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Writer On The Verge

December 18, 2007 by in category Writer on the Verge by Kate Carlisle tagged as ,

Why I Can’t Blog Today

1. I have a headache. No, really. And no, it’s not a hangover so just don’t go there. It’s my sinuses. I’ve got bad ones. And with the rain and the changes in barometric pressure, I get all stuffed up. I’ll be okay, but I really can’t blog today.

2. As mentioned above, it’s raining. And rain effects the electrical connections in my house causing little brown-outs, which messes with the router and I lose my internet connection. How can I post the blog without an internet connection? I can’t. So I’m really sorry, but I can’t blog today.

3. I can’t concentrate on blogging because I’m stuck in Chapter Seven. Why am I stuck in Chapter Seven, you ask. Because in Chapter Seven my heroine has to go home, and I have to describe all that “home” stuff. Now, some of the home stuff has little to do with the mystery—and some of it does. But the point is, this is the chapter where I’ve got to introduce some of the ongoing characters who will appear and re-appear in subsequent books in the series. It all happens in Chapter Seven. So you see my dilemma, right? I mean, what if I give my heroine a sister with twins and a nice husband and a cozy lifestyle in the mountains near Lake Tahoe and it turns out in Book Four that the sister should’ve been a New York fashion editor? I could screw up the whole series. Or what if the heroine’s mom is a bi-polar hairdresser and her dad owns a liquor store, and then it turns out in Book Twelve that I really needed the heroine to be an orphan? You’d think I’d already worked all this out, and I have—for Book One. But what if I was wrong? What if–well, you get the idea. Who has time to blog when all this turmoil is eating away at my brain?

4. Christmas is less than a week away. I know most of you are just sitting around waiting for the fun to start but I’ve still got a pile of Christmas cards to write and address and mail, and a whole bunch of presents to buy, and hey, I’ve got to finish that stupid Chapter Seven (see Item No. 3 above), then start Chapter Eight, then pack for the trip to mom’s, and oh yeah, and I’ve got to stop at the drugstore to pick up sinus medicine (for my headache–see Item No. 1 above). But before that, I’ve got to make breakfast, take a shower, get dressed, go to work, FedEx a bunch of stuff to the family back East, then come home, wrap all those presents, finish Chapter Eight, pay bills, and bake cookies for the office holiday party.

So I think I’ve made my point here, right? I’m just too busy to blog. Sorry. Maybe next month.

But meanwhile, y’all have a Happy Holiday and a Wonderful New Year! Cheers!

[Kate Carlisle would’ve posted her really cute photo and some of her truly impressive writing credits but she was just too busy!]

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December 16, 2007 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as ,

by Rebecca Forster

I guess you’ve figured it out. The months of the year are my inspiration for this blog. You tune in and I give you my take on – well, something about the month. Sometimes it’s a stretch, sometimes not. But now it’s time for the big one.
December. Xmas. The holiday season.

So much to write about and so little time. Gifts. Holiday music. Horrid materialism which, if truth be told, would be relabeled miraculous generosity if I was the one opening a little blue box from Tiffany’s on Christmas morning. Be that as it may, I’m a writer and this time I’m not going to take the easy way out. I want to give you something to think about. I want my words to paint a picture that is eloquent in its simplicity, deep in meaning. In short, a blog that is unforgettable.
I want to tell you a cautionary Christmas tale. It is true. I saw it with my own eyes.

We lived in Los Angeles then. Our families were still in the South Bay. With parents getting on, brothers and sisters spread out all over the country, we felt obligated to spend the Christmas holidays driving: Long Beach, Redondo and back home to Los Angeles more times that I could count.

Back and forth; forth and back. Nothing spectacular – until two days after Christmas. The children were asleep in the back of the car. My husband was silent, tired of the freeways and cheer that had run its course. I sat beside him, my head resting on my upturned palm, thinking about nothing in particular. It was late afternoon and I would have nodded off too – but then I saw her.

I sat up straight and touched my husband’s arm. I raised my chin. He looked. His eyes narrowed. We didn’t wake the children. We didn’t want them to see the woman standing on the off-ramp but we couldn’t take our eyes off her. We passed her slowly. For a fleeting moment I wondered if we should stop. She looked so pitiful. I started to speak but my husband shook his head. He drove by. I swiveled in my seat hoping she saw that I, at least, sympathized. Perhaps she felt my interest. She turned to watch us. I saw the terror in her eyes. We could have helped. We didn’t. She held up her sign. The words were burned into my memory.

Spent too much at Xmas. Please help.

I turned my back just as the late afternoon California sun caught the diamond on her hand and shot a Christmas star of light into my eyes. She pulled her fur coat tight around her, shook back her streaked hair and turned to the next car. There, I thought, but for the grace of a credit limit, go I.

Merry Christmas to all those who give and those who receive.

Rebecca Forster

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Pets, Romance and Lots of Suspense

December 6, 2007 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

by Linda O. Johnston

I’m really excited to be joining the wonderful writers who blog on A Slice of Orange. I write romance and mystery, sometimes suspenseful romance, and sometimes romantic mystery. I’ve also become an experienced blogger. I blog weekly on and, since I write the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, the “hobby” I blog about is pets.

Of course, I consider pets family, not just hobbies. But the topic is fun and versatile.

So what do I hope to talk about here? I think one focus will be the fun of switching between genres. I started out writing mystery short stories, moved to time-travel romance, then romantic suspense, then back to mystery–novel-length, but also, still, occasional short stories. And I continue to write romance, too. In addition to my Kendra series, I’ve sold a paranormal romance to Silhouette Nocturne, although its publication date hasn’t yet been established. Why do I switch? How do I switch?

Well, come back and visit me on the sixth of every month, and I’ll tell you all about it! And if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston is the author of 14 romance novels as well as the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.

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November 16, 2007 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as ,

by Rebecca Forster

Like hopscotch, anyone who is anyone (think Hallmark, Macys, my children) leap off Halloween, land firmly on Christmas and roll their broke –and- tired- of- celebrating selves into a new year with only a quick touchdown in November for Thanksgiving day. All this makes the month of November seem irrelevant, a step child, a wallflower at the dance. A chapter that one can skip without missing anything important to the story.

Case in point. The grocery store, November 1. Milk is the mission. To get to the dairy case I had to dodge the sale bins of Halloween candy (brown corrugated cardboard) and slalom around the even bigger full-price bins of Christmas candy (red and green corrugated cardboard) . When I finally got to the milk it was surrounded by little soldiers encased in waxy yellow cardboard – the infamous eggnog..

To be fair, I did spy a display of cornstarch (bright yellow cardboard), Cornbread stuffing mix (brown cardboard) and pumpkin pie goop (hallelujia, a tin can). I suppose my brain should have registered Thanksgiving but the wreath display above the end-cap made me think Christmas dinner.

Which brings me to November and its one-day claim to fame – Thanksgiving. Other months are filled with days of celebration. October is spent sewing costumes, watching horror movies, getting ready for trick-or-treat. December’s days come with luncheons, holiday parties, gift exchanges and cookie baking. Thanksgiving’s frenetic cooking and eating is twenty-four hours long and the next day Christmas sales wipe November from our minds completely.

For me, though, ignoring November is like skipping over a chapter that really deserves attention. Sure there may be a hot love scene in chapter twelve, but chapter eleven gives you all the subtle little insights into why you’ll care what happens next. So here is my November; here is what I would miss if, every year, I leapt over this chapter in my life.

November is the month when I first feel the bite of a cold wind that reminds me even California has seasons and that, in reality, I’m still a Missouri girl. It is the month when long days become short and the early darkness makes me feel like nesting. Cuddled under a quilt of my own making I take the time to truly appreciate the feathers of that nest: chicks who come and go, a husband who still finds this bird the most lovable in the flock after 31 years, a warm place to hunker down if the rain comes.

November is a month in which we celebrate the birthdays of my sisters-in-law – a set of twins and one more. They have been my good friends for what seems like forever. It is the month I travel to see my own brothers and sisters half way across the country. I can’t wait because seeing their faces – even if it is only now and again – makes me feel as if I am still young, my father is still with us, my mother will still rule the roost and all is right with the world.

November isn’t the end, so I still have time to do things that will make me feel as if I am wrapping up the year well; it is not the beginning so there isn’t the uncertainty that what lies ahead might not be as good as what was left behind.

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Writer on the Verge

October 18, 2007 by in category Writer on the Verge by Kate Carlisle tagged as

by Kate Carlisle
Will it ever ring? Will they ever call? They never call. Sigh.

I think I’ve been waiting for “The Call” since … well, probably since I had a phone that looks like this one.

Fifty years? Okay, maybe not that long. Maybe only twenty years.

But the waiting is over, my friends.


And oh, it was a sweet moment. And at the risk of sounding really silly–like that’s ever stopped me!–I’ve got to tell you, everything in my world changed in that single moment, when my agents told me that a senior editor at a top publishing company had enough confidence in my writing that she was willing to buy three–THREE!–as-yet unwritten manuscripts from me.

Oh yes, everything changed.

It shouldn’t be that way, should it? A word from one person and suddenly you’re more important or special or different than you were a minute ago? Validation shouldn’t have to come from outside. I should have confidence in my own work. And I do. I know I have writing talent. I work with the most fabulous agents in New York City. I’ve won writing contests and received requests for my manuscripts and studied writing craft and I usually know what I’m doing when I sit down to start a new manuscript.

But something is still missing.

And like magic, when The Call comes, everything changes and all the years of hard work and rejections and hitting your head against the wall and stumbling and picking yourself up and starting over again — all that background story suddenly hits an incredible turning point and spins and twists and explodes in an amazing climax. And whew, everything is different. And it’s fantastic.

Don’t believe me? Just wait. It happened just like that for me and it’ll happen to you, too, if you just remember three little words. Maureen Child used them yesterday and I’m repeating them today because they just may be the key to getting what you want.

Three little words …

Never Give Up!!!

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