Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Elisabeth's Debut!

The lovely and talented Elisabeth Naughton has her debut release today.

Here's the cover and blurb for Stolen Fury:

Oh, is he handsome. And charming. And sexy as all get out. Dr. Lisa Maxwell isn’t the type to go home with a guy she barely knows. But, hey, this is Italy and the red-blooded Rafe Sullivan seems much more enticing than cataloging a bunch of dusty artifacts.

After being fully seduced, Lisa wakes to an empty bed and, worse yet, an empty safe. She’s staked her career as an archaeologist on collecting the three Furies, a priceless set of ancient Greek reliefs. Now the one she had is gone. But Lisa won’t just get mad. She’ll get even.

She tracks Rafe to Florida, and finds the sparks between them blaze hotter than the Miami sun. He may still have her relic, but he’ll never find all three without her. And they’re not the only ones on the hunt. To beat the other treasure seekers, they’ll have to partner up—because suddenly Lisa and Rafe are in a race just to stay alive.

Pop over to Elisabeth's blog, find out where she's blogging today and congratulate her!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Samhain Best of 2008 Survey

Family Photos -- The parental units. You will notice I look very much like my daddy. He looks like my Grandma W., I think.

According to editor Angela James, "At the request of a reader, Samhain has agreed to post the top ten bestseller list at the end of the year (probably the first couple weeks of January). In an effort to make it a fun promotion, we’d like to do a couple of other reader-driven “best of” lists. This is the readers’ chance to pick their favorites and get them on a top ten list."

Have a favorite Samhain title or cover? Go here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=cx0Pt6VHI_2fJ4m5lSThk8Qg_3d_3d and fill out the quick, easy-peasy form.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Family Portraits -- Me and the sibling units. I'm second from the left.

One word: revisions. They're killing me. The bad part? I haven't actually started them yet. I have my editor's notes and I'm thinking through what I have to do. I'm in that weird place where I know what needs to be added, but finding the place to put the added material without messing up the flow or breaking the tension is the hard part.

It's all Ash's fault anyway. He has to be all mature and settled and not-having-a-deep-conflict.

I will figure this out. I will.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yet Another "Go Check It Out . . ."

Share image! Enter today!

And trust me -- when this book comes out, you want a copy!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Go Check Out . . .

Jambrea's debut!

Forever Guy
by Jambrea Jo Jones

Samantha has a crush on Jack. Now that he’s back in town, she needs to convince him he’s her forever guy.

Literally running into Jack yesterday at the bank had to be a sign of the fates shining on her. Her dreams of him still visited her on lonely nights; the fluttering started in her chest, and her heart jumped as his eyes flashed in recognition, a slow grin creeping across his face. To see and speak to him after so long brought back the memories of the last time he walked away from her. Jack had left her no air to breathe and had broken her heart, not once looking back to see the girl she had been crying for him to come back.
Picking up the pieces took time, but to his credit, she never told him how she felt before he joined the military. She needed to grow up, and as Jack left for the Marine Corps, she felt it too soon for her to express her feelings for him. She needed to make sure her emotions weren’t mere puppy love. Sam had no intention of making the same mistake twice. This time, she wouldn’t let him leave because they belonged together in the forever kind of way.
Sam shook off the memories and raced to get ready for her evening. Tonight, her dreams would come true.

Part of the One Touch One, Glance Anthology on sale December 9, 2208

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Five Stars: FALL INTO ME

“Fall Into Me is a feast for the senses…drama, heartache, love, romance, passion and so much more…a five star masterpiece.” – Kimberly Spinney, ecataromance


She’s finally falling for the right man…at the worst possible time.

Fall Into Me -- coming January 6
A part of the Hearts of the South series.

After two back-to-back romantic disappointments, bar owner Angel Henderson isn’t looking for love. In the past month, she’s been passed over twice by men she’d pinned her hopes on, both times in favor of a younger woman. She’s ready to swear off men for life. The only problem? A certain younger man determined to prove he can be her right man.
Sheriff’s deputy Troy Lee Farr is tired of being the department screw-up. The harder he tries to prove himself, the worse it gets. The only thing that’s gone right recently is getting a second chance with Angel. Except she’d rather jam on the brakes than rush into a new relationship. Now he has to work hard to prove his worth as a romantic prospect.
Troy Lee is a patient man, and it isn’t long before Angel is falling into him as hard as he’s fallen for her. Just as Angel begins to think of him as more than a fun date, her past—and Troy’s dangerous reality—threatens the tentative happiness they’ve found in one another.
Reminding them both that security is tenuous…and unconditional love is the biggest challenge of all.

Warning: Cops who talk like cops, explicit older woman-younger man lovin’, and two-boxes-of-tissues emotion.

For an excerpt, visit http://www.samhainpublishing.com/coming/fall-into-me

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I'm Alive, I Promise!

Life (and house renovations and research papers and teaching and editing . . .) have hijacked me lately.

I won't leave you this lonely this long again (like you missed me. Heh.).

Hey, it's only a little more than a month until Fall Into Me releases. Contest details and maybe some free read info to come!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A New Release Date

For Fall Into Me. Now you'll be able to get your Troy Lee-fix three weeks earlier, on January 6 instead of January 27.

Details to come on pre-release contests, fun stuff, and a weekly free read.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Central Song: Chris & Ruthie

Working on edits for Facing It and I end up looping the soundtrack while I work.

This is the central song for Chris & Ruthie:

The lyrics are so perfect for their relationship (snipping):

You could've bowed out gracefully
But you didn't
You knew enough to know
To leave well enough alone
But you wouldn't
I drive myself crazy
Tryin' to stay out of my own way
The messes that I make
But my secrets are so safe
The only one who gets me
Yeah, you get me
It's amazing to me

Icome around all broken down and
Crowded out
And you're comfort
Sometimes the place I go
Is so deep and dark and desperate

Sometimes I swear, I don't know if
I'm comin' or goin'
But you always say something
Without even knowin'
That I'm hangin' on to your words
With all of my might and it's alright
Yeah, I'm all right for one more night

Every day you save my life

Sunday Not-Check-In

I have no new words. I have many, many pages of Chris's book edited, but many, many more to go, too.

I also have nine more essays to grade tonight and there are still eight senior research papers sitting untouched here.

And . . . I think my habitual neglect of my oral health in favor of my children's (read: they go to the dentist on a regular basis; I don't because even with insurance I can only afford so much $$$ to go into Dr. W's pocket) is about to bite me (no pun intended). Why can't this stuff happen at a convenient time?!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Hard Stuff

Remember Mork and Mindy, how when they finally had a child, he was in his fifties or so? I think the idea was he would actually get younger as he got older.

Let me explain why it doesn't really work that way: because as difficult as taking care of a baby or toddler can be, as sleep-deprived or patience-tested you get, it's nothing to the challenges involved in the tween and teen years.

Monster #1 has been on a teen tear this week, which I'm not going to share here. But I will tell you about Monster #2's heartbreak.

Both Monsters are involved in 4-H, and this year was #2's first foray into DPA (District Project Achievement). At the county level, he won first place in his area, which meant he got to present his project and compete at the district level, which was today. He's worked incredibly hard to prepare and was very excited about competing. His visual aids were good, his speech was good, he was prepared, his confidence was up. He did well in competition.

His competitors did well also. I told the DH as we were leaving for lunch, before the awards ceremony, that I wasn't sure if he'd place. We'd talked to him about it over the past few days, and I thought we were good.

Well . . .

He didn't place, and we weren't good. The kids were seated on the gym floor and the adults were in the stands. Once it hit him that he didn't place, my baby, my heart, was sitting with his head bowed and even from a distance, I could tell he was crying quietly.

In my writing career, I've been rejected more times than I really want to count (it's over a hundred, okay?). I've had harsh rejections and harsher reviews. In my teaching career, I've had parents bash me, students make some really harsh comments about my teaching while I was teaching, and suffered through one really wickedly bad job interview. I can handle getting knocked down. I simply get back up.

Watching my Monster struggle with getting knocked down when he'd worked hard, tried his best and (in his head) failed? I'd take a hundred more rejections to spare him that. At the same time, while I was watching him (and tearing up as well because I couldn't do anything to comfort him), I knew what I was seeing was one of those darned hated-yet-valuable life lessons: sometimes we try our best and don't make the cut. Then we have a choice: keep trying or give up. Monster #2's already making plans for next year, so he just might be his mama's son. I realize, too, that this is the first of several knock-downs I'll have to watch him experience as he grows older. I'm glad to see he can pick himself up and dust himself off and get back in the game*.

One bright spot: After I wiped my own eyes, I looked down to find Monster #1, who was serving his first day as a teen leader with our county 4-H group, kneeling beside his brother, arm around his shoulder and offering support and comfort. So even the sometimes-so-moody-I-want-to-kill-him Monster has potential.

I think I'll keep them, even if we are embarking on some of the really hard stuff.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Tidbit

The diner wasn’t difficult to find and wasn’t far from the department, either. Within walking distance. Frowning, Madeline parked in the alley beside the historic brick building. Why hadn’t Calvert sent her on foot?
She found the answer inside as the bubbly fresh-out-of-high-school cashier loaded take-out plate after take-out plate in two large cardboard boxes. An unwilling spurt of humor tugged at Madeline’s lips. At least Calvert hadn’t been a big enough ass to send her after this on foot.
Or maybe it simply hadn’t occurred to him.
She juggled one of the awkward boxes into her arms and glared at the second. “I’ll be back for that one.”
Trying to keep her hands from slipping off, she shoved the door open with one hip and stepped onto the sidewalk. The damn carton was heavier than it looked, and it was further to the car than she’d like. Plus, she’d locked the unit. Her keys were in her pocket; she’d have to set the box down to dig them out.
“Hey, let me help you with that.” A smooth drawl filled her ears seconds before strong hands lifted the box easily from her precarious hold.
“Thanks.” She rubbed her tingling palms down her hips before tugging the keys from her pocket. She looked up at her rescuer. He was tall, his body tight with the muscles that came from good old-fashioned hard work, the box balanced easily on one hip. Sunlight glinted off sandy-blond hair, lightened here and there by long hours outside. A denim jacket covered an untucked T-shirt worn over faded blue jeans, a hole worn in one pocket, and scuffed work boots.
Standard farmer attire.
Too bad she’d sworn off farmboys long ago. This one was cute, with a great smile and the prettiest pale green eyes she’d ever seen, glowing in a tanned face, thin lines spreading out beneath long lashes.
He was checking her out, too, his sea-colored gaze roaming from her hair, to her face, over her body and back up to her eyes. He grinned, white teeth flashing against his golden skin. “You’re new here.”
New? Madeline swallowed a laugh. If he only knew. She wasn’t going to explain her convoluted past to a man she’d probably never see again, though. She pointed toward the police car. “I’m parked over here.”
He settled the box on the stainless steel back seat and straightened. “Is that all?”
She wavered for a half second. “Actually, there’s one more, if you don’t mind…”
“I don’t.” The great smile lit his face again. “Or I wouldn’t have asked.” He tucked his hands in his pockets as they walked back to the diner. “Good thing I decided to call in a lunch order today, huh?”
She reached for the door and held it. “What do you mean?”
“Might have missed meeting you.”
A laugh bubbled in her throat, and she smothered it. The last thing she wanted was a man in her life, and if she was in the market for one, it would be the kind she’d always dated: smooth, polished, interested in sex and no strings.
Not the farmer-type she’d grown up with.
Not even one with a killer body and drop-dead eyes.
He hefted the second box with the same ease and economy of movement. Outside at the car, he tilted his chin toward it. “So you’re with the sheriff’s department.”
He tucked his thumbs in his back pockets, the line of his body relaxed. “Maybe I’ll see you around then.”
Not likely, but she smiled anyway. “Maybe.”
He nodded. “You have a good day, now.”Slipping behind the wheel, she watched him amble toward the diner. My, my, he had a nice ass, and the old jeans highlighted it to perfection. Shaking off the purely feminine musings, she shifted into gear and drove back to the station. Any pleasant feelings engendered by the interlude with the good-looking farmer sputtered out as soon as she returned to the sheriff’s department.


I have a secret.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This is why I feel like I'm treading water in the classroom many days lately. The following is a quote from a New York Magazine article {emphasis is mine}:

"But the suggestion that gets the biggest laugh in the office is from Stier’s 12-year-old son, who says, 'So maybe you have to turn all the books into movies so nobody has to waste their time.'"

Read some Leu on the new principles of literacy, couple it with a view of reading like the above, and you'd see why I worry.

Why Everyone I Know . . .

. . . and buy gifts for is getting a book for Christmas:


I will also buy them from Leigh at The Bookstore. Will it cost a little more? Sure. But I like to keep my dollars local if I can.

Monday, November 10, 2008

And Now . . .

You will notice yet another poll, one dealing with a holiday read in the works.

Just Another Manic Monday

My siblings and me with my parents at my mom's 65th birthday party. I love how the Christmas lights on the tree make my brother look like he has devil horns. My sisters will, of course, get the wonderfulness of that image, considering he has Daddy's bald head.

I'm caught up on grading! Whoo! Well, at least until I get 35+ portfolio proof essays from the juniors tomorrow, plus freshman rough drafts of the same assignment. And on Wednesday? Fifteen senior project research papers, each in the ten-page range. Big junior essays on the American Dream in Modern and Post-Modern American Literature due Friday. Midterm is a week from tomorrow, so I have to stay on top of this.

Did I mention my edits on Facing It are due in ten days?

On a lighter note, I've posted a poll. My 20th high school reunion is on the 28th and I'm trying to decide if I want to go or not. I thought I'd give you the option to weigh in on my decision.

Oh, shoot! I just remembered after our "how we should be evaluated" chat today, I promised the juniors a rubric tomorrow. Have I typed said rubric? Um, no. Well, guess what I'm off to do . . .?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Check-In

Wow, I didn't mean to go a whole week without posting. It's been a crazy week. I keep thinking things will slow down, but somehow they don't. The good news is that it's only two weeks or so until Thanksgiving break. I need that (and we usually get paid early -- I really need that).

I've not made major progress this week, unless you count the twelve pages I wrote for grad school, but I have my first round of edits on Facing It to work on now (I'm 11 pages into 266) plus Fall Into Me is through final line edits. Whoo!

Normally, I don't share a lot about my works in progress, for a variety of reasons. However, at Esther's request, I had planned to talk some about each project this week, but never got around to it. So I'll share some tidbits with the word count meters tonight, okay?


Not much progress this week on the book involving a St. Augustine homicide detective and a team of paranormal investigators, including a psychic kindergarten teacher whose life is turned upside down by the dark force providing her otherworldly information. (Hey, Carol told me to try writing something different to jumpstart my brain!)
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,001 / 90,000


Um, not as much progress as I'd have liked. This is a Chandler County (i.e., Hearts of the South) book, but the protagonist is an outsider who's recently joined the sheriff's department. The former GBI agent delves into a missing-persons case while his marriage deteriorates around him.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2,242 / 90,000

The Marriage Arrangment (although I'm thinking of retitling it Deeper Into You or With Each Breath)

This is Vince's book (Do I hear Bree going Eeeee?), the story of the business-arrangement-like marraige he makes with an old friend, only to find himself falling into love and out of control.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
538 / 60,000

Normally, I don't post WIP excerpts, but here's a brief, rough-draft, very unedited taste of Vince and his heroine:

“Marry me.”
Vince Falconetti set his orange juice aside, slanted the laptop away and granted Markie Ransome his undivided attention. “Pardon?”
Sunlight glinting off her blonde curls, she leaned back in the chair cater-corner to his and peeled the wrapper away from her poppy seed muffin. A touch of whimsy colored her smile. “You should marry me.”
He stretched out his legs, adopting a lounging posture, and let his gaze trail over her. He liked having her at his breakfast table, liked her easy friendship and teasing sense of humor. Relaxing, waiting for the punch line, he rested his elbow on the arm of his chair and rubbed his forefinger over his mouth. “And why is that?”
“Because we’re perfect for one another.” She broke off a morsel of muffin and popped it in her mouth. “And face it, Vince, you’re not getting any younger.”
“Thanks a lot.” He laughed and reached for his juice. His gaze strayed to the laptop screen. Even with the dive the market had taken the previous day, Falcon Security was up four points and—
“I’m serious.”
He stared, points and juice and everything else mundane forgotten. “You think we should get married.”
“I do. No pun intended.” She gazed at him, her pure blue eyes serene and steady.
Frowning, he allowed several moments to pass. He opened his mouth, closed it again, shook his head. “Explain.”
She didn’t react to his curt command with flustered dismay, not that he’d expected her to. With a lithe stretch, she set her muffin atop her plate and straightened. She eyed him with an earnest expression. “Your grandfather wants to see you settled. You said yourself, after Lee was born, you wouldn’t mind having a child. I already serve your hostess role. You need a wife who doesn’t need your money, and I don’t. I need a husband who won’t be threatened by my dedication to my business, and you won’t. We’re friends, and we enjoy each other’s company. Why shouldn’t we get married?”
He watched her, struck more by what she’d left unsaid than the reasons she’d trotted out. As arguments went, it wasn’t bad. Wonder if she’d worked out that whole “having a child” bit and what that actually entailed? An image flashed in his mind, her tall, slender body beneath his, fingers pressing into his back, the two of them joined in the most intimate of embraces. He narrowed his eyes. “I’m not interested in artificial insemination.”
Her shapely brows lifted, a slightly mocking light entering her eyes. “Neither am I.”
He tilted his head. “So you’re proposing a marriage in all aspects of the word?”
“I won’t lose myself in you.” Her voice hardened for a moment, then the chilly stoniness of the words slipped away under another winsome smile. “I was thinking friends, with marital benefits and a wedding ring. I want a child, Vince, but I’m not interested in settling for just any man. I want someone who values what I do, but won’t expect me to subjugate my life to his, to become his arm candy when he feels like it.”Like her mother. The unspoken words trembled between them, but he heard them nonetheless.

I will make every attempt to be around more this week. Maybe things will settle down a little around here! (Although, somehow, I doubt it.)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sunday Check-In

H-ey! I'm no longer at zero on all three of my WIPs!

Here's Gone:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,600 / 90,000

And Unseen:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,001 / 90,000

Okay, so 1% or so on each book isn't fabulous, but it's better than zero. The goal is 500 words per day per book (or 1K total per day). We'll see where I am next week . . .

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jekyll Island, Day 2

Scenes from Jekyll Island -- Freakishly huge waves rolling ashore. (I have other photos, but they have both my Monster #2 and other people's monsters in them -- I don't post the Monsters' pics on the Internet.)

One thing about being on this trip -- you were busy from the time you got up until the time your head hit the pillow. That's actually really good: it's hard for kids to get into trouble if they're occupied (although some still managed).

We began day 2 with dock study, where the kids learned about barnacles and different types of motion sea animals use. Then, we went to the marina so they could use the nets off the dock and try to catch/identify small sea creatures.

After fish dissection (um, ick, although I've done it before) and lunch, we went out for marsh study. Would you believe that there are one million hermit crabs per acre in the marshes around Jekyll Island? They actually eat the detritus (dark, dark mud), which is 95% decaying plant material. The kids got to taste sea pickles and we walked through the different levels of the marsh. Our guide had them play Migratory Bird Hopscotch, which drove home the impact we have when we develop marshlands.

On the way back from the marsh, we had the infamous van incident with the windshield.

Afternoon classes included beach study (it was windy and therefore cold!). I love the sand and ocean, so I was happy, even if I was freezing. We learned a lot about how sand builds up on the island and the importance of grasses in keeping protective dunes intact.

We played ocean bingo after supper and then I thought we were going to the beach for a night walk. Oh, no. We went in the forest! I was kinda/sorta okay with that, even though I don't have the best night vision. The kids played bat and moth to show how bats use sound to locate their food and we cracked wintergreen LifeSavers to watch them spark. I was okay with the walking without a flashlight, right up until I figured out that the path I could suddenly see in the moonlight was rectangular and very, very narrow.

Not to mention a bridge over water. Did I mention it was a footbride with no rails?

We crossed two of those things in the dark! I was terrified someone's kid (namely mine) was going to end up in the water in the dark. I got ragged unmercifully by the chaperones for being a worrier.

Overall, the night walk was interesting -- one of those things that's better once it's over.

I'm off to work on Chris's book. Will be back tomorrow with the abbreviated day three . . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

HOLD ON TO ME Now in Print!

Book Signing Event – Tuesday, October 28, 2008, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
The Bookstore, 29 W. Broad Street, Camilla, Georgia – (229)336-3852

Please join us for an evening of fun and festivities as Linda Winfree, bestselling author of Southern romantic suspense, mingles with readers and celebrates the release of her latest novel, Hold On to Me.

Linda’s previous releases will be available as well; complimentary gift-wrapping provided. Come meet the author and do a little early Christmas shopping!


“…a thrilling journey through danger and suspense.” – Sheryl, Sensual Ecataromance

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.

Praise for Hold On to Me

“…a welcome addition to Ms. Winfree's HEARTS OF THE SOUTH series...as engaging and gritty as its predecessors and has a depth that is undeniable…Tick' s ability to forgive and his innate sexiness are hard to resist and when Caitlin finally surrenders the sex is explosive and caring in one brilliantly written love story.” – Jenn, Romance Junkies

“Tick is everything you’d want in a wounded hero…Spectacular, handsome, just the right amount of Alpha male…Caitlin is a pro and she’s out to prove it, but she can’t quite shut the door firmly and permanently on Tick…If you like romantic suspense with as much romance as suspense…it’s more than well worth your time and money.” – Shara, My Book Cravings

Unable to Attend? Find More Info At These Links:

Linda’s Author Page at Samhain Publishing: http://samhainpublishing.com/authors/linda-winfree

Hold On to Me at Amazon

Hold On to Me at Barnes & Noble

Monday, October 27, 2008

Interview with Guest Author Jeff Rivera

"Once homeless and living in his car, award-winning novelist Jeff Rivera writes passionate stories of those often forgotten and neglected by society. He believes even in the eyes of a gang member, even beneath the soiled clothes of a bag lady or behind the tears of a lonely kid in the back of the class, there lies a common thread that links us all, the universal human story. He has made it his personal mission to help change the way the world thinks in a positive way through his stories. Mr. Rivera currently lives in Miami, Florida. Adopted by his Filipino stepfather when he was seven years old, his ethnic background is Black American and Native American." -- www.JeffRivera.com

Forever My Lady is a lot like an Officer and a Gentleman in some ways. Was that on purpose?
I didn't set out to make it like An Officer and a Gentleman but I can see the similarities. I think if you're a big fan of that story you'll like Forever My Lady. It does have a similar story in terms of a rough and tough guy who learns to become a better man through boot camp for the love of his life.

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since I was 6 years old. But I had never written a novel before I wrote Forever My Lady. I did though think it would be really cool when I was little to have a book one day to have my book in the library. Now it's happening and for a someone who grow up a poor black kid in Hillsboro, Oregon I just want to pinch myself sometimes.

You used some interesting techniques to move the plot forward with a lot of twists. Why?
I wrote the type of story I'd like to read. I can't stand books where you know exactly what's going to happen. I fought against then when writing Forever My Lady.

How did you make sure each of the letters sounded so different as if they came from two different characters?
I actually wrote the letters first, then I wrote the rest of the novels. So for example I wrote Dio's letters first -- all of them from beginning to the end then I wrote Jennifer's responses to the letters and adapted where necessary.

Forever My Lady can be found where?
Bookstores everywhere (don't forget to support your indie bookstores too), Amazon.com or check out my website: www.JeffRivera.com

Thanks, Jeff, for stopping by to talk with us about Forever My Lady! Readers, don't forget if you comment on this post, you have a chance to win a copy of Forever My Lady.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Coming Tomorrow -- Interview with Jeff Rivera

Check back tomorrow for an intriguing interview with guest author Jeff Rivera, who'll share with us about his exciting new release, Forever My Lady.

Come by Monday and read more about Jeff and his latest release. Comment and you may win a copy!

Jekyll Island, Day 1

Scenes from Jekyll Island -- the beach on a very windy, very chilly day with winds from the northeast. The swells and waves were huge, which is very unusual for this area. Normally, the Atlantic here is lake-smooth.

We arrived Wednesday around 12:30. Ate lunch in the cafeteria -- the food was pretty good and it was nice not to have to cook for the days we were there.

After lunch, Milton took us to the slough. We learned about dunes and swales and sloughs and dissolved oxygen. The first slough we visited was in a park, and Monster #2 saw deer tracks (hunting is outlawed on the island and there are tons of deer). We trekked through the woods to slough number two. Here, the chaperones' job was to watch the alligators, which wasn't reassuring since one alligator wasn't visible. Monster #2 proceeds to slip and almost fall face first into the slimy duckweed-covered part of the slough.

Later, the kids painted T-shirts with rubbery, scale fish models. We created canvases for each homeroom. I so want to do that, for the living room maybe?

As soon as we arrived at the 4-H center, my cell phone stopped working. Everybody but me had cell coverage. That meant no email, no texting, no calls. Talk about being forced not to worry, meddle, etc. On some levels, that was really nice because it forced me to focus solely on what was going on around me, not four hours away.

Coming up next -- day two, with the dock study, fish dissection, marsh trip, ocean study, and the night walk.

Friday, October 24, 2008

We're Back!

Scenes from Jekyll Island -- the bridge between the causeway and the island. (FYI -- I didn't take this photo. I lifted it from Flicker).

I did, however, take these two photos:

Inside the van.

Outside the van.
I think this had to be our most exciting yet most frightening experience on the entire trip. We'd visited the marsh area around the causeway (this was fascinating -- more to come in the next few days) and were headed back to the 4-H center. As we topped the bridge (see first photo), I heard this large "bang" and shattering glass. I turned from the child I was talking to (there were nine children, two chaperones, our guide and me on the van) to see the shattered windshield. At first, I thought something had flown off the roadway and hit the windshield (like a "gator" from a blownout tire). Then I realized our guide couldn't see -- something was blocking the windshield.
Remember, we're atop the bridge. I spun to the children, who are all frightened and big-eyed at this time and said, "Y'all, put your heads down." I was afraid the shattered safety glass would hit someone's eye (we've already had one eye injury in the Winfree household -- didn't want to go through that again!).
Want to know the difference between fifth graders and high schoolers? The fifth graders immediately put their heads down and stayed there. The high schoolers would still be asking, "Why do we have to put our heads down? We don't want to...whine, whine, whine, ad nauseum."
Our intrepid guide (I was already impressed with her skills at the marsh; this closed the deal for me) calmly rolls down the window, sticks her head out, and drives us to safety off the bridge. Kudos to Elise!
Once stopped, we get the kids out and inspect the van. The hood latch had come undone (it was corroded and the winds were incredible that day) and the hood had flown up, slamming into the windshield and shattering it. Luckily, other than a few scratches on Elise and Chad, one of our chaperones, no one was hurt.
I, for one, am glad to be home. I'll share more pics and stories over the next few days.
What have y'all been up to in my absence?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I'm desperately trying to get packed for Monster #2's three-day field trip. Yes, I'm going. Don't know what I was thinking . . .

Today is the parental units' 46th wedding anniversary.

And . . .

Red Rock Pass #1

Keith Winston is tired of fighting. The war between werewolves and wizards rages on in Europe, but he's come home to Red Rock, Montana in hopes of finding a bit of peace. Instead he finds more strife as he struggles against the pack's dictates that he resume his place as the alpha's right hand man.

When he rescues a new wolf on the run, he knows his instant attraction to her could cause trouble. What he doesn't expect is to find himself embroiled in another battle that goes against all his instincts--and his heart.

Abigail Adler learned about the existence of werewolves only when she became one. With her life threatened by a corrupt alpha, she flees to the only sanctuary she knows: Red Rock. While she's grateful for the pack's protection, she chafes under its unbreakable rules of conduct--except when it comes to submitting to the passion Keith stirs in her.

Then her tormentor kidnaps her sister in an attempt to lure her out of hiding. To save her, Abby and Keith must be willing to do the very thing that could get them all killed--break all of the rules.

Read an Excerpt Online for Free

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cover Art Goodness: FALL INTO ME

She’s finally falling for the right man…at the worst possible time.

After two back-to-back romantic disappointments, bar owner Angel Henderson isn’t looking for love. In the past month, she’s been passed over twice by men she’d pinned her hopes on, both times in favor of a younger woman. She’s ready to swear off men for life. The only problem? A certain younger man determined to prove he can be her right man.

Sheriff’s deputy Troy Lee Farr is tired of being the department screw-up. The harder he tries to prove himself, the worse it gets. The only thing that’s gone right recently is getting a second chance with Angel. Except she’d rather jam on the brakes than rush into a new relationship. Now he has to work hard to prove his worth as a romantic prospect.

Troy Lee is a patient man, and it isn’t long before Angel is falling into him as hard as he’s fallen for her. Just as Angel begins to think of him as more than a fun date, her past—and Troy’s dangerous reality—threatens the tentative happiness they’ve found in one another.

Reminding them both that security is tenuous…and unconditional love is the biggest challenge of all.

Warning: Cops who talk like cops, explicit older woman-younger man lovin’, and two-boxes-of-tissues emotion.

Releasing January 27, 2009 from Samhain Publishing.


Note to Rhiann -- I'm pretty sure I mailed it when I sent out the last batch. Will dig through postal reciepts. May just send another copy, just in case. If both turn up then, you can give one away. ;-)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

So I Came Home From Work Today . . .

And there was a box on my front porch. So I took it inside. Here it is on my bed:

I decided to open the box. Here it is with the flaps open:

I wonder what's inside? Hmmm. Oh! It's Tick and Caitlin! Glee commences.

Look how pretty it is. I refrained from pulling a Maya Banks and licking the cover . . . barely. (I may have kissed it once or twice).

See? Glee.

I am so excited, I can't stand it. I think I'll go run around the yard now.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Musings

Scenes from Winfree's life: LaRoix, le kitteh. Originally, when Monster #2 brought her home from the flea market (don't ask), she thought "she" was a "he" and the name was Leroy. By the time we realized said skittish kitten was a girl, she was already named Leroy. So a French bastardization and her name is now LaRoix. She is the best cat ever!

The rough draft of my review of literature is turned in and approved by my professor with very few comments! Whoo!

Now, I'm working on updating grades, then I need to focus on revisions on Chris's book. I have preliminary cover art for Fall Into Me, Troy Lee's book, and it's incredibly beautiful. I can't wait until it's official so I can share it.

Fall Break is this weekend, and I'm very glad. I'm so tired, and I need this break.

How's everyone's week going?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hmmm . . .

Can I just be an ostrich and put my head in the sand?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Good, The Bad and the Down-Right-Ugly

Scenes from St. Augustine -- Graffiti from a window front at St. George Street. I snapped it for the allusion. I'm planning to make a big copy for my classroom as the seniors are beginning 1984.

I am fortunate enough to have a career I love. I can't imagine not teaching, even on the days when I'm tired and frustrated and grumbling aloud about finding something else to do with my degree. Today was one of those weird blends of what I love and hate about what I do for a living.

The bad. Oh, and it was bad. For about six weeks, I've been teaching the concepts of what makes up Post-Modern literature to my American Lit classes. In Georgia, American Lit is the only required English for all high school students and it has a high-stakes test attached to it. The standard relating to literary time periods, their context, etc. is hugely important and shows up on the EOCT and the graduation test. So when I'm teaching those concepts, it's crucial that kids get them. For some reason, this standard is hard for them to master.

So, for six weeks, I've been teaching my heart out. I could see them beginning to get the ideas. I had kids who were coming in for extra help on their Post-Modern paper (part of their culminating activity). I had them write rough drafts and peer critique and all the stuff that usually leads to successful essays. I had 99% of them turn in a paper, on time. I was thrilled.

Then I started grading.

By the tenth paper (about one-third through the kids), I knew we were in trouble. The knowledge was there. Not perfect, but there. The application of knowledge was there -- again, not perfect, but there. But they were failing. I went back to the rubric, checked it against the unit, against the standards. No faultiness in the rubric.

Finally, after I was braindead from grading (and ready to cry because I'd promised these kids that I'd set them up for success and give them what they needed to succeed and they were failing), it occurred to me that the problem lay in the fact that the rubric assessed multiple standards. Yes, they had the literary period context standard. They were missing points on the writing/grammar and the providing-sufficient evidence standards. Lightbulb! I can work with that.

However, that still left me with the task of returning papers with failing grades on them to a group of kids who'd been working really, really hard. And I was going to say, "Hey, you worked hard, but it wasn't good enough. Sorry, better luck next time."? Uh, no. Not in my world.

So they have papers. They were devastated and that was probably the most uncomfortable class period I've ever had. I have no problem laying down a failing grade where the kid has blown off the work or just slacked or whatever. But this killed me, because I felt like the failure (and in some ways I was). We're in that classroom together, and when they don't do well, that means we've not done well.

In the end, we came to an agreement. If the grade was less than an "A," they are required to revise and resubmit. I'm going to do targeted instruction and small group conferencing with them. Then I'll regrade. Hopefully, the results will be . . .

The Good. I *heart* my students. Some days, I want to smack them, but I do adore them (and unfortunately for me, a certain group of fifteen know that a little too well and will attempt shamelessly to turn it to their advantage). Anyway, this afternoon, two juniors came in to see if I'd graded their essays yet (I still had ten or so from one class to go). There were seniors milling around. The conversation went a little like this:

Junior 1, rolling his eyes playfully: I have to go home and read this boring book you're making us read.

Me: Boring? It's Gatsby, only the best American novel ever--

Junior 1: No, that would be To Kill a Mockingbird.

Me: No comparison--

Senior 1: Y'all are reading Gatsby. I love that book.

Senior 2: You have to get to the end, but it's worth it. The movie is pretty good, but it doesn't stand up to the book.

(I'm looking between them, wondering if they're being sarcastic, then picking up my jaw when I realize they're sincere.)

Can you say English teacher's dream?!

Anyway, it's midnight, I'm tired and I still have a ton of stuff to do this week. I'm pondering how I can have the seniors turn my classroom into a representation of the Orwellian society in 1984 . . .

Monday, September 29, 2008

Five Reasons F. Scott Fitzgerald Is a Genius

1. "There was music from my neighbor's house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars" (43).

2) "Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth--but there was an excitment in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered 'Listen,' a promise that she had done gay, exciting things a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour" (14).

3) "--but no one swooned backward on Gatsby and no French bob touched Gatsby's shoulder and no singing quartets were formed iwth Gatsby's head for one link" (55).

4) "The modesty of the demand shook me. He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he dispensed starlight to casual moths so that he could 'come over' some afternoon to a stranger's garden" (83).

5) The whole darn book. Read it. More than once.

Top 100 Banned Books, 2000-2007

Banned Books Week, September 27 - October 4, 2008
From ala.org, here is the list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books in 2000-2007. How many have you read?
My results:

1 Harry Potter J.K. Rowling -- No (but Monster #1 has)
2 Alice series Phyllis Reynolds Naylor -- Some
3 The Chocolate War Robert Cormier -- Yes
4 Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck -- Yes
5 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou -- Yes
6 Scary Stories Alvin Schwartz -- No
7 Fallen Angels Walter Dean Myers -- Yes (and Monster #1 is currently reading it)
8 It’s Perfectly Normal Robie Harris -- No
9 And Tango Makes Three Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell -- No
10 Captain Underpants Dav Pilkey -- Yes (Why the heck is Capt. Underpants challenged?!)
11 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain -- Yes
12 The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison -- Yes
13 Forever Judy Blume -- Yes (one of my students is reading it; her mom bought it for her)
14 The Color Purple Alice Walker -- Yes
15 The Perks of Being A Wallflower Stephen Chbosky -- No
16 Killing Mr. Griffin Lois Duncan -- Yes. Loved it.
17 Go Ask Alice Anonymous -- Yes
18 King and King Linda de Haan -- No
19 Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger -- Only if 3 chapters count. I hated it and DNF.
20 Bridge to Terabithia Katherine Paterson -- Yes
21 The Giver Lois Lowry -- Yes
22 We All Fall Down Robert Cormier -- Yes
23 To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee` -- Yes. I'm teaching it next month.
24 Beloved Toni Morrison -- Yes
25 The Face on the Milk Carton Caroline Cooney -- Yes (another what-the-heck title)
26 Snow Falling on Cedars David Guterson -- No
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead James Lincoln Collier -- Yes
28 In the Night Kitchen Maurice Sendak -- No
29 His Dark Materials series Philip Pullman -- No
30 Gossip Girl series Cecily von Ziegesar -- No
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know Sonya Sones -- No
32 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging Louise Rennison -- No (but I'm so picking it up, just because of the title)
33 It’s So Amazing Robie Harris -- No
34 Arming America Michael Bellasiles -- No (but it sounds cool)
35 Kaffir Boy Mark Mathabane -- No
36 Blubber Judy Blume -- Yes
37 Brave New World Aldous Huxley -- Yes
38 Athletic Shorts Chris Crutcher -- No
39 Bless Me, Ultima Rudolfo Anaya -- No
40 Life is Funny E.R. Frank -- No
41 Daughters of Eve Lois Duncan -- Yes
42 Crazy Lady Jane Leslie Conly -- No
43 The Great Gilly Hopkins Katherine Paterson -- Yes
44 You Hear Me Betsy Franco -- No
45 Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut -- Yes
46 Whale Talk Chris Crutcher -- No
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby Dav Pilkey -- No
48 The Facts Speak for Themselves Brock Cole -- No
49 The Terrorist Caroline Cooney -- Yes
50 Mick Harte Was Here Barbara Park -- No
51 Summer of My German Soldier Bette Green -- Yes
52 The Upstairs Room Johanna Reiss -- No (although I think I may own a copy)
53 When Dad Killed Mom Julius Lester -- No
54 Blood and Chocolate Annette Curtis Klause -- No
55 The Fighting Ground Avi -- Yes
56 The Things They Carried Tim O'Brien -- Yes
57 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Mildred Taylor -- Yes
58 Fat Kid Rules the World K.L. Going -- No
59 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things Carolyn Mackler -- No
60 A Time To Kill John Grisham -- Yes
61 Rainbow Boys Alex Sanchez -- No
62 Olive’s Ocean Kevin Henkes -- No
63 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Ken Kesey -- No
64 A Day No Pigs Would Die Robert Newton Peck -- Yes (What? Who challenged this?!)
65 Speak Laurie Halse Anderson -- Yes
66 Always Running Luis Rodriguez -- No
67 Black Boy Richard Wright -- Yes
68 Julie of the Wolves Jean Craighead George -- Yes
69 Deal With It! Esther Drill -- No
70 Detour for Emmy Marilyn Reynolds -- No
71 Draw Me A Star Eric Carle -- No
72 Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury -- Yes (Um, ironic much that this book is on the list?)
73 Harris and Me Gary Paulsen -- No
74 Junie B. Jones series Barbara Park -- Yes
75 So Far From the Bamboo Grove Yoko Watkins -- No
76 Song of Solomon Toni Morrison -- Yes
77 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes Chris Crutcher -- No
78 What’s Happening to My Body Book Lynda Madaras -- No
79 The Boy Who Lost His Face Louis Sachar -- No
80 The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold -- Yes
81 Anastasia Again! Lois Lowry -- Yes
82 Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Judy Blume -- Yes
83 Bumps In the Night Harry Allard -- No
84 Goosebumps series R.L. Stine -- Yes (Monster #2 glommed them)
85 Shade’s Children Garth Nix -- No
86 Cut Patricia McCormick -- No
87 Grendel John Gardner -- Yes
88 The House of Spirits Isabel Allende -- No
89 I Saw Esau Iona Opte -- No
90 Ironman Chris Crutcher -- No
91 The Stupids series Harry Allard -- No
92 Taming the Star Runner S.E. Hinton -- Yes
93 Then Again, Maybe I Won’t Judy Blume -- Yes
94 Tiger Eyes Judy Blume -- Yes
95 Like Water for Chocolate Laura Esquivel -- No
96 Nathan’s Run John Gilstrap -- No
97 Pinkerton, Behave! Steven Kellog -- No
98 Freaky Friday Mary Rodgers -- Yes
99 Halloween ABC Eve Merriam -- No
100 Heather Has Two Mommies Leslea Newman -- No