Sunday, December 27, 2009

Online Workshop: You Can Find Time to Write!

Don't miss the opportunity to join me and other writers for this fabulous workshop to help kick-start your writing plans for 2010!


Dunes & Dreams RWA Chapter 215 (from Eastern Long Island) present their January 2010 Online Workshop.

Cost: $10 D&D members, $25 all others. Payable in US funds only.

January 4 through January 29

No Matter How Busy You Are, You Can FIND TIME TO WRITE!

with Kelly L. Stone

Blurb: Writers Write. Yes, you’ve heard it before. You know that writers write. And by golly, you’d love to be writing. But the problem is where do you find the time to do it? Between jobs, kids, spouses, cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, walking the dog, school activities, social and religious obligations, sleep and leisure time, it seems like you simply cannot squeeze one more minute out of your day. Well, come learn from the pros!! This workshop is based on the instructor's book TIME TO WRITE: More Than 100 Professional Writers Reveal How to Fit Writing Into Your Busy Life (Adams Media, Jan 08) which features interviews with 104 professional writers, including 45 national bestsellers on how they found time to write before they were career published (including Sandra Brown, Jodi Picoult, Ann Major, Christine Feehan, Steve Berry, Tess Gerritsen, Pamela Morsi, Eloisa James, and many more!).

Topics include:

• Your Burning Desire to Write and how to put it into Action

• Find a Writing Schedule that Works!

• Creating a Personalized Writing Action Plan

• Dealing with Resistance to Writing and other Blocks

• Dealing with Interuptions, Distractions, Kids, Spouses, Dogs, Neighbors, Etc!

Bio: Kelly L. Stone ( earned a master's degree in counseling from Florida State University, and she is currently a licensed mental health counselor with 20 years of experience. She is also the author of three books, GRAVE SECRET (Mundania Press, Sept 2007), which was called "powerful" and "well written" by Romantic Times Book Reviews; TIME TO WRITE: More Than 100 Professional Writers Reveal How to Fit Writing Into Your Busy Life (Adams Media, Jan 2008) and THINKING WRITE: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind (Adams Media, Oct 2009). TIME TO WRITE was nominated for the American Society of Journalists and Authors Outstanding Book of 2008 award.

DATE: January 4 – January 29

Registration deadline is December 31st.

PLACE: Dunes & Dreams RWA Forum

Registrants will receive a login password to the workshop forum by January 2nd to allow ample time to become familiar with the forum.

COST: $10 Dunes & Dreams RWA Members/ $25 all others (US funds only – paypal or checks)

If you pay for a workshop and do not receive a confirmation email and a login by January 2nd, please contact our workshop coordinators at

CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY: No registration fees will be refunded. All payments for a workshop must be received by the registration cut off date. Payments received after the cut-off date can be applied to a future workshop of the

applicant's choosing.

If a workshop is canceled due to unforeseen circumstances, such as instructor inability to teach class, registration fees will be applied to a future workshop of the applicant's choosing.

Hope to see you in class!

Registration form and more information:

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Cover!

Just in time for the holidays, look what cover artist Tamra Westberry at The Wild Rose Press came up with for Book II of the Kismet Series: Kismet's Revenge. Ain't she purty?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

In Memoriam: Albe Ardito (November 29, 1929 - November 29, 2009)

He became "Dad" when I married his son. And he's been "Dad" ever since. Dad had an open heart, a love of life on his own terms, and a generous spirit. He loved me as if I'd been born into the family rather than married into it.

When I think about his impact on my life, I see moments, glimpses of happy times: dancing with him at my wedding; hearts filled with chocolates every Valentines Day; the January night I called him in a panic because dh was out of town and a pipe outside my house burst (he came over and fixed it in the frigid cold); my birthday seven months after the pipe episode when he presented me with my very own set of tools and a cool bag to keep them in; his pride at his granddaughter's karate tournaments and grandson's baseball, basketball, and football games.

He loved dogs, the Brooklyn Dodgers (and to some extent, the Mets), and his family. His last words to me earlier this week were, "I love you. Have a good time."

Rest in peace, Dad. And know that we'll take good care of Mom while you're apart. I know you wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, November 23, 2009

No Pop Quiz: It's a Holiday Week

I'm guest blogging at PASIC's 2 B Read blog today, counting my smaller blessings. Please stop by, add your own simple joys to my list. The Pop Quiz will return next week! Thanks for dropping in.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bye-Bye, Bathrobe

Part of my "writing uniform" includes a tatty, terry cloth bathrobe that I received as a free gift with a cologne purchase years ago. No matter the season, whenever I sit down to write, I have to slip this robe on first. It's lightweight so I can even wear it in summer, and it's old so I don't worry about spilling coffee on it. I've taken this robe to schools where I speak to kids (and it always draws a laugh), I've worn it to take out the garbage or get the mail (even when I'm fully clothed beneath its crummy comfort). In short, it's part of me, part of my writing life.

Each Christmas, my dh buys me a new robe in the hopes that I'll throw out my once-white/now gray author costume. Nope. I think at this stage I have five different colors, all assorted styles and weights, and all with the tags still hanging from the sleeves. I don't want to give up my old buddy.

But at this stage, it's worn thin and I've noticed the teeny hole where I caught it one day on a doorknob (Don't ask!) has now become a gaping canyon. So yes, it's time to retire my freebie friend and bring in someone new. It wasn't an easy decision. Finding the perfect writing costume takes time and insight. Will the sleeves get in the way of my keyboard? Is it lightweight enough for warm days but cozy enough for chilly ones? Can I wash dishes while wearing it and not get my sleeves wet? Does it have a belt? Will the cats like it (a major consideration since they did love to cuddle up on me when I wore the old one)?

After some gut-wrenching sorrow for my old friend and many days of testing the various products in my closet, I finally settled on a mint green number the hubster bought me for Christmas last year. It's a little heavier than my terrycloth buddy, but a few months of constant wear and washing should fix that. The sleeves are cuffable--a major plus and the cats have approved its softness. Best of all, it has pockets! I no longer have to tuck my MP3 player and cell phone into my bra!

Excuse me while I indulge a moment of silence for my fallen comrade: "The Robe is dead! Long live the Robe!"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ode to the Devil's Coffeemaker

Several months ago, I bought (after years of coveting) a Keurig coffeemaker. Maybe you've seen them? They just recently started advertising the product on television (in time for the holidays so Satan can get his claws on more caffeine-addicted souls). My Keurig offers me the opportunity to savor a cup of coffee--any type, any flavor, any strength--any time. This wondrous machine requires single-serving K-cups so anyone can have a fresh brewed cup o'joe whenever (s)he desires. And the possibilities are endless. There are K-cups for all kinds of coffee--decaf or regular, as well as tea, hot chocolate, chai. I'm betting next, they'll come out with K-cup Soups.
With my old Mr. Coffee, I often joked my house was like 7-11. Any time, day or night, you could come in and find a pot brewing. But now, my addiction has become so much worse. There is, naturally, that first cup in the morning no true caffaholic can live without. But that's just the beginning. Sure, I fill the travel mug to take to work. And when I come home, rather than settling for a boring water, diet soda, or some other beverage with my lunch, there's my bestest bud, Keurig, beckoning me with his eerie blue light like some bizarre K-Mart special. While I'm making dinner, I can't help but fall under its spell. After dinner, who doesn't like a nice cup of coffee to finish off the meal?
And the flavors only make the enticement harder to resist.
Chai Latte? Why not?
Pumpkin Spice? Don't mind if I do.
How about a holiday treat like Spicy Eggnog or Gingerbread? Yes, please!
Prefer your coffee iced? What a coincidence! There's a button just for you!
Recently, the cafe at my office closed. I'm seriously considering a trip to my local store for a mini-Keurig I can keep at my desk. The idea has major merit. But I worry the lines at my desk might get too long when fellow employees discover my little friend.
And guess what's on everyone's Christmas list this year?
So, here's to you, O Great and Powerful Keurig! They can take my precious coffeemaker when they pry it from my cold, dead (albeit jumpy) hands!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sssh! Be Vewwy, Vewwy Quiet...

I iz editing Katherine Brandon's second historical for The Wild Rose Press: Kismet's Revenge.
For me, the edit process is a little like getting ready for a big party. I play with different looks, put on lots of jewelry and then take pieces off, make sure my makeup won't smear or look ridiculous, plan my alibi--
Forget that last one.
Since this book needs a little more work than I anticipated (Katherine is still a fledgling writer, you know) and I gave myself a deadline of November 1st (what was I thinking?) I'll be only posting sporadically here on Le Blog until after that date. Once we reach November 2nd, if the fam and I are all still alive, I'll be back to working on Gina's WIP, Nobody's Business. Provided, of course, my characters are still speaking to me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Want to Know More About Last Night's Event?

Visit the Dunes & Dreams blog for a great post by fellow speaker and chapter Vice President Debora Dennis.
Despite heavy rain, a rental car, and (at one point) hydroplaning on a dark country road, the co-founders of Dunes & Dreams delivered the goods for our audience.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Want to Know More About Romance Writing?

Join the members of Dunes & Dreams RWA at 6:30 tonight at the John Jermain Library in Sag Harbor for a very special roundtable discussion on the Ins and Outs of Publishing and the Eternal Appeal of Romance.

I'll be speaking with my bestest writing buddies, Debora Dennis and Candace Gold. We'll all have books available for purchase after the session. Or bring your own copies and we'll be happy to sign them for you!

For more information and directions to this event, visit John Jermain's website. Coffee would be greatly appreciated. (I'm a milk, no sugar gal.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Sappy Side

It's early in the morning, cloudy outside and I'm not ready to get out of bed. So I click on the television and a cell phone commercial comes on. You know the one--where the guy's watching some little girl post flyers of her lost dog. He clicks a copy of the dog's pic on his phone and starts forwarding it to all his friends, asking them to help him find this dog. Of course, the friends are successful and the little girl comes home to see her dog waiting for her. The minute she screams the dog's name, I get all misty-eyed. It gets me every single time.

I guess because we've all been there. We've all been that little girl; we've all seen that little girl. Hey! Some of us have been the dog--lost and trying to find our way home. It's those tiny pieces of humanity we as writers want to capture in our story.

What commercial's humanity hits you in the gut?

Tomorrow, Candace Gold, Patti Ann Bengen and I will be at the Riverhead Country Fair under the Bookworm Publishing Tent. We'll be signing books, chitchatting, and maybe even singing along to some favorite songs. Stop by and join us for a little while. We'd love to see you!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Movin' On Up...

My first historical romance, written by my alter ego, Katherine Brandon has a new release date! Kismet's Angel will now be available from The Wild Rose Press on May 21, 2010.

In other news, be sure to look for me and my good friends, Candace Gold and Patti Ann Bengen under the Bookworm Publishing Tent at the Riverhead Country Fair, Riverhead NY this coming Sunday. Since it's Football Day, I won't be there until noon or so, but I'll be there. Hope you'll stop by and say hello!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Importance of Your Presence

Long before "The Internets," there have been people who have behaved badly in their public lives. The Web has simply made those instances available to the sane world to watch and comment on. As writers, we must always be aware of our behavior and how it reflects upon us. This is as important in the real world as it is in cyberspace.
I'm not sure why people who normally wouldn't dare a confrontation in real life suddenly feel this inordinate power when it comes to email, blogs, online forums and loops. But consider this a gentle reminder that true power comes from within. Class is the ability to rise above the pettiness of others and move on with your life without obsessing about someone you believe may have wronged you.
Try to conduct your online life in the same manner you'd behave at a church social or in a room full of important people. Don't let your emotions bring you down. The world is ugly enough without thoughtless promotion, rude emails, and childishness clouding your name.
Words to live by on this Friday night...

Monday, September 28, 2009

In Memoriam: Kate Duffy

She was warm, witty, and wonderful. When Kensington super-editor, Kate Duffy walked into a room, she owned it. You couldn't help but be drawn to her. To sit with her and listen to her speak was akin to hearing the sage on the mountain spouting the wisdom of the ages.
She knew romance, she loved romance, she WAS romance!
RIP Kate. You will be missed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Forgiveable Transgressions

I was recently privy to a conversation between two authors. Author A was fretting because she was working on the sequel to an already published story. Her dilemma? The sequel revolved around the secondary characters of the first story and she wanted to change the hair and eye color of these characters in the new story, but fretted about what her audience might think.

Author B advised her not to worry. Most readers wouldn't notice and those who do will think they've been let in on a delicious secret.

Since I was eavesdropping (rude in itself) I couldn't exactly plow into the conversation and provide my opinion. (I know--shocking that I actually kept my big wazoo shut!) But this blog is mine so I can spout all my wisdom here. So here goes:

Hey, Author A! Is there a specific reason the story warrants the change? Are all blond, blue-eyed men being annihilated and it's up to the green-eyed auburn-haired lady to save the hero? Because, otherwise, I'd advise against insulting your readers by underestimating their intelligence.

See, I'm not just a writer. I'm a reader. A big one. I was a reader long before I became a writer. And I can tell you right now, there've been cases where a character in one book undergoes some kind of metamorphic change in another. Never once did I think I was in on a "delicious secret." Instead I thought, "Here's an author whose research is so poor, she can't even go back to her own story for fact-checking."

Where do you stand? What's forgiveable in your books? What makes you think the author was lazy?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's Football Season!

I know; it's hard to imagine a girly-girl like me enjoying the bone-crunching, down-in-the-dirt sport of football. And several years ago, you'd have been right. But when my son wanted to play for a local PAL team, I was the one who took him to registration and announced to the giant behind the desk, "I'm here to sign my son up to get his bones broken." My fears were quickly soothed with assurances that, particularly at his young age, with the pads and gear the players wore, fractures and severe injuries were rare. Now, years later, I'm one of those moms you see on the sidelines, jumping up and down, screaming, "Go, go, go!"
But now my son is on the cusp of teenaged years. The boys he's coming up against are bigger, stronger, and more fierce. And he just made the junior high team. Which translates to seven days of football a week for the next three months. Which translates to lots of days on the bleachers, lots of huddling on the sidelines with coffee, lots of standing in the rain as the mud splatters with each collision of players on the ground.
Am I looking forward to it? Not, really. But sometimes you have to become interested if only to survive the experience.
I still don't see myself sitting down in front of the television Sunday after Sunday watching the pros--that is, unless my son makes the Big Leagues. In which case, he has his instructions. Whenever the television cameras pan to him, he's to say, "Love you, Mom!"
Emotional blackmail? Maybe. But I've put in the time and he owes me.
Oh! And one more thing that makes today special? It's my 23rd wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, sweetheart. You're still the best thing that ever happened to me.
Go Wildcats!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Four Cups From Coffee Time Romance!

Yup! I received my first review for A Run for the Money: Four cups from Coffee Time Romance.

Reviewer Danielle writes, "A Run for the Money is a very funny and entertaining book. Ms. Ardito uses realism and humor to tell the tale of Nicole and Dante. The family dynamics between both main characters as well as the surrounding characters are really good, and yet at times very sad. The way Nicole comes to grips with her mother’s coldness is saddening and uplifting. A very nice read that will have you laughing and enjoying yourself as the adventures of Nicole and Dante unfold."

Buy your copy at or Barnes &!

Monday, August 31, 2009

School Daze

A few days ago, I reminded my daughter I planned to snap her photo this morning before she left the house. Why? Because today was her first day of school. Not just school. College. I have photos of her first day of school for every year up to junior high when it became embarrassing that her friends might actually see her mother with a camera at the bus stop (let alone at the bus stop at all!) But even this time, she rolled her eyes.

"You are the world's biggest sap," she told me.

"Ummm...hello? Romance writer!" I reminded her. "I'm a sentimental sap and proud of it."

So, without further ado, I present Then and Now.

Tori, age 5, First Day of Kindergarten 1996

Tori, age 18, First Day of College, 2009

I can't believe how much she's changed, and yet, how much she looks the same! If you'll excuse me now, I need a very large glass of wine and a private place to cry a little...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guest Blogging Again!

Yup, today I'm over at the PASIC 2 B Read blog, discussing food. Because life isn't just about books. Stop by and say hi!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Release Day for A Run for the Money!

Today, my latest release from Avalon Books, A Run for the Money, is available at B&N, Amazon, and Avalon.

Interested? Maybe the synopsis will help:

Nicole Fleming and Dante LaPalma have nothing in common except an old man's legacy. Joe Corbet has promised them a great treasure awaits them--if they're clever enough to solve his riddles within a six month time frame. According to Joe's will, Nicole and Dante must participate in several excursions. After each adventure, a new clue will be presented and another requirement awaits. Only when they've completed every task in their journey will they discover the treasure meant just for them. Along the way, Nicole and Dante will be forced to share their secrets and place their faith in one another. But if they can learn to work together, they'll discover what's truly important in life. And maybe, just maybe, they'll find the greatest treasure of all: love.

Still not sure? How about an excerpt?

When Nicole Fleming squirmed, the sound of sweaty thighs unsticking from her leather chair resonated like a blaring trumpet. Inside the conference room for the law offices of Stern, Stern and Weitzman, two pairs of male eyes mirrored disgust. Oh, God, how embarrassing. Why hadn’t she worn pantyhose today?

Because encasing legs in nylon during Manhattan’s dog days of July better suited a game show challenge than a will reading. Between the hellish temperatures in subway tunnels and the swelter rising up from city asphalt street-side, an extra layer of clothing would have wilted her long before she reached the mausoleum lobby here.

Fresh heat rocketed up her cheeks. Muttering a low, “Sorry,” to the staring gentlemen, she averted her gaze to the wall of leather-bound books on her right. Their red and green spines, embossed with gold lettering, were at least two inches thick. Had the attorney really read all those books? Who had that much free time?

Not her. She barely finished one month’s Cosmo before the next issue landed in her mailbox.

At the head of the long mahogany table, Andrew Stern, Esquire, cleared his throat and shuffled a sheaf of papers atop a manila folder. “If I may continue…?”

Nodding, Nicole straightened. The man seated across from her stared with the intensity of a buzzard on a dying gazelle. Who was this guy? And why were there just the two of them in this room with the attorney? Papa Joe had dozens of friends, and, if memory served, a daughter with a family of her own. So how come she was stuck with Mr. Monogrammed Shirtsleeves and the unblinking vulture of doom? Where were the truly grieving? Those who’d loved Papa Joe the way she had?

“There are, of course,” Mr. Stern said, lifting a longer sheet from the pile of standard-sized papers, “a few charitable donations and family obligations. But the bulk of Mr. Corbet’s estate will fall to the two of you, depending upon your adherence with his final wishes.”

Nicole sniffed. Some estate. As far as she knew, Papa Joe’s only worldly possession was a mangled mass of chrome, once a primo 1980 Harley Davidson Roadster. At least, until a tractor trailer made an illegal U-turn, destroying both ride and rider.

Tears pricked her eyelids. Never again would she hear his folksy voice, spouting the wisdom of the ages. His chipped-front-tooth smile would never flash in welcome. She’d never again smell his unique scent of motor oil and Old Spice in her kitchen.

“Exactly how much money are we talking about?” the vulture asked.

His callousness transformed Nicole’s grief to smoldering anger. “Wow.” She forced a light air far from the turmoil churning her gut. “Did you leave your membership card at the door?”

Dark eyes flashed like the silver wrapper on a semi-sweet chocolate bar. “What membership card?”

“The one that verifies you’re human.” When he continued to stare blankly, she added, “You know. A guy with a working heart.”

With the speed of a snapped cable, his jaw dropped. Good. In the few minutes she’d spent with him here, she’d picked up his vibe. Few people dared challenge him.

Correction. Few women dared challenge him. No wonder, really. Whoever he was, this man had the sultry look of palm trees in sunset, drinks with teeny umbrellas, and warm Caribbean water kissing bare flesh. Under normal circumstances, she might have found the whole Fantasy Island package a turn-on. But Papa Joe’s sudden death had encased her in dry ice.

Eyes narrowing to cobra slits, the man whirled to the attorney at the head of the table. “Who is this woman?”

Mr. Stern blinked several times. Finally, he cocked his head. “Mr. LaPalma, this is Ms. Fleming. Nicole Fleming. Your grandfather’s stepdaughter.”

As if swerving to avoid an oncoming truck, Mr. LaPalma suddenly rolled back his chair. “She’s the succubus’s daughter?”

Fine hairs danced on Nicole’s nape. “Could you control the urge to talk about me like I’m the senile auntie in the corner? If you want to know about me, Mr. LaPalma, why not ask me?”

A smile, filled with the same snake-like malice as his eyes, bloomed over his face. “Yup. You’re the succubus’s daughter, all right.”

Any response she made now would only cause delight. So she ignored him. Not because of some perceived insult at his calling her mother a succubus. After all, Papa Joe had assigned that particular term of endearment to his ex-wife years ago.

No. Having this stranger draw a link between her and Ice Princess Rhoda stung. Okay, so maybe she should have expected a rude retort after her crack about him not being human. But his barb had struck extra-tender flesh. Hands folded in her lap, she settled her gaze on Mr. Stern’s disapproving frown.

“I’d advise you two to put aside whatever petty differences you harbor,” the attorney said. “Your tasks will be inordinately easier if you get along.”

“T-tasks? What tasks?” An anxiety train barreled through her veins, sparking jitters in her blood.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Phrases I'd Love Stricken From the English Language, Part III

Today's phrase is "What do you want (or what would you like to do) for your birthday?"

I know; it sounds innocuous enough.

But here's the thing: I've got a birthday coming up. And over the last several days, I've been pressured by family and friends to (basically) shop for myself. Now, I have to admit: The Girl tried to surprise me.

I've often lamented I never had a Sweet Sixteen, that in fact, I spent my 16th birthday babysitting my brother's children and didn't receive so much as a card from anyone in my family (though the kids and I made some really colorful cupcakes!) Sure it was decades ago. But I'm still scarred by it. (A joke, folks! I mention it as a guilt trip whenever my kids act like I "owe" them a party or celebration of some sort.) This year, the girl started planning me a Surprise Sweet Sixteen Party. Lucky for her, she decided to run the idea by me before it got fully off the ground. I love my kids, but I hate surprise parties. And the scheduling of this particular event would have been a major league nightmare. Between my own day job, football practice, and my friends' schedules, I probably would have wound up with a good twenty minutes of quality party time with all the invited guests. At least, she tried.

Her next suggestion? Let's tattoo Mom! I made the mistake of mentioning if I ever got a tattoo (fat chance) I'd put it on my big toe. This way, I'd know I had it, but no one else *except a coroner* would see it unless I opted to show it to them. Dear Daughter took that as a wish and decided I had to have a heart tattooed somewhere on my body. She's already lined up friends to go with me for moral support.

But I digress. The most pressure seems to come from the Hubster. I admit, I don't make it easy on him (or anyone else for that matter.) I have plenty of jewelry and I don't like massages so the standards are out. Flowers are nice, but they die within a week so what's the point? There are no concerts or shows I'm interested in seeing right now. I'm currently happy with my electronics and although I'm thinking of a new notebook and an e-reader, those are pretty big ticket items that I'd prefer dh didn't spend money on right now. (We're currently new car shopping and paying The Girl's college tuition.) So, okay. Just take me out for a nice dinner. Which inevitably leads to the question...

Where would you like to go?

I'm an oddity when it comes to food. Whenever dh and I go out to eat, I immediately look for one of two entrees to satisfy my palate--the two things I don't make at home (because no one else will eat them): duck or rack of lamb. Dh far prefers seafood to meat. I have a few fave restaurants I go to for my duck/lamb requirements, but this is a Special Night, so the "usual" isn't good enough. Which means dh wants to take me someplace new. And fearful, he might opt for a place that doesn't have my fave menu items, he wants me to choose.

You know what? Maybe we should just skip the celebration altogether. I already have everything I want in life: a loving husband, two terrific kids, an exciting career, and a car I want to be buried in. Who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Authors Night 2009

The joint was jumpin' so photo opportunities were few and far between, but I did manage to snap a few shots before the madness and one or two to show the crowds. The weather was perfect, the crowds were friendly and we even had a brush or two with celebrities!

We arrived about 30 minutes prior to the event, found our books piled on the table in front of our seats and set up our promo items.

The lovely Candace Gold at her seat (right next to mine!), before the public was allowed in.

This shot was taken from my seat so don't expect to recognize anyone. It's more about getting the feel of the crowd and a hint of just how many authors were in attendance.

Authors Night was a great experience. I spoke to fans and new readers, talked craft with other authors, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. You can bet I'll be back next year.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Authors Night Tonight!

Tonight's the annual East Hampton Authors Night. Please join me and more than 100 authors and celebrities at a gala event to raise funds for the local library. It promises to be a starry night!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Welcome to the Craft Fair

It occurred to me I haven't written a "craft" kind of post in a while. So, here goes nothing. (No, really.)

Recently, a fellow writer asked my opinion regarding POV (point of view). Her editor told her a sentence in her manuscript changed her POV, but she disagreed. I asked the writer to read me the entire paragraph before the sentence and...yeah. I came down on the editor's side.

How's the best way to explain POV? Pretend you're an actor/actress. The book you're writing is your script. Now immerse yourself in the character who's relating the scene. What does (s)he see, feel, hear, taste, and say? When it comes to POV, dialogue is the least important (though still vital--if your character is an eighteenth century duke, he's clearly not going to utter the phrase, "Surf's up, dudes!")

For argument's sake, let's use the names Linda and Larry. (I'm in an alliteration mood right now. Roll with it.) If we're in Linda's POV, she'll see Larry's expressions, hear what he says, feel her own reactions to what's happening around her. She can only assume what Larry sees, hears, and most importantly, feels. That last one usually gets writers into trouble (including my friend from the opening paragraph.) So if we're in Linda's POV, a sentence like, "Larry couldn't believe his ears" is a no-no. You can write, "Larry's widened eyes and slack jaw suggested he didn't believe her" because that's still in Linda's POV. Linda is assuming Larry's thoughts, based on what she sees. She might be wrong. Maybe Larry's wide-eyed and slack-jawed because there's a tarantula crawling up Linda's shoulder. But unless Linda suddenly feels the furry-legged sensation, turns and notices the black arachnid creeping closer, or hears the words, "Umm, Linda? There's a spider on you" she can only assume the reason behind Larry's expression.

Does that make sense? Or would you like another example? Write and let me know!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

It's a Contest, Auntie Em!

On August 24, my new book from Avalon Books, A Run for the Money, hits the bookshelves. This also coincides with my birthday in the same week. To celebrate, Coffee Time Romance is hosting a contest. You can win an autographed copy of A Run for the Money. How? Simple.

Start at my website's Books page where you'll find the cover for A Run for the Money. Click on the cover (or simply click here) to read the excerpt.

Go to the Coffee Time Romance Contest Page, scroll down to my name and answer the questions about the excerpt. A winner will be drawn from all those with the correct answers!

Good luck!

Friday, July 31, 2009

More Vacation Photos (still with commentary)

The Avalon Ladies at the annual Avalon Books Get-together at RWA National (I'm crouched in the middle in the dark so you can see the lady behind me--can you tell I asked my friend to snap this shot? She knew to keep me incognito).

A photo taken by my uber-talented daughter in the Butterfly Exhibit at the Smithsonian. Look at that detail! Pretty amazing, huh?

My husband's imitation of the Cupid Fountain in The National Gallery. More than twenty years and the man can still make me laugh.

The Boy with his idol, Stephen Colbert, at the Smithsonian.

The Girl in her element, The Purple Store (yes...there really is such a place!) at Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach.

"Something tells me we're not in New York anymore..."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

You Mean You Want Photos?

With the hubster still on vacation, online time isn't exactly plentiful yet. So until Monday when life goes back to semi-normal in the Ardito household, enjoy this brief slice of vacation pics with comments.

Meet Candace Gold at the Literacy Signing at RWA National.

Yours Truly at the same event.

Notice how unaware my son is of the danger lurking behind him (his sister) on the Metro...

One of my kids is a major history buff and couldn't wait to see all the monuments and exhibits in D.C. The other...not so much. I'll let you guess which is which.

This is Frederick, a butterfly at the exhibit in the Smithsonian who spent forty minutes on my daughter's hand, making her day complete (and completely wilting me since it's warm and humid inside the freakin' butterfly exhibit!)

In the immortal words of The Scarlet Pimpernel: "More to come, more to come. I said, 'Brief,' not ifinitessimal."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hi Y'all From Myrtle Beach!

The fam and I are basking in the warmth of the Carolina sun and the residents of this gaw-jus place! We arrived late Tuesday afternoon and set up our home for the next several days. We've already done the Ripley's Aquarium.

Dh and the kids dragged me to the shoreline for some fun in the surf. I came back after two and a half hours with an unhealthy burn, despite my 50 SPF sunscreen. (Have I mentioned I'm not an ideal "beach person"? Do I need to explain why in more detail?)

No doubt dh will want to continue his soaking up the rays and swimming in the ocean glory today (since his heritage is Greek and Italian, he's a sun worshipper of the highest order). But...I'm thinking dd and I need something girly, so we'll do mani-pedis and souvenir shopping.

As expected, with so many distractions, I'm not actually writing. But I do have the glimmer of an idea how to fix one of the completed stories that has been giving me fits since I decided I needed a new setup for my hero and heroine. I'll play around with some of the opening chapters while I'm here, but the bulk of the work will be done when I return home to my normal routine.

You see, I have a certain method that works best for me when I'm revising a major portion of a manuscript. I have to print out the story, chapter by chapter, open a new document and rewrite the scene, sometimes taking the best sentences from the original, sometimes revamping every word and point of view. It's laborious and time-consuming but it's the only way I can actually see what works and what doesn't.

More later...maybe with photos!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hi from our Nation's Capitol!

It's been an eventful few days with little time for blogging. There have been workshops, board meetings, social get-togethers, lots of laughter and okay...a couple of razzaritas. Business cards have been flying in every direction.

This year's personal highlight:

Trailblazer that I am, I introduced my roommate, Candace Gold, to her very first beer (a crime in itself, but quickly remedied.)

It's a dirty job inviting friends to The Dark Side, but I just happen to have a gift for it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On Vacation!

For the next week and a half, I'm on a much-deserved vacation, first at RWA National's Annual Conference, and then with the family to Myrtle Beach. In the meantime, I'll blog when I can to fill you in on all the excitement of romance, books, sun and smiles.
For starters, today, you can hop on over to the PASIC blog, 2 B Read, where I'm posting my appreciation for my summer tradition. Stop on by and say hi.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Article about the Dunes & Dreams Booksigning

One of the many guests at the Literacy Signing last month was a reporter from who spent all afternoon interviewing our authors and patrons. The result was printed in an article you can read here.

I'm so proud of our organization! Congratulations, ladies, and I'll see you there again next year!