Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Stress hits us all. I tend to gravitate towards Milano cookies and soda (to some, it's called pop and to others it's simply coke). True I don't' need the sugar, but it does help.

I recently agreed to complete an oil painting for a friend. Her dogs i cute and i thought it would be a fun exercise because oils are challenging. Problem? Time frame. She wants it quick and oil doesn't dry quick at all.

I agreed to help another crit partner with her WIP. It's a fast paced mystery/action romance, so it's a good diversion.

I have a WIP that I really want to get to because the characters seem to juts scream when they don't get their way. (Besides that, i have a hubby who feels more than a little rejected because there aren't enough hours in the day for everything I need to do - in his words, him.)

Now granted, I took on the project and the characters are in my head, but you probably know... things (and characters) don't always go as planned.

I'll get the painting done because I'm true to my word. I'll get the WIP done, or at least ready to go to my crit partner soon enough. I might even get time to go back to my NASCAR novel that's been sorely neglected.

Not that I'm complaining. i love to be busy... It's juts that sometimes, I wish there were like 36 hours in a day, or at least 2 hours where no one picks at me to wash their work clothes, fill the dishwasher, play in the sandbox, or clean the kitty litter box because it's really stinky (what do they expect - the bathroom would stink if we never flushed... plus my cats aren't dainty, no matter how many times a day i scoop after them).

All in all, I can't complain.

Back to stress and things I need to do, but will put off for another hour (or two).

: )

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Even More Hot Reads

Thought I'd pass along some more hot reads, but this time for the steamy summer night.

A Body to Die For - Kimberly Raye - Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd. (a Blaze novel) -
Contemporary, Paranormal

What’s sexier than a hunk who builds custom motorcycles for a living? Knowing that he’s a vampire driven by sex. Just what Viviana Darland needs, except that she doesn’t want to want him. Too bad. Garret Sawyer has A Body to Die For and Viviana just might make that choice.

Aussie Rules - Jill Shalvis - Brava / Kensington Publishing Corp. - Contemporary
She’s a pilot who dreams of nothing but flying. He’s a pilot who is determined to make that dream come true – once he takes control of her airport. Bo Black has the deed to the North Beach Airstrip, but Melanie Anderson won’t go down without a fight… or a kiss. Of course, those are the Aussie Rules.

Body Heat - Carly Phillips - Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd. - Contemporary
He’s a cop in need of a little therapy that will heal more than just his body. She’s in a position to fulfill his needs, except that she wants to strike out on her own. Throw in a nosy sister for good measure and a drug dealer out for blood and you have Body Heat.

Flat-Out Sexy - Erin McCarthy - The Berkley Publishing Group - Contemporary
He drives fast for a living. She teaches college courses and raises a family. He never thought he could fall in love. She never thought she’d have to deal with racing again. Things change when she finds out that Elec Monroe is Flat-Out Sexy.

Midnight Cowboys 1 - Midnight Rodeo - Luxie Ryder - Siren Publishing, Inc. - Contemporary Two hot rodeo hunks plus one sultry bar owner equals one hot night in Colorado. Want to learn more? A Midnight Rodeo is where to look.

Sealed with a Kiss - Carly Phillips - Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd. - Contemporary
Take one woman who just discovered her father. Mix one lovesick man and a killer into the story. Shake well and season with unforgettable characters and sparkling dialogue. Finished product: Sealed with a Kiss by Carly Phillips.

The Making of a Country Doctor - Patrice Moore - The Wild Rose Press - Contemporary
When life knocks you down, you can run or you can fight. Dr. Julia Chambers preferred to run from her troubles. When she meets Dr. Ben Taylor in the sleepy town of Jasper, Idaho, she’s forced to rethink that strategy. Such is the story of The Making of a Country Doctor.

Have fun reading!

More and More Waiting...

Golly, when you really want something to happen - it can be good or bad, as long as it happens - it's like watching that silly old pot. It just won't boil!

Spent some time thinking and working out more plot for my vamp. Watched CSI Miami and got some more, shall we say, inspiration... No, I didn't jack the plot or anything like that. No i like to watch the actors and occasionally try to fit them into stories in my head.

Let me tell you, Jon Togo would make one helluva vamp. Anyway, I'm going back into the cave to work on Storm, my vamp and to get some reviews done.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Check out Matilda's Way

Title: Matilda’s Way
Author: Phyllis Levine
Publisher: Wasteland Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 179 pages
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 ½ stars out of 5
Review by: Wendi Zwaduk aka RaceGirlRWZ


Her life as a nanny seemed over, so she could start her life as a new wife. Can Matilda deal with the rigors of a new family, the stress of school, and life’s other curveballs? Check it out in Matilda’s Way.
In the third installment of the Matilda series, we meet up with Matilda on her honeymoon. You get to tag along as she explores the waterfront and meets new friends. You also get to catch up with Janet and Ron Rosen, Sue and Al Evergreen, and of course, Jennie, Joey and Richard Evergreen. This time you can follow the journeys of Matilda’s mother and best friend as well.
Ms. Levine makes reading a delight! I like that the story is lively from page one to the end. There is never a dull moment with Matilda or the others, which makes the story fun. It’s like visiting with close friends. I also liked the multi-layered storyline. You must think as you read, but it’s like becoming part of Matilda’s world. As always, she handles life with grace.
If you like sweet romance with a hint of adventure, then Matilda’s Way is the novel for you. I give this novel 4 ½ stars out of 5.

you can get a copy of htis novel on

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Flow in Weird Places

Now that I got your attention with that odd title...

In my household, we fight over who gets to mow the lawn. Sounds silly, right? Not really. We have an oober-cool tractor to mow our 3.5 acres. This is an hour of no kids/pets/spouse time and also a great time to simply let the mind wander. As did mine today.

I began to think about the stories and the crazy (don't tell them that) characters in my head.I wanted to do something with my set of three bff's, Torey, Aaron, and Dylan.

Torey is my primary player at the moment. No he's not a player, but he's the main guy I want to start with. As the grass shot out of the shoot, I thought, why couldn't he start off married to a total girly girl who is the opposite of his outdoorsman type and end up with a woman who cuts grass and does landscaping? But the catch is that they meet at a nice function where they don't know what the other does. Sounded interesting to me.

Now, I don't want the women who end up in the bff's lives to be bff's necessarily. They don't even have to know each other, far as I'm concerned. I just though this would be a cool and realistic way for Torey to get the woman he dreams of wrapped in a package he'd never expect.

As for the others... well... I don't quite have them figured out yet.

Let me know what you think.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Ever read a book you totallty looked forward to and found out at the end that it was BORING? Or what about the one you sorta kinda put off because you thought, gee this one's gonna be a snooze?

Okay, i admit it. I read A LOT. The more the better. Shh... don't tell, but I've been known to read the shampoo bottles and chemical compositions of toilet paper when extremely bored. So it sounds dumb. Don't' say you've never at least thought about skimming the silly wording all over the toilet paper packaging.

Right, well that proves I have way too much times on my hands, but it also proves that I can withstand almost anything.

I recently received a read that I thought would knock my socks off. Really looked forward to it. Turns out that the characters argued for 3/4 of the story and the HEA was a bit forced and squished into the last 5 or so pages. I felt like the author was so absorbed in making the reader feel the anger of the characters that the actual story was forgotten. Oh, sure... it mirrored real life very well, but in the same vein, I read romance to get away from boring and mundane. Not to say I don't like a real story about real people. Some of my fave heroines are 5'2" with 20 extra lbs on their bodies.

Maybe I built the story up too much in my mind. Maybe I never gave it a chance.

What do you think? Ever read that one really boring book (and I don't mean required reading for English class - if I never read Silas Marner again, it'll be too soon). Let me know!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What's In a Name?

I got a commission to work on an oil painting for a friend of mine. She's a lovely person and fab author, so this isn't a huge hardship to paint her dog, a Boston Terrier.

As I worked, I thought about what colors I needed and what I wanted to mix to get that perfect background. (If you don't know, oil paint is really fun to work with, but be warned... it stinks because you MUST use turpentine to clean the paints and the paint takes A LONG TIME to dry - we're talking months of drying time. Yeah, it's fun, but waiting a couple months to get the paint to dry isn't cool...)

I also thought about a couple of the stories in my head waiting (patiently) to get out. I Have an idea for an anthology with three friends all in various stages of the dating game. The thing that keeps conking me on the noggin is what to name these guys! I want something to represent the alter egos (because I know these guys in real lie) and something that doesn't sound silly.

What to name a guy who's generally quiet, but strong... he likes to follow the rules, but has a wild streak a mile wide...

Thinking he'll be Torey.

What about his best friend who's a commitment-phobe? He likes being in a relationship as long as it's topical. Get too deep and he freaks...

He sounds like an Aaron to me.

Or the free spirit who never gave much thought about settling down. He's an honest, hardworking man's man, but he yearns for more...

He's my hardest... Ben? Karl? No... just not cutting it... Eric? No, I used that for a NASCAR novella... Dylan? Hum... Dylan has a nice ring to it. Thinking that Dylan sounds strong, but with a shy softer side.

Torey, Aaron, and Dylan. Very nice.

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment. You might just help me out! ;)


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Finally Came to Ohio (for now...)

I got to play outside with my son today. If you know anything about Ohio, that's a major feat for April. We get snow into May on occasion.

Ever heard the phrase, wait five minutes and the weather will change? The person had to have lived in Ohio. Yesterday it rained and was freakin' cold. Today it's in the 60's.

So it made me think about settings for stories. I tend to set mine in the summer or early fall. I love the leaves in Ohio in the fall. The air is warm enough that you can go without a jacket and cool enough to snuggle at night. Then again, i love to set my stories in Ohio in the farming region. Go with what you know? Right? Since I grew up smack in the middle of the state surrounded by soybean fields, it's not a big stretch.

And why not? Sure, Ohio can be boring. So can everywhere else. We have pot holes in our roads, some are only gravel, and many towns with less than two traffic lights. Many of our factories are shutting down or are completely closed. We have streets filled with yesteryear just begging for someone to come along and restore it.

But we also have heart and the know-how to make it on our own. We can survive and flourish and make a few too many babies. (Hey, the winters get darn cold and icy, so there's not much left to do at that point in the year.)

What does that leave you with?

A snapshot of America and where I came from. There's nowhere else I'd rather live (unless I could get a vacation home in, say, North Carolina, around Charlotte, Hickory, or Welcome... but that's race country, so that's why I'd vacation there.).

Now that my afternoon ramblings are through. I have a vampire novel to piece together.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Waiting... Waiting... Waiting...

I thought I would hear about my contemporary last week. I didn't. I want to hear about it this week, but I don't want to rush the editor. I'm am hoping that it's a case of "it's a great story and I'm trying to get it past my head editor' or something like that.

Sandy says 'be positive', so, in the immortal words of Trace Adkins... I'm trying.

To keep myself occupied, I wrote another solider story. This one's another erotica about a couple of Air Force boys and their room mate. I know the story has some holes, and I'm probably driving my critique partner crazy with it, but it's written (not completely edited or toodled with by my crit partner) and done - for now.

I actually like it and found myself laughing along with the characters and crying at a couple of pivotal moments. The love scenes even made me squirm. Usually I get so bogged down that the actual sex doesn't do anything for me (after the 100th reading). This one still does.

I hope she likes it.

I also started my vampire novel. Now tell me... does a vampire story have to be scary?

Don't get me wrong. I love Stephen King's work. Scary is good when that's what you want. I also like a good love story, but not one that's so sticky sweet that you get tooth decay.

So my idea with my vampire was to make him more determined to be a good man. He's a private investigator who catches cheaters in the act and has a partner who he adores, but is hesitant to get with because he's afraid she won't love him for who (and what) he really is. Sound bad? Yes, there are tense moments, and yes, he's still a vamp (no sunshine, prefers blood to food but will eat food, super charged senses, and a healthy libido).

I guess it's sorta a statement on race relations in a skewed way. He's a vampire, she's not. He wants her acceptance, pop culture frowns on their pairing.

I don't want to be the next Stephanie Meyer or write the next Twilight. I simply want to write a vampire novel that I can be proud of.

Enough yakking for now. Off to the bat cave.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

For the Love of All Things Chocolate

Easter is upon us and nearly over... My basket was filled with chocolate cats and ducks...

Now what?

Time to read and ponder the hottie for the week that I haven't selected. Who to choose... and which chocolate to scarf down first.

See, Easter makes me think of rebirth (for obvious reasons). Those pesky chocolate critters look so darned inviting when placed amongst the shredded pink plastic and bright little eggs. Then I think about the calories... Ick.

But wait... It's Easter. Do calories really count on a major holiday? My brain says not. Plus, I think of the wise older woman who told me that we only get one shot at living, so why not live it up while it's our time? She's been known to utter a curse, have a beer, and OMG eat chocolate. She's also the ripe age of 88, so you figure it out.

I guess I'm thinking that in life and in love, why not go for the brass ring and aim high? You never know... that one might be THE one and calories might really not count on Christmas and Easter.

Hey, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Still Waiting, so Taking Time to Ponder Little Things

Okay, I'm still waiting to hear about my full through WRP and trying not to stress over it too much. Sandy says to stay positive. I'm trying, Sandy. I promise.

So since I'm stuck stewing and listening to my favorite Godsmack tracks (I'm so into the songs Awake and Running Blind), I thought I'd prattle on about a recent story I read. It involved a lot of kink and was nothing I'd buy on my own, but I thought I'd give it a chance. It wasn't bad. Actually, it was quite interesting and enlightening.

But I walked away from it rather confused and bemused as well. Ever had that problem? It could be a book or a movie or even a song that made you think Gee that was different... I think.

I wont say that very little makes me blush. I have a hard time saying certain names for female anatomy in public, let alone in front of my own mother, but I can write them in a novel with no problem. I'm also not saying I have a closed mind. You do what you do and as long as it doesn't hurt me, more power to you.

I walked away from this novel and still haven't gotten it out of my head. Kudos to the writer for that, because that meant in some way he/she wrote something so profound, I can't forget it. But in another way, I want to forget because it made me squirm. Make sense?

I felt the same way I heard anything Tool. (A rock band for those who aren't sure who that is.) I'm not sure I'm cool with some of their ideology, but I can't condemn them because it's not my cup 'o tea.

Well, enough yakking about nothing. I have a vamp short that really wants to be a long, but I'm procrastinating. He he he he he he


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Everyone Has One... Do You?

I wanted to share my steadfast writing partner. He's always there to keep me company, to suggest ideas for plots and shed fur all over my keyboard.

Last week, he inserted his fuzzy, feline self into a WIP by sitting on said keyboard and staring at me until I gave him attention. That's probably why most all of my MS's have a critter and or racing in them.

So now, without further ado, here's Kenny Wallace

My writing partner

BTW: He is named after a NASCAR driver - Kenny Wallace - and yes, I did meet Kenny Wallace (the human) and he was honestly thrilled (he told his wife to look when I showed him a picture of my Kenny Wallace to autograph). Unfortunately, unlike the real hyperactive Kenny Wallace, my Kenny prefers the comfort of an old blanket or his favorite spot: the cardboard box on my computer desk plushed with an old fleece baby blanket and an old baby towel. Spoiled, he is not... well, not much.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Everything Seems to Go Down Hill and Then Wham! It Picks Back Up Again

We all know that writing is a fickle thing. In your mind, you have the greatest plot and the yummiest hero, but when it goes down on paper, this crazy thing happens: it's not exactly how you saw it.

When I wrote my very first MS, I wanted to write the coolest NASCAR romance ever. (I still think it's pretty darn good). I sat for hours at the computer, giving life to these characters that seemed like people I really knew. I worked and slaved to make sure the grammar and such was good, got rid of all the typos I could find and then, Ta-da! I submitted it. Turns out, I was probably the only person who thought it was that darn fantastic. Oh, the plot was good and the characters were engaging, but the grammar I thought I'd figured out... who knew you weren't supposed to use passive voice. So I fixed the PV and tried again. This time I had troubles with the point of view. I head hopped so bad it wasn't funny. Sure, I see the issue now, but then... my world seemed to crash and burn.

But I kept at it.

I continued to craft NASCAR themed romances and branched out into other characters... I wrote about a cop and an actor and a writer. I never neglected my racing theme. Most all of my characters either race, or they enjoy some form of racing. In time, I learned that PV was not always good, that POV is essential and I got my heart broken a few more times through rejection.

Still, I never gave up.

I know there is a market for my work and I know there is someone out there (Kiss and Ashley) that are there when I need help to fix the bumpy spots in my work. I also know that I can't give up. Sooner or later, one of my MS's will be just what the editor's looking for.

The next key thing... Patience.

So now I wait. The editor emailed me about Right Where I Need to Be and asked if I would send the full. I hope its a good sign, but after all I've been through, I know I can't count my chickens just yet.

Keep your fingers crossed for me because I'm doing the same for you.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Where I Get My Ideas

Okay, we all go through that moment where we say, OMG that would make a great book. I do. Maybe I'm weird. Not the first time that's been said. I won't give out all my ideas, but here's where I got a few.

I love Jon Togo on CSI MIAMI. If you read my earlier blogs, you might catch that. Now the most recent episode featured him, but that wasn't what caught my attention. He got to be bad. THAT got my attention. I thought, what if this sexy guy got to be the bad guy for once? Or better yet, what if he was really the good guy, but circumstances meant he had to be bad... Before I knew it, I had the outline of a story in my head and I paid no attention to the actual show. Praise God for the DVR.

Another idea I got came from NASCAR. Might have guessed I love NASCAR. Maybe. There is a commercial for NASCAR and Sprint (I think) that features Carl Edwards, among others. Not a big Edwards fan, but there is a moment where the special effects make his eyes flash green and red. That caught my attention and made me think of vampires. Don't know if I'd go for Vampire stock car drivers, but that would take reckless driving to an all new level.

I also love ancient Greece. In college, I toyed with the idea of junking my art ed major in favor of an art history degree. (I taught school in a HS for four years and hated it). My favorite classes were the Greek and Roman art classes. I happened upon a made for TV movie Julius Caesar starring Jeremy Sisto (he's another all-time favorite hunk). I know Caesar was not Greek, but that got me thinking and before I knew it, another plot formed in my head. What if a citizen wanted to marry a metic? It wasn't possible, but what if...

Then there are my friends. I love incorporating real into my stories (probably my downfall). I have three friends, all the same age, but in radically different stages of life. One got divorced, one can't find Ms. Right if she kicked him in the manhood, and one that's quite happy being who he is. I want to make them into an anthology, where all the stories combine at the end. Not sure how that one will work yet, though.

So, yes, rejection stinks, but why not get yourself out there? If you write great stuff and hide under a rock, no one will know it's great. But if you throw yourself under the bus and find out there's room for improvement, improve you can.

I'll leave you with Bruce Springsteen's immortal words (plus, my name is in that song!): Someday girl, I don't know when, we're gonna get to that place where we really want to go and we'll walk in the sun, but till then Tramps Like Us, Baby We Were Born to Run

Friday, April 3, 2009

What Gets Rejected Makes Us Stronger

If you read the title, then you probably already figured it out. My short story, Coming Home just wasn't what WRP was looking for. I see the point and I see that I don't have to agree. (democracy is great). I also see that there could be improvements to anything. No hard feelings.

So, my cup is half full. My crit partner who excels in erotic romantic fiction is still behind me. The short story, according to my editor (yes, I still like and respect her) is well-written and exciting. My style is greatly improved. The menage just wasn't done for mutual gain. Makes sense. I didn't want it for mutual gain, but isn't one helluva orgasms a gain? : )

I'm learning that everyone has an opinion and no one is truly wrong in voicing those opinions. Still it hurts to receive that rejection in the email. I know that the story will find a home. I already have that under control.

Now, it's full-steam ahead and work on the other stuff. I refuse to get down in the dumps.

My vamp/hero calls, along with my Ancient Greek Gregorius, and my Air Force boys.

Back to the bat cave.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Waiting...Waiting... So More Hot Reads for Cool Spring Nights

Those who know me know I love to read. If I'm not slaving at the computer writing about my latest hero or chasing my children through the house, I'm curled up with a good book. Right now I'm in stall mode because I can't wait to hear from WRP, but I don't want to rush things either. Ahh the sweet torment of submissions!

Here are some new hot reads that I liked and in the case of some, loved! Happy reading.

Drive Me Crazy – Nancy Warren – Kensington - She’s got a body to die for and a dead body in her library. He’s in search of a lost Van Gogh and what’s under her sinfully sexy clothing. What’s a hot librarian need with a disheveled professor? Read Drive Me Crazy and find out!

My Man, Michael – Lori Foster – Berkley - He’s a fighter who, through no fault of his own, has to give up his fighting career. She’s from the future and in dire need of his fighting services. What’s a man to do? Follow his conscience and gut instincts to the 23rd century. Such is the story of My Man, Michael.

Rockstar – Lexi Adair – Samhain Publishing - Imagine you’re a writer in search of the story of the century and rock star Anthony Phoenix is that story. Now imagine he’s completely unwilling to give you that interview. Such is the life for Summer Staite. What’s a girl to do? Read Rockstar and find out.

Kiss of a Demon King – Kresley Cole – Pocket Books - He’s a Demon King who isn’t looking for a queen. She’s a Sorceress who’s looking to create another life. What happens when they pair up? Sabine just may find she enjoys the Kiss of a Demon King.

Embracing the Darkness Book Three of the Darkness Series
– Shiela Stewart – Linden Bay Romance - He lost the use of his legs in a car accident. She’s a nurse who wants to see him rehabilitated and away from the evil vampire that turned him. In the third installment of the Darkness Series, Embracing the Darkness delivers!

Getting Rid of Bradley – Jennifer Crusie – Harlequin - She wants to unload a husband and he wants to catch an embezzler. Lucy Savage knows her marriage is a sham. Her husband cheated on her and she’s ready to move on. So why does a certain cop insist on moving in? Because Detective Zack Warren wants to aid the plan called Getting Rid of Bradley.

Dead Sexy – Kimberly Raye – Harlequin - Nikki Barton has given up on men. They want her shoes, her clothes, or other men. Who needs them? That’s how she feels until she meets a tall, dark, and handsome stranger. One night of passion completely changes her view. Little does she know that her bed mate, Jake McCann has a secret – he’s a vampire and he’s Dead Sexy.

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure – Amber Austin – Ravenous Romance - Can smashed plastic laundry soap containers bring you a spicy night with a sexy hunk? You bet when you realize that One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Check Out At the Skylight with Matilda

Title: At the Skylight with Matilda
Author: Phyllis Levine
Publisher: Wasteland Press
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: 146 pages
Heat Level: Sweet
Book Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

Review by: Wendi aka RaceGirlRWZ


Imagine starting your life in a new country. You learn the new customs and lingo. Just when things get comfortable, you meet the love of your life and turn your happy existence upside down in great ways. Such is the life of Matilda Wiggins in At the Skylight with Matilda.
In the second installment of Matilda’s story, we follow her through the next part of her life. I like that she wants to become more than a nanny. She dreams of attending college to make something of herself. Through Matilda's charm and intelligence, she works through every issue.

Phyllis Levine writes characters that tug at your heart and have you cheering for more. Their problems are ones we all face at one time or another. She also writes with her heart. Who doesn’t love a good story? Ms. Levine’s work shows us that a good story can be a sweet romance filled with hope and honesty. She shows us that it’s a wonderful thing to chase our dreams no matter how far away they seem.
If you’re looking for a fresh voice in sweet romance, then Phyllis Levine’s At the Skylight with Matilda is the book for you. I give this novel 4.5 books.

You can find this work and the other novels by Phyllis Levine by going to or Phyllis’ personal website