Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday, Monday

Scenes from St. Augustine -- I love this photo. I took this close to dusk, sitting on the bay front in front of the Castillo while listening to our ghost tour guide.

We made major progress on the office this weekend, and I'm wiped out. This week's plan:

1) Minimum 7K on Troy Lee and Angel (now titled Fall Into Me -- I love that title).
2) Paint the bathroom.
3) Install the wainscot in the bathroom.
4) Clear the master bedroom . . . and paint.
5) Take Monster #1 to tennis lesson.
6) I'm sure there's lots more . . . but my brain doesn't want to work this morning

Here's my updated progress on Fall Into Me:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
62,076 / 80,000

It's going really well. I figure 40 more pages . . . about 2 more weeks . . .

What projects, writing or non-writing, are on your agenda right now?

Friday, June 27, 2008

And I Can Say I Knew Them When . . .

Claire is tired of pretending to be polite, docile...human. She wants to unleash the animal inside her, and she wants to do it with a man who can really handle her. Then she meets Lars, a dangerous, sexy alpha, in a smoky bar. They share some moonshine, a potent shifter aphrodisiac, and have blisteringly hot sex.

Their one night of intoxicated passion leaves her wanting more, but Lars isn't interested in a woman who can only let loose while under the influence. Claire must then decide whether she's ready--and willing--to truly embrace her wild side.

Read an Excerpt Online for Free

Go check it out!

Wait. Is It Really Almost July?!

Scenes from St. Augustine -- The World Famous Love Tree! In Romancelandia, it would be the lurrrrve tree. It stands in front of the Love Tree Cafe (which contains an antique shop -- be still, my beating heart!) and right next to the Tolomato Cemetery (the haunted one that contains the remains of the exploding bishop. I kid you not -- he exploded, supposedly during his funeral.) Anyway, the Love Tree has a palm tree growing out of an oak. Kiss someone beneath it, you're stuck with them for life. Yes, the DH is doomed.
Wow, where did June go?! Well, yes, I know where the first week went -- you've been looking at photos of it for weeks. Actually, June's been pretty productive. The living room renovations are about 50% complete (I'm waiting on my sliding glass doors). The master bath is coming along nicely (I painted the ceiling and primed the walls yesterday). I've written 26,589 words on Something More in the last fourteen days. I completed one graduate course and started another one. Hearts Awakened is through final line edits.
July is going to be terribly busy. We need to finish the master bath, the master bedroom and my office before we re-tackle the living area and kitchen. (But we are almost finished! I can't wait. I want my life back!) I have to complete SM and give it a good editing before I turn it in. I have print galleys due on Hold On to Me. I'm teaching an online writing class through Wine Country Romance Writers. I need to get ready to write the next book (I'm in the thinking stages). I'll be embroiled in EDUC 6672 and I have to prepare for the coming school year.
But busy is good. Busy is just . . . me. :-)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday Thirteen -- Things to Do In St. Augustine

Scenes from St. Augustine -- Reenactors atop the Castillo de San Marco, preparing to fire the cannons.

1) Visit the Castillo de San Marco. If you go on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, they fire the cannons, which is fun and educational.
2) Go to the beach. We prefer Vilano, but St. Augustine Beach out on Anastasia Island is nice too.
3) Eat lunch at the Spanish Bakery on St. George Street. (This is not to be missed!)
4) Visit the Mission of La Leche. Cool, quiet, peaceful, a great place to reflect.
5) Tour the Fountain of Youth. Yes, it's a little hokey, but the fourteen acres of grounds are gorgeous and you can feed the squirrels.
6) Walk the historic district. Beautiful atmosphere, great shopping.
7) Tour the San Sebastian Winery. Really interesting (even the Monsters enjoyed it) and the gift shop is great.
8) Listen to live music in the square.
9) Visit art galleries (if it's First Friday, they're all open in the evening too).
10) Walk the bay front.
11) Climb the lighthouse!
12) Eat at the Santa Maria and feed the fish and birds while you eat. Although I was nervous at first b/c the building is pretty old and the table felt less than clean, the experience and the food were fabulous!
13) Take a ghost tour. We did three -- one trolley, one carriage, one walking. All were fantastic, all met a different need. If you must choose one, the walking tour is fabulous.

I could go on and on and on (as I'm pretty sure you've noticed I'm in love with this city, always have been), but maybe I'll save that for another day. :-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Check It Out!

Look at #10! (I've been knocked off by a new release already, but hey . . . I was there, baby!)

What You Need

Scenes from St. Augustine -- St. George Street. Lots of historic buidings, closed to auto traffic, lots of great shopping and restaurants, not to mention a fun place to just walk, soak in the atmosphere and people watch.

I spent the evening at Mary's last night. Ever not realize you really need something until afterward? We talked, looked at her pictures from England, laughed, talked some more. I really needed to spend time with her! I'd smiled and laughed until my face actually hurt, but it felt great.

Jamie joined us for a few minutes after the UGA College World Series game and I was able to pick his brain about accident reconstruction, which I need for Troy Lee's book. Mary inadvertently gave me an idea for a book, one I'd toyed with while I'd played with the concept of a cold case trilogy, but I think it might be too close to the book I want to work on this fall.

On the writing front . . . made a little over my 1000 words yesterday, but it was painful. At least I'm producing. I'm hoping once I hit the next emotional/plot high point, my speed will pick back up. Current word count: 54,028 out of a targeted 80,000.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pet Peeve #1

Scenes from St. Augustine -- Potter's Wax Museum. I've never wanted to do this one, but the DH picked it as one activity for us. It was actually kind of fun, and I was tickled to see the Seinfeld crew there. (Is it just me, or does Elaine look like some demonically possessed Barbie doll?)

Seinfeld was one of my favorite shows, because even though it was a show about "nothing," it really was a show about characters. For the most part, you could count on the characters to stay, well, in character.

Another of my favorites, when I had time to watch, was Law and Order. I like the police procedural, but even better was the tiny nuggets we gleaned about the characters over several seasons. (And I love how they used New York the setting as a character.) Even with minor inconsistencies (Does Cragen have chidren or not?), the characters remained themselves.

One of my pet peeves in movie, television and book series is characters who go wildly out of, well, character. For example, I loved The Mummy with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Wiesz. The second was a wild rolic, but left me with a niggling sense of dissatisfaction I didn't figure out until I'd watched it the second time. It was Evie and her character changes. Now, I'm sure living ten years with a swashbuckler would alter a shy, slightly goofy librarian, but she turns into a Lara Croft-wannabe? I don't think so. (Yeah, yeah, I know . . . she's channeling the reincarnated Egyptian Lara Croft, but please.) It bothers me enough that I'm not sure I want to see the third Mummy movie, due out in August (although I know I'll end up seeing it).

So . . . what's your number one pet peeve as a reader/viewer?


On a side note, yesterday's 1000 words was like pulling teeth. I expect today will be the same. I hope this breaks soon . . .

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Check In

Scenes from St. Augustine: The bay front historic district at dusk, from the vantage of the Castillo de San Marco.

Check it out! My progress on Something More since June 15 (last Sunday):

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
51,749 / 80,000

What I need to accomplish this week:

1) Print assignments, etc. for the grad course I'm starting tomorrow.

2) Wrap up lectures for the writing class I'm teaching, get ready to start teaching the next one.

3) Write minimum of 7K on SM.

4) Finish clearing the office so we can demo in there and work on it. (I'm tired of renovating -- I'm ready to be finished!)

5) Clear construction debris from the backyard.

Get this -- we won all the spindles to redo my front porch on ebay. 58 spindles, which would have cost me $3-$4 each at Lowes, for $.99. We have to pick them up about an hour away, but I'm still saving money (and reusing materials that would have gone into a landfill). But do you know how weird it will be to walk up and hand this guy $.99 for over a $100's worth of material?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

People Watching

Scenes from St. Augustine -- Look! It's Patrick and Cody! Patrick is the horse (he's a retiree from an Amish farm up north) and Cody was our fabulously wry, witty guide for ghostly carriage ride. This was sooooo much fun. I've always wanted to do one of St. Augustine's famous carriage rides, but we were always a) too busy or b) on a shoestring budget when we went.

I'm not sure if it's the writer in me or not, but I love people watching. I look at everything--how they dress, how they move, how they talk, how they interact. (Then, usually, I get caught staring and they give me weird looks. I don't mean to stare, I just get drawn into them.) While we were visiting SA, I was surrounded by people watching opportunities. People come from all over to visit. I do mean all over, because the DH and I picked out the following languages around us: Portugese, Spanish, Russian, Greek, Vietnamese and Japanese. You heard accents from all over the United States (and some British accents). Families, couples, friends.

Some of my favorites:

1) The three teachers on vacation together who were on our Ghost Trolley tour. Oh my God, they were hilarious. One was the DD and two had indulged in a few too many martinis, but they were so much fun. They were having fun and you wanted to be drawn into their good time.

2) The young family atop the Castillo de San Marco. The dad was valiantly trying to get his 2-3 year old daughter to drink water and stay hydrated. They were just sweet.

3) The honeymooners we saw on a different night in front of the Castillo. They were taking photos of the sign, canoodling, celebrating being in love. Very, very cute.

4) Watching the local teenagers hang out on St. George Street on Friday night was interesting. They were really different from our local teens (not in a bad way, just different). Actually, all of the local were interesting, from the 1960's hippie guy who hangs out on St. George to the street performers, to the guys who sit in front of the local hangout bars and hollered to Cody as we passed on the carriage ride. Oh, the stories behind all those locals . . .

I think what I liked the most, and what I sometimes crave when I go on my binges about wanting to live down there, is the sheer level of diversity. There's not a lot of that here, although you get into social and class and color differences that lead to tension.

What about you? Are you a watcher? Or a watchee?

Friday, June 20, 2008


Scenes from St. Augustine -- A shot from the top of the Castillo de San Marco. Ponce de Leon and his men sailed through that channel beyond the palm trees (so did Sir Francis Drake, several years later). That's Vilano Beach to the left, where we always stay. It's gorgeous, not very commercial (although it's becoming more so, sadly). The walls of the Castillo are made of coquina, a seashell-limestone mined locally. The white stuff is where the fort has been repaired. After surviving many, many attacks (coquina absorbs cannonballs, go figure) and turning over only as part of treaty or surrender, the Castillo is not holding up as well under a quarter of a million visitors each year.

Not much to talk about today. I've been writing, writing, writing -- more than 13K in the past week. I'm loving how Troy Lee and Angel's story is shaping up so far.

How was your Friday? Up to anything interesting this weekend?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Today . . .

Scenes from St. Augustine -- The bay front area. This is where the horse and carriages park (we were on our way for our ghostly carriage ride -- that was a blast!). I love walking along here at night, with the historic district quiet around you and the waves lapping at the sea wall.

Today was all about errands. Put gas in the Jeep. Took Monster #1 to the orthodontist. IHOP for a late breakfast. A trip to the grocery store. A trip to Office Depot. The post office, the hardware store. (Yes, I lead an exciting life.)

While I'm working on Troy Lee's book (current word count: 43,117), I'm thinking through what I want to spend the fall working on. I think I have my idea, but all I'm getting right now are snippets of the story.

I must admit, on a different note, that going through the St. Augustine photos to post here makes me a little melancholy. Early in our marriage, the DH and I had planned to move there.He was on a career track in law enforcement, but he made a bad decision for us to move back to Georgia, following his heart when he really should have listened to his head (or to me). Although his motives were good, the move turned out badly and we've dealt with the repercussions for a long time. (This might explain why I tend not to follow my heart when making decisions -- I like to think through all the options.) It's not that I don't like my life now--I like where I teach, our home is basically paid for (although, you know, renovations from hell), we're close to my parents. At the same time, I love the cultural richness of St. Augustine, the beauty of the ocean, the appreciation of the arts (which enchanted Monster #1, our resident artist in the Winfree household). So while I enjoyed being there, I couldn't help seeing what could have been if the DH had continued the career track he was on back then. It's taken him a long way to find his way back to the place he is now, and it hasn't been easy. Like I said, just a little melancholy and pensive.

A couple of questions for you: Do you tend to follow your head or your heart when making decisions? And do you sometimes look at the what-might-have-been's or are you solely focused on the what-will-be's of your life?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Climbing the Lighthouse

Scenes from St. Augustine: The St. Augustine Lighthouse.

My photo doesn't do justice to the sheer size of this building. When you're standing on the ground, looking up, it's huge -- you have to tilt your head back to see it all. If you're from Manhattan or Atlanta or anywhere there are tall buildings, no big deal. But when you live in an area where the tallest buildings are five or six stories tall, this thing is massive.

The lighthouse has 219 steps, in the circular stairways I showed you yesterday. It's fourteen stories tall. The area around it is beautiful and the view when you get to the top is stunning.

Being in St. Augustine for a week while editing HEARTS AWAKENED was a special treat for me. I was immersed in Mark (Cookie) and Tori's story, part of which takes place in St. Augustine, which holds many of the secrets of Mark's past. It had been five years since our last visit to the Oldest City, and I loved rediscovering all of my favorite places while finding new ones. After climbing the lighthouse, I did manage to work it into the dialogue and even into Mark's past, although I didn't set a scene there. Everywhere we went, I'd think, "Hey, Mark and Tori went here. Or this is where they were when . . ."

And I took photos. Lots and lots of photos.

Hearts Awakened is due to release in September, so look in late August, early September for a virtual book setting tour -- photos of the setting to whet your appetite. I love their story and I'm excited about the upcoming release, so be prepared -- I'll probably be talking about it a lot.

I'm also excited about Something More, Troy Lee's story. I passed the halfway mark on it yesterday! It's really closely linked to Mark's book and actually interleaves with it in a couple of places, something I've never tried before.

So the writing is good. I'm no longer standing at the base of the lighthouse, looking up. I'm about halfway there, looking out the window. 39,000 more words and I'll be here, gazing miles out to sea:

Another scene from St. Augustine: The awesome view from the top of the lighthouse, gazing out at the Atlantic Ocean.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Crossroads and Taking Stock

Scenes from St. Augustine: View down the stairs at the St. Augustine Lighthouse (if you're a Ghosthunters fan, you know Jay and Grant ran up and down these stairs, chasing a "shadow" later seen to peek over at the cameras, just as I'm doing here). Those are my toes, not the ghost's toes.

The photo seemed apt, since I'm hitting the "taking stock" point. I hate this, by the way. I don't know why. I don't have difficulty doing this in the teaching career. There is a very concrete plan for that and I take stock on that plan, on my classroom plan pretty regularly. Ditto on the house renovations. There's a plan, I know the plan, I work the plan, I monitor the plan.

But in this terms of taking stock, I feel lost, almost like I'm almost endlessly circling those steps above, not sure where I'm going, not sure if I'm going in the right direction. I think it comes down to not knowing for sure what I want. What do I want? Is the thing I'm currently seeking what I want or merely what I think I'm supposed to want, because everyone expects you to want that? If I do want it, why do I want it? And what if I want something else entirely and don't know it?

And once I figure out what I want, how do I get there?

Then I get into the need vs. want. What if I what I need is at odds with what I want? What then? And how do I know the difference?

It's enough to make my head hurt. But I really have to get a handle on this. I'm not good at simply flailing around without a plan.

So tell me . . . how do you figure out what you want and need? Help me out here. ;-)


Word count check: 40,211

Whoo! That's past the halfway point!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Progress Report

Scenes for St. Augustine: My photography skills probably leave much to be desired, but I love watching the different sail boats bobbing in the Bay of Matanzas. The horizon in the distance is Anastasia Island.

I'm making progress on Something More. The deal is, I have to write 1000 words a day. I can write more, but I have to make 1000. So far, I'm good. Here's how I measure up as of June 15:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
36,971 / 80,000

It probably helps that I'm loving Troy Lee and Angel. And that I'm through the main edits on Hearts Awakened. It's off to the FLE.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This Week's TTD:

One of my favorite shots from our vacation -- the Castillo de San Marco fronting the Bay of Matanzas in St. Augustine.

1) Blog more often

2) Minimum 7K on Something More, Troy Lee & Angel's book. (I have to turn it in August 1. What was I thinking, write a book in two months, under contract?!)

3) Hang ceiling drywall in living room

4) Laundry

5) Discussion posts and portfolio for EDUC 6650 (this is week 8)

6) Print out assignments and make notebook for next course

7) Write and post lessons for the online writing class I'm teaching

8) Clear office and panic.

9) Demo drywall so we can finish hanging new panels.

I'm sure there's more, but I'm afraid to think about it.




Big improvement, huh? It looks soooo much better already and that's without paint and flooring!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

MEMORIES OF US Available Today!

Beneath the lies is truth—and temptation neither of them can resist.

Memories of Us by Linda Winfree
Book Five of the Hearts of the South series.

Investigator Celia St. John is hopelessly attracted to the one man she shouldn’t want, district attorney Tom McMillian. Arrogant and completely alpha, McMillian is the type of man she likes—a tough son of a bitch. The problem? He’s her boss, and he’s still hung up on his ex-wife.

Since his marriage to a law enforcement agent failed after the death of his infant son, Tom has avoided emotional involvement with any woman. Despite his attraction to Celia, he refuses to get involved with another cop.

Their no-strings affair quickly becomes a tangled web of intrigue as they investigate an illegal baby adoption ring and more than one murder, one of which points to Tom as a suspect. The more they dig under the lies, the higher the risk, not only to their relationship, but their lives.


Memories of Us is a Recommended Read at Joyfully Reviewed for June. You can read the review here.

For an excerpt and purchasing information, visit
And remember -- I've hijacked Kate's blog all week long. Come visit, leave a comment and you could win free books!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Where To Find Me

Alas, it's not HERE:

I was there last week. More pictures and fun stories to come, including the "ghost" pics.

Today, I'm over at Writeminded, exploring the link between Elisabeth's nagging and Memories of Us (Did I mention it releases TOMORROW?!). Go comment. The lovely Writeminded ladies are giving away a print copy of What Mattered Most, winner to be announced tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I'm at the Samhain blog to celebrate the release of Memories of Us.

And all this week, I've stolen Kate Rothwell's blog. Again, the chance to win free books!