Archive for November 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts

November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Bounty

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving and found things to be thankful for despite our dreary world. 

Often when our world appears most dreary and we see more trials than gifts in our lives, we wonder what we can be thankful for.  If we look around us with a new perspective we find our gifts and should give thanks for them.  

Maybe those gifts aren’t as big and showy as in years past. Maybe they come disguised as trouble.  But if we dig around in our lives and fight to get through to a better day and fewer personal trials, we become stronger, more resilient, more wise. 

And aren’t those qualities far greater and more lasting?  Able to help us continue to grow as a person? 

I believe this and I see it as a theme in all I write.  In all I live. 

As those I love gathered round my Thanksgiving table this week, we gave thanks and gave one reason why.  It wasn’t easy, three are now unemployed—thank you to our economic issues, one is severely disabled and each day is a struggle for survival, two others have health issues and one might be facing a surgery that could alter his life’s activities. 

But each had at least one solid reason to give thanks.  We are blessed. 

Make a Wish for next year

What am I thankful for?  My family, my husband, my friends, my creativity, my book published and selling.  I could name many more. 

What are you thankful for?

The Continuing Saga of a Debut Author

November 22, 2009

A Fall Bouquet

My posts the past few weeks have been about new experiences since Black Ribbon Affair has been released.

Sorry, okay–not really :-), you’re getting another post on new experiences for a debut author.

On Monday morning I had my first phone interview with a reporter from our local newspaper.  She does several continuing columns and I have long admired her deft hand with words and topics. Those of you who are writers and interact with other writers are familiar with the pitfalls and/or skepticism of some interviewers.  No matter the genre of romance writers or the excellent writing quality, we often have to endure less than flattering portrayals of our work.

I’m very happy to report my reporter was interested, friendly and positive.

The result was an interview I’ll always treasure and probably have to reread often when I encounter less positive reports.

Another result of the interview was  many phone calls, emails, and cards from friends, relatives and acquaintances who had read the interview and wanted to send me congratulations.

Needless to say, that pushed me through the rest of the week.  One that had more than normal crises and problems in my daily life.  Good thing I learned long ago that establishing priorities and handling stress when it mounts higher than Mount Rainier was a survival skill I had to depend upon.

My week closed on Saturday.  First up, not a new experience but one I appreciated.

My writing group hosted  an excellent and thought-stimulating presentation by Leanna Renee Hieber.  She described her cross genre book, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, published by Leisure Books as a Victorian Gothic romance, a cross between Jane Austen and Ghostbusters.  This talented young woman not only writes, but is also involved in the theater and uses acting and directing techniques in developing her writing scenes.

Toward the end of her presentation, she asked us to use one of her methods and apply it in our minds to a scene we are currently writing or going to write. Now I had been working one a scene all week but I wasn’t quite sure about its place in the progression of my heroine’s growth.  Nor was I happy with it.  Using Leanna’s exercise brought me to better understand the importance of this scene and how to pull it together. I feel much more confident about next week’s writing and what I must accomplish from here on out in this project.

Wow!  But I often have light-bulb moments when I’m fortunate enough to attend a writers  meeting.

My week still offered me one more new experience.  My first booksigning in a PUBLIC setting.  This time a Waldenbooks in one of the larger shopping malls in our corner of the state.  Saturday was a lovely day.  The mall was very busy and crowded.

That was a good sign.  After all people were out and in a shopping mood. Maybe my worst fears wouldn’t happen.  I wouldn’t be left sitting in the bookstore surrounded by all my books.  But no one was interested in buying them.

Leanna Renee Hieber and I at booksigning

Leanna was also signing her book.  Having a colleague made the experience not quite so daunting.  We could talk about writing topics if no one showed up to talk to us about our books.  Or to buy them if they were interested.

Yes, Leanna and I learned a bit more about each other during the infrequent lulls at the signing.  She’s a delightful, interesting woman.  We had steady streams of people stop, chat and buy books during the hours of the signing.  The whole event proved very successful.  The bookstore manager and employees were very pleased with the result.

Needless to say, so was I.  I’m sure Leanna was, too.

Two Happy Authors

One perfect piece of my favorite chocolate truffle capped the afternoon for me.  I hope Leanna enjoyed the treat also.  How did that delectable treat arrive?  Through the magic that embodies Edie.  She always seems to provide the perfect ending.  Thank you, Edie. 🙂

I am truly blessed.  This past week held major firsts for me.  I’ll live on those memories for a very long time and use them to keep me focused on working toward other new goals.  My memories will also serve as consolation when life doesn’t go smoothly.  Those memories will prod me into not giving up hope or quit on my journey.  Real life is all about peaks and valleys, sometimes, fathomless dark pits.  Just like what I do with my characters in books.  But I can control the outcomes.

My niece Beth--One of my greatest fans & supporters

Too bad, I can’t do that with my life.

What do you do to help you get out of the pits and treasure the peaks?

A Booksigning to Remember

November 15, 2009

Ivan's gifts and books

Black Ribbon Affair is introduced

I survived my first book-signing on Friday, the 13th.  Scary?  Frightful? 

Not a chance.  Everything behind the scenes ran smoothly.  I managed my pre-signing jitters.  I’m too mature and seasoned to worry about a zit or suffer a bad hair day.  I’ve come to terms with my body image. 


Using my booksigning pen

With my virgin book-signing pen, which my dear female friends since school days gave me, I was ready.  For my maiden voyage.  Hard to believe it’s only taken me a few decades to see this event happen.  But it did. 


Desserts & appetizers--yum yum

Thanks to my dear sister who decorated the room and those great forever friends who provided fantastic desserts and appetizers, a great punch drink, we were ready. 

Even our local newspaper sent a photographer who was personable, chatty, asked great questions and looked great enough to be a very interesting hero in a novel. 

But would people come and be interested in Black Ribbon Affair, my book or just to enjoy the desserts, punch, coffee and tea?  After all, it was Friday, the 13th

I should worry about world peace or the economy or healthcare… 


I have the answers

We had steady groups of people arrive, over a 100.  Many already had their books and had read them.  They had wonderful questions, great remarks, and all asked, “When’s the next book with Caitlin and Mike?  We want more about them.”  All who wanted their books signed and were already telling their reader friends about what a great read Black Ribbon Affair is. Others bought a book or two for friends who couldn’t make the signing. 

Those who came who didn’t have the book bought one, sometimes more than one and wanted them signed.  All agreed to spread the word about my book.  

I know all book-signings won’t be as productive but I have to say my virgin experience was one to remember always.  My readers are unanimous: Black Ribbon Affair is a page turner. 


I got flowers from a grateful reader

This week I have two more scheduled, a private one for a book club which has read the book and another one at Southridge Mall in Milwaukee at the Waldenbooks.  2- 4 PM., Saturday, November 21st.  If you can make it, I’d love to see you there. 

BRA props

Ivan left a few "gifts"

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few comments.  Perhaps they will whet your reading appetite.  “That fireplace scene – wow, really hot.”  “Where did you find Ivan?  Did you really know someone like him?”   “What happens to Rachel?”  “What a fantastic ending.  How did you think of that?”

Lips and Character

November 8, 2009

Lips 1

Lips 1


We all have them.  Some of us love the ones we have, some never think about lips, and some spend many dollars to enhance the ones they were born with—almost to the point of them looking unnatural.

We can’t all have Angelina Jolie lips.  Nor should we wish to.  I know I’d look horrid with a set of lips like that—too out of proportion.

However, lips are a very visible part of our anatomy.  Often first impressions of sometime or a quick read of emotions might be done by viewing a person’s lips.

Lips mar

Lips 2

When I am developing a character’s description, I sometimes have a clear idea of how their lips are shaped.  Sometimes not.  But as I write character’s lips come into play with action.  How can someone sneer or snarl without a bit of lip action.

Describing the sensations of a kiss.  Or a kiss itself.  Lips are integral to the action and the response.

So I thought about having a bit of an interactive exercise today.  Look at the lips below.

lips janice

Lips A

Lips Steve

Lips B

lips jamie

Lips C

What do you think the owners are feeling or doing or have done?  Might you be able to get a sense of age? Income?  Profession?

Could I develop a character starting only with a pair of disembodied lips?

Or do we need the whole face to create a character and his or her actions?

Let me know what you think?