Monthly Archives: July 2012

Celebrating the Olympics

This week I’m celebrating the Olympics–Summer & Special–with the release of my latest novel WHISPER PRIVILEGES. Official release date is August 8th!

Miami, Florida is the venue for the Special Olympics National Games and Clay Rutledge’s son is competing in the games. A sure bet to win the gold, father and son plan to ride their tropical victory to the World Games—until an unexpected turn of events jeopardizes their plans for fortune and fame.

Tasked with managing the events, Sydney quickly learns that Clay’s quiet, sexy confidence demands special attention, something she’s more than willing to oblige.  But a jealous ex-lover of a boss has other plans, as does her office nemesis.

Trapped between a desire to mix business with pleasure and a boy who reminds her of a life she swore to move beyond, Sydney is at a personal crossroads.  She can have career or love—but to attain both requires a consent she yearns to give but fears impossible…

**Don’t be fooled by the venue, this one’s a passionate chase!!

Not only am I hosting a special giveaway for the events, I’m donating $1 to the Special Olympics for every comment/entry received.  And if that’s not enough excitement, I’m also making available my award-winning JENNIFER’S GARDEN — FREE — for 2 weeks only! Full details can be found at my website:

So grab a free copy of the first novel in my series, culminating with the current release WHISPER PRIVILEGES and help the Special Olympics at the same time.  I do love win-win!

AAA – Animals Against Anxiety

I love animals.  I write about them weekly on my blog.  I have two chocolate labs (mother and son) and a Friesian horse.  I’m happy to do anything for my furry friends and can’t imagine life without them.

What I find the most interesting thing is why humans decide to share their lives with furry critters who are not humans. What is inside of our hearts and heads that causes us to gravitate toward living with dogs, cats, bunnies, horses, snakes, guinea pigs, ducks, whatever.

For me, I’d have to say it’s the unconditional love I receive from my dogs and horse.  Whether I am having a good or bad day they’re always so excited to see me.  And they (whoever THEY are) say that dogs don’t know about time.  Sorry, not true.  My dogs act differently when I’ve been gone for hours versus minutes.  They’re big.  And when I come home after three hours at the barn, they’re so excited to see  me, they jump all over me, knock me down sometimes, and Jack (whom I hand-fed to health from birth) has to lick me, nibble on my ears, and whines until he’s gotten his “Patti Fix”.

No human being, besides when my kids were VERY young, is ever as excited as Annabella and Jack are to see me.  And Jack has to sleep right next to me, often near my head on a pillow, to be next to his “mommy”.  And Maximus definitely knows I’m his mom – no doubt.  He acts completely different with me than with other riders and he follows me around like a puppy when we’re walking around together in the huge arena.

It’s been proven that having a pet reduces anxiety.  I know when I’m having a bad day, if Jack cuddles up next to me, I feel better.  I can play with his velvety-soft ears and kiss his face and he’s happy to help.

If you have furry friends living with you, why do you choose to do that?

Summer Vacation

It’s that time of year, when people head out on the road for some family fun. But with our children grown, we stay at home during the busy summer months of July and August. It’s a good time to catch up on yard work, especially since we have such a short growing season in the Canadian north.

So while others fight the crowded roads or beaches, this is what I’m doing.



I’ll be back in August with a post to tell you all about the back breaking work on my summer vacation. It’s going to be beautiful … someday. 🙂

In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy your summer. I’m enjoying ours.

The Meaning of Tragedy

For those of you who’ve ever read my byline, you’d know I’m a bit of a news junkie. I wasn’t always such a nerd, but when the kids started school and I was at home for large chunks of the day by myself, I’d turn on the news just to have some noise in the house. I figured it was better than the soap operas I used to be addicted to in college.

So when I turned on the news first thing Friday morning, of course the Colorado massacre was all anyone was talking about. How could someone do something so horrible to so many innocent people? It was too much to process before my first hit of caffeine, and still impossible to believe three days later.

What that person did on Friday made me not want to go to the movies, or to a mall (although I hate the mall, so that wasn’t such a big deal), or to a restaurant, or anywhere with large groups of people. Isn’t it sad that we now have to think before we take our families to the movies! What I need to focus on instead of the danger lurking outside my door is the love of my family and friends. Life is precious, and short lived, and tragedy can strike when you’re least expecting it. I’ve had enough reminders of that lately and so have you, I’m sure, because life is messy and real and full of as much heartbreak as love.

So, as we see the faces of the victims and read about their lives cut tragically short, we need to remember to tell the people we love that we care about them. Hug your kids, call your parents, reach out to your friends. We can’t stop the crazy people of this world, but we can make sure we don’t have any regrets when it’s our time to go.

Thank you, readers of Women Unplugged, for reading—be it once or faithfully three times per week. Thank you, my Women Unplugged blog sisters, for making me laugh and think and occasionally shed a tear. Your cyber friendship means more to me than you know.

Now it’s your turn. Call a friend, send an email, give someone a hug. You’ll feel better for it.

Tuning Out the Voices in My Head–Unless They Have a Good Pitch

When people find out I am a writer, the first thing they ask is “Where do you get your story ideas?”  They’re frequently disappointed with my answer:  “I don’t know.”

Seriously. I don’t really know. The truth is there are voices in my head. Lots of ‘em.  And they are all screaming to be heard.  No, I’m not a schizophrenic.  At least I don’t think so.  Just a crazy author with too many stories to write and not enough time to write them.   Most of the time, I tune the voices out.  Unless they are telling me where my husband might have hidden the chocolate.  Sadly, I can’t tune out the ones that always start out a sentence  yelling “Mom…!”

What usually happens is I’ll see something in a magazine or a newspaper or on TV and think to myself “that would make a great book.”  This happened with a romantic suspense book I wrote involving a pastry chef and a DEA agent.  I saw this DEA agent on the network news one night and I was immediately intrigued.  Not by what he said, but by how he said it and what he looked like.  Suddenly, I had an entire back story in my head.  His partner in the novel, the pastry chef, came a few hours later when I was watching another news program.  Coming up with the idea is the easy part really.  Writing the books, not so much. 🙂

Other books I’ve written evolve from places I’ve visited and stories I imagine might happen there.  Many times the actual place serves as a vivid character in the book.  My current series is like that, based in the small, coastal town where my mother lives, Southport, North Carolina.  (Yes, you finally got your shout out, Mom.)  But the inn featured in those books is actually located in Asheville, North Carolina.  I’m headed there for a fact finding trip this fall. Well, I can’t just use the pictures from their website, can I?

Some writers use visual aids to conjure up the people or places in their novels. Many go to elaborate attempts to story board their books with photos of their characters and the places they write about. I’m not one of those authors. Way, way too much work.  Okay, with the exception of DEA guy, of course.  And, there’s a real funny Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon story involving him because Mr. DEA really exists and as luck would have it, I know someone who actually knows him. Talk about awkward!  But, that’s a subject for another blog.

Here’s the thing about using visual aids to inspire a character or place in a story, if the author does use them, I, as the reader don’t want to know.  Why? Because the picture I’ve created in my mind is not always the one the author used to base their character on.  I was once at a conference where Bob Mayer was the featured speaker.  He told the audience, Jennifer Cruisie, his co-author on several books, based the female character of one of those books on Zena, Warrior Princess.  That was NOT who I was picturing as I was reading the book! Not even close.  I don’t even like Zena, Warrior Princess.  It kind of ruined the book for me.

So even if I do go to the trouble of clipping photos from magazines and creating an elaborate story board, I’ll never share it.  That’s the best part about opening a new book as a reader.   The possibilities for your own imagination to enliven the story are endless.

How about the other writers out there?  Do you use visual aids or story boards to create your characters/places?

As a reader, do you want to know what or whom the author has based their characters on?

Let me know.

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