Saturday, May 03, 2008

It's My Release Month!

"Winning isn't everything, but the will to win is." ~Zig Ziglar

It's finally here!! May 2008...the month in which not one but two of my novels release in print! And of course, that means contests. So here you go: I'm running two giveaways this month, and all you have to do to enter is comment on my blog. The more times you comment this month, the more times you'll be entered. Easy, right?

Prize #1: Signed print copy of One Night in Boston (OR an autographed bookplate for your own print copy, if you're one of my faithful fans who already pre-ordered one, + $10 Amazon gift certificate)


Boston Red Sox goodies (OK, you might not be a fan, but Jack, our hero is) : baseball cap, coasters, bottle jersey.

Prize #2: Signed print copy of Lost in Paradise


Goodies to help you create and enjoy your own slice of paradise: a wine preserver and yummy-smelling sugar plum candles. Oh, and I'll throw in some chocolate too...what's paradise without the sweet stuff?

Two lucky winners this month...I hope you'll play!

Friday, May 02, 2008


Welcome to Friday's Feast!

What was your favorite cartoon when you were a child?

How much am I dating myself when I answer this question? OK, Bugs Bunny (is there anyone who didn't love him?) and the Smurfs. Although in college a friend told me the Smurfs were a communist society, so hmm...I don't know...

Pretend you are about to get a new pet. Which animal would you pick, and what would you name it?

Easy, a cat. They have tons of personality and don't need a human around 24/7 to tell them how wonderful they are (they already know). And I would never deign to give a cat its name. They name themselves ~ you just have to pay close attention to figure out what it is!

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy getting all dressed up for a special occasion?

Probably an 8 - it's fun, though not the way I'd spend every weekend.

Main Course
What kind of music do you listen to while you drive?

Anything I can sing along to - seriously, I cannot listen to anything BUT music when I drive. If the DJ starts to talk, I change the station.

When was the last time you bought a clock? And in which room did you put it?

Tough one...I think it was actually our cuckoo clock from Rothenberg, Germany, that hangs in our great room. It took us 2 hours to pick out, in a room full of gorgeous ones. I love it :)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Exciting News Today!

"But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?" ~Albert Camus

Hey all, I have lots to share today - all good - so hold onto your seats!

First, I just found out I can order my author copies of Lost in Paradise, which I promptly did about 6.7 seconds after I opened the email from my publisher last night. This would be exciting in itself, but it also means I'll have print copies to bring to (and sell at??) my next public appearance, at an eclectic little place called The Spotty Dog, which is both a pub and bookstore. And seriously, whoever came up with that combination should win a gold medal, right? Anyway, I CANNOT wait to hold my book (my baby) in my hands...

Second, the latest issue of Romance Writers Report has good things to say about Samhain, my other publisher. A very interesting article about authors who have made the switch from e-pubs to NY houses had this to say:

"Not all e-publishers are created equal. There are many small presses and e-publishers in operation right now. Who are the leaders? Kensington Editorial Assistant Megan Records cites "Samhain, Ellora's Cave, and Red Sage." Literary agent Laura Bradford (of the Bradford Literary Agency) agrees. She notes, "Ellora's Cave and Samhain are two of the industry leaders for the e-pubs."

I count my lucky stars every day that I'm contracted with Samhain!

And this third announcement has nothing to do with me, but with a terrific cause that you should definitely take a look at, and that's romance author Brenda Novak's annual Diabetes Auction. Proceeds go to diabetes research (her son has diabetes), and let me tell you, there are some awesome items on the auction this year. There's something for just about everyone. Take some time and check it out, OK?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Maggie Toussaint

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Enjoy today's interview with author Maggie Toussaint...

Hi, Maggie! Thanks for being here today. So tell us, when did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

I’ve always been a writer. Early on, I poured out my heart in diaries and letters. I loved creative writing. In college, I ventured over to the dark side, biology, because of better job prospects in the deep South. Marriage came along, so did children and a day job. I scribbled essays or short stories from time to time. I typed up newspaper articles as a Pony Club mom. I wrote scientific journal articles for my day job. The urge to write never lessened.

In 1991, I had a snow skiing accident. I fell off the side of a mountain and landed backwards on a rock. The doctor prescribed a month of bed rest, and I read voraciously, sometimes two or three books a day. After reading a number of so-so books, I decided I could write a better book.

It took me three years to write a historical trilogy (100,000 words each) based on the colorful love story of my paternal grandparents. God bless my mother, my sisters, and my best friend for wading through those epics. Those books were rightfully rejected by publishing professionals. I purchased books about writing, subscribed to Writer’s Digest magazine, took a creative writing course at community college, discovered Romance Writers of America, and realized I needed to up my game. Years passed while I honed my craft and my voice. In 2006, I signed my first contract with The Wild Rose Press for a romantic suspense. A few months later I sold a mystery to Five Star. Since then, I’ve contracted a sweet romance to Freya’s Bower (the first in a trilogy) and a second romantic suspense to The Wild Rose Press

What a wonderful journey to success! Can you tell us about your latest writing project or published title?

No Second Chance, my second romantic suspense, was born from my love of horses. I barrel-raced as a youngster. With my friends and cousins, I rode through the moss-draped lanes and marshy flats of coastal Georgia. On a full moon we rode horses while in our sleeping bags, quite a balancing act, let me tell you!
My oldest daughter loves horses. Unlike me, she rode English style, competing in dressage, stadium jumping, and cross country events. When she became too busy in college to ride, we donated Eureka to a charitable riding foundation where sturdy mounts provided physical therapy for chronically ill children. My husband and I were on the board of that charity for a number of years before we were able to let go of the reins.

No Second Chance is about a different type of horse farm, one that rescues unwanted or abused horses. As the story opens, my heroine, Hope, is struggling to keep her farm afloat. Devlin wants to help her, but he’s got problems of his own, namely an enemy that wants to destroy his company. Devlin’s matchmaking mother binds Hope and Devlin together in a business arrangement where they must help each other. Troubles come, uniting Hope and Devlin against their mutual enemy.

Proceeds from this book will benefit a real life horse rescue operation, Days End Farm Horse Rescue, in Lisbon, Maryland. They have been involved with rescue efforts across America. Visit their website at for more information on this well-run non-profit. Even better, No Second Chance is now available in both ebook and print formats!

Sounds like a terrific story! How do you go about developing your characters?

Character development is the key to my writing. I spend as much time fleshing out my characters as I do brainstorming plot events. I draw material from real life, from people I observe, from obituaries, from characterization books. I’m particularly fond of Enneagrams. (Check out my favorite enneagram book: Are you my type, am I yours? by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele, HarperCollins, 1995)

Enneagrams seem to be ready made character sketches, giving attributes of each type of person and describing the people that don’t get along.

I use worksheets to create backstory for characters. Before I begin writing, I need to know what kind of car a character drives, how many pairs of shoes are in their closet, and the name of their childhood imaginary friend. To determine a character’s outward appearance, I cruise through my extensive picture files and snip out visuals to help jog my memory. I’ll collage the images together along with pictures of furniture, pets, and anything else that seems relevant. I keep all that stuff near my monitor as I compose the story.

In general, I write strong alpha males and independent, athletic females. My heroines are tomboys, misfits, or late bloomers, which gives them plenty of conflict and angst when physical attraction hits. I also believe that opposites attract, which is another built-in source of conflict for romance.

What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

Two words: hunker down. Believe in yourself and write to the best of your abilities. Hold that creative spark close to your heart and guard it carefully. Writing is a demanding, competitive profession. If you want to be published, you have to apply yourself. You have to be willing to miss out on TV shows, to sleep less, to forgo impromptu lunches when you’re on deadline. You have to want it bad enough to persevere when rejection letters or “constructive” contest remarks arrive. You have to make writing a priority in your life. See? Hunker down.

Challenging question: how do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

Balance? What’s that? How many obsessive, focused people do you know who are balanced? Writing is my life; it just took me a while to figure that out.

Great answer :) Maggie, what do you like to do when you're not writing?

I’ve recently undertaken a new community service, hosting a local cable television show through Comcast. The rural area where I live is economically depressed and poverty stricken. Some people here don’t know how to read, many don’t read for pleasure, and few read to their children. On my weekly program, I stress the importance of reading to children. Coming up soon is an adult literacy series. I plan to interview regional authors to highlight different types of reading material. With any luck, About Books will inspire adults to read more.

That sounds really inspirational! Okay, on another topic, when you write, do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?

I started out composing longhand. It was so rewarding to fill notebook pages with scrawling script, to hear the scratch of pen on paper, to physically shape each letter. The downside was that I’d fall asleep transcribing my prose into the computer. Other published writers I knew swore by composing at the keyboard. I didn’t like it at first, but I wouldn’t do it any other way now. I can type almost as fast as I can think, so there’s no lag time between brain and written word. That’s immediate gratification. I’m very much into that!

Thanks so much for being here today! Anything else you’d like to mention?

Allie, thank you for this opportunity to share my hopes, dreams, and books with you. I appreciate your hospitality.

Maggie’s links: (my blogs are consolidated here)

And readers, check out No Second sounds like a winner, and it's available now in both electronic and print formats - you can't go wrong!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What I Want in a Man

Whew! Stacks of papers on my desk to grade, my release month coming up in a matter of days (that means contests, you know!), and so I have no time for an insightful or clever blog post today. I'll leave you with this, instead, a recent email from a friend:

What I Want in a Man Original List:

1. Handsome
2. Charming
3. Financially successful
4. A caring listener
5. Witty
6. In good shape
7. Dresses with style
8. Appreciates finer things
9. Full of thoughtful surprises
10. An imaginative, romantic lover

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 32)

1. Nice looking
2. Opens car doors, holds chairs
3. Has enough money for a nice dinner
4. Listens more than talks
5. Laughs at my jokes
6. Carries bags of groceries with ease
7. Owns at least one tie
8. Appreciates a good home-cooked meal
9. Remembers birthdays and anniversaries
10. Seeks romance at least once a week

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 52)

1. Not too ugly
2. Doesn't drive off until I'm in the car
3. Works steady - splurges on dinner out occasionally
4. Nods head when I'm talking
5. Usually remembers punch lines of jokes
6. Is in good enough shape to rearrange the furniture
7. Wears a shirt that covers his stomach
8. Knows not to buy champagne with screw-top lids
9. Remembers to put the toilet seat down
10. Shaves most weekends

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 72)

1. Doesn't scare small children
2. Remembers where bathroom is
3. Doesn't require much money for upkeep
4. Only snores lightly when asleep
5. Remembers why he's laughing
6. Is in good enough shape to stand up by himself
7. Usually wears some clothes
8. Likes soft foods
9. Remembers where he left his teeth
10. Remembers that it's the weekend

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 82)

1. Breathing
2. Doesn't miss the toilet.

Have a great day!

Monday, April 28, 2008

I've Been Tagged

“To a foreigner a Yankee is an American. To an American a Yankee is a Northerner. To a Northerner a Yankee is a New Englander. To a New Englander a Yankee is a Vermonter. To a Vermonter a Yankee is a person who eats apple pie for breakfast.” ~Michael Owen Jones

Well, Pam tagged me with this meme, and I haven't played in a while, so I'll try to see if I can come up with 6 things you don't already know about me...

The Rules:

a. Link to the person who tagged you.

b. Post the rules on your blog.

c. Write six random things about yourself.

d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.

e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.

f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

Six Random Things About Me:

1. I can count from 1 to 20 in German.

2. I don't eat any kind of cooked fruit (it's a texture thing; I don't think fruit should be warm and mushy) - this includes apple pie, blueberry muffins, oatmeal raisin cookies, etc.

3. I started walking when I was 9 months old. I also did dance and gymnastics for most of my childhood and teenage years. I was also born on a Tuesday, which means I'm supposed to be "full of grace." All this and still I run into doorframes and the corners of walls when I'm walking through a building, even my own house. Seriously.

4. I'm the chair of my department at work, which means I get to tell people what to do. It's fun.

5. I can grip things with my toes. This was very helpful when I was in gymnastics and needed to stay on the balance beam. Now, apparently, it's just a novelty thing, as hubby likes to call me "ape toes" in his oh-so-affectionate tone. I suspect he's just jealous.

6. I don't like any of the following condiments: mayonnaise, mustard, relish, or onions. You can imagine that I eat a pretty plain hamburger.

I'm not tagging anyone, but if you want to play, leave me a comment and let me know!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What I Should Do Vs. What I'd Really Like to Do...

"Fatigue is the best pillow." ~Ben Franklin

Here's what I should do today:

1. Finish grading my students' research papers. Of course, if I spend as much time grading them as most of the students put into writing them, this won't take very long :)

2. Put together packages of promo items to send to a couple of romance writing conferences.

3. Start compiling lists of the groups/book clubs I want to contact, using those links from yesterday.

4. Finish reading a book I'm reviewing for LASR.

However, last night I had the lovely opportunity to attend a black-tie event with hubby and some friends:

(Check out the dessert...a pyramid filled with chocolate mousse!)

....which is why I feel like this right now:

Where's my caffeine??