Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thirteen Random Snippets I Like from HOLD ON TO ME

1) Caitlin Falconetti stood before him in all her Bureau glory, and he was dirty, wet, and smelled of dead chicken.

2) “You’re a sick bastard.”
“Yeah, I know.” Cookie heaved an unrepentant sigh as they reached the water’s edge.

3) “Now tell me you don’t want me.”

4) “Right. You never noticed the guy tripping all over himself when you’re around.”
She pinned him with a withering look. He was on a fishing expedition, but if he thought she’d fall for the oldest interrogation trick in the book, she had news for him. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Sure you don’t.”
“If you don’t shut up about it, Cook, I’m going to kick your ass. Right here, right now.”
“Stop.” He picked up a toothpick and began cleaning under his thumbnail. “You’re turning me on.”

5) Holy hell, let her do whatever she wanted. He was too damned tired to care anymore.

6) “Think.” Cookie thumped him on the forehead.

7) “I was being facetious, Falconetti. You don’t have to take everything so damned literally.”
“Gee, I’m sorry, Reed. I didn’t realize you actually possessed a sense of humor.”

8) Absolute glee flowed through his sister’s words. “Maybe you want to go church with us, too. I think the sermon is on the sins of the flesh. You can repent.”
“Tori.” He ground his teeth. “I haven’t done anything to repent for. Nothing happened.”

9) “Do you realize what you’re doing to your lungs? Could you even pass a physical training run right now?”
He laughed. “I’ll have you know I conduct our training runs every week.”
“Standing on the track with a stop watch does not count.”

10) Tick muttered a curse. “If I shoot him…”
“I’ll swear it was justified.” Caitlin tried to smile.

11) "If you say love and forever, or anything else along those lines, I’ll puke, Lamar. Seriously.”

12) “Yeah, I know, but it’s fun to push your buttons. You’re awful cute when you’re jealous, Falconetti. Makes those Irish-green eyes of yours glitter like crazy. I’ll bet you can turn on the mean real quick.”

13) "Hell, boy, her shoes cost more than your last set of tires.”

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Am . . .

. . . the worst blogger ever, lately. I'll get better, I promise.

I've finished my first graduate course -- whoo-hoo! The last time I checked, I had an A. Might better check to see if final grades are posted.

First round of edits on Anything But Mine are turned in.

I'm working on Madeline and Ash's book, although I should be working on the novella I want to submit for Samhain's psychic-themed anthology. Maybe when my Alphie gets here . . .

Need to be grading journals and senior projects. Blech. I want to write.

What are you up to?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Go Check It Out!

Pics from my booksigning up at Romance Worth Killing For.


I am coming back with a "real" post later today. I promise. :-)

But first, go check out Kate's blog for a contest in which you could win a copy of your choice from my backlist.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

HOLD ON TO ME Now Available!

She keeps a secret buried in the past. He wants the truth—now. But an unknown killer could destroy their future.

Hold On to Me by Linda Winfree
Book Three in the Hearts of the South series.

For FBI profiler Caitlin Falconetti, immersing herself in her job is the only way to quell the memories of a vicious, near-fatal attack and what it cost her, including the only man she ever loved. Better to let him think she simply rejected him, rather than reveal a painful secret that she's certain would have destroyed his feelings for her.

Investigator Lamar “Tick” Calvert is determined to clean out the corruption-riddled sheriff’s department in his hometown. While he understands Caitlin's drive to excel at her job, that doesn’t mean he's happy about the prospect of working with his former lover, the one woman he tried and failed to hold onto.

A rash of unsolved murders, including a politician's daughter, brings them together to find the murderer before another woman dies. Daily contact re-ignites the lingering attraction between them, but Caitlin won't risk opening herself and revealing her secret. She plans to complete the killer's profile, make an arrest and get out of town for good.

Tick plans to solve this case, too, but now that Caitlin's back in his life, he also plans to finally dig up the truth about why she left him.

But there's an added complication—the killer isn't done, and Caitlin could be the next target.

For purchase information and an excerpt, click HERE.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I Am Alive.

I stepped into this wicked timewarp or something.

Anyway . . . Hold On to Me releases NEXT WEEK!

I am not ready for this. I'm excited, but ready.

Okay, so blogging over at Lucy Monroe's Tuesday. Chatting at the Samhain Cafe tomorrow afternoon.

And I'll update the word meter soon, Carol. I'm at 35,856, 'kay?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I really, really, really want to hurl the keyboard through the window.

Self-restraint is a good thing.

I will not be defeated by these {insert ugly words here} revisions.

Someone send chocolate.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Today's Post . . .

. . . is at Romance Worth Killing For.

Chapter Four of The Beginning is up at my newsletter group. Happy reading!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Free Read: Chapter Three of THE BEGINNING (Prequel to HOLD ON TO ME) Now Available!

Chapter Three of The Beginning, the prequel to my December release Hold On to Me, available exclusively to my newsletter group, is now live!

To subscribe, send a blank email to Linda_Winfree- subscribe @ yahoogroups. com without spaces. If you join before December 1, you'll be eligible for to win a gift basket full of Southern goodies and a signed copy of my debut novel What Mattered Most.

I'm including a snippet of The Beginning for your reading pleasure.

The Beginning
A Prequel to Hold On to Me
Coming December 11, 2007 from Samhain Publishing


“Caitlin. Get up.” Vince’s voice, terse and angry, somewhere over her head. She tugged the duvet higher. Strong hands wrested it away and flung it toward the end of the bed. “Now.”

“What do you want?” Her eyes feeling heavy and swollen, she sat up to glower at her brother. The familiar room, still holding remnants from her college days, seemed blurry, her mind fuzzed with the artificial sleep. Hell, she knew she’d been right in refusing to use the sleep aids to start with.

But at least the nightmares had stayed away.

He turned his back and crossed to snap the drapes open. Brilliant sunlight, probably bouncing off the Gulf, flooded the room. She recoiled, head pounding. Oh, the aftereffects of the sleeping pill were worse than any tequila-induced hangover she’d ever suffered after letting her cousin Lanie drag her about Houston’s hotspots.

Vince faced her, hands resting at his waist. “You will get out of that bed, Angel Face. You’re going to shower and get dressed. You will go downstairs and eat brunch with Troupe. The old man is frantic with worry over you. Then you should make a point to go see Lanie.”

Go see Lanie? No. Didn’t he get how much that would hurt?

His high-handedness grated, much as it always did. “Go screw yourself, Vinnie.”

“Get. Up.” Face hardening, he leaned forward. “Do as you’re told.”

Who did he think he was? Without giving him another look, she reached for the duvet again. He snatched it free once more. “Caitlin. Now.”

She was angry now, the hot, slow slide of her Falconetti temper, which she’d spent years learning to freeze over and control, burning through her veins, making her ears buzz. “You can’t make me do anything, Vincent.”

“Wrong, sister mine.” He towered over her, his face a little pale under his tan. “You have exactly thirty seconds to get up and get in the shower. I expect you downstairs with Troupe in twenty minutes. And I expect you to start living your goddamn life again.”


To read more, visit

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Contest Winners

Hi, all,

I'm drawing late due some some connection issues, but the two winners in my "Tell Me What Book You'd Like" contest are . . .

Heather Rosman and Sara W.!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Also, remember that if you join my Yahoo newsletter group before December 1st, you're automatically entered for a gift basket drawing, including some great Southern goodies and a signed copy of What Mattered Most.

Linda Winfree -- Sultry Southern Romantic Suspense
HIS ORDINARY LIFE -- Available Now, Samhain Publishing
HOLD ON TO ME -- December 2007, Samhain Publishing

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I'm going to leave this open 9:00 PM EST Saturday, November 10. Okay, here's the deal:

1) Visit my author page at Samhain (
2) Peruse the blurbs and/or excerpts for my current releases (What Mattered Most, Truth and Consequences and His Ordinary Life).
3) Drop me an email with SAMHAIN CONTEST in the subject line to linda_winfree at yahoo dot com (you know what to do). In the email, tell me which title you would like if your name is drawn, along with 1-2 sentences telling me why you're interested in this particular title.
4) Saturday night, I'll draw for two winners and announce them at the Samhain Cafe as well as my blog.

Linda Winfree -- Sultry Southern Romantic Suspense
HIS ORDINARY LIFE -- Available Now, Samhain Publishing
HOLD ON TO ME -- December 2007, Samhain Publishing

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Free Read: Chapter Two of THE BEGINNING (Prequel to HOLD ON TO ME) Now Available!

Chapter Two of The Beginning, the prequel to my December release Hold On to Me, available exclusively to my newsletter group, is now live!

To subscribe, send a blank email to Linda_Winfree- subscribe @ yahoogroups. com without spaces. If you join before December 1, you'll be eligible for to win a gift basket full of Southern goodies and a signed copy of my debut novel What Mattered Most.

I'm including a snippet of The Beginning for your reading pleasure.

The Beginning
A Prequel to Hold On to Me
Coming December 11, 2007 from Samhain Publishing


It was done.

She’d done it, he was gone, it was over.

There was nothing left.

On a chilly wind, night sounds drifted up from the courtyard. Caitlin Falconetti pulled her robe more closely about her. A hard knot tightened her throat, but really, no tears remained. There was simply…nothing.

She’d brought her things out to the balcony of the apartment she shared with Gina Bocaccio, her partner from the FBI, hoping to work, avoiding sleep, avoiding what waited for her when she closed her eyes. However, she couldn’t concentrate, could only keep reliving that final meeting in vivid, sickening detail. He’d looked like she’d kicked him, once the realization of what she was saying, what she was doing, finally sank in.

Her palms stung and she rubbed a finger over one of the raw half-moons there, where she’d curled her nails so tightly into her skin that one of them had drawn blood. She was grateful for the minor pain. It was bearable.

Somehow, she’d grown accustomed to empty. Empty had been when she was six, the year her mother died and her father had sent her to boarding school. Empty had been afterward, when the periodic visits with her grandparents hadn’t been enough, when she’d cried over returning to school, begging to be allowed to live with them, only to have her pleas smoothed over. Empty had been never quite being able to please her brother, never quite feeling that Vince’s love and approval were hers, sound and secure.

Empty had even been those months after Fuller’s vicious act, filled with loss and pain and grief.

Empty had been waiting for him to come home, trying to put what had happened into words.

She could live with empty. It just was, and she could go on from there.

With him gone and everything finally over...that was different, nothing.

But from nothing, she didn’t see anywhere to go.


To read more, visit

Monday, November 05, 2007


You Are Running on 89% Adrenaline

Your Adrenaline Level: Very Dangerous

Life is passing you by so quickly, you hardly can notice what's going on.

You definitely need to slow down before you crash hard!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Where to Find Me Today . . .

Or rather, where to find my heroes.

They're in the Basement over at Romance Worth Killing For and the Samhain blog.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Help Sumter Regional Win an MRI

Not sure if y'all remember, but back in March, we had tornados move through here. I posted about running late at night from the one bearing down on the town where I live. Anyway, the town of Americus north of us was almost decimated -- and their hospital took a direct hit. Below, I'm posting an email detailing how we can help Sumter Regional Hospital win a new MRI. The video is incredible -- it includes footage from the security cameras and you can watch the tornado move by as it slams into the hospital.

It only takes two minutes. Please help!

This was sent to me by a friend. Please read and consider participating:

Dear Friends & Family,

So many of you have asked of ways that you can help Sumter Regional Hospital and Americus , Ga. This is an easy way to help our community and would be such a Godsend for our hospital. Siemens is having a contest to give away a one million dollar MRI machine to a hospital in America . The hospital must come up with a video to present their need and it is a vote of popular opinion. There are many videos already submitted. Many are silly, a few are business-like, but none are as touching as the story of the tornado that ripped apart our town on March 1 st. You can submit one vote in a 24 hour period from each email account. After watching the video, the vote button will turn to an orange shade color; that is when you are allowed to cast.

Please visit and place your vote for the video entitled "Blown Away" by Sumter Regional Hospital every day until the end of the year.

We have a huge deficit between monies owed to us by the insurance company and the amount it is going to take to rebuild our hospital. If you forward this to everyone in your email address book, this message could reach so many people.

Once you reach the site, just click on Sumter Regional Hospital in the drop down, watch the video (about two minutes) then click on the orange VOTE button once it lights up. You can vote once a day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Free Read: Chapter One of THE BEGINNING (Prequel to HOLD ON TO ME) Now Available!

Over the next six weeks, I'll be posting a chapter weekly of The Beginning, the prequel to my December release Hold On to Me, exclusively to my newsletter group.

To subscribe, send a blank email to Linda_Winfree- subscribe @ yahoogroups. com without spaces. If you join before December 1, you'll be eligible for to win a gift basket full of Southern goodies and a signed copy of my debut novel What Mattered Most.

I'm including a snippet of The Beginning for your reading pleasure.

Happy Halloween, everyone, and I hope you enjoy this little treat!

The Beginning
A Prequel to Hold On to Me
Coming December 11, 2007 from Samhain Publishing


She wanted him gone? Fine. He was gone.

Jaw clenched, fighting off an intense nicotine jones, Tick Calvert rested his chin on his fist and watched the Atlanta skyline as the plane banked for final approach. Her voice, her words, pounded in his head, echoing as they had for days. He’d done everything he could possibly do to change her mind.

But you could only kick a dog so many times before it got the message it wasn’t wanted anymore.

As of yesterday, he definitely had gotten her message, loud and clear. Now it was time to move on. Maybe being home again would help him figure out a way to do that.

The landing came off without a hitch and with his FBI credentials, he made it through security with relative ease. With only his carryon, he didn’t have to worry about looking for luggage and strode toward the rental car kiosks.

“Where are you going?” The familiar female voice, filled with teasing fondness and a hint of laughter, had him spinning around.

“Tori.” He barely had time to say her name, warmth and affection spurting through him, before his baby sister launched herself at him. His carryon hit the floor, and he wrapped both arms around her, giving in to the impulse to swing her around in his embrace. His eyes burned. Lord, he’d missed her.

Once he’d set her on her feet, she plopped a kiss on his cheek and pulled back, wrinkling her nose. “You smell like cigarettes. And you look like hell.”

“Don’t curse.” The correction came automatically and she rolled her eyes. He studied her, unable to resist a wide grin. Her dark hair was longer than he remembered, pulled into a sleek ponytail, and her eyes, the same dark brown as his own, sparkled up at him with a familiar impish light. “What are you doing here?”

He’d intended to surprise his mother and the rest of his family by turning up a day early.

She reached up to tweak his nose. “Stanton ratted you out. I couldn’t wait to see you and there really wasn’t any reason to let you rent a car if I could drive you home, so here I am.”

He leaned down for his bag and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “I’m glad to see you.”

Her even white teeth flashed in a grin. “Same here.”

They walked toward the bank of glass doors and she nudged his side. “Mama doesn’t know you’re here, though. I can’t wait to see her face when we turn up this evening.”

The idea warmed him further, driving out some of the chill he’d carried with him since that final confrontation yesterday afternoon. Holy hell, he was ready to be home, to be surrounded by his family and all things familiar.

He needed that. Needed it to get Mississippi out of his head. Needed it to get her out of his head.

To read more, visit

Monday, October 22, 2007


I was chatting over at Joyfully Reviewed tonight -- they're having their Contemporary Bash today.

Guess who was there?

Lucy Monroe!

Yes, I gushed. Just a tad, mind you.

I mean, come one . . . Lucy Monroe!

And I picked up two more subscribers for my newsletter.

Could one ask for more?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Newsletter and Contest Info

Hey, y'all. I'm finally home from the first day back teaching after fall break. 5:30 came early this morning and getting back into the swing of it was hard . . .

I wanted to share a little information first about my newsletter group. I've recently begun sending out a monthly newsletter. It includes news (of course) about my books, trivia tidbits, a monthly recipe, reviews and contest information.

In the files section of the group, you'll find The Cutting Room Floor (scenes that didn't make it into the final versions of my books). Coming soon will be a series of online reads available only to my newsletter subscribers (the first one kicks off October 31 -- a nice Halloween treat!).

Also, by subscribing, you're automatically entered for the contest celebrating the print release of my debut book, What Mattered Most. On December 1, I'll draw from all subscribers for a goodie basket including a signed copy of What Mattered Most and some Southern surprises.

Interested? Send a blank email to Linda_Winfree-subscribe at (you know what to do!).

Linda Winfree -- Sultry Southern Romantic Suspense
HIS ORDINARY LIFE -- Available now, Samhain Publishing
HOLD ON TO ME -- December 2007, Samhain Publishing

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I've discovered it doesn't take much for me to get spoiled. A little thing like fall break, and I'm so wanting to sleep late daily now . . .

Unfortunately, the Monsters like to eat and I must work, so it's back to rising at 5:30 tomorrow. This means I will not be up editing at 1:00 A.M. tonight, too.

On round three of edits of Hold On to Me. Have I mentioned I love this book?

As for my goals . . .

1) Wrote my news release. Need to tweak and mail.
2) Created my postcards and bookcards. Need to order.
3) Wrote chapter two of Ash-Mad's book. Sent to CP for initial feedback.
4) Wrote first scene or so of Unseen, beginning to get a feel for the characters.
5) Sent out my newsletter for October.

Need to finish making notes on senior project rough drafts papers.

Oh! And my official transcripts finally cleared at the financial aid office. Now I can get my paperwork processed . . .

Karin Tabke's new first line contest is up and running. I see some friends over there!

Monday, October 15, 2007


I wrote like the proverbial demon yesterday. 17 pages. 6000 words. I love scene skeletons -- makes the writing go so much easier!

Goals for today:

1) more words on Ash/Mad's book
2) First scene for Unseen
3) Master the whole Vistaprint thing and place an order
4) Write my press release draft and email to Wayne for feedback

Then tomorrow, it's back to school.

What are you up to today?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cookin' with Gas

For some reason, I'm bogging down in the last 2-3 scenes on Facing It. I know what's supposed to happen, but I'm having trouble getting through the scenes. I think I'm going to let it marinate a few days then come back to it. Sometimes that jogs my brain loose.

In the meantime, I'm working on chapter one of my next Hearts of the South book, Ash and Maddie's story. She's been a difficult character to figure out. I think I'm finally getting a handle on her though.

If you look at the sidebar, you'll see I actually have three WIP's. One is the novella I'm planning to sub for a Samhain anthology. I've never actually written a novella before, but I'm excited about this idea. Trying to get the plot straight in my head before I begin actually writing.

So in the meantime, Unseen is simmering. Facing It is marinating. And my as-yet untitled Ash/Maddie story is on the front burner.

See? I can cook even if I don't have a real kitchen right now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Whoo! Cover Art!

I can show it off now:

Monday, October 08, 2007


I'm supposed to have revised cover art for Hold On To Me tomorrow! Whoo!

My website should be going live shortly, too.

I managed to get most of my makeup work graded and entered in Teacherease. (Grades due Thursday.)

I've logged into my tech readiness orientation and started reading.

I wrote the suspense climax for Facing It yesterday.

Carol and I have been brainstorming on my next two projects. She's priceless.

What's new with you?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Buried Alive

I think I'm overwhelmed. Well, not overwhelmed, but maybe over-extended. I have a system for getting everything accomplished, but . . . my to-do list is scaring me right now. We have a fall break coming up and I'm hoping to get lots done then (like scrubbing the bathroom).

I am approximately three plot points away from finishing Facing It. I love this part of the book. The flipside is, once I finish it, I have to start something new. That means being on page one, with like 0% of the project finished. Honestly, I hate that part of the book, when it stretches before me like the first day of a school year.

Although, there are worse things -- like being four years into the renovations from hell and still not being exactly sure when the house will be finished. (I really should post some pictures.)

So . . . things to do today:

1) Add to Facing It (would like at least 1000 words)
2) Need to design and order postcards for What Mattered Most.
3) Grading. Must. Update. Teacherease.
4) Laundry.
5) Begin orientation course for my grad degree.

I'm sure there's stuff I'm forgetting. Need to do some post-Homecoming stuff, but I'm simply not in the mood. I think I'll delegate that to the SGA kids.

What are you up to today?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Stuff and Nonsense

So I've shifted pretty seamlessly back into Facing It, despite the fact I literally dropped it mid-scene. I wrote approximately 900 words yesterday. I'm close to 80% of the way to my targeted word count. This is a good thing.

I got my acceptance letter for NSU yesterday. Now, if Walden will let me in . . . I'll be good. Nothing against NSU, but I really want to start grad school this semester and if I go with them, it will be January before I can begin.

I'm guilty of having a really bad attitude right now. However, I am making a conscious attempt not to infect others with it. Hence, why I'm quiet and keeping to myself. Not sure what my deal is. Just . . . dissatisfied. It's weird.

I'm grading tonight. Must. Update. Teacherease. Must. Update. Teacherease. That's my mantra.

Found this list while working with some old files earlier today. It's my "soundtrack" list for several of my manuscripts:

Hold On To Me:

"Red Dirt Road" -- Brooks and Dunn
"Songs About Rain" -- Gary Allan (this is THE song for this book)
"(Baby, You Can) Hold On to Me" -- John Michael Montgomery, I think

His Ordinary Life

"Remember When" -- Alan Jackson
"There Goes My Life" -- Kenny Chesney
"Best I Ever Had" -- Gary Allan

Memories of Us:

"Making Memories of Us" (duh) -- Keith Urban
"Goodbye Time" -- Blake Shelton
"Who You'd Be Today" -- Kenny Chesney

A Formal Feeling:

"Live Like You Were Dying" -- Tim McGraw
"Come a Little Closer, Baby" -- Dierks Bentley
"Must Be Doing Something Right" -- Billy Currington (?)
"As Good As I Once Was" -- Toby Keith

For Facing It, I seem to be stuck on "Baby, You Save Me" by Kenny Chesney.

Sigh. I want an Ipod for Christmas . . .

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Found this today. Tried to read it at work, and the Romance Studio obviously triggers the web filter for "sexual content." So now, the tech department will think I'm trying to read porn. G-reat!

But, Karen H. had this to say, in part, about His Ordinary Life:

“His Ordinary Life is a superbly written, emotionally charged and complicated story. . .The reader is sucked right in and carried along for the full experience of this roller coaster ride of guilt, redemption, love, growth and the test of a family’s strength under pressure . . . a story that stays with you long after you’ve closed the book.” – Karen H., The Romance Studio

You can read the entire review here:

Shifting Gears

Whew! Homecoming is over, baby! And I survived.

Edits of Hold On To Me are gone to the editor goddess. (It's up on the coming soon pages, btw -- I'm thrilled beyond belief. If you know me and this book, you know why.)

Now, I have to shift gears. In the classroom, it's time to hit the ground running. Homecoming and student government have pulled me away too much from teaching. Since HOTM is off for its next round of edits at the editor goddess's hands, I need to try to finish Facing It and start on the novella project I want to submit to Samhain's psychic anthology. I'm loving my idea for that; I just need to get the particulars nailed down.

Did I mention I'm trying to get into the October session of grad school, too? I seem to have lost my mind. If anyone finds it, please return it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Warning: English Teacher/Writer Rant Ahead

You might want to look away.


People! The verb "may" is present tense. It's an auxialiary verb . . . and did I mention it's present tense?!

The inflected past tense form is "might."

That's right: "may" is present, immediate, happening now. "Might" is past tense, done been done as one of my most-beloved students is wont to say.

So what does that mean and why does anyone care?

Well, if you're writing in the past tense. And oh, it seems like 90+% of romantic fiction is in the past tense (present tense is pretty darn hard to maintain for an extended period, kinda like the second person) you cannot have sentences like, "It may have been a while . . ." or "He may not need . . ." Those are unnecessary tense shifts.

That. Is. Bad.

Might, people, if you're writing in the past tense. Might!

Thank you. You may return to your regularly scheduled blog-hopping now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ten Years

I started writing for real in 1997. Okay, basically, I started with a kernel of an idea that would later become Hold On To Me.

So . . . that's probably why I can't turn loose of this story. I've never been able to. I'm editing now, after rewriting multiple times . . . but it's truly the "story of my heart," the one you hear writers talking about.

Ten years is a long damn time to carry people and their lives around with you.

Which is probably why I'm thrilled to finally see it up on the coming soon list at Samhain.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


You can also order What Mattered Most from Target now too!

How cool is that?


Just realized I haven't blogged in FIVE days. Five!

I've been fighting off a cold all week -- finally feel better. Edits on HOTM are going well -- they're due Oct. 1 and I'm on p. 290 out of 317. I'm adding a short sequel scene at this point, but it looks like I still have time to go through the whole book one more time and tweak.

I'm still ill over how rude some of my SGA kids were in our meeting yesterday. I expect a lot from them, and rude behavior is NOT one of those expectations. One thing I will do before Monday is lay out some basic ground rules for what is expected when a heated discussion is taking place. I'm starting with everyone stays seated during meetings.

I have a package at the post office. Have no idea what it is . . . haven't ordered anything. Will let you know what it is . . . hope it's something cool!

Monday, September 17, 2007


This was at the post office today. Pics are a little blurry because we took them with the DH's cell phone.

Me and my books:


I screamed in the post office. I screamed in Connie's classroom. I pretty muched screamed in the front office at school, while showing them off.

They're REAL!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

First Review, a.k.a Del Got Giggled

Rating: 85

“His Ordinary Life has plenty of realistic emotional upheavals and poignant character development … well-written romantic drama with some suspense but mostly plenty of internal turmoil … Fans of such stories may enjoy this one. I know I did.” – Mrs. Giggles

Click here to read the review in its entirety:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

You Could Not . . .

Pay me to go back and do high school all over again.

Just an idle thought.

Head over to Romance Worth Killing For tonight . . . I posted an excerpt from His Ordinary Life for reading enjoyment. It's part of my world domination plan . . . I want everyone to fall in love with the two oldest Calvert brothers.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Contest Winners

Just made my DH draw from the lucky St. Augustine hat. And the winners are . . .

1) The $5.00 MBAM gift certificate: Sunflower (Amelia)
2) Ebook of What Mattered Most: Loretta Wilson
3) Ebook of Truth and Consequences: Beth Reimer

Oh, and by the way . . . His Ordinary Life is now available!

Just a Few More Hours . . .

Until His Ordinary Life releases!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday Morning Musings

It's Sunday morning, I was able to sleep past nine o'clock (that can be rare on weekends in this house), and I have coffee. I'm good.

The DH fixed my dryer yesterday, so I can tackle the mountain of laundry, thank heavens! Grades are due tomorrow, so I'll probably be grading notebook tests today, entering and exporting. I need to make a Septemer calendar for my students, but they might end up with a weekly one instead.

Homecoming is staring me in the face -- two weeks until Homecoming Week. It's a very good thing I didn't make plans to go to M&M in Atlanta, as the dance is that Friday night. It's not like I can skip it, either. I have a fantastic student government president this year and that's made planning for HC much easier. At this point, we have a theme, a venue for the dance, a DJ, a list of things to do and committees. I feel like I have more of a handle on it this year than I did last year, when we held the first one (we're a really new high school -- we didn't have alumni until last year so we could have a Homecoming.).

One Act is looming, too. I've started auditions, but with kids adding and dropping at practices, I still don't know how many actual actors I might have so I haven't even chosen a play yet.

And I'm haunting my email, looking for my HOTM edits from Anne the Editor Goddess.

In terms of story progress, I'm at 63,752 words, exactly 75% of my targeted 85K. I have seven plot points to go, so I'm not sure if that will take 22K or if I'll end up at around 80K. Either way, this rough draft will need serious marination before I go back and revise, edit and polish. In the meantime, I'm trying to think my way through Ash's book. I know the story of the romance. I know the suspense story. Now, I just need to figure out where the darn book begins. I can't get a handle on the opening scene/event, which is really unusal for me.

Need to write today, too. Fell short yesterday and only wrote 700 words. It was like drawing blood, finally gave up and went to bed (I was wiped out). Feel more refreshed this morning, hoping that will make a difference.

Hey, quick question for you . . . do free reads by an author make a difference in whether or not you buy his or her books?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Big Team, Little Me

Monster #1 ran in his first cross country meet today. I was so proud of him! He's definitely not the fastest runner on the team, but he completed the race, even though I knew it was hard on him.

I was also proud of our entire team, especially the varsity runners. When I reached the finish line area so I could watch Monster #1 come in (if you've never watched cross country before, you go to areas along the track as the run progresses so you can cheer them on), I saw groups of our older kids running the final, grueling yards with the middle school stragglers. They were encouraging them, making sure those kids would finish.

It was fabulous and gave me chills.

So kudos to our coaches and our kids, who have given new life to the "Big Team, Little Me" motto.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Two New Reviews and My Contest

What Mattered Most, my first novel from Samhain, received Five Lips from Tara Renee at Two Lips Reviews. In part, Tara said, "I could not put this book down and I know that anyone who reads it will find it as magnificent as I do." You can read the rest of her comments here:

Sandra Paquet at Gotta Write Network also recently reviewed John and Lanie's story and awarded it five out of five "ever afters". Here's part of what she had to say: "An emotionally charged plot, tortured characters who live and breathe on the page - what more could you want?" You can find her review here: (you have to scroll down to each review).

You can find the blurb and excerpt for What Mattered Most here:

Here's the contest deal:

The three prizes I'm giving away:

1) A $5.00 Samhain gift certificate (MBAM)
2) Ebook version of your choice -- What Mattered Most
3) Ebook version of your choice -- Truth and Consequences

How to Enter:

Read through the two excerpts from His Ordinary Life found at my Yahoo group (in the files section) as well as the excerpt at the Samhain website. Find the answers to THREE of the contest questions below. Copy the questions you're answering into a blank email and provide the correct answer for each question. Send to linda_winfree at yahoo dot com (you know what to do) with SAMHAIN CONTEST in the subject line.

Contest runs through Monday night (9/10/07), 9:00 PM EST. At that time, I'll draw a winner for each prize from those providing the correct answers and post the winners here at the Samhain Cafe as well as at my blog,

The Questions:

1) Where does Del have a scar? (Excerpt 2)
2) How many children do Barb and Del have? (Excerpt 1 or 2)
3) What did Del drive before the Porsche? (Excerpt 1)
4) What is Del's brother's name? (Excerpt 1)
5) In the Samhain website excerpt, what memory sends Del after Barbara for one more try?

Remeber, the questions and excerpts are posted in the files section of my newsletter group at Yahoo (

Word Count

For Tuesday, 9/4: 1362.

Total on Facing It: 60,363

71% of my projected word count. I love the last third or so of a book. I like moving toward the climax. Writing the ending, not so much. Climax and resolution? Definitely.

I'm running a contest this week -- will post those details later today.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Is the only word. I'm probably jinxing it, but I wrote approximately 6000 words on Facing It in the last day or so.

I'm 69.4% finished with the MS. Yes, I need to update my word meter. No, I'm not doing it tonight. Too fiddly.

What are you up to tonight?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Too Good Not To Use

Front page of the local paper: our local city council meeting ended early because the mayor shouted and cursed at one of the council members before storming out (gee, second time this has happened, I think).

Like I'm not using that scenario in a book!

I already have tension between my sheriff's department and the county commission in the Hearts of the South books. Imagine a county commission meeting that deteriorates into a brawl and the sheriff and chief investigator having to break it up . . .

Monday, August 27, 2007

It Should Be Illegal

To be this wiped out on Monday! I think it's because I was sick last night -- my second vertigo attack in a week. That is not good. I don't get them that often, but two in a week? That worries me. Usually, I might have one every two-three months. Maybe my blood sugar was off or something?

Anyway, I'm reading Gatsby. Sigh. Have I ever mentioned how Fitzgerald was a huge, flippin' genius? Oh, only once or twice? Ad nauseum, maybe?

He was, though. I told the DH earlier tonight I'm really not qualified to teach Gatsby. I've read it so often that every time I come back to it, I see something I didn't see before in terms of the language, the structure, the style . . . and I'm just awed. How do I help relay that to a group of eleventh graders? Yeah, yeah, I know, most of them could care less. I get that. But . . . gosh, I wish they could see it. Or appreciate it for what it is.

I'll quit rhapsodizing and go read now.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I *Heart* MC!

Look what she brought me!

How cool is that?!

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I am attempting to set up an author MySpace page.

I am not a happy camper. I love Bebo, which is very user-friendly.

MySpace? Not so much.

But I am trying.

Here's what I've accomplished.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Today . . .

Is Friday, thank heavens.

And I'm posting over at Romance Worth Killing For.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Too Much?

Interesting post over at Romancing the Blog on books with an overload of sex.

I can relate. Recently read a book by a favorite author that suffered from sex-scene overload. I knew going in it was a "hot" book, but because I'd read other works by this writer, I expected a story to go with all the hubba-hubba-lovin'.

I was grossly disappointed. Really.

Because although the hero and heroine had the potential to be real, interesting people, the author sacrificed that to an array of sex scenes that really didn't further the plot. So when I reached the end of the book, and there was happiness all around, I didn't believe it. The book could have been so much better.

Maybe it's because I like the relationship stuff more than the sex stuff -- I want, as Betty Womack put it to me once, paraphrased her -- the stomach-tingling emotion. I want to get wound up in the growing relationship, the ups-and-downs, the final pay-off.

Don't get me wrong. I like reading hot sometimes. And I can write hot, too. If Tick and Caitlin don't kill my reputation as a prudish English teacher, Tom and Celia will for sure. But even when Tom and Celia are spending pages and pages in his bedroom, there's a reason. It ties into conflict and plot.

Not to mention their relationship-building.

So what about you? Have you read a book with too much sex and too little relationship? Which authors strike the right balance?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Still Feels Like Summer

I'm having trouble transitioning to the idea of school this year for some reason. Oh, I love my job, y'all know that. But there's something off so far this year and I'm not sure what it is.

Mary F. is listing what she's looking forward to this year but I can't relate at this point.

I think it's the six classes, the hundred-plus students and the triple-digit heat. It still feels like summer when I had a less-than-refreshing summer break to begin with. So I'm teaching and I'm doing my best job, because, well, that's what I do, but my true enthusiasms isn't there yet.

I'm hoping it will be soon. There are positives -- my kids are great, I didn't have to change classrooms, etc. But inside I'm a tad blah. It'll pass.

I'm off to write and cook a late lunch. Talk later, y'all.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Last week, Elisabeth blogged at Romance Worth Killing For about her youngest's transition into a "real" bed and her struggles with that.

I can relate. This year, Monster #1 started middle school. You wouldn't think there'd be a huge change there -- it's a small school with all grade levels on one campus -- so basically the kids move from one set of classrooms to the next as they shift from elementary to middle school to high school.

But it's different. Boy, is it different.

There's a lot more homework. We've had some ten o'clock nights (and even one eleven o'clock night). The flip side of that is that Monster #1 seems more motivated and organized, more responsible. He's always been a good student, but I also knew he was a little lazy on a lot of levels -- school was easy. He could coast. With our middle school faculty? Not so much.

There's also been a shift in our homelife with this transition. I'll be the first to admit our scheduling tended to revolve around my schedule: school events, teaching, writing/editing, etc. But with Monster #1 involved in extracurriculars now (he does two. He wants to add a third, but I'm not so sure about that yet), we're having to adjust our routines to accommodate that.

Finally, the biggest change is probably that I'm learning to let him go, a little bit at a time. He doesn't need my help quite as much anymore, although I'm aware he still needs me. Through this transition, I'm seeing glimpses of what the shift to high school and later to college and independence will be like. It's a little scary. It's a little exciting.

But I don't think I'd change a thing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Stuff and Nonsense

Today's post is at Romance Worth Killing For.

My very first author interview is over at Cat Marster's blog.

Go check them out.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Yes, yes, I know. I've been scarce the last week.

Blame it on school starting back, final edits and an absolutely overwhelming heatwave that makes you feel like doing absolutely nothing.

So anyway . . . I'm picking excerpts for promo from His Ordinary Life and I'm loving reading through it again. I love Del (Almost as much as I love Tick). Sigh . . .

So I was reading and I found this little bit of brotherly dialogue that I love, love, love, and thought I'd share it here.


“Couple years and you’re gonna need a shotgun to keep the boys away from those two.”

Startled, Del glanced at Tick, standing just inside the glass doors next to the bleachers. Damn, he moved quiet. Their father had moved the same way. His brother was in his investigator’s uniform of khakis and department polo shirt, and Del’s gaze skittered over the 10mm handgun at Tick’s waist. His stomach pitched, and he swallowed. “Yeah, I know.”

Not that he would ever have a shotgun in the house with his children, or any gun, period. Too much could happen.

Tick leaned an elbow on the top seat, his gaze on Anna, now kicking a pad held by her instructor. “Actually, Anna could probably fend them off on her own.”

Del chuckled. “Looks awful fierce, doesn’t she?”

“She is awful fierce. My understanding is that one of Beau Ingler’s boys told her karate was for sissies after church Wednesday night, and your little girl showed him different. Put his nose in the dirt and hurt his pride.” Tick glanced at the other end of the stands, where Blake sat working on his geometry homework, headphones covering his ears, head bobbing. “Have any more luck there?”

“No. His stubborn streak is showing.” He’d tried talking to the boy, once on the drive between the high school and middle school and again while the girls changed for classes. Blake’s responses had been no more than terse grunts and monosyllables.

“Gee. Wonder where he gets that from.” Wry humor lurked in Tick’s weary voice.

“Runs in the family. What are you doing here, anyway?”

“Just got off duty. Knew the girls would be here, thought I’d run across you.”

“You found me.”

Tick pulled his cigarettes from his pocket and tilted his head toward the door. “Want to step outside?”

Del pushed to his feet and followed him. “I thought you quit.”

“I did.” On the sidewalk, Tick tapped out a cigarette and lit it. “For about a week. Listen, I thought you’d want a heads-up. We had some incidents last night—a stolen mailbox, toilet paper in the youth minister’s yard, petroleum jelly on the pay phones downtown, that sort of thing. Kid stuff. No leads, but…”

“Yeah.” Del cast a dark look through the window at the back of Blake’s head. “I’ll try to talk to him again. Anyway, he’s grounded until further notice, so even if he was involved, he won’t be in the foreseeable future.”

“How are you going to ensure that? What’s to keep him from sneaking out again?”

Because I told him not to and he wants to live. He swallowed the words. Tick’s even voice echoed the doubts that had circulated in Del’s mind since he’d laid down the restriction. He was in a damned-whatever-he-did situation—come down too hard and alienate the kid further, do too little and watch the kid sink. It didn’t help that these days he felt like a visitor in his son’s life.

He pushed his hair back from his forehead and shrugged. “I guess I’ll camp out on the couch at ho—” He cleared his throat. “…at Barbara’s for a few nights until he gets the message.”

One of Tick’s eyebrows angled upward, his expression one of supreme amusement. “Does Barbara know that yet?”


“Can I be around when you tell her?”


“You’re no fun.”

“I’m glad you get so much amusement out of my problems.” The words emerged on a snarl and Del cringed. Sweet Jesus help him, he sounded like Blake.

Tick stepped back, hands lifted in a gesture of surrender. “Sheesh, Del. I was kidding. Chill out, brother.”

“Do I make fun of your problems?”

Tick’s face closed, the polite mask of his law enforcement training slipping into place. “What problems?”

The ones that have you looking like a damn ghost. “According to Tori, you’re nursing a broken heart.”

“And Tori watches too many of those flippin’ old romance movies.”

“So you’re not pining for someone, huh?”

“No.” With a savage twist of his wrist, Tick flicked his cigarette butt into a nearby ash can. “I’m not pining for anyone. Listen, I’ve got to go, but if you need any help with Blake—”

“I can handle it.”

Tick nodded, a shadow of disbelief in his eyes. “I’ll see you, then.”


He watched his brother walk back to the dusty pickup he’d driven for almost ten years. Tick’s normally fluid gate seemed jerky, the whole line of his body tight with a deep tension. Worry nagged at Del’s gut. Maybe Tick wasn’t pining, but one thing was for sure—his health wasn’t up to par.


What's not to love?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sven's Sunday Check-In

Didn’t write Thurs/Fri because going back to work after the summer off was harder than I thought it would be! But I added those words to Sat. and Sun., so still made my goal for the week.

I’m at 45,540. 8848 words for the week. Average of 1264 per day. I’m over 50% of the way to my estimated word count.

It’s HARD some days b/c I seem to bog down in the writing, but there’s something about having committed myself to those words — forces me to push through, because I’m competitive, damn it, and I refuse to give in!

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
45,540 / 85,000

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I'm tired, but the house is CLEAN.

I have 800 words to write.

I also have to get up and go to work in the morning.

Sigh . . . I'm thinking of popping over and going on a Maya Banks glom at Samhain. Not that I need to be reading Beowulf or anything . . .

I could make that my reward for writing those 800 words . . .

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hanging On, Barely

Okay, I'm struggling with the writing tonight. I'm halfway in to my 1200 words and they are not coming.

It doesn't help that everyone's agenda around here tonight has obviously included interrupting me and making me crazy.

The temptation to say, "Hey, quit, just add 100 words to every other day this week and call it good" is hanging around, whispering to me. Only I know what the rest of this week is going to be like and what if I can't get my 1200 tomorrow? Or Wednesday? Only then it would be 1300 and I'd be in a bigger hole.

So 600 measly words. In an hour. I can do that.



I hope.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday Check In

I've been a lazy blogger this week, but a productive writer.

Total word count for challenge: 36,491

Total written this week: 11,453

Average per day this week: 1636

Also completed print galleys on Nov. release and third round of edits on another book (it’s off to the FLE!).

Loving that this is making writing daily a habit. I need that.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
36,491 / 85,000

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Check In

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
25,277 / 85,000

That's my progress for 14 days of the 70 Days of Sweat. So after 20% of the sweaty days, I have almost 30% of my book written (if it doesn't go long -- I'm beginning to wonder if it might be a 95-100K book, but we'll see).

Today, I sorted out some of my plot issues. I don't have a complete synopsis yet and I'm working on the arc of the second romance -- I have two separate romances circulating about the suspense plot in this manuscript. I've never done this before but I'm really enjoying it.

You should pop over and read Larissa's post on rejection. I've tried to explain to people before how I'm thankful now that I didn't sell earlier because I wasn't ready and a) I'd have been miserable in the long run and b) I'd have screwed it up royally, but somehow I doubt I was as articulate in my explanation as Larissa is.

On the TTD list for the week:

1) HOL edits to Anne

2) WMM print galleys turned in

3) teach a four-hour writing instruction workshop

4) teach two one-hour drama workshops

5) make my 1200 daily

6) work on unit plans :-)

Only ten more days of summer vacation. Sob! Whatever will I do when I have to go to bed at a decent hour and get up at 5:30?!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Hey, found this today, couldn't resist sharing! This is a review from Coffee Time Romance for What Mattered Most that I had not seen before. It's a five cup review, too! Whoo-hoo:

Cherokee, the reviewer, wrote in part:

"What Mattered Most is a highly charged tension grabber that locks onto the reader and does not let go until the conclusion...a roller coaster ride of events...The character of John alone held me captive in this unique story."

About time John O'Reilly, the anti-hero, made up for getting me kicked out of that critique group! I was glad to see someone loved him. ;-)

You can read the entire review here:

Goddess Worship

Not a huge Nora-book fan (I've read one or two). She's clearly an incredible writer, just doesn't pull me in for some reason.

I guess it's like mine and Wayne's agreement to disagree over T.S. Eliot. A matter of taste.

As a person, she is also clearly a class act: articulate, intelligent, wryly funny. I like that.

So we'll make it official: Nora Roberts is a goddess. ;-)

Pet Peeves Over Coffee

Okay, I have a handful of spelling demons -- words I cannot spell correctly without looking up:

1) occurred (I never can remember if it's one "r" or two)

2) occasional ( I want to add an extra '"s")

3) committed (I can't remember if it's one or two "t's")

Because I know that people have spelling demons (and many schools didn't teach spelling for many years), I'm pretty forgiving of spelling mistakes in my students' papers, etc., although I do make them get a dictionary and fix them.


I hate spelling errors in something that is for public reading.

Like a letter going out from my school to parents. I saw one come in over the fax line while I was in the office the other day. I wanted to grab it and take a red pen to it, or retype it, or something before it went out to hundreds of people.

What set me off this morning was a blog post by a multi-published author. Yes, yes, I know, blogs are informal forms of communication. But mispelling "lightning" and "losing"?

By the way, "lightning" is the correct spelling for that "large-scale, high-tension natural electric discharge in the atmosphere." "Lightening" is when something is growing lighter or brighter. They are not interchangeable.

"Losing" -- participial form of "lose" meaning unable to find or maintain or keep something. "Loosing"? Means to set free or let loose.

Why did this set me off? Because I cannot tell you the number of times I see those two spelling errors. And not in student papers. The local newspaper. Excerpts posted by authors. Blogs posted by authors.

See where I'm going? If you're going to write at a professional level, you have to learn how to spell, how to use similar-spelling and/or similar-sounding words correctly (affect vs. effect, anyone?), how to use a dictionary for those words that are your personal spelling demons. Because, as we all know, spellcheck will not catch words spelled correctly but used incorrectly.

I'm not saying your writing has to be perfect (there's a reason I won't assign a grade higher than 95 to a piece of writing in my classroom), but but what we put out there as authors should be darn close.

Rant finished. Going for coffee now.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Where I've Been

Nowhere, actually. A limb took out my phone line and hence knocked out my ability to get online. It's fixed, obviously.

Except now the A/C is on the blink. Did I mention it was 100 here today?

So I'm tired, hot and grumpy. 1200 words behind on 70 Days of Sweat, too. So I have to write 2400 words tonight. I have no idea what scenes those words will consist of.




It's too hot for exclamation points.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Worst Part of Drafting

I'm in that lovely part of drafting where it all looks like crap. Later, it will probably transform itself, but right now, it's c-r-a-p. I hate when I lose my objectivity about the writing.

I taught the first part of a writing instruction workshop today, and it's hard to explain how you do what you do when you're teaching. I teach pretty instinctively, now that I've got some experience on me -- and reproducing that verbally for someone else to take notes on is difficult.

I had a writing friend refer to me as an "instinctive writer" once upon a time and I kind of filed the description away. But more and more I understand what she meant -- I know what I do when I write, but darn if I can tell someone else how or why I do it.

So right now, it's all crap. Later, it won't be. Don't ask me how. Or why.

Because darn if I can explain it. :-)

{Doubt Demon pipes in: "What if it is all crap? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!"}

Sunday, July 15, 2007

It's All About Focus And Drive

This is where things get dicey. I'm doing well with 70 Days of Sweat. I have 14,403 words on Facing It, compared to 0 (yes, that's ZERO) eight days ago. The story is going well, I think.

Here's my TTD list for the next two and a half weeks:

1) HOL edits #2 -- due to Anne the Editor Goddess by July 28 (that's 13 days).
2) WMM print galleys -- due by July 27 (12 days)
3) I'm teaching a ten-hour writing instruction workshop in three installments over the next three weeks. First four hours is tomorrow.
4) I'm holding six one-hour drama workshops over the next three weeks. That starts this week, too.
5) I need to clear our master bedroom and its closet in preparation for our renovation work scheduled for August.
6) I need to finesse my unit plans and get monthly calendars ready for my classes for Aug. & Sept. before preplanning begins.
7) I have to stick to my 1200 words daily for 70 Days of Sweat.

It's doable, but I have to stay focused. I've started running again, too, and that's helping. It keeps me on track, somehow.

It looks like 9:30 to 11:00 is going to be my prime writing time. The key is I have to stay offline. There are too many distractions otherwise.

I know it looks like a lot, but it is possible for me to pull all this off and still have some me-time. It's all about focus and wanting it and discipline. It's the same concept that applies to my classroom and my coaching.

It's also about prioritizing. You'll notice 70 days of sweat got the number seven spot. It's not because it's not important, but you'll notice edits got the #1 spot on my playlist. This is the deal -- I have professional obligations to meet at both Samhain and the school where I teach. Those obligations come before the new book. I think I can do it all, but the deadlines and the teaching prep have to come first. Hence why, although I could easily continue with the chapter of Facing It I'm working on, I have the edits file open and I'll spend the next hour or so working on that. I'll take a break and come back to the edits this evening, then maybe I'll get to add another couple of thousand words to Facing It.

Now, I need to find a way to work some promo time in there. That's the kicker. The darn promo!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Today's Post . . .

Is at Romance Worth Killing For.

Got up early to go to Connie's. Definitely worth waking up at 8:00 after going to bed at 12:46 and being awakened repeatedly by Leroy the Demonic Kitty.

But . . . note to self: Don't ever let Connie give me directions anywhere again.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Caution: Soapbox Ahead

Okay, so I end up with over a hundred emails today, and most of them deal with a discussion of the new RWA board decision. (This me: "RWA controversy? Oh. Yadda yadda yadda again, huh?" I don't give my money to RWA simply because $75 is a lot of money for a magazine subscription, since I live in the middle of BFE and any local chapter is at least four hours away. Oh, there is one two hours away, but you try getting any info on it out of RWA's main office. I don't think it really exists. Anyway, me + RWA = yadda yadda yadda.)

{At this point, Connie is reading this, thinking, "What's RWA?"}

So I'm not at Nationals and my publisher bascially is no longer recognized (read Angie the Editor Goddess's classy response here).

But I digress.

Because Kate Rothwell, goddess that she is, nailed the issue today.

I do not need RWA to validate me as an author. I do not need the President of the RWA board telling me that I don't need to "settle" for less than $1000 for my work. H-ello, I wasn't aware I had done so, simply because I went with a small press. I'm looking at clearing over four figures well before the year ends for my writing (not that it's anyone's business but mine).

But listen!

The amount of money I make does not validate me as an author.

RWA does not validate me as an author.

My editor, as dearly as I love her, does not validate me as an author.

Having an agent, which I did once upon a time, does not validate me as an author.

Being multi-contracted does not validate me as an author.

Many of those things are nice. Do I like hearing that my editor loves something I wrote? Yep. Did having two agents asking to sign me within days of one another make me feel good? Sure. Is the royalty check neat? Heck, yeah. What about that multi-contracted status? Yeppers. All fine and dandy and as far as the IRS is concerned, it makes me a "professional writer."

Did I think at one time I needed all that to be validated as a writer? Damn sure did.

I was deluded.

Because this is the key.

Your agent doesn't validate you.

Your editor doesn't validate you.

RWA doesn't validate you.

You validate yourself. And if you spend your time worried about how others view your publisher, your published status, which agent you're with, blah, blah, blah, yadda yadda yadda, then you're not focused on what's important.

The writing.

Because that's what ultimately validates you as an author. What you produce.

Know what I produced this week? 10, 251 words of a book I hope is going to be the best I've written yet.

{Okay, Connie, I'm off my soapbox now. I'll see you tomorrow!}

[PS to Kate: You should come over here. We could get into a knock-down, drag-out about something . . . oh, say, my state vs. yours, or dark chocolate vs. milk, or oh! whipped cream in coffee vs. not . . . we'll start a kerfuffle and work up some promo traffic for both of us.]

[Wait a minute! Kate! My named-for-a-bloodsucking-parasite hero vs. your tesslerat hero! That's it, baby! C'mon. You know you want to.]


Still making progress on Facing It. I wrote my three pages by hand last night because we were having a rocking thunderstorm.

Worked in my classroom a little this week (my bulletin boards are up and I cleaned out my filing cabinets). I have to do this BEFORE preplanning because I can't get anything done when there are other teachers around. I'm weird that way. I consider it my duty to aggravate Connie and Mary and keep them from getting anything done.

I'm planning for the school year. And last night, I nailed down the plans for the drama workshop I'm giving before school starts. I think it will be fun.

I've been walking/running again. Can't let Monster #1 be able to run/walk farther than I can! I feel better. I've missed my excercise.

House is a pit. Must. Clean. Today.

Did I mention I have a writing instruction workshop to teach Monday and all I've done is make my copies? I'm doomed . . .

Monday, July 09, 2007

Progress Report

9 pages, 3715 words on Facing It.

4 apges, 1246 words on In Dreams.

Total: 13 pages, 4961 words total.

I just have to keep this up for 69 days.

Have I mentioned if I pull this off, my students are going to be in trouble? Because if I can do this, there's nothing they can't do if they put their minds to it. I think I'll borrow Sven for my classroom. A big "Sven Says Sweat" poster for the door.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Oh, Wait -- It Gets Better!

Not only did I sign up for 70 Days of Sweat (Thanks, Steph & Larissa! I needed more insanity in my life!), but I've let the DH help talk me into working on the ghost book.

And I'm going to attempt three pages daily on TWO SEPARATE BOOKS. Six pages, app. 2500 words total per day. I've so lost it.

Plus, they're not even the books I signed up for over at Alison's blog. Well, one is. I don't know yet. I can't decide. I have choices. So here's what's up:

1) The Southern ghost book, working title In Dreams.

plus . . .

2) Chandler Co. book #7: working title Facing It.


3) Chandler Co. book #8: working title Afterburn.


4) Cold case book, working title Cold Case #1 (because I have no working title, LOL).

I have lost my ever-lovin' mind for sure. And I've committed because I even put up word meters!

I'm thinking ghost book and Facing It because I have characters & plot ideas for the latter.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Has Anyone Seen My Mind?

I seem to have lost it.

After shelving SWM, otherwise known as the "book with no plot," I've signed up for 70 Days of Sweat.

I'm blaming it on Steph. And Larissa.

Starting tomorrow, I have to write 3 pages a day on a book I haven't finished the research on.

Will keep you updated.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Yes, the sound of true writerly frustration, when you realize the book you've been working on is probably heading for the shelf.

I hate wasting time! And I feel like I have. I love Angie and Fish. I do. But. The books not doing it for me.

I think working on HOL and HOTM the last month has ruined me. HOL has a tight suspense plot, and HOTM has a meaty murder mystery. Next I'll be working on ABM, another "big" plot. Angie and Fish? Not so much. I enjoy the big stuff and I think that's why I'm just not feeling the love with Stay With Me right now. I have the synopsis, I can make the page count daily, but it's kinda like eating a Happy Meal burger when I want to be tearing into a thick juicy steak.

So I have two choices:

1) Keep going on SWM. Finish it before school starts.

2) Shelve it until a later time (maybe Christmas vacation?) and work on Chris's book, which is a big plot, and/or the non-Chandler County book, the first in a cold-case trilogy idea I have. It's a big plot, too.

I hate not finishing something I've started but I don't want to be frustrated later either.

So I have thinking to do. Great. Just wonderful. (Ignore me while I pout here a second.)

Pondering a promo contest too. More on that soon.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Progress Report

Okay, here we go:

Day 1 (Monday): 5.5 pages, 2267 words

Day 2 (Tuesday, today): 5 pages, 2001 words.

Total so far: 10.5 pages, 4268 words.

I may come back and write some later, but I've found that after I finish that push, I'm really ready to sit and read for school. (Re-reading Kelly Gallagher's Deeper Reading and working on plans for the school year.)

Right now, I'd love a nap. Somehow, I don't think it's going to happen . . .

Monday, July 02, 2007


I hate to even articulate this, because that's normally the kiss of death for me, but . . .

If I write 2000 words a day for the rest of July, I can finish Stay With Me before school starts. Then I'd have August until December to work on either Troy Lee or Chris's book.

2000 words is approximately 5 manuscript pages in Samhain house style. So, I need to write an average of five pages daily until July 31. That doesn't sound too bad. And I have the book plotted already -- synopsis and all.

If I can keep Leroy "Hello, I want to be your new Muse" Kitty off my keyboard. He's a PITA to be so little.

How about you? Do you set goals or just take the writing as it comes? And how does that work for you?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sunday Morning Fun

Stole this one from Steph:

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

death (3x) knife (2x) murder (1x)

What about Romance Worth Killing For?

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

dead (2x) hurt (1x)

I failed this one!


Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Things to Do

I woke up at 6:00. (That should be illegal during the summer, btw.) Actually, it would be more accurate to say someone woke me up at 5:58 after I'd been up after midnight with his spawn who couldn't go to sleep.

But I'm up and moving: laundry in the washer, bathroom soaking under Scrubbing Bubbles, living room dusted, kitchen counters cleaned. I need to wash dishes and sweep.

Then I need to accomplish this:

1) revised synopsis for HOL
2) revised synopsis for HOTM
3) send HOL, HOTM and said revised synopses to Anne the Editor Goddess
4) make drama workshop plans
5) layout the writing instruction workshop I'm teaching this month
6) start ch. 4 of Stay With Me
7) Give in and find another stupid LMN movie to watch!

Ooh, I watched the hour-long Haunting Evidence special on Court TV last night. They were profiling the Natalee Hollaway case. I'm normally very skeptical but I tend to believe John and Carla are authentic. Watching Carla's readings on the beach there was spooky and heart-rending.

Then when I couldn't sleep after that, I got half-sucked into a LMN movie with Patty Duke. I love Patty!

Well, I guess I should go do those dishes.

Wonder what's on LMN later?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Oh, Give Me A Break!

No more Lifetime Movie Network for me!

I like LMN for a little break every now and then. But oh, my God, at the TSTL women in those movies.

Today's candidate? Well, she's smart enough to fake her death to get away from her abusive husband (recycled Julia Roberts, anyone?). But, she leaves behind her "How to Change Your Identity" pamphlet so hubby can find it when he packs up her office.

He's a resourceful guy. He tracks her down. Even has himself a fairly decent alibi.

So after the heroine (yeah, maybe) sees ex-hubby on the street and comes home to realize someone has broken the window by her door, she leaves the door open, picks up a knife and walks through the house (Don't know about you -- but I'd be calling the cops). When she gets upstairs, she shrugs, lays the knife aside and gets in the shower! The door is still open downstairs.

I think she deserves that vat of acid the hubby is preparing for her in the old barn.

To make matters worse, she's dating a guy who's awful cute and supportive once she reveals her true identity, but he's no Mensa candidate either. He ends up in the ex's clutches, and when he has the opportunity to warn her on the phone (because hey, a true hero wouldn't mind dying to save her!), he does what the maniacal killer hubby asks him to do. Because, you know, the crazy guy of course is going to let him go if he cooperates.

Oh, and AFTER crazy guy kills her best friend (which the local police rule an accidental death, you know, because obviously she was trying to dust the ceiling fan and fell over the stair railing . . . never mind that half-prepared food in the kitchen. Guess she got a cleaning urge. Let's go get a donut, boys.) . . . Ms. "I-Can-Fake-My-Death-But-Thank-God-Breathing-Doesn't-Require-Thinking" sprints downstairs and throws open the front door . . . without looking to see who's there!

Three guesses who it is . . . and it ain't the pretty boy new love interest.

Somehow, they put their two brain cells together to overcome the maniac and put him in the vat of acid. We get a nice little epilogue scene of the two of them together . . . with cute guy rubbing her very pregnant belly.

Oh. My. God. They reproduced!

And I wasted an hour and a half of my life watching this, unable to look away. I guess TSTL is a contagious disease?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Another Little Step . . .

I have print galleys for What Mattered Most! How cool is that?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Random Musings

Yes, I've been scarce -- buried in promo for TAC and edits/revisions on HOL.

Received this as part of an email from a former student yesterday:

Oh, and I have a funny story. I was sitting in my church service on sunday when i realized that the pastor was just giving a persuasive speech. not only did i out of the blue think of random usage of english in evryday life, but i realized that i wouldn't give my pastor that great of grade were i grading him. you've ruined me ms winfree.

I love it! That from one of my favorite students ever. I laughed but it makes me sad that I won't get to teach him next year (he's one of the ones I looped with for 3-4 years. Wayne gets to teach him next year, darn it.).

I'm enjoying watching Carol's new manuscript unfold as she works on it. She's probably tired of hearing me say, "Write faster." I want to read MORE, NOW!

I was over at eharlequin getting my online read fix (I love their little serials) earlier this week and realized they now offer e-books. Hmmm, being able to satisfy a Harlequin Presents glom urge without having to go to the bookstore or wait for shipping? Instant gratification?! Oh, joy! I'm really thinking I may ask the DH to buy me a handheld reader for Christmas this year. That's what's really sucked me into the whole electronic book thing -- being able to download and read instantly.

Also, I finally went to see the baby this week. She is so tiny! I had forgotten how small newborns were. Although, I think my Monsters were bigger than she is. She's a petite baby. Very beautiful, and Pam is a great mom already.

On the writing front, I have ten pages to go on editing HOL, then I'll give it another go-over. I'm so sick of my repeated words and phrases. My characters like to: smile (they're a happy bunch), slant looks, lift eyebrows, have all physical reactions in their gut/stomach/abdomen, and just get on my nerves. I also really like the word "again." I'm trying to avoid all this stuff in the new WIP. Update on Fish: he's still stuck in the middle of a bad situation. Hasn't moved in a week. To make things worse, Troy Lee is trying to horn in and get me to write his book next. I'm trying to think through that plot, and I kinda/sorta think it might need to go before Fish's book. Had a plot idea there I'm not so sure about -- trying to steer my thoughts away from that particular aspect. Will have to see what happens.

So what have you been up to this week?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Truth And Consequences: Book One of Hearts of the South

Is now available!

For undercover FBI agent Jason Harding, coming face to face with the grown-up version of his adolescent dreams is a nightmare. Kathleen Palmer sees him as a despicably corrupt small-town law officer and a murder suspect. Trapped in a web of his own making, he must see his mission through to the end and bring down the crooked cops who’ve run Haynes County for decades. To do so, he must betray the only family he’s ever known and fight his growing love for Kathleen, a relationship that could get one, or both of them, killed.

Determined to uncover the truth, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Kathleen struggles with her attraction to the one person who’s awakened her since she buried her heart and emotions in her son’s tiny grave. Listening to her heart could destroy all she has left in life – her career and reputation. When the truth about Jason’s identity surfaces, they both face unimaginable consequences: Jason may lose his life and Kathleen the man she loves.

You can find more information, including an excerpt, HERE.

Monday, June 18, 2007

One Day to Go!

Truth and Consequences releases tomorrow! Can you tell I'm excited?

Want to know what people who've already read it have to say?

Sharon thinks I have a secret need to bash people in the head (and she liked the book, basically). Go read her review at writeminded. She's got a cool contest going on there today as well.

Kate got a sneak peek, too. You can read her review here.

I'll be doing the list mom thing at the Samhain Cafe this afternoon. Come on over!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Funeral Etiquette

Elisabeth asked in the comments on the post below about Southern funeral etiquette. I will be the first one to admit southwest Georgia is still its own little corner of the world (my sister remarked on this while we were driving to my aunt's funeral Saturday), so some of these traditions and expectations might hold true only for this area.

Okay. The SOWEGA Girl's Guide to Funeral Do's and Don'ts (Connie, if you're out there reading, feel free to join in and correct me):

1) The family will "receive" at one central location. For example, when my grandmother died, the family gathered at my mother's house and received visitors from a few hours after her death until after the funeral. Except for the funeral itself, someone remains at the house to receive, as visitors will drop in throughout the days before the funeral, without notice.

2) A wave of visitors will descend on the home, bearing food. The food-bearers are usually friends and extended family members. (Immediate and close family do not provide food.) All visitors are offered food from the array.

3) Usually, a viewing (or visitation) will be held at the funeral home the night before the actual funeral service. Flowers, etc. sent by friends & family are on display.

4) The immediate family usually caravans from a central location (often the home where they have been receiving visitors) to the funeral home or church where the funeral will be held. This is done with a police escort. If a graveside service is following the church/funeral home service, all attendees will fall in line behind the family vehicles. You drive with your lights on. Again, this is done with a police escort at the front of the line, and other deputies will be dispatched to close intersections and direct traffic.

5) It is the gravest of etiquette errors to pass a funeral procession in either direction. Other drivers pull to the side of the road and stop. Although rare, you will still see men exit these vehicles and stand with hat over heart (especially if the man in question knows the family in any way.)

6) Black is no longer a necessity for funeral attendance, although the immediate family often wears black or gray.

7) During the service, all funeral attendees rise as the family enters and is seated last. They are also the first to leave after the coffin is removed by the pallbearers (everyone standing for the coffin removal and family's exit).

8) After an internment (graveside) service (often a church service AND a graveside service are held), it is bad form to leave without speaking to the family, who remain seated.

9) If the deceased was a member of a church, often the ladies of the church will provide a meal for the family following the funeral. (This is ready for them when they return home.)

10) Expect a Bible Belt sermon during the service. You will be reminded that the deceased hasbeen called home to Jesus and you should make your own preparations to do so before your time of call.

11) Expect the visitation, service and internment to be a celebration of the deceased's life and accomplishments.

Is this similar to the funeral expectations in your area? Or completely different? Inquiring minds want to know.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Monster #2, upon calling his grandma and learning she still isn't home: "Man! Grandma's still at Uncle Buck's. Why?"

Me: "Because Uncle Buck is Grandma's brother and his wife passed away. If you were grown up and Monster #1's wife died, where would you be?"

Monster #2: "At Monster #1's house."

Me: "Why?"

Monster #2 thinks a moment. I'm expecting to hear something like "because he's my brother and I love him."

Monster #2, throwing up his hands: "I don't know. I'm not a big person yet."


Question -- What are the funeral traditions and rules of etiquette where you live? I'm genuinely curious. The "what's expected" is pretty strong here -- there are ways of doing things and ways you just don't do.

Progress Notes and Promo Worries

Well, Fish isn't out of his bad situation, but at least he's moving forward. It's slow-going though, both on the page (it's a weather-related scene) and off (I'm swamped this weekend, having to grab writing time where I can). I'd like to knock out the rest of ch. 3 this weekend.

Next week belongs to Del. Now that HOTM rewrites are done (if I'd quit fiddling with it at the sentence level), I need to finisn my edits on HOL and get both manuscripts back to Anne the Editor Goddess. Then I could have some Fish-and-Angie-only time, I think, and maybe finish the rough draft of the MS before school starts.

Carol had a great post about building characters at her blog yesterday. I'm trying to think about her points as I work with Fish in this scene, but I think his anxiety is getting in the way of his noticing much out of the ordinary.

I'm worrying about promo. I know I don't do enough, partly because I don't know what I'm doing and partly because my time is limited. I need suggestions, people! What works for you? I really need a promo plan that I can accomplish in 30-60 minutes daily. Ideas?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Okay, to prove I do watch movies sometimes . . . here are thirteen movies I've seen more than once (some are NOT by choice):

1) The Outsiders -- Let's say I was in middle school, obsessed, and leave it at that.

2) The Mummy -- It's the DH's favorite film of all time.

3) Top Gun -- I was in high school. We loved Tom Cruise. We were young and stupid.

4) Undercover Blues -- I adore this movie. I wish I could write books like this movie!

5) Open Range -- ditto. The love story in this film! Sigh...

6) To Kill a Mockingbird -- Gregory Peck. Need I say more?

7) True Lies -- I love Jamie Lee Curtis in this film. Tom Arnold is hilarious. I wish I LOOKED like Jamie Lee in this film...

8) The Wizard of Oz -- we watched it every year when I was a kid

9) Gone With the Wind -- yes, I've sat through all five hours, multiple times. I'm done, though.

10) Clamback -- Elvis! And Bill Bixby! And karate! It was great. I love it. So does Monster #2.

11) National Treasure -- Hello, Nicolas Cage. Kids love it, DH loves it, I get subjected to it.

12) The Great Gatsby -- I show the Robert Redford version every year. I love young Sam Waterston in it. It's fun to watch the kids react to it as well (they're predicatble -- the boys all go "Man!" when Jordan is on screen the first time, everyone hates Mia Farrow, they laugh uproariously at the scene where she cries over the shirts, and they gross out when the mistress cuts her hand and sucks the blood off her fingers so deliberately)

13) The Crucible -- Again, I show it when I teach the play. I love Daniel Day Lewis in this film. The kids are always outraged by the damned if you do, damned if you don't ending. And I have a girl or two cry every year over the ending.

Checking In

I've been terribly grumpy for the last week or so. I'm trying to get over it, for poor Carol's sake at least. ;-)

The next few days are going to be horribly busy. If I can just make it to Monday . . . I'll be good. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to work a little bit of writing time into the chaos of those days (I really need to get Fish out of the mess I left him in).

Picked up my materials for British Literature yesterday. Have I mentioned I've never taught Brit Lit before? At least it's a senior course, and these lovelies (whom I've taught for four years now) have all passed the graduation test and there's no EOCT, so there isn't the pressure involved like with my American Lit class. So right now, I'm getting ready to read Beowulf and figure out how to have some fun with that.

And I get to teach Hamlet and Macbeth! I think I may order Othello as well. I love that play. Iago is so . . . deliciously evil.

I'm blogging over at RWKF today, too. Go hence and check out my review of "Learning Charity" by Summer Devon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Okay, Brace Yourself...

Because this is shocking. This is way out of the ordinary.

Last night . . .

I watched an entire movie, beginning to end, in one sitting.


Actually, it was pretty good, although I thought the DH would stroke out when he realized I expected him to sit through two hours of the Lifetime Movie Network.

For the most part, the characters carried the film more than the plot. Kelly Rowan played a woman married to a religious-fanatic bigamist who intended to marry her twelve-year-old daughter to a chosen husband. She takes her children and runs.

The movie had its predictable moments -- the sixteen-year-old daughter who does something TSTL in an act of rebellion, what happens to said daughter, the heroine committing one majorly TSTL act.

But there was a hint of romance between the mother and the local cop, the developing friendship between the heroine and a new coworker was good.

There were hints of reality -- the way social services performed was realistic.


There were also some things that had to have been thrown in plot-wise that left me shaking my head -- two definite screw-ups in terms of the way law enforcement works with social services in many states. I realize they were there in order to make the plot work, but they bugged me nonetheless. Because if I can make a book plot around the foibles of how the real world of law enforcement works, the shortcuts aren't needed.

Do you sometimes find that writing makes you approach movie or tv viewing differently?