About Me

My photo
Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

for ceryn


In memory of Dr Harry Cunningham. Cruely murdered by the BBC scriptwriters on last nights Silent Witness.
And resurrected the following day. Nice plot twist BUT the way he survived... so not plausible. I'm sorry, but my 11yr old could have done better than that.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Blast from the past

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Once apone a time... (yes my spelling was rotten when i was a child.)

Dad had arranged to have his attic relagged. That meant taking Everything out of it. They now have no bedrooms lol. He's throwing out a lot of stuff...and giving us back what we haven't taken that's ours. Now you'd have thought after 18½ yrs I'd have taken all mine...wrong.

He also found these... hmmm, maybe i cropped the pics too much.

Anyway, these Paris prints were on the walls when I grew up and I loved them. They were a first wedding anniversary pressie for my parents way back in 1965 and they now be mine.


This one I adore. It's called song of the surf. Another print...this time a wedding pressie from 1964. And it too is now mine :D

He also found school reports. Mine from the 70's. Eeeek

July 1975 - All Clare's work will be much better when she learns to present it tidily. I feel that in English, Clare is not producing as high a standard of work as she could.

July 1976 - Clare has worked hard and well all through the year. Her untidy presentation of work is a handicap - but just recently this has shown improvement. She has a lively mind and ability to put thoughts on paper very well.

July 1977 - Clare shows some talent in writing stories and expresses herself imaginatively in clear, consise English using a strong vocabulary.

July 1978 - Very sensitive and imaginative work. Clare has a mature style and wide vocabulary. Spelling sometimes needs attention.

hmm... me sees a pattern developing. BUT... he found more. School work books from 1973!!!! with my first every story in. Here you go. Spelling etc copied straight from said work book.

Thursday, October 4th, 1973

A long time ago in a farr off land lived a witch. She was a wicied witch and she said I will buy a cottge in the wood. And when she moved in the wood. She catght a little girl called Helen. And the witch made her a witch. But they where kind and nice and good. They lived ever after.

Then there's sleeping brety and the first ever little red riding hood. Maybe another time.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

and the muse ran away with the plan

Seriously. I was doing my chapter plans - literally the first draft is done in note form the old fashioned way by pencil and on narrow feint paper. Don't ask, but it has to be narrow feint paper. I knew what I wanted to happen.

Then Cade appears. Cade is my muse

And all of a sudden things are happening that weren't meant to. Well what's a girl to do? Argue with him? I tried.

Even set Evan on him. Evan the inner editor.
It didn't work. And now Cade has decided to go away, leaving me with Patrick having had a nuclear warhead dropped on him. Not literally, but the poor guy is shaking and feeling sick and in knots and Eleanor is crying cos she didn't want to tell him like this.
Maybe I take away Cade's cookie rations for the next week until he decides to play nice. Reckon that would work?

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Guest author - Dana Sudboro

Today we also have Dana Sudboro, author of Continents Apart


blurb

Odette Peterson has a clear understanding of where the Lord wants her, and that's in the African missionary field. When she meets veteran missionary, Xavier Sand, she embraces their budding relationship. He's everything she's wanted in a man: Christian, kind, and a man who's dedicated his life to ministry. But when he insists she put aside her evangelization efforts and join him in Japan, she finds she must let Xavier go.

Xavier cannot understand why Odette stubbornly clings to the idea that God wants her in Africa. Missionary, yes, but she can do missionary work anywhere. After all, he does. Despite all his efforts to convince her to change her conviction, she refuses and Xavier finds himself floundering for significance in his life.

Across three continents, and with others vying for their hearts, Odette and Xavier must learn to trust that God knows what's best for their futures...even if that means they will never be together.

review:

Odette and Xavier’s growing love and desire to be together is dwarfed only by their love for God and desire to be faithful to His calling to the mission field—on opposite sides of the world. It seems an impossible and insurmountable situation.

“Ever since the storm had grounded planes at O’Hare, he could feel circumstances conspiring to thrust Odette and him together. Coincidence? Fate? Kismet? Hardly. Xavier grinned as he mounted the porch steps and opened the screen door. Who am I to struggle against God?

This powerful, heart-wrenching story by Dana Sudboro, is brilliantly written and brings Odette and Xavier to life in startling clarity, leaving them in your mind long after the last page is turned. Living on God’s timing isn’t easy and isn’t much covered in books. Saying ‘Lord, I can wait’ is one thing, actually doing the it is something else all together. Odette and Xavier’s faith never wavers as they wait, even if their patience does.

A God centred, Christian fiction novel that isn’t afraid to tackle issues that Christians face every day. Well worth reading.



Interview:

CR. How did you come up with your premise? Is there a story behind your book? How did the story evolve?

DS As I ministered to the Fulani people in West Africa, I became burdened to pray for the Tuareg, whom no missions targeted. So I invented a heroine be a pioneer.

CR. For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?

DS. Odette, missionary nurse to the Tuareg, is swept off her feet by Xavier, stationed in Japan. How can they move toward each other and remain true to their call?

CR Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?

DS. Xavier’s first email to Odette:

Odette,
Join me for a day of kayaking, kibitzing, and kebobing.
Sausalito, Saturday, say yes.
Otherwise, I’ll have to return to Illinois without seeing you.
Waiting to exhale,
Xavier.

CR How did you decide on the setting?

DS. I went to UC Berkeley and live east of Sacramento, so I split the difference and put Odette’s home base at UC Davis.

CR -Where were you born?

DS. Born premature in Marlette, Michigan. The hospital had to borrow an incubator from a neighbouring town to keep me alive. That was back in 1941.

CR. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

DS. Napa Valley among the vineyards nestled between the foothills.

CR- What’s your favourite colour?

DS - Green, every shade of forest trails and burgeoning leaves.

CR - What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?

DS - I write in silence to better concentrate, but relax with soft jazz piano. Marcus Roberts is a favourite.

CR - What are you most passionate about, other than writing?

DS - Creation science.

CR - Name some of your most favourite things.

DS - Camembert cheese on a slice of French baguette.

CR - What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

DS - Network. We need the advice and encouragement of other writers in order to develop our craft and market its product.

CR - Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? Yes. If so, what do you do about it?

I do one of the Pocket Muse exercises, mind map, take a walk.

CR - Who is your favourite author and why?

DS - John Eldredge, author of The Sacred Romance. He helps me recognize the passion God puts in my heart and trust where Jesus takes it.

CR -. What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

DS -Jude Deveraux. She keeps me laughing and continually amazed at her word-crafting and fun characters. And Grace Livingston Hill—her insight into true integrity and its counterfeit, both modelled in her characters.

CR - What was the hardest part of writing a book?

DS -Coming up with the premise. I discard several after writing a chapter or two, before I find one that works.

CR - What is your strangest habit?

DS- Pushing the hair back on my bald head. Totally subconscious until a student imitated me in a play. Though I laughed myself silly watching the caricature, I still do it.

CR. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

DS. African sauce of tomato, ground peanuts, okra, chicken, and fish, served over a millet-mush pancake called “sagabo.”

CR. What is your favourite animal?

DS. Cats—the more snooty and independent, the better.

CR - Have you ever cried during a movie?

DS - Tears and happy endings go together. If I don’t cry, the movie was a waste of money.

CR - What is your favourite pizza?

DS - Papa Murphy’s double-crust Chicago style.

Guest Author - Anne Greene

Today we welcome Anne Greene who is talking about her novel Masquerade Marriage.
ANNE delights in writing about wounded heroes and gutsy heroines. She writes both historical and suspense novels. After falling in love with several countries and their people, Anne set a number of her books in exotic locations. She and her hero husband, Army Special Forces Colonel Larry Greene, have visited twenty-five countries, including three communist countries. A visit to Scotland resulted in her newest book release, Masquerade Marriage, published by White Rose Publishing. When she’s not deployed with her husband, Anne makes her home in McKinney, Texas. Two of her four children live nearby. Tim LaHaye led her to the Lord when she was twenty-one and Chuck Swindoll is her Pastor. In 1990, Anne graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Literary Studies from the University of Texas, Dallas. Her highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. To learn more of Anne and to view pictures from her extensive travel, visit her at AnneGreeneAuthor.com.

A SECRET LIST
He was born to a clan of noted warriors and musicians. Yet to protect his loved ones and escape the dark fate of his brothers, he abandons his identity. Hiding from relentless soldiers who want him dead, he vows to protect the woman he loves more than life, more than freedom, more than Scotland. But his presence throws her into

A VOW HONORED
She weds a stranger to save his life. But do vows make a marriage? When does a marriage become a marriage? What if she holds a different love inside her heart?


A SACRIFICE MADE
Steeling himself against the pain, he condemns himself to a life of heartbreak without her. Wanting her desperately, knowing he can’t have her, he surrenders her and heads alone to certain death. Outlawed, with a price on his head, does she love him enough to give up castle, lands, and family, and risk the agony of surrendering her heart a second time?
EXCERPT FROM MASQUERADE MARRIAGE

Like a determined hero, the fugitive warrior strode through the door at the far end of the tiny stone kirk.
Megan’s eyes widened. Her clenched jaw relaxed. Some of her dread dissolved.
“Impressive.” Molly, Megan’s Irish maid, whispered from where they stood together in the vestibule.
He stopped in front of the hand-carved altar and half-turned toward her. Megan pulled in an uneven breath. This Highlander, wearing formal kilts, was no scrawny lad grown older, nor was he a big, hairy Scot with a bushy beard. The tall, strapping soldier stood with legs braced as if about to do battle.
Her heart skipped. Though she’d known Brody when she wore short skirts, this blond warrior was far more than she expected. Her pulse throbbed in her temples. Doubt niggled her brain. Brody was too tall, too obviously a Highlander. How could she hope to pass him off as a Lowland Laird? He appeared to have too big a chip on his shoulder to let her command him.
Brody’s thick sandy hair swept the collar of his linen shirt. Lace-trimmed cuffs matched the white jabot at his muscular throat. A silver broach clapsed his crimson and black tartan to his wide right shoulder. His Claymore, dirk, and thick sword belt startled her.
Megan suppressed a shudder. The English outlawed kilts. With his dress, Brody spat in the face of the English and further imperiled his life. Why?
His intense sapphire stare blazed a trail across the empty wooden pews toward her. His eyes made her feel dizzy as if she just danced a fast reel with a lively partner.
Molly grinned and handed Megan the bridal flowers.
What had she gotten herself into?

Review:
Megan, a lowland lady marries Brody a Highlander on the run from the English to save his life. Filled with rich Scottish language and descriptive passages, this book literally tosses you back in time to a land where men fought to be free from the tyranny of the English. (Honestly feel ashamed to be English having read this.)I literally sat and read all day, pausing only to feed the kids, so compelling is the story. I laughed and even cried. The emotions run deep as Megan and Brody slowly see past the pretence of their marriage and fall for each other, only for fate to step in.Definitely one to read, this will have you riveted to your comp/e-reader/book and one you’ll want to read again.
Interview
Why did you write this novel?

During a long visit to the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland I became intrigued with why Highland Clans no longer occupied the Highlands. You’ll find the surprising answer in my book Masquerade Marriage. I’m of Scottish ancestry as are so many Americans, and bagpipes music makes my heart sing. I fell in love with the awesome country and the friendly, complex people. So, being a writer, of course I had to write of what I knew. I love the clear fresh air, the handsome people, the amazing openness of the country, the castles, and the Scots violent, adventurous history. In the next few years I plan to add Cailin and Fiona’s love stories to Megan’s legendary love.

I also write contemporary suspense novels. I have a sassy detective novel, a modern day cowboy suspense, and a Coast Guard mystery, all set in my home state of Texas in the works. Did you know parts of the Civil War were fought in the west? I have a novel in the pipes that is a second book of a family saga which occurred in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I also have a World War 11 Women Pilots love story. I’d love to know if you prefer historical novels to contemporary novels. I’m taking a poll, so could you leave a comment?
Tell me about yourself.

I’m not sure what readers want to know about me, but here’s a sampling. In my early years I lived in a small farm town in Ohio, and have lived in San Diego, Chicago, and now live in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. I have four grown children, and just recently returned from spending a year in Seoul, Korea where my husband served in the Military. He is a Special Forces Colonel (Green Beret). I love to play sports, sail in the ocean, and travel. I’ve visited twenty-five foreign countries and every State in the US except Alaska. I also enjoy horseback riding, though I haven’t ridden English for several years. And I enjoy swimming. But writing is my passion.


How long have you been writing?

Masquerade Marriage is my second published book. I’ve been writing about ten years. Reading was my escape in my growing up years, and I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I graduated from the University of Texas cum laude with a degree in Literary Studies, but worked as a photographer and as a Real Estate Agent before diving in full-time to write. When I joined American Christian Romance Writers, the journey to writing got much easier. I have a wonderful critique group, and because of their annual conference, I’ve met many editors and agents. Finalling in writing contests gave me excellent feedback, plus got me my latest contract with White Rose Publishing. So, I recommend both contests and conferences.

What genre do you write and why?

I write in the Historical, Historical Romance, and Romantic Suspense genres. As a girl, I didn’t like history—until I read my first Historical novel. Then I was hooked. I know many people today don’t enjoy history, and my goal is to open up the glories of the past to them. History was modern life lived with all its heartache, joy, and excitement in a world very different from our own. I bring these different worlds into vivid, living color, and give a painless dose of history along the way. I write Romantic Suspense because I like to see good win over evil with fast action, surprises, and discover who did it and why.


Which authors have inspired me?

That’s a hard one to answer. When I read a really good book, I just want to sit down and write one as good—or better.


Masquerade Marriage is a book of my heart. My paternal ancestors are Scotch of Clan Gunn, which was located in the far north of Scotland in the Cathness area where Vikings intermarried with the Scots. I visited Scotland with the purpose of setting one or more historicals there, and fell in love with the country. The final battle between the English and the Scottish Highlanders changed the Highlands forever. A way of life ended. The drama in this story appealed to me, and so I wrote Masquerade Marriage. I love this time in history and so enjoyed living it as I wrote the book. I hope the reader finds a new world to love as he reads my book. I’m working on a sequel and a possible third book now.

Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?

Brody’s been in love with Megan since he was fifteen. Megan found him hateful then and is certain he is now in love with her beautiful, older sister. The tension between the two is fun.

When will it be released?

Masquerade Marriage released October 1, 2010 and can be purchased either in paperback or eBook at WhiteRosePublishing.com, Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com,cbd.com and booksamillion.com to name a few.


What started you on your writing journey?
I’ve always wanted to write. When my children went to school and after work, I squeezed in a few hours a day to write.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
At the moment, I’m doing a lot of publicity for my new book. But, when I’m writing, the only things I let distract me are family, friends, and errands. I’m very dedicated.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I sing in a 200 member sanctuary choir accompanied by a full orchestra. I also sing in a gospel choir that performs songs the Gathers made famous. I run the gamut.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
My family thinks I’m pretty quirky. I’m often accused of living in my own world-whatever that means! I do sometimes get so involved in whatever story I’m writing that I forget appointments or show up at a social event on the wrong date or at the wrong address. I think I’m rather like the Absent-minded Professor.

What is your strangest habit?
Lots of writers like to work in their pjs. I like to be completely dressed, including make-up. Who knows when I’ll want to run out and see a friend for lunch or run an errand? I’m pretty spontaneous. I can only write for a period of time before I need some social interaction. But then it’s back to the grindstone.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Exercise! Going to the gym. So easy to pass that by. When my mind is occupied with a book, my body wants to sit in that chair and write. Time passes and before I realize it, the day is gone. I don’t dread any part of the writing process. And I love to rewrite and polish. I love working with words and images and bringing them to life.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
When I visited Italy I fell in love with Italian food. I didn’t even need to visit Mexico to love Mexican food. I love Thai food. I live in a small town that supports many, many good restaurants and I love to eat out. But my very favorite meal is Christmas dinner with all my family.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
I love to write about redemption in every form. Second chances, forgiveness, grace, finding God’s will, and finding and walking with the Savior. I love the grace of God, and His unexpected ways of showing His love. The spiritual theme of my books come directly from the characters and whatever problems they struggle with.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. NKJV

Where were you born?

I was born in Concord Township, Ohio. Then I grew up in Urbana, a small farming town in Ohio.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I love the United Kingdom and would live in Ireland, Scotland, or England very happily. I also love Italy, especially the excellent food.

What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at?

I’m really good at games. My family won’t play with me because I always win. I’m also a pretty good artist. Some of my pictures are on my website, but my best two aren’t finished yet.

What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?

None. I need silence to write.

What are you most passionate about, other than writing?

About my Savior. And my family. Also, I love the outdoors and hate to see urban sprawl. In the United Kingdom the people know how to conserve their land because they have so little of it. They have cities—and country. None of the strip shopping malls that take of so much country.

Name some of your most favorite things.

I love hanging with friends, new ones as well as old ones. I love sports—where I’m playing, not watching. I love sailing, vacationing, travel. I love not having to dress-up, just wearing comfortable clothes—but I do like my make-up. Got to put on that face even if it’s paired with jeans and a sweat shirt. Life is made up of favorite things. Jesus said He came to give us life and to give it more abundantly. And He does!

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I like the process. I like becoming the characters and living in the settings. I like the adventure of finding out what’s going to happen. I love working with words. I like to rewrite and polish. I like it all.

Have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it?

Nope. I’ve never experienced writer’s block!

When is your next book due out, and what’s it about?

I wish I knew. I am working on three books right now and love them all. I have yet to send them out into the world of publishers. I am also working on a sequel to Masquerade Marriage. Readers are already asking for it.


If you didn’t write, what would you do?

I’d like to be an archaeologist. I’d love to spend time on a dig and unearth treasures of the past. I like the camping out with like-minded people who get their hands dirty and keep their minds agile. I’d like to sit around at night after a profitable day in the field and discuss larger than life characters who made a mark in time.

Why do you write in your specific genres?

I love history—and mystery. These are the types of books I enjoy, both to learn something new and to exercise my puzzle-solving bent. All my books include suspense and mystery, even the Historical Romances like Masquerade Marriage. My books always include adventure, romance and suspense with a large dose of characters learning their most important lessons.

If you had to live somewhere else in the world, where would it be? And why?

I’ve visited twenty-five foreign countries and though I love some of them, there is no place like the good old USA. However, if I had to live somewhere else, I think it would be the United Kingdom. My roots go back to Scotland and Ireland, and I feel right at home there. The landscape is beautiful, the customs delightful and just enough different to make them unique experiences. And I have no problem with the language. I also love Italy. Love the singing, the countryside and the food!


Do you base your characters on real people?

I’ve had two real heroes in my life and each offers some traits to my written heroes. My heroines are usually women who are totally opposite from me. Where I am cautious, she is not. Where I am hesitant, she jumps right in. Where I am timid, she is fearless. And so it goes. So, my answer is yes and no.


What car would you buy if money was no object?

I’m not that interested in cars. What I’d rather buy with that money would be a tropical island, and a summer place in Alaska.


Do you have a favorite color?

My favorite colors run in phases. I’ve had phases of yellow, then red, now it is green. I like green because that color brings out the green in my eyes.

What is you least favorite aspect of writing?

I love it all. I love the initial meeting the characters and finding out what they want to do. I love fleshing out backgrounds and settings. I love watching the characters and transcribing their actions to the page. I love rewrites and working with words to express exact meanings. I love polishing to see if I can make the story even better. My least favorite aspect of writing is the publicity part. It’s not enough these days for a writer to tell an awesome story, the writer must also sell that story to readers, and get her name known. That means book signings and making public appearances. That’s hard for most writers who would prefer to be sitting quietly at home rather than being the center of attention at some store or library.

If you could meet any two people in the world, who would they be, and why?

That’s a really hard question. I’ve already met the people in the world that mean the most to me, my husband and family. I love meeting new people who become my friends. I’m not star struck, so there are no famous movie, media, or sports figures I’d love to meet. I’m not avidly political, so there’s no president or politician I’d like to meet. I’ve already met many of the wonderful authors I read. I think I’d travel way into the future and want to meet my great-great-grandson and daughter to see if my Christian legacy remains with them—that is if the Lord doesn’t come first.

Let’s talk about other books you’ve written. I particularly like the sound of your sassy detective, please will you give us some teasers about these books?

My sassy detective is a bit like the Janet Evanovich character, Stephanie Plum, except Holly Gardens is a Christian with a Christian world view, and she has two men deeply in love with her. She rescues both of them, but having been dumped at the altar by a third, is unwilling to risk her heart again. This is a first book in a series of mysteries that she and the two male detectives solve. Each contains the growing tension of which man will ultimately win Holly. Holly’s overriding passion is to be a light in the dark underbelly of society as she solves mysteries. She’s also out to find the culprit who murdered her detective father and painted him as a drug dealer. Each mystery she solves brings her a little closer to finding her father’s killer and taking the detective agency out of the red. The title is Holly Garden, PI, Red Is For Rookie.

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath?

When I saw the Urbana High School football going to the shower—naked. Some hid behind a small towel, some pretended to strut their stuff, and some only had hands to cup around their embarrassment. Of course, I shouldn’t have been where I was, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
What got you interested in writing?

I’ve always told stories: when I played with dolls, they weren’t babies, they were character dolls that played in dramas. When I had nothing to do, I dreamed stories. When I read my first Nancy Drew mystery, I knew I had to write.

Why did you begin writing? How long have you been writing?

I didn’t start writing until my children were in school. I was also working, so had very little time to write. I’ve been writing seriously for ten years.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

Definitely join a writing group like American Christian Fiction Writers and Faith, Hope and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. They have classes, critique groups, and you get to meet other peculiar people like you are.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Great question! The craft takes years to learn for most writers. Every element is important. But, I think the writer’s imagination is the most important. Her voice, what makes her who she is, and what she is passionate about. Of course, the most talented writer must learn about characterization, plot, vivid words, and all the ABCs of writing style.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

With my historical novels, I usually start with a setting and a historical happening that appeals to me. Then I think about what kind of characters it would take to live during that time and survive that happening. Writing contemporary is harder for me because then I have to start with plot. Once I have plot, then again I figure what type of character would overcome the plot situation.

When you write do you start with a plot outline, a character sketch, how do you begin? How do you stay on course?

I may only have a single occurrence or a single setting when I start. Then the story just emerges. It’s like watching a movie and putting everything down on paper. I think I’ve written so many stories in my head before I became a writer that I never have trouble deviating from the course. I have no patience with either plot outlines or character sketches. Plots and characters are the fun things that come from writing the book. Each chapter brings me a new discovery. I am a very definite seat of the pants writer.

What are you reading now?

I have a whole list of books I’m reading to review. Other than those, I read books to research my writing. I’m also a judge in the Rita Contest and am reading a large number of books for that.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

I wish I knew. When I was growing up, I read my father’s books which were all about war and adventure. Perhaps these influenced me. I read all the classics and loved the long books like War and Peace and Anna Kernenia. I loved The Robe and think that book influenced me. These days, I’m not sure that books have a lot of influence over me.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Before my first book was published, people often asked me what I did for a living. When I was selling real estate, that was obvious, when I had my photographic studio, that was obvious. But when I started writing full time, the question became embarrassing. Finally, I just stuck my neck out and said, I’m a writer. That became embarrassing because the next question was always, are you published? For many years I had to admit I wasn’t. Now, happily, I can say yes, I’m multi-published.

What person or experience inspired you to become a writer?

My father didn’t think I could write a book. So, I wrote my first book to show him I could. That book was published. But years passed before my second book was published. I am certain I would have become a writer even had my father not had any confidence in me, because I cannot not write.

Describe your writing space.

I have the pool table room. The center of our big recreation room holds the pool table. Every other nook and cranny holds my glass u-shaped desk, computer, paper, and stacks of work to be done. I have five crammed bookcases, four crammed file cabinets, a comfortable sofa, six 20 x 24 pictures of my family on the walls, a bank of windows to my right overlooking the golf course. A desk and easel take up one corner of the long room where my art supplies and half-finished paintings wait. On lovely days I step outside my door onto the upstairs porch and work. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect writing space.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

That first, all-important chapter. So many things must be included, and yet the pacing has to keep the reader’s interest.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Go to church. I never write on Sunday. I love being with my family. I enjoy going out, doesn’t matter where. I like to travel. I like to take walks with my dog. I love spending time with my friends. Oh, there are too many things to number.

What do you do in your spare time? (Assuming you have any ;-) )

What spare time???
What genre would you like to explore that you haven’t tried to write in yet? Will you? What would you never see yourself writing?

I’d like to write Medieval and Biblical. Also, I’m thinking of delving into short stories. I doubt I’ll ever write about Vampires or Werewolfs.

Do you really, really want a dog?

I love dogs. I have a white Lhaps Apsa and would like to have more, but dear hubby objects. They do interfere with travel.

Do you hate how you look in pictures?

Yep.

Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?

I write fairly large or fairly small. Depending on my mood.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

In China I watched my dear husband eat a roasted Scorpion. In Korea I ate Kimchi, but didn’t eat the silk worm larva. Phew! In Australia, I didn’t eat Kangaroo burgers. In Viet Nam I ate some really good stuff and have no idea what it was.

What is your heritage?

I’m Scotch-Irish on my paternal side and Dutch on my maternal side. However my genealogy goes back to Charlemagne, and from there back to Adam.

What is your favourite pizza?

If its pizza, its my favourite.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

I wish. Some days I’m rearing to go in the morning, and some nights I just can’t say goodbye to that day.

If you were granted three wishes by a genie, what would they be?

For my children to maintain a close walk with the Lord. All three wishes.

If you could go anywhere to tomorrow, where would you go?

I’d like to go back to being twenty-one. LOL.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Guest Author - Mary Manners

Today we welcome Mary Manners who's touring with her new release - Tender Mercies.



CR. How did you come up with your premise? Is there a story behind your book? How did the story evolve?

MM - My husband loves football, so I’ve learned to love it, too. We live near the University of Tennessee, and football is a huge tradition here. I thought it would be fun to embrace that tradition and get ‘inside’ a player’s mind for awhile. Writing Tender Mercies was a lot of fun, and my husband was pleasantly surprised by my ability to accurately weave the elements of football throughout.

CR. For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?

MM Gladly.

When Lexi Taylor resorts to hosting an online auction to raise money for her fledgling youth center, the last thing she expects is to be matched for a date with Cooper Jackson. Lured by the premise of a lucrative NFL career, the hometown hero and former University of Tennessee quarterback broke off their engagement without so much as a backward glance.
Now, six years later, he wants Lexi back. But a heartbreaking secret stands between them, and Lexi plans to keep it that way. Can Cooper’s gentleness and renewed faith coax the secret to the surface? And if he does, will forgiveness draw them close, or will their love be shattered forever?

CR Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?

MM - I think my female readers will love reading about football from a woman’s point of view.

CR - How did you decide on the setting?

MM - I love the history and scenery of the Knoxville area and Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains…it’s so beautiful.

CR - When will it be released?

MM - January 14, 2011

CR -Where were you born?

MM - Just west of Chicago, Illinois in a suburb named Elmwood Park.

CR – If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

MM - Right where I am…here in Seymour, Tennessee. Everything and everyone I love is here.

CR - What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at?

MM - I love to make silk flower arrangements and bake Italian food (I am Italian, after all). My husband and daughter like the baking part, too!

CR - What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?

MM - None. I cannot write to music. I can write as chaos ensues around my house…dogs chasing the cats, kids messing up the kitchen and wrestling…but not with music. I do love to light candles, though…any fragrance that goes with the theme of my current story.

CR - What are you most passionate about, other than writing?

MM - I love teaching English and math to my 7th grade students. They are truly an amazing and wonderful group of kids.

CR - Why did you begin writing? How long have you been writing?

MM - I began writing at birth. No, seriously…I have really vivid memories of ‘writing down’ stories long before I even knew how to really print. I’d just scribble on paper and then go tell someone in my family what I’d written.

CR - Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

MM - Yes! I mow. Really, I do. Even if it’s cold—and dark—and winter. It works magic…like taking a sledgehammer to a dam. I don’t mind too much that my neighbors think I’m a bit crazy :-)

CR - Are you working on anything at the present you’d like to share with us?

MM - I’m working on a series about four sisters who run a bakery together in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. They each find love in their own special way.

CR - What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

MM - I absolutely love Nora Roberts. Her voice is so unique, and she really gets inside her character’s heads. I also love Karen Kingsbury and Beverly Lewis.

CR - Where do you get your inspiration from?

MM - I’ve been teaching for twenty-five years. Kids are a constant source of inspiration for me!

CR. What do you do in your spare time? (Assuming you have any ;-) )

MM - Wow…spare time! I think I’ve forgotten what that’s like (but it’s a good thing…to be busy writing). I love taking long walks with my husband and just sharing time with my daughter. She’ll graduate high school next year, so lots of big changes there.

CR - Do you really, really want a dog?

MM - I really, really have TWO dogs and TWO cats…all rescued from local animal shelters. I love them all, but no more pets, please!

CR - Do you hate how you look in pictures?

MM - Oh, man. Elementary school picture day was pure torment, and it hasn’t gotten any better with the passage of time. (Imagine twenty-five years of teaching—twenty-five extra picture days. UGH!)

CR - What is your strangest habit?

MM - When the weatherman predicts snow, I run the belly of an illuminated snowman my husband gave me last Christmas—lots of snow means lots of time to write!

CR - Are you a morning person or a night person?

MM - I am definitely a morning person. I like to get up by 4:00 and write before school. But the older I get, the earlier I go to bed.

CR - If you could see anyone tomorrow (dead or alive), who would it be?

MM - Oh…this one’s easy. I’d see my dad, who died of cancer nine years ago. I miss him so much.


Avaliable HERE

My Review -

Lexi hasn't seen Cooper since he walked out on her six years ago, choosing a career in football over a relationship with her. Being won by him in a dating auction is the last thing on her mind, but the charity she founded for kids desperately needs the money. She reluctantly agrees to the date, but on her terms. There is too much history between her and the handsome footballer for her ever to forgive him, not that he'd forgive her if he knew her secret. Neither Cooper nor Lexi came out of the relationship unhurt and their reunion is bittersweet to say the least.

This novel by Mary Manners is a real treat. With charming, full bodied characters, it's plot kept you from the housework as I found myself sneaking back to it, eventually giving up on housework until I'd finished reading.

A heart warming tale you don't want to miss.

Friday, 14 January 2011

When life throws you lemons...

So at 4.15 this afty I went to start dinner. Opened the freezer to find the door opened easier than it should. Not a good sign.


The drawers were covered with a sheet of ice. Icicles hung everywhere. Boxes were wet.


Dinner promptly became whatever was thawed out. The towels came straight out the dryer and onto the floor and I began an emergency defrost. Having first found the thermal bags to put the contents in.


But there was so much ice I decided to have fun as well.


Meet Steve.
I sent him by text to Dad. He wanted to know if we were gonna eat him. No... he melted. Poor Steve. But he's my FB pic now. Lol.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

interview

I'm being interviewed over on the write conversation today. Come find out how long it took to write Season for Miracles.

http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.com/2011/01/clash-of-titles-conquerors-by-jennifer.html

Book Review - The Trespass by Scott Hunter



Blurb:

First they tried to kill him. Then they took his daughter... Anthropologist Simon Dracup knows that his only hope of finding her alive lies within the pages of his grandfather's diary, the record of a near century old expedition to Mount Ararat, legendary resting place of the great Ark of Noah. When the CIA pays him a visit Dracup learns that something was found on the Ark. Something priceless. Now its owners have taken it back, but they want revenge and Dracup is their prime target. Dracup finds himself plunged into a desperate battle for survival as he hunts for evidence that will lead him to the sinister Korumak Tanri, but even he could not have predicted the shocking truth about the mysterious cult and the ancient secret they are sworn to protect. .

Review:

Wow. This book is a page turner from start to finish. Completely unputdownable, it's a compelling read that drags you in and holds your attention from cover to cover. An innocent inheritance drags Simon Dracup into the stuff of nightmares as he finds himself running for his life, while trying to find his daughter and solve a mystery bigger than the quest for the holy grail.

If you like conspracy, mysteries and seat of your pants action and drama, then The Trespass by Scott Hunter is one book you really shouldn't miss.


You can find Scott at : http://www.scott-hunter.net/ and can buy the book at Amazon

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

11/1/11

Yes its another cool date - 11/1/11 but I don't really have anything to say. I was hoping I would but I don't. Just like I can't write anything atm. Muse was working lovely yesterday - then the kids came home and on went the TV and that, as they say, was that.

I'm over HERE today, where you have a chance to win a copy of my ebook Season for Miracles

Thursday, 6 January 2011

very short story

My FB status was to read or to write, that is the question. Someone suggested a short story for FB. This was the result. It's very early here, okay... not even 6am yet

The Watcher by Clare Revell

To some it was a thankless task and a pointless exercise. The country of Ambleside hadn’t been attacked in years, well living memory to be precise. For centuries it had been at war with the neighbouring country of Esher. Then just as suddenly it had stopped. An awkward and fragile peace existed between the two towns, one that could be broken at any time.

So King Sabin of Ambleside insisted on the border being protected and on this remotest of remote outposts being manned at all times. Not that you could call it an outpost. Oh they did, but the three men who split the watch between them had other less savoury names for it. None of which are repeatable in company or the presence of small children.

From here they could just make out the roofs of Ambleside’s tallest buildings. The road stretched in a straight line as far as the eye could see in both directions. There was no cover therefore, they argued, an invading army would be crazy to attempt it. And was probably the reason why they hadn’t.

Mind you the watcher thought. With just me, sat here, in plain sight, it’d be me that gets picked off pronto like rather than them. But still he sat there, swinging his legs to relieve the boredom, watching and waiting for an attack which never came.

At least not from the direction everyone was expecting.

Relations suddenly got icy between Ambleside and Esher. As usual love was to blame. Crown Prince Haldis of Esher had fallen for Princess Awena, eldest daughter of King Sabin. For a while the two of them had snuck out, going for long moonlight walks, long rides in the sunshine and everything was fine.

Then King Sabin found out and blew his top. He forbade Awena from ever seeing Haldis again. This, as you would expect went down like a lead balloon. The Princess threw the biggest tantrum you have ever seen, quite unbecoming someone of her age.

It was said that her great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother had fallen for the prince of Esher and that’s what had caused the last war. King Sabin wasn’t taking any chances. Especially as Awena was the spitting image of her according to the painting in the great hall.

Across in Esher, Haldis was just as upset. He raged against his father and this stupid ban he’d imposed on him seeing Awena. But it didn’t matter what he did or what he said, the answer was NO. A short, sharp, irrefutable no.

Still the watcher sat on his post. They’d asked for extra personnel but hadn’t got them. He was one man on whom the security of his country depended. And that was to prove their undoing.

The watcher was found cold, silent and unmoving by his replacement. He called it in and soon there was a whole regiment of King Sabin’s finest men there. All in there red dress uniforms with gold trim.

They dismounted and crowded round the watcher. To start with they just stared then someone moved closer. A hand cautiously reached down to check for a pulse. Just in case. Pointless really, the staring eyes, the ever growing pool of blood, the cracked skull telling everyone what the result would be. A shake of the head. A collective sigh.

Hooves pounded on the cobblestones, bringing the tidings to the king. Footsteps echoed in the halls.

King Sabin looked up, angry at having been disturbed. "What's the meaning of this?"

"Sire," he began. He got low on the floor, trying to catch his breath. "The outpost... The watcher, he’s dead..."

The King rose to his feet. "What? How did this happen?"

“He was murdered Sire.”

King Sabin spun on his heel. “Call out the army!” he ordered. The death of the watcher could only mean one thing. An assault was planned and possibly underway. To avert certain disaster he had to strike first.

And that’s what he did. He used the new aerial assault weapons he had at his disposal. Within minutes they were launched and flying towards Esher.

Esher retaliated. Their defences were slightly more advanced, their weapons more deadly. Three mutual exchanges later most of Ambleside and Esher lay in ruins. Smoke rose from the destroyed buildings. People staggered, burning, crying and trying to find their loved ones in the burnt out shells of their wrecked homes and schools.

Out on the border two people sat by the body of the watcher. “I didn’t mean it,” she whispered. “I didn’t know he’d fall.”

He tried to comfort her. “I know, it was an accident.”

“But look what happened Hal. I snuck up behind him, made him jump and he fell off the wall. Look what happened because of that.”

“You weren’t to know, none of us were.” He paused as another two explosions shook the air, obliterating the two countries.

“Now what do we do?”

“Start over, somewhere new. Together.”

They slowly got to their feet and Awena watched as Haldis buried the body of the watcher – Um. T. Dumpty. Then they started walking, the last survivors of a destroyed civilisation.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Why?

At the risk of running away all my 10 followers...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1344192/Political-correctness-takes-great-American-novel-Huckleberry-Finn-censored.html?ito=feeds-newsxml Why?

Surely that's like taking the holocaust of of the Diary of Anne Frank incase we offend the Germans.

Or like removing Rob Roy from English librarys, and William Wallace come to that because we don't want to remember how badly we treated the Scots at times.

It's history. We may not like it, it may make us feel uncomfortable or ashamed to be English or whatever... But it's there to stop us making the same mistakes again.

Remove that and who's to stop people from doing it over.

gets off soapbox and goes back to her new story. For some reason I'm writing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays Child concurrently. Dont' ask why. Tis very confusing lol. Though, technically since one has no memories, one is deaf and one is fighting to save her business from being bought out its not, but you know what I mean =)

Saturday, 1 January 2011

1/1/11

~Happy New Year~


Just an excuse to post the date really. 1/1/11

Kid 1 been sick and in bed since boxing day. He's still there. So basically I havent' gone anywhere the whole holiday even tho I better now. Did leave him for a couple hours yesterday as I was going stir crazy -- 7 hrs of Tracey Beaker will do that. As will 2 solid weeks of Zach and Cody, Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place and Sonny with a Chance.

But I go back to work on Tuesday - yayayayayayayayay,
Means kids go back to school - yayayayayayyayay

Cos then I can write...something that i can't do with the tv on and kids around cos they like interuppting mummy soon as she opens word.

See no one bothered me this entire blog entry. I'll open word....


see better go.... kids want me now.