Love Surprises Goes Live!

Love SurprisesLove Surprises, book seven of the Sully Point series, is here! It can be found on Amazon now. The paperback will be up there soon, hopefully within a week to ten days.

This book happens over the holiday season and into the new year. Because of that, we get to see a lot of all the various families, brought together at parties and dinners. Expect more than a few surprises in the book. 😉

I will be writing the first draft of book eight during NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – which happens every November. A lot of people sign up at nanowrimo.org to commit to writing a 50,000 word book in a month. I’m using it to get my first draft done. Granted, most Sully Point books come out at around 55,000 words, but this will work just fine. The goal will be to write 2,000 words, at least, every day. I’m preparing for it by buying lots of coffee and plenty of fruit to snack on, and adjusting my sleep schedule. So, when I post on Facebook in November, ready to pull my hair out, you’ll know why! Any encouragement will be greatly appreciated.

When you finish the new book, please let me know what you think, either on Facebook or in a review on Amazon.

Thanks and Happy Reading!

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Autumn Joys

pumpkin I love Autumn. The feel of the cooler air as the wind ruffles my hair…the smells of woodsmoke from chimneys…the vibrant colors on the leaves falling everywhere…all of these energize me, making me want to write, or cook, or throw a party. Today I was taking a walk and saw this pumpkin in someone’s yard, waiting for Halloween. It was like a sign saying, “Yes! Autumn is finally here!”Transformers: The Last Knight live streaming film

And for my readers, yes, book seven of the Sully Point series is definitely coming out this month. It will be called Love Surprises. It’s in the final editing phase, and should be back in my hands soon for the last corrections and then formatting. I’ll post again here and on facebook as soon as it is available.

Music I listened to for the final phase of the book: Carrie Underwood
Good Autumn food: Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Cookies
Favorite Classic Movie I watched during downtime: Rear Window (Hitchcock version)

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The Writerly Life

colored pencilsHere’s the thing about the writer’s life…we’re all a little nuts. We work in a solitary job, spending most of our days or nights alone at the keyboard, or with pen and paper. After a while, we have to get some outside input. I had a nice visit with friends this past Sunday afternoon. It was exactly what I needed, to get out of my own head and out of my characters’ lives. And this is what I’ve learned through the years: Real life must be maintained and interacted with if the writing is to go well. Do I write more and faster when my kitchen is clean? Absolutely.

shell bowlStill, the solitude is needed for me, to get anything done. Yes, it may take a reminder from my best friend R to ‘open the damn curtains’ once in a while, but I like writing in my high-tech cave. Going for a walk, opening the curtains to look outside (and occasionally curse at the birds), having dinner with friends, all add fuel to the writer’s imagination. I know some writers find they can get the words flowing while sitting in a coffee shop. That will never be me.

castleThe wall above my computer screen, what I see when I look up from the computer, is completely blank. I have artwork on other walls, but nothing in the spot I look at the most. I still can’t decide if I should try out some piece of art there. Now, with it blank as I stare at it, it acts like a blank movie screen and suddenly I can see the action, the next scene. It gives my eyes a quiet place to rest while my imagination churns up fresh plot lines or dialogue to move the scene along. This castle inspires me when I look at it. I immediately have stories rolling around in my head. The colored pencils above open up my mind to just look at them. All those colors equate to all kinds of stories, and characters, each in their own hue. And the bowl with shells on it? Reminds me of days at the beach during summer vacations, when the sun and sand and sea all made me feel warm and somehow loved by the very planet herself.

What, you may be asking, does that last part have to do with writing? I think the writerly life includes experiences that stay with us in memory, vivid in detail. These experiences sustain us, make us grow, urge us on to describe scenes as clear and intense as the ones from our lives. I remember exactly what it feels like to swim in an ocean, to be surrounded by water that lulls, or waves that crash, to believe in my own control as I ride a wave in to the shore, only to realize at the last minute the wave is the one in control. All of this gets poured into my writing. Say, for instance, like when a character is falling in love.

But that kind of experience isn’t the only way to enrich the writerly life. Reading is the other way. Reading books, all kinds of books, so that our minds become filled with new thoughts, ideas, perspectives. A well-described experience of a character in a book makes us feel like we were right there with them. This can have a similar effect to actually having it happen in real life. Reading spurs on the imagination, taking it down avenues we might never have gone without a book leading us on the way. All of this is to say that yes, writers write, but we also experience life, living it physically, emotionally, imaginatively, storing up every detail so that it can all be used later. The writerly life is, at its best, about living life completely.

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Work Environment

my Keurig Yes, that’s my Keurig coffee machine in the photo. The most awesome invention since the wheel. I’m not sure I could write without it. 😉 My favorite coffee is Sumatra, a strong dark roast. I was working on the next Sully Point book late last night, and I couldn’t resist having one more cup of coffee. I’m still wired. But it was sooo good. I thought I’d include the Keurig photo in today’s blog as I write about what my work environment is like.

Ninja This next photo is of my new Ninja. It makes the BEST smoothies ever. I like mine with plain non-fat yogurt, fresh strawberries, ice cubes, a dash or two of skim milk, and a packet of sweetener (currently using Stevia in the raw). The Ninja is a powerful machine, but doesn’t take up so much space as my very old blender did. One key element to the smoothie experience, in my opinion, is the straw. I must have a straw to truly enjoy it.

For writing, as I’ve mentioned before, I have to listen to music. It’s a background setting in a way, for the words to live in. If I get on a roll with the writing, really into the flow, then I’ll listen to the same playlist over and over and over again. If I change the music at that point, the flood of words usually will stop.

Sometimes my curtains are open, and this summer the air conditioner is running all the time. If I’m working at night I have a candle going by the computer. It’s one of the flameless candles, since I don’t want to walk off and forget about a candle burning. I highly recommend flameless candles. The ones they make now are really lovely.

So, there I am, at my computer with my music and my coffee or smoothie, nice and cool in the AC, candle going…and one thing missing. My rings! I can’t really get going writing without rings on several fingers. And the occasional bracelet. I have fun with good costume jewelry. One of these days I’ll take pictures of all of it. I know it makes no sense, but somehow I feel it makes me write better to wear sparkly things.

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Edible enchiladas and flowers

Lots of appointments outside the house this past week led to not as much writing getting done, which is always frustrating. I found myself in one waiting room, jotting down a scene for the Sully Point book I’m working on, using a scrap piece of paper and having to write very tiny. I clearly need a tablet! It’s funny how fast the tablet became prevalent in all our lives. Well, not in my life just yet, but hopefully soon. 😉

flowers fuschia

I made a big batch of Chicken Enchiladas yesterday, with plenty to freeze for later. I like to do that on a regular basis, freezing meals that I can microwave in a hurry on days when I either don’t feel like cooking, or am too into the writing to stop for long. Cooking every day has never been my strong suit. Okay, if forced, I could probably make a batch of brownies every day, but you get the idea.

Is anyone else out there watching Under the Dome, that new series? I like it so far, but it has the feel of one of those shows that can either go downhill fast or end up really good.

paperweightMy friend, R, went to a cooking class the other day that used edible flowers. I anticipate having some at her house very soon. She says the yellow day lily is the most tasty of those she’s tried. Evidently, the flower is cleaned, and you eat just the petals. The recipe she’s going to make includes a small scoop of savory cheese spread served inside the day lily blossom. The color of the flower is important, because when it is darker the taste changes. A bright yellow day lily is what you want. Also, the flowers should be homegrown, with no chemicals used. As R puts it, “You have to know your flowers,” a bit of advice that I think applies to much in life.

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Time

lavender flowers Yes, it’s time. Time to clear out all the old stuff from my apartment. I spent the other day going through clothing, setting aside anything I haven’t worn in a while to be given to the Salvation Army. It’s very freeing getting rid of things. It makes me feel that I have more room in my apartment, even if it’s only more room in some drawers. I’ve also been giving away old paperback books that I now store on my Kindle. I have the habit of re-reading books, which I may have mentioned here before. Basically, re-reading for me is like seeing an old friend and resuming a conversation that was fun.

clock Isn’t this a great clock? I think it belongs in Frank and Betsy Grainger’s house in Sully Point. I was thinking about time when I was working on sorting through stuff to take out of my apartment. Time just flies by sometimes, and we collect various pieces of cool stuff, junk, or necessary items as the time goes by. Then at some point the stuff becomes overwhelming and takes over. By minimizing it, I feel all fresh and new and like I’ve somehow turned the clock back.

In my life, I’m very used to the vagaries of time. Time runs slow at times and then super fast. I can be writing and be completely absorbed in my work. Then, when I look at a clock, I can be amazed that not much time has gone by at all. It is like I’ve been existing outside of time. On the other hand, on days when the words just don’t flow, it works two ways. One way is that the clock moves fast and I am suddenly at the end of the day with nothing to show for all that time. Other days, the time drags and I feel the day will never end.

red flowers Time speeds up when you have children. Watching them grow is like putting life on fast forward. In today’s world, I think we have to make the time to slow down, to pamper ourselves, to, yes, stop and smell the flowers. 😉 It’s too easy to get caught up in everything going on in the news, online in social media, at work, and then at home with family and friends…so that sometimes the priorities get flipped and we spend the least amount of time with those most important to us. The one thing I know about time for sure, is that we can’t get it back once it’s gone by. Take the time to tell someone you love them, gather up a bouquet of flowers for yourself or someone else to enjoy. I’m saying all this to remind myself to do these things. My goal: use time wisely and have no regrets in the end.

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Summer

yellow rose I’m putting a lot of flower photos up on the blog because we won’t have them when it’s winter again. 😉 Loved seeing this summer yellow rose outside my apartment building. I like to get fresh flowers once a week and have them in a vase by my computer.

Book Update: Within the next day or so, Love Imagines will be available on Amazon.com as a paperback, in case you like that format better than an ebook. Work continues on the seventh Sully Point book. It features Charlotte, the sister of Ben Sterling who was a main character in the previous book. I am thoroughly enjoying writing about Charlotte.

Here’s today’s delicious food item from Sully Point, found in Deb’s Deli – Chicken Pasta Salad. The key is to use a mix of mayo and olive oil as the dressing to the salad. The salad includes: The Lost City of Z 2017 movie streaming

  • cooked chicken (poached, roasted, or broiled)
  • green and red bell peppers
  • sweet vidalia onion
  • black olives
  • mayo and olive oil
  • cooked tri-color rotini pasta



strawberries photoI’m drinking a strawberry smoothie as I write this blog entry. Strawberry smoothies always seems like a summer drink to me. I was thinking the other day about summer, as most of the country swelters in vicious heat. Here in New England we’ve been having ninety degree weather with a ton of humidity. I have memories of summers in Florida growing up, time spent at the beach, or at backyard barbecues. The weather in my memory does not appear to have been nearly as intense as what we have now.

The summer of my memories was filled with water sports, swimming and water skiing, or riding in boats. I remember a crab fest we had one night after getting a bunch of crabs while we were out on the water. The dining room table was covered in newspapers, with the cooked crabs piled in the middle. Neighbors came over and we had a grand time eating that seafood and talking and laughing. Summer makes me think of freshly-mown grass, the smell of suntan lotion, being able to wear sandals and shorts and not having to bundle up for winter. Summer meant no school, and days of sleeping late after staying up watching old horror movies on tv. But best of all, summer was reading time. Book after book, stories to read for pleasure and escape to new and different worlds, and all the time in the world to read them.

pink and white flowersSo my advice for this summer is to grab a good book, in paperback or on your kindle or other ebook reader. Escape from the heat with a story that grabs your attention and makes you want to stay up all night reading. Have fun, readers!

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Cats and Flowers

Today is the last day to download Love Imagines, Book 6 of the Sully Point series, for FREE. It’s made me happy to see that over 1,200 of you were able to get the book while it has been up there for free. I hope you all have fun reading it!

Isabella the CatI was visiting my friend R’s house the other day and caught this picture of one of her cats. The cat, Isabella, is a Ragdoll cat. I’d never even heard of that type of cat until R got her. She is a very cute cat and is quite fun to watch at play. If I wasn’t allergic to cats, I’d have one. In this photo she had just noticed something outside the window and was staring at it.


basket of flowersLater that same day, R and I were driving around Northampton, in ninety-one degree heat (and a big shout out to the guy who invented car air conditioning!), and I noticed these hanging baskets of flowers. The town has placed them up and down Main Street, and they’re quite pretty, and flourishing, even in the heat. (Click on the images to see larger versions.)

basket with flowersI’m thinking of taking a break after I finish book 7 of the Sully Point series, and instead writing a stand-alone romance, like I did with Love On Loan. I have some ideas rolling around in my head and nothing is finalized yet, so, we’ll see. 😉

Today was a peach smoothie kind of a day. Totally yum with fresh peaches. I do love the fruits of summer. I just checked outside and I think we’re about to get a thunderstorm, so I’ll shut down my computer now, just to be safe. Everyone, stay cool out there!

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Love Imagines is Here!

Love Imagines coverLove Imagines is now available at Amazon.com! Right now that link takes you to the ebook, but within a day so the print version should be linked in as well.

This is the sixth book in the Sully Point series. I never imagined when I wrote the first one that I’d write so many books set in Sully Point. I’m currently at the beginning of book seven, and I don’t know how many will come after that one.



chicken cacciatoreLove Imagines features some good food, of course. My friend R’s Chicken Cacciatore is in the beginning of the book. Here’s a photo of what it looked like when I made it last week. Lots of onions, tons of canned tomatoes, and super tender chicken, along with some basil and oregano. It was super delish. Simmer it for a long time for a real melding of the flavors. Click on the pic for a close-up of yummy-ness.

As you can see, the cover for this book is in a different vein than previous covers. My cover designer is also a great photographer–don’t you love that flower on the cover? I foresee more flowers in the future of Sully Point covers.

Love Imagines will be FREE for five days, 07/04-07/08/2013, so enjoy your holidays with some good reading. Happy 4th!

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Glass horses, print books

Horse bookends with booksI took this photo today to show everyone the books I have in print now. They look good all together, don’t they? The bookends are glass horses that I found in an antique shop years ago. I went back every weekend for a month to look at these bookends, trying to decide whether or not to buy them. I have to say that even now, I’m glad I did.

I added a section to Nicole’s Amazon Store featuring the Love On Loan shopping spree. Melanie and Mark certainly did their share of shopping in that book. 😉 I set it up with subcategories of the various items they needed to start filling up their new home. Do you recall the mixer Melanie fell in love with? If you go the link in the store for the Kitchenaid Mixer, you can see the Yellow Pepper color she liked so much.

Work continues on the seventh book of the Sully Point series. I feel I’ve made a good start on the story. The sixth book, Love Imagines, will be out very soon. Promise.

If you get the chance, check out the Sully Point series page and the Love On Loan page here on the website. My cover designer outdid himself with the images of the print books.

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