Friday, August 15, 2014

Two New Family Members

I’m not a pushover. Really!
But I’ve wanted another mini schnauzer and have looked for one. Then I saw a mini schnauzer mix puppy on our shelter site. She had come in with a terrier mix, so it would be a given we’d take both if approved.
So we headed for the Animal Friends of the Valleys adoption event at Petco in Temecula last Saturday to look at Mindy and Annie. But I was told they were at the shelter. While I’m talking to a volunteer Bob is looking at a tan little dog in one of the crates. When I went over he said “look at him” and I knew it was love at first sight. There was five year old Dutch who needed a forever home. One of the volunteers gave us a leash and we took turns walking him. Dutch loved being out of the crate and walking around. I went in to say we wanted to adopt Dutch while Bob had guy/dog bonding time. I walked around while we waited to meet Dutch’s foster dad and there was this sweet faced Chihuahua in a crate who gave me the ‘Hey! Would you please pay the nice lady so we could go home?” I walked away but I looked back and you know what that means. Olive was also five years old, had come in as a stray unwed mother to be with the last of her two puppies adopted that day. This was her second adoption event. The first one wasn’t good for her because she freaked out when they separated her from her puppies. So we paid the nice lady and Olive came home with us along with Dutch.
Katie and Hunter accepted them right away and it’s been wild play time around here. A few house training issues but that’s nothing new. They’re in perfect health and Dutch visited our groomer on Wednesday for a bath while I took Olive to our Petco for some girl bonding and shopping time. She took it easier since our Petco is quieter and I wanted her used to being out.
The sad thing is it’s obvious these two were abused in the past. Dutch even has scars on his back. But now they’re spoiled and loved. Hunter politely reminds Olive that I belong to him and I do mean he’s polite about it since he likes to put on his paw me and give me kisses.
Dutch is daddy’s boy. He even cries and howls when Bob goes to work so we’re working on that.
They’re precious dogs that had been there for some months and they needed a home to call their own. Now that they have one.
Taking pictures is a challenge because Dutch doesn’t like the sound of the camera shutter, but I caught video of all of them playing.
New babies!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Behind the Book -- This Old House

“Remember when we drove out to that pond?” Dev brushed back a tendril of hair from her face. “It was so hot I took off my shirt and asked you to take yours off.”
“And I told you big girls don’t do that.” Her lips barely moved; she was lost in an old memory.
“But you eventually took it off,” he whispered, moving in so close a breath of air couldn’t have drifted between them.
“You were the one who took it off.” Megan could feel the heat of his body sear her and she feared her own body’s response. ”Dev,” she said in a faint voice. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”
He didn’t stop pursuing her. “Why not?”
“Because we’re divorced –“ ”
“We may be divorced, Meggie –“ he pressed closer until she could feel his arousal, “— but we’re not dead.”

When I first talked to my editor about this idea I was talking about two exes who wouldn’t have had anything to do with each other if it wasn’t for the love of a house. Could they work together without trying to drop a hammer or worse on each other?
I wanted a book about a beautiful house that needed love inside, but it also held a big secret that Megan discovered and became determined to follow through no matter the cost to herself and others.
Writing about battling exes can be a challenge. You don’t want them overdone or going too far, so it can be a fine balance. Plus my sense of humor always pops in to lighten the mood.  It’s a romance that blends the past and the present. Former lovers who know about each other, are first combative then rediscover their love is still there. Giving them a shared project throws them together and even if in the beginning they’re not happy about it, they realize the passion is still there.
Plus what can I say? Devlin is HOT! Seriously, would you kick this guy to the curb? Plus he knows how to work around a house! Nothing like a man handy with tools. :}
I hope you’ll read Megan and Dev’s book, so you can discover just what secret the beautiful old house holds. 


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Behind the Book -- In Her Dreams

In Her Dreams was my first paranormal romance and in some ways set me in that direction. It came about from a variety of things going on.
The Monterey locale was after a trip to Monterey. We spent a lot of time exploring the area and an area I loved was Cannery Row with the variety of shops and friendly people. My husband and I both love aquariums, so we spent a lot of time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
What crept into my imagination was a funky shop featuring plush animals dressed to reflect their personalities. That came about from my own plush animal collection. I had an owl dressed in spectacles, a tweed vest and looking very much like a stuffy professor. I also had a wolf wearing knickers and suspenders that could have made an interesting young thief in old London. So I gave Maggie a shop with custom made plus animals. But what also rounds her out is her psychic ability. One she didn’t like to think about.
The only problem is it’s returned with dreams where she dreams of a murder victim. But instead of seeing the murder happening, her dreams take her backwards from after death to seeing bits and pieces of the murder scene and her fear that the night will come when she ‘see’s the killer even though she has no idea just where the event took place. No wonder she’s frustrated having an ability that doesn’t do what she wants it to do.
Naturally Maggie needs the right man. Don’t we all! Dr. Ethan Baxter is renting Maggie’s guest house, meeting the wacky senior citizens that make up Maggie’s life and he just might have a connection to the murder.
Monterey seemed like the perfect setting for the book. Characters who make a story special and even bits of our trip interwoven into the story. The cypress tree pendant Maggie wears is identical to the one my husband bought me up there and I still wear it.
In Her Dreams is also a very nice way to remember that trip. It was originally published by Harlequin American Romance as A Man for Maggie, but I felt the book needed a more appropriate title. This is another one of my favorite books and I hope you’ll see it that way too.
Right now it’s available through Amazon and Smashwords and for the Nook later on. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Behind The Book -- A Man With Doubts

“I got one!” “Great kid, don’t get cocky.”

Who can forget those words from Star Wars when Luke announced he brought down a fighter and Han reminded him it’s not always good to think you’re great.

Words I learned to live by.

I was one of the lucky ones. I sold my first and second books right away. There weren’t mountains of manuscripts gathering dust in a closet and I felt pretty damn good. Then several months later, I sold my third book.

Wow! I was on a roll. The girl felt invincible. She saw her words as pure gold and writing was proving to be a lot easier than she expected. She had sold three books in about six months. Where else to go but further up.

All she had to do was type up a 200 plus page manuscript, send it off, and she got a contract in return.

Piece of cake, right?

On to book four. The idea was fun and what could be considered typical category romance fare at the time. A soap opera actress who played the evil cunning woman now killed off from her show, lost her money, and she’s in need of work. Trouble is, men think she’s an easy mark and women are convinced she’s the character she played on TV.

It was a fun book to write, words flowed, and I sent the manuscript off.

Then the call from my editor. “I liked the book, but I really feel the last part needs work.” Her idea of work meant rewriting the second half of the book. We discussed what she wanted to see and I sat down at my typewriter – yes, typewriter. An IBM Correcting Selectric that I purchased with part of my first advance.

After I rewrote the 100 odd pages, I sent the revised manuscript off and then worked on another book while waiting. Any writer worth his/her salt will tell you not to wait around waiting word. You get to work on something else.

Then my editor called me. “You know, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think the book worked better the original way. You need to put the other version back in.”

One good thing I did was keep those pages. Otherwise, I would have slit my wrists. She did ask for some minor revisions. I did them and sent the book off once again.

Now, each time meant a trip to a copy shop to have copies of the manuscript made. And each time I had nightmares of the copy shop burning down with my manuscript still there!

After a few months, I learned my editor had had surgery and was recovering at home, but she was working there. I talked to her, mentioned the book, and she said “I never got it.”

Insert scream here.

I sent her another copy – that copy shop was making good money off me! :} I also said if there were any more problems with the book to not say a word. By then, it would have been easy to kill off the main characters.

A couple months later, I got another call. “Linda, I love the book! In fact, no more revisions if we release it as a traditional romance, but we’d love to bring it out in our new line starting up next year. It’s called Special Edition.”

Naturally, I said yes. And my editor said “Great! All we need is 10,000 more words” and she hung up.

I screamed.

Since we’re still talking a typing job there were page numbers such as 59ZZ and so on. Luckily, no revisions and the book would be released the following June.

Christmas, 1981. My editor called, irritated with the Production Dept. That they were wrong. What were they thinking of. It went like this.

“We’ve got a problem with A Man With Doubts.”

“What problem?”

“We need ten more pages. I can’t believe they didn’t see this before!”

“Leslie, it’s Christmas. Parties, my anniversary.”

“And I need it early next week.”

Remember what I said? Typewriter and Internet hadn’t been invented.

“What am I supposed to do with them unless I send them out of town?” By now, I was wailing.

And that’s what I did. I actually ended up writing a full chapter, about 25 pages, and getting it to NYC in time.

When I saw the cover for A Man With Doubts, I knew I wanted the original and I have that hanging in my office.

It took over a year and a half to sell the book and it turned out to be my best seller in all the Special Editions I wrote and an excellent reminder to not get cocky.

Below is the new cover for A Man with Doubts and underneath is the original artwork. It keeps me honest. Well sort of.