Sunday, February 21, 2016

A few more changes

The Purchasing Info page is now up-to-date. It had a few books that are currently not available (took those down) and one that  wasn't listed (I'm looking at you, New York Moment!). I've tried to change the font color of two books in the text listing but that change hasn't stuck. Will keep trying on that.

I also changed the donation link on the homepage because of a post made by one of my former students. For years now, I have encouraged my readers to donate to the Red Cross because that group does such good work when emergencies strike, but have known for a while that the monetary distribution was uneven. Not that their CEO doesn't deserve competitive pay - he/she does. It's hard to attract excellent CEO's without it. Why work for the Red Cross when I can work for a corporation for a whole lot more money? It's the same problem when hiring a new Superintendent of Schools. You have to pay competitive rates or you don't get the cream of the crop applicants.

So I get that a huge chunk of their donation money goes to staff. We live in a capitalistic society and why should they be paid less to perform humanitarian aid than those who do the same jobs in hospitals around the country? The answer? They shouldn't. They are still a deserving group who needs donations in order to do their work.

But I changed to St. Jude Research Hospital anyway. Why? Because these are kids. They got stuck with a raw deal and this is an organization that makes an attempt to help. Recently I’ve been involved in the health care system of the United States and let me tell you, it’s a rabbit warren filled with Pass the Buck, self-interest (read: greed), and more gobbledygook and misinformation than I ever thought possible. Any organization that helps families through it when their minds are filled with more important things (like the fact that their child is dying) deserves my support.

Really, though, who you choose to donate to is up to you. As long as you help those in need, there are a lot of places who need your help. Feel free to post links in the comments of groups who could use a lift.

Play safe,

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New design for the website

It has been a long time since this site has seen an upgrade in design. Been bored with it for a while but apparently I needed a kick in the arse and who better to give it to me but Raelene Gorlinsky. She posted a piece on her blog about the nine must-haves for every author website. Yes, I have them all, but some of them were pretty sloppy. And the last one? Time for a re-design, for sure!

You'll notice the text space is wider, as is the sidebar. Didn't know I could change those and found the menu that let me do that this time. I use a two-monitor system with my computer (really helps when comparing drafts!) and one is smaller than the other. I made sure the widths fit on both. If you find things getting cut off on your screen, let me know!

If you've been trying to access the site today, you may have noticed the header picture changing several times. My husband thought it might look nice with my signature rose up there with my name over it. Of course, that meant creating the .jpg first. Couldn't make it look good, so several configurations and .jpgs later, I decided to go back to the original. You know, the original .jpg that apparently no longer exists on my computer. Created it anew, then had to go through several MORE configurations to make it fit right. Still a little pixelated with the text, but best one so far.

Other updates:
The Purchasing Info page was missing New York Moment - added that in. Also re-arranged some but the different sizes of the covers is a pain in the patootie. Will be resizing and fixing all those today as well to clean up the layout.

Added a Google+ badge. Now those with Google accounts can more easily follow me. And widening the sidebar made the link button for Facebook easier to see as well.

I added the About Me page a while back, but widening the text box and going with a different background allowed the tabs at the top to show up better.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Am up for suggestions!

Play safe,

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Out of my comfort zone...

Strokes in the family have a way of upsetting routine. But after the dust settles, you discover the routine returns, if in a different form than before.

Because of the dust-up in the family, writing time and energy has been in short supply recently. Not one to rest on laurels, my usual routine is to finish one book, get it published, and a day or two later, start the next one. Winter Break released just before Christmas - and until last week I hadn't done more than dabble at my writing.

What changed and got me going again? A complete, total change of genre. No, really. As in, not writing novels at all. Not even writing poetry (which I have done before!).

Nope. I'm writing a play.

You heard it here first, folks! 

Many years back I wrote a short story as a challenge to myself: tell the story using only dialogue. No descriptors of any sort, nothing other than the words the characters exchange. I had a lot of fun with it and got some good feedback. Two characters only: John Adams and Hugh White, one of the soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre of 1770.

A few years later, I thought about turning that single scene into a play. I added a few characters, wrote a bit more, then set it aside as my erotic romance novels took off. It's been sitting on my computer ever since.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago. A local community theatre group holds a reading of new plays every year. The submissions come from all over the country. It's done reader's theatre style and, although some directors of the pieces do opt for a little movement, mostly it's actors on stools reading from a script on a music stand. 

But its a great opportunity for playwrights to hear the scene(s) out loud, their lines spoken by actors who may have a very different interpretation. 

Well, this year, for whatever reason, there weren't many submissions and the group debated about cancelling the readings for this year. Instead, they extended the deadline. I pulled out that old script and said, "Why not?"

There was only one problem: it sucked. Big time. Like majorly bit the big one. It was pedantic and boring...and did I say pedantic? I gave the script to my husband and he was kind in his review. "I think this might make a good play for little kids to read in their Weekly Reader."


But he also said he thought I was starting the story in the wrong place. History tells us John Adams took the case of the British soldiers, defending them from the charges of murder, because he felt it important that the mob mentality not have any place in the colonies. 1770 was before any real talk of independence - most were arguing for the same rights as other British citizens, rights Parliament didn't want to extend to the colonists.

We know Adams for a Patriot - a man who would not only argue for independence, but go on to be our third President. But in 1770, he was a man with a choice. Defend the British? Or let mob rule take over.

And that's the play I've started to write. I threw out most of what I had and started again, this time exploring the terrible crisis of conscience he faced. To defend the soldiers would put his own career in jeopardy. More than his career - his very life and the lives of his wife and children. But to not defend them was to descend into an anarchy he couldn't live with.

Yeah. Finished the first scene this morning and gave it to my husband. He came back ten minutes later and said, "Now you're talking!" Got half of the next scene done as well. Because I'm researching as I go (just ordered what I hope will be a great book on manners of the 18th and 19th century), the writing is slow...but it is progressing.

So my word count for the day was 1476 words - on a play. Wish me luck!

Play safe,

PS. I also just read Finding Fraser, a delightful book by kc dyer. A chick-lit book set in the present day about a woman who chucks it all to travel to Scotland and find her own Jamie Fraser. :)

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Newsletter sign-ups

If you're not getting my newsletter, you're not getting the most up-to-date information about new releases and upcoming books. Use the sign-up box to the right of this post and join today!

For a look at what you're missing, click here - and then sign up! :)

Play safe,