Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Blizzard of December 2010

Yes, that is our backyard in the aftermath of the Blizzard of December 2010. Our picnic table is buried in a rather deep drift.

When we walked out of church last Sunday, it was snowing. Everybody in town went immediately to the grocery store, which they do every time the flakes fly. However, this time it turned out to be a good idea. The subsequent blizzard left us stuck at home until Tuesday morning when the plow finally came through. Of course, we spent most of Monday clearing the snow off our cars and digging out the driveway.

Later in the evening we played several rounds of Bananagrams--a great game for word lovers!

Many of the roads are still dangerous. It was a bad storm, but I do believe it should have been treated more aggressively. Nevertheless, it is supposed to be warmer today. Hopefully, a lot of this white stuff will melt.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Latest Ebook Reader

I've been reading ebooks on my trusty old eBookwise ereader and on my Nook. However, I recently purchased a new cellphone because my old cellphone had developed a strange quirk. I could only hear calls on it if I used the speakerphone, which meant everyone else could hear my calls, too.

To replace my old cellphone, I bought Virgin Mobile's Loft. For $25 a month I have unlimited texting and unlimited internet access. I have only 300 hours of talk time, but who needs to talk?

The one thing about this phone that left me a bit unsatisfied was that I could not download an ebook app for it. But with the web at my fingertips, I searched around until I found what I wanted.

At Bookworm I can upload an epub formatted book to the site and then read it on my cellphone. This is awesome!

Being economically minded, for my first book on Bookworm I downloaded a classic because it was free. I read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. I had never read it and while it isn't a happy book, Edith Wharton's prose is stunning. I just downloaded The Sea Wolf by Jack London today. I intend to catch up on many of the classics I haven't read.

So if you have a cellphone without an ebook app, try Bookworm and then start reading a few classics. :^)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter Reads

Every summer there's a lot of attention given to Beach Reads--books deemed perfect for reading while baking under the sun in a beach chair. What about Winter Reads--books that are enjoyed while sipping hot chocolate, bundled up in an afghan in the overstuffed chair by the fireplace?

I've written two books where the action occurs during the cold of winter. The Company You Keep begins in January with plenty of snow.

The snow had crusted two days ago when sleet had
covered everything with an icy glaze. With slippers on her
feet, she broke through the hard coating and sank into the
soft snow beneath.

The sharp sting of the frozen crystals on her skin did not
stop her from scrambling after the disappearing spirit. She
caught a glimpse of the lantern’s glow waiting by the
gnarled maple at the edge of the woods. Fear prickled
along her neck, but an odd compulsion propelled her

The light dipped, swayed, and moved on into the woods
until the gleam became feeble and indistinct. By the time
Jennifer leaned against the twisted trunk of the old maple,
the light had disappeared altogether, and she did not have
the strength to go further. Her own battery lantern
flickered and went dark.

Her lungs hurt as she panted in the cutting air. The
wind had swept the snow away from the base of the tree
and she sat on one of the tree’s bulging roots while a wave
of desolation washed over her. Surprisingly, as suddenly
as it began, the bitter chill in her soul ended. The opening
to the portal must have closed.

She shivered violently. In the stillness, clouds of vapor
from her breath trailed high in the air. She found she
couldn’t stop shaking. She knew she should keep moving,
but wracked by the dreadful trembling, she remained
huddled at the foot of the ancient tree.

Are you cold yet? You probably will be if you read the book. The snow hangs around through most of the book.

However, if you'd like to be not only cold but wet, here's a scene from Sea Of Hope, which starts off with a nor'easter.

She glared out over the crashing waves with her lips pressed tightly together and realized how numb and heavy her heart felt, as though it had been weighted down with lead sinkers. Alone with her grief for the first time since her father's death, she relished the blast of the gale. It pumped some of its power into her thin frame and woke her from a weeklong nightmare.

"How could you do this to me, Dad?" she cried out over the howl of the storm. "You made a promise to me." But the tempest tore her words away and the only answer to her question was the shrill scream of the wind and a shower of salty spray that stung her eyes.

Sheets of rain pelted her and the pier shuddered as the waves slammed into it, but Doria stood her ground. With a Nor'easter battering the New Jersey coastline, conditions on the pier were hazardous, however what she intended to do would only take a moment.

Keep your ereader charged just in case the power goes out. Bundle up, stay warm, sip hot drinks, and download a good book. There's no better way to enjoy winter!

Friday, December 03, 2010


I will be giving a workshop on December 14, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. at The Fine Grind, 101 Newark Pompton Turnpike (Route 23), Little Falls, NJ 07424 (Phone: 973-837-0199)

The workshop will be a live, in-person version of Creating Atmosphere: The Tone of Your Novel. I presented the talk at the Muse Online Conference in October. So if you didn't make it to the Muse Online Conference, come to Little Falls, have a cup of coffee and listen to my writing wisdom.

I believe every novel should have an overall feel--a tone--that clues the reader into the type of story he or she has chosen. The tone can be funny, or gloomy, or suspenseful. I will use examples from my paranormal romances to show how setting, dialogue, and other story elements create the desired atmosphere for a novel.

You won't want to miss this! Besides, there will be a drawing and someone will win a book. Maybe that someone could be you!