Phantasy Friday: NaNoWriMo; Complete With Interruptions, Special Ones

National Novel Writing Month commenced the 1st — and it’s not too late to join in! The goal is 50 thousand words by the end of November. It can be a complete story, or the beginning of a story for those who write long. And it’s very achievable at 1,667 words a day! If you write the typical 2500 word chapter, you can have it done early. You can write by yourself purely on an honor system, or hook up with NaNo writing buddies. There are online pep talks and everything. Well, almost everything. There’s nothing for what happens at my house.

I’m doing NaNo for the first time. And I actually took into consideration the need to write extra words every day to cover weekends I’m ghost hunting. But the main thing NaNo does is prove you can write a novel in a month. Rough draft it may be; but they’re all rough drafts at the start. Give it a try! And if you do, buddy up with me. You can find me as Runere.

HOWEVER— it’s as if there’s a great conspiracy to keep me from completion. Despite all the wonderful encouragement you get from NaNo and writing buddies, I feel compelled to point out there are things NaNo has no control over. I’m going to give you a condensed version of interruptions from my household. I swear, it’s like watching a movie only to have a commercial break leap out at you during the deepest, most exciting part of the film! Certain situations have arisen that have me leaning toward a murder mystery next year. A perfect murder. With no bodies found. Lots of life insurance to collect. It’s about a writer who just can’t take any more interruptions . . .

Sorry. Plotting moment there.

Writing at a good pace on day one. This is pretty cool! You know, if a person sets this goal for each day you really could write a book a month! Enter my word count at the NaNo site.

Second day, scene: a chase ensues in a dark New Orleans alley, sounds and scents amplified by terror. My heroine looks up to see the nightmare version of my bad werewolves. It’s thick lips bare bloodied fangs as it prepares to speak. *snarl* “I can’t get the damn microwave to work right.”

Poof. Scene gone with a jolt. Wh-what? He wasn’t supposed to say that! And what happened to that gravelly, raspy voice I devised for him? I lean into the screen and peer closely at the words, trying to reclaim the momentum.  Hubby’s voice repeats, “The microwave won’t heat my soup.” I twist my head around and glare at him (probably resembling Linda Blair in The Exorcist. More than a little). He recoils at the sight and tries to shut the office door. But it’s too late. I stomp in to investigate. Turns out hubby thought he should adjust the temp control. We’ve only had this microwave for ten years. Why did he think it suddenly operated differently? Sigh.

Third day: I’m in the process of laying an intricate trail of clues. I’ve made notes, and it’s pretty cut and dried, so when I hear Hubby hollering for the dog outside the office window, it wasn’t too much of a distraction. Until he yelled, “Dixie!” for the third time. That penetrated. Dixie is in heat. I walk her on lead. Not Hubby. She listens to him. (Yeah, right. Like a teenage daughter with the hormonal hots for a bad boy with a fast car!) That hump-happy hound was probably off fornicating with every male in a ten-mile radius. Since I’d be the one stuck taking care of any puppies, you better believe I left a cloud of papers fluttering in my vapor trail on the way out! Found her and dragged her back inside before she went behind a bush with Romeo. Or Cisco. Or Pancho. Or Duke. Or that one I’ve never seen before. Or that little brown dog that humps my leg.

Fourth and Fifth days: Ghost hunting! Loved both nights of it. Did I ever expect to use my experience as a maritime captain during ghost hunting? No, never. But it turns outs this house was supposed to be haunted by an old sea captain. Things were quiet until I asked questions about Celestial Navigation and using a sextant for taking sun and star shots. We got a LOUD response then!

Back to NaNo on Sunday night. Hubby tried to help by cooking. Took me two hours to scrub that burned pan. We had doctor’s appointments out the wazoo on Monday; but I stayed up later to write. Had a migraine; gritted my teeth and wrote five hundred words while trying not to be ill.

But something happened this week that made me shut the computer down. It was just too much. I literally stayed in shock for a full day. Still get a little wobbly in the legs if I think about it too long while walking.

I got the phone call informing me I’m going to be a great-grandmother in June.

Yep. Full mental shutdown.

But after the initial shock wore off (two, maybe three days later!), I got really excited. Not many people get the opportunity to actually hold a person who will live so far past them in the future. I can’t wait to hold him or her, wrap them up in loving arms. To whisper in their ear to treat him or her self with care and respect because there will never be another one just like them. I’ll whisper to be sure to walk their own baby down to that certain tree near the pond.

That tree will be grown by then and I’ll be long gone. But I want that later baby’s father or mother — the baby I held — to press tiny hands to the bark and tell that little person, “Someone believed in me so much that she planted this tree the day I was born. For you to hang your swing from.”

Hope they both feel the love, because that’s truly the one thing that never changes, never dies. I’m thinking an Oak.


Visit Runere at Friend her on Facebook @ Runere McLain  Follow her on Twitter@RunereMcLain

The Lure of Old Cemeteries

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If you know me, you would know, I’m a scary cat when it comes to watching horror movies. At the same time. I have this passion for paranormal, witches, voodoo, and old cemeteries. The old ones are my favorite, aged, and covered with moss, and some defaced from weather, and climate.

When I visit an old cemetery I love the old crypts, or graves. Love to see their names and wonder  what their life was like when they were alive. A defaced and broken crypt is ideal for a scene in any paranormal story which might include a vampire, goul, ghost, or whatever your fantasy might take a writer.

So with this in mind, here are some great pictures of some crypts located somewhere in the deep south. Let your mind wonder, and your imagination run wild, and free.

Ghost at the La Belle Bed & Breakfast

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So many ghost stories, center around New Orleans, but we have our own ghost and culture for the country folks in, Picayune, MS.  At the Bed and Breakfast which is no longer a B&B, this beautiful home was constructed in 1904 as a private residence, a boarding house, and at one point brunch to Sunday worshippers from nearby churches.

When Penny and Linden(no last name) bought the place it was in horrible condition. They worked for months, and when you first walk in the wall paper you’ll see in the pictures are now back to the original paper. The old wood walls has been restored, and the B&B is beautiful for visitors as well as the owners giving you a country welcome, and a spoiling. The thing is, the old place has more than the great owners. There is a smoker in the bathroom. A customer reported to Penny once, I swear I haven’t smoked in your bathroom, but somebody did. Penny remarked… Ahh, it’s just my ghost, If you tell it to leave … the cigarette smoke dissolves.

Another event, was a woman’s slippers were moved when she awakened the next morning. She put her slippers back on the floor straight, and later when she returned to her room, again the slippers were askew. She reported the drama to Penny and Linden, who just shrug their shoulders and said, ahh pay it no never-mind, it’s just our ghost.

A woman pulled up with anther woman for some function, and the driver happened to be a sensitive. The passenger jumped out and said, “let’s go.” And the driver replied upset, and anxious. “NO, I don’t think I’ll be coming in. There something in that house.” She told Penny how the woman reacted.

All was done with a friendly smile and replied with humor. “There is nothing to be afraid of.. it’s just my friendly ghost.”

One night, Penny woke up in the middle of the night running to the kitchen thinking she left a roast in the oven. The closer she was to the kitchen the smell of a roast cooking dissipated into nothingness. This has happened on more than one occasion.

I know all of this to be true. I never seen a ghost before, but I have house sat for 2 different Christmas’s. The first Christmas was uneventful, but the second. I bought blue slippers(seems the ghost had a preference.) nothing happened. But, when I made the bed in the other room. Every time I passed, it looked like someone had lay upon the coverlet with the indention of a body, even on the pillow. I went into the room repeatedly to repair the bed only to return to the same disorder. (I loved it.)

I would run over once and awhile to help Penny clean the place if someone special was coming over, and I would talk to the ghost. I’ve always wanted to see one, and I thought. They can tell how much I love the place. Surely they will let me see them. But to my heartache. I never received the honor, just the honor of the shadows of their presence.

I was working at my job, and Linden came in looking for me. He told me, I have something to talk to you about. So I came from behind the counter, and thinking something was wrong immediately fear raced down my spine. I asked him in a choked voice as the hairs raised at the base of my neck, and it alerted the goose-bump squad to come to attention if everything was ok?

Linden grabbed my forearms and looked at me. “your going to be upset.”

I gulped a sick feeling hit my stomach as if I turned into gusher volcano about to erupt. I said, “Ok, tell me.”

He then begin his tale… I was sitting watching Television in the back area, and when he looked up he seen the old woman coming from the hallway and she walked through the French Doors. I almost died in jealousy, but I was tickled at the same time. I wanted to run over and go say  I want to see, please. In one of the pictures you’ll see the French Doors, she was coming towards you.

So here is my story, and a few pictures of a beautiful haunted B&B in Picayune.

Badurday-The Thanksgiving Edition

I’ve had a spectacular week this week and much to be thankful about. I started the week on Monday with my monthly trip to Tallahassee where I conduct hearings as part of my day job. While I was between cases, I checked my email. I received an offer to publish my most recently completed novel, Surfer Bride. This offer was for an ebook release date in April, 2011 and a print book in September, 2011.  It’s a romantic suspense.

On Tuesday, my book, Solo Honeymoon, was released and climbed very quickly up the mainstream best seller list on my publisher’s website. I’m very excited about that.

Then we had the holiday weekend and I finished the 50,000 word NaNoWriMo challenge. Now, the manuscript itself is not done, but I have a grand start on it. The working title  is Obsession.

Of course, I’m also thankful for family, friends, health, etc- all the standard stuff, but this has really been a wickedly brilliant holiday week.

Here’s how to order Solo Honeymoon and an excerpt. Enjoy the Pilgrim and Indian photos: 

New Moon Indians- USA Today picture


Dario came around to the side of the table where she stood. “I’ve taken the liberty of having dinner served to us here in the conservatory. Please be seated, and the chicken sorrentino will be served.” He pulled out her chair, and she sat.

“What’s in chicken sorrentino? I’ve never had it.”

“Its chicken, eggplant, two kinds of wine, and mushrooms.”

“It sounds divine,” she said. “Why the limes?”

“I had the chef pour some marsala in a pitcher, and I like to add lime juice to it as a aperitivo. Would you like to try it?”


He took a knife from the table and cut the limes open. As he squeezed the limes and smiled at her, she felt her insides melt at the intensity of his stare. His dark brown eyes were bottomless, and she knew she could lose herself in them and never want to come up for air. His hands were strong and capable as they pulverized the limes, and she blushed to think what those hands could do to her body.

“How do you say it…‘a penny for your thoughts,’ Emma?” he asked.

“I have no thoughts.”

He laughed. “So, you’re just sitting there watching me and your mind is blank?”

“Of course not. It’s just that I’m really just relaxing and have no specific thoughts.”

“Sure, cara, sure.” He smiled again at her.

Thankfully, the young man that had brought Emma the note earlier brought in the plates of food at that very moment, and she was spared having to come up with a plausible story of what she had been thinking.

Wonder what he would say if I told him I was thinking of those big strong hands squeezing my…

Emma, are you all right?” Dario asked, interrupting her thoughts.

“Fine. Fine,” she replied as she picked up her fork and took a bite of the chicken.

 The food was delicious, and Dario seemed to be on a charm offensive with her as he told her stories of his childhood days with Vincente and their adventures at the estate when they were on holiday from school.

Once the plates had been cleared, Dario stood. “I’ve brought in an old Victrola and would love for you to dance with me. We didn’t get a chance at the town party, and as dancing is my passion, I’d like to share it with you. Will you?” He stood and took off his dinner jacket. The white dress shirt he had on clung to his body. He held his hand out to her, and she rose from her chair and took his hand in her own.

They walked over to the Victrola, and Dario picked out a Viennese waltz by Strauss and put it on the turntable to play. As the scratchy sounds came from the machine, he held out his arms to Emma, and she moved into his dance space, and they began the first steps of the waltz. As soon as Dario touched her back, he stopped short. He spun her around to face away from him.

“Nice dress, Emma. I’m glad your seamstress ran out of fabric and couldn’t finish the back.”

“Very funny, Signore Conti.” She shuddered at his touch.

“Come here, woman,” he said in a low voice as he pulled her to him again.

They danced until the song ended. After the song ended, they stared into each others eyes and kept dancing as Dario hummed until the candles sputtered and went out. At some point, Dario’s hand on her back changed from the waltz position to a caress. She pulled herself closer to him as his hand ran up and down her back and eventually inside the fabric of the dress around to the side of her breast. As soon as his fingers touched her breast, she stopped moving. He stopped as well and, as his thumb inside her dress thrummed her nipple, he bent and kissed her. She groaned, and he said, “Will you go alone again to your bed tonight, bella mia?”

“No. I don’t think so, but I don’t think I can move right now to go anywhere.”

“No matter, bella, I’m not sure I can either. My passione is inflamed for you.”

“I know.”

He smiled. “You noticed?”

“Of course.”  

Wetsday: Nano Scorecard

So far on Romancemama’s Magical NaNoWriMo Tour: 12,000 words, possibly 5,000 of them actually usable; one two-day Death Star Migraine; two, yes two, fever blisters (stress induced), two angry daughters, one long-suffering husband, and two cats who won’t even acknowledge me until I put out some kibble.

I have to say it’s a success so far.

And since I am not wasting any word production that could be devoted to the WIP, I’ll just give you a shot of one of our favorite WetMen, Mr. Jason Isaacs (soon to be seen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) for your Wednesday enjoyment:

And now, I’m off to write my H/h a steamy bathtub scene!

Wetsday vs. Wordcount

No time for a long blog today, my darlings. Your Ro’mama is deep in the wilds of NaNoWriMo, and any words I produce must be saved to count toward the 50K I need on my WIP before December.
So, here we go, with actor/model/Mr. USA-World, Travis Kraft. And frankly, I think the pictures are worth a few thousand words.

Moonday’s Heroic Hunk in History: Henry VIII & Anne of Cleves

     This Moonday’s Heroic Hunk in History will be short. Partly because it’s about the marriage of Henry VIII Tudor and his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, which was very brief and also because NaNoWriMo starts today and I’m in. At least, I’m in if I can sign up. Apparently, the site has crashed but is under repair, so there’s still hope.

Anne of Cleves

     If you’re a writer who needs motivation, you might want to consider NaNoWriMo. You commit to write 50,000 words in the month of November. It’s been around since 1999 and is loads of fun with local and national support. I finished last year and got stickers and smiley faces. I am proud to say my sister Sizzler, sfcatty, however, got her NaNoWriMo book published AND finished hers a week before the deadline of Nov 30th. I could gripe but won’t because you can’t expect editors to be clairvoyant and I never submitted it to a publisher. Dare I chance rejection? This year, I will do better—that is, if I finish.
     Getting back to Henry and Anne. Henry had divorced his first wife (Katherine of Aragon), beheaded his second (Anne Boleyn), and his third wife (Jane Seymour) had died after giving him his son Edward in 1537. By 1539, Henry was approaching 50 years old and desired another wife, one which would bring him valuable political connections. Thomas Cromwell pushed the Protestant Germanic alliance with the Duke of Cleves (actually Julich-Cleves-Berg but that’s too much of a mouthful). The Duke’s first sister had married the Elector of Saxony which left Anne.
     Henry who was very conscious of his prospective bride-to-be’s appearance sent court painter Hans Holbein to paint Anne’s portrait (There was an Elder and Younger Hans, but we’re talking the Younger who came to England recommended by Erasmus.) . He painted her personality into the portrait and was much too generous with her physical appearance. When Henry met his bride who was in her early twenties, he was extremely disappointed with her and let everyone know it.
     Henry married Anne anyway but their marriage was never consummated. Henry told Cromwell that “I liked her before not well, but now I like her much worse.” Anne who was very pleasant but not well-educated and certainly ignorant of marital matters thought that everything was OK. When told that it was not, she considered how he had treated her predecessors and graciously accepted the annulment on the grounds of non-consummation and a previous contract . Henry, who thought he was still a hunk even though fat and bloated with a festering leg ulcer, was surprised by her acquiescence and treated her well. She received lands and was treated as the “King’s Beloved Sister.” Their marriage had lasted only six months and Henry’s eye had turned to Anne’s (Shall we say it together?) lady-in-waiting who was 18-years-old and the first cousin of one of his previous wives.
     Anne became friends with the King and made a respected place for herself at Court. She enjoyed managing her properties (including Hever Castle-Anne Boleyn’s family home and Richmond Palace.) and got along well with the royal princesses. She survived Henry and his other wives. She died in July, 1557 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. Next week, Henry and Catherine Howard. Rita Bay

Badurday-October 9, 2010- Liam Cormac

Liam - a little older but still with the devilish look

I already know I’m in trouble with Sayde Grace. She won’t be able to resist  making fun of me for this Badurday post. She loves to tease me about my inspiration!  Badurday was the first weekly feature of this blog when we set it up in August 2009. I chose the idea of Badurday because of another website I love that has Caturday where funny cat pictures are posted on Saturdays. My plan was to feature bad boys of  film and books on every Saturday. I had another bloke in mind for this week but when I got some good news this week, I decided to post my own bad boy of fiction today. And the inspiration for him.

Let me start at the beginning. Last year was the first year I had heard of NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing month and the challenge is to write 50,000 words during the month of November.  Several friends and I decided we wanted to play. I had no plan for a story idea.  About three weeks before November 1, 2009, I woke up to a man in my head. He said, “my name is Liam Cormac and you’re gonna tell my story.” Well,  Okaaayy…

So, about two days after that, I came up with his story- or he told me his story, I should say.  A historical- gasp, no. Please no, Liam. I never wanted to write a historical. Don’t get me wrong, I am a history hound. Love, love, love it. BUT I’m scared to death of the history  police. Terrified. Quake in the boots frightened. What if I got a phrase wrong? What if I had a character use something that hadn’t been invented yet? There was much to fear.  AND, surprisingly, as I wrote it,  my feeble brain kicked in and the mistakes I almost made, I caught in time.  Three almost mistakes come to mind. One: Liam told me he was on the RMS Queen Mary. Well, no, dude, you weren’t- your story occured in 1920. The Queen Mary sailed from 1936-1967- so, I had to find another Cunard Line ship. I found the RMS Mauretania had the perfect time line and it also had a history I needed as a troop ship during WWI.  Two:  My heroine, Peg, is a lounge singer. I wanted her to sing Stardust. Then I remembered it was composed in 1927 – so, nope. She couldn’t sing it. Pity as I love the song. Three: I got them to the USA on the ship and was going to get her a job in a bar in New York. Until I remembered that Prohibition came into law in 1919. Oh, dear, what to do? The answer came, Peg made her way to Chicago and went to work in a speakeasy (and yeah, I know they had them in NYC as well, but Chicago was so much more gangster friendly- if there is such a thing).  So, the fact that I’ve always been intrigued by the 1920s and that era came in handy.  The old subconscious saved my butt.

So, I wrote my historical romance called Redemption for the Devil for NaNoWriMo. It was a wild ride and I had a blast. Actually wrote 51,000 words in 21 days. Had to finish early as we were traveling to see #1 son in Boca Raton where he’s in college. We were spending Thanksgiving weekend there. I knew I wouldn’t get any writing done so I pushed on and finished early.  Once I was done, I let it simmer for a while and edited it only slightly. I didn’t over do the history as I didn’t want it to seem too dull.

I submitted it to Samhain Publishing after our GCCRWA conference in March 2010.  It was ultimately rejected in June, 2010.  I then submitted it to Desert Breeze Publishing in early July, 2010.  I also had a request for it at National RWA Conference but before I could send it to that editor, the acquisitions editor at Desert Breeze emailed me in early August and said she liked it but wasn’t prepared to offer a contract. She stated that I needed to draw the reader more into the era.  She asked me to add more historical detail and resubmit.  So, shows what I know. I thought too much detail wasn’t good.  I spent September revising and adding 25,000 words to it. The basic story remained the same- I just added way more detail.  Sent it back to her on September 25, 2010.

So, the grand news is that she emailed me on the 5th of October. Among other things, she said, “Bravo! I feel much more engaged and the details are brighter and livelier.”  She offered me a contract and I accepted it. The book will be released in July 2011.

Liam, my Irish devil, told me I’d tell his story and I have. I’m proud to say that I love him almost as much as Peg does and I’m hoping the readers will, too. And pray that the historical police don’t get me.

Here’s my inspiration for how Liam looks. He can sneer with the best of them. And yes, even though I captioned the pictures as Liam, I know what this man’s mamma named him for real.

How Liam looks- the proper hair length

Liam in modern clothes


Thanks to my muse with no little help from Liam and Peg, I’ve met my NaNoWriMo goal as of 8:48 CST pm tonight-  Let the editing begin!    I hope everyone is making progress.  This has been fun!  Here’s the Mauretania.  One of my characters in this manuscript.

Happy Welsh-day!

Oh, don’t even ask  about my NaNo progress– swine flu, a bust of a hurricane and a lost laptop cord have all conspired to keep my word count ridiculously low. But I am enjoying on extra benefit from my WIP: in researching Welsh culture, I have found a whole crop of lovely Celtic men to base my characters on! 

In honor of his new movie Pirate Radio, here’s Rhys Ifans:

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