Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I am dropping in early this week. I have no blog as I have three different lots of edits to do. Remember this happened to me a few months ago, well I am now at the final stage of these books.
I won't be posting at all next week as I shall be in Edinburgh at the Festival, but more important is that I will be meeting up with my friend Loren Teague who lives in New Zealand. This will be a marvellous reunion for both of us. So please excuse me for being absent without leave!
Hope you like the picture, it was taken one on of
my walks last Sunday and shows the wonderful
Eden Valley in Cumbria. Any visitors from the USA
to England, please remember, there is more to
the UK than London!!
Kind regards, Margaret.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How About Three?

I know it's a long way to New Years, but I've decided to make some resolutions and streamline my life. I decided to start with my Yahoo Groups. At last count I belonged to 22 of them.

They are all great writing groups but I was inactive in all of them. The worst thing I did was sign up to be guest moderator in one and then totally forget to show up. Not only did I not show up, I didn't even remember that I'd forgotten. So time for a resolution. I decided to cut back to three.

It was hard to chose but I decided to go with the groups either associated with my publishers or where my fiction was a good fit. And now I'm working at welcoming new members, applauding other writer's successes, buying as many e-books as I can and writing reviews for them. And it's exhausting! I don't know how writers do this and get any of their own work done.

So my question: How many groups do you belong to and how active are you? I'd love to keep this up because I've met delightful, talented people but I know as soon as I'm knee-deep in my next story that I'm probably reverting to my hermit self.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Behind the Pen

Most people assume (mistakenly, I believe) that the only person responsible for a story is the writer, but that's just not true. It's not the whole story...well, behind the story.

I'm talking first-draft story here. We all recognize (and are grateful for!) the work of editors, publishers, cover artists and lots of other, often under-recognized, folks who help bring a story to life. But first-draft stories? They're not completely the result of one person's work and vision, despite what most people believe.

Take it from me. I know. I couldn't possibly write as much as I do if I didn't have someone who helps make my world a calm, peaceful place where creativity is encouraged. Yeah, I'm talking about the person who brings the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and diet soda while I'm staring off into the distance, formulating the outline of the next story--oops! Ignore that "staring-distance-formulating bit"...I meant to say "while I am working."

I know I'm not the only one who has a wonderful helper (insert "husband" in my case) who helps make a career choice work so well. There are usually others who facilitate writers' journeys. I've read story after story of writers giving credit where it's the person behind the person who pushes the pen.

So, this Friday morning I just want to take a moment and thank my husband. He helps me in untold ways, bringing an added measure of joy to the writing side of my life.

Hope you all have a great weekend. Me? I'll be staring, thinking...I've still got the next story to firm up before I put pen to paper. I'm hoping there are a few pb&js in my weekend, too. ;-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bringing it Forth

Kathy's wonderful post had me thinking about the whole process of creating a novel. Kathy is in the early stages but there is a long way to go. Lots of writers talk about giving birth to their novel, and yes it is just like that. The whole process is akin to pregnancy. This is how I see it anyway.

First there is the exhileration, hey the birth of an idea, voices, feelings, something there inside you. You are not sterile, your mind has not vegetated, you are creative. This carries you along, and fortunately you don't have all those horrid early feelings you have in pregnancy, like morning sickness and a general feeling of lassitude, but you have those good feelings to carry you along. Your baby is doing fine - those characters are swimming around your mind and getting up to all kinds of things.

Is it all plain sailing? Of course not - you get past the middle and then that lumpen feeling sets in - where is this going? When will it end, what will I do when it does end? Will I be a successful mother and know how to turn my creation into something sellable.

Then it's over - there it is in the crib of the computer, looking at at you, all perfect, you read it over, marvelling and of course doubting, because this little guy is going to cause you a lot of worry when it sets off on its own into the competitive world of book publishing. And like many parents you do wonder, is this the kid that is going to keep you in your old age? All our hopes and dreams and aspirations are in this little fellow. We hope he won't let us down.

Oh yes, Kathy and I are in the early stages now and enjoying it, we don't have to worry just yet, now is just the perfect time...

Cheers, Margaret.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Could You Come Back Later?

A man with a deep voice is softly telling me his story. "You can't substitute one obsession for another. I know. I've tried."

That's how my stories start. I hear a voice. The whole process is so woo-woo that I hesitate to discuss it with non-writers. Generally I'm delighted to hear that voice. It means I'll be going on a journey with new characters.

But this isn't a good time for me. In fact, it's a terrible time to start a new story. I just limped through the finish line with my last novel and my husband is recovering from open-heart surgery. Did I mention I'm in a fibromyalgia flare? Yup. Fibromyalgia is one of those illnesses that rears at totally inconvenient times making you ache and giving you insomnia.

My new character thinks I should listen to him during my sleepless nights. At 2 AM he says, "Let me tell you about my brother. He sort of looks like Prince Harry without the naughtiness. I'm the dark one. We are color coded for our respective personalties." He asks, "Aren't you intrigued yet?"

I tell him he sounds kind of creepy and is about as welcome as an alligator at the door.

He laughs. "You need me. You know."

I can't argue with that. I am a writer -- a scribe -- and to turn down a story is unthinkable. "All right," I tell him, "let me go get a pen."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Economy

Is a scary thing these days. Maybe I'm naive but when gas prices sky rocketed I didn't know what a domino effect it would have to the rest of the word. I'm talking with regard to businesses, jobs, our personal lives. Oh, I knew some things would be effected, but gosh, now it's getting down right scary! And it's just starting.

My hubby keeps telling me to watch it. Meaning, of course, my spending. I'm making good money but all of a sudden everything else has gone up to a ridiculous point. I used to make it to work and back on a tank of gas that ran $26, now it's closer to $50. Groceries for the two of us has jumped from $80 a week to around $120 for the same stuff. If anything we've cut back.

I've noticed small mom and pop businesses that have been around for like, ever, are closing their doors. And they're not re-locating! Big companies are laying off people. I have a friend who has worked at the same job for 6 years. The other day they let her go with $5000. Now you're thinking, well, she got something. That should carry her for a while. Okay, what about the health benefits she lost? This is a person who had a heart transplant 10 years ago and takes thousands of dollars worth of meds a month to stay alive. How is she going to survive?

Another friend works for a huge company that hands out generous bonus checks to their employees every month based on their productivity. Unfortunately it's not individual, which means they put everyone in the same pot. You might have one person who excels and another one who could care less. Their bonuses are based on the whole team. For the first time in her 5 years with the company she didn't get a bonus last month. She couldn't make her car payment. What's going to happen if next month is the same?

Houses aren't selling, now is the time to buy but people can't afford to buy. People who've fought to keep their credit good are going to be forced to make a decision that will ruin it in order to survive. Get behind on payments. Drop things they need like insurance, take the meds they need every other day instead of every day. Get rid of their beloved pets because they can't afford to feed them anymore. It sounds ludicrous but it's a fact becoming more apparent every day.

A sad fact that the economy will get worse before it gets better. But what can we do but ride out the storm?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Between books...

...and feeling kind of... oh, I don't know. Untethered. Is that the right word for it? You know the feeling; I'm kind of "between jobs" and while it's loads of fun not to feel pressed to form the story, make the characters think, feel, speak or watch the word count build I'm...well, I guess I'm just not used to it. And it's left me feeling...yes, untethered is the right word. I'm like a balloon without a string, ready to blow off on a wayward gust but so gust.


In the meantime I've cleaned the house from top to bottom (twice!), organized the closets, straightened out my desk drawers, baked, gardened, hiked through the meadows, played with the cat, talked the ears off Hubby--well, you get the idea.

I'm waiting. I need to decide what comes next. Why is it when you want a calm day, you get wind? When you're looking for a breeze, you get stillness.

What about you? What's up in your world? And are your days filled with gusty moments or calm, quiet, watchful (hopeful!) ones like mine?

Hope you have a great weekend. Me? I'm looking for a breeze...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Here comes summer!

I am gazing out of my window at a grey day, showers of rain come and go. Yesterday we had winds, that is our summer, rain, winds and hey - a day of warm sunshine. I don't now why, I only know it is very dispiriting.

We need the summer sunshine, it prepares us for the winter (and yes I know that people in Florida are wilting in the heat - I hear it from my family!). This island does have a varied climate, you can't rely on the weather but this summer has been really dreadful. I can't think that we have had a week of good weather. Now we are looking forward to August - what will that be like? I would even settle for a mild and sunny Fall!

The only thing for me to do is to escape in my head - I have started a new novel but am struggling a little bit, still I am going to send my heroine to somewhere warm and sunny - I need to go there!

The rain is falling now but in my head it is warm and sunny, she can slip out of that jacket...ah, that is so much better.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us, happy birthday AuthorIsland, happy birthday to us!!!

We're having a party - and if there's anything we here at know how to do, it's celebrate! We have celebrated fantastic authors, wonderful books and great new releases every day for two years now, so we have lots of practice! So, what's the best way to celebrate a very special birthday??? A very special giveaway!!!!

We're turning TWO in July so, we're giving away TWO, are you ready for this, TWO AMAZON KINDLES this month!!! TWO!

Also this month, TWO very lucky readers are going to win A BOOK A WEEK FOR A YEAR!!! - That's right! One book will be mailed to the winners every single week for one year!!!! How fun is that???

Bet you're wondering about how to enter.... well all the details you need are on the Contests page, come on over and check out all the fun going on over at the Island - we have books and authors galore in just about every genre of fiction there is, we have excerpts and trailers and interviews and chats, we have a free stuff page with details on how you can get a fabulous box of goodies for only the cost of postage, we have two full pages of fun contests and, on top of all that, we give away a book a day, everyday right on the front page!What's not to love?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wonderful Saturday

I had the best time Saturday when my daughter and granddaughter came up for the day. We always have a good time together anyway. I made Michelle's favorite, a dump cake, a request I might add that wasn't very subtle on her part. Thinking about it makes me smile. I can remember doing the same exact thing to my mother with fried pies. "I'm coming over this weekend, Mom, just in case you want to make fried pies."

Alivia will be two on the third of August. So we used the day to shop. They're going to re-do her room and she's going to start sleeping in a big girls bed. You know what that means. Visits during the night or early morning by a little munchkin who no longer has a crib's bars to restrain her. They've already added special locks on the doors to keep her from leaving the apartment. I don't even want to think about that!

The Back Yard a Kins...I probably spelled it wrong. I'd never heard of them but that's what they're doing Alivia's room in. Apparently she's crazy about them. When Michelle was that age it was Strawberry Shortcake and the Care Bears. Funny the things you don't forget.

We bought curtains and party things for her princess party. It's a little harder shopping these days with Alivia. She doesn't want to sit in the cart and likes to walk around the store. We have to keep our eyes on her at all times. Michelle has a leash for her but we didn't have it on Saturday. I've noticed that whenever we go anywhere I mostly do the grandma stuff while Michelle does the shopping. I don't mind. Isn't that what grandmas are for?

You bet!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Summertime in Upstate New York

Ah, it's summertime in Upstate New York. Flowers bloom. Bees buzz. The aroma of grilling wafts on sultry, warm breezes. Fireflies flicker and the grass is oh-so green. Days are hot, nights are pleasant.

Yes, all's well in my corner of the world. And if all those signs aren't enough to convince you it's summertime here, maybe these will:

Harsh winters, salt spreaders and snowplows affect warm
weather driving conditions, too.

Take that corner carefully.
The drop, now guardrail-free, is a big one.

Reduce your speed here. I don't know what's going on
but it looks important, doesn't it?

I don't know about you, but honestly, I hardly
mind the road work. It's necessary, so why fight it?
Instead, I lift my gaze from time to time.
Isn't the view gorgeous?

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Visit to Ireland

Ireland turned out to be just so beautiful, everything was perfect, apart from the horrid midgies at Killarney's Lakes and Fells! The little critters got everywhere, even in my hair, when I got home I was scratch, scratch, scratch just like an old flea bitten dog! Not an image you want to read I know. But the beautiful picture shows it almost worth it!

The image you want to know about is rolling hills, crashing waves, luscious green, hedges bursting with flowers and a charming people. Well, yes folks all that was there. We actually stayed in a lovely house, it even had a dishwasher so Kathy would be happy! A washing machine is a necessity for my daughter in law with three kids! It was good to have the familiar sound of the washer going because it reminded me of Florida!

We had the most marvellous time, I shall never forget it. Of course being with the family was the best part. The gorgeous scenery was merely the icing on the cake. And those pesky midgies? Well their horrid bites faded and my memories never will.



Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Some Red Roses

Our dishwasher failed this morning so I'm elbow deep in suds and kind of enjoying it. I don't want this job back full time but I'm not complaining because there are more critical appliances that could fail -- like the air conditioner for instance.

Though I don't mind doing a few dishes, I want my washer fixed. I've grown accustomed to my appliances and gadgets. I can't imagine life without a cell phone or the internet.

But dishwashing got me thinking about how much technology I take for granted. Almost daily I get an e-mail from Margaret in England. Sometimes I need to stop and think how amazing that is. And just this morning she sent me her latest review at

Isn't it amazing that we can read and rejoice over the same review at Red Roses in mere minutes though a huge ocean separates us. So today I'm saying whoa for Margaret and technology.

Monday, July 7, 2008

No Way!

I got a good chuckle out of this picture. Mainly because it reminded me of a story one of my friends told me about his cat, and what his cat did every time he tried to put him in the carrier to take him to the vet. The cat would spread his legs just as he was about to be dropped into the carrier, much like the dog in this picture, and my friend would have a struggle on his hands to get him into it.

Here, the dog is at the vet and about to be taken in the back for his checkup. Too funny! He apparently has his own thoughts about going in to see the doctor.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Website

Hey everyone, I just launched a new website! I decided after 3 plus years that my old one just wouldn't do anymore. Please check out my new one and let me know your thoughts. Oh, and, this means anywhere my url is posted it will need to be changed please. Thanks!

Hope ya'll had a good 4th of July and a great weekend!


The Lark Hug

Just a quick note. I was just over at the Whiskey Creek site and saw this. On the part where it shows "Customers who bought this book also purchased..." do you see who's there keeping my Snowdance company? Beloved Deceiver by Margaret Blake...No Doubt by Kathleen O'Connor...Cupid's Arrow by Debbie Wallace! I laughed out loud when I saw the Lark's stories keeping my first book company! What a wonderful surprise!

I've read all three of those books and they are wonderful. Each writer's voice brings their tale to life. I enjoyed every one of them, and I think you will, too. I can easily recommend Cupid's Arrow, No Doubt and Beloved Deceiver. All great summer reads!

Me? I feel like I've gotten a Lark Hug!

Happy Saturday! :)

Friday, July 4, 2008

A holiday weekend

Oh, don't you just love long weekends? Any weekend is a good one but a long one? Well, it's cause to really kick back, relax and enjoy. I hope that's what you'll be doing this weekend, taking time to smell the roses and enjoy whatever it is that makes you smile.

Us? We're getting set to head out and spend the day with family. We're very, very excited about today's activities for a lot of reasons but mostly because we'll be getting to see those we love. It's been a long time between visits. We won't be doing anything special...just sitting back, relaxing and enjoying each other's company. And in our house, that's cause enough for a celebration!

I hope you'll excuse me for dashing out on you so quickly but I've got a ton of stuff to get done before we head out. There are cupcakes to frost and the cat to feed, garbage cans to retrieve from the end of the driveway and barns to secure...the list goes on and on but we'll get it all taken care of. Until next time...

Wishing you and yours have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Unsung Heroes

I know I said, no blog this week, but my schedule changed so I am back from Ireland. More on that next week.

This week I want to write in praise of the unsung heroes and heroines of publishing. Editors. They are the backroom people, they work unstintingly behind the scenes to make us look really good. I have been so lucky with my editors at Whiskey Creek Press. I don't know how the Publishers manage to capture and retain these clever folk, but they do and praise be for that.

Presiding over them all is the Senior Editor who is supremely efficient. If I had one ounce of her efficiency I would be a very happy bunny. However, I live in my head - and that is in the clouds most of the time. I really need these wonderful people to keep me on track.

So - ladies - and gentlemen - wherever you are - we love you, we appreciate you and most of all congratulate you.

Margaret Blake

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Almost Paradise

People who refer to Florida as paradise probably don't live here in July and August. It's hot and buggy and this morning we had a funnel cloud (yikes)but no tornado. Still,I kind of like the summer here because it's quiet and I get more writing done.

But I do have to schedule my writing and blogging around electrical storms which are frequent and the reason I'm late with my post today. There is something a bit over the top about Florida -- lush fragrant tropical flowers,over-large alligators and lizards that scatter when you step outside -- that make it exciting to write about. I never have to worry about describing the scenery because it so vivid and full of conflict. Take the smell for instance -- a combination of lovely gardenias and the smell of rot. It can rain here when the sun is out.

Sometimes though I think of Cape Cod and sigh.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Release Day!

Building the perfect house on idyllic Chincoteague Island is a dream come true—or so Nina thinks. But when her marriage ends just as the finishing touches are put on her beachfront home, Nina’s pleasure turns to pain. To further complicate things, a body washes up just outside her back door. Not just any body, either. Facedown and seaweed-covered, the corpse is her ex’s new lover. Now that presents its own share of problems!
Maxx Tallman, Chincoteague’s Chief of Police, is smart, handsome and fast on the trail of the murderer. He just might be the man to help Nina free herself from the web of intrigue that ensnares her. Who knows? He might be the one to help fill her lonely nights, too.
But first they’ve got to catch a killer. Fast—before the tide pushes any more bodies onto the sand.
Purchase Sniffing Sand here.