Blog

KENTUCKY DERBY IS ALMOST HERE!!

on April 29, 2021

The Kentucky Derby is always held the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, except for last year. Due to COVID the Derby had to wait until September 5th..This year, I’ll be taking the CANTER Ohio booth to Thistledown Racino for the Derby festivities this Saturday. It will be CANTER Ohio’s first fundraiser of the year.

What do you do with all those discarded aluminum horseshoes after the races? You make lucky wall hangings! But first, you take what could be called “scratch & dents”, clean off the mud (and stuff), pull the nails and wash them until they are ready for painting. Then the fun begins . . . that’s what I’ve been doing this week . . . decorating.

This year we’re also bringing a few fascinator hats to sell for those ladies who forgot to pack their fancy headwear.  Wish I could actually be in Kentucky for Derby week. Oh well, maybe next year.

 

SPRING FLING!!

on April 15, 2021

It’s that time again.

Join your favorite authors at the Writerspace Spring Fling April 22nd from 11a-8p ET. We’ll be chatting live on Facebook and giving away Kindles, autographed books, gift cards and more. You don’t have to be present to win, but you must be registered. To register, visit https://www.writerspace.com/big-event/

This will be my first year participating. I’m both excited about the chance to talk to my followers for the first time and terrified about keeping up with the seasoned authors, especially my favorites. I don’t know what to expect but I’m ready to have fun.

See you there!!

LIVING IN THE PAST!

on April 5, 2021

One of the things I love most about writing is the research that goes along with it. Characters come alive and become real when you give them a past. In The Shadow Of The Lighthouse revealed twenty years of Olivia Bentley’s tragic life. How she goes from being a spoiled, headstrong teenager to living under the stern hand of her grandmother. Olivia learns to deal with each horrendous event in her life and becomes stronger until she finally finds true love and her future appears to be the happily ever after ending. The story is set in Marblehead, Ohio and the Lake Erie islands. I spent wonderful trips exploring the area and studying its history.

The operative word here is appears. Now that her life is perfect with Travis Tanner and wedding bells on the horizon, I have to mess up her life once again. In A Beacon In The Dark, I send Olivia to Virginia along the James River where she must step into the life her mother escaped from. My research took me to the Waldorf Astoria in New York and then to Norfolk, Virginia and then Charles City and the plantations along the James River. Those were wonderful weeks and I tried to put my feelings and knowledge onto the pages. At a car show I found the very car, a Packard that I had given to Olivia’s mother, Maureen in the story.

Now, I’m deep in research for A Paper Key, which needs to be ready for editing by August 1st. The first step is giving my character, Tatyana Dupree, a past. Of course she’s overcome a desperately unhappy childhood and through her own ambition and drive has created a fabulous life as a world famous interior designer. Then, I send her headlong into a mystery that entails reliving a piece of the past she’s tried to forget. I’ve given Tatyana an apartment in the Dakota in Manhattan, but she also needed a place where her hectic life could slow down and kick off her shoes, so to speak. What better place for a jetsetter than the Hamptons. I found the very place today and didn’t have to leave my office.

I love jumping into research and can imagine the sand between my toes and the waves washing over my feet.

Besse is Live!!!

on March 8, 2021

My latest book, It Started With Besse, is now available in both print and eBook at Amazon!

I really let my imagination run wild with this one. On the trail of a big story, TV reporter, Morgan Tanner, engages the help of two homeless men in the tunnels under Cleveland while her brother, Michael, fears for his life as terrorists begin shooting at anything that moves in Fairport Harbor and their mother takes her daughter-in-law and grandsons on a dangerous adventure of their own.

Oh yeah, it all begins with explosions at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant.

Kindle IconAmazon IconiBooks IconKobo IconNook Icon

WAITING IS SO HARD!

on March 1, 2021

 

Waiting for the last proof from my publisher is so hard, even curled up in front of a fire with my 5lb Yorkie, Hemingway. Joyful anticipation has been pushed aside by anxiety over whether the book was really finished. Could I have added more descriptions to the scenes, or more feelings to my characters, what about the dialog that keeps popping into my head at the darnedest times? Do other authors think their books are never done? I wonder those kinds of things while I wait with building excitement and the knowledge that, what will be, will be. Much like what I felt during the weeks and days before my daughter was born . . . and she turned out perfect! Hopefully, It Started With Besse will be born soon.

THE COVER IS FINISHED!

on February 19, 2021

It’s hard for me to turn over control of my cover design to strangers. Sure, they may be professionals, but they don’t know what’s in my head. They haven’t lived with my characters or experienced their horrors. They only know the blurb I give them and the general ideas I have for the cover. I anxiously wait each day, checking my computer for an email from the company.

Finally it arrives! I’m thrilled with the overall look; they’ve nailed it. I love the fonts and aura of suspense. Then I look closer. OH NO. My two homeless guys carrying AK-47s look more like FBI agents with short hair and wearing dark suits. No way this can work! Probably a logical assumption for the designers but my readers won’t buy it, and neither will I.

I review my instructions for the cover. I’d sent them a short synopsis of the book along with rough examples of the cooling towers and an old tunnel. There are two men and a woman in the tunnel; the men are carrying AK-47s. Okay, my mistake. This is after all only my second time working with this company. I should have been very specific about the men being homeless, wearing heavy jackets. The design team did get the woman right and with the one change the cover is now perfect. I’m still straddling the learning curve.

It Started With Besse

on February 2, 2021

What a crazy year I had. Everything was planned and rolling along nicely, then COVID hit the fan.  I’m not telling you anything new. All of our lives were turned upside down. For me, writing stopped as I spent the first few months in front of the TV understanding what “social distancing” meant. In March my critique group met for the last time and I was left on my own to continue finishing It Started With Besse. There was no more on-site research (I love exploring my locations and getting a sense of what my characters experience. Like the damp, musty smell in an old, neglected building, or taking in the cool, wet air of a rushing stream on a spring morning.) No, writing was left solely to my imagination, but never the less, I forged on with a deadline of September 1st.

My 4lb Yorkie, Peluche, ever at my side, demanded I add more adventures to the dogs in my story, a Golden Retriever named Saint Nick and a Shepard/Wolf mix named Gunner. Of course I did as I was told and even added a 3rd dog,

I missed all of the outdoor events that were cancelled, but was ready for the trimmed down Kentucky Derby held in September. I watched from our booth at our local racetrack wearing my lucky Derby hat.

My September deadline came and went but I managed to finish the book and send it off to my beta readers. They loved it and I continued with the final edits in December. I’m happy to say that my next blog will have the cover design.

 

ESCAPE TO THE KEYS

on January 8, 2019

Although very exciting to have A Beacon In The Dark finished and available; I can’t slow down. I want to have my third book, It Started With Besse, finished and ready for publication by the end of summer.

The cold, grey days of Northeastern Ohio don’t inspire much motivation . . . more like hibernation. So, to get my creative juices flowing I’ve escaped to the lower Florida Keys. Here I can write outside under a canopy of palm trees as the clouds, out over the Gulf, drift by. And, if it takes a bit of excitement to add spice to my inspiration, well, Key West is just thirty miles away.

One of the things I’m most happy with in A Beacon In The Dark is the character development and growth of Olivia Bentley. I throw a lot of challenges at her and I love watching her deal with them. This next book, It Started With Besse, is full of action packed scenes and lots of tension. I have to remember that these characters also need a history and internal development as they deal with the unfamiliar forces around them.

My goals for this year are to keep my readers informed through Blogs, Newsletters and online Chats. Writing is my passion and I have to do more of it. I can’t become too relaxed in this tropical paradise if I’m to finish this third book in the Tanner series by the end of the summer.

So, for now, I’ll be writing on the locals “keys time”, and to the rhythm of the gentle swaying palms.

It’s Done At Last

on December 17, 2018

I’m so excited to announce my second book, A Beacon In The Dark, is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo. This has been a long time coming and hopefully no future book will take three years to publish.

Why so long when I announced in December of 2015 that it would be available in 2016? It all fell apart in the final edit. Oh sure, I had Olivia growing and evolving as a character, but I needed to show why and how this happened. Proving her grandmother was murdered and who the killer was just wasn’t enough. Neither was finding out who her mother really was. The answer was adding conflict, conflict and more conflict along with a heaping dose of internal battles as Olivia questions her own beliefs.

The process was long and, often times, frustrating but I’m happy with the added suspense and tension. I hope you enjoy it as well.

    

Catch Up

on December 6, 2018

It’s been a crazy three months and I can finally sit back and take a breath before my next book, A Beacon In The Dark, launches.

SEPTEMBER was filled with last minute editing and proofreading. Hours and hours and days and days spent at my computer picking apart a story that I thought was finished. Working with a new company on the cover design was a challenge but I’m happy with the end result.

OCTOBER came all too quickly and I was off to Lexington, Kentucky for the Retired Racehorse Project. I arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park on Wednesday, October 3rd with the entire CANTER booth and much of the merchandise packed into my SUV. The four days was made even more exciting when I was able to tag along with friends who had the opportunity to meet Justify, who made racing history this year when he won the Triple Crown.

Yes, I was honored to stand next to such an amazing athlete. But as a writer, I found myself studying the magnificent barn where Justify resides, the majestic gates leading to miles of stones walls and buildings so reminiscent of Ireland’s grand estates. Ashford Stud Farm cried out to me. There was a story somewhere in its rolling hills with the nickering of contented thoroughbreds. My imagination was running at warp speed.

October 28th once again found me on the road to Kentucky. This time to Louisville for Equestricon at the convention center, a virtual Who’s Who of the Thoroughbred racing industry. Being the week before the Breeder’s Cup races, the atmosphere was electrifying and I jumped right in with the perfect hat.

I stopped by the Coolmore booth. Ashford Stud Farm is Coolmoore’s home in America, so of course I had to tell the young lady my experience on my recent visit to Ashford and meeting Justify. I just happened to mention that I’m a writer and I can’t get Ashford out of my head. There’s a story just waiting to be told. She gave me her card and said when I’m ready to call her and she will take me on a tour and put the final touches on that book. I did mention that there would be bodies, but I wouldn’t kill off any of the horses. Hmmmm, maybe the horse will be the murderer?????

The next booth brought me to Win Star Farms, and the same woman who had been our neighbor at the Retired Racehorse Project, a couple weeks before. After chatting for a while about how I had met Justify, (he ran under Win Star Farms), I mentioned that I was a writer and wanted to set a book on a Kentucky horse farm. She gave me her card and told be to call her. She’d give me all the information I needed on how one of the largest thoroughbred racing farms operates.

Looks like I’ll be spending more time in Kentucky.

NOVEMBER proved to be a giant challenge as I worked with a new company to do the formatting for A Beacon In The Dark. Each week brought more proofreading, corrections and more proofreading. However, the hard work paid off and I am now looking forward to seeing my book in print.