The Silver Salon

The Silver Salon Sign

If you find yourself in need of pampering while in Wolf Creek, The Silver Salon is the place to go. While the sign seems to cater to the older crowd, the proprietress Shirley Dimple is perfectly happy to dye you blue, red, or any combination of colors you can imagine. She does the best nails in two counties and her prices are easy on your wallet.

Shirley Dimple (and PLEASE don’t call her Shirley Temple!) is well-known for trying out all sorts of interesting hair and nail colors. At fifty-five years old, she’s been around long enough to know what she likes, but not long enough to hang up her party clothes. As a result of her fun-loving attitude, she tends to know all the R-rated gossip in and around the town. If you choose to be a little, ah, relaxed, in your downtime, be careful not to let Shirley see you because one of two things could happen; word will get out, or she will join you!

Fresh Cuts

Picture, if you will, a two-story brick-front shop with wide windows. The green and white striped awning spanning the length of the storefront boasts the name Fresh Cuts. Welcome to Wolf Creek’s only flower shop!

The shop is owned by Scott Leader and his partner? friend? Todd Thompson. Why the question marks, you ask? Well, I don’t know Todd’s status either and to be honest, I haven’t asked. My characters usually come to me fully developed and in the case of Scott, he came with Todd. I don’t know why yet.

Scott is a handsome, slim young man with a receding hairline that he wears well. His smile is what draws people in and it seems like I only ever see him smiling. I’m really glad for this because my main characters often need a good smile. Scott probably hugs a lot too, I would suppose.

Todd is quieter. I only glimpse him briefly every now and again. I suspect he’s shy, but maybe there’s more to that. Todd has dark hair and he’s also thin. Maybe I should delve into what these men eat!

The flower shop is filled with houseplants and small indoor trees. The front windows look like a glimpse into the jungles of Guatemala (I can attest to this!). There are plenty of “fresh cut” flowers as well, but you’ll find those in the refrigerators that line the west wall.

Besides selling plants, Scott is great for finding out the latest developments by the town council, or what’s happening on the nearby reservation. Somehow, coming from Scott, it doesn’t even sound like gossip.

Be sure to visit the next time you’re in Wolf Creek!

Romance Writers of America, 2017

Orlando, Florida July 2017

Once again, I was thrilled and blessed to meet some of my favorite authors of Romancelandia.  There was a LOT of swag to take home and I even brought a little swag of my own to give away.

The RWA17 conference was a fun-filled week of heat, hob-nobbing, and lectures!

 

How Wolf Creek Was Born

Ever wonder what it takes to build a fictional town? For the next few days I’ll share a bit about how my little town of Wolf Creek, New Hampshire was built. Not all writers work the same way, but in my case, I started with the location.

When I started this series back in 2013, I already had Resurrected Hearts (then called “Mushu’s Heart”) firmly planted in my head and I knew that my story would take place in the rural Northeast. I needed a location rich in Indian lore so Google became my best friend. I researched the tribes, their legends, their language and began to meld together a new tribe, comprised of so much of the existing folklore.

Next came Google Images. Thank GOD for that! It’s nice to view the scenery without the expense of travelling there (though I’d still love to). As I studied the landscape, I paid attention to the architecture, the types of cars, the flow of people and traffic. Pictures started to take shape. What would a town the size of Wolf Creek need to sustain itself? Ideas for shops and the characters that run them became more real to me.

Finally, the clincher – what’s with the name? Naming the town was the very hardest part for me. There’s a lot riding on this little fictional town. My entire series, the attractiveness of it, the likelihood that readers could relate to it, were all tied to the name. I went through several names. Each was okay, but not THE ONE. I can’t even remember anymore what I was doing at the time, but I remember that the name just came to me. I Googled it. Were there other towns with the same name? Anything close to my intended location? Did the name have bad connotations, or something that would require me to get permission to use it? Nothing, nothing! The name was mine. Just like that, a town was born.

Check in tomorrow for a description of Wolf Creek’s flower shop, Fresh Cuts, and it’s entertaining owners.

It’s All Fun And Games …

Sad EmojiAs a young teen, I spent a few summers at a Boy Scout camp with my family. The counselors there coined phrase that we used for everything; “It’s only funny until someone gets hurt … and then it’s funnier”.

Between Fun and Funnier – that’s where I am these days.

Writing is a lot of fun.  Seriously.  I love coming up with the characters, their names, their jobs, their quirks, the whole nine yards.  I love crafting the story.  I love how it feels to be so entrenched in the first draft that I literally FEEL every single emotion.  I float around in a satisfied fog for days after I finish a first draft.  Hope is alive!

After awhile, though, that fog wears off and life intrudes.  In a desperate effort to get that happy state back, I pick up my completed manuscript with the *completely unreal* expectation that it just needs a little polishing – some commas here, replace a word there.  Yep.

Several drafts will come and go, that satisfied glow dimming a little with each pass until one day I think, “This is good stuff”, and send it off to the publisher.  For a few days, I revel in the glow I’ve managed to reclaim.  It’s done!  Another book on the docket.

Then the edits arrive.  Fun just became funnier.  Reviewing edits and rewriting scenes requires stamina.  And I don’t just mean the energy required to sit at my desk and review hundreds of pages of words in minute detail in a very short timeline.  Rewriting is a painful process!  That conversation that played out so perfectly in my mind?  Yep.  Didn’t make sense to the editor – CHANGED!  That clever sentence? Not Pulitzer prize worthy after all.  Cut that sucker!  Stephen King calls it ‘killing your darlings’.  Some days that’s exactly how it feels.

And, I’m just going to put this right out there – for a romance writer, there’s the super awkward task of reviewing the edits on sex scenes.  There it is.  As if it wasn’t bad enough writing it the first time – now I get to see what he/she thought of it, and review it again in the tiniest, most granular detail.  What is he wearing?  Where is she standing?  Are they close enough to do that?  When did he put that there?  It’s excruciating!

Aside from the hours of work involved in polishing the manuscript into what my editor and I agree is the best possible version, there’s the inevitable emotional toll it takes on me.  My day job requires a lot of diplomacy and mental agility.  I like to think I have tough skin.  I’ve learned to take disagreement and even criticism with a smile.  And I can do that with my writing, too.  Unless you don’t like my characters.  They’re my kryptonite.  These characters are my imaginary friends, practically my children.  A piece of me.

It’s really, really difficult not to internalize an editors comments.  It’s only fun until someone gets hurt.  And then it’s funnier.  Well, maybe I’ll think so later.  Until then, please hug the book you’re reading.  A lot of sweat and tears went into the making of each and every one (dare I say even the bad ones?).  And, read on, dear friends!

“Whatcha been up to?”

“Whatcha been up to?”

I love this question in the context of a co-worker/wife/mom/friend. I can fill my response with likely much more than the querier asked for. As a writer, it’s a little scary. Inevitably, my response is going to be “Umm, well …”. And it won’t be because I haven’t been up to anything. In my mind I’ve been quite busy. Why, just yesterday I plotted an entire series I want to write for my middle school aged children about surviving these crazy years. An hour ago I visualized the perfect scene for book 2 of my contemporary romance Wolf Creek series. And last night I dreamed up the plot for a hypothetical book 4 for Wolf Creek. But, do I have anything to show for all of this? Nope. Not a word. Okay, maybe a title. Maybe even a wrinkled, dirty sticky note in my purse that I will one day magically transform into a 90,000 page masterpiece.

My answer today will be that life has been busy inspiring me. In just two short weeks (and counting!) my evenings will no longer be consumed by 5th and 3rd grade common core math homework, or dance practices, or Cub Scout activities. It will be light until 10pm and there will be no need for my angels to get up before dawn. These beautiful changes all conspire to bless me with 2 extra hours in my day where I can live in my imaginary town, with my imaginary friends that I love to position just so, like the adult version of playing with Barbie. In just two short weeks, my fantasy life begins!

I am very excited to learn that my publisher has branched out with a new imprint that will publish titles that don’t trend toward the erotic side of the genre. I am SO there and I hope you will be too.

So, for my readers (all three of you, just kidding) that have been asking for proof of this fun new series I’ve been working on, rest assured. It’s coming! And so is summer. Let us all give thanks and enjoy.

My Favorite Heros

  ColinFirth

I think we all must have that certain someone we picture in our minds when we read or hear a romantic story. Maybe it’s our first crush, our first love or some hot guy on TV. For me, there are a few. There is, of course, Colin Firth who was perfect as Mr. Darcy in A&E’s version of Pride and Prejudice and then again as Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary. Who wouldn’t love to have a man like that fall in love with our imperfect little selves, right? (Picturing Renee Zellweger running through the snowy streets of London in her underwear …)

Thor

Then there is Thor (Chris Hemsworth). He’s built like the demi-god he is and he gives up a kingdom to live on Earth with the woman he loves. Again, what’s not to love?

JasonStatham

But my favorite favorite hero is Jason Statham. To put a name with a movie, he was in The Italian Job, The Expendables and several other action movies. Jason is well-versed in martial arts and has a Scottish accent. He never plays romantic roles and somehow that makes him the perfect candidate for a romantic hero. As my personal FB friends can attest, I regularly share pictures of him. A picture of Jason can brighten anyone’s Monday! Oh, and don’t tell Mr. Kribs this, but I think he looks an awful lot like him which just adds to Jason’s appeal.

Who is your favorite hero?