Sunday, February 09, 2014

photo and an excerpt from Dangerous Masquerade

Lots of fun at the Romance Reader Social at the Pflugerville library yesterday. Here I am in Regency costume.

We were supposed to read excerpts from our books but everyone was having way too much fun without that so....I thought I would post it here. It's from Dangerous Masquerade (Amazon  B& kobo )

Ransford stared at Rebecca, achingly handsome in his favorite jacket of blue Bath cloth that matched his eyes and pantaloons of biscuit hue. Rebecca wanted to tell him the truth, had meant to tell him the truth, but when she tried to speak no words came out. Instead, she was paralyzed by fear. He was a friend of Lord Templeton and he even knew her stepbrother now. Despite Lady Sarah's assurances that she was safe here, Rebecca could not help feeling that if they knew where she was, Andrew and Lord Templeton might try to snatch her away from here. Later, when it became common knowledge Rebecca was a guest in Lady Sarah's house, it would be harder for them to try to harm her.
To be sure, she might be wrong to be suspicious of Ransford. If she was, Rebecca ought to tell him the truth now, for the longer she waited, the worse it would be. He would not like her masquerade, but it would be better if he heard the story from Rebecca's own lips rather than from someone who would tell him he had been made a fool by her.
It was useless to deny, either, that she wanted to tell him the truth, to trust him and to have him see her as she really was. For what had only been a seed so long as Rebecca was in his house, now became a full grown truth: she was in love with Oliver Ransford. She loved his kindness, his quick intelligence, and much more she could not even put into words. But head must rule her heart and Rebecca did not speak.
Ransford, of course, did not expect her to speak. He went on, gently, "How do you like it here, as my mother's companion? Is she kind to you?"
Rebecca nodded emphatically.
"I'm glad you're happy here," Ransford said.
Even to him the words sounded trite and he rose to his feet, holding out a hand to her. "It is time, I think, that I took you back in to see my mother. She asked me to come and fetch you, you know."
Rebecca rose and gave him her hand, trembling slightly at his touch. She was not prepared for the wellspring of longing that rose in her heart. A longing to be held by this man. A longing to be kissed. She could not break the gaze that bound her eyes to his and it seemed as if he was about to lean forward, perhaps even to kiss her on the lips, when the door to the library opened, breaking the spell.
"Here you both still are," Lady Sarah said mockingly, but the look she bent on them was kind, indeed one might say approving. "Have you had a pleasant conversation together?"
Ransford shot a warning glance at his mother, unable to credit the insensitivity in her choice of words. Rebecca colored, pulled her hand free of Ransford's, and looked at the floor, unable to meet Lady Sarah's eyes.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

online revisions class

Ordinarily, at this point I'd be offering my Book in a Week class but given the issues that came up with yahoogroups with my last online class and given that I'm using a new site for the class, I felt it wise to begin with a shorter class. 

I think the change will be a good one and things will go smoothly and actually be easier than with yahoogroups. But because it IS a change and an experiment, I am holding the price of the class at what it was the last time I offered it--in 2009.

New online class:

Class: Revisions From the Top Down
Dates: Sunday February 16, 2014 to February 28, 2014
(Note: It is strongly recommended that students reread their manuscripts the weekend prior to class.)
Cost: $30 
Deadline to sign up: February 14, 2014
Format: all lessons and responses by email on a private class email loop

Have you been to a conference? Had a manuscript requested by an agent or editor? Are you just stuck on what to do next to make your novel work? Revisions From the Top Down is the fastest and most effective way I know to revise a manuscript. It's a process that will save you time and give you a new way to look at what you've written.

This two week online class will take you through the process of honing your manuscript to grab an agent or editor's attention and never let go! A critique (if you choose) of your first page is included.

To sign up send an email to with the title of the class in the header and in the body of the email please put: your name and whether you prefer to pay by check or Paypal. 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Romance Reader Social Saturday Feb. 8, 2014

I'm jazzed because this Saturday the Pflugerville Library (just north of Austin, TX) is having a Romance Reader Social and I'll be taking part. These are always fun but this year will feature something new. I'm posting the schedule of events below. Below that I'll post directions to the library. And below that look for the list of authors who will be there!

Directions for the library:

For those of you who have not been to the library before, the address is 1008 W. Pfluger St. You will see the back of the library from 1825/Pecan St. If you're coming from 35, you'll need to turn right on 10th St., then right again on Pfluger St. to get to the entrance. Call the library if you have any trouble.

Diane Kelly:
  • Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure
  • Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte
  • Death, Taxes, and Extra-Hold Hairspray
  • Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria
April Kihlstrom:
  • Miss Redmond’s Folly
  • The Scholar’s Daughter
  • The Ambitious Baronet
  • The Wily Wastrel
  • Miss Tibbles Investigates
Molly McAdams:
  • Taking Chances
  • From Ashes
  • Forgiving Lies
  • Stealing Harper
Sasha Summers:
  • For the Love of Hades
  • Medusa, A Love Story
  • Hollywood Ever After
  • Hollywood Homecoming
Kathy Clark:
  • After Midnight
Patrice Sarath:
  • The Unexpected Miss Bennett
  • Gordath Wood
  • Redgold Bridge
  • The Crow God’s Girl

If you live close enough, I hope to see some of you there!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Online Writing Motivation Class

Once again I’m offering my one week online writing motivation class.

Cost: $15
Dates:  1/12/2014 to 1/18/2014
Deadline to sign up: 1/10/2014
Lessons all arrive via email.

Goal of this class is to help you rediscover why you WANT to write. I’m a big believer--and research shows--the more fun we have doing any creative activity, the better our brain works and the more productive we will be. So come discover why you became a writer in the first place and why YOUR project is the one you want to write!

To sign up, email me at  and let me know if you prefer to pay by Paypal or check.

Monday, December 09, 2013

A Gift This Christmas Season

Most of you will not know that for a time I taught creative writing to kids--some on line and some in person. I also taught public speaking to kids in person.

Out of that experience came an short, very short ebook I created a couple of years ago: WRITING TIPS FOR KIDS.

As a gift, I've put that ebook on sale this week, Dec. 8-Dec. 15, 2013 for 99 cents. After that it will go back up to $3.99.

If you've taken any of my Book in a Week classes, you might recognize some of the material, though written more simply for kids and teens.

I hope that if you know a kid or teen who might benefit, you'll consider gifting them a copy.

Here's the link to purchase it for kindle.

Warmest wishes,

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Createspace==Lesson #3 in humility

How hard could it be to create a book for my son through Createspace? I had the prototype, originally done through Snapfish and tested on my son already so I knew the book was something that my son and others like him would like and be able to read. And I'd now done 3 other books through Createspace so I knew how the process worked. So it would be easy, right? I mean, I did look for posts on the site as to what to do to include photographs, etc. Piece of cake, right?  (::SIGH:: Picture me banging forehead on the keyboard again.)

Okay, first an aside. My son (an adult now) has Down Syndrome. I cannot find any books out there appropriate for him to read. He does not relate to drawings or to imaginary stories the way ordinary children or adults would. Factual books tend to have a vocabulary beyond him and while he's fascinated by weather, it's not enough to make him want to read the book. Finally I decided to create my own line of books for him. It's not as easy as it sounds. Not only did I need to use photographs instead of drawings, but I needed to choose something to which he could relate. I also needed to consider how his brain seems to process language and vocabulary. The result was a book about a dog, written as if from her point of view, with elements to which my son could relate--making a mess, looking under the tree for presents on Christmas, etc. My son, who has never seen Sophy, ended up loving the book. It is also a book any young child might enjoy.

Anyway, back to Createspace. As I said, I figured how hard could it be, now that I had all this experience under my belt?  ::SIGH:: Things I learned THIS time using Createspace:

1) Microsoft Word compresses pictures unless one goes into settings and tells Microsoft Word not to do so.

2) Even if one tells MS Word not to compress, the moment one uses the format picture feature, the picture is compressed.

3) Createspace wants pictures to be at least 200 dpi and 300 dpi is better.

4) One needs to choose trim size and figure out margins using pictures that one formats with MS Word until one is sure one has that right. Once I knew what size the pictures could or should be, I then opened each one in GIMP (see previous posts for information on GIMP) and formatted the pictures in GIMP to be the resolution and size I wanted. Then I saved those pictures, deleted the pictures I had in the book file and replaced them with the pictures formatted exactly the right size. That way when I saved, the resolution would be kept. (Note: Since I had close to 30 pictures, this means I ended up with a very large file.)

5) In figuring out margins, etc., I had to play with where to put the page numbers. For whatever reason, the techniques I had used with earlier books did not work with this one. Which means some blank pages do have page numbers because I could not figure out any way not to have page numbers on them.  (Okay, this isn't strictly a Createspace lesson was part of the humility process so....)

6) Because there were so few pages in the book (total 30), the cover was skewed when I used the online cover creator even though I was using a file formatted for the right size cover. I had to go back into GIMP and play around until I had a cover that loaded with roughly the same size borders on right and left of the cover images (front and back).

7) Sophy's Story took much longer to show up on Amazon after I approved it for sale than previous books. I don't know if this is because it's listed as a children's book (even though my son is an adult) or because of all the photographs.

8) Amazon nicely decided to discount the book--a nice bonus for buyers.

9) Uploading a kindle or nook version was....interesting....too. For whatever reason, it did not go as smoothly as previous books had. They went "live" well before the paperback version showed up but even there they took longer than my Regencies or my Book in a Week workbook.

What have I learned from all my Createspace experience? Never, ever assume it's going to be easy THIS time! Allow for extra time for the unexpected glitches. One doesn't always know what one doesn't know until a glitch occurs.

And now I'd like to ask a favor. I know I'm not the only parent with a special needs (adult) child who can't find appropriate books for him to read. If you know of someone, please let them know about my book. Or maybe check it out even if you know a "normal" child who might enjoy it. Thank you!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Strange Feeling

It's a strange feeling seeing my first three published books available again. The were published in the late 70s and Amazon has re-released them thanks to buying out Avalon--my first publisher. Unlike my later books, these three were contemporary romances. They reflect how society viewed women and romance at the time--and how rebels reacted to those rules and attitudes.

If you've ever wondered about the difference between an author's first published book and her 32nd, you can find both PARIS SUMMER and DUTIFUL WIFE available now.

If you've ever been intimidated thinking a book has to be perfect or follow all the "rules" to be published, check out TRONDELAINE CASTLE (and the other 2).  Something made an editor want to buy those books!

These three books are also a glimpse into attitudes and expectations both in society and for romance novels in that time period--though I broke more than a few rules and I am profoundly grateful to Avalon for letting me do so!

At the same time, there were rules I didn't know about until the first drafts were done and I had to go back and make changes--sometimes significant changes. Sometimes the changes were made for me.

So...if you're curious, whether about my first books or about romance novels from the late 70s or just about how people thought and felt back then, I hope you'll read and love my first three novels.

Available on Amazon

Available on Amazon

Available on Amazon