone is being monitored."

"What do you want?"

"I need your help, but first I need to know if I can trust you." He swallowed hard. "Did you have anything to do with the drop in Austria, resulting in my arrest?"

She looked at her gun in his hand. "You still have my gun. How I answer your question determines what you do with it."

He placed her gun on her bed. "I'm sorry. I didn't realize I still had it. Julie, I have to know if you were involved in some way."

She laughed. "I must be a pretty damn good spy if you need to ask me that. No, I had nothing to do with it."

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, dropping his head. "I believe you."

A - Z Blog Challenge

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K: Kindle

I can't say enough about how much I love my Kindle. For the e-book non-believers that say how they would miss the feel of holding the book in your hand, let me just say you're wrong. I can't tell you how many times I have been reading on my Kindle and reached up to physically turn the page and then realize I was on my Kindle.

I started out with a Kindle Keyboard, below right. If you are just interested in reading books, that type would be perfect. Amazon.com has the Keyboard and other similar versions available from $79.00 to $379.00.

I recently purchased a Kindle Fire, above left. Although you can access the internet with any of the Kindles, I like being able to view both web pages and books in color on the Kindle Fire. I also like being able to download music, videos, and photos to my Fire.

So far, I have found two disadvantages of the Fire vs the Keyboard. First is the weight. While not what I would call heavy, the Fire does weigh more than the Keyboard. Second, the Fire is very difficult to read in sunlight, or bright light. While at McDonald's the other day, I tried reading my email on the Fire when sitting next to the window. I finally had to give up because the glare was so bad. With the Kindle Keyboard, glare is not an issue.

The biggest advantage of using a Kindle, or any e-reader, is that I can carry all of my books with me no matter where I go. I currently have about forty books on my Kindle Fire, with plans to buy more. My husband has taken over my Kindle Keyboard and has about the same number of books on it. Can you imagine trying to carry all of those books around with you?

Tell me, do love or hate your e-reader?

Carol

A - Z April Blog Challenge

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J: The Journal of Jacob Coulter

Today's letter in the April A - Z Blogging Challenge is J. I'm always telling my fellow members of the Quills & Quibbles writing group that I cannot write a short story. I'm too used to writing full length novels, so I tend to be a little too wordy for short stories. A year ago, I took a stab at writing a short for the group's monthly writing exercise. The exercise was to write a story that included hospital, another time period, and something paranormal. Below was my entry.

Carol

The Journal of Caleb Coulter

Day 104 – July 25, 1841

After the dreadful plunge that I took yesterday, I found my foot travel slowed today. Thank the heavens for the tree branch I located for a crutch. I had been out of food for three days now and have kept my trusty rifle named Bessie, loaded and ready in case I came across any game.

To my surprise, when I stumbled out of a stand of trees and into a clearing, I had to wipe my eyes for I could not believe the sight before me. A large building stood in the field. With my ankle throbbing and my stomach empty, I hobbled to the building hoping to find both food and rest for the night.

As I approached, the door opened and out walked a goddess. Her long red hair, pulled back with a bow, and her green dress flowed as she walked toward me. She said her name was Catherine and she helped me into the building. Inside were rows of beds, a welcome sight cause it had been a spell since I slept on a soft bed. It was then I saw many of the beds occupied by people. Catherine said I had a found a hospital. What an odd place for one to be out in the wilderness. She explained they were there for explorers like me.

She led me to a bed where she removed my moccasins and tended to my injured ankle. She went to the fireplace where she boiled some slippery elm bark while I nourished myself with some soup, bread, and tea. With the slippery elm bark softened, she made a poultice for my ankle. As I lay back on the bed, it did not take long before I slept.

Day 105 – July 26, 1841

I awoke a might confused this morning as I found myself not in the bed, but on grass under a tree. Next to me was an empty bowl and on my ankle, the poultice. The big building was gone with no sign of it ever being there. I stood and my ankle felt healed. I put on my moccasins, grabbed my gun and possibles bag, and high-tailed it away from there. This was indeed a spirited spot and I wanted no more to do with it.

A-Z April Blog Challenge

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I: Interview with Author Kayelle McClive

Today I welcome author, Kayelle McClive to my blog. Kayelle and I have been friends for a couple years now. We met over the internet and found that we live only about an hour from each other. Last month, we got together and shared a table at an Author's Fair in Madison, Indiana.


Q. Tell us a little about you, what genre do you write and why?

Let's see I am a mom of 5 kiddos, married to my best friend in the world and I am a huge music fan. I write erotica, romance normally in the paranormal genre. I think I like that genre because you can do things you can't with lilly white humans. I can have people kill, maim and be a little more violent and it's accepted because they aren't human. Human morals don't apply to wolves and I like that. We tend to think of right and wrong in black and whites and in the paranormal world it is all shades of gray and we accept that more so than in "real life."


Q. How much research do you do for your books?

For Confederate Moon, a TON! I took a civil war class in college, read books, read articles, researched gun types, when they came into existence as well as where you could get them. I researched the city of Louisville and New Albany as well. I grew up in this area and it wasn't until I started this book that I learned what a rich civil war era history we have here. I do tend to do research though, just so I know what I am talking about (even if I don't it looks like I do.)

Q. Do you write from an outline or do you just sit and let it flow? Can you tell us about your writing schedule?

I usually do a general, very basic outline and then I sit and let it flow. I know things that need to happen and then sometimes the muse strikes and I add things that I hadn't planned before. I have no writing schedule really. I tend to do most of my writing either in the morning or late evening when the kids aren't here. I can concentrate more and don't have people constantly stopping me. I seem to write more and faster between the hours of 10pm and 2 am, pretty odd hours but those are when I really crank out the word count.

Q. What do you do when you're not writing, day job, hobbies, etc?

My husband and I do commercial property inspections as well as photography for a living. I am a huge music fan and love Nickelback and 30 Seconds to Mars. I listen to music at least an hour or more every day and I also love the Tudors. I am just now into Season 2 and I love it! I watch very little television and tend to catch things online after they have been out awhile (see my above fascination with the Tudors 2 years after it ended.)

Q. Would you tell us about your upcoming release and when and where we will be able to find it?

My first full length novel "Confederate Moon" will be available online as well as in some stores locally. I can't pinpoint stores exactly as that is still up in the air. The entire book is going through its second entire rewrite so it's been delayed a little. But it should be available through
Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble online and the like. I am shooting for a late May 2012 release date!

Q. Where can we find you online?

You can find me at www.kayellemcclive.com or on Twitter @klmcclive and on Facebook at kayellemcclive.


Thanks, Kayelle. I appreciate you visiting.
Carol

A to Z April Blog Challenge

Monday, April 9, 2012

H: Husbands

I feel very lucky to have such a supportive husband when it comes to my writing. I finished my first novel in 2001 and he never really said much about my pursuit to be published. At least not until a literary agent requested I send her the first three chapters of my manuscript soon after.

I think it was at that point that he realized how serious I was about it and that I might just be good at it. From then on, he's been very supportive and has even helped with some of the technical details that he's had experience with. However, only recently did I realize that I had his full support. When I showed him the full page newspaper article, that included my book cover, about an Author's Fair I was attending, his response was, "This is a pretty big thing." I love my husband.

A month or so ago, I asked some of my fellow authors from Secret Cravings Publishing how their husband's supported them in their writing and have included some of the answers below.

Dawne M. Porchilo - "My current husband has always been very supportive of my writing. Now, granted some days, even his patience wears thin when I work 24/7, but we work through it. He jokes (at least, I think he is joking) that he is my PA. He drives me to all the writing conferences, is the first line editor of my work and encourages me at every turn.He actually will sit down with me, go over a scene and tell me what is wrong with it and help me reconfigure the structure and meaning.I'm not sure where I would be at in my career without his outstanding support."

Kimberly Gonzalez - "My husbands supports me, but it took me a while to see it. He's not a
big reader, but he's very practical. I stopped giving him my fiction to read because he isn't enthusiastic about reading it. But for Mother's Day a couple years ago, he bought me a very nice netbook that I can use just for my writing. He'll never be an enthusiastic reader or much of a cheerleader when it comes to praising my work -- but he always supports me in concrete, practical ways."

Catherine Greenfeder - "However, he is supportive of me in the following ways: he will read my books after they're published and tells me they're very good, he told everyone he knows that I have a book getting published, he might help do the laundry or cook a barbecue dinner when I'm pressed for writing or editing time, and he doesn't seem to mind those times when we do take-out dinners."

A - Z April Blog Challenge

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter


Happy Easter everyone. The A - Z Blog Challenge skips Sunday's, stop by tomorrow for the next post.

Enjoy your day with family and friends.

Carol

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G: Writing Different Genres

My first two books, Love, Lies & Deceit and Saved by the Sheriff are both romantic suspense books. I'm editing another one and am writing on a third, so I guess I'm categorized as a romantic suspense writer. However, I have a problem. I have two other romance novels that I'm working on that have no suspense in them at all, just contemporary romances.

Then, another problem popped up a couple years ago when I wanted to write a mystery with no romance involved at all. The mystery ideas has taken off for me in that I have several in books in the series plotted out.

I could write my mystery series under a pen name, but that would mean doing two of everything. Two web pages, two amazon author pages, and two Facebook author pages. I know it's been done before, Nora Roberts, for example, writes romantic suspense, but writes her mysteries under the name J.D. Robb.

Once a writer gets a few books under their belt, their backlist books start selling again, too. I would hate to miss out on those sales, if I wrote mysteries under another name. So, my question to you, what is your opinion about an author that writes in two different genres? If you bought a book expecting it to be romance, but it was a mystery, would you still read it? Let me know.

Carol

A - Z April Blogging Challenge

Friday, April 6, 2012

F: Food, Writing and Exercise

If you look at the photo of me on the right side of the blog, you'll see that I'm overweight. Being a writer has not helped that in any way. Unless very disciplined, a writer gets very little exercise and, for me anyway, has to make themselves become active.

I have a full time day job sitting at a computer all day. During my lunch hour, I sit at my desk and write. When I come home, I eat dinner and then its back on the computer spending time on social networks and email groups to publicize my books. It's no wonder I'm in the shape I'm in.

Weekends can be murder for a writer, no pun intended. I find myself typing away usually with an unhealthy snack nearby. I'm preaching to the choir, right?

What I need to do and what I'm going to try and do is schedule in twenty to thirty minutes of activity everyday. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of a fitness center or gym near my home or office. What I do have access to is an exercise bike at my office and a treadmill at home and of course, there's always the best and easiest exercise of all, walking. In the past, I've ridden that exercise bike at work while reading a book or listening to my MP3 player. At home when the weather didn't cooperate, I would get on the treadmill and put in a DVD to help pass the time.

Now, snacking while writing can be a challenge. There's always carrots, celery, and cauliflower, all of which I love. Sometimes though, you just have to have something sweet. I'm going to try bite-size dark chocolate for that. I'm not a big fan of dark chocolate, which is why it will be the perfect snack for me. I won't over-indulge in that that. As I understand, dark chocolate can actually be good for you, too. What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? I'd love to hear your ideas.

Wish me luck,
Carol

A - Z April Blog Challenge

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E: Espionage

Espionage fascinates me and I think the first spy I loved was Illya Kuryakin, from the "Man from U.N.C.L.E." television show. There was also James Bond, the one played by Sean Connery, and more recently, Clayton Webb, played by Steven Culp on the CBS show JAG.

With my love of spies, it's no wonder that I've written two novels involving espionage. The first published one was Love, Lies & Deceit, a romantic suspense. Against regulations, rookie CIA officer Julie McBride and her training officer, Jason Reid fell in love. But, when Jason is arrested for treason, Julie has to decide whether she believes in him enough to risk her own career and life to help him prove his innocence.

My second book involving espionage, yet to be published, is tentatively titled, CIA Man. What was supposed to be a routine assignment, protecting a journalist who over heard the sale of classified documents to a terrorist, turns out to be the most difficult of CIA officer Ethan Young's career when he discovers the reporter is Cally Hunt, his former fiancee. Ethan tries not to let his personal feelings for Cally interfere with protecting her life, but finds both tasks nearly impossible. I'm in the editing stage of this book and hope to pitch it to my publisher soon.

A - Z April Blog Challenge

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D: "I Smell Decomp"

I have published two romantic suspense books and a third I'm finishing up on. Last year, I became interested in working on a contemporary mystery with only a little romance thrown in. Since that time, I have completed five chapters of the first of at least a three book series and have plots for a couple more.

I bet you're wondering what all of this has to do with smelling a decomposing body. Let me explain, I was driving home from my day job the other day with my windows down. Along a stretch of highway, I smelled it. Dead meat, or to be more specific, a dead deer.

Living in a rural area, deer often take fate into their own hands by darting out in front of cars going down the highway. Some make it, some don't. I personally am 0 for 2 in car-deer incidents.

If they happen to be hit by someone who likes deer meat, local law enforcement will let them take the carcass for processing. But, most drivers are so mad because of the damage to their cars, they don't want to even look at the deer. So, the bodies are left along the side of the road for the highway department to dispose of.

As a mystery and suspense writer, on the day when I smelled the decomposing animal, my thoughts were not on the poor animal, but what a nifty opening it would make in a book. A highway worker stops because he smells a dead animal only to find in his search that it wasn't an animal at all, but a dead human lying in the tall weeds a short distance from the road.

And that, my readers, is how an idea for a mystery novel is born. You know, I might have just come up with the opening for another book in my future mystery series.

Carol

A-Z April Blog Challenge
Link

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C: Chocolate and Carol's Food Bites

Today is C day on the A - Z Blog Challenge and the first thing that popped into my head was chocolate. There's nothing much better that a good ol' milk chocolate bar, unless it's my favorite candy bar, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

When a friend of mine told me about a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake that she makes, I had to try it. Mouthwatering is my description. I'm doing an intentional marketing pitch here, which is also another C word. To find the recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, please visit my food blog, Carol's Food Bites.

Carol

A - Z April Blog Challenge

Monday, April 2, 2012

B: Bakery

It seems when I was a child, I was often sick with colds or ear infections. The only good thing about going to the doctor in town was that on the way home, my mom always stopped by the city bakery.

I still remember the feeling that I got when we walked inside; the smell of the freshly baked goods and the long display case of cookies and pastries that we walked past trying to decide what I wanted. Mom always bought a loaf or two of their special bread and I got to choose whatever I wanted. I was the sick one, after all.

It was so hard to decide, especially if there was a holiday coming up and they had themed cookies for it.My favorite thing to get were these huge chocolate bon-bons. I bet they stood three to four inches tall, or at least to a little kid it seemed like that. They were at least big enough that I had to use a fork to eat one. The bottom half was a chocolate cake and the top half was cream filling that came to a point. The whole thing was covered with a hardened chocolate sauce. Oh my gosh, they were heaven.

The other thing I remember was going there ever year to order my birthday cake. Hanging all along the wall behind that long display case were sample tops of decorated cakes to choose from. I always wondered if they used real icing on those displays because some of them looked a little old.

As with many things from our childhood, the city bakery is no longer there. It's not gone completely, but moved to a new location. I still stop by when I'm in town to buy a couple loaves of bread for mom and I and it's still as good as ever. What's not the same is the ambiance of the old building. Instead, there are tables and chairs for people to sit and eat breakfast or lunch. No decorated cake tops either. You chose from pictures in a book now. The chocolate bon-bons? Well, they're gone, too. While the baked good are still great, it's just not the same bakery anymore.

CarolA - Z April Blog Challenge

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A - Z Blog Challenge Day 1

What the hell have I gotten myself into? Today is day one of the A- Z April Blog Challenge. The premise is to get people blogging and every day in April (except Sunday's, other than today), participants are to write something on their blog based on the letter of the alphabet starting with A. If you follow my blog blog regularly, you know that I don't post every day. I try to get a post up here at least weekly, but sometimes even that doesn't happen. So, this will be a challenge for me.

I started preparing for this early in March when I signed up. I made a list of letters and then started listing topics by each letter and it wasn't as hard as I thought. Many times, I came up with more than one topic to choose from for one letter. I came up with at least one idea for each letter, except for one and I'm still working on that one.

If you want to follow me on my journey through the alphabet, please sign up for email alerts by filling in your email address in the box on the right.

Today's letter is A and I wrote about the A - Z April Blog Challenge.

Carol