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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Sunday, May 31, 2009

This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse

Please join us this week for the following blogs:

Monday, June 1st: Introduction to Father Knows Best month
Tuesday, June 2nd: Priscilla Kissinger My Father; My Romance Reading Hero
Wednesday, June 3rd: Guest Caroline Fyffe Does Your Hero Deserve a Happily Ever After?
Thursday, June 4th: Maureen Hardegree Dad’s Favorite Dessert—Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Friday, June 5th: Noodler June Releases and Q&A

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Q&A Friday!

We've spent a month exploring the many facets of sisterhood, biological as well as sisters of the heart. Many of us write about sisters. Many of us give our heroines best friends.

What are the pitfalls in giving your heroine a best friend? What are the advantages?


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Favorite Sistertime Activities

It’s not what you say, it’s what you do that often reveals to the world who you are. If this snippet is true, what does what I do with my sister Eileen reveal about us?

Phone Talking
Even if I have seen her the day before, my younger sister and I can still talk for over an hour on the phone, guaranteed. Ask our husbands. When we were little and shared a room, my mom would hear us talking when the lights were out and we were supposed to be asleep, and we’d get in trouble. Was it the lure of forbidden fruit? Is it still? If you ask my husband, who keeps upping my cell phone minutes, he’d give you an emphatic “yes.”

Donut Eating
Let me first say that I am not a regular donut purchaser. I love them, but my butt doesn’t need additional padding. My sister, who recently had a baby, also loves them. Her husband loves her and buys them because he knows she loves them. When I go to visit her and the baby, I can’t resist those Krispy Kremes. I think it all started with some other sisters—my mom’s family. Tradition was donuts after mass. My family also partook of that tradition. It may not be good for us, but we love a good yeast donut, especially with chocolate frosting.

Beach Walking or Hiking
If we travel to the beach, which we do on family vacations, Eileen and I like to take long walks along the shore. We talk, we take in the salty breeze, we get our feet wet, and all of a sudden it’s been an hour. When we were in Folly Beach (where we stayed for my brother’s Charleston wedding), my mom sent my uncle out to find us because we’d been walking so long. When we went to North Carolina last summer, we did a short hike because she was preggers and in the throws of morning sickness, but I assure you we would have taken a longer hike under normal circumstances.

Board Game Playing
Maybe it was because we didn’t have cable as kids, but a lot of down time was spent playing board games in my family, especially during summer vacation. In fact, during one particular summer, my mother banned my older sister and brother from playing Parcheesi because their play would inevitably escalate into accusations of cheating and shouting. Our family favorites are Scattagories, Pictionary, Star Trek UNO, Trivial Pursuit, Life and the card game War. When we were younger, we played Payday, Battleship, and Risk, too. My older sister liked Monopoly, but I found it too long and boring. I guess I was never cut out to be a real estate mogul.

Clothes Shopping
I love going clothes shopping with Eileen because really it’s like having a living, breathing paper doll. She was always the skinny sister, so clothes look fabulous on her. She also would try on anything I asked her to. How cool is that? Another great thing about shopping with my sister is that she might suggest that I try on something I wouldn’t normally go for. An added bonus is that she’s completely honest when a pair of pants looks hideous. I provide the same honesty for her, but like I said, most everything looks good on her.

Baby Birthing
This was probably the highlight of my year—being in the delivery room with Eileen and her husband as their son was born. I liked being able to encourage her and provide the leverage for her to push. I so enjoy watching her as a new mom and answering her questions. She doesn’t always take my advice, but that’s okay. She has to forge a path that’s right for her.

Okay, so what we’ve learned from this informal evaluation is that Eileen and I have a bond forged on late night talks, board games, and donuts. We remain close because we live near one another (on purpose) and spend time with each other, if not in person, then by talking on the phone. She is my best friend.

Who is your best friend? What do you do with him or her?

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009


We've been talking this month about girl friends or sisters. I grew up in a family with three brothers, so I haven't had much experience with sisters. Now I have two grown daughters, and I am thankful to count them as my friends. Having daughters for friends is a blessing.

Although daughters are not quite the same as sisters, we can still do some of the same things that sisters do. We like to go to chick flicks together and shopping even though my shopping style is a little slower paced than theirs. We share advice and recipes. I get fashion advice from them that hopefully keeps me young, although I still like my comfy sandals that they consider "old lady shoes." We laugh, play games and exercise together. One of my favorite things is taking a walk on the beach with them or sitting on beach chairs with our feet in the water.

I just wish they didn't live so far away.

What kinds of things do you like to share with your daughters?

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sisters...Mothers...Women Rock!

Sisters are so many things…they are built-in friends. Sometimes they can make you angry because they know all the right buttons to push. Mostly sisters enrich our lives. They provide a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. They are supporters of dreams and they encourage you when you need it most. They will cry tears for you and make you smile.


Sisters provide many laughs. Sometimes we laugh at each other but mostly we laugh with one another. We grew up together and yet it is as if we all had different childhoods. The oldest sister had to take care of us at times while the youngest was babied by us all. We grew stronger and closer as a result of our parent’s divorce. We learned from each other. We raised families…seventeen children in all between the five of us. The cousins are all close. We have our ups and downs, but through thick and thin, each and every one of us knows that we can count on one another in a moment’s notice.

We are sisters.

We are strong as one, but together we are powerful beyond words.

This month has been about SISTERS. Writing sisters and sisters of the hearts. We celebrated mother’s day, too. Women are amazing people. It is the women of this world who shaped who I am today. Today I turn fifty and I can’t help but reflect and think of all the amazing, strong, capable women I’ve met along the way. They write books and raise children while working outside of the house. They take care of the animals and the sick. They are the first to lend a helping hand. They cook dinner, do the laundry, clean the house. They sing and dance. Lawyers, doctors, teachers…they do it all. They are strong. Women rock!

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Sisters? How About a Thousand Sisters?

Me? I stayed home to write this blog. What are you doing home?

All right, I'll admit I'm dragging my feet. The subject of sisters is actually a pretty painful one for me. In my family, female relationships tended to not be good, and in fact until I had kids of my own, I couldn't say I had any really strong relationships with the women in my family. Passive-aggressive behavior is very common, and so is back-stabbing, if you can say there's a difference between the two. I have only one sister, and I haven't seen her, spoken to her or otherwise heard from her in years. Sadly, my brothers haven't either. And I'm the one who cut off the relationship.

I won't go into details because really, it's very personal to me. But my decision to end the relationship was a very hard one. It took a lot of talking to my hubby in that very way he finds most uncomfortable for me to reach that decision. But I looked back over years and years of hateful verbal abuse and realized she had no intention of being nice to me except when she wanted something. I gave her three warnings to stop or I would cut her off. I know she was drunk. Probably all three days. I have no idea what has happened to her since then. But I can't imagine her ever apologizing, and my preventing her from exercising her right to free speech was probably forever unforgivable in her eyes.

So I have to say, I don't do sisters well. Natural ones, at least. To be truthful, for one long period in my life the only women I actively sought for company were my own daughters, and those relationships have been very good. I had some good relationships, but they didn't really have a t of depth. I didn't have much in common with most women, I thought, but I think now I didn't quite trust them. (Remember, I didn't tell you about my mother.)

The year and date that started changing was June, in 1993. I had just finished my first romance novel and even though I knew it needed to never be shown to another living being, I was eager to start the next one. I brought out an article I'd saved from a February newspaper about this group of women who wrote romance novels, and found the phone number of the president. The woman I phoned is still a very good friend. So are several other members of what is now Rose City Romance Writers. But I've never called us a sisterhood. That's because the term scares me.

RWA may have a lot of flaws, and it's not an organization that all writers could love, but that's where I've met my Thousand Friends. As the years have gone by and I've attended conferences, I've found many friends I can trust. We share a common love of story-telling and we dream the same dreams of success. But even more, we are a group that does something really strange. We help, support and cheer our own competition. We shoud be rivals, maybe, but we forget that for the great pleasure of sharing our joys and knowldge, not just as writers, but as women. And we share a love of something that is at the very essence of women everywhere- a belief in relationships. We know they don't always work, and we know there are some among us who really don't have the same aims, but we keep sharing anyway.

In 2003 when I finalled in the Golden Heart, I thought I would be scared if I had to go up on that stage, but I wasn't worried. I didn't prepare a speech. I did a real avoidance thing instead. I picked the woman who I knew would win, and so I spent my time at the conference just enjoying people. But as I was dressing for the evening, this little voice kept saying, "You'd better think of what you're going to say." So finally I gave in and wrote something down.

Well, the inevitable happened. My best friend got lost. I left my name tag, room key and special invitations in my room and couldn't find my roommate. By the time time I got that all straight, all the other finalists had already gone in. BFF was nowhere to be found. But another friend came up and gave me a huge hug and I explained why I was coming apart at the seams, and she went in with me and held my hand.

I really did believe I wasn't the winner. She had to hit me with her elbow before I really understood. And I had to walk all the way across in front of the audience to get to the stage. But the minute I got up there and looked out, I could see that sea of faces beyond the stage lights and it suddenly struck me, I had a thousand friends out there. The nerves vanished. All I could think was, they were there ready to cheer me, support me help me. And I just said what I felt.

It took awhile before I began calling them my thousand sisters. But that's what they are. I can't go to conference this year, and I'll miss seeing my thousand sisters, but I know they're out there for me and always will be.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse

We hope all our readers are enjoying their Memorial Day weekend. Please join us for the last week of Sisterhood month. Here's what we have planned:

Monday, May 25th: Delle Jacobs Substitute Sisters
Tuesay, May 26th: Theresa Ragan TBA
Wednesday, May 27th: Merrillee Whren TBA
Thursday, May 28th: Maureen Hardegree Favorite Sistertime Activities
Friday, May 29th: Q&A

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Q&A Friday!

Since May is also the month where we celebrate motherhood, which is close kin to sisterhood, we'd like to take this Q&A to talk about mothers in relation to characters in our novels.

As writers, we have to know our characters before we begin OR we come to know them through writing our first draft. Whether planners or pantsers, we have to create our hero and heroine's back story and discover how they became who they are when the story begins for the reader.

One of the most important past or on-going relationships to figure out for our heroes and heroines is that between mother and daughter or mother and son. Even if our heroine is an orphan, we have to understand how the absence of a mother affects her. Does this orphaned heroine have a mother figure in her life or is she a complete loner? Does our heroine hate herself for causing her mother's death? Does our hero's overbearing mother drive away all his girlfriends?

How do you go about creating the mother backstory for your characters? What sort of mothers do you tend to give your heroes and heroines? Do you notice any patterns?


Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Sisterhood of the Wet Noodle Posse

By Debra Holland

In 2003, some 60 of Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart finalists joined a yahoo group. For the first weeks I experienced a lot of confusion trying to get to know these strangers, something hard to do when people are just writing about themselves, and you have no visuals of them. (A lot, if not most, of us didn’t have websites at the time.) I didn’t know that this group of strangers would grow into a posse of sisters whom I consider dear friends and deeply love.

In the beginning, those of us who’d been finalists before gave the newbies advice about what to expect at the conference and during the awards ceremony. But eventually we evolved to talking about the ups and downs of writing and the publishing world. We also started to share about our personal lives.

You can read all about the beginnings of the Wet Noodle Posse (WNP) on our website: The creation of the website and our monthly ezine brought us closer together as we worked toward common goals.

Since the beginning, we rejoiced in the births and adoption of babies, and the graduation and marriage of older children. We’ve even had one WNP marriage. Others have suffered serious illnesses. We’ve also supported each other through the illnesses and deaths of some of our parents. To our sorrow, we’ve also lost one of our members.

There’s something special about having friends who share your goals and dreams. They really understand the longing to make up stories that others enjoy, and the discouragement of rejections and publishing problems because they’ve been there too. Those sisters who’ve gone on to publishing success have led the way for the rest, sharing their wisdom. They’ve proved that the dream can happen if you keep writing. We have faith in each other. We are each others’ cheering section.

We don’t get to see each other much. We try to take some time during the RWA National conference. But it’s not easy because we are all pulled in different directions. Sometimes some of us meet as smaller conferences, and it’s always nice to spend quality time together. An often expressed dream is to have a retreat for ourselves. Someday....

I’d say about 60% of our sisters have become published. Yay! Unfortunately busy lives and writing schedules means that many no longer stay in the close touch that they once did. But they still pop in from time to time and are welcomed. I know I don’t post as much since my corporate crisis/grief counseling business took off a couple of years ago. But I try to read all the posts and send love, hugs, support, (and commiserations if needed.)

Although we had to discontinue our ezine, some valient sisters keep up our blog. If only I had time to read more of the posts... But I love to when I have a chance.

Here’s to my Wet Noodle Posse sisters. You are one of the best things my writing career has brought me. May all your dreams come true!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sisters of the Moon - My Critique Groups

Yesterday Theresa talked about writing friends. We writers know that some of our best writing friends are our critique partners. I'm lucky to have TWO wonderful critique groups, my Sisters of the Moon and my "Writers Group"

My Writers Group includes my first writing friends. Julie and I met in 1995 in a Creative Writing class at our local community college. After the class ended we formed a small group, not even knowing enough to call it a critique group. Helen joined shortly after. I'd known Helen before because our husbands are coworkers. Everyone else quit and later Helen, Julie, and I added Virginia, another of my husband's coworkers. Together we all joined RWA and Washington Romance Writers. Gradually I became the only one writing regularly (although Julie is writing now and Helen plans to start again) so all the focus was on me! These ladies are skilled writers and widely-read readers. Helen is a professional editor; Virginia, a librarian. They are great editors, very good with words, very good at knowing what in a story works for them and what doesn't, and are good with history. I treasure them.

We are friends who do other things together sometimes, like attend craft fairs, attend the same parties, go to the movies. Every Christmas we wear hats and go out to lunch, as we're pictured here, left to right: Virginia, me, Helen, Julie

Much as I loved my Writers Group, I felt I needed help to push me from unpublished to published. The more I learned about the romance publishing business, the more I understood it was a business. I decided I needed a critique group with a specific focus on being published. I eventually found the perfect group of two published, one unpublished, writers, all writing series romance, which I was targeting at the time. I was invited into the critique group of (left to right in the photo below) Darlene Gardner, (me), Karen Anders, and Lisa Dyson.

One of the original members named the group Sisters of the Moon because of the quote:
Reach for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.

I joined the group around 1999. Darlene and Karen had both been published by Intimate Moments but were having difficulty selling again. So together, we were all trying to figure out how to break in. And we were all very serious about it. It didn't take long for Darlene to sell again and to find a home at Superromance. Karen broke back into Blaze. I decided to switch to Regency Historicals and sold to Mills & Boon. Lisa has come very close. First to Duets, but the line folded, then to Everlasting, but the line folded. She's sooooo close! Darlene is very smart about what makes a good romance, the elements of story and the business of romance writing. Lisa is a master at discovering inconsistencies or illogical elements. Karen taught me tons about sexual tension and the crafting of a love scene. (see her blog on the subject)

Two years ago, Karen moved to North Carolina and another friend, Elizabeth Holcombe, joined us before her craft business took off like hot cakes. So now it is just Darlene, Lisa, and me, but we are very proud of our skills and know we make each other's work better.

Both my Sisters of the Moon and my Writers Group have helped me hone my writing skills, learn what makes a good story, learn what makes a marketable story, and learn how to sell it. I credit them all with my writing success. They were there for the manuscript that won the Golden Heart and became my first book, and for the one that won the RITA. Most of all, they are there to support me; to celebrate my successes and lament my disappointments.

Each of my critique groups meets about every other week and each read before the meeting. We email our work ahead of time.

Do you have a critique group? How does yours work?
Do they help you land among the stars?
How does yours work?

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Writing Friends

I still remember the day, fourteen years ago, that my non-writing friend found out I had written a romance. She told me there was a group called Romance Writers of America. I didn’t own a computer, so I started making phone calls. It took me a while to find a number for the Sacramento Chapter, but when I called, Patti Berg answered all of my questions. She had just published her first novel and she was sooo nice to talk to and so encouraging. And that’s exactly what I’ve experienced since joining RWA--other writers who are encouraging, supportive and most of all, understanding. Because who else but a writer understands us? We have character’s voices talking to us. We see a news story and instantly have a new idea for a novel. We can’t watch movies without dissecting scenes and dialogue. We’re not like everyone else. My first chapter meeting was no less than thrilling. At that first meeting I met Susan Grant. We were both unpublished and we were both writing paranormals. We ended up critiquing together for years. I also critiqued with Susan Crosby, Caroline Fyffe and Brenda Novak. I learned a lot. Then I started finaling in contests and attending conferences, and every year I meet more wonderful writers. I have yet to meet a writer, best-selling or otherwise, who isn’t willing to share a bit of wisdom picked up along the way.

How about you? How did you find out about RWA? Who was the first writer/author you met? How did it feel to attend your first chapter meeting and/or RWA conference? Did anyone take you under their wing and show you the way?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Three Sisters

I'm the youngest of three sisters. My mother was the middle of three sisters. Her youngest sister had three daughters. In our family, sisters mostly come in threes.

Here's my mother (on the far left) and her two sisters (and their brother)

Their parents died when the sisters were young women; my youngest aunt Gerry was still in high school. Their brother was married with a young family, so the three sisters lived together. My mother was the first to marry and my father moved in with the three sisters. When my Aunt Gerry married, my Aunt Loraine continued to live with my parents. She even came along when my dad went back in the army and was stationed all over, including Japan. My mother was the housewife and "mom" but my aunt was the career woman -both good influences on us girls. Later on when I was in high school my aunt moved back to Washington DC where the career opportunities were better. My two sisters eventually moved there too. And later, my dad was transferred to DC. Even though my mother and aunt no longer lived together, they spoke on the phone every day. My Aunt Gerry had stayed in their hometown, but my mother and aunt phoned her at least once a week.

My sisters and I live within a couple of miles of each other and we don't talk once a day. Sometimes weeks go by. We do try to get together for dinner at least once a month, though, and we are there for each other if there's a need.

Christmas Eve about three years ago one of my sisters had to go to the emergency room for a blood transfusion. She had dangerously low iron deficiency. We all had lots to do that day but we dropped everything to keep her company in the ER. Because she would have done the same for us.

We've also been close to my three cousins, because, of course, growing up we visited them every summer, but none of us are very good at keeping in touch regularly. I do send two of my cousins copies of my books, though.

A few years ago we all had a cousin reunion, the first time we'd all been together since the last of those three original sisters died. That's me in the middle; my sisters on the left and my cousins (minus one) on the right.

All of us are so different. We really have very little in common, fewer than two friends might have. It doesn't matter. Sisters are connected by the heart.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse

We continue our devotion to sisters this week with the following blogs:

Monday, May 18th: Diane Gaston My Sisters

Tuesday, May 19th: Theresa Ragan Writing Friends

Wednesday, May 20th: Diane Gaston Sisters of the Moon--My Critique Group

Thursday, May 21st: Debra Holland TBA

Friday, May 22nd: Q&A

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Q&A Friday

One of my favorite things to do with friends is to watch movies. Two of my favorites that celebrate sisterhood started as books--Little Women and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
I remember watching Little Women (and yes, for me, it has to be the version pictured here with June Allyson, Margaret O'Brien, and Elizabeth Taylor) with my sisters and loving it. I still cry when Beth dies. I still want Laurie to marry Jo.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants continues to bring me to tears as well with the Carmen storyline, especially when she's watching her father with his new family or when trying to explain to him how his actions make her feel unloved because he's there for his fiance's kids in a way he was never there for her, his biological child. And sarcastic Tivvy befriending a little girl who's very sick. And Lena spending a summer in Greece with her grandparents and falling in love. I may just have to watch it again!

So what are your favorite movies that celebrate sisterhood?


Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Sisters of The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor

Hi everyone! Diane Gaston here. Deb Marlowe, Amanda McCabe and I thought the topic of sisterhood was the perfect opportunity to tell you about our new anthology, The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, which is a celebration of sisterhood as well as a series of three connected romances. When Harlequin Historical invited us to do an anthology, we decided to create the family of a duke in Regency England. Together with his lady love they have a chaotic and rambunctious collection of his, hers and theirs, known collectively as the Fitzmanning Miscellany. The anthology centers around the three sisters: Justine, Annalise, and Charlotte (the brothers get connected books later). The Fitzmanning sisters have their own individual personalities, but they have the camaraderie and support that come with sisterhood. They also have to deal with the repercussions of their parents’ scandalous past—not to mention the antics of their rowdy brothers.

(Deb Marlowe) I found it very easy to relate to Annalise, my heroine in Annalise and the Scandalous Rake. Like her, I grew up in the midst of an extended family. With two sisters, plus 5 cousins who all lived minutes away, I have many happy memories of family gatherings, celebrations, and the experience of being daily in and out of each other’s houses—and constantly in each other’s business! Also like Annalise, there were times when I just needed to be alone. Only our means of withdrawal are really different. Annalise retreats to her sunny studio to pour her emotions onto her canvases. I hid away with a good book—or spent hours dreaming up my own stories.

(Diane Gaston) It is funny you should mention rowdy brothers, Deb. I came from a family of all girls, but unlike Justine, I was the youngest of three sisters, not the oldest. I’d always wished for an older brother, though. Brenner, the hero in Justine and the Noble Viscount, would have been the perfect older brother, I think, so steady and dependable, a brother to lean on. My sisters and I didn’t need a brother to get us out of scrapes, though. We were quiet, well-behaved little girls, not at all like the Fitzmannings. In fact, Brenner probably would have thought us good examples for his half-sisters. I must have been a rowdy girl just dying to bust out, because I yearned for more excitement, more adventure, more romance. Books fed those yearnings when I was a kid.

(Amanda McCabe) LOL! I was the opposite. I had no sisters, only one brother, and he’s several years younger than me. Plus my only cousins would much rather have played with their “Star Wars” action figures than read Anne of Green Gables with me. It all ended up okay—my brother and I always got along well, and never had vicious fights over lipstick like my best friend and her sisters, but I always kinda wanted a sister. I guess I get to live out those dreams in stories with families like the Fitzmannings (and they never borrow my clothes without asking, either!)
I really identified with my heroine in Charlotte and the Wicked Lord (even though Charlotte is the youngest of her family, and I’m the oldest). We both felt like misfits in our teenaged world, preferring to hide away with a writing project, or go walking in the woods with the dogs. I loved spending time with her and her family, and plan to revisit them very soon!

Do you like connected stories about sisters? Or do you prefer stories of brothers, because those are coming, soon as we write them!

Diane, Amanda, and Deb all belong to the sisterhood of romance writers. Unlike fictional or real sisters, they wrote The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor without one single vicious fight. No fights, as a matter of fact. The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor is in bookstores this month. Look for it to be shelved with the other Harlequin books.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

You Gotta Have Friends

Bette Midler was right. You Gotta Have Friends!

When I think about growing up in my small Kentucky hometown I wonder how I ever would have made it without my friends Sandy and Ann. Oh, the hours we spent talking on the phone, at ball games, at school, at our afterschool hangout. I lost track of them both some time during college, but I think of them still. I even have a composite character in one of my books, in their honor.

I meet my soul sister in graduate school. She was my neighbor in campus housing and we met when she came over to borrow my broom (no vacuum cleaners for us starving students). She introduced me to her soon-to-be husband, I attended their wedding, I'm aunt to their four children. We see each other when we can, talk frequently on the phone, and I think about her almost every day. When I'm down or have a problem, she's the first person I call. What a blessing it is to have her in my life. Thanks, Missy. I love ya!

Who's your BFF (such a lame term for such an important person!). Where did you meet? How long have you been friends? What in the world would you do without her (or him?)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Grandmother

Today would be my grandmother’s 97th birthday. We lost her nearly five years ago and not a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of her.


For one thing, she was a teacher. I have her stapler and her picture in my classroom.

For another, she loved to read. We loved to talk books, especially Nora Roberts and Mary Higgins Clark. Not long before she died, we discovered a series by Anne George about two senior citizen sisters who solved mysteries. We LOVED those books. Gigi (my grandmother) called them the “sister” books. She loved how the two women would call each other “Sister,” as Gigi’s siblings called her, and she loved the idea of the Vulcan statue in Birmingham, with its bare butt. I never did find a good picture of him.

We both love TV. I know she would get a kick out of CASTLE. Probably BONES, too.

We both have a sweet tooth. The last few years, Gigi would stay at my house during the week and go pick up my son and brother from school. Every morning, I’d make muffins or cinnamon rolls and coffee. We’d always have candy and Coke in the house because that was her lunch (hey, she lived to 92, don’t knock it!) Every year for Lent, she would give up candy, which was hard for her because she LOVED Easter candy, especially Peeps!

Another thing I miss is that she loved trying new things, either products at the grocery store or a new restaurant. Every time I try something “just to see what it’s like,” I think of her.

She loved the change of seasons, especially fall and spring. So cool fronts and pretty days make me think of her.

That’s a legacy to leave behind, isn’t it? To have so much joy in simple things that simple things remind people of you after you’re gone?

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Sisterhood—In Sickness and in Health

by Lee McKenzie

A year and a half ago I received some scary news. I had developed malignant melanoma in at least one lymph node in my neck—a recurrence following a primary lesion that had been removed in 2001. A close friend—a true sister in every sense of the word—was with me when I received that diagnosis. Throughout the surgery, recovery and a year of chemotherapy, I’ve been surrounded by a large and supportive group of women.

Ever since that dreadful day in the doctor’s office, my family, friends and colleagues—my own personal sisterhood—rallied around, and their unending love and support kept me going when the going was rough.

Christmas—my favorite holiday—fell between the diagnosis and surgery, and my daughter helped made sure the festivities came together beautifully. She was there when I went into surgery and five hours later was there when I came out. She sat with me in the hospital, washed and combed my hair, patiently learned to clean and care for the incisions, and loaded my favorite music on her iPod. At home, she was always there when I needed her, in spite of a full course load at university and a part-time job.

My extended family of “sisters”—my mother, mother-in-law, aunts, and sister-in-law—live in different cities, so their love and support came as phone calls, cards, bouquets, emails and the occasional visit. I’ve been continually buoyed up by their strength and positive energy.

My friends showered me with attention. Meals, flowers, gifts and books were delivered to the door, and my inbox and voice mail were filled with good wishes. They took me to medical appointments, to the physiotherapist and, at my whim, to the local children’s petting zoo and for walks in public gardens. As I began to regain energy, there were coffee dates and lunch dates.

My Noodler sisters, this amazing group of women that I have been so fortunate to connect with, have continually offered support and

My family doctor, the nurses at the hospital, physiotherapist, massage therapist and therapeutic touch practitioner—all women—have offered more comfort and shown more compassion than I ever would have dreamed possible.

My editors have patiently waited for me to recover, and I’m now triumphantly working on my next submission. It’s wonderful to feel well enough to write again.

This is not to say I haven’t received support from the men in my life. My husband was also at my side before and after surgery, sat with me in the chemo room, and, when I was too sick to get out of bed, ran the household while working full-time. My son, who was away at college, called often and visited when he could. My father, who has the biggest heart of any man on the planet, never let go of his belief that I would beat this.

But today is about sisterhood, and I am so lucky to be part of one with such a vigorous embrace. I am now healthy and well, and regaining a little strength and energy every day. I’d like to think I could have done this on my own, but I’m beyond grateful that I didn’t have to. So, my sisters, I’m now hugging back, and this hug’s for you.

With much love,

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse

Happy Mother's Day to all our readers who are moms! Please join us this week as we explore more nuances of sisterhood.

Monday, May 11th: Lee McKenzie In Sickness and in Health
Tuesday, May 12th: MJ Fredrick Grandmother
Wednesday, May 13th: Karen Potter You Gotta Have Friends
Thursday, May 14th: Diane Gaston, Amanda McCabe, and Deb Marlowe The Fitzsmanning Sisters
Friday, May 15th: Q&A

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Friday Q&A!

Although we're focusing on sisters this month, a very important holiday is arriving on Sunday--Mother's Day. As always, I'm stumped about what to do to show my mom my appreciation. It's not like she really needs anything. And ever since I was a kid, when asked about what she wanted for any gift-giving event, her standard answer would be "I just want all of you to get along."

What are some great gifts or ways to show moms our appreciation? And what are you doing for Mother's Day?

I'll be attending Barefoot in the Park in Duluth, Georgia. My daughter's ballet company is dancing, so I'll be helping the girls get into costumes backstage. Here's hoping the thunderstorms in the forecast do not materialize!


Thursday, May 07, 2009

What Qualities Make a Best Friend?

No doubt about it, friends enrich our lives. They pull us up when we're down, they tease us when we take life a little too seriously, and they experience the joy of our triumphs with us.

But what in particular do we look for in a best friend? When I look at my closest buddies, I see patterns. One, which may not be that important to some people, but is important to me, apparently, is that all my closest friends enjoy food. Activities often involve meals, either us cooking together or sharing a meal at restaurant. Another quality I look for is a willingness to listen to what I’m saying and possibly what I’m not saying. Some friends are all about telling you what’s going on with them, but they may not ask about you. They’re still friends, but not my “go to girls.” The third thing I look for in a good friend is an ability to enjoy the moment.

What was it exactly that drew you to your sisters of the heart? Was it a shared experience like living in the same college dormitory? Is it that you and your best bud have the same warped sense of humor?


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Little Girl Time: Traveling with Friends

Traveling with Friends can be a lot of fun as long as you have an itinerary, have figured out in advance how you’re going to handle meals, and have established a few rules.

By itinerary, I do not mean scheduling every minute of your time away from the day-in, day-out grind. But you and your buddies should map out a few activities before you arrive at your destination. If you’re heading to the beach, and there’s an outlet mall close by, you might plan an afternoon of shopping for bargains. My oldest friends and I usually decide on what we want to do after we decide where we’re going and where we’re staying. When we went to Asheville, seeing Biltmore was a no brainer. We also hit a Flea Market. When we went to Memphis, we scheduled a spa day, ate dinner on Beale Street, and went for Sunday brunch at the Peabody Hotel. When we go to the beach, we’re less structured. We spend some time walking along the shore and swimming, but we also plan indoor activities. We play board games—our favorites are Scattagories and Pictionary—and we rent DVD’s.

Before you head to the airport or get in the car for your girls’ weekend, establish how you’ll handle meals. How many meals will you eat in your rental? How many dinners out? Will you split the grocery bill, or should everyone get their own food? Who’s going to the grocery store when you arrive and what’s on that list? My friends and I usually shop together and split the bill. I bring a few things necessary to my existence that I don’t expect them to chip in for, but I am happy to share—coffee. I like to grind my own dark roast beans. Communication is important—especially if some friends have to watch their pennies more than others.

And speaking of communication, if you want everyone to get along, you’ve got to set a few rules. If people want to do stuff off itinerary, discuss that it’s okay to say “no.” If someone is sleeping in the loft, maybe the TV blaring from downstairs needs to turn off at midnight. If people bring food or drinks they don’t want to share, then they need to tell everyone those items are off limits.

What trips have you taken with your friends? What have you learned about traveling with friends that you’d like to share?

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My sister's a real character

by Terry McLaughlin

Sisters and series: a match made in heaven. Or so it seems, judging from the number of sisters-based book series. Or is that series-based sets of sisters?

I glanced through my own published and upcoming books, searching for female siblings. I've written two three-book series, yet within those six books I found only one–one!–pair of sisters. And those weren't biological sisters, since one was adopted.

I guess this proves that I'm a fan of sisters of circumstance. Sisters of story.

My story sisters gossip and tease and talk in their private codes. I love inviting them into scenes just to discover what they'll do or say. Yes, they support each other, but they also tell the tough truths. It seems no one else can help a heroine get back on her story track like her kitchen-table sisters.

Sisters can be handy characters in an author's toolbox, can't they? They can enrich and expand and explain the heroine's world. They can serve as sounding boards or studies in contrast, as mentors or mirrors.

Do you enjoy reading about sisters? Do you add sisters to the stories you write? What do you think sisters add to a hero's or heroine's story?

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Monday, May 04, 2009

The two forms of sisterhood

It's sisterhood month here at the Wet Noodle Posse, and it got me to thinking about how my biological sister and my best friend sister share the same first name and how I share so much with each of them, in different ways, that make us close.

My sister and I have a shared history that spans all of her life and all but four years of mine. That's nearly 35 years of in jokes, shared trials that only the two of us (as the only siblings) can truly understand, and lots of memories. There are certain things about which I can only talk with her. We both love the outdoors and reading, though we tend to read different types of things. Our reading tastes typically only intersect with mysteries, such as those by Dana Stabenow. We're sisters because we share blood and parents, but that's not what makes us close. It's having experienced similar things and the fact that there are certain words I can say that will totally make her snort with laughter, and vice versa.

But I don't think two women have to share blood or family to feel like sisters. Take my best friend and me. We read similar types of books, love the same TV shows, e-mail several times a day, are both writers who've gone through a lot of the same things on the writing journey. When my sister gets it when I talk about family issues or a childhood memory, my friend gets it when I talk writing. And we're freakishly similar -- down to once discovering we had the same pajamas and microwave carts. We're no less close because we don't have the same family tree.

Sisterhoods can come in many forms -- long-time friends, sorority sisters, clubs, the members of a group blog like this one. They feed the soul and make one feel a part of a group, one of the common needs of humans. Sisterhood is so important, whether it's family or friendship. You always know someone is there to listen, to understand, to laugh with, to cry with, to ponder with. While I don't get to see my sister or my friend all that often (the three of us living in three different states), I'm thankful we keep in regular contact via e-mail and instant messenger. My life would be much less happy and fulfilling without them in it.

What about you? What are some of the sisterhoods that mean a lot to you?


Sunday, May 03, 2009

This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse

Our month of celebrating the facets of sisterhood begins. Please join the discussion.

Monday, May 4th: Trish Milburn Sister-sister, Sister-friend
Tuesday, May 5th: Terry McLaughlin TBA
Wednesday, May 6th: Maureen Hardegree A Little Girl Time: Vacationing with Friends
Thursday, May 7th: Maureen Hardegree Qualities that Make a Best Friend
Friday, May 8th: Q&A

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Sisters Are Doing It, Again

Some of us are lucky enough to have a special bond with a biological sister, or maybe our mom is our best friend. Some of us find friends along our journeys who become sisters of the heart, people in whom we confide our hopes and worries. These sisters share in the joy of us falling in love, in the ups and downs of parenting our children, and they hug us through our losses. Please join us this month as we explore the many facets of sisterhood, from vacationing with friends to substitute sisters.

Speaking of sisters, take a peak at all these Noodler New Releases for May. There’s something for everyone— contemporary series romance, erotic romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and YA. Yeah, my noodler sisters have been busy!

Bound by Honor: An Erotic Novel of Maid Marion

Maid Marian, now Lady of Leaford, is sent to the court of Prince John—not to take part in the debauchery of his Court of Pleasure, but to spy on him for his mother. Little does she know that her secret mission will thrust her into a whirlwind of intrigue, terror, and carnal temptations.At court, Marian is torn between her duty to the queen and her desire for two men: one, the mysterious highwayman the peasants call Robin Hood, and the other, the dark, cold Sheriff of Nottingham. Given an impossible choice, she must submit to the carnality of Prince John’s court in order to fulfill her duty and maintain her honor. But in the end, there is only one man for whom she will risk her life and give her heart.

Justine and the Noble Viscount
in The Diamonds of Wellbourne Manor
Guardian to the unconventional and newly orphaned Fitzmannings is not a role that brooding Gerald Brenner relishes. But Justine, the illegitimate daughter who strives to hide her shame, calls powerfully to something deep within him.

Sins of the Heart

One lord. One lady. One scandalous mistake. Can it all add up to love? The icy Lord Edenstorm is the very man Lady Juliette hoped never to see again, for only he knows her true identity. One word from him to her brother and she will be locked away, hidden forever in an asylum. All for one foolish, scandalous mistake. Still stinging from her deceitful betrayal years before and wounded by the horrors of war, Edenstorm offers to keep her secret, if she helps him catch the traitors who smuggle English gold to Napoleon. Juliette is incensed. Her Cornish friends may be smugglers, but never traitors, and his snooping and accusations could destroy them. Furious at his blackmail, Juliette vows to risk her own life and freedom to protect the friends she trusts by leading his search astray. But Edenstorm is not the unfeeling man she thought she knew. Nor is Juliette the faithless woman he believed her to be. As passion flares, deceit gives way to truth, and truth unleashes dangers they never suspected. Only by turning truth into trust-and trust into love-can they hope to survive.

DIANNA LOVE (with Sherrilyn Kenyon)
Whispered Lies
Bureau of American Defense operative Carlos Delgado has spent the past sixteen years watching over his shoulder, waiting for death to catch up to him. His luck runs out when BAD intercepts an unexpected tip on the number one threat to United States security: the Fratelli de il Sovrano. Their best hope for uncovering a deadly plan that risks countless lives and threatens economic chaos just days before the presidential election is to capture a mysterious informant known as Mirage. But when Carlos takes her into custody, Mirage is not at all what he expected -- and neither is the threat she poses to the secrets he would die to protect.
Gabrielle Saxe has hidden from a killer for the past decade, sending anonymous tips on international criminals to intelligence agencies around the world. When a postcard arrives from a friend who is supposed to be dead, she takes a risk that catapults her into the midst of dangerous operatives on a treacherous mission -- and into the arms of a man who is duty-bound to surrender her to Interpol as an international felon. Carlos is the last person Gabrielle should trust and the only one standing between her and death. But little does she know, she holds the key to his survival as well . . . .
Phantom in the Night (released as paperback)
After losing her mother to a vigilante killer, Terri Mitchell has dedicated her life to justice. Working covertly as a new agent for the Bureau of American Defense agency, she's consulting with the New Orleans Police Department to bust an organized crime ring suspected of funding terrorism. But when rumors surface of a phantom ghost terrorizing and killing the very people she's investigating, she's suspicious.
Nathan Drake has spent his life protecting his family, the only thing that matters to him...until the most feared drug lord in the southeast takes everything Nathan holds dear. Now he's a man on a mission with nothing to lose. He figures he only needs to stay alive long enough to protect the innocent lives the killers are out to destroy.
As the two of them seek a similar goal by different means, Terri and Nathan are drawn deep into an evil underbelly that cuts through all levels of society. Now two people who have no reason to trust must trust in each other or die. And if they die, a deadly attack will be unleashed on thousands of innocent people

Her Very Own Family

Audrey York isn't letting the scandal in her past stop her from making a fresh start in Willow Glen, Tennessee. And now, with the help of a kindhearted neighbor, she's getting the chance to build her dream café. Then she meets her neighbor's son—sexy, single carpenter Brady Witt—who makes it clear he doesn't trust her one bit.
Someone has to protect Brady's father from women out to hook a lonely widower. Only, the beautiful blond restaurateur doesn't fit the profile. In fact, she isn't like any woman Brady knows.
Just when Brady's starting to believe in her, Audrey's past comes barreling back. Can she trust Brady with the truth? Or will she lose the family she's found at last when he discovers who she is—and what she's running from?

Stolen Magic

Romance Can Be Tricky...In a world where humans are displacing elves in alarming numbers, Adlia spends her days working at elf headquarters. But with no artistic talent of her own, and orphaned too young to have known her parents, Adlia is an outsider even among her own elven kind. Only Mark, her human photography instructor, sees that beneath her sarcastic humour lies a vulnerable soul - and a desirable young woman...Especially When An Elf Is Involved. But while relationships with humans are pleasurable, they're also complicated, as Adlia is about to discover. For somewhere between her mind-blowing first human kiss and falling in love, a mysterious memory loss strikes the elf population. Now Adlia has to save her people and herself before she forgets everything. If she succeeds, she may also solve an important piece of her personal puzzle and find that Mark fits perfectly

CHARITY TAHMASEB (and Darcy Vance)
Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading

When Bethany -- self-proclaimed geek girl -- makes the varsity cheerleading squad, she realizes that there's one thing worse than blending in with the lockers: getting noticed. She always felt comfortable as part of the nerd herd, but being a member of the most scrutinized group in her school is weighing her down like a ton of textbooks. Even her Varsity Cheerleading Guide can't answer the really tough questions, like: How do you maintain some semblance of dignity while wearing an insanely short skirt? What do you do when the head cheerleader spills her beer on you at your first in-crowd party? And how do you know if your crush likes you for your mind...or your pom-poms?
One thing's for sure: It's going to take more than brains for this girl genius to cheer her way to the top of the pyramid.

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