Romance Books Read in 2010

These are most of the full length romance novels I read in 2010. I try to get the free stories on Amazon Kindle for my laptop. Many times I like the free one so much, I purchase other stories by the same author.  There are too many titles here to write reviews so those with an * are favorites.

The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe
Not Without Her Family by Beth Andrews
The Immortals: The Gathering by Beth Andrews
The Immortals: The Reckoning by Jennifer Ashley
The Immortals: The Redeeming by Jennifer Ashley
Colters' Wife by Maya Banks
Possessed by the Highlander by Terri Brisbin
Surrender to the Highlander by Terri Brisbin
Taming the Highlander by Terri Brisbin
Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Heir by Grace Burrows
The Earl's Untouched Bride by Annie Burrows
My Christmas Wish by Ember Case
Baby Bonanza by Maureen Child
Lonestar Sanctuary by Colleen Coble
The Unmasking of Lady Lovelace by Nicola Cornick
His Conquest by Diana J. Cosby
Divorced, Desperate and Dating by Christie Craig
Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch by B. J. Daniels
Eternal Hunter by Cynthia Eden
Dark Descent by Christine Feehan
Dark Dream by Christine Feehan
Magic on the Wind by Christine Feehan
The Bride's Baby by Liz Fielding
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Billionaire's Fake Engagement by Robyn Grady
Nothing but Scandle by Allegra Gray
Her Reluctant Bodyguard by Jennette Green
Homespun Bride by Jillian Hart
Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf
Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb
Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb
The Ice Princess by Elizabeth Hoyt
Irresistible Forces by Brenda Jackson
One Unashamed Night by Sophia James
Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa
Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison
Heated Rush by Leslie Kelly
Slow Hands by Leslie Kelly
Mastering the Marquess by Vanessa Kelly
Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy
*Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Highland Dragon by Kimberly Killion
A Loving a Scoundrel by Johanna Lindsey
Highlander Unchained by Monica Mccarty
*Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning
*Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
*The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
*Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
*Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning
*Faefever by Karen Marie Moning
*The Highlander's Touch by Karen Marie Moning
*The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
*Kiss of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
*Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
*To Tame a Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning
The Immortals: The Awakening by Joy Nash
The Immortals: The Crossing by Joy Nash
Marked by Elisabeth Naughton
The Wrong Husband by Ruth Ann Nordin
Secrets of a Duchess by Kaitlin O'Riley
*Heart Choice by Robin Owens
Heart Dance by Robin Owens
Heart Duel by Robin Owens
Heart Fate by Robin Owens
Heart Quest by Robin Owens
*Heart Thief by Robin Owens
*Heartmate by Robin Owens
The Immortals: The Haunting Robin T Popp
The Immortals: The Darkening by Robin T Popp
Loving a Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney
A Little Magic by Nora Roberts
Spellbound by Nora Roberts
*Mistress by Mistake by Maggie Robinson
Cry Sanctuary by Moira Rogers
A Compromised Lady by Elizabeth Rolls
The Dutiful Rake by Elizabeth Rolls
His Lady Mistress by Elizabeth Rolls
Lord Baybrooks Penniless Wife by Elizabeth Rolls
*The Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter
*The Darkest Passionate by Gena Showalter
*The Darkest Prison by Gena Showalter
*The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter
*The Darkest Fire by Gena Showalter
*The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter
*The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter
*The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter
Heart of the Dragon by Gena Showalter
Jewel of Atlantis by Gena Showalter
The Nymph King by Gena Showalter
Sin's Daughter by Eve Silver
Desiring the Highlander by Michele Sinclair
The Highlander's Bride by Michele Sinclair
To Wed a Highlander by Michele Sinclair
The Wild's Call by Jeri Smith-Ready
Forbidden: The Sacrifice by Samantha Somersby
Only You by Deborah Brace Staley
Dancing in the Moonlight by RaeAnne Thayne
My Soul to Lose by Rachel Vincent
One a Cowboy by Linda Warren
Speed Dating by Nancy Warren
Her Irish Warrior by Michelle Willingham
In the Warrior's Bed by Mary Wine
To Conquer a Highlander by Mary Wine
The Virgin's Price by Cathy Williams
The Virgin's Proposal by Cathy Williams
His Virgin Secretary by Cathy Williams
One Hot Texan by Cathy Williams
The Innocent Virgin by Cathy Williams
Undecover Virgin by Cathy Williams
A Single Demand by Cathy Williams
Craving Beauty by Cathy Williams
The Millionaire's Virgin Mistress by Cathy Williams

This is an eclectic mix of romance genres: historical, fantasy and contemporary. Some are adventures. Some are pure relationships. Some are magical. I prefer the stories that are a good mix of all three.

Why do I read so much? Research. I used to read and not know why I enjoyed/disliked the stories. That has changed. I now read with a writer's eye.I read about the techniques of writing women's fiction and read published books to identify those techniques in action.

If only I could write as fast as I read.

I'll keep you posted.

The Fourth Wall in Writing

I found the site Fiction Factor ( with useful articles and tips on writing, as well as publishing and the writing business. I've read quite a bit from that site and one point in one article has firmly stuck with me. I never thought about it before and it's one of the mistakes I'm guilty of.

  • I break the fourth wall.
In theater, a physical stage has three sides but four walls. Three of the sides contain scenery and props. The forth contains the audience. One of the first things I was taught in high school acting was the importance of maintaining the integrity of the forth wall. The audience knows what happens on the stage isn't real life and they come prepared to suspend their disbelief.

  • Breaking through the forth wall reminds them of reality. It rips them out of the fantasy being performed and breaks the emotional connection.

Any time a sentence breaks the emotional connection or suspension of disbelief, the forth wall has been broken. The audience backs away. Do that enough times, they walk out. The audience wants to participate in the emotional banquet offered. Well crafted sentences feed that desire to the reader. Poorly crafted sentences shatter the forth wall.

  • Maintaining the integrity of the point of view is the first place thing to look for. 3rd person omnipotent is my favorite. This point of view comes directly from the character's head – thoughts, feelings emotions and actions of self and others described from one set of eyes. That means you can't suddenly know the thoughts, feelings and emotions of the other characters (unless you set up your character as a talented empathic with mind reading capabilities). Events must be described from the perspective of one set of eyes.
Okay, I got that one down. I know how to switch characters as needed to show more than one side of the action – by starting a new section that lets the reader know the POV has changed. I hate when writers switch point of view every paragraph. It is too jolting. Especially if the writer has to use two paragraphs for one character. I lose track of whose head I'm supposed to be in. This breaks the forth wall. That's why I hate it and stop reading. I've seen this in quite a few promising works on Authonomy. I could not get into the story and stay there. I didn't know why before. But now I do.

  • In collage I was taught that when I write a letter or paper, it is automatically assumed that the information contained within is my personal opinion. I got marked down any time I used phrases like “I believe...”, “In my opinion...” “I know...” “I realized...” “I think...” “I feel...” Strange enough, in nonfiction, this breaks the forth wall.

In fiction, 3rd person POV, phrases like the above: “He believed...” “She thought...” “He realized...” “She knew...” “He felt...” do the same. This is my biggest blunder. I fall out of the character's head as a writer forcing the reader to do the same. Do this enough times and the forth wall shatters. The reader puts the book down and never picks it up again.

I'm certain there are other writing mistakes I make that break the forth wall. A good editor most likely can pick out these sentences better than I can. But now that I know what to look for, I'm actively trying to stamp these out. When writing I need to stay completely inside the characters head, never pull back no matter how emotion rich the scene.

I'm going back to rewrite my stories and search out this infraction. Dreamsayer should be relatively clean though I could be wrong. Without a doubt, Shadow Nexus needs a full reread for this foe-pah alone.

The draft I'm working on for Whisper Walkers contained a few instances in the emotionally saturated areas of the story so far. Is this because I don't fully understand the emotions I'm trying to describe? Or have I pushed myself out of my comfort zone? If the first case, I need to do more research. If the second... I don't know...

I'll keep you posted.

The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

Ever read a series of books and while engrossed find yourself saying, “I want to write a story like this!” That's how I feel about this series of books. Bummer is, the last book in the series won't be released until Jan 18, 2011. It may take months for me to stop trying to write the ending myself based on the clues she's left in the other books.

The Fever series is like Harry Potter for grownups. Definitely not for kids. Definitely for people who like to read. I hope writing this will get the story out of my head and allow me to write my own stories until the final book is released.

Every Fever book ends in a cliffhanger, each darker as the books progress. I hate that when the series is long. I didn't pay attention to the release date on the fifth book. I understand why many readers prefer to wait until all the books in the series are available before buying the first one.

The story is written in 1st person, told by MacKayla Lane, Mac for short. I normally don't like this point of view. But Moning has changed my perspective. I like 1st person omnipotent if it is well written. She did an outstanding job. I'm not certain what book put me off of this perspective. I do know she has shown me the art of prose and good story telling. I'm reading the types of books I want to write. This series is a primary example.

I won't go into a ton of detail because I tend to give away spoilers. Moning has created a world within our world in Ireland with the Fae or Faeries. But these are not little Tinker Bells. They are aliens, basically, large, some ugly, some beautiful, with super powers who have been living alongside humans for a very long time.

Every character has personal, secret motives for why they do what they do. I really like the way that is done. They are all looking for a mystical book and Mac is the only one with the super powers to find it. So she is wooed by heroes and villains alike as they try to persuade her onto their side. Even the foulest of the foul sends her flowers! When that doesn't work he gets mean.

The main hero (and romantic interest) is a complex Jerico Barrons who has a secret reason for getting his hands on the mystical book. At the end Book 4, his secret is somewhat uncovered as part of the cliffhanger. It both took me by surprise and yet didnt'. Very sneaky of her...

Make certain you read these in order:
1) Darkfever
2) Bloodfever
3) Faefever
4) Dreamfever
5) Shadowfever.

Mac, who learns to fight and use her buried powers along the way, survives quite a bit of bad stuff including torture and rape. But Moning handles this well and I didn't feel offended, she didn't push me too far, letting me know of the events while protecting me from brutal reality and the horror. I mention these events for those readers who are sensitive to brutality.

This series is about good versus evil where evil is shown by really evil deeds and good is a vast pallet of grays. No white hats on any of the characters so don't look for that.

What really urks me is I know now that The Tool series has the potential to be a story like this. In order to do that I need to rewrite, butcher and hack the thing to shreds. I played it too safe with the characters in the first book keeping the main characters from physical and emotional harm. I introduced the good and evil elements too slowly with the main evil character not even named yet. Brent has super powers he is unaware of and untrained to use that he doesn't know about until the end of the first book. I keep too many secrets without enough hints for the reader to help understand Emily's motives or the angst she feels for Brent.

After I finish Whisper Walkers – hopefully the fully fleshed draft will be done this week – I will put some thought work into how to change Shadow Nexus - oh, hell, the whole series! - change how Brent and Emily meet, change how I introduce the Good and Evil characters, maybe switch points of view between Brent and Emily and give the readers a better clue of what is going on in both of their heads.

This is tough though because Emily knows so much more than Brent and she doesn't think like a human. She has secrets she needs to keep from Brent as she slowly discovers the reasons for her very existence. Instead of starting the book at the very beginning of their relationship, I can start in the middle and add little bits of the past, make their adventures more dangerous, quit playing it safe. Let Brent get a cut or a bruise or broken bone a little more often.

That means pulling the book from publication. Few people have read it so I don't think anyone will notice.

Then I will chop the book up into 70,000-90,000 or so word chunks to make as many books as I need to tell the entire story. There was one chapter I really wanted to include in the first book but removed due to the word count. I can put that back in! To make readers happy, I'll try to release all of the books at the same time instead of over a five year period!
I'll keep you posted.

Selecting a Niche Market

The kidlet is out of school for the summer. He's bored and bugging the “$%@#” out of me! I'll do my best to keep blogging until his 8 weeks of vacation is over. Thank heavens for the year round school program!

I've decided on a niche market to write for – woman's romantic science fiction and fantasy. Okay, not much different from my first attempt. But these one will be written in the accepted form for woman's romantic fiction, switching point of view from the hero to heroine. The relationships is the main focus with events putting them together and pulling them apart – with plenty of verbal foreplay and near misses. One good sex scene after the couple have made some type of commitment. And of course, a happy ending.

I really enjoyed 'Heartmate' by Robin Owens. It takes place 400 years in the future on a distant planet colonized by technically and magically gifted humans who left earth so they could practice their magic. The hero is a rich, magical Tarzan the hero a magical Jane. It's sweet and funny with elements of danger.

Creating my own future worlds will take less time than researching for an historical romance. I thought of writing contemporary romace, but couldn't come up with new ways of two people meeting without twisting reality. I tried to brainstorm a list. But, I need magic or technology for my plots.

Last week I finished the first draft of a new novel. Actually, the novel wrote itsself. I was surprised! I set up the concept in my head and started writing. I used the completely orgainc approach. I had no idea where the story was going and let the characters tell me who they are and events just naturally happened.

I picked up a pen, started writing and within a week I had it done! The story is in one journal notebook with very few scratch outs. It's as if the novel wanted to be written as it streamed from my brain and onto the page. This is the most fun I've had writing in a very long time. It felt effortless, as if I was simply dictating the words of the muse in my head. When I wasn't writing, I was planning the next scene – in the car, doing housework and before my son's ice hockey game.

The next step is to get these words into a text file and start polishing. I need to make certain the language I use matches what is expected by the reader.

This novel will be called 'Dreamsayer.' Next blog, I'll give more details.

I'll keep you posted.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I finished reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon last night. Though I don't have the exact word count, this story has well over 125,000. The 6” x 9” paperback version has 656 pages. (My 125,000 word novel 6x9 has 247). Of course, this was not her first printed title. She had an established fan base, so a publisher is more likely to take the risk of printing a thick book.

The story is well detailed (sometimes too much), starting in 1942 then time traveling through a small Stonehenge circle back to 1742. She took quite a few chapters to set up the story, introducing history, place, characters and their ancestors for both time periods. Necessary, I suppose, but rather boring.

The story is told in the first person, Claire's voice, almost a memoir style – not my first choice for point of view reading. But her thoughts are interesting enough to make me like her and some of the dialog is charming, truly funny and properly reflects the characters. (I like dialog)

I liked the two main characters, Claire a nurse from 1942 and Jamie a fiery Scotsman from 1742. Though to took me a while to figure out he was the intended love interest and I didn't quite see the attraction.

Even if factual for the time, she pushed the limits of reality forcing her characters to endure the worst of what two people of any time could endure. Quite frankly, when Claire found she could go back to her own time, she didn't and I couldn't believe it! – after being kidnapped by a band of Scotsmen, nearly raped four times, killing a man (eventually two), flogged, almost convicted and killed for being a witch, forced into marriage or suffer torture for being suspected a spy for the French, her backside strapped by her husband for failing to obey his orders, same man making clear the meaning of “obey” in her marriage vows included his needs in the bed.

Instead, she falls in “lust” with her new husband, an outlaw, warrior and murderer with a price on his head, with few friends or people he can trust – even among his own relatives and clansmen, hunted by the English, always on the run, in hiding or fighting capture, or being captured, completely scarred from head to toe from the abuse he suffered at the hands of the English and never ending fighting with sword, knife and pistol (good thing she's got medical training – one of the reasons why he married her), physically injured many times but apparently a fast healer, who admits he's not a very good husband because he has no money or property and he beats his wife.

But the sex is good.

Really, Claire – wake up from the nightmare and go home! Is a good lay really that damn important!

There's nothing “gentile” about this story. It's brutal, violent. She found ways of abusing her characters both mentally and physically that left me disgusted. Though the characters seem to “brush” everything off after a few days and a good emotional release (fight or cry) and move onto the next horrific event - courage and bravery? Their lives are one never ending, no-win scenario – either suffer or die. It did leave me delighted I live where I do and in this century.

I finished reading the book not knowing it was part of a trilogy. The last chapter left the characters at a happy point (with much unresolved) enough for me to let them go and imagine a happily ever after, even though they seem doomed. I don't have the stomach for two more books no matter how much I like the rapport between the two main characters. I'm done.

I'll keep you posted.

Crap and Cream

Sorry I haven't blogged lately. I've been reading and writing fiction, trying to get into the language. The more research I do, the more reading I do, the more I read posts for the Yahoo groups, the more I look into everything that is out there, I realize I have made a huge error in judgement.

I need to write for a niche market.

I have every intention of finishing this trilogy. I like the story. I like the characters. But I'm having trouble finding the readers, the people, who, like me, will enjoy my characters adventures. I thought it should be easy to find others like myself who enjoy the same. But the more I look at what is out there, the more I read what other people read, the more convinced I am that I've set myself up for failure.

I don't have time to devote to a failed concept.

A while ago I read an article from a professional editor who also freelances. I don't remember the name nor did I keep the link. This morning, I remembered something I dismissed when I read the blog, she said, “Write a story that people actually want to read.”

Lately, I've read enough crap and cream stories that I'm getting a much clearer picture of what that editor means. Ride the tide. Write for the niche. Find out what the audience expects, wants and desires based on what has worked in the past. Do the same as everyone else only different, a slight twist, a different angle. Get into the language of a particular niche market – i.e. romance – and write in a similar style, similar structure, similar characters only slightly different.

I'm selling a novel that breaks the genre rules and crosses borders into uninhabited territory.

I'm writing the novels for me, not for a specific audience. My likes run the gambit of non-fiction, history, romance, science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, mystery and mythical stories. I don't like vampires or werewolves. I prefer humans with magical powers to mythical creations. I don't like reluctant heroes forced into a destiny they'd prefer to run screaming from. I want heroes who plunge headlong into danger, feeling the rush, working through a no-win situation and coming out on top. And I like the added spice of a little romance and sex between the main characters. I don't like the old style James Bond who bed hops without hesitation. Give me a hero in love with a heroine who fills his every need, even if it takes a while for both of them to realize it.

All of the above poses a problem. Where do I find people like me? I don't think the audience I'm looking for reads books. I think they prefer to watch TV.

I'll keep you posted.

Buying an Editor

I'm always doing some type of research, looking for ideas for my novels, ways to improve my writing skills and reading what experts have to say about the writing and publishing process. Every time I run into a statement about editing, I a pit forms in my stomach.

My novel would benefit from a professional editing job. I've recently read enough unpublished works on Authonomy and other sites to agree with that for other people's work.

For example, I politely read the first few pages of a story, board with the descriptions, not really curious about what was happening. Then right in the middle of the second page, I read what should be the hook, what should be the very first sentence, not buried so far away from the beginning. I'm paraphrasing, but it went something like: “Why would he, a vampire, hide in a church?” A very good question and I was intrigued by the answer so I kept reading. Really, what would frighten a vampire? More importantly, what would frighten a vampire so much they'd seek refuge on holy ground? The book showed promise after that. A bit of editing and, well...

Another unpublished work I read lacked a voice, (point of view). I had no idea who was telling the story. The writer introduced seven people in the first three paragraphs. That's like going to a party where you don't know anyone, you get introduced to everyone at the same time and can't remember any of them as the party wears on. Finally, the voice introduces herself when she is born, on the third page. From there, it was much easier to read because I knew who was speaking. I suggested to the author to start the book with one simple line to establish the voice right away. “On the day I was born...”

So, I am wondering what things I should change in my book to make it better, none of the above because I understand and recognize those things. But I am certain someone who knows how to edit fiction can help me with pace, flow, plot and perhaps point out where I might have missed an important little detail that is clear in my head but not clear on the page.

I went looking for the price of freelance professional editing services and what it might cost. Big publishers have editors on staff, so that's one of the reasons authors don't get a bigger percentage. When I found the standard pricing, my heart sunk. Normal rate is $.02-.04 per word depending upon the type of editing (i.e. proofreading, copy editing, developmental or substantive, formatting, critique. See: for definitions.)

My book is roughly 125,000 words. Don't have a calculator handy? Let me do the math: $2,500-5,000. Yes, that is a whole bunch of money!

Another problem is finding an editor suited to the work being edited. I don't want someone who edits cookbooks trying to take on my romantic story. I'd hate to get comments for the love scenes on what “spicy ingredients” to add in what order or just how “hot” they should be and how long to “cook” until they are “done.”

So, I'm keeping my novel as is for now. That doesn't mean that sometime in the future I won't relent and get the thing looked at. For most new authors, the first novel isn't the breakthrough, much like an actor, the first part doesn't make them a star. I'll keep writing, because one day, I will find the story that people really want to read. I keep hoping for this series.

I love this particular story and need to finish book 2. I've decided on the title "Shadow Nature." It's moving forward one sentence at a time. I'm not stopping. I'm not giving up.

I'll keep you posted.

Tell or Show: Illustrated

I've read articles that try to explain the difference between a “tell” and a “show” in fiction writing. For whatever reason, they make it sound more complicated than it is. One person suggested reading an entire book just to find one “show” line at the end. How does that help?

I thought I'd give some examples to “show and tell” how I understand the difference. This is probably the most important skill a fiction writer can learn and one that I am constantly working on.

In my non-fiction how to books, I write step-by-step instructions:

Cut on the dotted line.
Glue down the flap.
Cut away the excess.

For all of these, I have a picture on the right hand side with arrows indicating what line, what flap and what excess. The words are the tell. The pictures are the show.

When writing fiction, I don't have pictures for the “show” so the words have to create the image in the readers mind. It takes more words, well chosen words, to make the image. Remember: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, don't use that many words for every moment. Pick the most important features of the picture instead. Use words to describe what part of the picture you are “pointing” to. You don't need to paint the entire picture every step of the way. Paint it one stroke at a time so the reader can build up the complete image.

Recently, I wrote an email to a high school friend explaining why I don't want to go to another high school reunion.

I could have said: “I've changed so much since high school that I felt uncomfortable being there.”

Instead I said: “The old personality felt like a small itchy wool coat trying to slip on my body and smother me.”

Can you feel my discomfort and empathize?

In my novel drafts, I tend to tell what the character feels. In rewrites, I illustrate what that looks like or feels like depending upon the point of view. The books are written from Brent's view so, I can illustrate what he feels. When he's looking at others, I describe what he is seeing.

Tell: “Emily showed distress.”
Show: “Emily tapped her front tooth with a fingernail while her other hand clinched up in a fist.”

Within the context of the scene and the dialog, her behavior makes even more sense. It's one brushstroke on the canvas for that scene.

Tell: “He felt hurt and didn't know how to tell her.”
Show: “He didn't know how to explain the lump in his throat or the tight knot in his stomach.”

My first drafts are often similar to scripts. I set up the scene, write the dialog, put in notes for the actors. Then I go back and turn the script into a series of pictures. Instead of using a camera, I use words.

I'll keep you posted.

An Author's Bio

For book submissions requirements, I need to provide an author's bio. I've put this off for too long. I should have written it before I published the book and included it on one of the back pages. Because I've never written one before, I did research. If I didn't, my bio would read something like this:

Carrie Olguin lives like magical wallpaper, working hard to compliment the furniture. She writes from the safety of her home office because she's shy and it's a great place to hide. Though she's been writing both fiction and non-fiction all of her life, she's too uncertain about her writing ability to rely on large scale professional publishing. However, when she needed to find a way to pay for her favorite hobby, she wrote and self-published pattern and reference books for the model horse hobby, a very small niche market. Since life is slipping by quickly, she decided to finally write The Tool series of novels, a concept that has been developing in her head since collage. She has absolutely no institutional education to support her qualifications to write science fiction, except for the fact that she loves science, technology and the fiction genres and wishes more of the books and shows she likes had romantic elements.

Would you read my book if you read that? I'd feel sorry for me, so it would be a pity purchase.
Here's professional recommendations on what to include in a bio:

  • Memberships in Writing Community: - I don't belong to any Writing Communities. I don't have much free time in the evenings to go to meetings and not much in the day time either.
  • Publishing credits: - My publishing credits have nothing to do with the sci/fi genre. My credits are all non-fiction (that would be all the books and CDs I've published).
  • Awards and/or recognition for work: I don't have any awards, didn't bother to try for the non-fiction. I didn't think it mattered as long as my books were selling. The only recognition I have is in my ebay feedback. 
  • Writing-related job experience: - All of my writing related job experience are non-fiction in nature, such as the equipment documentation and training manuals I did for my last job. This would be good for my tack books, but not for fiction. 
  • Education: - I have a BA degree in Communications. I thought this was a major achievement, until my husband made a comment about the degrees professional athletes earn. He said something like: “That guy didn't earn a real degree in collage. He earned, you know he got a Communications degree, cause all he really majored in was the sport that got him the scholarship.”

Yes, I was insulted. I worked hard to earn my degree. It wasn't easy. But if what hubby said is true, or at least believed to be true by enough people, then saying I have a degree in Communications is the same thing as saying I have no degree at all.

Other guidelines to follow for writing the bio, pretty much the same advice from all the different sites:

  • Always write in the 3rd person.
  • Use your name in the first sentence, the way you want readers to remember you.
  • Opening sentence, professional not personal – make something up that sounds like you are more than you really are. Freelance writer, artist, business owner.
  • Include any writing or critique groups you belong to
  • You are your own product. Sell yourself to the readers and publishing professionals.
  • Brag. Don't be shy. Tell people what you have accomplished.
  • It's okay to be eclectic with credentials. It's okay to include non-paying publishing jobs.
  • If no writing experience, focus on expertise.
  • Always tell where you live or closet large city nearby.
  • Mentioning family members and pets makes you more real and reachable.
  • Make yourself sound interesting.
  • Write down everything then reduce to high points down to one paragraph.
So I gave it a try:

Carrie R. Olguin owns an art and book sales business in Phoenix, Arizona. She earned a degree in Communications from UCSD, an experience that inspired the concept for Tool series novels. She's married with two adopted children. She's held different technical jobs, including Network Administrator and Technical Designer for cutting edge postal system equipment. One of her favorite activities is researching cutting edge theories and technologies. She's has published 12 non-fiction books. This is her first fiction work.

I hope I don't sound boring. I'll keep you posted.

The Alarm Clock

I prefer the dark quiet hours of night when all is still and my mind undisturbed by noises or bright light. My son is a morning person.

  • If he goes to bed at 7:30, he's energetically awake at 5:00AM.
  • If he goes to bed at 8:30, he's energetically awake at 5:00AM.
  • If he goes to bed at 9:30, he's energetically awake at 5:00AM.
On school days, I don't have to wake up until 7:00AM. My son tries to help. At 5:00AM he wakes me to let me know I can sleep for two more hours. At 5:30, he lets me know I have 1 ½ hours left. At 6:00 he's ever so thoughtful, letting me know I can sleep for yet another hour. At 6:30 he comes in every five minutes to give me the countdown.

If I'm not up by 7:00, he's on my bed and on top of me, bouncing and laughing and making certain I recognize the fact that he exists.

On weekends, he's just as helpful, with no concept of “sleeping in.” I haven't had to set my alarm clock in over five years. I'm not even certain why I bother to plug the thing in.

I'll keep you posted.

Weekend Research

I spent the weekend doing research again, looking for places to find friends and perhaps fans – one and the same I am hoping.

I searched the Yahoo groups and found a few that are active with people who read books related to SciFi/Fantasy and romance. My book doesn't fit exactly into a neat category – it crosses genres and breaks some of the “rules.” But I am certain it can find fans among these types of readers. The trick is getting them to purchase the book and have a read.

I've lowered the sell price for the book on my website feeling I have a right since Barns and Noble is selling it for less than the Amazon price. I lowered the price of the Kindle version, too. I'm beginning to think price is what I have to offer right now. In fact, I may have to buy some books to give away to people who read.

I've basically given up on Authonomy. It's not what I thought it would be. It's more like a reality game like Survivor where you make alliances and try to get ahead by playing the game. If I back someone's book without even reading it, they will do the same for me. Oh, well, I'll keep looking for the right place to be.

While searching the web I found an article that intrigued me on Copyblogger. Although most of this information pertains to non-fiction writing, I do need the information for my tack making books. Basically it said (I lost the link to the article so I can't post it directly):

“For success you need talent, luck and persistence. Pick any two.”

I don't have luck. I've never been lucky. Doors for me have never opened easily. I've had to work hard for what I have and I have to keep working hard to keep it.

So the two I need to pick are talent and persistence. I'm certain I have the talent to write. Every book I finish helps me hone my craft. I'm not the best writer but I'm certainly not the worst. If I'm wrong then see below.

As for persistence, well, I can be tenacious and I do have a stubborn streak. What I need to work on is self-confidence. I need to believe in myself and my work. Sometimes I have trouble with that. I have to make certain the little voice in my head tells me good things – even if slightly unrealistic and delusional. I have to become my number one fan, despite what other people say. I have to maintain the courage to stand up for my work – without insulting people along the way.

So that's my never ending chore. Hone my talent and believe in my work so that I have the courage to tell others it's good. Unfortunately, I'm a coward...

I'll keep you posted.

Hello? Anybody out there?

I realized that I have no idea if anyone is even reading my posts. I've turned this into some type of on-line diary.  And because I am a no one that nobody knows or cares to read about, this diary can remain a secret simply by being ignored.

How incredibly odd... All those warnings about posting things on line... How public it is... No privacy at all... Anybody can view it... Everyone can know about it... There's no copy right protection... If it's out htere you can't take it back...

The fact is, there is so much to read on the Internet, so many pages to view, that my blog resembles my life in many ways. I'm just another voice in the crowd where everyone is shouting. What can I do to get my voice to rise above all that madness to be heard?

I'll keep you posted.

Mother's Day

My son is eight years old. Yesterday, he got a small cup from the cupboard and filled it half with water. Then went outside to my rose bushes.

He pulled on the blossoms with his hands, trying to free them, breaking branches in the process. After many attempts, he could not pick any with stems long enough for the heads to peek over the top of the cup.

So he scattered the remnants of all the freshly picked flowers in the yard and went inside.

On my coffee table, I have an expensive silk arrangement of pink roses. He pulled out several stems and put those into the cup of water.

Then he brought me the cup of roses and said proudly: “These are for you, for Mother's Day.”

Awwww. How am I supposed to tell him how wrong he is?

I'll keep you posted.

Spring Time in My Backyard

Spring in the desert starts earlier than other places in the US, for example the suggested planting date for tomato seedlings is Feb12 and for other plants March 15. I used to have a nice vegetable garden before I decided to grow kids. The garden was less work.

With Spring comes the weeds... Plenty of weeds. I hate pulling weeds.

The birds have returned, busy building their nests. They sing, fight and fly without even noticing me. Sometimes I have to duck out of the way of a chase. I don't normally take the time to bird watch. Our birds are the common variety. Sparrows, hummingbirds, doves blackbirds and brown jays busy enjoying the gifts of a warmer sun.

Although, one time I spied two partridges walking about my back yard as if they owned it. Another time there were a couple of green love birds, obvious domestic escapees.

One day, I was outside doing yard work with our 10lb dog named Gizmo. She's a Lasa Apso Maltise mix, white with black patches. After weeding a while, my back ached, so I stood up to stretch, looking into the sky. I spotted a bird gliding in the air currents above me that had a wingspan of at least 6 feet. I watched for a while wondering what a bird of prey was doing circling around my back yard. Then it occurred to me, “Where's the dog?” I called her over quickly and when she was by my side looked up again. The big bird was gone.

I spied a pair of doves on our block wall fence engaged in their courtship. They moved in mirror image for a while then reached out to caress each other with their heads. The courtship lasted for five minutes. The actual physical exchange lasted for about a second. Off they flew as if fully satisfied with the encounter. I'm so glad I'm not a bird.

I'll keep you posted.

Fabled Fables

I installed the Kindle for PC program, available at no charge from Amazon. I wanted to see that the books look like before I send my in to be processed. There are free books available to “purchase,” from classic to modern styles. I downloaded a few from the bestseller section from authors: HG Wells, Jules Vern, Lewis Carroll, Aesop, Jacob Grimm and "Unknown."

I read “Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know.” The book is full of familiar stories in their orignal form. The stories for this book were complied in 1905 from the Grimm's Fairy Tales, Arabian Nights as well as tales from other story tellers whose stories (Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast) people know better than the author's names.

Here are some interesting tidbits I learned from reading the original story proving myths and fables change when retold by new story tellers with a new audience to captivate and entertain.

  • Aladdin, with the lamp, lived in the capitol of China – though it's obious the story teller had never visited that place.
  • Sleeping Beauty was seven years old when she ran from her stepmother. The prince did not kiss her to waken her. Instead, his clumsy servants knocked over her glass coffin and spilled out her dead body which caused the piece of poison apple to fall out of her mouth. (Yeah, I always wondered about that: A prince who falls in love with a (seven-year-old) corpse and wants to kiss it?)
  • Tom Thumb was created by faires due to Merlin's request and later knighted by King Arthur.
  • Sleeping Beauty married her great-grand nephew – the prince that kissed her (hand) to awaken her. At least, he noticed that she looked very much like her great grandmother. I have to assume he was refering a sister and not her actual mother. Only 100 years had passed, after all.
  • The giant killed Jack's father when he was three months old. It was his guardian fairy who created the magic beans for the beanstalk so that Jack could steal back his inheritance and avenge his father's death.
  • “Fe Fi Fo Fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman.” came from the story Jack the Giant Killer. No beanstalk or beans in that story. Jack traveled England and killed giants then sent the heads to King Arthur along with the story behind the kill.
  • Little Red Riding hood took off her clothes and slipped into bed with the wolf. Then she asked about his large body parts. The wolf ate her up completely. There was no rescue.
  • Goldilocks real name was Silver-hair. There was a Middle-Bear and not a mama bear.
I have more historical science fantasy to read – myths and fables, with the Brother's Grimm and Aesop books to go.

I'll keep you posted.

Saguaro Cactus

When we first moved into this house over ten years ago, we purchased a three foot high saguaro cactus for the front yard. We knew it could take ten years or more for the cactus to mature and grow the "arms."

Saguaro cactus are a native plant to our area. They grow wild in the desert. On the drive from here to California, we get to see many different forms. Plenty of our neighbors have one or more decorating their front yards.

For over ten years, I've wondered and imagined what our version would look like.

One arm like a man waving hello?

Two arms like a man under arrest? This is the what most people invision.

Two arms and a nose? Our neighbor's looks like this.

Many arms like an octopus? Very common in the open desert, from four to twelve arms out the middle of the cactus.

Well, after ten years of waiting, I have my answer. Our cactus looks like this:

It's times like these when I know God has a sense of humor and He's laughing at me.

I'll keep you posted.

Why I don't Blog Every Day

I know blogging is supposed to be an everyday event and I haven't blogged in a while. But there are reasons. Today for example, my kid has a holiday. Every thirty seconds he calls for me and not for any particular reason.

On days like today, "Mom" sounds like a swear word. I know he doesn't mean it to be that way, but I just can't concentrate or get anything done!

Oh! He needs me again. Gotta go.