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