Tuesday, November 28, 2006


My book, THE CHARMSTONE, won't be out until April, but my book cover got reviewed.

Kate Allan of Red Wave Communications in the UK has begun a book cover review on her blog. She invited authors to submit their covers and I emailed mine. She reviewed it today and had nice things to say about it. I really love it and think the Five Star art department did a fabulous job of interpreting the backdrop and atmosphere of where my story is set. Kate nailed the sense of it right off.

To see the whole review, go to

Visit my website at www.ccharrison-author.com.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Among the many blessings I was grateful for at this year's Thanksgiving table, I was also thankful for the following:

o Chris for mashing the potatoes

o Dylan for bringing the flowers

o Izzy for running with hugs and kisses when I came in the door

o Rachel has a cell phone

o Jill and Michelle have two sexy bald-headed men to have fun with

o Barbara is my daugher.

I hope you all had many things to be thankful for, too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I went to see the movie "Marie Antoinette" the other day. Though the acting was underwhelming, what a delectable confection of a movie it was! The visuals were breathtaking – the palaces, the carriages, the clothes, the food, the pomp and pageantry of society in a French court.

It was the story of Marie Antoinette, a fourteen-year-old Austrian princess being swept into a new life as the wife of the gentle future king Louis XVI. And what a life it was!

Every detail was dictated by strict protocol and etiquettes, conducted with exacting ceremony, all of it audienced by a slew of courtly attendants. Even her lavishly formal meals. Even the marriage bed! Even the birth of her babies. But that didn't stop her (and, to be fair, anyone else) from enjoying the gossip, the intrigues, the flirtations, the revelry and carousing that took place nonstop at Versailles and elsewhere at royal residences.

The furnishings and draperies were sumptuous, the clothes were extravagant, and Marie Antoinette was particular about shoes. (Who isn't?) Apparently director Sofia Coppola inserted a pair of purple sneakers into a scene showing Marie Antoinette's extensive wardrobe of Manolo Blahnik-inspired footwear. I didn't see this, though. A movie reviewer mentioned it.

In the end Queen Marie Antoinette is wrongly accused of bankrupting the empire and inciting the French Revolution, but we are spared any scenes of the guillotine.

It was a delicious way to spend an afternoon. On the way home, I stopped at a bookstore and bought a biography of Marie Antoinette.

Added to my list of 100 Things To Do Before I Die - Visit Versailles.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Time to catch up on my blog. Lots has happened since the last time, most of it not very interesting to anyone but me.

But I have my book cover for THE CHARMSTONE and must say I am thrilled with it. Those Five Star designers are just the best, aren't they? You can check it out on my new website at

I'm busy, busy on another book, three quarters of the way through. I'll talk more about it soon.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

THE WRITING LIFE, or Close Out That FreeCell and Get to Work

I've always been interested in knowing how writers write their books (their process) and how much time they spend doing it (their schedule).

I know some writers who can write for twenty minutes at a time, get up and do something else, then write for another twenty minutes, and so on. My friend Linda Lea Castle (who also writes as Innis Grace) does that, or she used to do it that way because she home schooled her children. I really envied her discipline and powers of concentration.

My friend Linda Lael Miller writes fast, and it seems she can write a book every couple of months (best sellers, no less.) But I don't think she sits at her computer for eight hours every day, because she also travels, attends conferences, goes to church, works with the Humane Society, and spends a lot of time with her very large family. She used to be on the RWA board, and that alone was a huge commitment requiring a great deal of time.

Some writers I know have very strict work hours. They unfailingly begin at a certain hour and end at a certain hour every single day refusing to be interrupted. Other writers have told me they get up at three or four in the morning and write before the rest of the family wakes, or before going to a day job. That seemed impossible to me.

I'm willing to describe my writing schedule, and will admit in advance that it needs improvement. (I'll talk about process in a future blog.)

Okay. So, I get up between five and six every morning, make the coffee, and sit down at the computer usually while I'm still in my nightgown. I read the news—Drudge Report, then MSNBC headlines only clicking in to the big news of the day. Then the emails. This used to be overwhelming, but I've cut way back on my email lists. When the writing is going good, as it is on my current project, I often let my emails go for days.

I begin the actual writing between 7:30 and 8:00. On a good day, when the writing is really flowing, I'll write straight through with only a break for breakfast and lunch (at my desk) until about 2:30 or 3:00. That's when my back starts to stiffen and my creativity flags. At 3:30, I get ready to go to the gym. During the hour or so I'm on the treadmill, I write in my head. That is, I mentally run through my day's work filling in blanks, working out dialogue, scenes, and plot problems.

I almost never write after dinner. That's my reading time. But I do jump up to make a note if something pops into my head.

I used to keep a time sheet. You know, a log of the dates and hours spent working on a project, but that was too depressing. I got the guilts when I would see that there were days— sometimes many days—between work sessions. So, now I wing it and don't worry about it.

And along the way I've learned that I'm very poor at estimating how long it will take me to finish a book, or even a chapter. No matter how much time I think it will take, it always takes twice as long.

About the FreeCell. The only reason I haven't deleted it from my hard drive is because I need it when I'm on hold with customer service. Any customer service. It's the only thing that keeps me sane.

Albums added to my iPod:

- Freedom Fitness, Christian electronic rock workout music (really!) by Various Artists

Podcasts added to my iPod:

- The Street by Joe Frank
- Suicide Bridge by Joe Frank
- Telephone Prayer by Joe Frank (this one's absolutely hysterical)
- Controlling Your Moods by Joel Osteen

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sage Cane's House of Grace and Favor

After taking several weeks off to catch up on my reading and regroup, I'm back to work on a partially completed Old West historical romance called, "Sage Cane's House of Grace and Favor," (formerly "Bad Girl of Fairplay Creek," formerly "Wild Mountain Honey.") I'd put the half finished manuscript aside on the advice of my agent when, according to her and everyone else in the industry, Old West romances went out of fashion.

The revamped title came about because Ann LaFarge, formerly of Kensington and now a freelance editor, commented that "Wild Mountain Honey" sounded a bit retro. Well, actually it was. It's from a song by the Marshall Tucker Band popular in the seventies.

So I had to come up with something else. I'm not very good with titles, and by this time, editors were looking for catchier ones. After much thought, I decided on "Bad Girl of Fairplay Creek," but shortly afterward put the book aside.

A couple of weeks ago, I brought the manuscript out again, and was dismayed to discover that while it was on hiatus, Jo-Ann Mapson had published a book called "Bad Girl Creek." So, again I racked my brain for a title.

Hence, "Sage Cane's House of Grace and Favor."

As you may surmise from the title, the book revolves around a parlor house. It's located in a fledging mining town in the Rocky Mountains, Fairplay Creek, Colorado, to be exact. And, as many of my stories seem to be, it's about a young woman who finds herself far from home struggling to make her way in a strange place. How she manages to do that in a rowdy, raunchy mining town where anything goes, and still manage to keep her moral values intact is what the story is about. The fact that it was indeed a town where anything goes is what actually encouraged and allowed her to take a risk. In the process, she turned the tables on the men in town while at the same time turning the town upside down.

The theme of the book is – A town will only rise to the standards of its women.

So, let's hear it for the return of the Old West historical romance. If, indeed, it was ever gone.

Album added to my iPod - Country Falls by Husky Rescue

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

L. L. BEAN AND ME: Story Characters

I never, never, never EVER use people I know or any other real people as characters in my stories.

So where do I find my story characters? In the L. L. Bean catalogue. Or Land's End, or J. Jill, or Macy's, or Nordstrom's or any other catalogue I favor. I flip through the pages and look for smiles or eyes or a hair style or color, or any face that jumps out at me and says, "Use me. Use me." If the look fits with the plot elements I have in mind, I'll choose it.

Then I'll give that character a name. Or if I already have a name, a sort of psychic sense draws my eye to a face that naturally goes with it and with the plot. Then I tear out the page, or clip the image and tack it on the bulletin board over my computer. Once I have the look, I'll give the character flesh and bones and a personality.

Now even though I never use real people, there are times I might be inspired by something I know about a real person and use that to portray someone in a story, like maybe a character trait or some other element of a real person.

My book, "The Charmstone" due for release next April, takes place on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Monument Valley, Utah. I lived there for a time as a VISTA volunteer, and found that I used isolated impressions of the real people I met there to define some of the characters in that book.

In the story, Amanda Bell notices that Durango Yazzie wears a watch with a chunky silver and turquoise watchband. She finds it and the man wearing it very attractive. That watch is worn by my Navajo friend Don Mose, but Don is not Durango.

Amanda herself represents the essence of my VISTA mates, three strong, adventurous, courageous and bright young women. But she doesn’t look like any of them, nor does she have any facet of their personalities.

My secondary characters come alive to me just as my central characters do. But they are all created in my mind—Jack Rice, Judy and Jeremiah Moon, Elliott Sheffield, Sallie Rainwater and her two hunky sons Larry and Albert, Cammie Drew, Noah Tucker, Buck Powell. The others, the various Navajo Elders and Medicine Men and wannabes, all typify those I met or saw on the reservation, but no one in particular. In the story, they are all true to themselves.

Albums added to my iPOD:
Graceland by Paul Simon

Podcasts added to my iPOD:
Joe Frank
Joel Osteen

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Me and My iPod

I bought an iPod a couple of weeks ago. It was strictly an impulse purchase. I went to Best Buy for a new stereo, and as an after thought asked about iPods, and ended up with an iPod Nano. I didn't know how to use it, wasn't sure what I'd use it for, but omigod! I love this little thing!

I didn't know how to work any of the controls, and it didn't come with instructions, so I bought a "Rough Guide to iPods" instruction book. That helped a lot. Also, the Apple website has instructions and a tutorial, but if you're impatient like me, you won't sit still to wade through it.

To be honest, my iPod purchase was influenced a little bit by Kristen Nelson, an agent in Denver. I'm in the habit of reading her blog and everyday she mentions the name of the tune playing on her iPod. I'm always interested in knowing what music people listen to just like I'm curious about what books they read. By the way, you might want to check out her blog. She's been explaining and analyzing agent and editor contract clauses.

I probably won't use my iPod while I'm writing, but now that I've learned how to put my own music on it, I'll use it mostly while working out at the gym. Here are the albums I have on my iPod so far:

- Play by Moby

- Indigo Spirit by Higher Octave Music
- Myth by Chorus of Tribes
- Life by Simply Red
- A Decade of Steely Dan by Steely Dan
- Music by Madonna

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Charmstone Edits

I'm working on the first edits of my romantic suspense, "The Charmstone," scheduled for release next April. I actually enjoyed the process, though it was made a bit more time intensive because the manuscript had undergone some revision since it was first submitted. As a result, I had to go through the edited copy and the revised copy page by page by page, word for word making the changes. There were more than I remembered. Events in the first three chapters had been rearranged. A new chapter had been added at the end, and a chapter in the middle lengthened by half. In between were word or phrase changes, and some minor rewriting.

But I like that kind of intensely focused work. Turn off the phone, put on the coffee, hunker down, and just do it.

I'm not familiar with this edit software, though, have never seen it before, so I'm sure I gave my very thorough and capable editor, Diane Kirkle, fits with all my questions about how it worked. I hope I didn't make a mess of it. She hasn't said anything, so either I used it correctly or she's too polite to tell me how badly I screwed it up.

I also enjoyed reading the story again and becoming reacquainted with my characters, lapsed socialite Amanda Bell, and Navajo Cultural Center director, Durango Yazzie. They found themselves thrown together in Monument Valley, the remotest part of the Navajo Indian Reservation, and had to come to grips with exactly where in the world they belonged. Amanda, on a mission to fulfill her deceased father's last wish, turned her back on her life in a gated mansion in Beverly Hills. Durango, newly returned to the reservation, was committed to reconnecting with his Navajo culture, a way of life he had previously cast aside.

They work it out, though, but not without a whole lot of turmoil. You'll see when you read the book.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Font's Point

I'm adding something to my list of "100 Things To Do Before I Die." I want to visit Font's Point again.

Font's Point is a towering limestone outcrop overlooking miles of the most foreboding, tortured badlands in the Southwest. Just two hours from San Diego, it's center stage in the Anza-Borrego Desert, which itself is one of the last best places on earth. Also, one of its best kept secrets.

I discovered Font's Point twelve years ago on a whim, the way so many of the best things in life are found, led there by an innate adventurousness I inherited from my mom. I'd never seen a real desert before, but one day, finding myself on an extended leave from my job, set out in my Jeep to go four-wheeling in the desert. Never mind that I'd never been in the desert in my life, never mind that I was by myself, never mind that I'd never had my Jeep in four-wheel drive before. I was inexplicably drawn to the Anza-Borrego Desert, and it was love at first sight.

Font's Point isn't easy to find, I just happened on it by turning off the pavement and hotdogging out across the sand. After a few miles, I'd gone as far as I could drive, so braked and cut the engine, and started walking up a long, moderately steep incline. It was hot, but I had plenty of water.

As my eyes topped the rim, my breath caught. Laid out before me, below and as far as I could see, were the Borrego Badlands, miles of barren rock strata that had been down-dropped and eroded into fantastic rock forms a million years ago. Harsh looking, steeply-jagged peaks, and corrugated hills of dried mud thrust up from twisted sedimentary layers, fractured land faults, rich fossil beds, and sunken mesas in colors impossible to imitate by man.

It was a stark, arid terrain where nothing grew and no one lived, and it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I felt like I was standing on the edge of the earth.

Below, a road beckoned, isolated, remote, narrow and twisting, and begging for me to explore it. (I couldn't find the road on any of the desert maps, but happened upon it weeks later the same way I found Font's Point - by four-wheeling across the sand in its general direction. That was another memorable day.)

Standing at the top of Font's Point and looking far off in the distance to the east, the land drops suddenly to 235 feet below sea level to the weird and frightening Salton Sea. There, buzzards roost on leafless, lifeless trees. Strange, foul smelling sulfurous substances smoke and bubble up from the ground. Streams run an unnatural fuchsia red. The whole place looks like a scene after a nuclear blast. I don't like it there and stay away.

But Font's Point calls me still, and I hope to go back there.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Blame It On the Internet

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm impatient. I don't like waiting in long lines. I want my phone calls returned within thirty minutes, and I don't like waiting on hold playing Free Cell for more than five. Send a snail mail letter? Forget it! I'll post an email then check for a reply every half hour.

Some people who know me would say I've always been impatient. But I blame this expectation of instant gratification on the Internet.

When I sit at the computer with my fingers on the keyboard, I am mind-blowingly aware that I am connected to the entire planet. Imagine that! Anything I want to know, I can find out with a few click taps on the keys. And best of all, I can find it out right away!

I use the Internet a lot, and not just for research when I'm writing a book. I find occasions in my daily life to connect to the Internet. Here are some things I searched for recently:

Brian Eno - Known as the master of ambient music, I was looking for his CDs. I play ambient music when I write. Currently, Inner Dance by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson is in my CD player.

Knife sharpening - My kitchen knives need attention and I was looking for a place to take them.

Poor Clares - A cloistered order of nuns living in the middle of the desert. I'm quite taken with these powerful women and am thinking about using them in a book.

Lynx reintroduction - Wildlife managers in Colorado have recently reintroduced the lynx onto federal lands. This program will be a key element in an upcoming book.

GoDaddy - I reserved my domain names.

Wild Horse Herds - Wild horse herds in Colorado play a part in my just completed book, WITHOUT PERMISSION. Also, there are wild horse herds on some property I own in Southern Colorado. I'm interested in their history and their welfare. Did you know the government has pledged to care for them in perpetuity?

Cortez Journal - I keep up with news in the small town where I used to live through the newspaper's website. Recently newspaper photographer Sam Green took a photo of a wild stallion that had just been corralled by local ranchers. The stallion was fighting mad and thrashing out with razor sharp hooves at the wrangler. He'd been rounded up for relocation because he was a frequent visitor to the domestic mares on the nearby ranches. I ordered a copy of the photo and will frame it to hang in my office.

Brad Meltzer - I just finished reading his very suspenseful and exciting book, THE ZERO GAME. It was the first book I'd read by him, so out of curiosity took a look at his website.

Must go now. Have to check my email.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Writing Contests - Some Cautions

A member of my critique group - unpublished so far, but destined to be published if she keeps it up, she's a great writer - mentioned she was going to begin entering contests to get feedback on her writing.

I'm not a big fan of writing contests. I've entered a few, won some, finaled in some, but I've never felt the comments and feedback accompanying my scoresheets were particularly helpful to me. It's difficult for a judge to truly assess a book in any meaningful way on the basis of ten, twenty or thirty opening pages, and I found that many of the comments made by judges didn't really apply.

I once had a judge knock off some points and tell me to get rid of a certain character that appeared in the first couple of pages. The problem was, the character she wanted me to get rid of was the villain. Without him, there was no story. In another contest, I had a judge make a complex suggestion that would have sent my story off in a completely different direction. Not helpful.

I passed on the following cautions to my critique partner:

Keep in mind that a winning contest entry may not be publishable. As written, I mean. What contest judges look for in a contest entry may not necessarily be what an editor will find suitable or appealing. Writers with lots of experience entering contests usually write their entry specifically to appeal to contest judges. It's a knack.

Only enter contests where the final judge is an editor. Now, having said the above, if you do final, an editor will often ask to see a proposal, so it gives you a leg up, so to speak. You may have to further revise your proposal before you submit it, though.

Take the feedback with a grain of salt. Don't think that every comment a judge makes is written in stone. Often, the feedback will not apply at all. Use your own judgement. Take and keep what you can use, discard the rest. It's YOUR story.

Don't become addicted to contests. Don't focus your efforts solely on entering contests. I know of someone who won just about every contest she entered, but never sold a book. In fact, she never even submitted a proposal because she never wrote anything more than a contest entry.

Don't sacrifice writing time preparing contest entries. If you have a choice of entering a contest or moving forward on your novel, skip the contest.

If you win or final - BRAG! Go ahead. Tell everyone!

Good luck, Lena.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Writers Conferences - Some Favorites

There's been some discussion on the Five Star Authors email loop about writers conferences. Some authors enjoy them, others don't.

I happen to like writers conferences. But my reasons for going and what I take away from them has changed over the years. Early on, when I first began thinking about writing a book, I attended conferences for the classes. I went to every session I could, took copious notes, horded the handouts, bought tapes of the classes I didn't attend, and spent my evenings thinking about and applying what I'd learned that day. No parties or socializing for me! I was there to learn. With a vengeance!

Later, I scheduled one-on-one appointments with editors and agents. I used my eight or ten minutes to ask them what they were acquiring, if there was anything in particular they were looking for, and I pitched my story ideas. For me, conferences are extremely valuable. It keeps me up to date on the market, and I'm able to hear it directly from the editors. I met my agent at a conference. I pitched her, she liked what she heard, and she signed me.

But all conferences aren't the same. Some are huge affairs with thousands of people attending, others are deliberately small and intimate. Here are some of my favorites:

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers - This is held in Denver. It's a big conference with writers and presenters from all genres. They feature a lot of sessions about law enforcement and criminology. Very helpful for those writing crime, suspense or thrillers. You'll hear some famous name authors there, too.

San Diego State University Conference - This takes place in January, a time of year you'd rather be in San Diego than almost anywhere else. This, too, is a big conference, and similar to RMFW.

Desert Rose RWA Conference - This one is held every other year in Phoenix. It's a smaller conference, about 250 people. The focus is on romance writing and a lot of big time editors and agents attend. Registration fills up quickly as people come from all over the country and Canada.

Trois Riviere Fiction Writers Conference - This is a very small, boutique type conference, limited to about thirty attendees, and the slots fill up fast. Because it's so small, the editors and agents are very accessible and approachable. That's kind of the point of this conference. At the last one held in April, someone organized an impromptu reading in the hotel lobby that was attended by writers and editors. Some of the editors were writers, too, and read from their own work. A chance to get to know them in an informal setting. It's held in Farmington, New Mexico every other year.

I'd be interested in hearing about some of your favorite writers conferences, and why you like them.

Next blog I'll update you on my list of "100 Things To Do Before I Die." I may be able to check off one of the items. Nothing definite yet. I'll let you know. Send me your suggestions for exciting or interesting things to add.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Between Books

Since I'm between books, I'm taking the opportunity to get my office back in order. While I'm writing, especially as I near the end of a book, I don't take the time to file and sort the papers that seem to appear out of nowhere. During this down time I reorganize, clean my desk and bookshelves, and churn book ideas in my head. I'll mention later what story question I'm turning over now.

What collects in my office over the months a book is being developed? Mostly things I've printed from email or off the Internet. Information I thought was important at the time got printed out and put in a "to be filed" stack. Things like conferences I thought I might attend (but never did), contests I might want to enter (but never did), editorial guidelines from publishers I thought would be interested in something I was working on, emails about things I needed or wanted to see or do. Personal letters to answer, phone calls to return, personal business that needs follow up.

Interesting observation about all that- sometimes if I wait long enough the urgency goes away. I tossed a lot of paper.

But I accomplish two very important things while I'm putting my environment in order. First of all, the clutter is gone which is very important to my sense of well being. It clears my mind, allows me to sort of expand into my surroundings and take deeper breaths. Second, it gives me a chance to churn story ideas.

The story question I'm pondering today is - who would murder five nuns living in a secluded Order on a remote mountain top in the heart of the Arizona desert?

Friday, May 19, 2006

How I Got Started

I'm asked a lot how I got started writing books. Despite the fact that I think I was born to write, it actually took me quite a while to get started.

When I was very young, a beginning reader, my mother took me by the hand and walked me down the block to the local library. I remember the first book I checked out. It was about a dog named Val, and when I finished reading it, I thought to myself, "I can do that."

But it was a long time before I actually did.

Over the years I wrote for newspapers and magazines, and my work has appeared in many regional and national publications. I wrote some short stories, and even wrote for confession magazines (remember those?) I wrote for Vocational Biographies, a publisher of career reference materials, and was even fortunate enough to have corporate writing jobs (imagine! doing what I loved and getting a regular paycheck for it!)

But I always wanted to write novels. And I had no end of ideas to write about, it was the how that stumped me.

I thought there was only ONE WAY to do it, and my search began for THE way. That's what took me so long, and what a waste of time that was. Because there is no ONE way to write a novel. There are as many ways to write a novel as there are novelists. I just had to find the way that was right for me. Once I realized that, the story ideas began lining up in queue.

So the right way for me is to formulate most of the story in my head, and then write an outline. I always know the beginning and the end quite clearly. The middle of the story is not always fully formed in my mind, but I do make a list of things I want to happen. The items on the list are not carved in stone, I do wander off in the writing process, but I'm always amazed when I'm finished how many of those events on my list made it into the book.

I've received some interesting suggestions for my list of "100 Things To Do Before I Die." One is studying Yoga at an ashram in India, and though that is something I'd definitely love to do, I'm afraid I have to limit my list to things I'll actually do. Otherwise, my list would be endless.

And thanks, Bulldoglvr, but I don't think I'll be learning to fly, either, for the reason you mention. (See comments attached to my first blog called, "Welcome.")

More later.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Today I finished my current work in progress. What a great feeling to have completed it! It's a romantic suspense called WITHOUT PERMISSION about a child advocate who runs off with an eight-year-old boy to keep him safe. She flees to the only man she can trust, a nature photographer/wildlife biologist living in Durango, Colorado. Problem is, she dumped him flat years before. And, oh, yes, he's damaged from it. Now she can only hope he'll take her in. It turned out to be a bigger story than I'd planned and I had a lot of plot points to tie up before I got to the last page, so I was anxious to be done.

That got me thinking about finishes. Some things we like to see finished, others we wish would go on and on.

Here are some things I am glad to have finished: A book that I'm writing, a drive over Wolf Creek Pass, a colonoscopy, a crying baby, a blizzard, a summer in Arizona.

Here are some things I don't like to see end: A good book that I'm reading, a B-tribe CD, a beautiful sunset, a massage, sitting on the beach in Santa Monica, the last run in Aspen.

Now that I'm finished with this book, I can take a break and catch up on my reading. I usually read two or three books at the same time, switch off from one to the other. Right now I'm reading books written by friends of mine.

WHISPERS by Erin Grady is a real page turner, and jaded reader that I've become, it takes a LOT to keep me turning pages!

I'm also reading THE GARRISON: LOCKDOWN by Vijaya Schartz. It's not the kind of book I usually read, a futuristic, action-packed romance, but wow! I'm only a few pages into it and I am literally holding my breath to see what happens next.

I'm getting lots of private emails in response to my blog, people asking questions about writing and about my process. In the next few days I'll begin posting some answers.

Be well.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Strong Women

I admire strong women, don't you? I'm not only talking about famous women who have made important life changing contributions to science, literature, medicine, or other areas of our culture. I'm talking about the sharp, smart, focused young women of today who have learned to set goals, plan their lives, and make intelligent decisions for themselves. Women like my VISTA mates Amanda, Tricia and Melissa.

Women like Amanda Bell, the heroine of my book THE CHARMSTONE.

Amanda Bell was a misfit socialite who never quite fit in, never felt she measured up to other people's expectations. She made a courageous decision for herself when she was called upon to travel to a place she'd never been and where she knew no one in order to fulfill her deceased father's last wish. When she arrived on the Navajo Indian Reservation, a place as foreign to her as if it were in another country, she again felt uncertain and out of place. But she persevered, made mistakes that she learned from, overcame doubts and fears, and despite sometimes insurmountable obstacles, never gave up. And in the process experienced incredible growth.

I like Amanda Bell a lot. I hope you do, too. You'll meet her next spring when my book is released. I plan to give all my heroines guts and spirit.

And speaking of strong women - check out my friend Donna MacQuigg's book THE PRICE OF PRIDE. Her heroine, Sarah Brighton, is truly a free spirit with attitude!

Don't forget to post your suggestions for my "100 Things To Do Before I Die" list. I'll post the best ones, and mention your name, and maybe add them to my list.

Let me know your thoughts about strong women.

Be well.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm honored to be in the company of these impressive Five Star authors.

The title of my book is "The Charmstone" and it's a story of mystery, history and romance set in the Four Corners area of the Southwest. Specifically, the story takes place in beautiful Monument Valley, the most far-flung and remote part of the Navajo Reservation. I lived on the Reservation for a time as a VISTA volunteer and this book is inspired by my experiences there and the lovely people I met. "The Charmstone" comes out next spring, so please watch for it! My agent called to tell me she's already had a request to see it for film rights, so I'm very excited about that.

Living on the Navajo Reservation was only one of the things on my list of "100 Things To Do Before I Die." It's a list I began compiling a while ago, and I add things to it as they come to me. Other items on that list are seeing the Grand Canyon (I've just moved to Arizona, so haven't been there yet), going on a walking tour in Tibet , going deep sea fishing, working on an archeological dig (which I've done), going whale watching (which I've done), learning to line dance, and being an extra in a Cirque du Soleil performance.

But my list is far from complete, so if anyone has a suggestion, I'd like to hear it. Please tell me if you think of something interesting or exciting to do, and if it appeals to me, I'll add it to my list.

Please visit me often. The welcome mat is always out at my blog.