Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day Six

Day Six
Napels, the Amalfi Coast.
So much to tell you about in a short space, so forgive the format.
The Treasury of Saint Gennaro: ancient documents, jewels, paintings.
Napels Natural Archaeological Museum: artifacts from Roman Empire and Pompeii. So many museums, so little time.
Pompeii at the base of Mt. Vesuvius, a once thriving empire, was left in ashes after the volcanic eruption in 79 AD. Lots of walking, kids. It's a lot larger than you think.
Then there is the Amalfi Coast, beautiful seasides, cottages and small mansions built side by side along the cliffsides.
Sorrento is a sophisticated summer resort town. Pretty Positano, a haven for artsy types. The maritime vilage of Amalfi is brimming with history. And the isle of Capri is perhaps the gem of them all, with sweeping vistas, lively cafes and blooming gardens.
It was a full day, and let me tell you, there is not a flat piece of land anywhere to be seen. Stairs, hills, Sometimes I felt as if I were hiking Mt. Vesuvius instead of around it.
Spent most of the remaining day with my feet up and my eyes closed.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day Five

Day 5 of Europe Trip
Day at Sea. This will be a short post. Not having a port to escape to I slept until around nine and when to the restaurant for breakfast. I tried my hand (or should I say feet) at climbing the rock wall. I made it to the top, but my knees may never forgive me. It looks easy. It isn't. Gravity hates fat people. LOL
Afterward I walked the pool area, had the drink of the day, Blue Hawaiian Cocktail. White rum, bue Curacao, Pineapple juice, sweet and swour mix, orange juice. Ewwww. Tried the Shot of the day, Beam Me Up
Scotty. Baileys irish creme, creme de banana. Yummm.
Took a nap. LOL
Watched the men's belly flop competition. So funny. Some of those guys really caused a splash. Really.
Went to the Captain's Welcome Aboard Reception. It was nice, free drinks and little finger foods. But there were too many people who let this invitation only event go to their heads. Silly people, you got an invite because you are a Diamond or above member. Get over yourselves.
Tomorrow, Napels, Amalfi Coast.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day Four of Europe Vacation

October, 23, Day 4 of my European Vacation
Dumbrovnik, Croatia is a place with an old world feel to it.  It's known as The Pearl of the Adriatic Sea.  One of the world's most unique cities.  Not just because of its marble squres and Venetian palaces, or it stunning Barioque churches with satues of Saiint Blaise.  What makes Dubrovnik so special is its remarkable past.  For centuries this bustling seafaring port ruled itself as the Republic of Ragusa.  made up of merchants and diplomats, the city-state thrived on maritime trade and even rivaled Venice.  Ragusa was not only prosperous, but also artistically and socially progressive, abolishing slave trade early on.  After a very long run, the Republic fell to Napoleon's troops and ultimately became a part of Croatia.
Today, the sheer beauty of its impeccably preserved old town never ceases to amaze me.  Though it's been destroyed many times, neither earthquakes nor a seige could ever shake the spirit of its people.  Walking along the wall gives a spectacular view of the old city. Placa is the main pedestrian promenade, lined with shops and cafes.  And beyond the walled city, there are ample beaches, dense woodland and lush islands to explore.
Walking within the old city my writer's mind kept seeing people dressed in earlier time period clothing, walking the marble streets, going from shop to shop.  What a place to set a historical or time-travel romance.  Something about the city has kept the atmosphere.  You close your eyes and you swear, if you peek, you'll find yourself transported back to the 13 century.
Tomorrow, a day at sea.  Oh, God help me, look at those cookies.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day Three

Saturday, Octover 22
Ugg, we waited for an hour for the bus to the ship.  We finally crossed the street and got in line for the People Mover.  We stood in line for another hour only to find out the line was for people wanting to store their luggage.  Turns out we could have just walked into the building and caught the People Mover.  Oh, well, live an learn, right?
It's amazing when you compare the USA with Europe when it comes to public transportation.  Here in Europe there is always a way to get where you're going, and you don't have to own a car.  In Italy I see a lot of scooters, of course, but most people use the People Movers, trains, buses, or their own two feet.  In America we must have a car if we don't live along a bus line or take a taxi.  But most American's would rather die than take a bus.  I hate to admit it, I hate buses.  But I digress.
We got off the People Mover at the port, walk (and walk...did i mention Eruopean people do a lot of walking?) to the Port entrance, then have walk at least a friggin' mile to the check-in area for Royal Caribbean Cruises.  We can see the Voyager of the Seas out the window.  Whew, that ship is BIG.  Anyway, since we're Diamond Plus members our check is is quick and flawless.  We walk (here we go again) out the building, up a ramp that has three levels, all steep.  We finaly are on the ship and find ourselves in the Royal Promenade.  Really impressive.  It's lined with all kinds of shops, windows filled with grand jewelry, clothings, chocolates.  Toward the end is a food court area, but not like any shopping mall food court, mind you.  Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, Coffee House, then there is the jewelry cases filled with food.  From six in the morning till eleven a.m. is pasteries, biscuit sandwiches, and other finger style breakfast foods.  At eleven it changed over to sandwiches, cakes, pies, and the most glorious cookies you ever put in your mouth.  They had one called Mississippie Mud Slide, oh man, they are so good. 
Sorry, got carried away on the food.  Our room was really nice.  Very large, huge bath, huge walk in closet, pleanty of storage space, queen sized bed, a couch, twoi chairs, coffee table and a large balcony.  There was a basket of goodies on the counter, several bottles of free water (you're very grateful for this once you see the price of any drinks on the ship), and an invitation to a private party with the captain.  We spent the rest of the day exploring the ship, such things as the ice skating rink, the rock climbing wall, pool area, finding the restaurants, movie  theater and live theaters.  Again, whew, this ship is big. 
Tomorrow we will be iin Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day Two European Trip

Friday, October 21
Woke at 4 am. Can't do much at that time of morning, so I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. Didn't work. We finally got up around six and took our showers. I walked into the huge bathroom with it's old claw-footed tub, no shower curtain. I tried to be careful and keep the water from going all over that room, but it was a total loss. It took me about fifteen minutes to soak up the two inches of water off the floor. How expensive could it be to buy shower curtains? Come on! As I was finishing up I realized there was a drain in the far corner of the room and I could have "swept" it toward it and maybe not ended up with a backache. Of course my wonderful hubby managed to take his shower without getting a drop on the floor.
We went down to the resturarnt. Lots of cold cuts, hard bread, cereals and pasteries. We had decided to go out and find a hot breakfast when one of the waiters told us to go into the next room is that is what we were looking for. Since it was free we decided to check it out. Okay, more like it. They even had American style toast. Stomach full, we left for a day walking Venice.
I know you don't want to sit here for an hour reading our every step, so, I'll condense the day.
A gondola ride was out of the question since a cold front had come in during the night. It was windy and a bit cold on the waterfront. We took a water taxi to the stop closest to St. Mark's Basilica. Nice walk, the architrcture is really beautiful in Venice. Some buildings older than America. The Basilica was packed, people standing shoulder to shoulder. We left thinking we'd come back later, but never made it. Venice has too much to see and do in only a day. We walked to the Bridge of Signs and crossed over to see the infamous prison. Depressing place, to say the least. Next was Marco Polo's house. As affluent as it was for the time, I'd have to say it didn't look all that comfy. Toilet sitting by the bed waiting for late night urges looked something short of a throne, the bed draped in what looks a lot like modern day curtains. Okay, except for all the gold spun into the material.
We stopped for dinner (yeah we skipped lunch) at a place on the main strip. The food was to die for, the price wasn't. It ended up costing us 134 Euros. A Euro breaks down to about $1.45. You do the math. But again, the food was sooo good. I almost didn't mind the cost. (Almost.)
We shopped some of the street vendors. Masks, jewelry, some fake, some real. As the sun set we went back to the hotel and watched a little TV that we couldn't understand a word spoken. Just before we turned in for the night we found an English speaking channel but it was all news.
Time for bed. Tomorrow we have to drag those suitcases to the water taxi then to some business square where we'll catch a bus to the ship.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Trip to Europe

As requested by some of my friends, I will start posting a day by day of my trip to Europe.
Thursday October 20:
Got up early (You all know how I hate morning) and helped drag suitcases to the car. Off to the airport. Oh joy, 23 hours in three planes and same amount of airports. Flights to Dallas and NYC were eventless (thought the flight out of NY was late one hour). Now the trip from NYC to Italy was a nightmare. The plane was filled with a sports card company taking their employeres to Europe for a week (all young male yuppies). Over 90% of them drank their way to Europe. They were loud and rude to the poor steward. Asking every thirty minutes what the score was in the ball game. They were from Texas. We landed in Milan, Italy and made a mad dash to catch a scheduled train (the train station is below the airport) for a two hour ride to Venice. We got there one minute before train left. When they say it leaves at seven a.m., believe it. Europe is seven hours ahead of us here in New Orleans. So what would be two in the morning here, was nine a.m. in Venice. The city was alive and bustling...awake. My luggage was not the only thing dragging the cobbled streets. The Hotel Continental was only two blocks away from the train station, thank God. Hubby and I booked this hotel because it was one of very few who had a lift (elevator). We walked into the marble lobby. Only way I can describe it is I think they carved that room out of a very large block of marble and cut out window space. Whew. Beautiful, but geesh, a bit over-done. Turns out it was built a few centuries ago as a home. Anyway, the bellman took us to the lift, we got off and walked to our left, then to our right, up four steps, turned left, down fours steps, down a long hall, two more steps. Okay, getting out of there without a map was hard that first day. Anyway. The bellman flung open the windows, then the shutters. OMG We are on the Canal. Gondolas passing by, men singing, some yelling. Know what? I didn't care. I crashed and didn't wake up until four the next morning.

Friday, November 25, 2011

November has been one hell of a month for me.
1. My chance to work and learn from a publisher was dashed.  I'm over that, though.
2.  Now here is the heartbreaker.  Sapphire Blue Publishing is closing their doors at the end of this month.  Sapphire Blue was my publisher.  To say I'm down in the dumps is an understatment.  I loved being one of their authors.  Maria and Tina made me feel like part of a family.  They always took time to answer any question I tossed their way and never made me feel stupid for asking.
They gave us back our rights and the rights to the cover art (at no cost to the author). 
What next?  To be honest, I'm not sure.  I'm a writer.  I will write.  But will I sumbit again?  I'm thinking of hiding myself away and writing like a fool.  Writing until I have something great enough for one of the big guys in New York.  Am I good enough?  I don't know.  I want to be.  My heart is there.  I have the determination.  Talent?  That is to be seen, I guess.
Time to give myself my hour of pity party time.  Then back to work. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Feeling Blue

I'm a nice person. I don't speak badly of people and those I don't care for I simply walk away from. I've aways felt there is a place for everyone in this world. So when someone who doesn't know me treats me badly, I am a bit confused. I felt bad for someone I know, someone who had a bad experience with her publishing company. So silly me, I thought I could step in and try to help. Maybe I could get her on good footing and give her the company she wanted. This has caused a site set up to warn people against bad publishers/agents to come back at us with a warning about us. I guess these people think there is no way you can come back from a bad experience, having good intentions and a good publishing plan, and trying to do something good. Am I walking away. No. Am I upset. Yes. But I can say they called attention to something on the Web site I hadn't noticed and I will voice my opinion on it. The only comment I'm going to make on this is I'm trying to do something good here. I will not put up with dishonest actions toward anyone who submits/signs with this publisher. My word is my bond. I have a good reputation and would like to keep it. So I have something to protect here. I'd just like to have a chance before I'm made into the bad guy.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Position

I've been looking for something to challange me, but not to the point that I wouldn't have time to write. I was talking to Linda Daly, CEO of LSP Digital. She used to be my publisher until she ran into a rough spot that lasted for the last couple of years. Problems with a couple authors, problems with people trashing the company and her name. I never understood any of it. Linda had always been honest with me. She fulfilled every promise she made. And when things starting getting bad, she released me from my contract to find another publisher. I did move on, but I always felt a little bad, as if I'd deserted Linda in bad times. We remained friends. Well, before I got sidelined, as I said, I was talking to Linda and before I even thought about it, I said, "Linda, if you need some help, I"m here. Who knows, we could do big things with this little company."

I'm not sure where that came from. I mean it wasn't something I'd been thinking about doing. Anyway, Linda was thrilled with the idea and asked if I'd like to be the Director of Operations. I had no idea what that envolved, and said so. She's, at this moment, typing up a list of what my duties would be. I can cross out what I don't agree to, and it's not a contract. I can leave at any time.

Those of you who know me, know I'll give it everything I have to do a good job. I've told Linda what I'll put up with, and what I won't. Not just from her, but the authors who sign with LSP Digital. I don't officially start until January 1, 2012.

Wish me luck or just shake your head. At least I'm up for something new,  I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Great Reads

I've had a slow week of writing and when that happens I read. I re-read Erica Spindler's Watch me die Saturday and Sunday, then on Moday I re-read Blood Vines by Erica. I can't say enough about these books. Great, edge of your seat, don't want it to end read. I could go on, but I think you get the drift. These are really great reads. Suspense with just enough romantic touch to make you smile and enough suspense to make you cheer when the bad buy bites the dust. Watch Me Die is available in hard back and eBook. Blood Vines is available in paperback and eBook. Want a great read? Then pick up either Watch Me Die or Blood Vines, or why not both?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Too Much

I seem to be in one of those phases where I have too much to do and too little time.  A friend suggested I sit down and list everything I do in a day and how much time it takes to do them.  Right.  I'll fit that into everything else I have to do.  I guess I could spend less time online, but everyone needs a little chat time with other humans even if it's the faceless "friends" we have online.  I could hire a housekeeper for two days a week and save about eight hours, but I have no idea where that money would come from.  I refuse to give up any hubby time.  And TV time is really hubby time, since we spend most of our down time in front of the TV.  I sometimes share my hubby time with writing time, since I have a laptop and can work and stop if he gets in the mood to talk.  And since I'm talking about time management, I guess I should close off and get back to my word count goal for the day.  See ya in a couple of days.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Writing Life is Strange

I'm sitting here after spending a great deal of time rewriting a couple of chapters.  I'm taking a writing course at RWA on writing suspense.  So far it seems common sense lessons, but sure enough after reading what I've written so far on Murderous Visions, I found some things that needed to be added/changed.  I don't mind.  Lord knows I want to write the best story I can.  But what is that makes us sit down and let the words flow as they will, knowing that you're leaving out some things that will have to be added later, or things that will have to be changed or even deleted.  Here is what I think.  If I (maybe not you) have to keep rethinking as I write, I will get frustrated and give up on the story.  I need to write it as my brain sees it at that moment or the Muse will go off on a tangent (read vacation). So I will write the bones of the story, enjoy writing without rules, and finish the first draft.  Then I will go back and unbreak rules (or not, if I think it works as is), add in "how does that make her/him feel?" and describe the world I've created for my characters.  And if SBP is ready to take me on again, Murderous Visions will be my next book.  I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shadows by Jen Black

Shadows by Jen Black
Released 24th May 2011 by Sapphire Blue:

Genre: Contemporary romance with ghosts


Melissa thinks she’s taking a huge risk in going on holiday with Rory Hepburn. He may be gorgeous, but she only met him three days ago. But when she sees the old watermill in rural France, she is delighted. Within ten minutes of her arrival, she sees the man in black, but thinks nothing of it. Concentrating more on keeping her secrets and sleeping alone, she is shocked when ghosts disturb her first night at the mill. Not just one ghost, but two. When Christophe arrives at the mill, the chic Frenchman regards Melissa as his soul mate, and Melissa knows she’s in real trouble.

A chilling tale, written with humour and drenched in the sights and perfumes of the rural Dordogne, this is a must-read tale for those who like a romance with a ghostly twist.

This Jen’s fifth published book, and her first contemporary tale. In many ways writing about character in this century is easier than writing about people in the sixteenth or eleventh centuries. There isn’t as much research required, though it’s important to get things like brand names, distances, food and fashion right - hairstyle or hemlines can speak volumes about a character’s personality today.

Jen lives in Northumberland, a corner of England rich in castles and history, and visits France regularly for summer holidays. You can find her at http://jenblackauthor.blogspot.com where she writes about anything that catches her interest – usually something to do with writing fiction! and shares one of her other hobbies - her photographs.

Friday, May 20, 2011

5 Star Read

New York Times Best Selling author, Erica Spindler is now offering her book Blood Vines in Ebook for $2.99. I bought this book in hardback the day it was released. I've been a big fan of Erica's for years and Blood Vines does not disappoint. Shoot, for $2.99 I'll but the Ebook just so I have it on my Kindle.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Deadend Brainwaves

Some days I think my brain has taken a wrong turn and has ended up on a dead end dirt road. Everytime I try to sit down and write, I find my thoughts are blocked by dust and debris. Trying to turn my thoughts around and get them back on the right highway is comparable to pulling teeth with tweezers. I'm not sure what has me in this quandary, but I've had enough. I've given myself a few goals for 2011 I will meet or die trying. I will finish Murderous Visions by the end of July (first draft, edits and sending to my publisher). I will finish Demon Slayer by December (second book of the Genesis Series). I also have applied to a small local newspaper to write articles about authors and their books. If I'm given this opportunity I'll be putting out a call for authors who'd like be be interviewed for the articles.
Am I biting off too much? Maybe, but I really think I can handle the load as long as I treat my writing like the business it is. As my hero, Nora Roberts would say: Sit down and do it, it's your job. Okay, maybe not a direct quote, but close enough. The hardest thing to do will be to cut back my on line time. Emails, newsletters, blogs, will have to wait until I have my daily quota. And on good days, they will have to wait until the brain deadends again.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I'm in one of my pitty potty moods. Every word I write sucks. Every paragraph is a total waste of time. You get the idea. I really hate it when I get like this. It's so counterproductive. Feeling sorry for one's self has never gotten anyone anywhere. Have I written today? Yes. Ten pages so far. So I don't let the pitty potty stop me, it just makes me doubt myself and my talent.

What set off the mood? This is the shameful part. Someone I know (from the Internet), and truly like, emailed me this morning so excited that her email was filled with typos. Usually her little notes are perfect. No missing commas, every paragraph indented, no bad grammar. So I knew she was beside herself with joy. Her book is on the top 100 e-book best sellers list this morning. I'm thrilled for her and I told her so. Then after the little notes back and forth were over that evil little jerk called the Inner Editor started up on me. "Looser! She's going to be a success. You're just a wanna be and will never be anything else. Why don't you just give up?"

Here is my answer to Inner Editor:

Go F yourself. I'm a good writer and getting better with each book. I may never be a NY Times Best Seller, but I am selling. I enjoy writing. I actually have readers who like my books. I have emails from them telling me so, and asking when my next book will be out. So, go bug someone else. I have a book to write.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Too Long

I'm writing a new WIP, the first book of a possible seven book series.  It's taken me a long time to get back into writing after the release of Fugue Macabre Bone Dance.  I had so many story ideas jumping around in my head, I couldn't write just one.  I finally sat down and wrote down the basic plot of all the stories and then decied I could actually make them into a series.  Then I had to decide which book would be #1, #2, #3, and so on.  The last two books were easy to place.  The first one was pretty easy to decide on, too.  But the other four required more thought.  Then once that was set in stone, I started plotting out the stories so they would tie into each other.  I had to come up with seven paranormal abilities to give my heroines or heros and what use this ability was to the main plot of the stories and the eventual culmination.  Anyway, if I'm not posting on a regular basis, remember I'm writing again and not ignoring you.  I'm trying to write the best book for you to read.