Monday, September 29, 2014

People Watching - The Wedding Edition

I was out of town for a family wedding over the weekend. It was wonderful and everything a wedding should be - including unique.

As usual, I put my people watching skills into action and found lots of interesting quirks that may appear in future characters!

  • One of the self-proclaimed 'Crazy Aunts' who tapped couples on the shoulder all night, insisting they kiss on demand to show respect for the newlyweds 
  • The Grandfather who dressed identically to his grandson - right down to the cowboy boots, bow tie and shining bucking bronco belt buckle
  • The groomsman who decided it would be much more comfortable without a shirt
  • And the multiple elderly ladies who celebrated his choice. Loudly
  • The friend from out of town who crashed into a car on the way, brought 2 different shoes, and forget the engagement ring he was gong to give to his girlfriend that night
  • The young woman who wore orange (BRIGHT orange!) shoes because they DIDN'T match her outfit and she figured that would ensure no disasters for the couple on their special day
  • The young man who sighed lustily after one of the bridesmaids all night long. She never even looked his way ... which probably made her fiance happy
  • The granddaughter who answered the same questions from her grandfather (who suffers from Alzheimer's) all night and made sure he danced the night away when he thought she was his late wife

How about you? What interesting characters did you meet this weekend?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Undiscovered Treasure: Kalle Mattson

I'm participating a day early in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Underrated Treasures Blogfest. I'm early because I've got a guest popping in tomorrow (hope you'll come back and visit for that as well!)

I'd like to talk about Kalle Mattson. He's an amazing young Canadian talent. I came across Kalle's music through a family connection and he's an outstanding young man as well as a talented singer/songwriter. Not only are his songs entertaining, but there's always another layer in there as well.

One of my favourites is Thick as Thieves.

This video Hurt People Hurt People is also awesome!

Hope you enjoyed! If you click on Kalle's website, you can see & hear & learn a whole lot more!

And don't forget to visit Alex tomorrow to find the links to all the other participants.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Carol Kilgore & Secrets of Honor

Please welcome Carol Kilgore back to the blog today!


Thanks so much for hosting me today, Jemi.

I imagine it’s already cooling off from summer up there in Canada. However, down here in Texas, the coast is still hot and sultry with a salty breeze blowing off the Gulf of Mexico.

The setting for my newest book, SECRETS OF HONOR is Corpus Christi, a mid-size city on the South Texas Gulf Coast, The story takes place in mid-May, when summer-ready temps have already been around for a month or so.

Warm Gulf breezes, cool drinks, hot sun, and the excitement of a fast-approaching summer are all around. Are you in the mood yet? Can you feel the salt on your skin? Taste it on your lips?

I hope so, since I thought I’d chat a little bit here about the main team tasked with the backbone of the story. Picture yourself sitting on a shady patio overlooking Corpus Christi Bay and meeting these good folks who live in SECRETS OF HONOR.

Katia Marengo
Kat is a member of a covert team currently based in Corpus Christi. The team is part of a unit attached to the Department of Homeland Security. Kat’s a quick thinker and has seen a lot in her thirty years. For her job, she was taught to steal. She knows how to pick pockets and locks, how to enter and exit places without leaving a visible trace, how to disguise her appearance, and how to spot attempts at disguise in others. Kat was expecting a typical working evening until….

David Krizak
Dave is Kat’s boss’s boss. He oversees and directs a total of three teams. Eight years earlier, he hired Kat straight out of college. He’s walked in her shoes and worked his way up. Over the years, he’s learned not to be surprised by much. But this is the first time he’s worked directly with Kat.

Remy Girouard
Remy is a rowdy Cajun and the Ops Boss of Kat’s team. He’s a communications expert and directs their missions under Dave’s orders. Dave calls him a scoundrel, but Remy knows where the bodies are buried and how to get things done.

Peter Dunne
Sadly, Peter and his appendix are no longer attached. Peter was laid up in the hospital giving the nurses a hard time for the duration of this story. He was certain he was on his deathbed. Bless his heart J

See that big white sailboat out past the pier? The one where the people are waving? That’s Kat, Dave, Remy, and Peter.

Wave back!


Monday through Friday this week, I’m visiting five different blogs to promote my just-released novel, SECRETS OF HONOR. You can visit my blog,, to see where I am each day. On each blog, I’ll give away a $5 Amazon Gift Card.  Everyone who comments on my posts will be entered into a drawing for a $5 Amazon Gift Card for that blog. So there will be five separate contests, and it will be possible to win all five, for a total of $25. Although what are the odds of that? Don’t ask me – math isn’t my BFF!

Winners will be announced next Monday on my blog, and I’ll make an effort to contact the winners over the weekend prior to the announcement.


By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of her dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.

Although Carol has deep Texas roots, she’s lived up and down the eastern seaboard and in other locations across the U.S. as a Coast Guard wife. She sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially one with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy. You can connect with Carol here:
Under the Tiki Hut blog:
Website with Monthly Contest:


Thanks Carol! And, yes, our over night temperature has already dropped to almost freezing a few times. So, thanks for the visit to the warm and sultry Corpus Christi! Can't wait to read Kat's story!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Big C-hop

Two awesome people are behind this blog hop -- Michael Di Gesu and Melissa Bradley. For more information on the background of the hop, head on over to one of their blogs!

A while back, I had a friend diagnosed with the big C.

She is one of those people. You know the type: out-going, friendly, hilarious, kind, and with an edge of snark that makes everyone laugh.

She decided, on the way home from her diagnosis appointment, that she was not only going to kick cancer's ass, she was going to do it in style.

Every time someone looked sad or got teary eyed, she pointed her finger right in his/her face and yelled, "Hey! None of that!" And then she'd add another comment. The comment always started the same, but each time she had a new ending. I never heard her repeat one.

It's cancer, not something serious like moldy carrots.

It's cancer, not something serious like having your underwear shrink.

It's cancer, not something serious like Timmy's (Tim Horton's) being out of sprinkle donuts.

It's cancer, not something serious like buying a male and a female rabbit instead of a matched set.

It's cancer, not something serious like running out of toilet paper.

It's cancer, not something serious like forgetting your child in the bank.

It's cancer, not something serious like screaming out the wrong name. Don't look at me like that. You know what I'm talking about.

(As you might be able to tell, she's a Star Trek fan with a particular fondness for Bones.)

And she pulled it off. She not only kicked cancer's ass, she's gone on to help a whole pile of other people do the same. Proud to call her a friend!

Remember to pop on over to check out the rest of the blog hop!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Seasonal Writing & Goal Setting

As a teacher, I'm lucky enough to have 8 weeks off in the summer. For this summer, I set some goals with respect to writing.

Novel 1 in Series 1
  • Revise about a dozen scenes that felt off
  • Revise to eliminate 10 - 15k
  • Polish & edit
  • Send off to crit buddies

Novel 2 in Series 1
  • Revise to increase the tension - move a major revelation up from the 3/4 point of the novel to the first chapter (this involved a total rewrite after that point)
  • Change/tweak two aspects of the female MC's character
  • Read through the rewrite and make any needed improvements
  • Polish & edit
  • Send off to crit buddies

Novel 1 in Series 2

Start working on a website
  • figure out how this all works
  • get the basics in place
I'm thrilled to say I made most of my goals. The first 2 stories got through their rewrites. The 3rd one did as well, but it ended up being more of a bare bones story and I need to go in and flesh it out a bit. I've never done this before, but it's surprisingly fun and I'm about halfway through. Aiming to add another 5-10k and it'll be done and ready for a re-read too. I'm much happier with it now.

Unfortunately, my writing time will greatly diminish now that the school year has started, but I'm hoping my momentum will help me keep moving at a decent pace!

How about you? Are you a seasonal writer as well? Which time of year is your most productive?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Holy Word Count!

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about how to make your writing leaner. I know from experience how daunting that can be, but that experience has made me a much stronger writer today.

Probably 6 years ago or so, I decided to write a novel. I knew nothing. NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.

But I had read a whole slew (or six slews) of novels, so I wasn't in the least bit daunted.

The story ended up at over 170 000 words.

Yup, you read that right.

Then I stumbled upon Agent Query Connect and started to learn what writing a novel was all about. I learned a lot. Backstory, dialogue tags, strong verbs instead of verb/adverb combinations, echoes, tension, conflict, character arcs...

So I revised. And revised again a couple of (dozen) times.

Eventually, the story was down to 81 000. Less than half. And it was SO much better!

But I wouldn't trade the experience of writing that story in all its over-padded glory for anything. It will always have a safe place in my hard drive. I learned more from writing that story ... and revising that story ... than I could have from a dozen classes.

How about you? Any fond memories of your first serious attempt at writing?