Saturday, August 30, 2008

Stay Safe

To all those in the path of Hurricane Gustav, please stay safe.

Taking control of My Life

Step by step, and sometimes they are baby steps, I am taking control of my very cluttered life.
It isn't so much physical clutter surrounding me as it is mental clutter and cyber clutter.
I have several old blogs because each time I wanted to blog, I had forgotten my previous user name and password.

I'm sure I am not the only one who is too impatient to wait for username and password retrieval.
It always seemed faster to just make a new one and let my friends know.

Now though I am setting myself up for a more professional image. People visiting one or more of my blogs may also be visiting web sites I have under construction.
I am a writer, photographer, and artist. I have heard that the artistic temperment tends toward chaos. In my case that is true, but I have spent my life learning to keep that chaos to myself and present an organized exterior.

Today is my line in the sand. I am getting organized again. I am making lists and "taking" names. My names. All my names. Usernames.

I will be accountable here on a weekly basis.


Thursday, August 28, 2008


Hoods rock. Thanks to your insight and suggestions, I started the rewrites (again) yesturday in a new spot in the story, keeping the conflict external for a bit, and am amazed at how much I can keep from the original (if I want too, that is). I was able to produce a prologue and a couple of pages of the first chapter yesturday. Pretty flipping awesome!

Something else I've noticed. The 'rules' that apply to romance do NOT necessarily work for all other genres, as one example: hero and heroine meeting in first 5pages. That is what I had started with and that wasn't the best choice for this story. Once I moved it to toward the back a bit (not too far, I mean I DID keep the stuff I've already written) it felt 'right'.

Happy writing

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


For those of you who have followed the Bullet Catchers series, today marks an important day. Lucy's book is being released today. We'll get to know why she dislikes Jack Culver so much, why she has that white streak in her hair and we're also going to find out who framed Eileen Stafford.

If you haven't read the first two books in this trilogy (FIRST YOU RUN and THEN YOU HIDE), rush right out and buy them and get the full story. Each book can be read as a stand-alone, but you don't get the full effect unless you read all three.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Evolution of a “Hood”, by Lee Morrison

Speaking strictly in terms of educational and emotional growth and development, when it comes to my hoodlum buddies, there’s no doubt cyber technology has left its mark on my life. My "Hood" evolution echoes that of the stories already told, but here's my spin.

Some where around five years or so ago, I started hanging out on the e-harlequin website hoping to glean some tips on how to improve my writing and become involved in the secret world of authors and editors.

Well, it all seemed secret to me at the time. I was totally unfamiliar with how to function among this group of people I’d admired for so long. Although I’d read tons of romances from a very young age on, I was also somewhat of a science geek. As someone who, for fifteen years previous to logging onto the eharlequin website, had felt the need to keep the romantic side of me fairly well hidden, I was stepping out of my comfort zone big time.

On top of that, I viewed authors and editors as largely untouchable for the most part, even though common sense told me that notion was silly. I wasn’t sure how to talk to anyone or what to say, and I also feared that my ignorance would be a source of insidious failure that would laugh me right off the forums.

Much to my delighted surprise, this was not the case at all. I lurked for a little while—okay, a long while, and after much contemplation, I took a deep breath and stuck a toe in the water. What I came to learn was that, just like everyone else in this world, the people I was getting to know who were, sure enough, authors and editors--*gasp*--were regular living and breathing human beings who had hearts of gold!

It didn’t take long after that. One by one I met each and every one of my soon-to-be Hood friends. We hung out together, watched, read, and learned about each other without even realizing it.

As the weeks of the Round Robins unfolded, it soon became apparent that not only did some of us just seem to bond very well together, but also that many of us were in the same place in our writing careers, and I, for one, was surprised to learn that I’d even begun to feel a little protective of those I’d befriended, especially when a rare snarky person surfaced.

When Roxanne St. Claire came along and jokingly asked if she could play in our sandbox, the Writing Round Robin took on a whole new dimension. Once Rocki stuck her feet in the sand with us, her wonderful personality and generous heart won us all over immediately. She was a Hood, through and through, only we didn’t quite know it yet. What we did know, was that from those days on, we all felt a need to stay connected and find a way to take our friendships to the next level.

Everything fell into place and when we started our own group, we each began to soar, finding strength from each other and learning as we went. Between all of us, and especially Rocki, who fell into place as our fearless leader and accepted her crown graciously, there was a plethora of knowledge and good will.

My successes, including a fateful eharlequin Writing Round Robin win, I credit enormously to my friends in our Hood. Also, I have one short story and a novella which are both available now at The Wild Rose Press, and a novel, also from the same publisher, which will be released sometime this year (still waiting for a release date any day now) and will be available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders etc.

After writing my novel, I realized a need to grow even more. It may sound strange, but I feel like I’ve really only gotten to know myself very well in the last ten years or so. I recognized that although my work had its fulfilling qualities, it wasn’t a perfect match for me and I needed to make a change.

After working in the medical field for fifteen years as an MLT/ASCP (Medical Lab Tech certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists), I returned to college at the University of Pittsburgh. I am currently a full time student in my junior year of pursuing a double major in Psychology and Sociology. In fact, often times you'll find me on my other blog talking about the subjects I study in classes.

I love to help people, and my decision to take a different approach was based on a need to have contact with people on a more personal level than my lab work allowed. I have plans to attend graduate school and train to become a licensed therapist, but although my time may be limited presently, I also plan to keep feeding my love of writing and my need to help people through more short stories, novellas and novels.

I am happiest and feel the most productive in life when I can help people, especially an underdog type of person. If I can touch someone through my writing and make a life better in some way, even temporarily as an escape, I feel like I’ve made progress toward meeting my purpose in life. Btw, I’m a strong proponent of having a purpose in life. It’s fulfilling, to say the least, for myself and hopefully also for anyone I’m able to help through my work.

I feel right at home in the Hood. My Hood friends are like a second family to me now. They’ve been a never-ending source of support and joy. I can only hope I’ve done, at the very least, a little of the same for them.

The name of our group, Romancing the Hood is derived from a spin on a combination of the English folklore character Robin Hood, the Hollywood movie Romancing the Stone, and last but certainly not least, the e-harlequin Writing Round Robin where we all met and grew together.
And that’s how I grew into a “Hood”.

If you enjoy reading and writing, and you’d like to hang out with us, we’d love to have you join us.

I promise not to be so long winded next time. :)



Have you ever been in a place in your story where you can see where are supposed to go-- looks easy enough--, you can see where you've been-- and it doesn't look bad--, but no matter what words your write the story fights you? Well round one went to the story this time. But I have my boxing gloves on and round two will be mine. I've restarted the current young adult (ya) story from a different point and it feels so much better.

At first I thought why does this matter? I mean, I did my "research" into the story, the history of the people, the world they reside in. So why did it matter? I guess an article I read (in a writing magazine published this month, don't remember which one) brought back to mind the notion that the conflict needs to be demonstrated in the first few pages to make the reader (and writer) want to know what happens next.

But now I have a dilemma... Do I start with the internal conflict or the external?


I did it! I finally did it!

I've sold twenty-five short stories to the Trues magazines. And this sale is even sweeter because it's to True Story, the only magazine I had not yet sold to.

So to celebrate I'm bringing out the chocolate fountain and skewers and all sorts of goodies to coat with that scrumptious liquid confection. Oh, and the cabana boys will be here to serve you all. Just snap your fingers, and your wish is his command.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hello. I am Kathi H Writer.
Today is my first time here, but I hope to get to know all of you.

I am taking this day to update all of my computer personalities. Yes, I have multipleinternetpersonality disorder. And I do mean Disorder!

I find that I need to update all of my little play rooms because I have been too busy actually writing to keep them up to date. Anyone else have this problem?

By the time I realize how long it has been, I have forgotten my usernames and passwords. Of course I could use the same for all of them but then what would be the fun in that? Plus I do write several kinds of books and articles; fiction and non, adult and kids; sweet; and SPICY!

Well of course not SPICY for the children. Or at least not in the same way. And I write under a variey of names.

Here in the HOOD, we have writers of all varieties.
As we introduce ourselves you will be entertained and perhaps irritated, but never bored.

So, kick back and make us your place to be while you have that first cup of coffee or tea each morning.

I am a tea drinker but I prefer it iced even in winter. I have a mug ( very large and very full right now) beside me and I am getting ready to work on one of my many projects. Have you ever noticed that when you finally make time for something you really want to do, sometimes it is hard to get started? For me, it is like I have to be under pressure to sneak in my writing time in order for the words to spurt out. Today it is like pulling teeth.

JJ Coming In for a Landing!

How exciting to have a Romancing the Hood blog. :D We have been together as a group for several years and I've loved every minute of it. It's great when writers bond, sharing their hopes and dreams, their accomplishments and sorrows, their love for writing and their digging in for the long road ahead that leads to success. How FANTASTIC to see the word AUTHOR in front of many Hood names already!

We sure had a crazy start. In fact, we were having sooooo much fun bonding on the Harlequin Writing Round Robins that I think they kicked us out of there. LOL What fun we had writing spoofs to the writing contests while waiting to hear who the winner was of a particular chapter. I FINALLY won a DESIRE contest when talented Yvonne Lindsay was the guest author. Before that contest, it was Rocki St. Claire, a MAGNETIC author, who believed in us and harnessed our wild energy to form the Hoods. Here we are, still going strong.

I have two areas in publication that interest me. The inspirational side of me has already taken hold, but here with the Hoods, I will develop my fiction writing. Couldn't IMAGINE life without it.

A wild wave to everyone! And Marilyn, this blog ROCKS!!!

Hugs, JJ

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ohhhh... our Hood inductions....

I am the newest hood member, though it has now been 3years. A course I was taking at the time required that I research different publishing houses that would fit the genre I wanted to write for: romance. Not being a Harlequin fan, but not limiting myself, I visited the Harlequin web site and explored for a bit. (Totally forgot what it was I was supposed to be doing.) And lo, what should appear out of the fog but the Round Robin. I thought what heck, why not? Why not??? Because I had only 2hours to deadline to write for a line I had no "experience" with (dangling it showing?) Ah, what the heck, what's it gonna hurt? So I subbed the 3rd Chapter and three days later got an email stating that I had won the RR for that chapter. Woo-hooo!!!! was an understatement.

I told my mom, who after it was published, went to the website and found the forums and relayed what was being said back to me. I read all the positive comments and then learned who it was who wrote them: the Hood. Though we weren't the hood just yet, that was coming.
With the support of my fellow Hoodlums, I have finished a wip which is now a manuscript, subbed it, got it rejected and lost it. (Not for good, have simply moved a gazillion times in the past two years. Well maybe 996bazillion short of gazillion.)

Anywho, have a 5book series started right now for the young adult genre. Each of first four books dedicated to each of my children, and all of the books dedicated to my kids, my dh, and the Hood.

Hoodlum Donna Michaels checking in!

Hello everyone,

My name is Donna Michaels and I'm a multi-published author because a few years ago, I stumbled upon a group of writers at e.harl all 'living' in my world. I'm thrilled to have a place on the web where others can share the ups and downs of this talented group of women as we journey through life and the writing world.

Because of my attempts at the Round Robin (of which I was lucky to win one) and the never ending support of the Hoods, I have 16 contracts between The Wild Rose Press and Forbidden Publication--3 of which are novels B&N, Borders and Amazon will carry. None of that would've been possible without the experience I garnered at the RR and support of the Hood. That's why you'll see the Hoods in the dedication page of all my stories--short or long.

Thank you, hoods!

Donna Michaels

How I Became a Hoodlum

Four years ago, I discovered something called a “Writing Round Robin” on the Harlequin/Silhouette website. Roxanne St. Claire, an author new to Harlequin/Silhouette, wrote the first chapter and every other week we wannabes competed to have our chapters selected to continue the story.

For that span of time we were all caught in a fictional hurricane, trying to get the hero and heroine together, create sexual tension, stay in proper point of view, not use adverbs but use strong verbs, write them out of the closet where they’d sought shelter from the storm and do it all in 1000-word chapters. Every two weeks, I entered my carefully crafted submission, convinced of its brilliance, and participated in the online discussion thread, which had lots of fun and games as well as writing tips from the author.

And every two weeks I didn’t win, which in my opinion was a huge mistake on H/S’s part. I mean, just how many other wannabe writers could there possibly be and how much better could their writing be than mine?

I’ve since realized just how amateurish those chapters were and that the other wannabes would fill a football stadium. But the disappointment of losing was tempered by the joy of getting to know the author and some of the other participants.

When the next Round Robin came along, a core group from before continued to participate. And the more we got to know each other, the more we realized we needed to form our own little group -- a place where we could share joys and sorrows, talk about writing or just whatever was happening in our lives. Before we knew it, the group was named Romancing the Hood and we all became writing hoodlums.

A lot has happened with our group since those early days of 2004. I'll let everyone else talk about their own accomplishments, but I'll share my own. My publishing credits include two dozen short stories in the confessions and romance magazines as well as contributions to EAT DESSERT FIRST: The Red Hat Society Cookbook and THE RED HAT SOCIETY TRAVEL GUIDE: Hitting the Road with Confidence, Class, and Style. I also had a story published online at The Chick Lit Review and just learned I'll be included in the 2009 Bylines Writer's Desk Calendar.

So what's going on in your world?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rabbit Hole

I suppose it is time to poke my head out of the hole and see how blue the sky really is, how wide the world is and explore the world of writing. So, I have been told blogging is the wave, way, path of the future. I suppose this means swimming, running or walking my way into the world of writing. Duhn-duhn-duhn-duhhhh.