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Rink Rat

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A few years ago at the Romance Writers of America convention, Harlequin gave out the convention bags. They have pictures of Harlequin covers on them, including some vintage books. I love my bag. Anyway, I noticed a hockey book on the Harlequin bag. I looked it up online and now have in my hot little hands a copy of Rink Rat (copyright 1951).

As a Harlequin author who wrote a hockey dad book, I was intrigued. I have to share a few tidbits.

1. From the back cover: Look behind the scenes of professional hockey...into the dressing rooms.

Okay. What? Really? I'm so in for that. (Except, I've been in the car with a hockey bag before and I really believe a hockey locker room must...well...reek. Maybe that's why we're just looking and not actually going behind the scenes.)

2. More from the back cover: Why did the young man from the back streets of a prairie town fight his way to the very top and then...but that's the story.

Back cover copy is a bit less obvious these days,…

Scrivener

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Last year, I started using Scrivener as my primary writing software. I wrote this blog before the new version of Scrivener came out. I have the new version and it's great. Most of what I said here is still applicable.
Scrivener is a robust, powerful software program designed specifically for writers. Sounds great, right? Even better? It's cheap. Only $40.00. You can download a test copy or buy it direct from the website.
Here are some things I like about Scrivener.

1. The main window includes (from left to right) a working outline, a writing area, and labeling tools all in one view.



The outline is on the left. You can change the titles of sections, move things, and expand or collapse the outline all while you have your manuscript open in the main window. I create a file for each scene because that provides more flexibility when reorganizing. Here's a closer look. (The outline is really just notes to myself about the scene. They wouldn't make much sense to anyone els…

I Never

Have you ever started something with the certainty that you know exactly how it will go? You know, when you have such clarity that you can make a list of I Will Nevers?

That’s how writing romance started for me. I had a whole list of things I’d never do. Here is a sample.

1. I’ll never write a marriage of convenience story.
2. I’ll never write about little kids.
3. I’ll never write about a secret baby.

My first book came out in 2007, which means I have almost four years under my belt. How am I doing with my Nevers?

I’m 3 for 3. (Yep, I’ve done every one of them.)

Heh.

So I’m not good with ultimatums. Or rules. Or maybe I’m just bad at predicting my career, because I do have some absolutes in my life.

1. I’ve never gone to bed angry with either of my kids. (Although, I have broken this rule with my husband.)
2. I’ve never littered. (At least not in my memory—maybe back in my toddler days I tossed empty milk bottles out the window of my parents VW bug.)
3. I’ve never said no to c…

Excerpt: Calling the Shots

Here is an excerpt from my hockey dad book, Calling the Shots. It's coming in October 2010 from Harlequin Superromance! There are purchase links on my website.

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Bryan was beyond late. He’d missed Allie’s entire practice. He just hoped she was still at the rink. He’d texted her that he was going to be late, but she hadn’t replied. His sister, who watched Allie when he was gone, wasn’t picking up either.

Not good.

So not good. People weren’t almost an hour late to pick their thirteen-year-old kids up from hockey. At least not people who were good at being parents.

He was going to have to arrange a backup plan for the nights he was coming in from out of town. One more arrangement he needed to get under control in this whole precarious mess he and Allie were calling a family.

He sure as hell hoped Erin’s new life was worth it.

He pulled into the drop off circle at the front of the rink. It was past nine o’clock—no one was going to complain if he left the Lexus there for a…

My Writing "Process"

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One thing writers love to talk about is process. What’s your process? Do you use charts or worksheets? Outlines? Do you wing it or do you have a plan? What kind of highlighters? Do you edit on screen or on paper? Do you collage or fill out character sheets or let it come to you during the book?

I can answer all of those questions about my process. I like to think I’m a fairly orderly, organized, and prepared writer. Except, once I hit a certain point in a book, the entire process goes out the window and the one word left to describe what I’m doing is desperation.

Will I ever be able to finish? Will this pile of nothing turn into something someone wants to read? Will my editor ask for the advance back? How many times can the word “just” possibly appear in a manuscript? Who typed this thing? Who thought this was a good idea for a book? How is this ever going to end? Am I really out of M&M’s again?

Etc.

I thought it might be fun to share some pictures of what my “process” looked like wh…

Top Ten Facts: Plan B: Boyfriend

In addition to doing FAQs about my books, I post lists of behind-the-scenes facts on my website. Here's the one for Plan B: Boyfriend.
Plan B is the sequel to The Boyfriend's Back. Included with the eBook version of The Boyfriend's Back, was an exclusive story set when the characters were in high school. You can see young Charlie and Sarah flirting with each other in that story. The eBook is still on sale if you want to check it out.
Charlie loves his Phillies, especially Jimmy Rollins. I'm not a Phillies fan (my team is the Pirates), but I knew Rollins's name because my niece named her hermit crab after him.
My niece also had a hermit crab named after Shane Victorino, but his name is too hard to spell so I didn't put Shane (the crab or the Philly) in the book.
Yes, we have bar like Wilton's in my hometown. No, I never ordered a Rob Roy there while wearing my cheerleading uniform. (I wasn't a cheerleader.) I did appropriate that story from a friend but …

FAQ for Plan B: Boyfriend

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I’m a technical writer. That means I write Frequently Asked Question pages (FAQs) at work. It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to post an FAQ when I have a new book out. (Previous FAQs for The Boyfriend's Back and His Secret Past.)

So here goes…

1. In the first chapter Sarah’s son gets suspended from school for bringing a knife in his backpack. Would a school really suspend a kid for that?

My friend’s daughter got the boot for a butter knife in her lunch bag. My husband said she must have been using it to spread anarchy.

2. I heard this book includes a Drunken Breakdown scene. What kind of research did you do before you wrote that?

Have you ever seen the movie Barfly with Mickey Rourke? I spent a few weeks immersing myself in that lifestyle, Heh. No, seriously. I didn't need to research to write that scene. I’m a writer. I make stuff up.

3. In the book, Charlie is obsessed with Jimmy Rollins from the Philadelphia Phillies. Are you a Phillies fan?

No. Like all good Pittsburgh Pira…