Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gold With Grace

Her journey started before this photo, but this is when I first met her. Actually it was about a year before this photo was taken. I have seen her workout in the gym with her leg in a cast. The dedication is phenomenal. This was at the banquet standing in the photo are an eight year old Jordyn Wieber, her coach John Gedderdt, and  my six year old granddaughter, Megan Leesa Kline. Megan competed for Twistars from age five to age 10. She quit when it was no longer fun. She was spending 17 hours a week in the gym. Jordyn was already spending more time than that in the gym.

This week in London, Jordyn has seen her chances for all around gold  be dashed. However even though heartbroken, she handled it with poise, grace, and well wishes for her two teammates who would go on. Today in London, Jordyn helped lead Team USA to the gold medal.

This is the epitome of grace, confidence, and beauty and she is a wonderful representation not only of the USA but also of Michigan and her hometown of DeWitt.  Congratulations, Jordyn! You more than earned this.

PS This is Megan Leesa today.

She will start ninth grade in the fall along with her academics she will run cross-country, do high school gymnastics, and run track. 
Best of luck to you both in your futures.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Author Blog Hop

Authors supporting Authors. Please enjoy this interview with my guest author.

Author: Diana Hockley
What title are you highlighting in this blog hop?
The Naked Room                                                             
When classical pianist, Ally Carpenter, goes missing after a night out with friends, the implications stretch far beyond her disappearance.
Veteran detective, Senior Sergeant Susan Prescott believes that sexual predators may have abducted Ally. However, after two women with connections to the Carpenters are murdered, she realises there may be more to the crime than at first thought.
While Prescott puts all her efforts into solving the crime, those close to Ally battle their own turmoil. Friendships become strained and secrets come to light, as Ally’s terrified mother, Eloise, is forced to confront the lie she has perpetuated over 26 years. Cellist, Briece Mochrie – determined to discover what has happened to the girl he loves – is swept into a dangerous undertow of murder and revenge.
The kidnappers have their own agenda; Ally’s life is on the line.
What gave you the idea for the book?
I produce & present a weekly classical radio program and one night, I started wondering what would happen if the pianist didn’t show up for the performance. There would have to be a very good reason, so I set out to create one.
Who are your main characters?
Detective Senior Sergeant Susan Prescott, Ally & Eloise Carpenter, Briece Mochrie, Pamela Miller and Jessica Rallison.
Who is your favorite character and why?
DSS Susan Prescott because she has a lot of me in her!

Share one quirky trait of your characters.

Licentious thoughts!!
What was your biggest challenge writing this book?
Getting it finished.
Where do you live?
Boonah, a small rural town in southeast Queensland, Australia.
What's a cool, unknown spot? 
The Scenic Rim Mountains.

Tell us a little about an interesting landmark in your country.

Well, I guess the Opera House in Sydney, New South Wales, would have to be the most famous one.
What's the most well known city in your country and why?
Again. Sydney – or perhaps Melbourne because they’re big and can bully everyone if they don’t get all the entertainers and entertainment which comes to Australia. Brisbane – my nearest capital city, frequently misses out on top class entertainers.

What's a little known fact about where you live?
We live in the Valleys of the Scenic Rim  which is actually – and hopefully - dead  volcanoes.

Name two famous people who've been sighted in your corner of the world.
 The Duke and Duchess of York in the 1920s before he became King of England and Agatha Christie, the most famous crime writer of the lot!
What is the one thing tourists must do?
 Go to a Rugby League match in the city.
What's your favourite thing to do?
 Read and play with my rats.
What's your favourite restaurant and what type of food do they serve?
 The Dugandan Pub, around the corner from us. Everything from seafood to steaks.
What are you giving away on your blog?
 An e-book copy of The Naked Room and also will send someone a very small very Australian gift by snail mail.
Who is the author you are highlighting on your blog? Clarissa Draper, author of The Sholes Key
Where can readers connect with you?
Twitter: Cadfael18
Facebook: Diana Hockley

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Boy Some People Have Been Busy

My dear friend Wilson Jennings has been busy this week-end putting together a blog. Not an easy task when you are two people. But please do check them out http://www.wilsonjennings2013.blogspot.com. It's in it's infancy as a blog but I suspect there will be some awesome things there soon.
Best of luck, Wilson Jennings.

It's Official

I now have a new website. You can access my blog from there. Check out

You can buy my books from there, access my blog, my publisher's website, and go directly to Tanner's Totes the charity I sponsor.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Break In Update

While no one is in custody. They do know that it is a group of three, two males and a female. They also know that they are driving a red van. I have no clue as to whether or not it is a panel van or mini van. I have notified my two closest neighbors.

My young man who was going to mow my lawn has turned up missing. I got a frantic phone call from his mother this morning and he did not come home last night or call. He was last seen with his girlfriend and she is not answering her phone either.

Can things just stop going wrong? I will probably drag myself out tomorrow early. I need a couple of plastic boxes for packing up my desk. I will get the gas for the mower at the same time. I'll mow as much as I can by hand and then get to packing up the desk.  I will stop at the local grocery store and see if I can get some egg boxes to pack up my china and get that done too.

I am going to keep busy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

When Home Isn't Safe

While this is not how it looks, this is how it feels. Last night person or persons unknown attempted to break into my house. It seems my arrival at home scared them off. All they managed to do was break the screen in the window. Nothing appears to be missing. No drawers were gone through. I have checked and double checked for missing items.

All electronics are where they were. All jewelry is where it belongs. All vital papers are where they belong. So, I know they didn't get anything.

The sad thing is that I heard them outside my window early on Monday morning. They must have been casing the house at that time trying to figure out the best way in. They picked my bedroom window as it cannot be seen from anywhere and there is a woods right there to escape into.

My house no longer feels safe to me. It is not a haven where I come to relax and get away from the world. It has been violated.

Many of my valuables have been packed up as I am downsizing in an effort to get my house ready for sale. I cannot imagine that the things I find valuable would interest anyone else. But nothing that is of great importance is gone.

I have locked the first floor windows that have locks. Because they are sliders, I have placed wood in the lowest three. I will be getting wood pieces tomorrow for the other three. Beware a hammer now will rest in my bed and I know how to wield it. Shooting lessons are next. First I will invest in a bow and some arrows, I am competent with those.

I learned from the state police trooper this morning that there were a couple of other attempts in the area last night. That does not make me happy. This has always been a quiet and safe area. But my house is protected from noise by lilac bushes and trees. The back of my house is bordered by an overgrown forest. My new neighbor has not done anything with that part of his lawn yet. Since it provides him with privacy, he might not do anything with it. As the other side of his house is also tree lined.

What I do know is that I look at home security much different now than I did just twenty-four short hours ago.


Monday, July 16, 2012

As Promised

I'd like to introduce you to Wilson Jennings. Wilson Jennings is a writing team who grew up together. While they both have widely different backgrounds the creativity of them both will lead to some exceptional writing.  I am not at liberty to give out much information on Wilson Jennings, however you can find them at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WilsonJenningsAuthor

Check it out for updates. A blog will be coming soon. It is in the naming process. Much like all of their work it too will be a collaboration with both contributing to it.


Friday, July 13, 2012

There's Someone New ...

coming to the neighborhood. I will soon be introducing a new author to our midst. I am excited about this author and the book they are writing.

Soon this new author will have a blog and a Facebook Author page. It's coming. Keep watching.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What Kind of Writer Are You?

You've got an idea. How do you start? Are you going to sit down, map out the plot in an outline? Are you going to do character sketches of your characters? Do you know exactly where you want your story/novel/book to go?

If you are like me, you get and idea and jot it down. Then you mull it over and think about how it could get from point A to point B. Finally you sit at your computer and you let the words tumble out. That's called seat of your pants writing.

I do this until I get out all the ideas I have related to my topic. Then I walk away. Sometimes just overnight other times for days or weeks. During that time whenever I have a minute and a scrap of paper I pose questions, answers and other ideas related to my subject. I will write on just about anything.

My first book Secrets started with a character sketch written on the back of a placemat in a restaurant while waiting for breakfast to be served. I created the character my entire book would be based on. It took three starts and over  year to actually get it started and completed.

I often write on the back of placemats. I have been known to tear them up and leave behind things I don't need. Since my form of short hand is indecipherable to most I never worry that someone will get a hold of it and steal my idea. Best of luck to them if it makes any sense at all.

Sometimes I start with ideas and then get stuck. Those I put away. Sometimes I reread them and decide that  they will never work.Sometimes they need research. Sometimes I laugh because they are totally off base. But I have them. Most are in a shoe box. Many are left over from high school and college and will never be published. Some of the ideas from then are feasible even if they need serious work.

What ever process you use, own it. I listened to a speaker once who creates a calendar an pencils in her start date, the words she logs in that day and maps out when she will be at each stage of her work. She has it  down to when her editor will see the first draft to when it will get sent to her agent and then on to her publisher. That is too organized for this right brained person. I prefer flexibility.

I often treat my writing as a lover. There waiting when I am ready. Never complaining because I have neglected it. I always tell myself I will do better. I will write daily. It never happens unless I am deep into something or have a deadline that I need to meet.

Having read numerous authors and heard numerous speakers on the subject of how to write, I have learned it is an individual thing. There is no right way to write. Just like there is no perfect word count. Some of my chapters contain 2,000 words, some contain 7,000. They have any number of words in between. Most of my books run between 50,000 and 60,000 words. Does that mean I cannot write 80,000 or 100,000 words? No, it means I make sure my story has a beginning, middle, and end. Word count is a ball park. It's arbitrary. A 50,000 word novel is approximately 175 pages. Most of mine are over 200 pages. I must run over the 50,000 words. Oh, not an issue.

Take what works and make it yours. Write in a way that makes you comfortable with your characters and what they say and do. If it means going to a location go. I find I write best late in the evening when it is quiet. I also find that early in the morning is a quiet time. If I am on a deadline, I travel to my parents cottage on forty acres where the Internet does not work, nor does my cell phone. It is peaceful there and I can get a lot done. I found last winter while I was in South Carolina to be quiet. It is peaceful writing to the sound of the ocean. I was able to write at anytime of the day. If pulling your laptop into bed and writing like a fiend before starting your normal day works, great. Find the place, time, and spot that allows you uninterrupted time to do your writing.

Happy writing.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Opportunity--Take Flight

Pelicans flying over the beach on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. I will admit to being intrigued by these amazing birds. They are very impressive when diving for fish.

However I only believe in taking flight if God equipped you with that capability or if you're on an airplane. Sometimes, when opportunity strikes it feels somewhat like taking flight.

2012 has had an amazing start for me. I found a wonderful condo to rent on Kiawah Island for the winter. Little did I dream I'd fall in love with the area, nor did I expect to make so many wonderful friends. I did not want to leave in mid-April.

My first book in my Macy McVannel series was released on my birthday this year. That was a wonderful bonus from my publisher. We kicked off sales with a book launch in May in West Branch, MI. There were about a dozen people. They were a great audience and we had some good dialog. Unfortunately we didn't have books. Overlooking that I sold two that night and one of my poetry books. All books were mailed out as soon as they arrived. Kudoes to the Ogemaw Voice the local paper that did a pre an post write up.

We followed that up with a book signing in Montrose, MI. I have lived there the ten years prior to moving to West Branch. It is still where my daughter calls home. It was also close enough to my hometown to draw in family and friends. And a few high school friends I'd not seen in years. All in all we had a great turn out and  sold a few books.

I continue to support Tanners Totes, Inc with a percentage of my book sales. (http://tannerstotes.com/) I believe in giving back and I like what Tanner Smith is doing. If you are looking for a charity please check out the website.

As a result of that night, I am booked for a book signing at Charlin's Book Nook in Frankenmuth, MI on July 28th. This will strictly be a sit and sign. The book store will handle all of the sales. I just need to sign the books and talk to patrons. The Genesee County Herald has done a pre-book signing write up and will follow up with photos after the signing.

I have spoken to the Director of the Otsego County Library and they are looking at scheduling a book signing sometime in October or November. Why would I want to go to Gaylord, MI? Well, the short version is that McVannel was my grandmother's maiden name. My mom grew up in Gaylord. There are many people there who will recognize the name. So I think it might be a good gathering.

My publisher, Unforgettable Books, Inc. has not been sleeping on the job either. She has contacted CNN for a possible interview. We are waiting to hear. She is also looking for places to send Macy Deux (two) for pre-release reviews. She has a line on many and I sent her a list of every newspaper in the country that does book reviews. We'll see what comes of it.

I am heading for Bouchercon 2012 in October.(http://bouchercon2012.com/) This is THE conference for mystery writers from around the world. They are expecting 1800 participants. I am waiting to hear if I will be included on a panel of speakers. John Connolly will be there to MC the event. Authors such as Lee Childs--the Jack Reacher novels will be there, Mary Higgins Clark is getting her lifetime achievement award, Robin Cook will be there along with a host of others.

Black Friday will see the release of Macy book 2 Crossing the Line. I am looking forward to that. I have the first chapter of book three Something Borrowed, Something Blue already for inclusion in Crossing the Line.
I am working on a co-authored book and cannot wait to sink my teeth into it.

While I am in South Carolina in the winter of 2013 I have a couple of opportunities One is to do some writing workshops at an elementary school in the area. The other is to be a part of Book Tour 2013. That will include book signings in Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC, Columbia, SC, and Charlotte, NC. With the possibility of a signing at Indigo Books on Johns Island.

Who knows where the opportunities will take me. I was offered a chance to apply for a position as editor at a different publishing company. I chose to turn that down. It is not a genre I read and I don't want to edit something I'm not likely to care about. It's not fair to the writers.

I am open to new and exciting things. Especially as it goes with my writing. There are a couple projects I have percolating. I want to be relocated before I delve into them. I know they will be well received.
What opportunities do you have for taking flight?


My laptop has been at full capacity for the past two weeks. It's nice to be consistently writing again. It's been hit or miss for...