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NANOWRIMO is here! Are you in? #nanowrimo2017 #mfrwauthor #amwriting


It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the holidays, though they are also crowding in much too quickly (I’m trying to ignore that right now 😀 ). I’m talking about National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo (NaNo).

A special thanks to friend and amazing author Silver James for creating these AWESOME NaNo daily inspiration badges and letting me steal them a day at a time! I added the frame on mine. Feel free to save-to-borrow your own copy, as she said to share them! Click on any of these badges all month to get to her website and check out her books. 

Since I only decided last night to blog my way through NaNo, I’ll be posting days 1-3 today to get caught up. Each day I will share a little something and along with my daily word count progress.

Day 1- 631

A slow beginning to be sure, but it will pick up. 🙂

What is my NaNo project this year? Well, some of you read my short Halloween blog hop ghost story two years ago right here on my blog. It was a prequel to a two-book series in which you were introduced to Mason Baker, an equipment tech for PRU (Paranormal Research Unit, and Elise Crane, e-zine reporter-turned-paranormal investigator when she was unwillingly made a believer in all things that say “BOO!”

Now, it’s Juliet’s turn. She is twin of Romeo Tucker, both of whom you got a sneak peek of in the 2015 Snarkology Blog Hop I participated in. Read The Non-Believer if you dare. But hurry! I will be reworking this short before publishing it, so on November 10th, next Friday, it will be taken down from my blog. I’m hoping to also have at least two (maybe three) more short stories to go along with the novels as production continues.

I am dragging my muse kicking and squealing back to work. To kick-start my writing again, I’m giving Jules, as she prefers to be called, her story. Hopefully, she’ll have a lot to say about it. 🙂

Coming soon—or at least by next Halloween if all goes well—is book one of this series.

Celestial Visions, Chances Are: Juliet

If getting dumped at a funeral was unspeakably depressing, being forced to go inside haunted Marschalk Manor, with the man who kicked Jules Tucker’s heart across the cemetery, was equivalent to a death knoll. And there was something not quite right with her ex-boyfriend’s sudden determination to contact his cousin’s ghost. The request seems off kilter, but she couldn’t put her finger on why…

Everyone in Marschville knew the rumored secrets of the manor—that the veil between earth and the other realm opened wide and freed the spirits of those who died, to cause all sorts of mayhem within the mansion walls, during the week leading up to a blue moon. Luckily, blue moons weren’t a regular occasion, but Jules was absolutely sure the mayhem would affect her if she had to enter that…place…during that time.

Thankfully, any spirits not safely back on the other side, far away from Jules, will wither and die at the end of the blue moon. Problem solved.

Of course, it’s all rumor… Or is it?

Jules suddenly finds herself running from her ex, and running to him at the same time. How is it possible her boyfriend is stuck on another plane, while his evil cousin lives happily in Raze’s physical body, free to torment her?

The one thing Jules is more afraid of than never finding true love is…ghosts.

Can she take the chance and embrace her “gift” to save Raze? And what will happen when twin brother Rome discovers she can go into the other plane at will?

She has to make a literal life and death choice. To get up close and personal with her fear, or risk losing Raze forever. She will have to become the thing she spent her life running from in order to free Raze’s soul from his demented cousin’s trickery before the next blue moon—in that one cursed week.


Since this is a work in progress (WIP) anything can change between now and publication. This blurb will almost certainly change :D, but it should give you an idea of what to expect in Jules’ story.

I’ve done NaNo several times since 2006 and it’s always fun, if not productive for me. For the first time I’m using the Scrivener program for NaNo, instead of basic MSWord. If you’re NaNoing, and haven’t tried the program, you can get Scrivener at a 20% discount during NaNo, or get one of their other offers for it, also at a discount. Believe me, even at full cost, it’s well worth every penny! If you aren’t sure you want to buy Scrivener yet, there’s a special NaNo trial version available as well.

So, are you NaNoing? Do you want to?

It’s only Day 3 and not too late to join the fun! Just check it out and you might be ready to NaNo next November.

Happy NaNoing!




Welcome back! I’m happy to see you if this is your first visit to The Ranch. I hope you like my home on the net and return soon.

A quick commercial break, before we get to the guest of the week, to announce the winner of Anna Kittrell’s scrimshaw doll book, SKINBOUND from Friday’s special post. Congratulations Christine Warner!!! I’ll contact you soon!!! 😀

 It’s been a busy month so far. Nano, work, getting ready for the holidays… The list of activities keep growing. But here on The Ranch we’re still going at a steady clip-clop and to start this week off, I have the fabulous and fun Vonnie Davis chatting about, of all things, James Bond and Mona Lisa. Grab your snack and drink and let’s settle in for a guaranteed smile.

My older grandsons, who are in their early twenties, have tales to tell of all-night James Bond Marathons at grandmas. Pizzas, cookies, popcorn, and soda. Oh, we do know how to party-down. Tim always wants to pick and chose the order in which we view the movies. Josh, with his ADD and need for routine, insists we watch them in order. I’m just grateful he no longer insists on sitting on grandma’s lap covered with one particular afghan. We watch these movies amid a chorus of “here it comes” just before an explosion or car chase. Yup, we pretty much know the action scenes by heart.

In my recently released MONA LISA’S ROOM, Alyson my heroine loves James Bond, too. Gee, imagine that! In fact, she sometimes refers to the hero, who still lives at home with his mother, as James-momma’s-boy-Bond.

I’m always keeping an eye out for the release date of the next Bond flick, so imagine my shock and utter delight when the date was announced: November 9th. The same day as my book release. How cool is that? Serendipity, don’t you think? 

Personally, I think ole James is trying to horn in on my action, but James and I are like this, so what can I say? 



You won’t believe this email. I’m sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with a handsome government agent, Niko Reynard. He’s wearing nothing but silk pajama bottoms and mega doses of sex appeal. I’m in big trouble, little sister. He’s kissed me several times and given me a foot massage that nearly caused spontaneous combustion. I’m feeling strangely virginal compared to the sexual prowess this thirty-year-old man exudes.

When I came to Paris for a bit of adventure, I never imagined I’d foil a bombing attempt, karate-kick two men, and run from terrorists while wearing a new pair of stilettos. I’ve met a German musician, a gay poet from Australia, and the most delightful older French woman.

Don’t worry. I’m safe–the jury’s still out on yummy Niko, though. The more champagne I drink, the less reserved I feel. What an unforgettable fortieth birthday!



“What is it?” Alyson peered up and down the street.

“Don’t look. Smile at me. Talk and act normal.” He wrapped his arm around her waist and nudged her up the street.

“But…” Did he see someone? Did he see Dembri?

“I’m going to kiss you so I have an excuse to look behind us.”

“Oh no. No, I don’t think so. Look, I’ve put up with your constant touching, but I’ll not be kissed on a public street.”

“Don’t be self-conscious. In Paris, we kiss in public. It’s the Parisian way.”

“For heaven’s sake! Make it quick then.” She shook her arms to relax them because she was anything but relaxed. She was about to be kissed for the first time in years. Did she remember how? Stop being silly. Kissing is simple. Two pair of lips touch. Kiss done. With her head tilted back, she whispered, “Okay, I’m ready.”

A smile tugged at the corners of Niko’s lips. He encircled her in his arms and stepped in so their thighs touched. Her stomach fluttered. Her breathing hitched. He lowered his head. “Hang on, Aly.” With his dark brown eyes open, he placed his lips on hers and pulled her body against his. She kept her eyes open, too, figuring it would lessen the kiss’ effects.

Niko kissed her, gentle sips at first, soft and sensual. Someone made a moaning noise, and she feared it might have been her. My God what a pair of lips! Her toes curled in her new Pradas. Her hands curled around the lapels of his jacket.She wrapped her hands around the lapels of his jacket. Then his lips locked on hers and with his tongue invading her mouth, he turned her to look over her shoulder, all the while wreaking havoc on her system.

This was the first time she’d been in a man’s arms in years. The first time she had tongue from a guy since college and said guy was more interested in looking behind her for some hoodlum than in the kiss. Just her damn luck.

When Niko ended the mind-blowing kiss, he pulled her closer, if that were possible, and whispered in her ear. “We’re being followed. Hold my hand and run.”

Run? Melting came to mind, but running? How could she run when he kissed her until the bones in her legs turned to jelly? Plus, she was wearing new high heels, for heaven’s sake. His arms squeezed her for an instant. “Now.”

He grabbed her hand, and they took off. They dodged throngs of pedestrians and at one point, Niko hurtled over a poodle, its protective owner shouting in French outrage, calling him a fool. “Fou! Fou! Mon chien, mon chien!”

Alyson had done her fair share of running, especially after her break up with Chaz, the stranger she was married to all those years. Running was a stress reliever; so were the StairMaster and martial arts. Still, those activities were done in sneakers or barefooted, not high heels. Stilettos, no less. Oh, and the thong. Let’s not forget the damn thong chafing her in places she didn’t want to think about. She’d kill Gwen when she got home.

“Faster, Aly!”

“You put me in three-inch heels and expect me to run fast? You bossy Frenchman with a foot fetish.” She stumbled, and he caught her.

“Typical woman. Kiss her once and she figures she has the right to bitch at you.” Niko’s head turned, evidently scanning the area as they ran.

She tried jerking her arm free of his ironclad grasp. “So help me, God, if that terrorist doesn’t kill you, I will.”

He pulled her around two uniformed nannies pushing toddlers in strollers. “Promises. Promises.”

“Yeah, well look how nice my hips sway now, nutso, running in these damned heels.”

Niko quickly glanced up and down the wide tree-lined street and evidently seeing a slight break in traffic, ordered, “To the other side. Now.” They bolted across the four-lane boulevard and its well-manicured median. Two motorbikes rumbled past, nearly hitting them. Horns blared as several Renaults and Smart Cars barreled down the street. Niko shoved her out of the way and she fell, her hands and knees scraping on the asphalt. Brakes screeched and there was a dull thud behind her. She glanced back over her shoulder just as Niko rolled across the hood of a silver car. He never broke stride. “Run, dammit!”

She struggled to get up, her heel caught in the hem of her skirt. Niko set her on her feet again. A delivery truck swerved toward them as if to run them down. In a blur of movement, Niko drew his weapon. He dove and rolled clear of the truck’s path, shooting the driver between the eyes. Glass shattered. Passersby screamed. The truck jumped the curb, striking a tree. Sounds of metal crunching and a tree branch cracking obliterated, for a few horrible seconds, the pedestrians’ reactions.

Still on the move, Niko barked orders at the observers. A man nodded and reached for his cell phone. “Quick. In here. While we’re hidden by the truck.” Niko wrapped his hand around her arm and tugged.

Alyson trembled, the back of her hand covering her mouth and her eyes glued to the man slumped over the steering wheel of the truck not five feet away. Blood flowed from his forehead. Her stomach twisted. She was going to be sick. Niko’s grip on her arm tightened. “Move it, Aly. We’re still being followed.”



THE WILD ROSE PRESS (paperback) —




Book Trailer:

And people wonder why I don’t wear thongs! LOL

What? I’m KIDDING! But I’m not joking when I say I never get enough of your humor, Vonnie! In writing and speech, you just know how to start my day with a smile. Thanks for sharing this excerpt and your newest release!

Thank you all for visiting us and I hope you like her book enough to pick up a copy. After all, Christmas is coming. 😉


The NEW Ranch and a tour ~ Calisa Rhose


Welcome back if you’ve been to The Ranch before. I’m happy you tried me if this is your first visit!

As you’ve no doubt noticed, The Ranch got a facelift, a revamp I promised several months ago. I’m thrilled to have you at the grand Re-opening!:D

I’d love to hear what you think. Take a look around, check out the new corals I’ve added. Sign up to be a guest on The Ranch, read the revised blogging requirements and suggestions,  and read the new excerpt I posted. I’ve also added a page to let you know what I’ve read recently, and what I’ll be reading next. I’m not quite finished with adding all of these yet, but check back often for new tbr books! I’ve even opened comments on that page so you can share what you’ve recently read or are currently reading. No spoilers, please. 😀

I’ve decided to spotlight some of my critique partners most current releases, again not yet finished, but it will be soon. I hope you’ll browse around and see all the new offers on the site and then come back and let me know what you think of it all.

Once you are signed up to guest blog you, and followers, can keep track with my guest schedule page in the drop down menu under the Ranch Guests tab where you’ll also find the rules and sign up pages.

Some of the new pages are in drop down menus of existing pages so be sure to note those as you wander around.

I have some NaNoing to get done, but please drop in tomorrow and visit with my first guest since the makeover. My Lyrical sister and friend, Mae Clair has a wonderful and informative post planned. Come show her some Ranch love!

Thank you for coming to check out the new site and I’ll see you again soon.


PS. The NaNo post is still active for check ins and encouragement all month!

Nov 1 ~It’s NANO! ~ Calisa Rhose


Welcome back to the Ranch! I am super excited this November!

But before we begin I need to announce the two winners of my Haunted Garden blog hop. I am excited to announce Sandy Rowland and Kristina Knight win the two gift certificates from me! I’ll be contacting you for your information!

Ok! Why am I excited? Ask me why. Go on, ask me! Ask…

Okay, I’ll tell you.


I’m thrilled to actually get to participate again. This will be my third attempt at this fun contest where you write 50 thousand words (or more), a full manuscript to THE END, in one month–thirty days. My first two tries didn’t get me the golden crown because I never finished the word count. The first one in 2005 I got to 30K and it’s still growing today, but I spent so much time editing the previous days’ words that, though I always got my word count in, I would basically end up deleting half of those the next day.  BAD!

My next venture a couple of years later just didn’t go well. I don’t even remember the story or how much I got, but it was less than 30K. LOL

For those of you who are going out for NANO this year–whether you’re new or experienced nanoers–heed my words…DO NOT EDIT! Turn off that internal editor, disengage the auto grammer and editor on the computer. DO NOT read back over anything written on previous days! The purpose of NANO is to JUST WRITE. To get words on paper, monitor, or whatever method you use to write. If you have a writing pad that won’t let you go back and edit readily, I even suggest you use that to get your daily word count in, upload that to your computer, but don’t go back into the word doc until December 1.

You need to write 1667 words each day to make the thirty days quota (that number gives you ten spare words btw).


Here’s the link to how it works-

My story, whatever it will be– because I have NO clue, even as I write this the night before it posts–will be at least 60K, so I’m making my daily word count goal 2000. I’d like to finish this story and type The End on Nov. 30th. 😀 I have a lot of other things to finish up this first week so I may not meet that goal but I’ll go make it up later and throw in a couple of 3K days. I tend to do that before the holiday too since I know I won’t keep up during that week, especially with my brothers visiting for three days at Thanksgiving.

When the day is done, if anyone wants to gab about how you did that day, I’d love to hear in the comments of this post throughout the month. Just pop in here and tell other Nanoers what your daily word count is and what we can do to help you if you fall short. I plan to keep this post active the whole time, so come dish share special lines about your story as it unravels.

Even if you aren’t participating–come cheer us crazy people on! 😆

There is a check list I complete daily and I’d love if you want to post your daily list here too. I’m posting it for everyone so come on back, grab a wine, beer, coffee and some L’il Smokeys and lets have a great NANO! There’s cake and chocolate for those who need it too.


(Un)Official NANO Daily Check List:

Nano Day- 1


First Word-

Last Word-

Favorite Line-

Total Daily Words-

Total NaNo Words-

Treat when goal is met: When I reach today’s goal I’m gonna dip into some Halloween candy. 🙂

Spook or Treat Answers to Truth of Fiction! ~ Calisa Rhose


I promised to reveal the truth behind my Haunted Garden Blog Hop post stories so without dragging out the suspense, here they are!

Answers to this post:

  1. Does tossing a coin in the sea while speaking a chant break a curse?

            According to my aunt who fell ill many years ago- She told me she visited her Faith Healer and this was the remedy offered to her and which she followed to a T.

            Another witch’s curse… I asked about that, but she just responded with this strange, almost secretive laugh.

This is a TRUE story.

  1. Will an egg under bed cure fever?

My aunt claims to have personal knowledge this works, having used the method on her own children over the years.

I’ve never tried it. If you do, come back and share how it turns out!

TRUE only because I have just her word for it. LOL

  1. Does having your photos taken steal your soul?

            I personally don’t believe this one. If it is true, I don’t expect to have a lot of soul left by the time I die. I’ll say this is FICTION.

  1. Did the man suffer beatings while locked up ‘safe’ in a jail cell?

            Auntie won’t say she was responsible, but she doesn’t deny it either. I have asked her outright several times if she did it and all she says is, “Someone put a bad curse on him.”

TRUE- it happened. Even my mother who saw him, heard his story too, couldn’t explain it.

But then ~

  1. It was also my mother who also told me about her sister the first time I heard that chilling story- but she’s not the only one who told a version of my aunt’s death. This is a story with many more layers and elements to it. As creepy as it may seem, as incredulous as it sounds, I grew up hearing this story from various family members and, though each story differs slightly on a detail here or there- each version of the base facts have remained constant over the years.

Men, people, really are this evil. My cousin (that aunt’s only daughter) and I have tried to research it, at her request, and as seems to happen often in small town rural Midwest America, the records that could clear this up (or add more questions) was conveniently flooded in the 70s–and the sheriff is long-dead–effectively destroying all paper trails and evidence.

What I’ve told you is completely TRUE. (and if certain family members read this I’ll probably get some serious flack for sharing a family skeleton. Lol)

So there you have it. The answers to my spook stories. Yes, my life is one thrill after another! 😆

Have a Happy and Spooky Halloween!

**I hope you’ll come back tomorrow when Nano 2012 begins. Are you participating in this furious and crazy contest? Is it your first time, your fiftieth? Come share your National Novel Writing Month experiences!

I’ll also have a surprise for visitors on the Ranch Monday. Shhh- It’s a secret you’ll have to come back then to find out what it is!


Six Sentence Sunday


My name is Calisa, and I’m addicted to 6-Sentence Sundays! 😛

Six just aren’t enough! I’m seriously considering doing something about this. But for today, I’ve decided to go a few more times with Dray and Chelcie and then maybe move on to another WIP or book.  

My lovebirds have moved past their first meeting and Chelcie has gone to visit the local leprechaun for advice. Yes, this story has a leprechaun! And it’s no surprise when Ludovic knows who Dray is, or that he knows the mysterious man is the fuel behind Chelcie’s visit. It’s more what he reveals that surprises her.

“How much danger does he pose for me?” she asked.

Suddenly Ludovic was cackling. “Dear girl, there is something much more important you need to consider.”


“He will see inside you. Dray Corbeau is very gifted, very strong, so beware lest you test him.

Hm. Interesting turn of events for Chelcie. She’s become used to being the one to see inside Dray. 🙂

Thank you for coming by and I hope you enjoy this week’s peek. Don’t forget you can find many more participants if you click on the logo above. 


Six Sentence Sunday


Yep. It’s that time and I’m excited to bring you a little more of something I’m writing! For the last three weeks I’ve been sharing snippets of a paranormal I’ve been working on since Nano 2006. Obviously I didn’t win Nano if I’m still writing on this story. 🙂 But that’s ok. I plan to do Nano this year again and maybe I’ll win this time.

So Dray and Chelsie have met but what are their gifts? They are mind manipulators of massive proportions. They can hear thoughts of those around them, they can move objects, make outsiders see what isn’t there, or keep them from seeing what is- to name a few special gifts these Talents are capable of. There are levels of gifts and a special ‘race’ that can do several of these simultaneously. Chelcie is one of these. I call them Kortais. They are kind of like the queens of the manipulators. Rare and hardly ever discovered. It is almost unheard of for someone to meet one, much less two or especially not three- or at least not know when they do meet them. This group is protected because without them the entire race of mind manipulators is at risk of elimination. There is one particular enemy who wants to find and kill Chelcie because she has the power to destroy him when others before her failed for hundreds of years. Can she survive long enough to save her race? Will she find the one who is the key to accomplishing her fated job? Or will the evil one kill her as he did her ancestors?

This week I’ll skip a few lines from where I left off last week. Dray truly doesn’t know what to make of Chelcie at this point. He is unreasonably and romantically drawn to her, though he suspects she might be sent to kill him. Maybe it’s the Frenchman in him?

“What are you looking at with such interest?”

Such obstinate belligerence in her voice, but he supposed he didn’t blame her. He was, after all, staring rudely, and enjoying it very much.

“Hmm? You.” Not that he would admit to the impossibility to drag his gaze from her lovely face at that moment. 

I think he’s smitten. What about you? Don’t forget you can follow the link in the 6SS link at the top to find more snippets from participating writers. Until next week…


Six Sentence Sunday


I’ve had a rough last two weeks so I am ready for some real fun here on the ranch! I’m excited to be a part of Six Sentence Sunday and hope you enjoy these shared bits & pieces of my much loved writing. Click on the Logo above to find many more authors to stalk. If this is your first time on the ranch or your fiftieth, I welcome you and thank you for visiting. We are casual here on the ranch so take a tour, kick your chair back, grab a drink and Li’l Smokie and have fun!

In 2005 I first heard of NaNoWriMo (google it). I decided that since I had some free time and took the Nano challenge. I was writing one of my fave hero types, cowboy, but that story wasn’t the one I wrote. It was started and for Official NaNo you can’t use anything already beyond the planning/plotting stage. I thought long and hard about what to write in the weeks before Nov 1 kick-off and thought I had it ready. Nov 1 rolled in full of writerly excitement that’s hard to ignore and I sat BICHOK (but in chair, hands on keyboard) and my fingers began to fly as words began to flow. I was thrilled but had no clue where in hell the story forming came from. I was confused to say the least because 1) I have never written a real paranormal and 2) it had a veterinarian in it– not my presupposed cowboy! But I gave the two characters their lead and now have 50,000+ words of a paranormal about mind manipulation.

I posted a blip last week introducing Dray Corbeau and Chelcie Miles. Today I’m offering another peak into these two awesome people, picking up immediately following last weeks lines so you might get a glimpse of my charming Frenchman. Last week Dray was laughing at Chelcie, imagining her like a kitten and it ended with her demanding to know what he was laughing at. This is his response to that.

“Rien, Chéri,” he struggled to bring his humor into control. The seductive name made her glance away briefly. He smiled. She understood French, as she’d proven in their previous ‘conversations’ when he’d used his home language. “Nothing at all,” he repeated.

He fought another smile and said, “I have never been so pleasantly attacked in my life. 

I hope you like these lines and I think I might continue from here next week. I apologize for any typos, structure or punctuation errors you might spot. This work is completely unedited as the first draft is only half written. As I said last week- one day I’ll get it finished. 🙂

Have a fun, productive and fantastic week! Thanks for reading.

Dodadagohvi~ *until we meet again*

NaNo and LaVerne Clark


It is my distinct pleasure to have my TWRP sister and friend, LaVerne Clark on the ranch today. It has come and gone without my participation once again. Not so for LaVerne! She took on NaNoWriMo for the first time this last November and came to share her experience.

Welcome, LaVerne! Why don’t you start by telling why you’re here?

My name is LaVerne and I’m no longer a NaNoWriMo virgin. Whoo, boy! Does that ever feel good!

Each year, November came and went without my participation or even the possibility I’d sign up. You see, here is the ugly truth…I’m a lazy writer and the Queen of procrastination. I loved the idea of writing furiously for a month with other like-minded madmen and women, but there were always reasons why I couldn’t. My three-year old needed mummy’s attention; I was helping with school excursions for my son; the dog needed a walk or my house needed tidying – oh – and I needed my sleep. All very valid excuses, but that’s what they were. Excuses.

One day, a couple of online writer buddies of mine mentioned they were going to do the upcoming NaNoWriMo and would I like to do it with them? Out came the excuses – and I had a new good one too. My second book had been accepted and I was expecting edits sometime during the month of November. Why start something I may not be able to finish? And then it hit me. I was being negative! I’ve always prided myself on being a positive person, and the reality I wasn’t when it came to one of my greatest loves gave me a start. So without thinking too much more on, I found myself signing up. Gulp! Now there was no going back, at least in my mind. Have I mentioned I hate to leave anything unfinished?

Well – it was the best thing I could have done at that stage of my writing career. I wrote religiously every day and night and finished with just over the 50K requisite. What a buzz! And I was so thrilled to celebrate with those special writing buddies who’d succeeded too. One had even powered through to over 100K! We’d done it!

So, did I write the next bestseller during the month of November? Uh, no. Definitely not. But that was not the point of the exercise for me. Instead, it taught me a great deal about what I was capable of and reminded me of my love for the written word. Even though the pressure was on – I had so much fun! Maybe one day I’ll revisit my novel and rework it, or maybe not. Either way, it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is I proved to myself I can make time for myself each day to write and to make realistic goals. Now I know what I can achieve, suddenly the idea of writing three books a year is more than doable. How exciting is that? Bring it on!

How about you? Are you a NaNoWriMo virgin? What’s holding you back? Or are you an old pro and what was the experience like for you?

I’ll be giving away an e-book of my first book, Guardian of the Jewel (a romantic suspense) to a lucky commenter.:) Good luck!

Woot! A give away! Where can readers find you?

Blog:  Novel Natterings


That is a great cover, too. Thanks for visiting LaVerne!

Come back next Tuesday, Feb 7th when I’ll have Soulmate Publisher author and my critique partner, Donna Shields, back to share her latest release!


What NaNo taught me


I’m not nanoing this year but I hear from some new-to-Nanoers who are having trouble keeping up with the pace. My friends are going bald. So I thought I’d offer a bit of advice to help those who are stressing over Nano keep their lovely hair and sanity by talking about my first Nano experience and what I got out of it.

When I did nano for the first time, and only one to date, I chose to let the characters lead me, tell me who they were and what their story was. I didn’t plot before hand, didn’t try to think up a story or characters. Okay, being a complete pantser had a lot to do with that. These days I have transformed into a plotser- I plot a little, still write by the seat of my pants a lot.

On Nov 1, 2006 I sat and wrote whatever came to me, no matter what it turned out like. Every day I started as soon as my last daughter in school was gone for the day. A fresh, new story, not one I’d been thinking about beforehand. I got the surprise of my life when it turned out to be a paranormal—something I never had attempted or even imagined myself writing as a strictly contemporary writer. I rarely read anything different than what I wrote back then. Nora Robert’s Key Trilogy was the most paranormal-y thing I think I’d read in ages, in fact.

At the end of each day I would do one of two things. One, we aren’t supposed to do but I was just doing well not to edit during the writing process each day, so I went back and read my day’s progress, fleshed it out a bit to see what I had and who my characters were turning out to be… or two, I wrote on one of my current wips and put nano away until the next day.

That seemed to help me get through the month. I did finish my nano challenge out. I didn’t let it stress me. I had fun. It shouldn’t be a chore to do what we love. Write. We’re supposed to have fun and learn to turn off the internal editor and just write, nothing more. I accomplished that even if my word count came in under the wire by several thousand words. December is for fleshing out and edits. November I wrote. I don’t think there’s been one month since that I can say “I wrote every day this month.” I miss Nano. But it seems like each year when the contest rolls around I’ve either just begun a new story, and for nano you need one never started other than primary plotting, or I was in edits. This year? I’m trying to finish a story for a specific project with my publisher. Last year? I had a request from Harlequin-Mills & Boon for a full manuscript (ms) that wasn’t written to completion and only had two months to write it, to be complete by the end of November.

So what happened to that single Nano ms from 2006? Check out the excerpt below and tell me what you think.

Setup: Working title- In the Mist of the Mind; Dray Corbeau’s subconscious keeps calling out for help and Chelcie Miles has picked up on his distress. After two conflicting meetings in the minds she is determined to discover who he is and what he wants from her. Chelcie has decided to risk contacting Dray by telepathy, after her aunt/guardian, a powerful mind manipulator, has warned her not to.

“Are you there?” Chelcie spoke aloud to break the silence then waited to the count of ten. She hadn’t had a lot of practice calling, though it was a basic gift for some, and wasn’t sure if she was doing it right. 

When she heard nothing in response she closed her eyes, not giving up. Face raised to the sky, hands lifted high with palms upward, she exhaled slowly, calling on the Spirit element to guide her mind. With a swift breath she sucked the cool, wet spring air deep into her lungs, and let the moment draw her in as she waved her fingers before gradually curling her hands into loose fists. Her very being was drawn into mind as she focused. In an instant she felt her mind drift from her body.

“I need to speak to you.” With breath held, she waited, but only briefly this time.

What do you want, Ma Petit?”  The French words came across soft and slightly hesitant, as though he was holding back in preparation for retreat.

She let her breath go slowly and opened her eyes, but she didn’t see the garden around her. Her gaze focused within a warm mist. “You mistrust me.” After he’d invaded her sleep and did such sinful things to her, he didn’t trust her. What a farce!

Fallyn would be furious beyond compare if she knew Chelcie had not been swayed from contacting the stranger. The pain of being caught still rested on the verge of her conscious mind. And yet, did that excruciating experience stop her from allowing him back inside? Not at all. And how else could he invade her sleep unless she had allowed it?

Not only had she allowed him inside, she had welcomed his caresses. Worst of all was letting him seduce her and get information in doing so. It was as though he’d silenced her until she couldn’t speak so she had to use her gift to communicate…

Had that been his intention all along? Had she been drawn to him by trickery?

It was possible he didn’t know her enough to get what he needed, but Chelcie had volunteered a small tidbit of herself, therefore opening the door for him to enter, and to take freely whatever he desired.

With good reason,” his voice broke in to suggest. “You very nearly crippled me the last time we spoke. It left me no alternative but to slip in unawares. Much the way you tried to do to me, don’t you agree?” So the yanking had been as painful for him as it had for her.

And, he had a point, but she was loath to admit it to him as she set the blocks in place. He would not get more than she was willing to offer. In sleep, or awake.

“It was a rotten thing you did. I was sleeping unprotected.”

I wouldn’t harm you, Little One. Not without a very good reason. You were completely safe with me,” he promised. “But, you already know that, Ma Petit Familiar,” he added in soft allure.

“Why do you call me little one when you know my name?” The version of the pet name he used suggested intimate familiarity between them. It brought back vivid memories of the dream he’d created for her. Almost pleasant memories. She shook that thought from her head.

You said you need me.” He failed to answer her question.

“I said I needed to speak to you.” She corrected with a secret pleasure that he was playing with her, being as seductive as a lover. A lover whose name she did not know, and was hesitant to ask should it open her up to him more.

So, we will meet,” he said with confidence that worried and excited her. The continuing softness of his voice teased her senses and she knew an instant of panic. He could destroy her with his mind alone.

“Yes,” she breathed.

I wrote two characters I still adore and that was important to me. This is the very first time anyone will taste a sample of that NaNoWriMo project. It’s my hidden ‘baby.’ So what do you think of it?

And should it be delegated to a box under the bed/in the closet/lost file? Or should I finish and submit? I really do want to know what you think.