Another Healing

Another Healing

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014

To sum up my year in one word -- sad.

I can't really use any other word to describe a year that included my father's death. And the death of one of my students. Both from natural causes, and both not totally unexpected, given that one was 94 and the other had many and complex disabilities. But both losses were sad, and weeks apart from each other. And I had the sad honor to help spread the ashes of a dear friend who died the year before into the lake he loved so much. And I spread the ashes of my beloved dog who also died the year before. Three sets of ashes, three times my heart broke.

We continue to mourn the death of a young man who held my younger daughter's heart, and the death of a nephew who only lived a few hours. My mother continues her heartbreaking descent into Alzheimer's.

A lot to be sad for, no matter how one looks at it. My doctor told me that she was amazed I could still laugh. But I just can't imagine life without laughter.

I learned how to give my cat shots to control his diabetes. Twice a day, every day of the week. I've been up at six every morning since August. It's a drag, but worth it.

But there were many, many wonderful times too. My oldest daughter got married, moved into the ancestral farm, and adopted an adorable kitten.

Spending the whole summer at our camp was just fantastic, iffy plumbing and all. That place is just so good for my soul.

There was a great trip to the Bay of Fundy with my husband and daughter.

There were many, many hours spent with dear friends. With lots of great food.

I like to think that I've helped some kids who need help. At the very least, they get a smile and a hello from an adult who cares about them every day. More times than not, I get a smile and a hello back.

I've had some great swims, taken some nice walks, floated in my canoe a bit, peddled my bike, done some birding, taken some photos, read some books, listened to awesome music performed by my family, watched my daughter dance a solo in college, and seen some amazing sunsets.

My health is good.

On the writing front -- I published a novel, Another Healing, which earned back its advance and was a finalist in the Rainbow Book Awards as well as gathering some five star reviews. I also published two novellas -- Haunted Halls and The Dragon and the Palm Tree, which were very well received. I couldn't be more pleased.

Some of my older titles have gone out of print, but I am going to be putting them on Amazon for sale eventually, freshly edited and with new covers. That will be cool.

Looking forward -- next year will start with the release of my novella Natural Instincts a mere eight days from now. I am nearing the end of the rough draft for my next major offering -- a novel named Jai, which I have been working on for many months. Once that is finished, I already have ideas for something new.

We plan to spend next summer at camp, and for the first time, I'm going to cut back on the volunteering I do in the summer and devote myself almost full time to writing for eight weeks and see what happens. My only competition will be the lake, and that I can deal with.

Thank you, wonderful readers, for following me for another year, and I wish you all the best next year!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Winter Brook

video

I took this video of my brook this afternoon. Fourteen degrees at the time -- pretty chilly, but a beautiful, sparkling, sunny day. Came in, made myself some hot chocolate, and got back to writing. Yesterday I worked on my guest blogs posts for my Dreamspinner Blog party coming up. Enjoying being on vacation.

Jai had bogged down on me, so I simply sent my guys to Alaska today. Either a brilliant move, or a colossal mistake. Time will tell...

(I love how reviewers comment in positive ways on my plot twists and turns. Ha. Only my impulsive reactions to being bogged down. Don't tell!)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Natural Instincts Coming Up!


Natural Insticts will be released on January 7, 2015, less than two weeks from now! Perfect timing for some after the holidays relaxing and reading. And if you live in the snowy north, think of it as a cheap vacation to warmer climes. Sit in the moonlight beside a quiet lake and listen to a loon call. Or warm up thinking about getting cosy with someone you love inside a sleeping bag. Or think about two hot guys getting up to stuff in a tent that has maybe never been gotten up to in a tent before...

All kinds of excitment coming up -- blog hosting, twitter takeover, and TWO free short stories with Ambient and James from Another Healing.

You can pre-order Natural Instincts HERE on sale!

And warm up watching the trailer HERE now.






Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice everyone! Shortest day of the year. First day of winter. And most important to me, the days start getting longer now. I really don't mind the darkness -- I love starlight and being much more aware of the phases of the moon than I am in the summer -- but I like the whole cycle of it all, the knowing that spring will follow winter the way it always has and I all have to do is open myself to it happening.



I actually took this photo yesterday morning. The sun didn't come out all day today, so this is as close to a solstice sunrise as we're going to get.

I saw a beautiful Barred Owl sitting on a power line near our house this afternoon.

Today I sent the second of my two short stories based on writing prompts to Dreamspinner. I have had so much fun writing them! It was great to be back in James's and Ambient's heads and have a little peek into their future. They will be posted as free reads on the Dreamspinner blog in January to coincide with the release of Natural Instincts. So keep all that in the backs of your minds as a little something to look forward to after the holidays.

Kind of like spring.



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tough Week Over!

Whew! Last week was rough -- a road trip to Boston in a horrific snowstorm, and coming home to two feet of wet, heavy, icy snow and no power for two days, which meant no lights, heat, or water. Fortunately, everything came back on last night and today we're getting our house ready for Christmas!




Monday, December 8, 2014

Pre-order Natural Instincts and Trailer

Okay, Natural Instincts is now up on the coming soon page at Dreamspinner Press, and is available for pre-ordering! Click HERE for more information. It will be available on January 7th.

And, HERE is the link to the book trailer I've been sweating over for the last few weeks. I mean, the link to the trailer I thoroughly enjoyed making! (I really did!) I hope everyone enjoys it, too. I'll do a "making of" post shortly.

I've got all kinds of release events planned. I'll be hosting the Dreamspinner Blog and doing a Twitter Takeover. And I'm writing two short stories based on prompt words I received last week. The stories will be posted on the Dreamspinner blog a few days after the lucky winners received their copies. I'm having a lot of fun writing them.

I'm really excited about Natural Instincts. It's my first release since Haunted Halls and Another Healing last spring. It was a fun story to write. The main character's voice came to me very easily and quickly, and I found myself in his head quite effortlessly. I especially love his sense of humor. No idea where Kyle got it from, since I, of course, have absolutely none. Ha! And don't get me started about loons. I LOVE loons. They haunted me last summer while I was working on this story. It was amazing. Of course, it helped that I lived on a lake, but... It's a kind of everything story. It's set in a campground in northern Vermont (if you're ever expecting a story from me set in a big city, forget it. Not happening.) And it's got a canoe. And just maybe a tad of BDSM. (And what may be a first in the genre -- BDSM in a tent? Not sure if it's a first or not, but you can make up your own minds about how hot it can be inside a cosy tent at night with two strong young men who are not intent on sleeping! Ha -- pun intended!)

Anyway, Natural Instincts is on the way. As always when a release is in sight, I'm excited, nervous, scared, thrilled, and very happy.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cover Reveal: Natural Instincts!

And here it is! Created by Brooke Albrecht, who also did the cover for Another Healing. Every time I look at them, I still see subtle details that I never noticed before. I very much appreciate the artist's patience in working with me and coming up with such lovely covers that really capture the books.




Here's the blurb:

Most people would consider near perfect recall, an ability to crunch numbers that rivals a computer's, and an uncanny knack for predicting the stock market to be remarkable gifts. But for Kyle, those abilities also curse him to recall every moment of his horrible, abusive past. Searching for an escape, he takes his therapist’s advice and leaves his finance job behind for a weeklong camping trip on a remote lake in Vermont. He’s not sure how a week in seclusion with nothing but his own thoughts for company will be the reprieve he needs. Then he stumbles across a man engaged in a pagan ritual and is drawn into mysteries he never dreamed existed, and realizes nature is more distracting than he thought.

Natural Instincts will be availible from Dreampinner Press in January, 2015.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Busy, busy...

Working on the book trailer for Natural Instincts, which is coming in January! Watch for the cover reveal, coming up soon!

I got my short story prompts yesterday, and I'm hard at work. Two stories about James and Ambient on the way! It feel so good to be back in their heads. Something is whispering, "Sequel, sequel..." We'll see.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Short Story, Anyone?

I agreed, along with some other authors, to write a free short story for Dreampinner Press with the characters from Another Healing, James and Ambient. Customers of Dreamspinner get to pick a promt word for me and enter into a drawing to be the one I write the story for.

There are details HERE

I'm looking foward to it! Somebody, pick me a challenging word. Please.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winter Lights




My winter lights. Yes, I managed to put them up yesterday. My camera did wierd things to them in the photos. It was quite dark outside. Interesting auto-exposure setting.

It rained hard last night, and just before I went to bed, half the lighits inside the house went off. I think water must have gotten into the outside outlet where these are plugged in. It tripped the circuit breaker downstairs. I freak out whenever weird electical things go on, but fortunately, my calm husband took care of the situation. All the lights work now. And I will be careful to unplug them if it rains hard again.

Clearly, I need to stick to writing. Much safer.

Or is it? Sometimes, it feels like the most dangerous thing I do.




Monday, November 24, 2014

Vacation!

A whole week off. Thank goodness. I need one so badly. I'm even glad it's raining today. Nothing between me and a good day's writing. Jai is up to 38,000 words and I intend to add a good many to that total very soon.

The only other thing on my list is to put out my Christmas lights on two trees near the house. I call them my "winter lights." I love how they bring light to the early darkness. I always put out all blue ones. I love blue.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter Brook



video


For all you city dwellers, here's a glimpse of the brook beside my house this afternoon. Ice is just appearing. Clear and cold today. Both water and air. A good evening for writing!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Set for Winter



Camp is still beautiful even in November! Went over today, making sure everything is set for winter. I think we're in good shape. We'll know in the spring if the water pipes burst.

I want to go over often after winter sets in to take photos of the ice and snow. I don't think I've ever been there when it's actually been snowing. Winter picnic, anyone?

I saw a hawk fly over, but I couldn't get a close enough look to tell what kind. Otherwise, all was quiet. The water level is as low right now as I've ever seen it. Air temperature was just below freezing and I wasn't remotely tempted to jump in. Sigh.



Saturday, November 15, 2014

Natural Instincts Getting Closer!

Okay, I've been able to focus on writing again during the last week, which is wonderful. A quick update: Natural Instincts, a novella, will be coming out in January! It is all edited and revised and off to production. I have signed up to do a Dreamspinner Blog release party and a Twitter Takeover to celebrate the event. There will be much more about that coming soon, including the cover release. And I am working on a book trailer.

I am also back at work on my next novel, Jai. I wrote the first half of it at camp this summer, and I'd plan to finish it this fall, but family events got in the way. This week I read through my draft and am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work, which is what I'm going to do tonight as soon as I finish this post. I'm looking forward to having Thanksgiving week off and getting a lot done then. Jai is a character who has had hold of me for a long time and it feels really good to get his story told.

And in the little notebook I carry around with me wherever I go, I'm working on Josh and the Baby Dragon. Guess what that's about?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Grief

My father died a week ago today.

It's hard to write those words. It's hard to write anything right now.

Without one of the two people who created me alive any longer, I feel like a deep balance within me is lost.

He lived 94 wonderful years with three really awful weeks at the end. I go back over and over it to see if I could have made things different, but at each juncture, I don't see how I could have chosen differently while he was unable to chose for himself any longer.

He was a famous environmentalist and artist and there were hundred of people at his Celebration of Life Ceremony yesterday and they all hugged me and I tried to speak and I cried and a member of the Navy gave me a flag and I don't know how I can go back to school tomorrow as though nothing happened.

I am an only child and my mother is still living, but lost in the fog of Alzheimer's and almost beyond reach.

As I sprinkled his ashes, the water turned to gray smoke and flowed away.

I'm not sure where I am flowing from here.


Yesterday morning's sky


Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Finalist!

I was so thrilled to find out today that Another Healing is a finalist in the 2014 Rainbow Awards!
Congratulations to the other finalists and thank you Elisa for making this happen.

See it HERE

Things like this mean so much to me.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Natural Instincts On the Clock!

Just heard that Natural Instincts is officially off to the editor.  This means that soon I will be hard at work on it again, I'm sure. I got all the marketing and cover designing work done this past summer. Can't wait to see the cover! The release date has not been set yet, but it will probably be in December.

And I'm working hard on my new novel, Jai. I reached the half way point just as school started, and then I got swamped with real life stuff and progress has slowed. This time of year has a lot of getting ready for winter stuff to do, and the foliage is so darn pretty out there... Sigh.

But I have started working on the next story in the Notice Series in the little notebook I carry around at school all day with me. (Don't tell!) It's going really well. It's going to be called Josh and the Baby Dragon, I think. These characters bring me a lot of comfort when things get rough.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Honorable Mention!

I found out yesterday that Another Healing has been awarded at least an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards! As I understand it, the names of the books that received at least 36 out of 40 points by the judges are being released daily in the run up to the announcement of the finalists in early October. I'm thrilled! HERE"S a link. Congratulations to the other authors! It's always such a wonderful, amazing feeling to be recognized. Thank you so much!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Really Nice Review!




Another Healing was just given a really nice review by Anita Mann at Gay List Book Reviews. It is SUCH a wonderful feeling when someone "gets" your book. But this review left me wondering, "Wow, did I really do all that?" I had the help of good friends and editors, of course. Still, I did a happy dance when Dreamspinner sent me the link to this.

Click HERE

At the moment, I am eagerly awaiting the edits for my next novella, Natural Instincts, and eagerly awaiting my first glimpse of the cover. And working away on Jai. Just hit 30,000 words, most of them written in the last month. I also have started the next story in the Notice Series. This one, I think, is going to be called Josh and the Baby Dragon. Guess what it's about? That's right. Baby Jenny is going to shift form for the first time. (You all didn't really think she'd be stuck in human form forever, did you?) And guess who she's going to be with when she does it?



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Home

We moved back home this past weekend to a house infested with mice and a pool full of algae. Not sure how any of that happened, since all was fine the week before, but it's been a nightmare. Finally able to swim again, but my eyes are burning from the strong chlorine every time. Too used to the nice clean lake. Six mice have met their demise (two to cat, four to traps) but I know there is at least one still in the house because it chased me the length of the kitchen this morning with two cats behind it. Yes, I screamed and it disappeared under the refrigerator.

Good news -- Haunted Halls is going to be translated into French and Spanish! How cool is that? I took both those languages in high school and college, but I doubt I'll be able to read a word. Very excited to see what it looks like, though.

School is exhausting and hot.

But I was greeted with a brilliant Orion in the east this morning when I woke. I love that constellation and it's like seeing an old friend... Fall is coming.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Dragon and the Palm Tree Review

Here's a link to a lovely review for The Dragon and the Palm Tree:

HERE

Busy, busy, busy writing my next novel, Jai. Up to 25,000 words now. I'm trying to block everything else out and focus on it, which is hard to do with school starting next week (did two days of training this week) and starting to think about moving home from camp. Sniffle, sniffle. That will probably happen on Labor Day weekend, along with moving our youngest daughter back to college.

I'm also expecting get my first round of edits for Natural Instincts any day, too. Looking forward to seeing the cover!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Big News!

I'm very excited to announce that my new novella, Natural Instincts, has been accepted by Dreamspinner Press!

It should be released sometime this coming winter. This seemed an auspicious time to make the announcement because I just began the first steps in the editing process this week, and the first thing I did was reread the story so it was all fresh in my mind. It is set on a small lake in a Vermont campground, and a Common Loon figures in the story in a major way. The night after I read the story, I was awoken by a loon calling on the lake. This is the first one I've heard all summer, though I've seen three since we moved to camp in June. How cool is that?


Another shot of the pair of loons from Fundy Natinal Park last week


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Home...well, Camp!

We're back safely. It seemed really strange not to be going home, but to camp. Now that we're here and unloaded and unpacked, it seems really good to be here. I think the best part of the whole trip was coming back here. For the first time, camp feels like...home.

I've been for a swim with fireflies and two black crowned night herons and huge flock of misquitoes. Someone on the other side of the bay shot off some fireworks. I figured it was in honor of me coming home, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, I feel refreshed. I needed a break from real life for a while. Of course, it's waiting for me, but I feel a bit more able to deal with it.

I wrote for several hours in the backseat today. I'm working on a novel called Jaithe. It started strongly this spring, then kind of locked up. I think it's free flowing again now, which is great. With any luck, the rest of the summer with have more pattern and I can find my balance again. I will rememeber the tides of Fundy and their rythm and find my own.

Thanks for journeying with me these last few days!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tides, Waterfall, and Loons


Crazy, crazy tides here on the Bay of Fundy. Yes, both shots are of the same boat. 
Not a bad day with the camera. 
I'm sad that I have to head home tomorrow. It's beautiful world up here. But it's not mine.






Loons on Wolfe Lake




Dickson Falls



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hopewell Rocks

This is another amazing place on the Bay of Fundy. Twice a day, you can walk on the ocean floor. The tides and their erosive powers have created a photographer's paradise. I spent the morning wandering around. I would love to be here alone sometimes, but the people really add perspective. It's good to be put in our place by nature. Before you can go down, you need to know what time the tide will turn, or else you can be cut off from the stairs and will have to spend a few uncomfortable hours clinging to the rocks above the tide line.












Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Brunswick


Bay of Fundy -- wild, magestic, magical, full of history of where the sea meets land in rough and compelling ways. A good place for photographers. A good place for writers. A good place for dragons.

I am here for four days.



Cape Engrage

Point Wolfe, Fundy National Park

Remains of an old sawmill's dam at Point Wolfe

Point Wolfe Covered Bridge


Lighthouse on Cape Enrage



Monday, July 7, 2014

Final Hours!

Final hours to enter into a drawing for a free copy of Another Healing on Allison Cassatta's blog. Read my interview! Thanks so much!

Click HERE


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Guest on Allison Cassatta's Blog

I'm the guest on Alison Cassatta's Blog today! Stop by and read my answers to her interview questions and enter into a drawing for a free copy of my most recent novel, Another Healing!

Click HERE

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Crazy Busy

Life just went nuts a few weeks ago, in good ways. The school year ended, we had a wedding in the family, and my husband, youngest daughter, our two cats, and I decided to move. This is not as random as it sounds. We have a beautiful family camp that has been in my family for about four generations, and it was going to be unoccupied this summer, so we have taken it over. It's amazingly beautifil, right on the shore of Lake Champlain, with a view streatches across three miles of open water to the Champlain Islands and the Adirondack Mountains of New York. We're on top of a thirty foot dolomite cliff where thunderstorms slam into us with a vengence, and it's wild and woodsey. There is a pair of Peregrin Falcons nesting on the cliff nearby -- I see them flying by our two huge picture windows all day and their calls fill the air. 

But camp has some drawbacks -- no internet, no TV reception, no drinking water, an iffy septic system, tiny bedrooms, steep stairs, no insulation so it's damn cold in the morning, and more spiders and ants than I knew existed. It took us a week to get it cleaned up and settled, and we're still not quite there, but I'm getting things under control. I keep thinking that I can kick back and refocus and get to writing, but then things happen like one cat gets an inflamed hip and I get bittten by a tick. But anyway, I'm still here (runnng off my phone's hot spot setting). Hopefully this will post! I will get some photos up soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

School Year Almost Done!

This time of year is like running a marathon!The kids are crazy, I'm crazy.

Three more days of exams and then SUMMER and a novel to write! I can't wait!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Trailer -- The Dragon and the Palm Tree

And The Dragon and the Palm Tree is out! To everybody who's been wanting more Varian and Josh -- thank you so much for your interest in my characters!

I made a book trailer using photos from my two recent trips to Florida. I admit that I was scared to death in the plane -- it had been years since I'd flown. Sometimes I think there may be a little too much of me in Varian. But I have to say, he was more afraid than I was. With good reason. Watch the trailer and you'll see what I mean.

Here's a link to the trailer: Click HERE

And here's a link to purchase the story: HERE

Here's the official blurb:

A dragon shifter's worst nightmare is an airplane flight in human form, with every self-preservation instinct in them screaming to shift. Varian knows this fear must be overcome sometime if dragons want to keep blending in with humans. But he doesn't know that the day he faces his nightmare will also be the day his lover Josh decides to come out as a woman. A trip to Florida becomes both a journey into the air and deep into themselves, for both of them.

And here's an excerpt:

Josh handed me a paper cup of water. "We have tickets for a nonstop flight to Florida tomorrow morning," he said steadily. "You and me, and Justin and Wells. Huntington is going to stay here with Jenny, along with Lindsay and Sam."

I drained the water. If Huntington wasn't there, he couldn't use his power to control our fear if we couldn't handle it. At least, he might not be able to respond quickly enough. So they really thought Justin and I could handle this on our own?

"I know you've been having a rough semester," Josh went on calmly. "I know you need a break. But if we drag this out, you'll worry yourself into a panic about it. There's nothing you have to do to prepare. You already have the strength inside you to endure it. I suspect you'll be so calm that you'll get that whole stack of essays in your pack graded before we land."

"Only if I give them all A's," I moaned, looking up at him.

Josh laughed. He pulled me to my feet and into an embrace. "Perfect. Everyone will be happy, and you'll be fine."

"Josh. If I'm in the air, my instinct is going to be to shift form. And when I shift in a space that's too small for my dragon body, everything in my way gets blasted apart. I know that -- I've done it. Do you not get that if either Justin or I shift inside an airplane, we're going to destroy it? And a whole bunch of people, maybe even us, are going to get killed?"

He smiled and pressed close. "Which is why I know you and Justin won't shift. And once you two have proven to the rest of the clan that dragons can fly, then they'll know they have that option, too. And someday, if you really need to get someplace fast, you'll know that you can. Trust me."

The fact that I trusted him implicitly was the only reason I was even thinking about doing this. I just hoped this wouldn't be the first time his knack for predicting the future was wrong.

"And," Josh said, pressing closer still, "you would not believe the bathing suit that the UPS guy delivered here today. Trust me, Varian, there's nothing you will not do to see me sitting beneath a palm tree in it."

I managed a weak laugh. "Well, it better come off easier that this damn robe of yours."

"It will melt like butter beneath your fingertips," he said, dropping his voice to a whisper silkier than the turquoise robe. "And, once we get Jenny settled, I have something very special planned for tonight." He pressed even closer, voice dropping lower. "I know you won't sleep anyway, so believe me, you won't even get a chance to try."


Enjoy, everybody!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On Sale!

I'm for sale this week!

I mean, selected titles of mine are ON sale this week at Torquere Press.

The Dragon and the Palm Tree comes out tomorrow! Now's the time to make sure you have the earlier books in the Notice Series so you can sit back and read them all in the right order. Which is:

Notice (the novel that started it all: meet Varian and Josh at the beginning!)

The Dragon and the Mistletoe (Varian and Josh's proposal of marriage) short story

The Dragon and his Knight (introduces Justin and Wells -- a thousand year old dragon/human bonded pair) novella

Origin (in the Shifting Steam Anthology -- a Steampunk tale of Justin and Wells set in Victorian England) short story

A Sky Full of Wings (Varian and Josh's wedding, and the story where they meet up with Justin and Wells, and Jenny joins the family) novella

Night of Ceremony (an earthquake strikes the dragon clan)

And... The Dragon and the Palm Tree (Varian and Justin attempt to conquer their fear of flying in airplanes) novella

And HERE is the link to this week's sale page at Torquere.

You can also get my first ever m/m erotic romance, The Glass Man, on sale now. Proud to say it's been selling steadily for almost five years. And don't forget Ice, a hot science fiction novella.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the link to the book trailer I made for The Dragon and the Palm Tree. It's full of photos I took of Florida and airplanes.

Thank you all so much!




Thursday, May 22, 2014

Less Than a Week to The Dragon and the Palm Tree!


It's almost here! My third release in three months!

Next Wednesday, May 28, The Dragon and the Palm Tree will join Another Healing and Haunted Halls.
I finished this novella in January, but I started it last summer on my way home from a trip to Florida. At the time, I was getting ready to submit Another Healing and Haunted Halls, so all three of these stories are bound up in my head. I remember that a friend who was on the trip with my husband and me was helping me set up the formatting for the other two -- different publishers all have different formatting requirements and these things drive me nuts.

Anyway, I'd fallen in love with palm trees and the ocean (way warmer than our New England Atlantic ever thought of being) and I was thinking how much I'd like to see Varian and Josh on a tropical beach. But no plot was jumping at me. Then a few months later, my husband and I returned to Florida, this time on a plane. It was the first time I'd flown in a long time, since before post-9/11 security, and I was a bit nervous about the whole thing. And then the plot came to me. If I was scared to fly, what would it be like for Varian and Justin -- two dragons confined inside a plane? The urge to shift would be almost uncontrollable, and if they did, it would be catastrophic. Ah, yes!

At the same time, just to make things even more complicated, Josh decides that now is the time to come out as a female. The results -- well, you'll have to wait until May 28 to find out!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Haunted Halls Release Day!

So Haunted Halls snuck out yesterday before midnight by a few hours, but that's okay. Today's the official release day on my calendar, and I'm celebrating! I took a long walk and reflected on where I'm at in my writing and then hung out my hummingbird feeders for the summer. (I know, not very exciting. I'll have some ice cream in a minute.)

But putting out my feeders makes me happy, even though I don't expect any hummingbirds to be here for a few days, at least. I want to make sure they feel welcome when they arrive. Yes, the same ones come back year after year, and their babies do, too. I've been in kind of a lull the past few weeks because I've taken in my sunflower seed feeders so the bears don't get them (yes, there are black bears here) and I'm looking forward to the hummers.

There is a connection between Haunted Halls and hummingbirds. I wrote Haunted Halls last summer during a period when I was letting myself have a little distance from Another Healing, the novel that ate my life for three years. I actually finished both pieces and subbed them about the same time. Hence they have both been released close to the same time. Last summer feels like ages ago. I was frantically getting Final Awakening and Webs ready to be released in September, too.

I've only actually written two pieces this winter -- The Dragon and the Palm Tree which is coming out in a few weeks, and Natural Instincts, which is still in progress. It's hard to describe how much energy goes into the editing process and all the marketing that goes along with it, including making book trailers, which take a lot of time. Now I'm working on my next Charity Sip which is due in a few weeks. I'm very ready for a focused period of writing once Palm Tree is released. I've decided to work on a novel idea I've had for a long time -- another ghost story. This one is called Jai. So far it's going really well, and I'm going to do my best not to let any other projects distract me from it.

So that was the result of my walk this afternoon.

Anyway, I hope people are enjoying Haunted Halls and a glimpse into my college days. It's picking up some very nice early reviews already. Thank you all so much!

Remember, I'm also on Facebook HERE

And Twitter HERE

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Haunted Halls is Out!



It's officially available! Buy it HERE

Watch the trailer HERE

And thank you so much to all the wonderful folks at Less Than Three for making this story possible!


Here's an excerpt:

My first night on campus—while I was all homesicky-weepy and trying like hell to hide it—I saw a guy with long, dark hair sitting on the railing of an aerial walkway that bisected the two-story high dining hall, way up above my head. It was high enough that I wouldn't have wanted to look down if I'd been up there, and I sure as hell wouldn't have sat on the narrow railing with my feet dangling about a mile above the people's heads.

"Whoa, look at that!" I pointed upward with my fork, shocked out of my shy silence. My three roommates—all tough, he-manly type guys—turned. I'd only met them a few hours ago. Fellow freshmen seeking safety in numbers, we'd gone to dinner together. I kept getting their names mixed up.

"What?" one of them asked.

"That guy sitting up there!" I glanced at them in shock. How could they miss him? Then I looked back up and felt like an idiot. "Oh. He was sitting on the railing." I scanned. He must have gone into one of the classrooms at the end of the walkway. Very quickly. "That was nuts."

My roommates turned around and went back to eating and talking about which freshmen girls were the hottest. I rose, said goodbye, and followed a couple other kids with empty trays to a pair of garbage cans next to a shelf. Then I saw a stairway that looked like the one I'd come down. I went up, putting my hands in my hoodie pockets and hunching my shoulders, trying to look like I knew my way around. It was only six-thirty in the evening. What was I going to do until it was late enough to crawl into my bed? Don't cry. Don't cry! Damn, I was going to cry.

Once outside, wiping my eyes on the sleeve of my fleece jacket, I headed away from the dorms. The campus crowned a hilltop like a castle built on a high, defensible spot above the town that nestled in the valley below. Skirting the ring of academic buildings where I would start my higher education tomorrow, I paused a moment and took in the beauty of the other hills around me. They glowed in the light of the setting sun as the foliage slowly took on the hues of autumn that Vermont was known for. As a Vermont native myself, I knew that in a few weeks the hills would be blazing like fire, but tonight, everything was soft gold mixed with green; the delicate balance between summer and fall. The inevitable change made me sadder. I had so not wanted this summer to end!

I headed for what the campus map called the Lower Pond. Teardrop-shaped, appropriately, it was nestled between a nicely mowed lawn on one side and a brushy bank on the other. The far end of the pond was filled with tall cattails, their green fronds rustling quietly in the evening breeze. In the middle of the water crouched a rock like a giant gray turtle. A matching turtle rock lay before me on the pond's edge, where the path ended. It was big enough for two people to sit on.

I couldn't see anybody around, anywhere. For a moment, I leaned against the rock, then took my hands out of my pockets and pushed myself up so I sat on it. It didn't grow legs and start walking. I sighed and wiped my eyes. Stress and exhaustion feed my imagination way too much. I tried to let the solace of the late summer evening sink in. A bullfrog croaked over in the cattails, and a gentle gust of wind rattled the branches of the birch trees on the brushy bank. The only way I knew the campus existed was the faint music coming out of somebody's dorm window.

Prison window.

Where I was going to be locked up for the next four years.

Don't leave me here! But it was too late to call my parents back. Damn, what was wrong with me? What guy on his first night on campus sat by a pond and cried? I was supposed to be getting drunk and stoned and laid. What would my roommates think if they knew that none of those things had happened to me? One guy already had two kids by two different women, or so he claimed. And they both wanted him. At the same time, as a threesome. Or so he claimed. I buried my face in my hands. I wanted my own bed. Granted, I was still in Vermont and only a few hours from home, which was an old farm on Lake Champlain. I didn't want to be on this damn campus practically up in Canada just because my mother worked for the state, hence my free tuition. There'd been no choice about where I was going to go. Even though I hadn't wanted to go anywhere. I didn't want to be anywhere but at home.

God, I missed my parents! Did all only children go through this? My friends from big families had been counting down the hours to freedom. I knew they weren't feeling like they were in jail tonight. Right now, they were probably getting stoned and drunk and laid. Or at least they were happy.

If I were home on a Sunday night, we'd be playing cards and eating popcorn around the kitchen table. Mom would be singing along with her country CDs, and Dad and I would be rolling our eyes and laughing when she whacked us over our heads with her cards. Were they doing that tonight? I rocked back and forth, hugging my knees and pressing my forehead down into them.

It'll get better once classes start, I told myself. I'd have homework. The library would be open at night. And in classes, I'd meet other history majors, and we could talk about the Crusades as opposed to some stupid idiot's conquests. But that knowledge felt hollow, compared to the enormity of the present. Tonight, I was going to have to sleep in a room with three strangers who were planning to party until morning. Going to bed and reading until I fell asleep wasn't going to be an option.

How cold would it be on this rock at two o'clock in the morning?

I wiped my eyes again. It was already getting dark. My last summer of freedom, fading away. I'd started crying last night, sitting at my desk at home. I hadn't really stopped all day; I'd just hidden it. Everything I'd dreaded all summer—really, all of my senior year—was now coming to pass. I couldn't do it, I abruptly decided.

Filled with sudden determination, I got to my feet so quickly that I scuffed some loose stones into the water, causing faint splashes. An answering splash came from the middle of the pond, as though someone else had just done the same thing from the rock in the middle. I looked up, feeling my face flaming over being caught crying. It would be all over campus by morning! Then logic hit me. As if there'd been somebody out on the rock in the middle of the pond watching me. A big frog, probably. In the dim light, I could see faint rings spreading out from where it had landed. It was probably that bullfrog I'd heard earlier. God, I was stupid! I leapt down from my rock and headed back up the path, reaching for my phone to call home and tell them to come get me. Right now.


And yet I couldn't get the feeling out of my head that somebody had been watching me.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's Haunted Halls Week!

Haunted Halls will be released on Wednesday! Very excited.

Haunted Halls is my college story. (Sort of.) I wrote it when my oldest daughter had just graduated from college and my youngest was choosing a college. It got me thinking about my own college experiences, and I have to say that if any of my characters is a lot like me, it's Evan. I hated the idea of college. I was shy, quiet, and a total homebody. I didn't want to go, no way, no how. My mother forced me into it, and I didn't have a lot of choices where I went because, like Evan, I had free tuition at the state colleges since my mother worked for the state. I understood that a free education was not to be passed up, so I unwillingly packed my clothes, some books, my typewriter (gasp!) and moved into Johnson State College, which was about an hour away from my beloved home.

I was utterly miserable my first night. My roommate was just like the ones I describe Evan having (except that I made him suffer with three) and yes, I spent my first night huddled in a stairwell. I also hid at the pond and in the library, and I made many tearful phone calls home begging to be released from prison.

But, like Evan, I finally made friends. I took the initiate to move out of my room and away from my mean, nasty, horrible roommate and in with someone I got along with a lot better. I began to like my classes (I majored in writing. Go figure.) I even, by  the end of the year, had found a boyfriend. Yes, we kissed by the pond. (The pond, I describe in exact detail in the story, down to the two rocks, one on shore and one out in the water. I swam to that one once, so I have sat on both.)

My boyfriend was a lot like Gabriel, except for having a fear of heights. No way would he have sat on the railing of the balcony in the dining hall (which I also describe in perfect detail). But he was a very kind, older guy who kept an eye on stressed out freshmen, in a good way. And, of course, my boyfriend hadn't died...

I ended up marrying my boyfriend a few years after graduation. So it's a good thing I stuck out those first few weeks of hell.

And the college that our oldest daughter just graduated from? The same one. And next month, she's marrying the young man she met her freshman year. And two nights ago, I was back on campus for a concert that my husband was playing in.

Who says time moves in a line? It's a spiral, for sure.

Click HERE for a link to the Johnson State College website so you can see what the college looks like today.

And click HERE to preorder your copy of Haunted Halls on sale, so you'll have it bright and early on Wednesday morning and save money!

Thanks!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hearts on Fire Reviews Giveaway!

Hearts on Fire Reviews is doing a giveaway! Go to their website HERE and leave a comment by May 3 to be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Haunted Halls!

And while you're over in that direction, check out the five star review they gave to Another Healing HERE

Thank you, Hearts on Fire!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Haunted Halls




The lovely cover by Aisha Akeju


Okay, Haunted Halls is now available to preorder!And not only that, it's on sale! Click HERE 

To watch the book trailer, click HERE

Here's the blurb:

College should be a blast for Evan: Same state where he grew up, just a few hours from home, tuition is free, and there's nothing but new experiences and opportunity in front of him. All he feels is homesick, alone, and adrift. Whatever thrills his roommates eludes Evan.

He is distracted from his misery by Gabriel, who seems to come and go in the blink of eye. But he's beautiful, confident, proud—everything Evan is not. Most of all, he's a mystery, and one that Evan is determined to solve...


Release date: May 7, 2014





Tuesday, April 22, 2014

So Where Am I At?

Well, I'm on school vacation this week so I have a moment to sit back and take stock. Also, I'm recovering from a nasty cold that turned into bronchitis, so all those outside things I need to do can just keep waiting a little longer. And I'm without a car at the moment. My husband's van is in the shop for some bodywork this week. Vermont winters EAT cars, and the van is many years old and has something like 200,000 miles, so he's driving my new vehicle. (I drive a four wheel drive SUV with winter tires which aren't coming off until June, thank you very much.) I have to say that my husband is very much like Josh, the way they're both attached to their old, clunky vans. Josh needs his to carry his paintings in; my husband needs his to carry his drums and PA system to music gigs. But beyond that, they just kind of form bonds with clunky old vehicles. I've always thought that was a little out of character for Josh, who adores new clothes and pretty things, but when has Josh ever done what I've expected?)

(Wait, did I just say that my husband is like Josh? He would totally FLIP. But he rarely reads my blog, so it's okay. Don't get me wrong, my husband likes Josh all right, but... So does that make me like Varian? Snort. Okay, we both worry a thing to death, and I have kept my calm in some damn scary situations like car accidents and breaking up a fight between two teenage boys at school once, and I am an educator and I love history and dragons. Hmm.)

Anyway, looking forward. I've got two releases coming up, both in May. The first one is a novella from Less Than Three Press called Haunted Halls, on May 7th. It's a free standing college ghost story with twist. Then on May 28, the next in the Notice Series comes out from Torquere Press -- The Dragon and the Palm Tree. It's about what happens when Varian and Justin decide to face their fear of flying in airplanes, and Josh decides to present as female on their trip to Florida.

I feel like I've just barely gotten Another Healing all released, and here I go again! Stay tuned for more information. And I've made book trailers for both of them -- I'll be posting links when it gets closer.

Beyond that, I've got a novella called Natural Instincts submitted and I'm waiting to hear back.

Right now I'm working on my 2014 Charity Sip for Torquere, and I've started a new novel! I'm really excited about this one. It's a fresh take on an old, old story idea I've fooled around with many times over the years, and I think I've finally got it right this time. It's called Jai.

And thanks so much to everyone who is taking the time to write reviews and  friending me on Facebook and following me on Twitter. You folks are awesome, and I'm always willing to answer questions or chat any time. And I'm glad to forward any comments to Josh. As he puts it, it's all about his fans, of course.

Happy Spring!







Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lighting


The colors are soft and muted this evening as winter slowly fades into spring's promise.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Box of Books





Not much I can add to this!

Shameless advertising -- do you have your own copy yet? Click HERE


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Exhausted!

I have done a Twitter Takeover!

And it was really great. Lots of friendly folks and nice comments about my novel. It's hard to describe what an evening like that is like, chatting with people from all over the world about me and my writing. Normally, my writing life is very private and solitary. It felt really good, but kind of like I was in culture shock.

And it was a little rough at first, keeping my posts down to 140 characters and having to think fast. Normally, I'm long and slow. Then I started pretending I was at school, where I have to talk fast, briefly, and have about four conversations going at once. It all worked out.

Thank you again to everyone who was there, and thank you to those who are now following me on Twitter. I hope I don't disappoint!



Monday, March 31, 2014

Big Day Tomorrow

I'm getting ready to take over the Dreamspinner Press Twitter Account tomorrow night from eight to ten, EDT. I'll be HERE

Join me for a chat -- ask questions, get some behind the scenes scoop about Another Healing, and enter a drawing for a free copy.

And considering I'm still very new at Tweeting, this should be an very interesting night!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Clarity


Doesn't get any clearer than this! Eighteen degrees, not a cloud in the sky. A perfect January day in Vermont. I mean, March. I'm not complaining, though. A beautiful day is a beautiful day.


Friday, March 21, 2014

The Making of the Another Healing Book Trailer


I had a lot of fun making this trailer. But it had its challenges.

I really wanted a shot of a logging truck, but they're few and far between, even in Vermont in the winter, which is logging season. A few years ago, I could have taken all the photos I wanted while our neighbors were logging. But this year, I couldn't find a single truck. I did stop in a rest area on the nearest interstate and photograph a truck that was waiting for its driver (at least, I hope he was in the bathroom and not sitting in the cab wondering what the heck I was doing). Even though I tried to get scary shots of its undercarriage, they just came out looking like a truck parked in the snow. And since Another Healing takes place in the fall, that was just all wrong.




Then I thought about asking my long suffering husband to drive at me in the dark and I take shots of his headlights, but somehow that wasn't feeling like a good idea, either. Kind of like having my daughter throw arrows at me for the Silver Pearl trailer. Then, as we drove on down the road, the obvious finally hit me, and I started taking shots of the vehicles coming at us. My husband kept pointing out that they'd be out of focus and distorted by the windshield, but I knew that was the whole point. When you're on the road at night, that's how you see headlights. I shot for about fifteen minutes as it got darker, and then just started snapping out the windows at anything that caught my eye, like the stop lights and the sunset clouds. The times that my auto-focus focused on the windshield worked well to symbolize the accident itself.

The fire shots are from the same shooting session as the ones I use for Varian's fire in the Notice trailers. (Okay, I probably should keep different books separate, but I wrote them all and I took all the photos and I made all the trailers, so I can do what I want. Right?) I actually took the fire shots a long time ago at a bonfire at our neighbor's house. I have a lung issue so I can't get too close to smoke, so I was sitting on the porch with my camera, and before I even realized what I was doing, I started shooting the fire with my 300mm zoom. And I got some pretty cool stuff. This was long before I knew I would be making trailers for books I hadn't written yet.

The cool white thing floating on the blue background is a milkweed seed on the surface of our pool. It just grabbed my attention one day. The pink flower I took by the lake a long time ago, the storm clouds are from my front lawn, the sky and the tree with the geese in the background is down in Addison, Vermont, at a wildlife refuge, and the rose is one that somebody gave one of my daughters at some point and I thought was pretty. And I think that's it.

Writing the script was interesting because Another Healing is a hard novel to talk about without giving away too much. So I focused on the initial "problem" that the characters face and hinted at the rest. 

Here are some other photos that are connected to Another Healing. I posted them on the Dreamspinner blog the day I hosted it, but here they are again:


This is the marina on Lake Champlain that I used as a basis for the one that James and Ambient visit.



This is our trailer that is pretty much the one I described in Another Healing (except James kept his cleaner). Unfortunately, it came to a tragic end, but that sowed the seeds for the novel. We had many happy memories in it. Damn, I miss that thing!



And this is a rosebud from beside our patio just because it's pretty.

Here's a link to the trailer: HERE











Sunday, March 16, 2014

Facebook and Twitter Links

Whew, what a week! Next time I have a novel release, it needs to be while I'm on school vacation!

Wait, am I complaining? I've just had a NOVEL RELEASED!

Yea, yipppe, celebrate! Nope, not complaining a bit!

So I'm taking up Tweeting now. You can find my home HERE

And on Facebook, I live HERE

And for my next public appearance, I will be doing at Twitter Takeover of the Dreamspinner Twitter on April 1, from eight until ten, EDT.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Another Healing Goodreads chat


Hi everybody, and welcome to my blog if you haven't been here before!

Today, March 15th, everybody who signs up to follow my blog and leaves a comment on this post (so I'll be sure not to miss you) will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Another Healing. I will draw TWO winners late this afternoon. You can join my followers on the right sidebar -- scroll down a ways.

Also, today I'm hosting a live Goodreads Chat today from eleven to one, EST, and if you pop over there, you'll find a coupon code for 25% off Another Healing and "all other paranormal titles" at Dreamspinner Press, good for today and tomorrow! How's that for a deal? You can get there by clicking HERE

You can also follow me on Facebook and now on Twitter!

And there is a link to my YouTube Channel, where you can watch my book trailers HERE


I am absolutely thrilled with the response that Another Healing is getting. It hasn't even been out a week yet, and it's getting good reviews. Overall, people agree that it's an unusual book. I'm totally good with unusual. To me, it's an important book, and  it says some things about people and life and love that I've learned and want to share. It's taken me three years to write it.

I want to take this opportunity to thank some folks for their help: 

 My editor Liz at Dreamspinner (for untangling the plot) the artist Brooke Albrecht (who created the beautiful cover) and everyone else at Dreamspinner who has been so kind and patient. I also want to thank the one and only Kate (for trying to control my runaway imagination) the ELFS (my on-line writer's group) Brian and Aaron (for being such wonderful example of love) Dogan in Turkey (for inspiring me with the way he's not afraid to risk his life to stand up for love and peace) Deb (for always being there) my family and friends (for putting up with me always being on the computer and being distracted for no apparent reason) and Whisper and Pumpkin (who ALWAYS know when I need a furry kitty cuddle).






Friday, March 14, 2014

The Dragon and the Palm Tree Cover




A lovely cover from Brandon Clay
I could so curl up in the sun on that beach right now!
Coming in May

Goodreads Chat

Okay, quick reminder!

Tomorrow morning, eleven to one, EST, I'll be hosting a Goodreads Chat HERE

It's my first time. Very excited and hoping I do it right!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dreamspinner Release Party Thank You!

I had a wonderful time yesterday hosting the release party on the Dreamspinner Press Blog. Since I knew I would be at school all day, I set my posts to go automatically every few hours. I checked the blog from my phone during lunch and was thrilled to see that I was getting comments. It's always so hard to know what to make posts about, so when you realize that people are actually interested, it's a wonderful feeling.

As soon as I got home, I jumped onto my computer and pretty much spent the evening there, responding. Some people were new to my writing, some had read me before. Believe me, writers really do care what people think about them. At least, I do.

Four years ago, I entered the publishing world with The Glass Man. Now I can't imagine what my life was like before -- it's fundamentally life altering. Scary as hell, but worth every second.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Another Healing -- Today!




Buy it HERE

Watch the book trailer HERE

Join me on the Dreamspinner Blog today, March 10, starting at 6:00 A.M., EST HERE


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tomorrow's the Big Day!

Another Healing, almost here!

People have already reserved copies of the novel! I'm so thrilled! Thank you!

The first twenty people to order a paperback will get an autographed copy. And you'll have the good feeling of knowing you have a copy of M. Raiya's first novel in print! How cool is that? I confess, I can't wait to get mine! (Can you tell I'm a little excited? There really is something about a novel being released that just isn't like anything else in the world.)

Tomorrow, Monday, I'll be hosting a release party on the Dreamspinner Blog. Pop in, say hi, and read my babbling about why this story is deeply personal to me, a kind of healing in its own right. There will be a give-a-way drawing. I'll be posting some photography and an excerpt and all kinds of good stuff.

Here's a link that will take you there tomorrow (well, it will take you there today, too, but I won't be there yet):

HERE

Here's a link to where you can preorder your copy so it will be heading your way as soon as possible:

HERE

Can you tell I'm really, really excited?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Another Healing Getting Closer!

Next Monday is the big release day! This novel has been part of my life for so long that it's really scary seeing it about to take wings. I keep comparing it to my daughters leaving for college. Subbing it a publisher was like sending them to Kindergarten. That was the point where other people who weren't family really became part of their lives, which took us all some getting used to. But when they're off to college, especially in another state, you know it's never going to be the same again. Another Healing is truly out of my hands now, and that really freaks a writer out. I keep reminding myself that Another Healing has been very much fussed over by me and a lot of people, and I'm giving it a nurturing send off -- on Monday, I'll be hosting the Dreamspinner Blog all day, and on Saturday, March 15th I'll be hosting a Goodread's chat from eleven to two, EST. That'll be a great chance to come and ask anything you want to know. More details soon.

And, I'm pleased to announce, I finished a rough draft of my next novella, Natural Instincts, last night. I wrote it in just over a week and had an absolutely wonderful time doing it. It's a little of everything -- canoeing, camping, nature, and BDSM. I couldn't be more different from my main character (he's actually good at math) but getting to know Kyle has been amazing. Looking for himself, he finds Jon, who is a whole lot more than he ever expected. If you like loons, this story is for you.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Notice -- The Book Trailer!

Finally, after all these years, I got around to making a book trailer for Notice. I figured with all my new and improved trailers going up on my YouTube Channel, I'd probably better make one for Notice.

To watch it, click HERE
I think it's really pretty.

And click HERE to see the trailer for A Sky Full of Wings

And HERE for Night of Ceremony.




Saturday, March 1, 2014

It's Another Healing Month!



Only ten days away! March 10 is the big day!

I'm celebrating by having a release day party on the  Dreamspinner Blog that day, and hosting a live Goodreads chat on the 18th. More details on both to come.

In the meantime, you can preorder your copy  HERE

Watch the book trailer on YouTube HERE

The first twenty folks who order print copies will get a special, autographed edition!

I'm doing a little happy dance right now!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Making of the Silver Pearl Book Trailer

The new and improved book trailer for Silver Pearl is now up on YouTube! (Okay, it's just slightly tweaked, but whatever.)

You can go to my YouTube Channel HERE

I thought I'd share a little behind the scenes look at how I made this one.

My first step when I make a trailer is to write the script -- in other words, the words. It looks like a poem when I've finished, just scribbles in a notebook. Then next to each line, I jot down what photos I want to use with it. I decided when I first started making trailers that I would only use my own photos because I didn't want to have to deal with buying other people's and worrying about copyright laws. This isn't really a problem for me, because I have hundreds of photos on my computer -- my own personal stock photo collection. For years, I've never gone anywhere without a camera, and the things I like to photograph lend themselves to the things I like to write, so it's surprisingly easy to find photos that evoke the feelings I want to show in the trailer. None of my trailers have any real people in them. I think in some ways, it's more powerful to evoke a mood and let the viewers' imaginations fill the rest in.

Once I have my script, I make a list of photos I need to take for this particular project and then do a photo shoot. For Silver Pearl, I only needed three new images.

One was easy -- I needed photos of a pearl. I used one of my earrings and a red washcloth for a nice background and to hide the post. The next was easy, too. I needed a photo of a van. We have one in our garage, and it was already dirty and scary looking. I shot a close up of the sliding door, which is unique to vans, and fit with the line about Joel being dragged inside

The last image was a lot harder. I wanted some photos of arrows. I didn't have any arrows lying around, but my father-in-law is a hunter, and he lent me a couple. He wanted to loan me a bow, too, but I explained that didn't need one. Fortunately, he knows me well enough not to think I'd completely lost my mind. I picked a couple serious looking arrows meant for deer hunting, which was close enough to unicorn hunting for me, and headed home.

My next problem was how to photograph them. My first thought was to stick them in the ground, but that wouldn't really be dramatic enough since you wouldn't see the arrowhead. Not only that, but there was snow on the ground, and my story doesn't take place in the winter. So I decided to photograph them in the air. I got my camera ready and threw an arrow into the sky. Obvious problem -- it was going away from me, and I wanted it coming it at me. Second problem -- it fell faster than I could focus.

So I got my teenage daughter to help. She's used to her mother doing some pretty strange things in the name of art, but this took the cake.

"You want me to throw arrows at you?"

"Well, not at me, kind of over me."

"You do know the wind's blowing, right?"

I nodded.

"And if you go in the emergency room with a arrow sticking out of you, I'm going to end up in jail and you're going to end up in a psychiatric ward, right?"

I envisioned calling my publisher to explain and bail us out. For a moment, I hesitated, then I told her to go ahead and throw the arrows.

It was a little scary, considering I was using a telephoto lens and it made the arrows look a lot bigger and closer. But I got half a dozen good shots and did not have to do the final edits for the story from a padded cell.

Once I had all my shots, I put them together in a file and worked on each one -- cropping and adjusting the color balance and that kind of thing. My father had a dark room when I was a kid, so I learned how to do all that a long time ago. Doing it on a computer is so much easier. I really changed up some of the photos a lot to give them the mood I wanted, especially the shots of the "hidden meadow," which were taken in normal daylight that didn't show any mystery.

Then, finally, I uploaded them all into Windows Movie Maker and dragged them onto the timeline in the right order. Then I typed in the text, deciding whether to go on the image, or before it. Then I put in transitions -- in this case, all fades -- between each photo. Then I added effects -- in this case, all zooms. I wanted to keep this video very clean and simple and not flashy. This part takes hours of tiny tweaking to get everything to happen at the right time and not have titles coming in on top of each other.

Finally, the music. Again, I have to be really careful to find music that is free and available to be used for commercial purposes as long as I give proper credit. I go into the process with just a general idea of what I want, and a pretty clear idea of what I don't want. I simply listen to a lot of selections. When I hear the right one, I know it. I heard this piece by Tom Fahy and didn't have to listen to any others. I downloaded it, added it to the timeline, and that was pretty much it.

Some trivia: the shot of the moon through the dead tree limbs I took one day hiking in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom -- a wild, rugged part of the state. I also got the photo of the path later that same day. The shot of the moon in the dark over the water is a place where my husband and I stopped to eat some subs we'd just bought near the Lamoille River on our way to visit his parents for the evening. The two waterfall shots came from a hike I did in the White Mountains of New Hampshire a few years ago. The shot of the pretty green mountain is interesting. It's called Camel's Hump, and it is one of the Green Mountains here in Vermont. I originally took this shot as a possibility for the cover of my novel Notice. It didn't get used, but I really like it, so I slipped it in here. I had a hard time not getting any power lines in the photo. I was pulled off on the side of a very busy road when I took it. See what a dangerous business writing can be?

The shot looking down on a lake is actually in Acadia National Park in Maine. The barn is on our family farm, as is the shot of my mother's irises. The apple blossom buds are from the trees on my front yard. The "hidden meadow" is also my front yard. The starbursts are from a day I was fooling around with a new filter. The close up of the pine needles is in front of my neighbor's barn -- the nice out of focus dark background is the wall. And the owl is a Barred Owl, which I took through my kitchen window a few years ago.

So all these photos were taken over the course of probably five years and in three different states, and some of them at grave personal risk to the author. In a lot of ways, they are much harder than writing the story. But I love making book trailers -- they combine writing and photography and music, all of which are really important to me. In some ways, they feel like little mini works of art in themselves. Do they help sell my stories? I hope so. In any case, they are loads of fun to make.

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