Fun Friday – A Novelist Daughter Shares

Today I’m welcoming Katy Lee’s daughter to my blog to share her perspective on what it’s like to live with a writer. Take it away…#1

For the past two years, I’ve watched my mom go from dreamer to success, and I’ve learned a few secrets along the way. Perhaps some of you will relate.

Here are my top ten observations:
10. Practice makes perfect! When following your dreams, never give up practicing. (Thanks, Mom, for this one. I won’t forget it no matter what I am striving for!)

9. Thinking about writing is NOT doing it. (I hear this one a lot—usually when she is driving me to all of my sport activities which is then keeping her from her writing. Once again, thanks, Mom!)

8. I love this one! The road to success has to include little mini-parties along the way. I especially love the parties with cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles on top!

7. Being an artist, I’ve learned from watching my mom that writing and drawing are related. While Mom is describing the human anatomy, I enjoy drawing it. (Get your minds out of the gutter! I mean people! I enjoy drawing people. Check out my latest drawing. What d’ya think?)

6. This one I’m still a little bummed about. I’ve learned just because you’re in the family, doesn’t mean you’ll make it in the book. In Momma’s new release, her character, Mel is a gamer. I made myself her “go-to” person on everything virtual. The character Cassie was based on me! I was so excited! Until Cassie had a run-in with the delete button.

5. Another thing I’ve learned is that typing cute messages into her manuscript is not as funny to her as it is to me. (I don’t understand why though, because it is pretty funny.)

4. I’ve learned that it is normal for her to carry-on full conversations with absolutely no one. If you have a writer in the family, don’t admit them to the hospital just yet.

3. This one goes along with number four. Remember! Their characters are real to them. Just nod and go along with them when they are telling you what so-and-so is doing today. And still, don’t admit them to the hospital!

2. I can’t stress this one enough. An “Enter at Your Own Risk” sign should not be taken lightly. Even if you’re bleeding, DO NOT DISTURB! (First Aid classes will help with this situation. You will need to learn how to stitch your own wounds.)

And for my number one observation of living with a writer…drum roll please!…..
1. “Get out of here!” means I love you. “Get the heck out of here!” means I really love you.

I love you Mom! I wish you the best success in selling your book.
And PLEASE, do not ground me…
Number One Kid

Thanks so much Audrey! I think your mom has another budding young writer in the family. 

Your Turn: Readers, this is your last chance to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Katy’s book. I hope you’ve enjoyed the introduction as much as I’ve enjoyed having Katy here.

Fun Friday – Animal Behavior

Did you know that method actors often study animal behavior to perfect characterizations?

I often find inspiration for my fictional characters from animals. Take this picture for example.

Is the cat yawning, yowling, yodeling, yelling for help? What’s it doing in the corner? Was it sent there? Is it stuck? 

Your Turn: Give your imagination a workout and tell a story about what’s happening in the picture.  

Fun Friday – What would you do…?

Since reading Nipped in the Bud last weekend, a question has plagued me all week…


What would I do if someone threatened me with a gun? 

We see this happen all the time in TV shows and movies. The person with the gun usually gives the victim some compelling reason to come along quietly. Often a loved one is threatened if they don’t cooperate. Similarly the character in Nipped was presented with a couple of very compelling reasons to stall, but part of me was screaming at her to…well…SCREAM.

Unless there are other bad guys who have my loved ones this minute, I’m thinking this is between you and me, buddy. And I will not go gentle into that good night.

If there are people around, I’m going to scream, “Gun. Don’t shoot. Don’t shoot.”

Then I’m going to run like a mad woman. Most people really aren’t that good a shot. Chances are they’re not going to hit me, let alone kill me. Chances are even better that they won’t want to draw anymore attention to themselves so they’ll slink away and wait for another opportunity.

Of course, that’s where the being petrified for your loved ones ramps up to hyper mode.

But c’mon if I let him shoot me, how do I know he wouldn’t then go off and shoot them anyway?

Your Turn: You’re at an outdoor event, or a mall parking lot with other people around, and someone threatens you with a gun. What are you going to do?

Fun Friday – The Plot Thickens

Okay, before I start, let me just say, I’m cheating…
That is, I’m sharing a post I wrote for the Craftie Ladies blog a couple of weeks ago. But if you didn’t see it, it is fun. This is the beginning of a long weekend for us, so that’s my excuse. ~grin~
Once friends find out I write for “Harlequin”, they like to tease my hubby with questions such as: So what’s it like to be married to a romance writer? ~Elbow. Elbow. Wink. Wink.~
Well, let me tell you. It’s not all fun and games. Sure hubby’s happy to help inspire me when I need to experiment with a kiss to get all the details right.
But I’m an inspirational writer so it never gets any further than that, much to my hubby’s disappointment I’m sure.
Besides, I’m not really a romance writer. I’m a romantic suspense writer.
So more often than not, I’m contemplating means of killing people, and more importantly, how to get away with it.
This can be quite uncomfortable for my family. Especially if they happen to notice my book of poisons sitting on the counter as they sit down to dinner.
Did you know that too much…?
Hmm, never mind, I’d better not reveal that. I’m planning to use the tidbit in my next book.
My family has learned to take my quirky ways in stride. My hubby is quick to assure people that it’s not him I’m planning to do away with when after I ask, “How could someone in your profession get away with murder?”
Most of the time, people warm right up to the subject. After all, be honest, how many of you have never contemplated how you might kill someone?
I’ve had a lot of fun with this line of questioning.
One time on the way to the airport following a writer’s conference, I shared a cab with a forensic pathologist. I was working on a mystery in which I killed someone by… hmm, won’t give that one away either.
Let’s just say by an ingenious means.
So I asked him, “If I killed someone by such and such a means, would you be able to detect that?”
The cabbie’s gaze shot to the rearview mirror. After the pathologist said, “No,” and I rubbed my hands in glee, I think the cabbie spent more time eyeing the rearview mirror than the road.
We made it to the airport in record time.
Then in the plane, I sat beside an aviation inspector. This was a divine meeting since I’d written a plane crash story that I wanted to tweak, and I had a two-hour flight to pick this guy’s brain about the myriad of reasons a plane might go down, and how.
Let me tell you, if you knew this stuff, you’d think twice before you got on a plane. I’m pretty sure the woman in front of us clutching her armrests was.
I could go and on with examples of ideas that have blossomed from the most innocuous situations.
Of course, there are drawbacks to having such an active imagination. It makes relaxing difficult.
This past summer while kayaking with the family, I couldn’t help but notice how easy it would be to sneak up on someone’s house from the water. My daughter who is also a writer locked right onto the idea and before you knew it we were spinning a tale of mystery and mayhem, and eyeing suspiciously every person who paddled by.
Of course, while I have a lot of fun writing my heroes and heroines into the worst situations imaginable, in the end, with the love of God and a good woman, the good guys triumph.

Fun Friday – The Truth

The truth is I’m cheating. I’ve been so busy writing Q & As for my upcoming blog tour that I don’t have a pithy thought left in my brain for a fun Friday post. So…

I’m sharing a fun post I wrote for Roxanne Rustand’s blog back in December.

Roxanne had invited me to share a story about one of our animals, and I couldn’t decide on just one—animal or story!

Now any of you who have been with me for awhile have heard many stories about Bella, my hubcap-eating husky who, like a Houdini, can mysteriously escape from her crate without unlocking the door.
She likes people to think she’s a perfect angel, but don’t be fooled by the wings and stardust. We’ve lost count of how many shoes and collars she’s chewed through, not to mention plastic flowerpots.

We have no idea where she keeps finding those!

Yes, she causes us no end of anxiety. One day my daughter saw her standing on the far side of the hayfield at the edge of the woods. She called and called her to come, and naturally, got pretty frustrated when the dog just stood its ground and stared.

But what happened next chilled my daughter to the bone.

Bella loped happily up to her… from behind.  

Did I mention Bella looks like a coyote?

Yup, my dear daughter was trying to coax one of the local coyotes to come home to us. Thank goodness, the animal didn’t oblige!

Is it any wonder we’ve earned a bit of an eccentric reputation around the neighborhood? It’s not every family who gives their chickens wheelbarrow rides.

Or who walk their horse and goat along with the dog.

Or who give the neighborhood cats pony rides.

But perhaps one has to be a tad eccentric to spend hours a day writing novels!

Your Turn: Please share a funny story with us!

BTW If you’d like to read that husky hubcap story, clickhere. It’s my favorite. I’d love to see it become one of the top stories on my sidebar. *grin*

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to…

The Grocery Store.

Yup, earlier this week a writing friend and I did groceries together. What better way to kill two birds with one stone–brainstorm murder and mayhem, and okay, romance, too, AND stock the cupboards.

The trouble began as we were walking into the store, and I told my friend that I could kill her father. [meaning the heroine’s father, of course]

My friend stopped dead in her tracks, turned to me and said, “You can’t do that!”

The jaw of a woman exiting the store dropped to her chest. I kid you not.

Playing it up, I, of course go on to explain how easy it would be. We can lace the chili with the poison. He’ll never know.

Okay, I’m just kidding about that last part.

But seriously, the woman started reaching for her cell phone. We’re thinking 9-1-1. Cop cars swerving into the parking lot. “Honest, officer, we’re writers.”

Being a quick thinker, my friend says loudly, “I won’t read another one of your books if you kill her father!”

After a good chuckle, my single friend muses, “What a great way for a heroine to meet the next cop hero!” LOL–I’m reading between the lines on that one! The heroine, huh? Hmmm.

As we strolled through the store it was very tempting to see how many others we could drag into our plot. A grocery store is a great place to dream up plot twists for a murder mystery. Hee, hee, hee.

Your Turn: Where did you meet your significant other? Or if you’ve yet to meet him, where might you imagine the meeting happening?

BTW: If you missed the news in my comments on Wednesday’s post, 
Linda Ford currently has a free read on the Harlequin site called A Cowboy’s Promise. Happy reading!


This past week my mother-in-law dug out the greeting cards that my sweet hubby made for his parents when he was a little tike. My father-in-law took great pleasure in pointing out how his son had twice written that he wanted to buy his dear old dad a car. 
Isn’t that sweet? 
Those expressions of generosity were, of course, quickly followed by something like “but I hope being with me will do.”
LOL. This feeds my fiction-writer’s mind with all kinds of fodder for a hero’s backstory.
For myself, I can’t remember ever wishing to give my parents anything so grand as a car—it must be a guy thing. I always loved it when my children drew me pictures, or when they wrote about how much they appreciate the things I do for them.

Oh, and sometimes they’d give me coupons to redeem for vacuuming or washing dishes or some such chore. Of course, they were always really great about doing chores anyway, so I never actually had to redeem them. Hmm, now that they’re getting busier and not able to help out so much, maybe I’ll have to dig out some of those old coupons. I hope they didn’t put an expiry date on them!!

Your Turn: Do you remember a special or humorous card you gave your folks as a child or that you’ve received from a child?

Early Christmas Present!!!

This week I got my first glimpse of the cover of the second book in my Undercover Cops series. It release in March 2012 and appeared on Amazon this week for preorder!

What do you think?

I’m thrilled. Love the colors.

The book centers around a youth detention center called Hope Manor that is surrounded by farmland. I like how the artist has captured the mood.

Now, any writers reading this…if you’d like an early Christmas present…

The final gift package on the fundraiser for Sandi Rog blog goes up today  at noon Mountain Standard Time TODAY. And it’s a doozy. For as little as a $5 donation, you could have a chance to win…

PACKAGE 15: Writing 3 ($125+249=)Open to international participants!
A free Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Webinar and a 2500 word critique by a guild member ( AND a Fiction Writing Master Course by Janice Thompson. 

This is a gold mine of information! Ten lessons– each presented in video, audio, and print format so you can interact with the material in whichever way suits you best–cover every imaginable facet of fiction writing, from plotting, point of view, and characterization to theme, genre, common mistakes, and what to do with that manuscript once you’ve typed “The End.”

Don’t dilly dally, because it closes Saturday noon.

Your Turn: What do you think of the cover? How does it make you feel? What does it make you think the book will be about?


We celebrated my daughter’s 19th birthday this past week.

In one more year, I won’t have any teenagers left in my house, and I’m kind of sad about that. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my kids’ teen years.

Of course, my eat-everything-in-sight puppy will likely have graduated to the teenager stage by then!

Ugh, she’s already baying come-hithers to all the local coyotes.

But I digress.

We’ve enjoyed a few fun milestones this past year, starting with the birth of our first grandchild. Children milestones come fast and furious…first smile, first belly laugh, first tooth, first word…

I’m still trying to coax my grand daughter to say that all-important “Nana”. According to my baby book, I said it at 7 months so I’m thinking it’ll happen any day now!!!

Of course, the release of my debut novel was a huge personal milestone for me this year. Next year I’m looking forward to another biggie–our 25th wedding anniversary!

We still haven’t decided how to celebrate that one. Any suggestions?

Your Turn: Have you celebrated any milestones recently? How do you celebrate important milestones?

P.S. Please join me Monday, for my daughter’s insightful guest post on what’s in a name. Whether you’re a writer or a reader or an expectant mom, it’ll make you look at names in a whole new light!

A Hook is like a Guard Dog

This week I’ve been working on a Christmas bonus story for my Deep Cover readers–a what are Rick and Ginny doing for Christmas kind of story.

Not sure if it will ever see the light of day, because the process has impressed upon me why romances end at “They lived happily ever after.”

Showing the happily ever after is boring. The fun is in the chase!

Of course, I like a challenge so I’m dreaming up ways to stir up some mischief. And the process got me thinking about hooks. 

A hook is like a guard dog. It either lures in the unwitting reader or sends her running.

A guard dog?

Yup, a great suspense is going to have a teeth-baring rottweiler guarding the house. Fierce enough to make you shake in your boots, but impressive enough to make you curious about what’s inside.

A light romance might have a tongue-lolling golden retriever sitting on the porch. Friendly enough to lure you to the step for a little pat and ready to win you over with a wet, sloppy kiss.

Then there’s the quirky, cozy mysteries…I’m picturing a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig as the guard dog.

Yes, a little pot-bellied pig sitting on someone’s porch is going to make you curious about what kind of character could possibly think the wee-little thing would scare anyone off the property. 

You’ll step closer.

It’ll puff itself up, taking it’s guarding duties very seriously. Snort. Snort.

Pot-belly pigs are intelligent. They’ll wait until you’re only a few feet away, laughing at them. And then…

Two-hundred-pound, Papa pig will lumber around the corner!
Gotcha ya.

Your turn: What kind of openings hook you into a story?