Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Oh, there's no place like home.....

...for the holidays..."

I love Christmas, and I always have because I so much enjoy the opening of gifts on Christmas morning. (Not Christmas Eve, as some renegades practice). In years past, we had the family Christmas morning at my sister's house because she was the first to have children. But ever since my mom and I got this house together, we've been having it here.

Now, Faithful Readers know The Boy moved out this past Spring, so for the first time in his life, he was not going to be under my roof on Christmas Eve night/Christmas morning. Under normal circumstances this would not alarm me. He doesn't live that far away. But he's a night owl, difficult to wake up early in the morning, and I was afraid he wouldn't get here in time. Add to that, his cell phone charger is broken, and he doesn't really care.

On Christmas Eve, I urged him to come home to spend the night so that he would be here. Of course, he didn't want to do that. And when I pointed out that I wouldn't be able to contact him to wake him up, he replied, "Just go ahead and open gifts without me. I'll give mine out when I get there."

Under normal circumstances, that would probably be okay. But this Boy is my heartbeat. I never get to see him since he moved out anyway, and to have Christmas morning without him - unthinkable! I admit I cried when he said that, and it was evident in my voice. I didn't intend to put guilt on him - really, I didn't. But in his twenty-four years outside the womb, I've never not had Christmas with him. I didn't want to start now.

Still, he's a grown man, capable of making his own decisions about where to spend the night. I tried to be understanding.

I slept fitfully Christmas Eve night. Maybe he's the reason, maybe not. When I finally got up on Christmas morning, it was just before seven. I showered, got dressed, went into the kitchen to make coffee.

And there on the huge overstuffed sofa in the family room sprawled my Boy and his girlfriend, fast asleep under a big fluffy comforter.

It was all the Christmas gift I needed.

Happy New Year to all


Thursday, December 20, 2007

And Now a New Cover!

Isn't this beautiful? Of course, I can't really tell you too much about what the various things on the cover mean. I don't want to give away the story. But there is definitely a castle. And a trip to London. And that swirly thing in the middle there? Well, that's kind of like Bill and Ted's phone booth, isn't it?

Guess you'll just have to wait until the book is available at The Wild Rose Press. Shouldn't be too much longer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wow, this is a Great Review!

Just back from my annual Christmas trip to Walt Disney World, and guess what was in my mailbox! A Google alert that pointed me to a new review of A LOTUS-COVERED DOOR. Faithful readers know this story is special to me for some personal reasons. Well, here's what Xeranthemum at The Long and Short of It had to say:

"If you enjoy reading a story that leaves your heart in your throat from the suspense as to whether they will or won't, then The Lotus-Covered Door delivers."

Oh, my. That's just too, too wonderful, isn't it? But wait - it gets better:

"This story almost had me in tears. So close, so close to reaching his dream only to lose it?"

You can read the whole review by clicking here

It was a very rewarding story to write. If you like the theme of lost loves regained, then this is for you. Makes a GREAT Christmas gift! And it's only three bucks! Run on over to The Wild Rose Press and buy it right now! My mother will thank you.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Writers on Strike?

I don't understand writers going on strike. I do understand writers wanting more money for what they do, or more payoff for residuals of their work as it goes into other forms. But striking? How can a writer strike? A writer has to write.

But all that aside, I also wonder about the television networks planning to throw reality programming at us since they don't have any new episodes of Grey's Anatomy or Heroes. Or whatever people are watching these days. Who do they think they're kidding with this? Are we supposed to believe that Ryan Seacrest makes up his own lines? Somebody WRITES what he says.

"The tribe has spoken." Who came up with that? Somebody wrote it.

My good friend Digby Diehl had a story that he loved to relate. A friend of his wrote a popular soap opera. When the friend got pulled over for speeding, the police officer asked him what he did for a living. He explained that he wrote a soap opera. The cop replied, "I didn't know anybody wrote those!"

Sombody writes your evening news, the Jeopardy! answers, and Dr. Phil's intro.

So why does network television think it can get along without writers? It can't. Don't even try.

Now go read something.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Where Have I Been?

Sometimes even I don't know.

Okay, here's what happened: The online publishing money is slim. The eBay money is good but labor intensive. The jerk who owes us money is in prison right now. So, in order to keep up the payments on the T-Bird, I had to get a real job.

It's okay. I've had real jobs before. Some are better than others. This one is particularly good. If I had to go to an office every day, I found a nice one to go to. It's cheerful and pleasant. The work is something I know how to do and I'm good at. The boss is a jewel. A lot like me, minus XXX years. (You can fill that in on your own.)

So, while I'm sad that I can't sit here and google myself...I mean, WRITE all day, I'm still happy that I managed to find such a good opportunity. I did give up the editing job. I didn't give up the teaching. And the eBay will have to sort itself out after the holidays. I still have a ton of stuff to sell for my sister and Jeanette.

And I intend to keep writing. Once we get past Christmas, I'll work on a schedule. The Blonde Bombshell can't stay stuck in Gatsby's cabin indefinitely. And her ex-boyfriend just showed up. That must be addressed.

Meanwhile, the 1962 time-travel story, now titled TIME TO KEEP, is due out from The Wild Rose Press...sometime.

So happy holidays to one and all. It only gets better from here.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Over the river and through the woods....

To Grandmother's house we go!

Lucky for me, I live with the reigning grandmother in my family so I didn't have to cross any rivers or go through any woods. Not that there are any woods in this major metropolitan area I call home. There is a river. Anyway...

It's Thanksgiviing, in case you've been living in a cave that just this moment became wired for Internet access. It's the time of year when we stop for a minute to think on those things for which we're thankful. After which we consume massive amounts of poultry and refined carbohydrates. Yum!

A couple of years ago, our circle widened to temporarily include a handful of young people who joined us for dinner. My son, who was then twenty-two, was explaining to them our annual ritual. "We stand in a circle and hold hands, then everyone has to say what they're thankful for."

"On, no," one of the young people said. "We won't do that."

"Oh, yes," my Boy insisted. "You HAVE to."

It's always good for a parent to discover that those little rituals we hold sacred actually stuck when we threw them at the younger generation.

So here are a few things for which I'm thankful. I won't list the obvious. Family, health, loved ones. Everybody has those. No, these are the little things that give me pleasure with some regularity:

A local radio station that plays classical music
More books than I'll ever have time to read
Flowers blooming outside my window
A really fast car and (so far) money to gas it up
My driveway to Walt Disney World - one hour
Fresh oranges almost falling in my lap
Every day, whether I have a chance to write or not, the words never stop filling my mind.

I hope everyone takes a moment to think about the little things today.

Happy Thanksgiving


Friday, November 16, 2007

What's in a Title?

A rose by any other name...blah, blah, blah. I know. Shakespeare was never wrong, and if he was, I'd be the last to say so. But TITLES, now that's a different story.

My Time Travel adventure is tentatively titled FROM A CASTLE KEEP. And I like that title. But I don't love it. The hard K sound is very nice. And there's a pretty good rhythm to it. But what does it say about the story? Do we have a clue what's going on there?

THE RUNAWAY HEIRESS is prettty straightforward. BLAME IT ON THE GHOST likewise gives the potential book buyer a clue. But what does FROM A CASTLE KEEP tell you? I'd really like it if I could come up with something that has TIME in the title. Here's my short list of maybes:

Time After Time
From Time to Time
Never Enough Time
So Little Time
No Time Left

I dunno. I'm open to suggestions. Anyone have any? Hey, how about a contest? Leave your title suggestions in the comments section here, and if I choose one of them, I'll give that person a free copy of the book! How's that?

Not much beats a free book!

Have a great day!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Some things I just can't ignore

I know, usually I blog about writing - my own and writing in general. But two news items have come to my attention today, and I'm powerless to let them go by unnoticed.

First, David Beckham has been awarded a $41 million dollar contract from Armani to model their underwear.

Wait, let me rephrase that:


I'm sorry, I don't follow professional soccer, and I've never seen "Bend It Like Beckham." I do know that he's a good looking man who married a Spice Girl, moved to LA and got a huge bucketful of money to NOT play soccer. There's a really good chance the Beck looks Very Good in his underwear. Even better in Mr. Armani's underwear. But FORTY-ONE MILLION DOLLARS??? How much does a pair of these underpants cost, do you think? Has to be a lot to justify paying for Beck, right?

They probably won't be available at WalMart. Will they?

I'm just sayin'.

Next - and as Dave Barry would say, I'm NOT making this up - a platoon of Santas in Sydney, Australia (like there's another Sydney, right?) have been ordered - ORDERED -to say Ha, Ha, Ha instead of Ho, Ho, Ho.

Know why?

Go ahead. Guess why.

That's right. So they won't offend any woman who might think Santa is calling her a "ho."

And that's from our Give Me A Flippin' Break Department.

Now go have yourselves a nice day. I dare ya.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Time is on my side.."

As Mick would say, "Yes, it is."

I've just received a contract offer for the time travel story, tentatively titled FROM A CASTLE KEEP.

This started as a contest entry at The Wild Rose Press. The only rules were that your heroine had to be in 2007, and she had to travel back in time to one of four designated time periods. I chose the Vintage period and had Star Prescott whisked back to 1962.

While I didn't win the contest, the editors did love the story enough to want to publish it apart from the contest. I had to make a few changes to it and resubmit. So instead of the English cottage that was the original setting for the contest, I moved Star to a spooky old castle in western England.

So what happens to Star when she takes her holiday in the old castle?

Stay tuned. More on that later.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And Here's the Proof!

That's the official 1993 Fabio calendar. And it's autographed to ME! Notice how he signed it "Love?" I can't help it. I just have that effect on men.

And yes, I did put it on eBay. We'll see whether it gets any attention. But I'm here to report the Donny and Marie dolls I showed you last week got us THIRTY-ONE DOLLARS!

Surely Fabio is worth at least that.

Okay, this is a quick one. My internet service has been spotty for a few days now. I do hope that's resolved soon.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 9, 2007

"Let me 'splain you that..."

So,Fabio and George Clooney walk into a restaurant...

No,it's not the beginning of a bad joke. The Cover Model and the King of Cool actually came to blows two days ago when Clooney thought the women with Fabio were taking pictures of him. When actually, they were taking pictures of, you know, Fabio.

The Romance Novel World hasn't been in this much of a tizzy since RWA national conference was held in New Orleans while Kevin Costner was filming JFK. (And speaking of Costner, a rock band???? Come on, dude. You're not twenty-three and living in your mother's basement any more.) Various RomBlogs are posing the question: Who would win in a real fight? The camps are about evenly divided between "Fabio would crush him like a bug" and "Clooney would sneak in a sucker punch or a hairpulling."

To me, it doesn't matter. As one woman said somewhere, when those two start rolling around on the floor, WE are the winners. Yes, ma'am. Pull me up a lawn chair to the edge of the circle and let the games begin!

But I have actually met Fabio. Touched him. Had my picture taken beside him. Received his autograph on his 1993 calendar. Which I am about to post on eBay. (See my recent post about strikes and hot irons). I would upload the picture of me with Fab (as those close to him like to call him) but aside from the fact that I don't have a scanner, it's possibly the worst picture ever taken of me. But really - who's going to look good standing next to Fabio? Maybe Jessica Simpson?

Hmmm....come to think of it....have you ever seen the two of them together???

I'm off to ponder Clooney and Fab in a hairpulling, clothes ripping match.

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Lotus Unfolds

Yesterday I received my first review for A LOTUS-COVERED DOOR. Certainly over the years my books have been reviewed by professionals and amateurs alike, but this is my first short story. You never know what's going to happen when you try something different.

Here's part of what the reviewer had to say:

"A Lotus Covered Door is a sweet story. Susan Cody has done a great job creating a real romance in so few pages. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys short romance."

That's by Dakota Rebel. You can read the entire review here.

So, there you go. At least one person to whom I am not related likes it.

And now I'm off to do some more writing. Rumor has it I do a great job.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I Always KNEW I Was Carrie!!

You Are Most Like Carrie!

You're quirky, flirty, and every guy's perfect first date.
But can the guy in question live up to your romantic ideal?
It's tough for you to find the right match - you're more than a little picky.
Never fear... You've got a great group of friends and a
great closet of clothes, no matter what!

Romantic prediction: You'll fall for someone this year...

Totally different from any guy you've dated.

Last year my best friend gave me the COMPLETE Sex and the City for my birthday. It took me a while to get through all six seasons, but having finished it recently, I'm now in withdrawal. I want more!

Thankfully, they're working on a feature-length movie AWS. And of course Chris Noth returns as Mr. Big. Oh, come on. You always knew Carrie would end up with Big when all was said and done, didn't you?

My Sex and the City journey didn't take me exactly where I intended to go. I thought at first I would be watching a smart, funny, sexy story about life in Manhattan for young women. And I got that. But I also got so much more.

If you've never seen the show, or seen only a little bit of it, I'm here to tell you now that this is NOT a show about four women trying to find the loves of their lives. Well, yes it is. But what it's REALLY about is how much these four women love each other.

They have their ups and downs, their petty arguments, their lifestyle differences. But they truly, deeply love each other. As Big says in the second to last episode, "Any man comes in a distant fourth to the other three women."

So think about that next time the show comes on. Watch it with your grilfriend. And remember: I'M CARRIE!!!

Have a great day; I'm going shoe shopping,


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Maybe It Wasn't That Good, After All

Yesterday, I wrote a longish post about beginning writers putting too much information in the front of their story. Backstory is better served in small bites, I advised, accompanied by the action.

Then at the very end, I hit SOMETHING that caused me to delete the entire thing. And I refuse to rewrite the same thing over again. So I'm guessing it was Meant To Be.

Now on to the fun. Some of you know that my dear friend Jeanette is planning to take off in a motor home at the end of 2008, and has charged me with the awesome responsibility of selling her "stuff." Then my sister got into the act with more "stuff" left over from when she dealt antiques, not to mention her daughters' toys. And that's how I wound up with a lot of old Barbies.

Well, I was in Marketing for a long time, and I understand the principle that has to do with striking and hot irons, so yesterday I put this on eBay:

Oh, come on! You know it's funny!

Fill in your own caption. I'm leaning toward, "I've fallen and I can't get up!" But it also gives new meaning to the phrase, "she's a little bit country; he's a little bit rock and roll."

Yes, I know Donny isn't on "Dancing with the Stars" with her, but it's still funny.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 2, 2007

When You See A Guy.....

"...reach for stars in the sky, you can bet that he's doing it for some Doll!"

There's a reason why GUYS AND DOLLS is my favorite Broadway show, and it's not the great music, the clever lyrics, the New York setting, or the romantic plot. It isn't even that it's about a time when men were guys and women were dolls.

No, it's because it's the ONLY classic musical in which I've actually performed. And while I wasn't Adelaide, or even one of the Hot Box girls, I was on stage and my name was in the cast list. I love everything about this show, including the things listed above. So it was a great treat for me last week when my Florida Orchestra performed the music of Frank Loesser.

He wrote a lot of other things, too, but GUYS AND DOLLS is probably his best known and certainly his best loved. To make it even more special, the orchestra was accompanied by four singers, one of whom was Frank Loesser's real life daughter, Emily. Also singing for us were her husband Donald Stephenson, Ron Raines who plays Alan Spaulding on The Guiding Light and can sing the paint off the Mona Lisa, and Debbie Gravitte, a sultry singer with jazz thumping beneath her Broadway fare.

Lucky for all of us, Ms. Gravitte was selling her CD in the lobby, so I've been "Defying Gravity" all week as I listened to it.

But I would be remiss if I didn't mention another great thing about GUYS AND DOLLS. If you take away all the music, you have an absolutely perfect romance novel. Here's New York City's most dangerous gambler falling in love with the Uber religious Mission Girl. And if that isn't conflict enough for you, his ability to seduce her is the heart of a major bet between him and his cronies.

It's almost too good.

So look for the film version if you can. It stars Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. You can't possibly go wrong with those. It will make you wish you had some cheesecake from Lindy's.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Jaws of the Plot

There are two sessions left in the Writing Romances class I'm teaching at USF. (Go Bulls!) We've covered all of the basics I can think of except for tonight's topic - PLOT.

Time and time again, I've heard talented writers say they could pen a bestseller if they just knew WHAT to write. Yeah, that can be a problem. Because if you don't have a plot, then you just have a bunch of characters wandering around aimlessly. Kind of like junior high school.

Anyway, one of the things I plan to discuss is how things must fit together, must grow from the setup, must make sense. It's like that age-old expression tells us: If there's a cannon on the stage in act one, you damn well better fire it before the final curtain.

Conversely, if you intend all along to fire a cannon at the finale, you need to have a cannon onstage at some point. You can't have your hero in the middle of a horrible fight and have him at the last minute declare, "Oh, look! There's a cannon we can use!"

In JAWS the movie -and I presume also the book - we early on see compressed air canisters on the boat and are warned to be careful. They're explosive! So when we get to the end with Chief Brody fighting for his life on a sinking ship, we all see the tank and the rifle and scream at him. "Shoot the tank! Shoot the tank!" He does. And lives to tell it.

So when we talk about plotting, the question becomes - which came first? Was the tank already there, so Benchley thought of using it, or did he come up with that in the end and go back to put the tank on the boat early on?

The answer is, it doesn't matter. As long as the sequence of events makes sense and keeps the characters true to themselves, go for it either way.

The point being, if you need it, put it onstage early. And if you put it onstage, use it.

Just don't go swimming after dark.

Have a great day

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spooks Come Out for a Swinging Wake

This is Halloween. This is Halloween. Halloween. Halloween. Halloween. Halloween. Everybody SCREAM!

Well, I don't live in Master Gracie's Mansion and Jack Skellington doesn't dance in my pumpkin patch, but there will certainly be some spooks swinging down my street tonight.

My favorites, ever since living in this house, are the four children across the street. Two are twins and the other two are close in age. They're still young enough to do everything together, and Halloween is no exception. They always dress up in a theme. With three boys and only one girl, they probably have to struggle to come up with compatible costumes.

One year they were all four Power Rangers. We couldn't see their faces, but I'm guessing the girl was the pink one. Another time they were Darth Vader, Chewbacca, a Storm Trooper and Princess Leia. Last year they visited the land of Oz with Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.

I can't wait to see what they do tonight. Sooner or later, this Mom is going to run out of ideas that use three boys and one girl. Although, I suppose they haven't mined the Hogwarts field yet. Lots of options there.

If you're feeling the Halloween mood and want a ghostly presence in your life tonight, I suggest you swoop over to Cerridwen Press and nab yourself a copy of BLAME IT ON THE GHOST. You really can't go wrong with a haunted house tonight. And I promise, no one loses any body parts. You know you're always safe with a romance.

Then if you're thinking you wouldn't mind showing a loudmouth skeleton the trap door, click on over to Halloween Hangman. Caution: this game can be addicting.

Well, it's time once again for that annual game I like to call, "Did we eat all the Snickers already, or do we have candy left to pass out tonight?"

Have a frightful day,

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday, Friday, Friday!!!

The weeks just keep going by faster and faster, don't they? Here we are at Friday again, and it's time for our end-of-the-week roundup.

Every writer googles him or herself and I'm no exception. I also enjoy looking at the stats for the blog and the website to see who's coming by and why. One of my favorite things is looking at the phrases people typed into their search bars that returned this place to them. Let's take a look:

"I'm driving in my car" and the variation of that with "elmer fudd" added are once again number one. Seems a lot of people love that song - both the Srpingsteen version and the Robin Williams parody. And apparently they want to see what people are saying about it on the web. And still, they come here.

We had two people looking for "Eldon on Murphy Brown." I invoked that character when I was redecorating my office. I believe the actor who played Eldon passed away recently. Moment of silence now for a great sitcom character.

Okay, next up we have "Epcot David Cassidy." Not that unusual. You're a Disney fan. You're going to Epcot. You wanna know when David Cassidy is performing at Eat to the Beat. Sure. Makes sense. Except the person who googled this was in SPAIN! Not really that convenient for a quick jaunt to an aging pop star's thirty-minute show. Oh, well. Buenas Dias, senor or senorita. Thanks for stopping by.

I like this one. "The blonde in The Birds." To that person, if you haven't found it yet, her name is Tippi Hedren and she's the mother of Melanie Griffith.

Finally, we come to the most confusing one. "Smelliest bird." I don't know why someone would google this, but more importantly, I don't know why someone would google this over and over! We've had this before, and now in the past week we've had it twice. Always from the same person. And that person is in Australia. So, to the smelliest bird enthusiast, next time you're here, please leave a comment and tell us why you're looking for the smelliest bird. Enquiring minds, you know.

What I'm Listening to - Nothing. The CD player in the car was broken and the classical station was having its pledge drive.

What I'm Watching - football, of course. Go Dawgs!

What I'm Reading - WONDERFUL TONIGHT, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Me by Patti Boyd. It's interesting, but I haven't seen much I didn't already know, and I really wish it were written better. But it led me to google Dhani Harrison, George's son, and here's his picture:

Freakish, isn't it, how much he looks like his father? Almost spooky.

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Word about Robb White

If you go to Amazon and search for a children's book called The Lion's Paw, you will find 61 review entries that go something like this: "When I was a kid in the fifties, I read this book, and I've been looking for it ever since."

I didn't write a review, but add me to that list. I read The Lion's Paw by Robb White when I was in the fifth grade. That was actually the 60s, but who's quibbling over a few years? Seems I'm not alone in remembering the story and wanting to read it again. You can get a hardcover of it for around three hundred dollars. The cheapest I've seen lately is fifty-six dollars for a petty beat up paperback. I'm still hoping I'll find it in someone's yard sale for a quarter some day, but that's not very likely.

The story is about three orphans who sail off on a sloop because the oldest one's uncle is about to sell it. They encounter many adventures along the way. The heart of the story is their courage and determination. The book is set in Florida, which has been my personal backyard since I was four. It's a lovely tale with brilliant detail that makes you feel as if you're right there with the kids sailing the waters with them.

Robb White wrote a few children's books, most of them adventures of this type. Rumor has it his second wife holds the rights to Lion's Paw. I truly wish she would strike a deal with some publisher to reprint the book. A platoon of baby boomers would make it an instant best seller. I'm already regretting that I didn't bid on the copy that went for fifty-six bucks.

When I began forming my thoughts for A Lotus-Covered Door, it didn't take long at all to come up with a name for my hero. He lives on his sailboat, drifts around the world seeking adventure, never shies away from anything that crosses his path. So of course, his name is Robb.

See? Everything happens for a reason.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Little Street in Singapore, Part Two

So in the 80s, The Peter Moon Band was very big in Hawaii. They're very talented guys with an eclectic portfolio from authentic Hawaiian songs to hard core rock 'n roll. Perhaps their most popular album (certainly my favorite) is Cane Fire. And on Cane Fire is their version of "On a Little Street in Singapore."

Steven gave me a copy of CF a long, long time ago. I've played it roughly a jillion times. All the songs on it are good, even the ones in Hawaiian. I have a couple of favorites on the CD, but every time I'd hear "Singapore," it would conjure images for me. Here's some more of the lyric:

"My sails tonight are filled with perfume of Shalimar
With temple bells that guide me to her shore.
And then I hold you in my arms
And love the way I loved before
On a little street in Singapore."

Well, I am a romance writer after all. It didn't take much for my imagination to fill in the rest of the story. He met her in Singapore. For some reason he left her. Now he's sailing back to her because he loved her so much, he just couldn't stand life without her.

Of course it wouldn't be a good story without some conflict, so what do you suppose he finds when he walks down that little street and knocks on the lotus-covered door?

Guess you'll have to go to The Wild Rose Press and buy it to find out, won't you?

Have a great day, wherever your sails may take you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"Where Do You Get Your Ideas?"

This is probably the most frequently asked question for all writers. The answer is, quite often, "I dunno."

But this time I know exactly where the idea came from for my short story releasing tomorrow at The Wild Rose Press. The story is called "A Lotus-Covered Door." The inspiration came from a song called, "On a Little Street in Singapore." Here are some of the lyrics:

"On a little street in Singapore
We'd meet beside a lotus-covered door.
A veil of moonlight on her lovely face
How pale the hands that held me in embrace."

Written by Peter DeRose and Billy Hill, the song was first recorded in 1939 by Harry James and his Orchestra with a vocal by some new young singer....what's his name again? Frank Something.

Oh, yeah. That guy. Unfortunately the song was not much of a hit until 1944 when Sinatra released it under his own name. Oh, the power of fame.

It's also been recorded by a host of other artists including Jimmy Dorsey, Mel Torme, Glenn Miller, Manhattan Transfer, and Maxine Gray. But none of those are the version that inspired my story. No. that was The Peter Moon Band.


Sorry. You'll have to come back tomorrow for the rest of the story....

Have a great day,

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Ghost and the Lotus

First of all, we have A Lotus-Covered Door releasing this week at The Wild Rose Press. This is a sweet short story about finding lost love and making changes in your life when you realize the love is worth more than anything. It's my first release at the Rose Garden, and I'm very excited about that. It's a warm and friendly place where writers flourish and readers can pick a colorful bouquet. We'll have more about the Lotus all week.

Next, I received notice of a review for BLAME IT ON THE GHOST at Romance Junkies, one of the most popular review sites on the web. Writers Digest picked it as one of their 101 Best Web Sites. The review isn't live yet, so here's a snippet:

"BLAME IT ON THE GHOST is a heartfelt book that you will want to revisit again and again. This is one book that takes you on a soul-searching journey of two people, who need a little push in the right direction! Delia Carnell creates quite a couple with Amberly and Dylan; you will fall in love with them and will enjoy sharing their adventure as you turn the pages of this fantastic book!"

That's from Janean at Romance Junkies. Soon as the entire review is live, I'll post the link for you, but you can browse the reviews here.

In the meantime, I guess we're ready to start cheering for the Red Sox, yes?

Have a great day!

Friday, October 19, 2007

My Allegiance to USF - that's no BULL!

Oh, yeah, sure. It's easy to jump on the football wagon with the Bulls at number two in the national rankings. (And in my mind they're still number two. If I didn't see the end of the game last night, it didn't happen, right?)

Even Regis Philbin was talking about the game yesterday. And Kelly Ripa's husband was planning to attend. He's a USF alumni, you see. I knew that he went to Brandon High School. I didn't know Mark Consuelos was a Bull. But even so, here's why I'm qualified to shout, "Go Bulls!" and Regis is not:

My family moved to Tampa one year before USF was founded.

Congressman Sam Gibbons was instrumental in having the university situated in Tampa. My sister lives on a street named after him.

My mother earned a Master's Degree from USF. She was in the very first group of people to complete a Master's program there.

I have a degree in Elementary Education from USF. I made Dean's List seven times. (The GOOD Dean's list; not the one for skipping class or burning the administration buidling.)

I have enough post-graduate hours to earn a second degree in Accounting.

The Writing class in the Continuing Ed program was a huge part of my selling my first book.

When USF played their very first football game, I was there. In a luxury box!

(Somewhere) I have a green and gold cap I knitted when I was dating a guy on the swim team.

Finally....I'm currently teaching a writing class at USF.

So last nigiht during the game, they showed a little graphic about USF with all the regular stuff - Year founded, number of students, etc. But they really failed with their list of famous graduates. They had Gallagher and one other guy I never heard of.

Where was Suzanne Ashley on that list? Delia Carnell?

At the very least, Mark Consuelos????

Have a great weekend,

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Eating My Way around the World

I've just returned from trip number 67 to Walt Disney World. This time, the event was the annual Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. There's nothing like a slow stroll around the "world" sampling food at every stop.

Some favorites:
Spinach Lasagna in Italy
Mint Iced Tea in Morocco
Spicy Beef Empanadas in Argentina
and of course, that perennial favorite, Canada's Cheddar Cheese Soup. Just give me the pot and a big spoon.

Another fun feature of the F&W Festival is the nightly concert called "Eat to the Beat." While I was there this trip, the performance was by David Cassidy. Now I'm just as much a pop star groupie as the next girl, but there were women standing in line for this show MORE THAN FOUR HOURS before it began. In the hot Florida sun! Sorry, I don't love anyone from my teenage days that much.

Maybe I would do it for Johnny Depp. Maybe. If he wore the Jack Sparrow clothes. But I really can't think of anyone else.

I had a great room this time with a balcony overlooking the Boardwalk so that I could see Illuminations from the comfort of my own room if I so chose. Here's proof:

Yeah, I don't know why people take pictures of fireworks. I figured as long as I was there...

So now I'm home, ready to get back to work. LOTUS releases next week, and I'm really looking forward to it. I hope all of you are too.

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Chilly Seventy-Two Degrees

Yay! It's finally cool enough to drive with the convertible top down. This morning when I got in the car to meet my friends for breakfast, the thermometer said Seventy-Two. Soon as I cleared the garage door, that top was rollin' back.

Yesterday as I was trying to remove Keely Smith from the CD player, she got stuck. I can't put anything in or out. And nothing plays. So I drove through the cool seventies morning punching buttons on the radio until I landed on Classic Rock.

Oh, yeah. You really got me. You got me so I can't sleep at night.

If ever there was driving with the top down music, it's the Van Halen boys. And when that ended, just as if it were custom mixed for me, we had Aerosmith. Dude look like a lady. Perfect!

Although it has been discussed in some circles, there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I drive trying to emulate the Rock N Roller Coaster. At least not the upside down part. Unless I'm listening to Aerosmith. Which I was.

Problem being, the street I was on had a 45 mile per hour speed limit.

So I cheated a little. It's Fall. Finally.

Have a great weekend.


Friday, October 12, 2007

I Have A DATE!!!

No, not some gorgeous hunk bearing Godiva and flowers to take me to an elegant dinner and entertaining show. Yes, I have that from time to time, but today I'm talking about a Release Date.

A LOTUS-COVERED DOOR will be available at The Wild Rose Press on October 24.

I'm really excited about this one. I know I say that about all of them, but it's always true. I'm really excited. This was a fun story to write (you can read some of the adventure in the blog archives), I love the characters, and the setting is so exotic.

I know a lot of female authors make this comparison, but it really is a lot like giving birth. You conceive the idea, you nurture it, holding it close as it grows inside you. Then you shove it out there for the world to admire. Hopefully, everyone will be adoring. Sometimes they are.

You're all invited to the Birthing Party. Just show up at The Wild Rose website bright and early on October 24. My newest offspring will be waiting for you there.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Roses and the RWA

This past Saturday I did something I haven't done in about ten years. I attended an RWA meeting. Faithful Readers may or may not know that in Suzanne Ashley's lifetime, I was president of TARA (Tampa Area Romance Authors), the local chapter of RWA. But time and life intruded, so I haven't really kept up my membership on the local level.

But Saturday I found myself in the middle of the Central Florida chapter of RWA. What a delightful group of women. I found them to be caring and giving, supportive of one another and eager to help. Just like it always was. And it's always good to be among other writers who love the romantic tale as much as I do.

But why was I there? Oh, that's Rhonda's fault.

Rhonda Penders is one of two founders of The Wild Rose Press, the publisher who will bring you A LOTUS-COVERED DOOR shortly. Also the publisher who holds the time-travel story in their hands as we speak. When Rhonda announced in an author's loop that she would be in the area, I jumped in and volunteered to pick her up at Disney (no hardship for me!) and drive her to the RWA meeting.

I'm really glad I did. Rhonda's story is interesting. She and a friend decided they had the know-how to create an online publishing company. And they do. The Wild Rose Press does things a bit differently than others. They have fourteen lines, so you can shop for exactly the kind of book you care to read. They have very competitive pricing, so you actually save a few bucks. And they genuinely love their authors. At TWRP, the form rejection letter does not exist. Every submission gets a thoughtful, kind, helpful response.

That's a refreshing difference. Check out The Wild Rose Press today. See what's growing in the garden.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Kella's Still Charming

It's been almost a year since KELLA'S CHARM was released. Imagine my surprise recently when I received not one but TWO reviews for this paranormal book set in ancient Ireland.

"Kella’s Charm is a delightful medieval romp that will leave you reaching for an iced drink and a fan." Karen, Romance Studio

"Delia Carnell has told a fabulous historical romance filled with steamy sex."
Marlene, Fallen Angel Reviews

It's always exciting when someone you don't know reads your work. It can even be a little frightening. In a perfect world, we'd never have anyone but our mothers critique our work. Mothers love everything their children do. Well, almost everything. Our spouses and significant others BETTER say our work is wonderful if they know what's good for them. But complete strangers...that's the good stuff.

KELLA'S CHARM holds a special place in my heart because it's the only historical I've ever written. I had just an idea for one scene in my head, then I wrapped a story around that scene. I like the Alpha Male hero. And of course the woman who is more than he bargained for. Aren't we always?

So thanks to these two review sites for giving Kella some attention. She does deserve it, after all.

Have a great day.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

LIfe Comes Full Circle - Again

A long time ago, when I first set out to write romances, one of those little kismet things occurred that seem to happen from time to time. Maybe all the time if we're paying attention. I received in the mail a catalogue from USF's Continuing Education department. Listed in the course offerings was a class called "How to Write Romance Novels."

Well, that was well-timed, wasn't it? I signed up immediately. At that time, I knew nothing of RWA, there was no internet, no way of connecting with other aspiring authors. I was groping in the darkness, teaching myself by reading a lot of books. Still not a bad way to learn, but I needed details.

This class was led by Lurlene McDaniel. Maybe you've heard of her. She's sold about a jillion books in the Inspirational Romance and Young Adult categories. She's won Major Awards. And she's a truly charming and giving lady.

Every week, Ms. McDaniel gave us assignments. If you've wanted to write, poured out your soul onto pages and pages of lined notebooks, but always kept that spiral bound treasure chest stuffed under your mattress, having "a professional" read your work can be truly frightening.

I wrote a scene that pitted my hero and heroine against each other in a tension-filled exchange that ended with a kiss. !!! With trembling hands, I offered the pages to Ms. McDaniel, then tried to live through the next week, waiting to see what she would say about it.

I will remember this moment in vivid clarity until the day I die. She waited, of course, until the end of the night to hand back our assignments. As she was passing them out, she said, "I don't usually single out one student, but Susan did such a good job of making her characters come to life..."

I swear, it makes me tear up right now thinking about it twenty-some years later. The older we get, the more clearly we see our past. We have what we refer to as defining moments. That was definitely one of mine.

Faithful Readers, you know the rest. I sold a book to Silhouette, I took some time off to be a single mom, then I sold five more books and a short story to three different publishers. I edited and proofread for three different publishers.

Tonight, I close the circle. Tonight I begin teaching "Writing Romances" at the University of South Florida's Continuing Ed program. I am grateful for the opportunity. Another grand adventure begins for me. And for the students in the class. I promise to give them my very best. Maybe some years from now, one of them will be writing about the defining moment in his or her life that began in this class.

Have a great day

Friday, September 28, 2007

TGIF, I suppose...

All of a sudden, my whole blog thing has switched itself from "align left" to "center." Don't ask me why. Okay, you can ask me why, I just can't give you an answer. I don't see a setting for that anywhere in the blog controls. I suspect it has something to do with the Disney Princess quiz because that's when it occurred. I guess we'll just have to live with it for now.

Time once again for that ever popular feature I like to call, "What were people really looking for when they found my blog?"

Bruce Springsteen's "Driving in My Car" is once again the frontrunner in the search engine competition. That's followed closely by the Cream lyric, "Driving in my car, smoking my cigar." I don't know why, but that makes me think of a LaVyrle Spencer hero.

Next we have the not entirely unexpected, "selling old T-Birds." And one I don't quite get - "clues for crosswords to do with birds."

I suppose somewhere in the archives I've mentioned crossword puzzles. I am a big fan of them. And two weeks in a row now I've breakfasted with Merle Reagle. Well, we were in the same restaurant eating breakfast at the same time. That counts, right? You don't suppose, do you, that in his blog Merle is writing, "Two weeks in a row now, I've breakfasted with Delia Carnell?"

No, probably not.

Okay, end of the week roundup:

What I'm Reading - The Valley of Silence. This is the final book in Nora's Circle trilogy. Leave it to her to make a vampire desirable.

What I'm Listening To - High School Musical 2, the soundtrack

What I'm NOT Watching - Dancing with the Stars. Really. Who ARE those people?

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Releasing My Inner Princess

What Disney Princess Are You?

You are Ariel! The Little Mermaid Princess, daughter of Tritan.You are very adventurous and fun loving. Although you are unique (and kind of the odd one out) it doesn't stop you from being a social butterfly. People are often drawn to your loving, carefree nature.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Hmmm...Ariel wouldn't have been my fist guess. I've always seen myself as more of a Cinderella type. You know, the fancy ball, the to-die-for gown, the shoes...oh, well. I guess I share Ariel's love of baubles. She certainly has some nice trinkets in that treasure trove. And I've always wished I could sing. Okay, I'll go with it.

Sorry, no time for splashing around in the lagoon for me today. I'm working on THE RUNAWAY HEIRESS. Rumor has it the conflict is weak. Okay, let me see what other kind of trouble I can stir up for them.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Shakespeare's Already Written Everything!

There are times when a writer struggles and suffers with what to write, spends hours thinking about it, finally comes up with something absolutely brilliant, sets out to work on the concept, then discovers that someone else has already written it.

Happens all the time. It's happened to me. It will happen to you. The sad fact is, Shakespeare has already written every plot possible. And brilliantly, I might add if four hundred years' worth of critique can be believed. I think it probably can.

The key is to put your own unique spin on it. If we're writing romances - which I am - then we know the plot. Two people will meet, fall in love, have some huge obstacle to overcome and ultimately overcome it. (Because if it doesn't have a HEA, it isn't romance!)

Last night as I was watching NCIS (because Mark Harmon was MEANT to be mine! I don't know what bizarre set of circumstances kept our paths from crossing) I found myself itching to write the story I was watching. Super secret operative gets close to woman to learn facts about her arms-dealing father but - oops! - falls in love with her in the process. Yeah, I want to write that. I'm sure it's been written dozens of times. Heck, I kind of wrote it myself in BITTERSWEET BETRAYAL when Tannis is coerced into spying on Zachary which he doesn't find out until he's already fallen in love with her.

So there aren't any new stories, are there? This came to mind for me because there has been a lot of publicity the last few days about the fiftieth anniversary of WEST SIDE STORY. "When you're a jet, you're a jet all the way..." What's not to love about this Bernstein/Sondheim collaboration?

But even fifty years ago, this story wasn't new. It's ROMEO AND JULIET set to music and moved to Manhattan. Clever idea. It works very well.

So, it's all about what each writer brings to the plot, isn't it? Yeah, Shakespeare wrote everything. But he didn't write any of it through the perspective of MY mind. So back to work for me.

Have a great day.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Critics Are Raving!!

Well, two of them are anyway.

We have received great reviews for BLAME IT ON THE GHOST from both Ecata Romance and The Romance Studio. Here are some of the highlights:

" has passion, and characters that strike sparks off each entertaining and very good read." Sheryl, Ecata Romance

"Character and emotion are at the very heart of romance and Carnell seems to have mastered these elements."

"The setting, on the Florida coast, was deftly painted and used to generate an atmosphere that enhanced the plot."

"The pacing of the story was good, with enough action to keep me turning the pages." Kara Lynn Russell, The Romance Studio

Reviews are fun to receive and entertaining to read. But they're always in a writer's past. What matters most is the book not written, the one in progress, or even the one still inside the writer's mind. So this writer pauses just a moment to bask in the warmth of knowing that two people TO WHOM I AM NOT RELATED like what I've written.

Now back to work!

Have a great day.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mickey Says "Hi!"

I have about thirty minutes before I have to go hop on the bus for Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom. Having a great time, despite the Tropical Depression sitting just off the coast. Actually, that made it much more tolerable. No heat. And I've always enjoyed a good rain. It's just light enough to not be miserable, but heavy enough to keep the sun out of the way. Perfect!

I was amazed at how quickly they've updated the High School Musical toys. The Gabriella doll now comes with her own digital camera.

Ba da BING!

Have a MAGICAL day,

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Birthday Disney Trip Part Two, The Sequel

Well, it's true. The Hard Rock Hotel does indeed treat you like a rock star. They are especially good at giving you free drinks on your birthday. Good thing I didn't have to drive anywhere.

But first thing Saturday morning, before I even had my stuff ready to move over to Disney's Boardwalk for the official birthday experience, I received a frantic phone call from my sister. Her husband was in the hospital. He may have had a heart attack.

So of course, I dashed back to Tampa. Not that I'm a cardiologist or anything like that, but I did manage to cook a couple of nice meals for the family and babysit the only genuine baby we have these days, my grandnephew, Will.

Everything ultimately turned out all right. He didn't have a heart attack. He did have pneumonia. They did a ton of tests on him, and all is well.

Naturally, I immediately called Disney to see how quickly I could try to recoup my birthday experience. I'm leaving tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn. I'll be back Friday.

I hope to get some real writing done between now and then.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Da Doo!

You say it's your birthday?
Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Da Doo!
It's my birthday too, yeah!

Okay, couldn't resist opening with The Beatles, even though it isn't really my birthday until tomorrow. The month-long birthday celebration has already begun.

Last week, Jeanette and John took me to a cool new retro-deco restaurant that was fabulous. We had an awesome time, ate too much, drank too much, but looked fabulous while we were doing it.

Yesterday, my sister came over with presents. She gave me a lovely blouse and a Monterey Jazz Festival CD. But the best thing was this little round gadget you use to open CDs.

An idea whose time has come. You know how when you buy a new CD, you of course want to listen to it immediately, and by that I mean in your car on the way home? But that stupid plastic they wrap it in is more difficult to open than Al Capone's vault with Geraldo doing commentary. Come on, you've been there with me. Slashing at the plastic with your car key because you don't have sewing scissors or a Swiss Army Knife with you.

Now our troubles are over. This little round gadget, about an inch and a half in diameter, opens the package with a minimum of fuss. It's really just a tiny razor blade with the pointy end resting on the CD edge, but why didn't we think of this? Such a simple idea. I'm going to keep this one in my car.

So now I'm off to Orlando for more of the birthday celebration. Today I'm going to the Hard Rock Hotel, where they treat me like the rock star I was meant to be. Then tomorrow it's off to the Magic Kingdom for a few more days. If I don't win the night in Cinderella's castle this time, there is no justice in the universe!

Good news is, I'm taking the new laptop with me this time, so I may or may not post stuff after I get there.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One Less Tenor

I've never been a HUGE opera fan, but I am a fan of classical music and of men with big powerful voices. Therefore, it was with much sadness that I received the news of the passing last week of Luciano Pavarotti.

It's no secret to Faithful Readers that I listen to my local classical music station all day long. The host of the daily show on WUSF was so touched by the passing, that he played something by Pavarotti at least once an hour all day long. His first piece was Pavarotti's Alfredo from La Traviata. I know. Many of you just experienced glazing over of your eyes. Fog in the brain. You don't have a clue what that is. But I bet you do. If you heard it, you would say, "Oh, yeah. THAT piece."

It was achingly beautiful, made more poignant by the host's complete silence at the end of it for a good twenty seconds. Even a dedicated curmudgeon could have felt the emotion in that silence. I had tears brimming over my lashes.

Later in the day, I happened to be in my car when they played a piece from Pagliacci. You know this one too. You just don't know you know it. Because I was alone in my car, I was able to turn the volume up really, really loud - which is how you should listen to opera. Chills ran up and down my arms as the music swelled and flowed over and around me.

Sadly, the world lost a powerful talent. Thankfully, we have the technology that will allow us to hear him sing for the rest of time.

The blonde salutes Luciano Pavarotti today.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Who is Merv Griffin?

That's the correct question to the Jeopardy! clue, "He created Wheel of Fortune." Yes, he also created Jeopardy! and a host of other game shows, some pretty successful, but none so legendary as Wheel and Jep, as we call them at my house.

I've heard it said that writers don't do crosswords and other word games because they don't play games with words. I disagree. I've been doing crosswords since I was old enough to fit the letter into the box. Not only have I seen Wordplay, I have the DVD.

I also enjoy admiring Vanna's clothing and shoes. And Pat Sajak is still cute. Too bad that talk show thing didn't work out for him. The puzzles are fun, not really too hard. I can usually get them pretty quickly. I don't understand why people buy vowels. It seems obvious to me where they go. If you know what it is, why waste the money buying them?

Alex Trebek, on the other hand, should just shut up and read the clues. Does he think he's funny? He's not. I much preferred Art Fleming as the Jeopardy! host, but that really says something about how old I am.

I actually know someone who was on Jeopardy! He's the smartest person I've ever known, valedictorian of my high school class. He didn't win, although he knew the correct question for every clue. He says he underestimated the value of buzzer technique. I can believe that. Sometimes you see the contestants about to beat the living daylights out of those buzzers as they attempt to ring in before their opponents.

My mom and I have an extra little trick we do when we watch Jep. As soon as the Final Jeopardy category is revealed, we state our question. Like, if the final catgegory is "American Movies," we'll shout out "What is Gone with the Wind?" You would not believe how many times we are correct.

Oh, sure. Anybody can get it with the clue. The Real Players do it from just the category.

We have Merv Griffin to thank for this nightly entertainment. Of all the credits one can list after his name - big band singer, Broadway actor, talk show host - creator of Wheel and Jeopardy! is the one that earns him his own place in Americana.

The Blonde salutes Merv Griffin today. American icon. May he rest in peace.

Have a great day.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Meat Loaf Bandits

The Boy and The Girlfriend have been gone about four months now. My mother and I have been to the grocery story maybe twice in that time. Quite a change from before when we went more than once a week.

It isn't that "The Kids" demanded food. It's that we're southern women. If there is someone here, we must feed them. It's our culture, despite what Whoopi thinks southern culture is. Those of us who really ARE southern know that it's food. Particularly fried.

The Kids have night jobs, so they were rarely home when we ate our supper, but we always knew whether they'd enjoyed what we fixed by how much of it was left the next morning. Usually none of it.

Also, any time we brought something home from a restaurant in a white box, it was gone the next day as well. They truly enjoyed our leftovers. I was beginning to wonder whether they had a styrofoam box business going on the side by the way they devoured those carry-out containers.

Maybe it was divine providence that we just happened to have a fresh meat loaf in the kitchen when The Boy called about picking up last week's football tickets. I didn't want to go to the game (and neither did anyone in the eBay community), so I offered them to him. And just happened to mention that if he came by to get them, "There's meat loaf."

Around midnight he called to tell me he was coming by to get the tickets after work. That would be around one AM. "You said there's meat loaf?"

It was the same hopeful little voice I used to hear when he was five. "We can go to McDonald's?" Maybe it was because I was half-asleep, but I thought for a moment I was having a flashback.

I struggled to stay awake for thirty seconds' worth of his smile I might get if I saw him. Motherhood is a subject for another day. Depsite my best efforts, I fell asleep. Around three-thirty, I woke up. All was quiet. But there was the lingering scent of meat loaf wafting toward me from the direction of the kitchen.

They had been here!

I went to the kitchen. It was spotless. No dirty dishes in the sink. No ketchup spills on the island. No half-empty Coke cans on the counter. Had they been here?
I opened the refrigerator and peered inside. No meatloaf dish. They had definitely been here.

I found the empty meat loaf pan in the dishwasher, and a thank you note scrawled on the dry erase message board on the fridge.

They came, they ate, they left. And we never heard a sound. Good thing they weren't after the jewelery.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Great Crash of '07

My computer died.

You don't know what a great tragedy this is until it happens to you. First of all, I'm a writer. ALL my stuff is on my computer. Everything. The books I sold, the books I didn't sell, the books I might finish some day, the book I'm in the middle of writing right now. All of that was on the dead computer.

Then, I've just started selling things on eBay. My computer died Saturday afternoon, shortly before the first of 23 items started to close. What a disaster. No access to watching them sell, no way to find out if the customers paid, no connection to PayPal to get their addresses for shipping. Disaster, I tell you! Devastation!

So I called my Prince. Yes, he is a chemist, as Faithful Readers know. But he also spent six years as a Computer Geek, crawling around on the floors of big government buildings in Washington, D.C., plugging their cables back into the wall for them.

Of course, as any Prince worth his epaulets, he came charging in on his white steed, volt meters and USB cables trailing behind him like flags at a Medieval Jousting Tournament.

Alas, the diagnosis was not good. The old faithful black box was well and truly dead. So it's off to CompUSA for us where I picked up this cute little sporty model from which I write to you now. This is an Acer 9410,a laptop. How cool is that? I can now go to Starbucks and pretend to be writing while I tinker with the backgrounds on MySpace! Just like all the Cool Kids!

Of course the data transfer was frightening and not quite perfect, but enough to get me going today. So it's back to work I go, eagerly anticipating my manicure appointment tomorrow because my nails are far too long for this keyboard. Which you would see if I weren't constantly correcting things.

After all the excitement died down and my life returned to what approaches normal for me, I'm happy and excited about the new computer. And even though I didn't need reminding, I have yet another example of why My Prince is My Prince.

Thank you, Steven. I love you.


Friday, August 31, 2007

Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

My family moved to Tampa from a small town in Georgia when I was four. That summer - and several summers after that - we spent a week at Indian Rocks Beach on Florida's Gulf Coast. I can remember as a small child wondering where the Indians were. Ditto the rocks. I still don't know the origin of that name. Google wasn't much help.

Back in the day, this was a relatively sleepy community where families would rent rustic cottages on the beach. Not quite as nice as Jimmy Stewart's place in "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation," but something along that line. All of those cabins are gone now, of course, replaced by high-rise condos and multi-million dollar McMansions.

Two things I remember about that first summer: We played Crazy Eights a lot.
The old man (although in retrospect, he was probably around forty) who ran the place let me flip the switch that turned on the neon sign every night. Oh, come on! I was four! It didn't take much to amuse me.

Still doesn't take much to amuse me, come to think of it.

Anyway, many years later, after my father passed away, we were struggling to find something fun to do because there was precious little to smile about in our lives for a while. My sister's family and my family, which included two children each by then, along with my mother and some family friends, headed over to Indian Rocks Beach for two weeks. Most of the quaint little cottages were gone, but we did manage to find a two-story house complete with tin roof and wide wooden deck.

We didn't recapture the magic of those first few years in Florida, but we did have a good time being together with our friends, our memories and our laughter.

And that's the house where Dylan and Amberly spend their haunted summer together in BLAME IT ON THE GHOST. In their own way, they're also seeking a measure of peace and healing.

Here you go again. Another answer to that constant question, "Where do you get your ideas?"

It's been a good week for me. I got a great cover. My latest book released. I laughed with people I love. I hope it was good for you too.

What I'm Reading - DANCE OF THE GODS, Nora Roberts
What I'm Listening to - Frank Sinatra Classics
What I'm Watching - Sex and the City, the Complete Series

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Get Haunted!!

The GHOST arrives today at Cerridwen Press!

Release day is always exciting, no matter how many times it happens. Today is especially fun for me because I truly love this story. Anyone ever notice how often Stephen King's protagonist is a writer? Why do you suppose that is? Well, gee. Maybe it's because if the protagonist were a brain surgeon or something, there would be a lot more research involved. I don't know.

BLAME IT ON THE GHOST has not one, but TWO writers, slogging their way to a happily ever after. Writing books while they try to get there. Understanding and respecting each other's worlds they've created in their heads and tried to get onto paper. It's not easy. Especially for these two. Between them they have more baggage than carousel number five at LaGuardia.

But get there they will, or my name isn't Delia Carnell!

Okay, my name really isn't Delia Carnell, but that's what it says on the book cover. So go get this one today. Get haunted. Fall in love. Find your happily ever after. Maybe you need a push, just like they did. It's okay. You can always Blame it on the Ghost.

Have a great day!
Delia (Susan)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Who Ya Gonna Call?

It's almost time to start Ghostbusting! BLAME IT ON THE GHOST releases tomorrow over at Cerridwen Press. There's always a little hum of excitement buzzing through my veins just before release day. It's almost - ALMOST - like being pregnant and anticipating the birth of your child. The book is, of course, much easier to deal with, and I didn't gain fifty pounds for it.

People love to ask writers, "Where do you get your ideas?" As if we have any control over them. But this one does have a bit of an answer to it. I love Stephen King. I've read nearly every word he's written. In fact I've read THE STAND three times. I can't think of any other book I've read more than twice. Well, maybe GREEN EGGS AND HAM, but that's different.

So this book is in a way an homage to one of my favorite writers. Dylan Hart is a horror fiction writer who has come to Indian Rocks Beach, Florida to housesit for his old college professor for the summer. He's been very successful, every book a bestseller. But what fears - real or imagined - have him blocked right now?

Amberly Ross is a romance author. She's got her own share of bestsellers in her catalogue. She was mentored by the same college professor as Dylan. Although they've never met, they've certainly heard plenty about each other. Now she has also come to spend the summer in the beach house. Putting a really bad marriage behind her, she's managed to keep her faith in romance and happily ever after. It's what she writes about all day long every day.

But why are they BOTH there to housesit? Ah, that's where the ghost comes in.

Or is it?

Sorry, you'll just have to find out for yourself when BLAME IT ON THE GHOST releases tomorrow at Cerridwen Press.

Have a great day!

Delia (for Susan)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Lotus-Covered Cover

What an exciting week! The Ghost is releasing on Thursday at Cerridwen. In the meantime, I just received the cover for my short story at The Wild Rose Press. Take a look:

There are a few things to be happy about with this one. First of all, there's no tacky "Walmart bra" like with DIAMONDS. There's no nearly-naked heroine like with GHOST. It's a beautiful, tasteful depiction of the door (which is important in the story) and a gorgeous lotus blossom. The lotus is important also, but I'll let you read it before we talk too much about it. Don't want to ruin everything for you.

But the really important thing about this cover - for me anyway - is the author's name. This one isn't by the now-comatose Suzanne Ashley or the terminally ill Delia Carnell. This one has MY name on it.

I like that a lot.

Maybe I'm just a little to braggy about it, but it's MY NAME!!!

Now I need to go write something else to go with it. Have a great day!


Monday, August 27, 2007

I'm Still a Barbie Girl

I was a tiny tot when Mattel launched the tall cool blonde with the pony tail. Like most little girls my age - and every age after - I was enthralled. Every Christmas and birthday for the next several years were devoted to outfitting and equipping Barbie.

I had all the classic outfits - Silken Flame, Solo in the Spotlight, Garden Party. If you're my age, you know what I mean. But I had something else that no other Barbie girl had. My mother's good friend, Lura Mae Bradbury, a fantastic seamstress, made outfits for my Barbie. She was the kind of crafter who could take an old handkerchief and turn it into a wedding gown. So my Barbie had an array of one of a kind fashions from a black velvet cape with red satin lining to a blue corduroy coat to a fancy nylon negligee with lace trim. I was the envy of all the little girls because of my very special wardrobe.

When I was a senior in high school, my best friend Sue Hartley had a little sister in kindergarten. In my memory, I gave all of my Barbie stuff to her. Had I instead kept all that, especially the boxes it came in, I could now be living in a villa in the South of France.

Okay, it's not quite THAT valuable, but still...

So imagine my surprise recently when I was talking with my sister about Barbie and she said, "I have all your Barbie stuff."


One afternoon last week, I went into her playroom, moved the boxes of old photographs, the My Little Pony stable, the Strawberry Shortcake trolley and two large baby dolls to find a box full of Barbie and friends. With clothing. Including my original Midge doll. What a find!

I guess the only thing I gave to Julie Hartley was the Barbie doll. All the clothes are here. The Silken Flame. The Solo in the Spotlight. The In the Mood for Music, which I had forgotten about!! And wonder of wonders,ALL of the clothing especially designed and made by Mrs. Bradbury were in there too.

I'm still a very lucky girl. Here are my friends in their Bradbury originals:

Almost too good to be true, isn't it? I guess I'd given all the Barbie stuff to my niece. I had no memory of it. Amazing, isn't it?

Now I'm off to make up some more stories for my dolls. The ones I move around on paper.

Have a great day.

Friday, August 24, 2007

No Autographs, Please!

Ah, fame. It can be such a burden. The paparazzi hanging around my front door all the time. The complete lack of privacy for even the most mundane things. My picture in the newspaper. It's never ending.

Okay, snap out of it! Yes, my picture was in the paper this morning. But I was changing the kitty litter when I remembered to go pick it up. That's the glorious life of the romance novelist. Kitty litter one minute, sequins and glitter the next. Or something like that.

THE TAMPA TRIBUNE runs a weekly feature in its Friday entertainment section called, "Five Minutes With..." Today it's five minutes with me. Imagine that!

The interview part was fun. The books editor, Kevin Walker, has been an acquaintance for many years. He used to do a little Friday morning trivia thing, generally about books, music or movies. If you know me, you know I'm obsessive with trivia-type contests. It's so bad that my friends refuse to play SCENE IT with me. Even if it's ALL of them against just me by myself.

So I began emailing with Kevin a long time ago with comments about his trivia questions and always trying to win the coveted Bobo the Dog T-shirt. He's such a personable guy, and so interested in pop culture, that it was more like having a drink with a buddy than being grilled by a journalist. Of course, that's what they WANT you to think.

But I really do enjoy talking with Kevin, and I'm very pleased with the feature in today's paper. The photograph - now THAT was the scary part. But it's not too bad. I wish my hair looked better. I wish I was ten years younger. I wish I weighed twenty pounds less.

I also wish I had the winning lottery numbers, but that's not going to happen either.

Now here's the really intriguing part. I've lived in this city since I was five years old. Virtually EVERYONE I know reads this newspaper. Let's see how many of them call me or email me after reading this today. I especially hope ALL my ex-boyfriends see it.

Okay, that's it. My fifteen minutes are up.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Why I Get My Nails Done

I was thinking about this. It's something I've been doing every two weeks for more than a decade. That's almost longer than I was married. What's the reason? Here are a few:

* I love Michelle. She's been painting my nails since shortly before her twenty-first birthday. She's now in her thirties with two adorable children ten and eight years old. She's about the same age as my nieces, who I also love, but I wouldn't let them touch my fingers with electrical equipment! I've been with Michelle through a miscarriage, two pregnancies, the loss of her father, several homes and two salons. She's one of my favorite people AND she loves the Beatles!

* It's one of the cheaper things you can do from a beauty standpoint. Do you know how much it costs to cut and color hair these days? Facials and massages are quite pricey too. You can get your nails done for about the price of a movie with soda and popcorn.

* I like the names of the colors. Who can turn down "I'm Not Really A Waitress" ??? Or "Vampire State Building." When I choose my color each time, I first look at the bottle, but I won't pick it unless I also like the title. How do I get the job of thinking up the names? Wouldn't that be great!

* I like the sound they make when they click on the keyboard. I'm easy to amuse.

* My ex-husband wouldn't "let" me get my nails done. Easy to see why he's an ex, right?

I could probably come up with a few more reasons, but I don't want to be late for my appointment!

Have a great day.

Monday, August 20, 2007

"Love is now the stardust..."

Great old song recorded by a lot of people, but probably most notably, Nat King Cole. If you've never heard it, you should find it and listen to it.

But it's Stardust the movie I've come to talk about today.

First of all, Michelle Pfeiffer must have one heck of an agent! Having not seen much of her in a while, I suddenly find her running away with two movies in a row for me. First it was the Barbe-doll type stage mother in HAIRSPRAY, now it's a four hundred year-old witch in STARDUST. She's very good, by the way. The girl does a fine cackle.

Second, what is it with all the macho male movie stars wanting to dress in women's clothing lately? Is this the same Robert DeNiro who brilliantly portrayed Jake La Motta, Al Capone and a young (and frightening) Vito Coreleone? Wearing dance-hall girl clothing and flirting with him/herself in front of a mirror? That scene alone is worth the price of admission.

But that statement shortchanges the rest of the film, which is full of laughter, romance, adventure, magic, falling stars and a kidnapped princess. I had read about the book by Neil Gamain a couple of months ago, and in fact it's sitting on my Amazon wish list right now. But I'm out of the pop culture loop these days, so I didn't know anything about the movie until a few days ago. I'm really glad I made the connection.

It's the kind of film that makes me glad I'm a writer. I always enjoy a story that inspires me to go home and work harder.

So I'm off to work now. I hope you'll go see this movie. And I hope you'll listen to Nat King Cole. A different kind of magic there.

Have a magical day.

Friday, August 17, 2007

We're All in This Together

Disney does it again. Yes, I am eagerly awaiting tonight's premiere of High School Musical 2. Me and about 20 Million other eight year old girls. What? I'm NOT an eight year old girl? Are you sure? Have you seen my Barbie collection?

Okay, maybe I am an adult whose children aren't even that young, but I can still be a kid in my heart, and I will be tonight when I watch the new movie. There are a lot of things to love about High School Musical. No, the music isn't the best I've ever heard, but it is light and cheerful, and I do find myself humming it long after it's left the radio or tv.

How about the message? In a world where children are filled with neuroses and angst, how about a movie that says, Do your own thing? The Skaters, The Athletes, The Brainiacs, The Drama Club all get together in this one, and they all respect each other's feelings and desires. Well, all except for Sharpay, the Cruellea D'HighSchool. But what's a Disney movie without a villain?

Then there are all the nods to movies of the past. There's a little bit of Romeo and Juliet - teens dating outside their own little circle. There's a piece of Grease - they meet on vacation then find themselves in the same school. And doesn't Alyson Reed as Darbus remind you of Eve Arden's Principal McGee? A little bit? Finally, we have big ol' Busby Berkley type dance numbers.

Yes, I'm looking forward to it, and I don't apologize. I do, after all, own the DVD of the first one. Not just the DVD of the movie. I have the Dance-Along version. Yes, it's true. Late at night, in the privacy of my own bedroom where absolutely no one can see me, I do the Wildcat Breakdown. Go Wildcats! Getcha head in the game!

Have a musical day!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Elvis Is Still Dead

When we were little girls, my sister and I spent our Sunday afternoons lying on the floor in front of the radio. This wasn't some small transistor type thing, or even one the size of my Bose that sits here on my desk, smaller than a breadbox. No, this radio was a piece of furniture. Huge. Something like this:

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Every Sunday they had a call-in competition.People would vote for their favorite artist, then the station would play records by the winner all the rest of the afternoon. The winner was always Elvis. Pat Boone made it a decent race some of the time, but the King was always, well, The King.

I was a little too young for Elvis. But my sister....I think she still loves him. When she got married in 1969, she chose August 16. By coincidence, it happened to be the wedding anniversary of both sets of our grandparents. That's not why she chose it, although it makes a touching story. No, her date was mostly dictated by the United States Air Force.

Fast forward to 1977. We were preparing for my wedding which would take place in early September. I remember being at my mother's house with my sister when we heard about Elvis. "But it's my anniversary!" she lamented. Well, she can drink a toast to The King when her husband takes her out for dinner.

Or, she could hold with the philosophy of another friend of mine who wears a button which reads, "Elvis isn't dead till I say he's dead!"

Long Live The King.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It Was Fifty Years Ago...

If 1967 was the summer of love, then 1957 must have been the summer of birth. Two things happened fifty years ago this summer that are particularly noteworthy.

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In 1957 ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac was released. It is a rambling semi-autobiographical novel about two guys who hit the road. But it's really about much more than that. Many people call it the birth of the Beat generation, the anthem of Baby Boomers all across America who questioned everything their parents fought and died for in a cruel and ugly war.

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Also in July, 1957, a little known skiffle group called The Quarrymen played a one-hour engagement at an English Garden Party. Little noteworthy about that, except for the fact that a fifteen-year-old Paul McCartney took his guitar along to meet these Quarrymen, led by a sixteen-year-old fellow named John Lennon. I doubt that lightning bolts shot down from the heavens. There was no cracking in the earth's crust. Just two blokes who'd heard of each other and sat down to play few tunes together.

The rest, as they say, is history.

If Jack Kerouac wrote the script for the lives of the Beat generation, Lennon and McCartney composed the soundtrack. What peculair alignment of the stars during that fifty-year-old summer allowed this creative energy to flower? How did this come to pass?

Odd coincidence, perhaps. But I can't help wondering this: What is happening right now that will be noteworthy fifty years from today?

Something to think about.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's About Time!

Yesterday, I finished the Time Travel book, THROUGH THE GARDEN GATE. I don't know why this took so long. It's only 20,000 words. Really short by fiction standards. One-third of a small category romance. But it seemed to go on forever.

For one thing, I made a major change to it halfway through which required me to go all the way back to the beginning and make adjustments. I didn't mind that so much because the changes really make the story a lot better. I just wish I would have thought of it the first time through. But I'm a Seat-of-the-Pants writer. I don't know when I start out what's going to happen. Some people like to have everything very carefully plotted before they begin. To me, that takes a lot of the fun out of it. I like to find out as we go along, just as if I were reading it. And as Stephen King says, I am the first reader of this particular book. Plotting it first takes away the joy of finding out for me.

I will admit to shedding a tear during the last scene. At least I know I connected on an emotional level with ONE reader. Even if it is me.

What I found fascinating about this one was all the ways TIME played a role in the story. First she was out of her normal Time Zone. She couldn't talk to her NY office when she first got up in England. They weren't there yet. She suffered from jet lag the first day and slept a long TIME when she got settled in.

Then, after she went through the portal to a different TIME, a lot of things happened that depended on TIME. Towards the end, they're racing to a destination to find someone in TIME to fix something, and she's watching the hands on the clock moving forward in TIME.

When I was in high school, I fancied myself a folk singer. We all did. It was the Sixties. I remember a TIME sitting on my bed, playing my guitar, singing TIME by the Pozo Seco Singers. "Time, oh, time. Where did you go? Time, oh, good, good, time, where did you go?"

My grandfather happened down the hall as I was singing, poked his head in my bedroom door and said, "Yeah. Where did time go?"

He would have been about seventy-five at the TIME. He lived into his eighties.

Well, I'd like to go on and on about this book and about TIME but that's it for today. I'm running out of blog TIME. See you tomorrow. If you've got the time.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Oh, THAT'S why...

"We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style...but as we move along,you'd do well to remember that we are also talking about magic." Stephen King, On Writing

"All you need is a little faith, trust, and pixie dust!" Peter Pan

I always knew my fascination with all things Disney was related to my passion for writing. Every great Disney animated film is a little romance novel. Well, maybe not 101 Dalmatians. But think about it...Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty. They all have that age-old plot: Prince meets Princess, Prince falls in love with Princess, Prince loses Princess but finds her shoe, Prince and Princess live happily ever after. The only thing that changes, boys and girls, is the shoe. It may be a poisoned apple, a dying rose, a sleeping spell, but one thing is certain. These romantic couples always meet their conflict head on, overcome it and find their happy ending.

Usually with an Oscar-winning soundtrack in the background.

A few nights ago, I ran across a documentary titled, UB IWERKS, The Hand Behind the Mouse. I've been to the Magic Kingdom enough times to recognize a Main Street window name when I see one. I knew Ub to be one of the "nine old men," the original Disney animators. But this "old man" holds the place of highest esteem in the Disney Archives. Ub created Mickey.

"I just hope we never lose sight of one thing. It all started with a mouse." Walt Disney.

Although Walt and Ub had been together since their Kansas City days, they did split for a while over "creative differences." About ten years later, Walt was able to lure Ub back, and the pair went on to create some truly wonderful animation for decades after. (Ub also worked with Hitchcock on "The Birds," which I find fascinating. That's kind of like a Disney film on steroids.)

Even Ub eventually realized Walt's contributions to the marketing side of the empire could direct the success of the project. "It's not what you create that matters," Ub said later in life. "It's what you do with it."

Old Uncle Walt sure knew what to do with things, didn't he? And he never lost the magic.

Have a magical day,

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Not two days ago I was whining about the cover for BLAME IT ON THE GHOST being MIA, when I look into my Yahoo mailbox and -- Voila!-- I find this:

Not bad. Not bad at all. While it isn't exactly what I asked for - there's no sign of the beach house or the ghost - they did go with an important plot point that I described. The heroine washes her really long hair at the makeshift shower on the deck.

I'm very happy with their portrayal of Dylan. It's all right that we can't see his face. The view we do get is Very Nice. I'm happy with his hair, which is supposed to be slightly shaggy. And that overall blue tone lends an eeriness to it that suggests the ghost. Also, if you remember the cover for Diamonds, you can see that they repeated the font and style for the title. That will make them look quite nice side by side.

And now on to the usual Friday stuff:

What I'm Listening to - Chris Botti, When I Fall in Love

What I'm Reading - STRIPPED by Julie Leto

What I'm Watching - ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!??? Pre-season starts tonight at 7:30!! YAY!!

Have a wonderful day!
also known in some circles as DELIA

Thursday, August 9, 2007

You Can't Always Get What You Want

"I went down to the Chelsea drugstore..."

Turns out my time-traveling couple need to go to London. I've been to London. It was 1992. This book is set in 1962. I suppose some things have changed in thirty years. And some haven't. While I was there, I was driving around with my childhood friend who lives there now, and HIS friend who was born and raised in Liverpool. We turned a corner, and Alan (his friend) said, "There's the Chelsea drugstore."

Sure, I'm a big Stones fan. What woman my age isn't? So I look out the car window, and I see this:

Not quite what I expected.

So thinking about Star and Colin, and where they might be headed in 1962
London, I googled "Chelsea drugstore." Wow, there are a lot of hits for that phrase, most of them, of course, to do with the Stones' song.

But I found several schools of thought about what the Chelsea drugstore really was BEFORE Mickey D took it over. There is the not unexpected belief that it was a pharmacy. There are several references to it being a pub or a nightclub.

But the most interesting one claims it was the record shop Alex visited in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Hmmm....that same site alleges that Mick Jagger was slated to play the role in the movie immortalized by Malcolm MacDowell. Interesting.

Well, now I'm bursting with trivia about the Chelsea drugstore, The Rolling Stones and Stanley Kubrick movies. But alas, none the wiser as to where my couple will wind up when they get to London. Ah, well. I suppose that's why they call it fiction.

If you try sometimes, you just might find... (altogether now) get what you NEED!

Have a great day,