Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Carol

I can’t help it.  Every year about this time, I re-read A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens.  I love it, I love the many versions I’ve seen in films, and I will read it next year … and the next.  Why?
Finally, I sat down and analyzed the appeal of this book.  It’s short, fairly readable (for Dickens), and it has strong themes.  The theme that strikes the strongest chord with me, though, is redemption.  I love watching this miserable, miserly, misanthrope (is that enough mis words?) transformed into a generous and lovable human being. I giggle at his nephew’s surprise at the change in his uncle, and delight in Scrooge as he discovers the joy in helping others.
Set in the 1840s in Victorian England, the story is as poignant today as when Dickens first wrote it. It’s my favorite story by Dickens, and it showcases his talent in describing settings and developing interesting characters. It’s a ghost story, a fairly scary one, and yet it’s ideal for getting you into the Yuletide spirit.

If you've not read the book, give it a try. And God bless us, everyone!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Next Big Thing!

Many thanks to Pam Ripling for adding me to her blog hop. Pam is a multi-published, multi-talented lady. She designed cover art for my first four novels (Including the Quasar finalist Full Moon Honeymoon) and first two cookbooks. We were two of the launch authors (She wrote as Anne Carter) in 2001 for Wings ePress and have stayed friends and colleagues since.

I'll admit I'm a blog hop virgin. As I understand it, I follow her format and answer a few questions. Then I'll name a few of my author friends and invite them to join in the fun. Here goes!

What is your working title of your book (or story)?

Running Out of Time is the title of my May, 2013, release from Turquoise Morning Press. It's a time travel, which is a bit of a departure for me. I wrote a novella (Twilight Time) for the Romance on Route 66 anthology (and now a single release) and had so much fun with it, I decided to write another, longer story. Time travel is fun!

What genre does your book fall under?

Running Out of Time is a paranormal romance. There's a bit of intrigue, a bit of magic, and a lot of romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

It's always fun to cast my characters. I can see Miley Cyrus (especially with her new look) as my heroine and Josh Hutcherson as my hero.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

An elderly woman finds the perfect mate for her son...fifty years too late!

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My publisher is Turquoise Morning Press, which was founded by author Maddie James. TMP published Rebuild My World, the third in my Mustang Sally series that began life with Medallion Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About ten weeks, which is fast for me. I completely rewrote it last year because I wasn't happy with the original version.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmm. Most time travels jump back or forward more than fifty years, like the film Kate and Leopold. I was told there wasn't a market for a 1960s setting, but then I read about "Boomer lit" and decided I would try the older reader demographic. So if you're into retro, check out Running Out of Time. Of course, the younger readers should enjoy my twenty-one year old characters.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My husband. He told me stories of his active duty in Germany in the 1960s while serving in the U.S. Army. He brought out old slides and photos to help with my research. With his help, I was able to nail the setting--West Germany in 1963.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

While time travel stories are fantasy (deliberate anachronisms), they are educational, too. Readers interested in history and life during the Cold War should find Running Out of Time suitable reading. Also, it's tame enough for young adult readers.

Check out these talented authors I’m inviting to the blog hop party. I hope they’ll join in the fun and become part of The Next Big Thing!

Judith Leigh--author of inspirational romance and sweet romance (and my co-author: Romance on Route 66), including her latest story The Christmas Cake.

Maddie James--author of contemporary romance, including her latest, Broken.

Jan Scarbrough--author of contemporary romance, including her holiday novella, Santa's Kiss.

Dolores J. Wilson--author of Southern humor, romance, mystery, and women's fiction (as D.J. Wilson), including the paranormal Little Big Heart.

Elizabeth Sinclair--author of contemporary and paranormal romance, including the Hawk's Mountain series.
I hope you will check out these fine authors. Thanks for stopping by for a chat!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Fall Back

This Sunday was my favorite day of the year because it was 25 hours. Yep, that "fall back" Sunday when we abandon Daylight Savings Time is a good day. When else can you sleep late and still get up early?

So what did you do with your extra hour? I did nothing productive. I just enjoyed the extra time watching movies on TV with my husband, as we usually do on Sunday evenings.

I wish you a happy fall and a blessed Thanksgiving!

I took this photo at Yellowstone National Park

Monday, October 01, 2012

Breast Cancer - Early Detection is Crucial

It's October, which means it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I'm a survivor, which gives me the right to lecture you, so please read.

My friend Bobbie died at age 38 from breast cancer about 25 years ago. Each year the survival rate improves. When Bobbie died, the survival rate was barely 80%. Now it's up to 96%. Breast cancer is a killer. BUT it's also treatable. The key is early detection.

One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Annual mammograms, particularly in women 50 and older, are essential; however, mammograms alone aren't enough. Women of all ages need to perform monthly breast self exams (BSEs). I had a clean mammogram two months before I discovered a lump during my BSE. Fortunately, I was still stage one when I had surgery. I shudder to think how I would have fared had I depended solely on mammography and waited 10 months!

If you feel something new or different, see your physician immediately. Chances are, it's a false alarm, but don't take that chance. The earlier you start treatment, the better your chances of survival.

I now attend an American Cancer Society sponsored survivors' group that meets monthly, and it is encouraging to meet ladies who have beaten breast cancer many years ago. My friend (and author) Judith Leigh is a 25 year survivor. But any of these ladies will tell you that early detection is crucial.

Please, please, do those monthly checks.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

September is anniversary month for me. This year my dear husband and I will celebrate thirty-four years of wedded bliss.
Honeymooning in Mexico

This September marks the eleventh anniversary of my first novel's release. Wings ePress published my romantic mystery Full Moon Honeymoon, which went on to become the publisher's first best seller. I was so proud and still am.

So happy anniversary to Wings ePress and happy anniversary to me!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

If you're a subscriber to my FaceBook page, you already know about my mid-afternoon guilty pleasure. It's French Vanilla coffee (iced in summer, hot in winter). I usually sip it while taking a break from writing or housework. Typically my break coincides with Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals, another guilty pleasure.

We should reward ourselves, celebrate the little victories in life (like finishing the laundry or writing the next scene or chapter). We deserve it!

What are your guilty pleasures? Leave a comment (but please keep it PG13!).

Monday, July 30, 2012

Great Storytellers

I write romance. I love to read romance. So people wrinkle their noses at me when I name Louis L'amour, Dean Koontz, and Phillip Dick among my favorite writers. I defend these three guys, however, as real romantics. Their wonderful stories usually have a love story.

First, L'amour. Anyone who reads Connagher without a catch in her throat misses the point of that story. It's a western about a widow who runs a stage stop and a cowboy who works cattle drives. They don't acknowledge their love until the last page, but it's a romance. I'm still mad at L'amour for dying. I miss his books.

Dean Koontz cut his writing teeth on romance by writing genre romances under the pseudonym Leigh Nichols. Wonderful stuff, but my favorite of his romance novels is written under the name Dean Koontz. Lightning. It's a beautiful love story that happens to be a science fiction time travel. The hero keeps jumping through time to save her. Love this story!

Finally, the late Phillip Dick. Though not the best writer I've read, he had an amazing imagination and came up with great story ideas, most of which contained a romance. If you aren't familiar with Dick as a writer, perhaps you've seen movies based on his stories: Total Recall (We Can Remember It For You Wholesale), Next (The Golden Man), and The Adjustment Bureau (Adjustment Team).  Romance!

Just remember you can venture beyond the romance section of the bookstore and still find romance. Happy reading!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why Baby Boomers Love Chicago ♫

I just got Chicago IX Chicago's Greatest Hits CD and am listening to it as I write this post. These eleven hits are from the band's earlier days. I love their music, and I finally get why.

I was in college when Chicago Transit Authority (or CTA) hit it big with Make Me Smile, but the song title says it all. It was 1970 or so, and most of the music getting airplay was depressing. Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town and Galveston, for example, were anti-war songs. One Tin Soldier had become the generation's anthem (downer!), and we had our fill of songs like Eve of Destruction. Simon and Garfunkle and Bob Dylan seemed incapable of recording a happy song. Then came Chicago (they shortened their name after their first hit).

Oh happy day! Rock and roll meets brass orchestra pop. It was pure pleasure, and it made me smile. When you look back at the music of that era, you can't deny that Chicago's music was a turning point for the generation. Chicago paved the way for other upbeat artists, like Elton John and Billy Joel (who had a few depressing tunes but most are positive), ABBA, Paul McCartney and Wings and eventually disco. Even if you hated disco, you couldn't stand still for it. It was happy, fun, foot-tapping music.

So excuse me while I return to my nostalgic trip with Chicago. It's a harmless escape, one I highly recommend.

Friday, June 29, 2012

RIP Nora Ephron

We lost a wonderful writer/director/producer this week with the passing of Nora Ephron. My condolences to her family and friends.

Read my tribute at the Red Room.

Rest in peace, Nora.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Top Ten Trivia About Cheryl:

  1. She's a morning person...but not an early morning person!
  2. She loves most golden oldies music, especially Motown and Disco. ♫
  3. Jeopardy! is her favorite TV show.
  4. She works out 30 minutes daily on a TreadClimber in order to eat her daily ration of chocolate.
  5. Loves road trips and has been in all 50 states.
  6. When younger and thinner, she completed eight marathons.
  7. She and her hubby enjoy classic car shows, hate fireworks. HATE fireworks!
  8. Her favorite car is a Mustang. She's owned four. So far.
  9. Loves to cook and sew.
  10. She once rode in a police cruiser and was taken to jail, all for research. Honest. She wasn't really arrested.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

New Cookbook and New Novel!

Big news, my friends. First, I've signed a contract for my time travel romance novel Running Out of Time with Turquoise Morning Press! It has a 2013 release date. Check back later for updates.

And, I now have a new cookbook out! This is the fourth in my Hasty Tasty Meals series called Hasty Tasty RV Meals. It's available at many outlets, including

Friday, January 13, 2012

Is 2012 the end of time?

I'm betting it isn't. But just in case, I have a bucket list for 2012. After I wrote down all the things I hope to do this year (just in case!), I realized what a great idea a bucket list is.

So instead of making new year resolutions, make a list of what you hope to do this year. It's easier to accomplish what you want if you're focusing on the goal instead of behavior modification. At least that's the way I see it!

I hope reading lots of books is on your bucket list, because there certainly are a lot of good ones out there. Writing a new book is on my list, too.

Happy new year!