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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Falling for Niagara Falls

Canadian Falls

Merrillee here reporting in after a whirlwind trip to Niagara Falls. I knew this would be a perfect topic for our "falling" theme. When our younger daughter told us that a very good friend was getting married in Buffalo, New York, at the end of September, our daughter suggested that we make a family trip to Niagara Falls after the wedding. So we put the plans in motion. My husband and I have never been to Niagara Falls, so this seemed like the perfect trip. I'm going to share some photos I took, but photos can't begin to capture the magnificence. Even the not-so-great weather couldn't dampen the spectacular display.

Mist rising from the Canadian Falls

American Falls

Falls forming a rainbow.

Maid of the Mist tour boat

View of Canadian Falls from the Maid of the Mist

The weather wasn't the greatest, but we managed to dance between the raindrops. The ponchos (glorified garbage bags) that we were given on the Maid of the Mist tour and Journey Behind the Falls served a duel purpose, as we used them to keep dry on the boat ride and walking back to the hotel. We also used them on our tour of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the wineries in the area.

Can you tell us about your favorite water fall?

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A NANO Success Story

By Mary Eason

Most writers have heard of NANO – The National Novel Writing Month. Some have probably even participated a few times. But for those unfamiliar with the concept, NANO is a yearly challenge that takes place each November and runs through the entire month.

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

If you’ve ever participated in one of these challenges, you know it can be very daunting, but if you stick with it, you’ll have the beginnings of a novel that can be polished with any luck into a published novel. Trust me it can happen, because that’s what I did with my first NANO challenge and my The Wild Rose Press release, Free Falling.

Free Falling is a romantic suspense spy novel that I found exigent long after I completed NANO. Bringing Agent Rainie McClain’s story to life and showing the heartbreak and fear she faces every day on the front lines in the War on Terror was something that I found extremely rewarding. I was proud of the final version of Free Falling.

If I had to do it all over again would I do the NANO challenge once more? You bet. I will be at it this year and if fact, I’m happy to say my last year’s NANO, Root Of All Evil, will be published October 15th through Cerridwen Press.

You can visit Mary at and at her blog

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Free Falling

By Sandy James

I’m not really a Tom Petty fan. He was one of the 1980s singers I could take or leave. Good enough I’d probably not change the radio channel if one of his songs popped up, but not good enough to run out and buy his latest CD. Which probably raises the question, “Why in the world would you use one of Tom Petty’s best-known songs as the title of one of your books?” Because to me, titles are as important as the plot. Yeah, I know. That doesn’t answer your question, but please bear with me. As I tell my students, there’s always a method to my madness.

Every now and then, a title comes easy. A good example would be Turning Thirty-Twelve. That was the first book I ever wrote around a title. More often, I complete several chapters of a book before the title makes itself known. And the titles choose me, I don’t choose them. Free Falling came to me that way.

Murphy’s Law was the third book I wrote. At the time, my son was a senior at the high school where I teach. As a result, I was really close to the seniors that year. I’d watched most of them grow up, and they were all very supportive of my first endeavors into writing novels. To thank them for all their encouragement, I named several of the characters in Murphy’s Law after some of my students. One of my favorite students begged me to name the villain after him. So Ross Kennedy was born. But I immediately encountered a problem. My Ross, my character, simply wouldn’t let me write him the way I wanted. I tried. I really did. But Ross just couldn’t be a bad guy.

The character slowly evolved into a strong man who tried to do the right thing, even if it included getting hurt in the process. He loved Katie Murphy, the heroine, but in the end, he lets her go with Seth Remington so she can be with the love of her life. Ross sacrifices what he believes will make him happy to ensure her happiness. With such a wonderful character, how could I possibly leave him all alone? As I wrapped up Murphy’s Law, I decided that Ross had a story of his own to tell, so I set out to create for him a heroine who would not only complement him, but complete him.

Ross was already well characterized, but when you thrust a secondary into the spotlight, you have to add more layers. A history. Quirks. Emotional baggage. Ross became the superlative Type A. Always working. Always planning. Always trying to control every aspect of his life. Into his regimented and orderly world, I dropped Laurie Miller.

Laurie was such a joy to write. She was just as committed to her career as a psychologist as Ross was to his career as a lawyer. (And by the way, my student Ross has decided to study law because “his” character was a lawyer. How neat is that?) But even though Laurie was dedicated to her job, she had more “balance” to her life than Ross. She knew how to stop and appreciate the important moments rather than plot and plan all the moments yet to come and missing out on real life. She knew how and when to just let go, something Ross had never learned. She was exactly what he needed.

I was a good third of the way into writing the book before the title finally made itself known. As I wrote the scenes where Laurie and Ross get to know each other, as their relationship developed, I realized that she was giving him a marvelous gift, that she could help Ross finally learn one of the most important lessons of his life. She gave him the ability to live in the moment, to – for once – let life come as it may. To…free fall. The Tom Petty song suddenly popped into my head, and I knew the book had a name. The rest of the story came so easily, the book practically wrote itself. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. It was still a lot of work, but the focus “made” the story.

I suppose that each of my books offers a sort of lesson that I hope enhances readers’ lives. In Turning Thirty-Twelve, I hope people can follow Jackie’s lead and learn to love themselves. In Murphy’s Law, I hope people catch onto Seth’s changing circumstances and realize that there are more important things in life than money. In Free Falling, I hope that people watch Ross learn to let go and perhaps learn to appreciate the little things in their own lives.
And wouldn’t it be great if we could all learn how to free fall?
Visit author Sandy James at her website
What are some of the best titles you've chosen? What was the process you went through in choosing them?

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

This Week on The Wet Noodle Posse

We finish up Free Falling month and head into October with our new theme To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn. Please join us!

Monday, September 28th: Guest Blogger Sandy James Free Falling
Tuesday, September 29th: Guest Blogger Mary Eason
Wednesday, September 30th: Merrillee Whren Falling for Niagra Falls
Thursday, October 1st: Introduction to October’s To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn theme

Friday, October 2nd: Q&A: How do you reward yourself after a mammogram?

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Q&A!!!

On this last Friday of September, our Free Falling month, we noodlers would like to address the following question:

How do you make deadlines work for you rather than against you?


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall Snacks

When I was a kid my mom always made a big deal about the new TV season. We’d take our baths early and snuggle in our pjs in front of the TV, either on the couch or on a pallet on the floor. And Mom would have snacks. Maybe we'd have the same foods throughout the year, but these are the ones I relate to this time of year.

1) Marshmallow pumpkins and candy corn. Mix them with peanuts, and yum!


2) Apples with caramel dip. Okay, in those days, it was the cubes of caramel, and they'd maybe be melted, but now there's the dip you can buy, and, well, yum!


3) Popcorn. My favorite flannel pjs have pictures of popcorn and bottles of Coke on them. So me!


4) Chocolate Reese's cookies. I rarely bake anymore, but this time of year brings it out in me, and these are a favorite.


What are some of your favorite fall snacks? Are you watching any new shows? Impressed with any returning ones?

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Hooray! I've got my laptop back again! It's got nice new insides- a 500 gb hard drive with go-faster wheels!

Now don't go laughing at the pic I've posted. I did this cover design years ago, back when I was just beginning to figure out how to "paint" digitally. and I had only a vague idea of how to go about making a cover. In fact, I knew so little that I had to figure out how to actually paint the balloon and its gondola, over a photo I took of Warwick Castle in 2004. But I sort of thought it fit with what I'm gabbing about today.

Theresa was talking yesterday about taking a break. I sure know what she's talking about. I think I started taking my break around 2006, and I'm just now putting myself back together as a writer.

The truth is, I did a lot of writing during that time, but it was writing that didn't seem to be going anywhere. I set out to try all kinds of things and explore new avenues. And I really didn't care a lot whether I sold anything. I didn't do much submitting at all. But I'd never done any fiction except my beloved historicals, and that, only as Regency or Medieval. So where was I going to go? Contemporary just wouldn't work for me. But maybe paranormal, if it was historical. Could I do erotic? No, but I could try really hot romance. And how about short, maybe novella length?

I actually tried not writing. And I succeeded pretty well with that. For awhile. Funny how many other things a person can do to fill up time. But it's an addiction, and it just kept preying on me, so I kept coming back to it.

Exploring both very sensual and paranormal historicals has followed a very rough and twisting road. Writing short was a whole lot harder than I thought. I hadn't read a lot of paranormal romance, and had often not liked what I read- maybe I wasn't finding the right stuff. Every idea I turned into my agent, she didn't like. And I was seriously thnking I had completely lost my edge. Old age. Alzheimers. Out of touch. Over the hill...

I was really groping in a drk tunnel that seemed to have a thousand branches, at a time when I was trying to get around with the fading batteries in my Itty Bitty Book Light. My friends and CPs said they loved the stories, but to me, I had a bunch of fragment pieces that I just couldn't join together. I just couldn't find the emotional pull I'd always loved about writing romance.

I think traveling helped. Seeing places in the world I'd been afraid I'd never get to see was giving me new perspective. Florence and Pisa opened up ideas, and so did that tiny medieval mountain village, St. Paul de Vence. Last summer, Hawaii took on new meaning for me when I began writing places I already knew into a sea fantasy romance.

The new writer in me finally started emerging this last spring. I went back and looked at all the old stories that have lain in the dust, either unfinished or unsold, and decided I wasn't wrong about them after all. I started revising and finishing. And the more I work, the more I work.

What's really been surprising to me is the story that had seemed to be so many disconnected fragments. I had extremely strong feelings that those pieces (which had totally confused one of my CPs) really needed to be part of the whole, but I couldn't see how. Then the connecting tissue began to grow. And the big shock is, my gut instinct had been right all along. It's an extremely surprising story, yet it all fits.

My big discovery, though, is that I can't (can't speak for anyone else here) write romance if I can't be in love. In love with my hero, my heroine, my villain, in love with every character, and the place where they belong. If I can't do that, then the story has no vital organs. But once I find that love again, my story begins to live. Funny thing- it's true with my cover art, too. When I can fall in love with it, it comes alive. And so do I.

And so, here I am. It's fall. And I'm falling. Falling in love again.

What about you? Are there times when you can't fall in love with romance? Do you have to be "in love" with your story when you write it? Have you ever had to leave in order to find your way back?

Taking a Break

I have been writing for over fourteen years. I have written nine full length novels and too many partials to count. I have finaled in and won contests. I have six golden hearts to show for my hard work and progress. But the biggest prize of all…the publishing prize…still eludes me. Am I bitter? No. I am more determined than ever to become a published romance author. But recently, what I realized I needed, more than anything else, was a break. And I’m not talking about a long walk, a day at the mall or even a vacation. What I needed is/was a few months away from reading and writing romance novels. So, I decided to take a break and do something different. I registered for a Spanish class at a local junior college. And guess what? I like it. I like it a lot. I am studying everyday. I am also making jewelry as a creative outlet, and writing blogs, and visiting with my kids, and playing the piano. I’m spending time with my husband, too. I am having fun. It wasn’t easy taking a break from writing at first. I didn’t feel whole any longer. Who am I if not a writer? Stories still call to me but I’ve been ignoring the voices. The stories in my head will have to wait until I’m ready.

How about you? Do you need a break? What’s the longest break you’ve taken away from something you love to do? Did you feel refreshed afterward?


Monday, September 21, 2009

Starting a New Manuscript by Diane Gaston

I'm continuing with my September theme of New Starts (See my blog of Sept 7). I think September is a perfect time to start a new manuscript, like starting school.

I don't have any consistent way of starting a manuscript. Sometimes I start with a story idea; sometimes, a character; sometimes, just an initial situation.

The Mysterious Miss M, my first book, started with a desire to sell a book. I was entering lots of romance writing contests at the time. Most contests are judged on a first chapter so I decided I needed a first chapter with a big WOW factor. What could be a better WOW factor than starting with a sex scene? From that idea the characters came to mind and then the story.

Other books started with a character. Both A Reputable Rake and The Vanishing Viscountess began because the heroes in those books were secondary characters in earlier books and they simply would not stop trying to take over the book. I had to promise them books of their own.

This time I set up a trilogy involving three soldiers. The original idea grew from watching The Lives of a Bengal Lancer but all I took from that was the idea of three soldiers who all experience the same traumatic event that affects each of their lives from then on. I'm working on the third book so I had the hero and heroine who appear in the first book, only I didn't really know much about them. (shown is Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady, the first book in the trilogy, to be released Dec 2009)

Before I was published I started a book with whatever idea or character that gave me a beginning. I was the classic seat-of-the-pants writer and I liked discovering the story as I went along. Now that I'm published, though, I have to write a proposal. So to start a book, I have to have enough of the story to create a synopsis. No more "pantsing."

Do you start a book with a situation, a character, or something else? Do you plot out the story before writing, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
If you like a story, what captures your attention the most-the characters? the plot? or something else?

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse

Noodlers continue their exploration of September's Free Falling theme with the following blogs:

Monday, September 21st: Diane Gaston Starting a New Manuscript
Tuesday, September 22nd: Theresa Ragan TBA
Wednesday, September 23rd: Delle Jacobs TBA
Thursday, September 24th: MJ Fredrick Favorite Fall Snacks
Friday, September 25th: Q&A: How do you make deadlines work for you rather than against you?

Please join us!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Q&A Friday!

For some people, nothing but a PB&J would do. For others, it had to be cookies and milk. What was your favorite after school snack?


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coupons: Take a Little Free Time—Save a Little Money

The saying goes “nothing in life is free.” That’s true of most things, even coupon savings. But if you’re willing to put in the time to clip or fill out forms on-line, you could save money on groceries, restaurants, entertainment, and office supplies.

Deals in the Newspaper:
If you have the newspaper delivered or you purchase a Sunday paper, don’t throw away the ads and coupons. Read through the grocery ads so you know what you can stock up on (such as buy one/get one free boneless chicken breasts), what produce is on sale, and which items you might want to hold off on purchasing. Some grocery stores, such as Publix, will match competitor coupons.

Deals for Frequent Shoppers:
Many stores from groceries to craft stores offer frequent shopper cards. If you sign up for one, you can get additional savings at the register and, in the case of my grocery store, ten cents off each gallon of gas at the pump. My local craft store mails me a bi-weekly circular on deals that includes a 40% off coupon on a non-sale item. I also receive coupon savings in the mail from the office supply store where I have a frequent shopper card. I saved about $20 on school supplies for my daughter in August. Your local PTA may also have deals with groceries and other stores and restaurants. These companies will make donations to the schools based on how much participating parents spend at their establishments.

Deals On-Line:
If you’re willing to fill out information on-line, companies will send coupons directly to your e-mail inbox or will add the savings onto your frequent shopper card at your grocery (that’s right directly onto your card, so you don’t have to spend time clipping). You can also sign up to get free products shipped to you in the mail. Who wouldn’t want free Aveeno shampoo? Some on-line sites to check out are and

Because I put in the time to find bargains, I typically save between twenty and thirty dollars on weekly groceries. Because I frequent a particular grocery store, I pay ten cents less per gallon at the gas pump each time I fill up my van. Join me this month—after all, September is National Coupon Month—and see how much you can save.

Do you use coupons? What are some other ways you typically save money on your purchases?

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Five Things Freshmen Shouldn’t Say to Their English Instructors

Although September is synonymous with school for many of us, for those who’ve taught and moved on to other endeavors, the month may bring back memories of student excuses and bold statements that to this day make me and other former teachers scratch our heads. At the very least, dear freshmen, be smart enough to avoid saying any of the following to your English Instructors this fall.

1. “My parents don’t pay the university what they do for me to get C’s.”

2. “I missed over the number of permitted absences because my (fill in grandma, uncle, or third cousin twice removed) died suddenly.” FYI—instructors will require verification.

3. On a voicemail message on a Friday morning, “I can’t come to class because I’ve got the stomach flu.” Odd, isn’t it, how those bugs hit every Friday after all those Thursday night drink specials at campus bars.

4. “The reason the essay I turned in was written by someone else was out of concern for you and your eyesight. My handwriting is illegible. I swear I really wrote the paper. I just dictated it to my friend.”

5. “Can I reschedule this final? My fraternity kept me awake for two days straight, and I can’t think.”

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with college freshmen?


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Falling in Love Again and Again and Again...

Whenever I’m asked why I write romance, my response is that’s it’s like falling in love again and again.

I’ve been married for 22 years, to the boy I loved in high school. We have a son in college (WAH!!!) and are halfway through our mortgage. This is all wonderful, but it lacks….newness. So when I write romance, I get to experience it all again.

I get to experience the first meeting, the first spark of attraction. I explore the uncertainty and the tension, which in real life isn’t so much fun, but in a romance novel I know it’s going to end well. I relive the first kiss, the first intimacy of a couple exploring new sensations and new emotions. I play with doubts and drama more intense (thank goodness) than any I experienced.

I play with timelines—how quickly can a couple fall in love? What does it take for two people to trust each other? What does it take to break that trust? What does it take to bring two people back together?

Writing is hard, definitely, but the resolution of a romantic journey is its own reward.

I tried something different in my latest Samhain release, Beneath the Surface. I have a couple who are estranged. They’d fallen in love in college, had a passionate courtship, a passionate marriage. Their passion tore them apart, and now Mallory, the heroine, is ready for a stable life, a real home. Before she can move on, she needs the divorce papers signed. She has to chase him down to a dig site on the Caribbean to get him to sign them.

Getting these two to fall in love again was hard because they’d both felt betrayed by the other. But playing on their good memories, on the remembered trust, helped bring them back together.

Because it’s all about the happy ending.

Why do you read or write romance?

Monday, September 14, 2009


By Dr. Debra Holland

When Tom Petty’s song, Free Falling, plays on the radio, I like to sing along. “And, I’m Freeeeee. Free Fallin’. I don’t think much of the rest of the lyrics, but I sure do like the chorus. Some editors must too. A quick search showed three romances titled Free Falling: Stoble Piel, 1999, Mary Eason, 2008, and Sandy James, 2009. I’m sure there’s more.

Editors frequently assign song titles to books. For example, Jenny Crusie has two: Crazy For You and Tell Me Lies.

Song titles make great books titles because there’s instant recognition. The title may make a book more memorable or cause someone to pick up the book who might not normally.

Much of the time the working titles authors use are not kept by the editor. Instead, a new title is chosen. And since titles can’t be copywrited, the title may be used over and over. I have no idea if any of the above three authors used Free Falling as a working title. Yet, maybe they did have the title first and drew inspiration from it.

Have you ever listened to the radio and heard a song and thought, “That would make a great book title?” Maybe the song is one you’ve never heard before. Maybe it’s an oldie, but something about the lyrics sparks a story idea.

I mostly listen to the radio when I’m in the car. I don’t know about you, but I tend to think about my writing when I drive. I work out scenes and snippets of dialogue come to me, especially when the freeway is clear, and I can easily drive without much conscious thought. The other times are when I’m stuck in traffic (common in Los Angeles) and need to engage my mind to contain my frustration and pass the time. In fact, one of my books originated as a story idea while I was driving to my office.

I keep a notebook right next to the driver’s seat. If it’s possible to drive semi-safely and jot down the ideas, I do so. Although sometimes the writing isn’t too legible.

Sometimes I play with song titles, trying to create a story out of them. Then when I arrive at my destination, I write it down. Or if I don’t have time to write, I’ll probably forget about it. I’ve never actually developed a book from a song title, but I do have a list of potentials in my notebook. If I ever need some inspiration, I plan to play with them.

What about you? Have you ever written a story based on a song title?

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse

Noodlers continue exploring the month's Free Falling Theme with the following blogs:

Monday, September 14th: Dr. Debra Holland Song Titles as Inspiration
Tuesday, September 15th: MJ Fredrick Falling in Love, Again and Again
Wednesday, September 16th: Maureen Hardegree Top Five Things College Freshmen Shouldn’t Say to Their English Instructors
Thursday, September 17th: Maureen Hardegree Buy One Get One Free and Other Coupon Deals
Friday, September 18th: Q&A: What was your favorite after school snack as a kid?

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Q&A Friday!!

Since we're exploring the free falling theme this month, let's discuss how it relates to writing. To me, writing the first draft is a free fall of sorts if you don't stop to edit.

How do you stop yourself from editing when writing your first draft?


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Falling out of Touch

posted by Lee McKenzie

I love sending and receiving mail.

Not email, voice mail, twits, texts or pokes...I’m talking about real mail. Snail mail. The kind of mail that requires a little thought and a little time and a little effort.

I have a box of stationary filled with note cards, pens, stickers and stamps, and I enjoy sitting at my desk with a cup of tea and writing a note to a family member or friend. I enjoy the walk to the post office to mail it. I know exactly when mail is delivered to my home, give or take ten minutes, and finding a note from a family member or friend is the highlight of my day.

Tucked in my filing cabinet are several file folders filled with cards and letters I’ve received over the years. I still have a bundle of letters my grandparents sent thirty to forty years ago, and from time to time I take them out and read that familiar old handwriting. When I do, I still feel connected to them.

There’s no denying that electronic media provides instant gratification, but with all that typing, sending, replying and deleting, I can’t help wondering if we’re actually staying in touch or mostly keeping busy. Call me old fashioned, but I really hope the post office never goes out of business.

Until next time,
The Writer Side of Life


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Letting Go

If you’re like me, you like being in control—not that I’m a complete freak. I’m learning, though, to let go. In fact, it’s become a goal of mine to relinquish more and more things that, quite frankly, aren’t that important in the grand scheme.

Helicopter Parenting
Okay, I admit I haven’t completely succeeded with eliminating this tendency. But the helicopter has shrunk to a little toy size. My daughter succeeds or fails. My job is to help her process the success or failure. As much as it kills me not to badger her into telling me when I know something is bothering her, I stop when she says she doesn’t want to talk about it—most of the time.

Volunteer Work
Several years ago, I assessed how much time in the day I had to accomplish my goals, and I discovered that volunteering was sucking away my writing time. I whittled down my list to only things I loved, like sewing for my daughter’s ballet company and volunteer opportunities that helped my career. Are people disappointed in me when I say “no”? Probably. But since I no longer feel the need to be perfect, I’m fine.

This is has been the cornerstone on the foundation of change for me. I am not perfect, and I no longer expect it of myself. I don’t expect it of others. I make mistakes. Some people dislike me, and that’s okay. Unless I have guests arriving, my house is messy, my office needs a good dusting, and there is clean laundry not yet folded sitting on my dining room table.

What are some things you’ve let go of to have a richer, happier life?
Because she's let go, Maureen had the time to write "A Tale of Two Kitties" for BelleBooks' Critters of Mossy Creek, Book Seven of the Mossy Creek Hometown series. Critters will be released on September 28th ! Visit Maureen's website at

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Writing: A Hobby Out of Control

by Terry McLaughlin

I've often said I never wanted to be a writer. It just sort of...happened. However, I can trace the genesis today's blog post to two accidents (or, in writing lingo, inciting incidents).

First accident: taking a class I didn't need. But that class was in the right building at the right time on the right day of the week, so I signed up. That's how I met the professor who told me to write a book someday.

Second accident: reading a book I thought was a mystery. But I discovered it was a romance when I asked a bookstore clerk if the author, Nora Roberts, had ever written anything else. That's how I discovered the romance genre.

And so, with a nudge from a teacher and a craving for love stories, I decided to give writing a shot. Once I'd written a couple of chapters of my very first story, I challenged myself to finish the manuscript. And once I'd finished, I challenged myself to get it sold. It was a huge dare, the biggest trick of my life, and I wanted to see if I could pull it off.

But I still didn't consider myself a writer, not even after I attended a weekend seminar presented by a novelist who came to town. When my husband asked me what I'd learned, I told him I'd learned there were twenty-two local people willing to pay $200 to find out how to get published. I figured as soon as I sold a book, I'd travel around and get rich giving my own seminars. After all, I was a teacher, not a writer.

And then I discovered writing conferences. Pahrr-teee! I got my first manicure, and then my first pedicure, and I jetted around the country having tons of fun. At last I'd found a reason to write: writing conferences! Although my writing took a vacation while I vacationed with my new writing buddies...until my husband threatened to ground me if I didn't finish the current work-in-progress. I wrote the final 100 pages under duress, enduring my first deadline ordeal. But that story was my first Golden Heart final, my ticket to the Wet Noodle Posse and, two years later, my first sale. (I dedicated it to that college professor.) As you can see, another series of accidents.

I remember telling one of my conference roommates that I wanted to sell just one book, just to see if I could do it. Once I'd pulled off my big trick, I could retire.

Seven books later, I'm still at it. Go figure. And not only did I get myself an agent, not only am I giving novel-writing classes at the local library (for free!), I'm a member of the board of directors of Romance Writers of America. What in the world happened? I have no idea. This whole writing thing has spun completely out of control.

And the craziest thing is that when people ask what I do, I tell them I'm a writer.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A New Start by Diane Gaston

This is the time of year our children return to school. In fact, tomorrow is the first day of school in our area.

I remember so well the excitement --and fear--of a new start. A new classroom. New classmates. And, for me, often, a new school.

New binders, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, pink erasers, scissors, crayons...

A week or so ago I was near Staples and thought to myself, "I ought to be buying something new." I think I was responding to the ingrained notion that now is the time for new supplies for a new beginning.

I am starting something new. A new book, just in the initial plotting stages, soon to be a new proposal for Harlequin Mills & Boon, a book I hope to finish by December.

I have a new resolve, typical of me this time of year, to work harder, to use better work habits so I don't fall behind. It feels a little like starting school!

I have other new things to announce:

My new bookcover for Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady, coming December 2009.

New stuff on my website

A new contest

What new starts are you up to?
Anyone starting school?

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse

Noodlers continue their free fall into September with the following blogs:

Monday, September 7th: Diane Gaston A New Start
Tuesday, September 8th: Terry McLaughlin Writing: A Hobby Out of Control
Wednesday, September 9th: Maureen Hardegree Letting Go
Thursday, September 10th: Lee McKenzie Falling Out of Touch
Friday, September 11th: Q&A: How do you stop yourself from editing when writing your first draft?

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Q& A Friday and September New Releases!

My memories of writing when my daughter was a baby are being jogged today as I babysit my nephew Wyatt. I recall sneaking in writing time as my daughter napped. How did I start that first novel? With a notebook and a pen. And when I'm stuck now, I get out paper and pen and free write. I prefer gel pens. There's something about the glide of the ink against the paper that appeals to me.

So how about you? Do you prefer a certain kind of pen for free writing or signing your books? Do you always write with a computer? What's your favorite writing instrument and why?

If you're looking for some great fall reading, check out our Noodler New Releases for September:

MJ Fredrick
Beneath the Surface

Samhain Publishing
September 1, 2009

When past and present meet, secrets lie beneath the surface.

In retrospect, perhaps archaeologist Mallory Reeves shouldn’t have delivered the divorce papers to her estranged husband mere weeks before her marriage to another man. She knew seeing Adrian again would stir up memories, but she didn’t expect so many of them to be good, not after the mess they both made three years ago.

She also didn’t expect to want to stay at the dig site on the Yucatan Peninsula. But the lure of the ancient ship and, yes, her sexy ex provide more of a draw than the white picket fence she thought she wanted.

Marine archaeologist Adrian Reeves has good reason to trust no one. His former partner—and former best friend—made off with his last archaeological find. And his wife left him, frustrated by his obsession for professional revenge.

Now both Mallory and his nemesis have returned, and it can’t be an accident that they’ve turned up in the middle of the most important excavation of his career. Seeing her again unearths old pain—and rekindles never-forgotten desire. Now he has to decide if he can trust Mallory again. More importantly, if he can trust himself with her.

Warning: Smokin’ hot archaeologists, painful memories, breathtaking underwater scenes and a passion that won’t die.

Maureen Hardegree
Critters of Mossy Creek

Book Seven of the Mossy Creek Hometown Series
Belle Books
September 28, 2009

Furry, fishy, four-footed and feathered. Peek inside the lives of the strange and wonderful pets of Mossy Creek and the people who love them.

Springtime brings thoughts of love to people all over the world,
and Creekites are no exception. Although love to Creekites
isn’t necessarily romantic. Take, for example, how they feel
about their pets. Dogs, cats, birds, and fish take center stage as
we once again see how the Southern half lives. Your favorites
are back and in just as much trouble as ever. Amos and Ida
are still circling each other’s wagons. Sandy Crane has a little
Faith. Jayne Reynolds emerges from widowhood to take a
long lingering look at Mossy Creek’s Bubba Rice. Ed Bailey
and his beloved dog Possum, Lil Ida Hamilton, Peggy Caldwell
and others will make you laugh and cry at human and animal
antics. Cat heists. Fish ponds. Bird nappings. Don’t miss the
fun with Critters of Mossy Creek!

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