Monday, July 26, 2010

Conference Bound

I know, I've been a bad girl. Last week was crazy and this week will be even crazier.

Tuesday I had to go to work early to teach a kids' crochet class and then had to work the rest of the day. Once done, I raced home to get my stuff together and then on the road to Frankfurt. No internet at the hotel.

Wednesday I flew to the States. Got stuck in Newark for over 6 hours but finally made it into Dayton for my mom to pick me up about midnight.

The next few days were family whirlwinds and I wasn't online much. I finally got to meet my new niece and nephew though. My SIL had twins in January and they are 6 months old now. So adorable. I'm wondering if she and my brother will notice if I smuggle one or both into my suitcase when it's time to come home.

Today I'm back in the air. Actually, I'm sitting in the Orlando airport right now waiting on my friend as my plane just landed. We're going to the RWA National conference. This is my second and my friend's first. It's going to be so much fun. I can hardly wait.

I most likely won't be posting anymore this week and next week I'll be on the road with my mom and won't have internet so next week is a bust too. But when I come back, I should be full of fun stories, great pics and *fingers crossed* good news.

So please stick around during my hiatus. Have a great two weeks!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Medieval Fest

This weekend hubby and I went to the medieval fest in Nabburg.

We've always like going to the Renaissance festivals in the States, and that's pretty much what we expected. Not so.

This fest was located in the middle of town instead of a open field. People still dressed up. Quite a few, actually. They still had people working in the old ways, i.e. blacksmiths, chain maille, spinning, etc. Plenty of vendors hawking their wares.

The biggest difference that I saw was the lack of shows. Basically, once you walked through the town, you'd seen everything.

There is another medieval fest a little farther away. Apparently that one is more like what I expected. Hubby and I don't have time to make it there this summer as it's only going on in July and I leave in 2 days for the States. So, if we're here next summer, we'll check that one out.

The surprise of the day is that I found 2 pair of sandals. I have very wide feet and it's hard for me to find comfortable, cute shoes, but I did there. Bonus.

What about you? Do you like going to Renaissance festivals? What's your favorite part?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Living in my head

I haven't been very chatty this week. The truth is, I've been living in my head a lot and then there's been drama at the part time job. Revisions are hard copy at this point so I haven't been online much at all.

I've spent the last two weeks working with Bob Mayer and a group of great writers to come up with a pitch for my novel. It took almost the whole two weeks and 7 actual tries before Bob seemed to deem it appropriate.

Now that problem I have, and why I've been living in my head lately, is that in the course of these attempts, I've thought of other things to add to my story to make it stronger. This is okay, except that I won't have it ready for my agent appointment at conference.

I could still get the first 3 chapters polished and still pitch it, but then what if she asks for a partial, likes it and wants the full? I can't send out what I have to her now when I know I want to change it. So, I've been waffling back and forth on whether I should just cancel my appointment, get the book ready to my satisfaction and then query her later, or go and get the experience plus my PRO status with RWA.

Then the drama at the part-time job. Recently there was a new deployment of guys headed to Afghanistan. No surprise since we live near a military base. One of the women, C, that I work with is taking kind of hard, dealing with some depression. She's had this happen before and it was rough on her kids so she decided that it would be better for the family to go back to the States where her parents were there to help deal.

She's been talking about this for a couple of weeks and the manager of the shop tried to talk her out of it. Friday, C told the manager that she was definitely going back. Apparently, the manager yelled at her, told her she was stupid, etc.

C had planned to give sufficient notice, but this behavior angered her and when she left work Tuesday (the next work day), she left an envelope for the manager with her door key, company credit card and a note.

Yesterday when the manager found the note, she was upset. Called C who didn't answer the phone and proceeded to cuss her out on the answering machine. Since then, it's been uncomfortable in the shop as well as unstable as to how things will work out.

Now, I can see both sides of the coin. Must be my Libra ascendant. I can see how someone who is clinically depressed would feel the need to be closer to a support network so that her kids would be better taken care of. I can also understand why she would feel the need to leave her job as she did when she was treated the way she was when she told the manager.

I can see the manager's POV. She's now left with no credit card holder to purchase supplies and has to train someone on the fly how to help with the back office stuff that C did.

So, I'm staying out of the middle of it. I'm quitting the part time job soon (possibly Sept) and I'm leaving next week for 3 1/2 weeks of vacation. I need to get through tomorrow and Tuesday and then I think I can avoid most of the drama.

Now you know what's kept me away. What do you think I should do regarding my agent appointment? Anyone got any experience in this area?

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Party’s Over

The World Cup is over for 4 more years. Germany made a respectable showing by beating Uruguay for third place. I had hoped The Netherlands would have won it, but alas, Spain took the Cup.

As I've mentioned before, I never really followed soccer. I had to ask my husband why the neighbors cheered when the ball went out of bounds. If we end up staying here in Germany, I'll definitely have to bone up on the soccer. It's a national pastime here.

Yes, I mentioned IF we stay here. As some of you may know, hubby is a government contractor here. His contract is up in November and his company elected to not rebid the follow-on contract. That kind of leaves us up in the air.

We have options, but it's the uncertainty that is a bummer. Hopefully we'll know something by the end of the month.

On a positive note, I will be flying out next Wednesday to head back to the States. I'll be flying in to Ohio to spend some time with the fam before heading down to Orlando for the RWA national conference. I'm really looking forward to the trip, and I'll have to remain focused. I will be taking the week of conference off from writing, but I need to keep going during the rest of my vacation. I may take that time to plot out an idea that's been brewing lately.

So what did you do this weekend? How do you feel about Spain winning the World Cup? Do you care? LOL

Friday, July 9, 2010

Busy, busy

I have been busy. As you know, I've been working on getting Out of the Shadows polished. I plan to pitch to an agent at RWA National conference. As part of doing so, I'm participating in an online pitch class given by Bob Mayer. We're a week in and I'm still working on my pitch. It's hard work, but once I get it, I'll feel more confident about my appointment.

Also, I've mentioned that I crochet. Lately I've been working on a shawl. It's made with super soft yarn that is purple with a silvery shimmer to it. The shawl is a moebius design, which basically means there's a twist to it. Well, the good news is that I finished it. I planned to wear it over dress during the award ceremony. Below is a picture of the finished product, on me, with the dress I plan to wear it with. The skirt of the dress is a bit flirty, coming just under the knees. The pic of the shawl doesn't do it justice, so if you're coming to the conference, look me up to see it in person. Anyway, what do you think of the shawl with the dress? Does it work or should I just wear the dress without the shawl?

Last, but not least, I went back to college to get the last few classes I needed to get my degree. I finished the second one last week, with an A. That leaves me one more class, which should be offered in the fall. If so, I can apply for graduation for December.

So, my shawl is finished and I'm waiting on the pattern and yarn for the blankets I want to make for my brother's twins, so I'm trying my hand at crocheting socks. I thought it would be a fairly quick project, plus I got some great sock yarn at the German yarn store.

So, that's what I've been up. What about you? What's been keeping you busy? Are you going to conference? If so, we should hook up.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Germany is finished

So sad, but Germany's bid for the World Cup this year is over. Last night they played Spain.

We got together with the same bunch of folks as before. As vocal and excitable as they were about the goals, they let the players and refs know when they weren't doing as well.

I don't know much about soccer. It was not a popular sport as I was growing up and no one that I've ever hung out with before was big into it. But last night, the boys just didn't seem to be playing as well as they had played the last time I watched them. They did make Spain work for that one goal though, so they didn't do too badly.

Germany does play one more game. On Saturday, they'll be playing Uruguay to determine third place. Then on Sunday, The Netherlands and Spain will duke it out to see who's taking home the World Cup.

It should be pretty interesting. I'm not sure if the neighbors will gather to watch the two final games or not. I imagine they will, but we'll see.

Are you a soccer fan? Out of the two contenders, who are you rooting for?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Meet Nancy Lee Badger

Today I’m interviewing debut romance author, Nancy Lee Badger. Her book, DRAGON’S CURSE, is a Scottish historical paranormal romance and was released on June 25, 2010. 

Sometimes a special gift and an unwanted curse cannot keep destined lovers apart.
Brianna Macleod has accompanied a shipload of her guardian’s friends to a remote island off the coast of Scotland. She eludes these Highland hunters to keep her innocence…and her gift of sight. Her attitude against falling for womanly desires changes when she nearly drowns. Saved by the talons of a terrifying winged beast, she awakens—naked—in a cave, beside an unusual man.

Cursed by a vengeful witch to transform into a dragon at inopportune times, Draco MacDonald hides on this deserted island to live alone: until he plucks a servant girl from certain death. Fueled by jealousy, and tempered by fear for her safety, he succumbs to an unfamiliar desire to mate. Her kisses propel him to dare to make her his own.

Set in 1592 Scotland on the Scottish island of Staffa, the cursed hero battles a ghostly witch, a hunter set on rape, and his own growing desire for a young woman with premonitions of his death.

“I nearly drowned. A sea beast wanted to eat me for supper, now a dragon has stolen me away to this island. What else could happen?” Out of breath, she glanced back at her attacker from the relative safety of jutting rocks and prickly groundcover. Nothing. No dragon.

Silence filled the air until a high-pitched squeal made her jump. A huge boar, bigger than any the hunters had brought down during their stay on Staffa, pawed the ground a few paces from her hiding spot.

“Nice piggy,” Brianna whispered.

Great. I can turn and run back toward the dragon or be gored by an irate pig.

“Go up.”

Who said that? No matter. Turning, Brianna slipped a bare foot into a low crack in the nearest rock formation. Pushing upward, she climbed. Apparently enraged by her escape attempt, the animal’s squeals turned to angry snorts. The rock shook when he collided head-on with its base.

“Go ahead. Knock yourself silly.” The boar backed up and struck again. The boar’s irrational mood and raw strength left Brianna’s bloody fingers grasping for a better hold, but she held. She nearly lost her footing when he attacked a third time. Clinging to loosened soil, which covered the jagged boulder, she also worried about the dragon. Has it let me go, or does it plan to scoop me from my perch once I reach the top?


Shocked senseless, her grip loosened. She fell. The scrawny branches of a gorse bush, growing from a crack in one side of her stone perch, scratched her cheek and snatched at her hair. She screamed until she stopped with a thud.

A warm, male hand swept tangles from her face. The coarse skin of a masculine thumb swept blood from her painful cheek as she collapsed, with a sigh, into Draco’s chest.

“Ye do no’ fly. Do ye?” he asked.

“I certainly do no’, ye beast. Draco!” She pushed far enough away to stare up from his arms. “Be careful! A wild boar is near! He almost pushed me off my perch.”

“I should no’ wonder since I accomplished the task with only my voice.”

Stiffening with shock, she knocked him aside the head and squirmed until he stood her on her feet. Backing away from his taunts, she took a minute to straighten the creases on her frock. She sighed again at the damp, salt-encrusted clothing. They would never look clean again.

“I am happy to see ye. I thought ye left me,” he whispered.

He sounded hurt. Did he stand in her presence only to berate her for leaving with her adopted clan? Was the man unaware of the mortal threat she escaped only moments ago?

“Ye have no idea what I have gone through in the last three hours.” Her cries were a statement, not a question so she did not pause to let him explain. She poked him in the chest.

“First, I nearly drowned in a hellish storm. Secondly, a finned sea creature threatened Nia and I. Thirdly, a dragon plucked me from the sea. I escaped. Fourthly, there is a killer boar nearby, and ye say ye are happy to see me. I, sir, stand before ye lucky to be alive!”

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
I pumped a lot of action, drama, romance, and paranormal elements into my novella. Read the blurb and the excerpt and you get a good idea of the interaction between my characters. Poor Draco was cursed for something he did not do. Brianna has a gift she must keep secret. Neither expects their lives to improve. I love that my characters grow and learn to love even in the face of diversity. I based my story on the real island of Staffa, off the west coast of Scotland, near Mull. Its sheer cliffs and large dark caves were an inspiration.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is this the only genre you write in? 
This is a paranormal but is steeped in history. I use a real place and refer to a real massacre on the nearby island of Eigg to bring substance to my characters and build a reason why Draco was cursed by the witch, Agatah. I love everything Scottish, since my husband is of Scottish descent. I also write contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Nancy Lennea. Find out more about that side of my life at

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract? 
PLEASE do not try to do this alone. Writing in itself is a lonely vocation. I wish I felt comfortable meeting someone at a coffee shop with my laptop and working side by side. The best I can do is continuing as an active member of writers organizations. Sure, they cost of few dollars, but this business is constantly evolving and new authors, especially, need to learn and grow. If you asked me 3 ½ years ago if I expected to be published electronically, I would have laughed. But, e-publishing has grown exponentially with the widespread sales of e-readers like the Kindle, nook, and IPad.

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
As I just mentioned, I believe strongly that membership in writer organizations is critical. Workshops, contests, on-line courses, face-to-face meetings, joint book signings, and sharing guest articles on blogs…these are all made possible once you belong. I currently belong to Romance Writers of America,, and my local chapter, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, We meet monthly about eight miles from my home. I am a member of Celtic Heart Romance Writers,, where I can communicate with and learn from other authors who love to write about Scotland, Ireland, or Wales. When my story idea included dragons, I joined the Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Because I love mysteries and recently sold a romantic suspense, I joined Sisters in Crime, 

What are you working on next? 
I am busy re-editing a full-length Scottish historical paranormal set in the Highlands of Scotland in 1598 and present day New Hampshire. My hero is a Highland chief, and my heroine is a new witch volunteering at a present day Scottish festival who finds herself accidently propelled back in time. I would love to find an agent excited to sell my work, and the subsequent stories to follow. I just started a present day paranormal set at an art museum.  I continue to take writing courses, attend workshops, and write.

How can my readers buy your book?
My novella, DRAGON’S CURSE, is available now! The best way to order the e-book is to visit my publisher, Whispers Publishing. My website and blogs will always carry a link as well as other excerpts and updates on future work.

You can find more information about Nancy Lee Badger and her book, DRAGON’S CURSE by visiting her publisher Whispers Publishing, or her website, or her blog.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th of July

As you know, yesterday was July 4th, our nation’s birthday. Normally, we all celebrate (I think) with cook-outs and fireworks. Being here in Germany, we still do that as there are enough Americans in the community to celebrate. The neat thing is that the Germans will come out and celebrate with us.

Also, this year marks the 100th year of Grafenwoehr being a military post. There have been all kinds of activities throughout the week, such as a recreation of the first shot fired here  and culminated in a big celebration yesterday.

I work part time at the craft shop on post. As such, I am an employee of MWR (Morale, Welfare, Recreation) and had to work yesterday. It wasn’t too bad. My co-workers and I had to run a food tent selling hamburgers, cheeseburgers and steak. I got to take the money since I don’t have a food handler’s card.

The weather co-operated a bit as it wasn’t quite as hot and humid and it was overcast with a breeze so it was comfortable all day. There were those blow-up things with the balls for kids to play in, food (as I mentioned) and a couple bands, finishing off with a bang. Literally. Fireworks, you know.

One of the bands was a local German band. I didn’t catch their name so I can’t pass it along, but they were pretty good. The other band was pretty cool. They played covers, but the vocals were good and they got the crowd going. The USO brought them in from the States. Maybe you’ve heard of them. The Lt. Dan Band. Yes, Gary Sinise’s band.

Gary Sinise, currently of CSI: NY fame, plays bass in the band. He’s pretty good. Afterwards, some of the soldiers and their spouses got to have their picture taken with him. I wasn’t so lucky, but it was neat that he flew all the way here with his family to party with us.

So, that’s how I spent my 4th of July. How about you? How did you celebrate?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Meet Nancy Lennea

Today I'm interviewing debut romance author, Nancy Lennea. Her book Secret Love Match is a contemporary romance and was recently released by Red Rose Publishing.

Book Blurb

Rebecca Delacourt has played and taught tennis for the last three years. At twenty-one, she knows what she wants. Without help from her wealthy parents, she buys a condo in Glen Cove, NY and plans to be on the Olympic Tennis team. She has no time for men, marriage, or children. Her mother gave up her acting career when she became pregnant with older sister, Laney, whose illegitimate son is mute due to recent emotional trauma. Rebecca still manages to squeak out some time for her charity work for breast cancer research in Baltimore every year.

Taylor, a former TV actor, notices Becka. She knows him - she's dreamed of his TV persona for years. They meet at her parents' country club. He thinks he's found gold in the athletic blonde. After beating him at tennis, he meets her parents. Too bad he knows them - a former co-star and the man helping get him auditions.

Her sister moves in, thwarting any privacy. She's hiding out and is attacked. Taylor finds himself falling for Becka. Will he change his arrogant ways, save her nephew from kidnappers, and realize she's the one? Becka wonders if dreams can still be reached with someone beside her. Will they reach their dreams together?

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is this the only genre you write in?
This book is set in present day New York City, Long Island, and Baltimore. I grew up in Huntington, Long Island so the setting was easy. Before moving to North Carolina, I attended college, married, and raised a family in New Hampshire. My next Red Rose published work takes place there. I also write Scottish historical paranormals as Nancy Lee Badger.

When did you start writing towards publication?
Funny you should ask. Since we celebrate our nation's birthday this week, and I am from a patriotic family, I am proud to explain. In October 2006 my son, Eric, returned safely from a tour of duty in Iraq with his U.S. Army battalion based in Darmstadt, Germany. Hubby and I drove down and picked him up at the Raleigh, NC airport where my extended family waited with hugs. Then we drove to our home in New Hampshire. We also spent a day visiting Eric's older brother, Rob, in Vermont. The whole time I sat in the back seat, scribbling. I finished the book in a month. It was like the floodgates of stress opened wide and all this pent-up creativity escaped.

Why have you become a published author?
That's a tough one. I have always loved to read and I guessed I figured I could do it too. When I set my mind on something, watch out! I have only had four professions since getting my first job when I was seventeen. Before that, I volunteered at the hospital. I have worked in a retail discount big box store, then did over twenty years at a hardware store, and ended my outside the home jobs as a 9-1-1 dispatcher. I have also been big on volunteering: Hospital Auxiliary, Cub Scout Den Leader, Highland Games Volunteer, EMT and firefighter for a small town squad. Writing is all together different. Just me and the laptop; nobody waiting for their change, or a truck to unload, or helping someone do CPR on a loved one.

Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?
Well, it isn't the money. I would have to say it is the friendships and professional contacts that make me look forward to checking my emails and going to workshops and conferences. Writing can be a solitary vocation, so I look forward to monthly meetings of my local Romance Book Club here in Raleigh. I am Vice President of my local chapter of Romance Writers of America. Meeting other writers in person is so important. Blogs, Yahoo loop groups, Facebook and other internet options also help.

Are you a member of any writing organizations and if so, have they helped?
My previous answer says it all about how I feel writer groups work to aid me in being a better writer. Besides RWA and the local chapter, I am a member of Celtic Heart Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Writers, and Sisters in Crime.

What are you working on next?
I have just released a Scottish historical paranormal as Nancy Lee Badger. Dragon's Curse is my first attempt at a novella and it sold quite quickly to Whispers Publishing. Check out my website for excerpts and more information. Red Rose Publishing, as I mentioned, bought another book that I hope will be released later this year. It's a romantic suspense. I have a full-length Scottish time travel nearing completion and just started working on a present day paranormal which takes place at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh.

Nodding, she rose up on her toes and placed a quick kiss on his cheek. Her mouth forced a smile as she stepped away, reveling in the pleasure of touching Taylor. This is an omen.

Her body had felt numb for days, ever since the taxi drivers' out-of-the-blue attack. Her tranquil life disappeared that day, replaced with a numbing truth. Jamie is a target.

However, Taylor would make everything better. The handsome man standing next to her in the elevator uncrossed his arms and surrounded her with warmth straight from one of her dreams. Dizziness swept across her brow, but she managed to relax amid the comforting tenderness of the man she loved. He vibrated with raw power in the small elevator, poised to race down busy New York City streets in order to find a sweet boy who didn’t sense danger.

She closed her eyes. Absorbing the pleasure of his closeness, she inhaled his scent. The sizzling aroma of sweat, mixed with lime aftershave, made her clasp him, tighter. She could care less about the elevator’s cameras. So what if the doors would open any minute. She lifted her face and accepted his kiss. The floor indicator pinged.

“Later. You and me, alone,” he demanded. “I can’t stand being close to you like this without taking you.”

She nodded, but why did he suddenly sound angry? “I can’t stand being unable to make love to you, either. We are always interrupted.”

He chuckled and loosened his grip around her. She did not want him to release her from their comforting circle. A smile twitched across her face as the elevator doors slid open. The last person she expected to see appeared before their eyes.

You can find more information about Nancy Lennea and her book, Secret Love Match, by visiting her publisher's buy link.

Read excerpts on her website.
Visit her blog.
View her book trailer.

Hope you enjoyed meeting Nancy. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cover Art

If you've been visiting me regularly, you've heard me talk about my romantic suspense novella, Blood Diamond. I wrote it for the Jewels of the Night series at The Wild Rose Press. Luckily for me, they liked it.

The series kicks off in November and I don't have a release date yet. Hopefully that will be coming soon. I do have all the edits complete and last week, I gave my approval for the final galley. The last thing is the release date.

Oh, did I forget something? I did! The cover. I got that last week too. I'm sharing it with all of you first, along with the official blurb.

Dodging an angry warlord and running through the rain forest in Congo Brazzaville was not what Jillian St. James expected when she signed up with Doctors Without Borders. Yet that's exactly what she gets after a mysterious visit from her brother.

Mercenary Mack Nichols doesn't have much faith in humanity these days. When a beautiful, young doctor denies being part of the theft of a blue diamond from his client, he doesn't put much stock in her story.

Neither have reason to trust the other and their mutual attraction is an inconvenience to both. A betrayal and the reveal of an evil plan pit these two against an army. Can they put aside their doubts and work together to bring down a corrupt, power-hungry overlord or will their chance at love be over before it ever starts?

So, what do you think?