Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Emma Lai: Writing Shorts

Welcome, Emma Lai. Thank you for joining us today. I too write shorts so am particularly interested in this topic.

I've always liked a good short story…something that captures the attention, gets me involved, keeps me involved, and provides a satisfying ending, all in less than an hour. I like to immerse myself in the story, and I like to read a story in one sitting.
It makes sense then that I have a fascination with writing shorts as well. I have a couple of books started, but I keep getting distracted by shorts. So, how do I know when I'm writing a book or a short?

Books are easy. I know it will be a full length book if mapping out the basic ideas results in +25,000 words.
Shorts are easy if...
The scene that is the basic idea is short. (I say scene because all of my ideas start from a scene that repeats over and over in my head until I write it down.)What had to happen for that scene to occur is short. (I don’t want a lot of back story.)The consequence of that scene resolves itself quickly. (You can't have too many consequences lest the story become something other than short.)
Simple. Right?
I think the most important question is how do I keep the shorts short?
I don't always. I've had one short that just refuses to be a short. The characters demand to be heard, and I've fallen in love with them and their story; so I've decided to keep writing until we are all satisfied. I'm anticipating that it will be at least a novella, or maybe the beginning of a series.
As for the rest...I start by keeping the basic story between 3,000 and 5,000 words. That means bare bones. Then, I polish. I add the descriptions necessary for interest, for flow, for speed.
I don't change the basic premise. I don't say but what if I add this twist and that twist and ooh add this character and explore how the whole story affects him/her in addition to the main characters (that's a whole other short or book if you want it to be). You get the picture.
Hope this helps!

Blurb for His Ship, Her Fantasy:

Ellie Woods is in love…with a ship. When an argument with the ship results in a bump on the head, she finds herself in the strong arms of Alastair. But, who is he, and where did he come from?

Alastair has loved Ellie from afar for years, but duty has kept him from revealing himself to her. When a grave threat reveals his true identity, he hopes that Ellie will choose reality over fantasy.

A Little About Emma Lai:
My life has become very interesting this year. After finishing my comprehensives last November, I started looking for a job that would utilize my new degree in International Relations. However, the economy slowed down and then surprise, I turned up pregnant. My husband and I decided I should just go ahead and take the year off, enjoy being pregnant, and see where my writing took me. Now, here I am, a published author!
His Hope, Her Salvation coming December 16th
Please leave Emma a comment and you'll automatically be entered into my monthly drawing for an ebook of your choice.
Happy Reading and Writing!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rebecca Savage: Can't Quit My Day Job!

Welcome Rebecca Savage.
Rebecca Savage spent her youth in a rural Missouri area living a sheltered life. She joined the US Air Force, traveled overseas to seven different countries for temporary duty assignments, and lived in Italy for five and a half years. She writes contemporary romantic suspense/intrigue because she spent ten years copying Morse Code with a Top Secret Security Clearance. Rebecca writes what she knows, sort of, and she's been to almost all of her settings. If she writes about a place, she's been there, with few exceptions. A member of RWA, MORWA, and CRW, she's very active in her field: reading, writing, critiquing, judging contests, newsletter editor. She teaches history to high school and college students and coached Mock Trial, National History Day, and Model United Nations. Ms Savage lives with her husband, her fifteen year old daughter, and her new foreign exchange student/daughter from Italy, and she has two other grown children, a son who's an army combat medic, and a daughter who's a mommy. She hopes you enjoy her work.
Most authors can't quit their day jobs, or worse, maybe they work nights, and their sleep schedules are really messed up, and with them, their writing habits. I'm a teacher, and I love my job. I love the kids. I get to talk all day long. It's the best job in the world, as far as I'm concerned, but it's also very time consuming and tiring. You don't have much energy left after a day on you feet with 125 high school students. Ugh!
So, how does that affect my writing? I'm the type who likes to write a chapter at a time. My chapters are about 10 pages in length, which means they encompass a scene or two, usually in one POV, hero or heroine, and that means, I don't want to have to stop when I'm on a roll. So, if I'm tired or get interrupted...well, it's not pretty.
I don't write much during the school year. I do alot of editing for my critique partners, judge contests, edit newsletters, review for an online reviewer, and self edit my own work, as well as submitting and trying to convince someone to buy it, so I do write a few queries and synopses, and I do book signing, promo and speaking engagements... Are you tried yet? I am. I've run out of 'breath'. (Yeah, right.) Most people wouldn't believe I could ever run out of breath or something to say.
Still, back to school always slows me down. I write more in the summer than I do during the school year, but I try to keep abreast of things and do my best to pen new chapters when I can, and I hold out for summer. Don't we all? What about you? How does back to school affect you? If you're a teacher, or mom, or dad, or...whatever?
Comment on this blog, and cut/paste it into the email form on my contact page on my website, and you'll be entered to win the copy in pdf format of a book on mine...your choice:)
Rebecca Savage
Author of Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Bestseller: February 2009: Coincidence: Champagne Books
Thank you for being here today, Rebecca. Don't forgot to leave those comments to be entered into Rebecca's drawing and my monthly drawing.
Happy Reading and Writing!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A 5 Heart Review for Investment of the Heart

I'm thrilled with this review from The Romance Studio. Here's a clip of what reviewer Brenda Talley had to say.
"Linda LaRoque has written a comical, yet emotionally charged book about the lives and loves of two couples who both had so much garbled baggage that it was almost impossible for them to allow themselves to feel. These main characters were self-sufficient, used to taking care of everyone but themselves. They both had intense love for their families and were determined that nothing, and no one, was going to hurt them.
The sensual tension between the main characters was explosive. Their children and others were vital in tell this story. They were believable and quite loving at times. When things seemed impossible to work out, that's when the surprised began to happen. I can even see a great sequel to this book. I'll look forward to it.
I highly recommend this book. It is one to not be missed. The story line will remain within the mind of the readers long after the book ends. Kudos to Ms. LaRoque!"
You can read the complete review at this link.
Investment of the Heart is available at Champagne Books and is 50% off right now!
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Family is Important

When we're younger we don't always take the time to stay in touch with those we love, family members we've moved away from both physically and emotionally. Not because we don't love them, but as we go through life raising children, working at a career and/or marriage, life just gets in the way. Hopefully, life will run full circle, we'll reunite and re-energize those relationships--before it's too late.

In the 1950s John and Martha Riley had five granddaughters. Of course there were several boys, too, but it's the girls this post is about. We had a wonderful time playing around the farm, sharing games and toys, and in general, making memories as all children do.

About thirteen years ago, the four of us who live in Texas planned to take a trip to Pigeonhole, Tennessee where our grandmother grew up. The log cabin still stands, has been added on to multiple times and is still occupied. One of the cousins lives in Virginia so we'd hoped to rope her in while there. We had a family emergency and had to cancel.

Five years ago, two of us hit the road and drove to Baytown to visit one cousin. We had a great weekend. The following year, two came up to the Waco area where the other two Texans live. Since then we've gotten together every summer or whenever we can all meet. This year we drove to Baytown again and toured part of Galveston. Our goal for next year is to make it to Virginia and see our fifth cousin.

How about you guys? Do you to get together with cousins or have sister outings?

Here are four of us this past weekend.

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading and writing!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Short Story: My Mother-In-Law's Wedding Carriage was a 1936 Ford Coupe

Times were hard in the early summer of 1940. My mother-in-law, Geneva, told us various stories about the hardships, but the one I remember most was her working in the cotton fields from sun up to sun down to earn twenty-five cents. It was just enough money to buy two and a half yards of material to make a dress.

Back then, few young men and women had money to spend on fancy weddings. Geneva’s best friend from high school, Berta, and her husband, Herman Prater, had married two weeks before at a gas station in a nearby small town. On June 20, 1940, Geneva and her boyfriend, Thurston LaRoque, decided they would marry. Their good friends, Herman and Berta, would be their attendants.

So they drove into Cisco, Texas in Herman’s 1936 Ford Coupe, all four packed in like sardines. The two women rode in the front seat with Herman, and Thurston rode curled up on his side in the small raised space, called the package tray, behind the seat. It was so crowded, Herman reached over to put his hand on Berta’s leg, and Geneva said, “Herman, that’s my leg, not Berta’s.”

When they arrived at the gas station, Thurston took Geneva’s seat and sat her on his lap while the preacher/gas station owner married them. They were unable to take any pictures, as cameras and film were expensive. But, the memory was kept alive through the years by sharing it with kids and grand kids alike.

Geneva and Thurston settled in Brown County in the small town of May, Texas. They had two sons, Larry and Steve. Herman and Berta moved from the area and later settled in Colorado. The two couples kept in touch over the years. Unfortunately the Prater’s were unable to have children but had several nieces, nephews, and cousins to shower with love. In the late 1980’s they moved back to Texas.

Thurston’s health began to fail in the 1980’s and when he worsened in the spring of 1990, Herman visited him in the hospital. Thurston passed away in April of 1990. In December of 1990, Berta passed away and Geneva attended her funeral.
The following year, Herman and Geneva started spending time together. Though neither were dancers, they enjoyed visiting musicals in the area to listen and tap their toes. On September 18, 1992 they married at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood, Texas with Geneva’s oldest son, Larry, their only attendant.

Geneva and Herman feel so fortunate to have loved, and been loved deeply, twice in their lifetimes. Geneva’s children and their families have been doubly blessed to have had two wonderful men in their lives to love. And Herman showers them with love in return and is happy to have them in his life. At least that’s what he tells us. And after one of his bear hugs, we believe him.
The End
Since this story was written, both Herman and Geneva have passed on. They are truly missed by so many. I'm posting this memory of two young couples who later became one old couple in honor of Thurston, Geneva, Herman and Berta. It's a reminder that live is a journey--live it to it's fullest.
Happy Reading and Writing!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you Chiron for bestowing this award on my blog.

Here are the rules:

1) Accept the award, and don’t forget to post a link back to the awarding person.

2) Pass the award on.

3) Notify the award winners.
Here are my recipients for The One Lovely Blog Award.
1. Ciara Gold's Treasures. Ciara writes both western historical and sci-fi/fantasy romances. She has a new Viking time travel out at Champagne Books.
2. Sandra K. Marshall's Blog tackles issues about life and writing we can all relate to.
3. Ella Blackhart is a new writer friend of mine and I just know we're going to be seeing great things from her in the near future.
4. Linda Kage has some interesting posts on her blog we can all enjoy. Check it out.
5. If you enjoy history, you'll enjoy Laura Hogg's Travel Through the Ages.
6. And last, but not at all least, is my good friend, Judith Leger.
Okay, guys, follow the rules and pass this on.
Happy Reading and Writing, folks!
Linda LaRoque ~Western Romance with a Twist in Time~ A Law of Her Own, Desires of the Heart, My Heart Will Find Yours, Flames on the Sky10-9, Forever Faithful, Investment of the Heart, When the Ocotillo Bloom

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Recipe for Avocado Sherbet

How about this cool treat?

Doesn't this sound like an odd mix of ingredients? But, I have on good authority that it's creamy and delicious. Jo Ann Miller, of the Gourmet Gallery in Waco, TX, shared this recipe with me. She found it in her Helen Corbitt Cookbook. If you live in the area, check out the Gallery at 2056 N Valley Mills Dr, (254) 399-0429.

Jo Ann is a former Home Economics teacher buddy of mine. Her daughter is part owner of the Gourmet Gallery. The store has oodles of cooking demonstrations, guest chefs, and everything the gourmet cook could desire in stock. So, when they recommend something, I take heed.

Avocado Sherbet

1-1/2 cups mashed avocado
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
Juice of 12 lemons
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 quart milk

Mix avocado, salt, sugar, lemon juice, and peel; add to the milk and freeze. The curdled look will disappear in freezing.


Don't forget to leave a comment for the August e-book drawing.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

July Winners!

The When the Ocotillo Bloom winner of the sterling silver prickly pear cactus charm is Krista A. Braaten. Congratulations, Krista. Email your snail mail address to this address
and I'll get your charm in the mail.

Winner of the drawing for an ebook of their choice is Ella Blackhart. Congratulations, Ella. Check out my books and short stories on my website at and email your choice to me at

Thanks to all who entered the When the Ocotillo Bloom Contest and those who left a comment for my ebook drawing. Stay tuned as I'll have a contest for amber earrings in October to celebrate book two of The Turquoise Legacy, Flames on The Sky.

I'm lining up more guest bloggers so stay tuned and leave comments for next month's ebook drawing.

Happy Reading and Writing!