We had a lovely Christmas here. The family all gathered at my house for the day. We opened gifts, ate far too much, sipped a little champagne, and enjoyed being together. It was my granddaughter, Bella's, first Christmas, which made it extra special.
I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday, however you spent it.
I will meet readers and autograph The Gift at the following Barnes & Noble locations during the next week: Saturday, December 5th, 2009 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM Barnes & Noble, Inc. 1565 Briargate Blvd. Colorado Springs, CO 80920 (719) 266-9945
December 11th, 2009 2:00 PM Barnes & Noble, Inc. Entertainment & Fashion Pavilion 500 16th Street Mall Denver, CO 80202
The Gift is the perfect gift for the holidays. :) Okay, so I couldn't resist....
And if you can't come to Colorado for the signings, you can still order an autographed copy from Beth Anne's Book Corner. 719-471-7545
I am thankful this and every year for my family and their continued good health. This year I give special thanks for the birth of my first granddaughter, Annabella Debra Carr.
I am thankful for good, loyal friends who have stood at my side these past years as I've mourned the death of my husband, Dave.
I am thankful to have met Marty, my wonderful gentleman friend who is a brilliant photographer and gardener.
I am thankful that my Muse has finally risen from the ashes and again allows me to fulfill my role as storyteller, and that The Giftis finally in print and available to my readers.
Finally, I am ever-so-thankful for my dear, loyal readers. What would a writer be without readers? And vice-versa...? Since all writers are readers--and I do wish I knew who first said "scratch a writer, find a reader"--I proudly wear both hats.
Books, stories, worlds beyond the one in which we live. Escape. There are no boundaries. No limits. Only our imaginations and the written word. All entertainment depends on writers--on storytellers.
Let us all remember next time we go to a movie, watch television, read a novel, a story, or even see a commercial, that a writer somewhere had to put words together to make the moment possible.
And give thanks for the miracle of Story.
Readers and Writers. We make quite a pair. Don't we?
Have a safe, joyous, healthful, and fulfilling Thanksgiving.
We'll be heading to my hometown to spend Thanksgiving with my dad, and I'm doing a signing on Black Friday. Hope to see you there.
Have a wonderful and safe holiday!
November 27th, 2009 Book Signing Noon - 2:00 PM Deb Stover will meet readers and autograph copies of THE GIFT. Waldenbooks 4600 West Kellogg Wichita, KS 67209 http://www.debstover.com for more information
If booksellers could be Superheroes, Beth Anne of Beth Anne's Book Corner in Colorado Springs would be my nominee. Robin D. Owens and I signed in her store Saturday, and we had an incredible day, thanks to Beth Anne's pre-selling of our new releases. This woman really loves what she does and it shows!
Thank you, Beth Anne. And thank you to all our readers who either came to the signing or contacted Beth Anne to arrange to have THE GIFT signed for mail order.
Beth Anne & Deb
Beth Anne & Robin
Bella's first booksigning with Grandma (she's on the dedication page along with her Grandpa & Great-Grandpa)
All photos by the marvelously talented Martin Yaslowitz, who also managed to get his name on the dedication page.... :)
Author Terri DuLong has been gracious enough to stop by and answer some questions about her new release, Spinning Forward.
Welcome, Terri! Please tell us about your new book (I love the cover!).
Terri: Thanks, Deb. A New Englander born and bred, the last place Sydney Webster expects to find herself starting over is on an island off the west coast of Florida. Yet here she is in Cedar Key, trying to pull herself together after her husband's untimely death, and the even more untimely revelation of his gambling addiction. Syd takes shelter at a college pal's bed and breakfast, leading her to discover her true identity and feminine soul. Her passion for spinning and knitting draws attention due to the unique composition of her wool and a door is opened. She finds herself in the embrace of a community rich with love, laughter, friendship . . . and secrets. A tale of new beginnings, old friends and lives forever bound.
Deb: It sounds fascinating. What pulled you into the story and made you think "I have to write this?"
Terri: The actual people of Cedar Key, the small town where I now reside, made me feel I wanted to write about the closeness and caring of a small community. As far as my main character, not all women have the final say-so when it comes to decisions or financial matters in their marriage and although it may seem fine and easy at the time, my story deals with the fact that women owe it to themselves to be aware of these issues. For Sydney, her uninvolved attitude came back to bite her.
Deb: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?
Terri: I'd have to say my favorite thing about writing is all the feedback I get from my readers. Their comments on my characters, plot, how my story affected them, etc. Least favorite? Call me Pollyanna, but I really don't have one. I love writing and the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a story.
Deb: How do you fight writer's block?
Terri: I've never really had "writer's block." I've had episodes where I momentarily get stuck about where to go and what will work to take my plot forward, but when that happens I get away from the manuscript for a few days. Give it time to percolate a little. However, I'm constantly thinking about it the entire time and somehow I find my way back to where I want to go.
Deb: If your novel were made into a movie, who do you envision playing your main character? The love interest? The villain? And what part would you play? And why...?
Terri: For Sydney, my main character, I envision a few actresses. Sally Field is the major one but I could also see Michelle Pfeiffer or Rachel Ward being my Sydney. For the love interest, Noah, I envision Richard Gere or Kevin Costner. I honestly can't see myself as any of the characters. Ah, I know. Maybe Miss Polly, the hairdresser in town because she gets all the gossip and as a writer, I love gossip and details!
Deb: Please name the five movies and the five books you want with you if stranded on a desert island.
Terri: 5 books would be: A Woman of Substance, To Kill a Mockingbird,The House at Riverton, The Shellseekers and The Thornbirds.
5 movies would be: Casablanca, Pretty Woman, Saving PrivateRyan, Ghost and Steel Magnolias.
Deb: What is next for you?
Terri: My Christmas novella that I'm doing in the anthology with Fern Michaels headlining will be released November 2010, the same time that my second book in the Cedar Key series will be out.
Spinning Forward released by Kensington Publishing Oct. 27, 2009 Book #2 in the Cedar Key Series and a Christmas Novella with Fern Michaels headlining the anthology to be released November 2010.
PS: Yes, Princess Bonnie has Down Syndrome, but she is very active with me in the voting process. She enjoys it, understands the names of different candidates, and is excited about the entire process. Some people have objected to her right to vote. Imagine that.... Just because she has an extra # 21 chromosome doesn't make her a non-citizen. In fact, since she's Native American, she's more "citizen" than I....
My first signing for The Gift is scheduled at my favorite bookstore, Beth Anne's Book Corner. Since this book has been such a long and painful process, and so many of you have been so patient, I want this first signing to have a party atmosphere. Beth Anne is known for hosting the world's friendliest book signings. We have more than one reason to make this signing a party. My signing mate, Robin D. Owens, will also be celebrating her birthday! Rumors are there will be cake, in addition to her wonderful new release, Heart Change.
When? November 7th, 2009 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Where? 1532 N. Circle in Colorado Springs, CO (behind Baskin Robins on west side of street)
If you can't make it and would like to order an autographed copy of either and/or both book(s), call or email Beth Anne and she will have us personalize it and send it to you. Phone: 719-471-7545. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't think my deck looks like a good place for a BBQ right now!
It's been snowing non-stop since yesterday morning, and it's still snowing. I don't know what the official tally is up here, but I think we're into FEET at this point. It's going to take some serious digging to get me out of here for booksignings.
Good excuse to curl up with a good book. I've received a few sighting reports for The Gift. Happy reading!
This is release week for The Gift, which is--officially--on sale tomorrow. It seems like it's been forever, and I thank you all for your patience and support. If you'd like to order an autographed copy, please contact this local bookseller, where I'll be signing on 11/7, and she will have me personalize it and send it to you by US Mail. email@example.com or call 719-471-7545 Otherwise, you should be able to find the book in your usual haunts--online and brick and mortar. If you don't see it, please ask. That's one of the best things you can do to keep authors at work supplying you with new reads. Supply and demand...
Since The Gift is a suspense and a ghost story, it seems appropriate that it be released the week of Halloween. On that note, I would love to hear your ghost stories. Please share them with us here on the blog for all to enjoy.
The usual shameless self promo follows. :) Again, thank you! It's a book at last! I think the dedication page says it all....
“Readers will rejoice at the return of one of the romance genre’s special talents! Stover is back and jumping right into the romantic suspense game, while giving it a paranormal twist. Stover’s heroine is competent yet damaged, both by the past and her ‘gift.’ This melting pot of murder mystery, passion and ghosts makes for an outstanding storytelling stew!” HOT ~ 4 ½ Stars! Jill Smith, RT Book Reviews
“Thrilling romantic suspense at its best! THE GIFT is an extremely exciting thriller full of the extraordinary; fascinating and exceptionally entertaining. Deb Stover has a gift for capturing and keeping your attention throughout the entire novel. The story is unique and unlike other stories of this nature. I found this an extremely difficult book to put down. Each page turns itself. A must-read if you want that ‘different’ but really exciting thriller.” ~Kay Quintin, reviewer - Fresh Fiction
“FIVE STARS! From the moment I began reading I knew that I would not be stopping until every last page had been read. The very first sentence sunk its deep hooks within me and pulled me into Beth's story. (I admit that I did not go kicking and screaming either.) The story is very well written, with nothing I would consider to be ‘over the top’ or unbelievable. Backgrounds of the main and secondary characters are well developed and their emotions seem genuine. I honestly believe this to be a fantastic story and Deb Stover carries it off with her usual élan.” ~ Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews
“Deb Stover spins a fantastic tale of love and mystery...filled with sexual tension that will keep you turning pages in anticipation...” ~Dyan Grant, NovelTalk Reviews
"A real page-turner..." New York Times best-selling author, Lisa Jackson
"This story had me totally absorbed. Several times I was so engrossed in the story, that when I heard a noise, I nearly jumped out of my skin. This book is vintage Deb Stover!" ~ Kathy Boswell, Fresh Fiction
Join Pikes Peak Romance Writers on October 25, 2009 at the Falcon Police Station from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. as we present Deb Stover discussing "Talking to Invisible People."
Award-winning author Deb Stover will lead an informal discussion about our imaginary friends--the characters who populate and drive our stories. Commercial fiction is, primarily, character-driven. An editor once said, "A reader will forgive a weak plot, but not weak characters." Discuss character interviews, bios, sketches, astrology charts, Tarot Cards, and various other methods of getting to know your characters.
Once upon a time, Deb Stover wanted to be Lois Lane, until she discovered Clark Kent is a fraud and there is no Superman. Since the publication of her first novel in 1995, Stover has received dozens of awards for her cross-genre fiction. The Gift will be released in November 2009. For more information, please visit www.debstover.com
My dad came to visit last weekend, as is his habit every fall to take in the Aspen glow. He and his lady friend had to drive to 10,000 feet to see them at their most brilliant on Saturday, while I stayed home to prepare a big family feast for Sunday to celebrate my son, Ben's, 20th birthday. It's a good thing he came when he did, because we had snow on the ground here the day he left. ::sigh::
Great-Grandpa meeting his great-granddaughter (Bella) for the first time. :)
My Maggie sneaking a kiss.
Mother/Daughter portrait. I'm a little biased, but I think they're both beautiful.
Family portrait, and Maggie managed to sneak into this one, too. LOL!
All photos taken by my wonderful gentleman friend, personal photographer, and master gardener, Martin Yaslowitz.
"Deb Stover spins a fantastic tale of love and mystery. THE GIFT is filled with sexual tension that will keep you turning pages in anticipation of when the Hero and Heroine will finally come together."
Nice. I think I should have bought a lottery ticket today, too. :)
THE GIFT – Deb Stover – Love Spell – 9780505526069 – Kay Quintin, reviewer - Fresh Fiction
"Thrilling romantic suspense at its best! THE GIFT is an extremely exciting thriller full of the extraordinary; fascinating and exceptionally entertaining. Deb Stover has a gift for capturing and keeping your attention throughout the entire novel. The story is unique and unlike other stories of this nature. I found this an extremely difficult book to put down. Each page turns itself. A must-read if you want that different but really exciting thriller."
"Readers will rejoice at the return of one of the romance genre's special talents! Stover is back and jumping right into the romantic suspense game, while giving it a paranormal twist. Stover's heroine is competent yet damaged, both by the past and her "gift". This melting pot of murder mystery, passion and ghosts makes for an outstanding storytelling stew!"
Ah, Sunday mornings are so lovely and lazy. I staggered out of bed with my usual arthritic stiffness, hobbled toward the bathroom, flipped on the light, and found "someone" waiting. In the sink. Stuck. Trembling.
I didn't scream, because I hadn't had my coffee yet. I looked at the poor, adorable--obviously trapped in the slippery marble sink--baby mouse and said, "There's no way I'm going to kill you, so don't be afraid."
Once I've seen its face, I do not kill. No way. I'm not a vegetarian, but I don't eat anything with a name or face either. I just...can't. My grandparents owned a dairy farm. We drank milk, but we didn't eat the cows. I was brokenhearted when I found out what sometimes happened to the chickens I helped my grandmother feed.
Back to Minnie Mouse....
Hours later, after morning coffee, etc., I enlisted the aid of my gentleman friend, who also agreed the little mouse must be safely captured and transported to the great outdoors. Yes, of course I realize he/she will probably just come back inside my house, but let's not go there yet. He found a plastic cup in the kitchen with a lid. After I snapped this very bad photo with my Blackberry, he scooped the little critter up and took him/her safely out to the front yard where my dog couldn't make sport of it.
So we've done our Sunday Morning Good Deed.
Now...tell me why we've had lows in the upper 40s the last week of July, and have mice coming into the house the 1st weekend of August.... It's too early for fall and winter even at this altitude.
Another impact of global climate change, no doubt. ::sigh::
I have a huge vegetable garden where this mouse could be happily feasting instead of being trapped in my bathroom sink. Go figure.
Have a wonderful Sunday and read something with a happy ending.
As many of you know, The Gift is the book I sold while my husband was dying from cancer. I am delighted to have finally completed it, and have it scheduled for November 2009! Early reviews are encouraging--hurray and whew!--and the cover art is stunning. I could not be more pleased. I must say I have the most patient editor and agent in the world!
My favorite bookseller has arranged to take advance orders for autographed copies, if you're so inclined. As an aside, she also has some of my backlist, if there's something you missed. Here is her info:
Pre-Order an autographed copy of The Gift now from:
Nothing sweeter than a sleeping princess all content and perfect.
And Princess Bonnie got to see the Wiggles for the third year in a row last night. She'll never outgrow this, so it's becoming an annual tradition. Now she expects me to make new T-shirts for them every year. I figure the cost of the tickets plus the T-shirts are worth the trade-off of bribing her sister and brother-in-law to take her instead of me. :) I think they had fun. Don't you?
And today I received the galley/page proofs of THE GIFT, just as I was really starting to make progress on my new proposal. Alas, first things first.
Baby, it's cold outside--at least for the end of July. We've had lows in the upper 40s and our high today was 55! Brrrr... Rainy, too. Nice change.
The garden is growing, flowers are blooming. My gentleman friend does the gardening here (and takes the beautiful photos), and we've been eating fresh lettuce, peas and such for weeks. I watch the tomatoes eagerly, hoping to see some color, but they ripen slowly at 7,436 feet. In fact, for years I only grew green ones, until I discovered the magic of Epsom Salts. Adding that magic to the soil, then using it to spray on the plants and put in the water later in the season helps the fruit ripen. Hurray! It really works wonderfully. I also have a greenhouse, which lengthens our very short growing season a little, too.
And Baby Bella is growing, too. I took this photo with my phone yesterday while she was visiting with her mom. At 9 weeks, she weighs almost 13 pounds. Her eyes are turning bluer like her mom's, and she is cooing and "talking." In fact, she was "talking" to me when I snapped this photo.
Everything is growing, including my proposal. After a couple of false starts, I've finally fleshed out the plot and should be sending it off to my agent soon. My working title is The Secret, and it is a sequel to my November release, The Gift.
"This story had me totally absorbed. Several times I was so engrossed that when I heard a noise, I nearly jumped out of my skin. This book is vintage Deb Stover! I hope against hope that the next book will be Sam's. I'm sure he has quite a story to tell! For those readers who enjoy a tortured heroine, a hot cowboy rancher and a bit of woo woo in their stories, I suggest you run to your nearest bookstore when this one comes out and grab it up! Be forewarned, have plenty of time to read because you won't want to stop until you turn the last page!" ~Kathy Boswell, FRESH FICTION
My new granddaughter is six weeks old now, and weighs over 10 pounds. She's a champion nurser, and her mother is following in her mother's footsteps with attachment style parenting and full-time nursing. I'm a major breastfeeding advocate, and even nursed my two adopted newborns, so I'm particularly proud of my daughter for getting Bella off to the best possible start in life. Her mother-in-law--the other proud Grandma!--is a lactation consultant, so she has lots of help. :) Neither of us are meddlers, though. At least I hope I'm not.... Ahem.
Latest photo, which was taken around July 1st, 2009 at age six weeks. She's a beauty, and her eyes are getting lighter. Mom's are blue like mine, and her dad's are gold--officially hazel, I suppose. Maybe we'll mix blue and gold and go green. :)
My birth daughter and I have both noticed the resemblance between her newborn daughter and her late father. However, the older Bella gets, the stronger the resemblance becomes. I scanned a baby photo I have of him and one I took of my granddaughter yesterday and put them side by side. It's true! She definitely looks like her Grandpa!
We will be even more blessed if Annabella also inherits his sense of humor and big heart. :)
It's finally, finally, finally spring here at 7,436 feet above sea level. We've had a lot of rain the past week, and a couple of nights when the temperature dipped into the upper 30s, so snow was still a possibility. But we dodged that bullet. This time... I have known it to snow here on the Fourth of July, so the threat is always there, though it's rare, thank goodness.
Summers at high altitude are glorious. In a perfect world, I would have a winter home in Portland or Seattle, because I adore cool, rainy winters, and a summer home right here. It gets quite hot in the Pacific NW, believe it or not. A lot of people believe it rains there all year round, but it's really only during the winter months.
To view some marvelous local photography of the mountains, wildlife, and the changing seasons, click on the slideshow show in the right-hand column. My gentleman friend, Martin Yaslowitz, is a very talented photographer, as you can see.
In fact, this weekend he's taking the first "official" baby portraits of our beautiful Bella. I'll be sure to post those soon. Meanwhile, here's another one taken with my Blackberry.
I am a grandmother for the first time as of May 22nd, 2009 at 1:03 PM. My daughter, Barbi, gave birth at home. She had a very long, difficult labor, but she was a real trouper. All those years of ballet really paid off, I'm sure.
Please welcome Annabella Debra Carr. She's perfect, of course. :)
I know her Grandpa is watching over her, and that she'll grow up with his gift for mischief. :) I'll see to it.... ;-)
I'm presenting at the Romancing the Rockies Conference in Denver this weekend. If you're in the area during Friday's Book Fair, please stop by my table to say hi. The keynote speaker is the delightful Sherrilyn Kenyon! Romancing the Rockies
Book Fair OPEN TO THE PUBLIC • Friday, May 1st, 4:30 p.m.— 6:00 p.m. Book signing and autograph session Radisson North Denver Graystone Castle 83 E 120th Ave Northglenn, CO 80233 (303) 451-1002
David Allen Stover Husband, Father, Hero April 21st, 1955 - May 14th, 2005
Every person who's lost someone close has dates and anniversaries throughout the year that will always trigger memories. Some are sad, some happy. The obvious date to reflect on the loss of my husband would be the date of his death. However, for me, it's always his birthday that is most profound.
We learned six days before his 50th birthday that his cancer was terminal. That just happened to have been my birthday, but even that isn't as painful for me as his last birthday was. I'll never forget planning that birthday party, knowing the entire time there would never be another one. He was in the hospital, so we had the "party" there, and invited all the staff. My father came, and Dave's dad and step-mother flew in the following day. Friends sent balloon bouquets, flowers, gifts. I made his favorite dessert and a big birthday banner.
Our three children sang "Happy Birthday," and we all pretended. Looking back at the photos we took that day, I see the love and pride in my husband's eyes when he looked at our children and at me that day. So it is that memory I hold close, rather than the pain and sadness.
Through these years since his passing, I have learned many things. One of the most important things is that if we don't allow ourselves to remember and feel pain and grief, we can't cherish the joys either.
I think, as writers, we experience the following in a variety of ways throughout the different stages of our careers. I want to thank each and every one of you who have stood beside me through these past difficult and painful years. You know who you are.... :)
And I also thank my readers who have waited so patiently for THE GIFT. Bless you.
"A friend is one who walks in when others walk out" ~Walter Winchell
"A friend is someone who is there for you when he'd rather be anywhere else." ~ Len Wein
"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." ~ Anonymous
"A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself." ~Anonymous
"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
"True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation." ~ George Washington
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." ~ Mother Teresa
"Misfortune shows those who are not really friends." ~ Aristotle
Amazon has reconsidered their position regarding the removal of books with "adult content" from search engines and rankings. Hurray for networking and petitioning from authors, readers, and publishers committed to our First Amendment!
If there's one thing I have learned during this decade of loss, it's that life is too short to carry grudges. Friends are a very important part of our lives, but not as important as family. When we have a falling out with close friends, if we're the party who was in the wrong, all we can do is apologize and ask forgiveness. If the other party isn't willing to forgive, we have to accept that and get on with our lives. It's sad when this happens--yes, it's happened to me--but, as my late husband always said, "It isn't the worst thing that ever happened to me."
My advice for today? Forgiveness is a Good Thing. Embrace it.
Oh, my, my, my, my, my. Any Star Trek fans out there? The new movie was supposed to have hit theaters Christmas 2008, but it will be May 8th, 2009 instead. It looks like it will be worth the wait. Yum, yum, yum. Free downloads for your iPod, iPhone, Computer, HDTV, whatever. We have them all around here. Serious Trekkers around this house--especially Princess Bonnie! She has her own uniform, calls her favorite teacher from high school Captain Kirk, herself Chekov, and owns every movie and all three seasons on DVD.
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig "Happy St. Patrick's Day!"
Though many Pagans believe the "snakes" St. Patrick allegedly drove out of Ireland were actually witches and Druids, it's still a favorite holiday for many of us, because it celebrates all things Irish. My great-grandmother came from Ireland, and lived with my family during my teen years. My memories of her inspired my MULLIGAN series for Berkley/Jove. Visit the site to find an excerpt from Mulligan Stew, a link to a short story I wrote for my readers that takes place between the two books, and also one to Mulligan Magic. Yes, another excerpt there as well. On the Mulligan Stew page, you'll find Bridget Mulligan's secret recipe to her "Bodacious Mulligan Stew." It's a mutation of her downhome, hillbilly cooking and Irish wholesomeness. My family loves it, and this recipe actually came down through my family via my great-grandmother.
Irish Blessing by Anonymous
Go n'éirí an bothar leat Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d'aghaidh Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís, Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú
Translation to English May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
If you've a hankering to visit Ireland in person, I must direct you to All Ireland Travel. A visit to their website is the next best thing to going there. The owners, Kemberlee and Peter Shortland were my research sources while I wrote both MULLIGAN books. In fact, Peter took the photo that became the cover of Mulligan Magic.
"A blend of romance and mystery with just the right twist of the paranormal, The Gift by Deb Stover is an intriguing tale, a real page turner." New York Times best-selling author Lisa Jackson
And on the back:
Blood. Rivers of it.
The visions are overwhelming. They come every time Beth visits the scene of a murder. She lives the victim’s last moments, feels the pain, sees the perp. And it’s driving her mad.
A flat tire. A deserted country road. A man too hot to be true.
Trading life as a Chicago homicide detective for a job as a nomadic insurance inspector was supposed to keep her safe. Ty Malone is anything but. What isn’t he revealing about the missing person’s claim on his ‘runaway’ wife? What really happened to beautiful Lorilee Brubaker-Malone? And just how far will Ty take his seduction of the one woman whose gift can uncover the terrifying truth?
READ is a discussion list started in 1998 by myself and a handful of other authors and readers who wanted a friendly online venue to interact. It's grown over the years into a real community. One of the readers came up with the acronym: Readers Enjoy Authors' Daydreams
Another reader on the list--the amazing Carol Carter--designed the logo you see here in needlepoint. She created a beautiful book cover with the logo on it as well for yours truly--AKA READ Mom. :)
READ is a friendly list--not one for trashing books, though we do give honest opinions about what we like and/or dislike. Those familiar with the romance writing world will understand the meaning of the phrase "RWA free zone." We ask those wanting to promote writers' only events, where there is nothing of particular interest or benefit to readers, to ask permission first, or to post only a link to the online information. Why? Because READ is primarily a readers' list. There are hundreds of writers' lists online. We certainly don't need another one.
READ's friendliness is the key to its appeal. Click on the logo to join us, and let us know what you're reading. Who knows? The author might be on the list already, waiting to answer your burning questions....
When I returned to Colorado in 2005 following my husband's death from cancer, I did it for our children. I also did it for myself, of course, as I still had very dear friends here and a support system. Some of those friends have moved on since, and new ones have come along, but that's another post for another day.
My house-hunting trip was limited to one school district, where we had lived for eleven years prior to our move to Oregon in 2001. Our oldest daughter, Barbi, graduated from high school here in 2000, and our two youngest, Bonnie and Ben, went to elementary school here. The memories we all shared of their dad's cancer and death were left out of state--as much as those memories can be left--and he actually helped us plan this move before his death. It was, of course, bittersweet for us all.
The children fell right back into their circle of friends. It was almost as if we'd never left. Ben, in particular, was welcomed with open arms by his old soccer buddies. Their parents offered me support and friendship as well, and came to stand at my side when Barbi walked down the aisle in 2006 with a grandpa on each arm instead of her father.
When we lived here the first time, we had both Dave's and my income, of course, so we were able to live on the other side of the freeway in the community of Woodmoor--a modest house in an old growth pine forest on almost an acre of land with a view of Pikes Peak. Oh, how I loved that old house!
The median home price in this school district had ballooned in the four years since our move, and I soon discovered that even with Dave's life insurance, I couldn't touch anything on that side of the freeway. So I searched in the small, historic town of Palmer Lake--and, yes, there really is a lake, as you'll see in the photo stream on this blog, and in some of the photos at this online gallery.
At first I was disappointed not to be in the same place in the woods with a view of Pikes Peak, as I'd come to think of that mountain as my rock. However, I soon realized I'm now on a mountain--Sundance Mountain. I have an incredible view from up here of where I used to live, and of city lights with a huge deck I can use in the summer.
And I've also discovered peace. This community is quiet and charming. It still has its own small definition of a downtown, and is still surrounded by a hodgepodge of both small and large historic homes. Sure, there are subdivisions with McMansions nearby, but the charm is here in the "inner town." One can't refer to this as city by any stretch. In fact, we're so small we don't even get mail delivery--we get bears.
Local businesses hang in there even during these trying economic times, and offer a personal touch never found in the city or at the big chains. One example is the local coffee shop, the Speedtrap, which offers evening entertainment three nights a week in addition to wonderful espresso and coffee. They've added Sunday morning waffles as well. It is the place for locals to hang out and share news in Palmer Lake. Every town, city, and/or neighborhood should have such a place. In fact, it's where I met my gentleman friend. Need I say more?
Sometimes we may not end up where we want to be, but often we land exactly where we need to be. Something to contemplate over my morning coffee, which isn't nearly as tasty as it is at the Speedtrap.
For sometime now, I have lusted after a MacBook Air, because it weighs in at a slight three pounds, and it will run both Mac and Windows OS. However, the most powerful, fastest, etc. version of this beauty is almost $2500 new. Whew! So I started haunting the refurbished products at the Apple Store online until one of the super loaded versions became available. Note that Apple's refurbished products are sold with brand new warranties at amazing savings. I found exactly what I wanted for almost a grand less. So I scraped together the money, melted some plastic, and bought myself one for Christmas.
It had a small problem with the screen, but it ran beautifully. So I waited until after I finished THE GIFT to take it to the genius bar at my local Apple Store for them to have a look. Unfortunately, someone there dropped the ball. Even after the genius recognized that, yes, this little beauty needed a new screen, my laptop sat in the store for almost a week instead of being shipped to the depot for service. Being an anxious mother of all my electronics--writers love our gadgets and office supplies--I logged on daily to check the status. Plus, the genius had assured me I would have it back within a week.
When the status kept saying, "pending shipment," I called the store and learned about the snafu. Then I called Apple Customer Service to complain and whine--well, really, why had it sat there for almost a week? I had reached the end of my patience, though I was still extremely polite. Diplomacy is my middle name. :)
Apple is known for amazing customer service. I know this as I'm a longtime, returning customer. What I expected was an apology and expedited service. What I got shocked me. They called the manager of the store where I had taken my MacBook Air and arranged for me to pick up a brand new replacement. In fact, the new one has an even larger hard drive than the one I purchased in December!
I said, "Well, I guess I can't complain about that!"
It pays to be polite. Apple has certainly earned my loyalty, and I will be shopping for a pretty iMac to replace the old Dell PC on my desktop as soon as possible.
Now back to the proposal for what I hope will be my next book, and a possible seque to THE GIFT.
Last evening, I attended a booksigning for Linda Lael Miller at Beth Anne's Book Corner in Colorado Springs. My daughter, Bonnie, went with me. She adores Beth Anne and knew she could score a STAR TREK novel out of Mom. Beth Anne did well in finding her one with a cover featuring both Captain Kirk and Spock.
After Linda Lael Miller and I caught up a bit on how long it had been since we've seen each other--we decided it was the DC RWA conference in 2000--she signed her new release for me. Then Bonnie immediately handed her the STAR TREK novel to sign.
Linda didn't miss a beat. She looked at me with a big smile. I said, "Go for it." She signed it--what else?--Captain Kirk! Bonnie is very proud of her autographed book.
I posted in the fall about my impending "grannydom." Well, we now know the bump in my oldest child's belly is a girl!!!! Both my daughter and son-in-law were hoping for a girl, as he comes from a family of three boys. This baby will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family, so she's destined to be cherished and spoiled rotten. I can hardly wait! :)
Oh, and this brought tears to my eyes.... Barbi (my daughter) and Nathan (son-in-law) will name their first child Annabella Debra. Yes, Debra after yours truly. I'm so honored and humbled I can barely stand it. Annabella Debra is a mouthful, so I asked the mom-and-dad-to-be what nickname they anticipate, and they both said, "Bella."
I warned them that I swore no one would call my Barbara Jean "Barbi," but I was the first one to do it, and it stuck. At least she doesn't spell it like the doll.... I anticipate little Bella being called Belly in a loving way, but I promised both her parents that I will do my very best to resist the urge.... :)
Oh, and I'm also anticipating a wee bit of revenge, since Barbi (born on Christmas Eve, 1981) was an 8 pound, seven ounce baby with a head like a bowling ball.... ;) The verb push was usually followed by another four-letter word that memorable day!
Isn't this cool? I pass the magic wand, so to speak, to a true professional, and she not only understands what I mean by creating a design that mimics a path into the "story realm," but she even makes my blog page look like my website. :) I've had a presence on the Internet since 1993, but have always maintained what has become a monster of a website myself. The original NovelTalk Chats began at my site in 1994 via mIRC, as I'm sure some of you recall. Those were the days when we thought the Internet was like Science Fiction. Now, those old programs are antiquated and almost laughable.
But isn't this artwork beautiful? Rae Monet is the designer, and I couldn't be more pleased with her work. When you get the chance, take a look around and kick the tires. Once I'm finished with The Gift -- which will be by 2/1/2009! -- I'll spend some time organizing of the old, dead links.
I just returned from my--sort of--annual sojourn back to Wichita, Kansas for my dad's 77th birthday. Yes, my oldest daughter was born on Christmas Eve, and my father was born on New Year's Day. As a family, we work very hard to keep their birthdays separate and special from the holiday madness, because they are special.
My dad still lives in the same house in which I grew up, which is also strange. At my website, you'll find family photos dating back to my childhood--one taken of the family in 1964 when he first bought that house. We're all leaning against his Corvair, with me clutching a doll. I think it's Chatty Cathy. Talk about a time capsule....
At any rate, my dad is a real-life hero. My late husband was one as well. I always said it was no wonder I married one, since I was raised by one. I've listened to some friends who have happy marriages, as did I. We seem to have this in common--respect and admiration for our fathers. That doesn't mean every girl had to grow up with a perfect childhood to have a good marriage--far from it. However, that respect and admiration for our fathers seems to offer a good base from which to choose a husband. At least it did in my case.
Heroes are important to romance novelists and readers. They're important in real life, too. I hope our New Year is filled with real-life heroes for all of us, starting with our President-Elect, who has a gargantuan task ahead of him.
May 2009 offer each and every one of us peace, prosperity, love, good health, and many good books to read (including THE GIFT, which is almost finished and scheduled for November 2009).
After declaring her candidacy for President at age four, Deb Stover veered off course to play Lois Lane for a number of years. After she refused to blow Clark Kent's cover, she turned her attention to her own Real American Hero and married him. Considering her experience with Heroes, redirecting her passion for writing toward Romance Novels seemed a natural progression. Since publication of Shades of Rose in 1995, Stover has received dozens of awards for her work, which includes over twenty titles in a variety of languages and formats. For more information, please visit www.debstover.com.