Monday, August 30, 2010

Guest Blogger and Contest Alerts

I'm happy to announce that Pam Ripling, author of Point Surrender and Cape Seduction will be stopping by as guest blogger here on Enjoying the Waves on Wednesday, September 1, 2010. Be sure to stop by.

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Everybody loves to win. Right?

Well here are two awesome and easy ways to win some really cool stuff!

Pam Ripling, author of Point Surrender and Cape Seduction is giving away a $24 Gift Card from Barnes and Nobel or a Flash Drive loaded with 5 Echelon Press novels of your choice! (A $40 value)

Visit Pam's author website for details about her upcoming blog tour and contest to win free books!

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Another note worthy contest is from Zoe Winters. In honor of her release of Blood Lust, Zoe is giving away a Kindle (and possibly two) if she lands in the top 25 at the Kindle store.


Be sure to stop by these two amazing author's site and win free stuff.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Curiously Trying to Keep Up

I haven't been a member of the blogging community very long. But one thing I've learned so far is there are a heck of a lot of blogs out there.

Some of the blogs I follow are other writers and some are not. So far, most of the people who have commented on my blog have been other writers. There's nothing wrong with this. But I just want to send out a great big everyone is welcome to comment here invitation. I'm not looking for cleaver comments that blow my socks off or my mind. There's nothing better than having someone comment, even if it is just to say 'Hi, I read your blog'.

But getting back to the following bit. I have a very difficult time keeping up with all the other blogs I follow and what I really want to know is how do you keep up with the blogs you follow plus all the other stuff that's going on in your life, your blog--if you have one, your job--if you're lucky enough to have one, and your family? Is there a secret? If so, please share your secret with me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Snake In The Grass

I recently read an on-line posting about the value of a critique from a group member who opted not to identify himself/herself. Though all writers need a tough skin when dealing with critiques, those offered by an unknown may lack validation. I suppose some people feel they can be more honest when anonymous. Being anonymous isn't the issue.

Yesterday, I went on a short hike with my husband and a couple of friends. We drove up the highway to the small gold-mining town of Coloma. The town sits on the edge of the American river but has several nice hiking trails.
My husband thought it would be great to take the trail up to a supposed waterfall. First, it is late in the season and honestly, not one of us actually thought the waterfall would be all that impressive, but we went anyway.

And we had our sticks…

We headed up a thin trail, thinking (at least I did) that the trail would widen and all would be hunky-dory. My husband took the lead. I came second, followed by my friend with her husband taking up the rear. To the perils of four adults venturing out unprepared with short pants and basic jogging shoes this trail lacked all the qualities that usually make a trail an actual trail. Instead it was a thin twelve inch pathway through thistle after thistle of thorny little spurs scrapping our poor unprotected legs. But being the optimistic bunch we are, we trekked on.

All was fine for about the first 200 yards or so, when my husband heard a rustle in the grass and stopped and turned. Up popped the head of a rattlesnake. I am right next in line. Luckily, I wasn't following too closely, maybe about five feet behind. But when I saw the snake raise his head at my husband, I took off screaming toward our other two friends and hid behind them like the scaredy-cat that I am, shaking.

With the coaxing of my husband's stick, the snake slithered backwards across the wimpy trial, half in retreat and half coiled to strike forward then plopped over the edge about ten feet. The snake was about three feet long and at approximately two inches in diameter, seemed to have had his share of the abundance of field mice in the area.

I was beside myself with fear. My knees rattled about as much as the snake's tail had as I clutched my friends arm for comfort. With much pleading and reassuring from the three, they managed to persuade me to go on. We walked. All a lot more cautiously than we had been, but still, I watched the stick shake in my hand as I swayed it over the thorny brush, looking for any undesirable movement. As we got a little deeper into the wilderness, I managed to hold back sobs, but not the tears that hid behind my sunglasses. I did wimp and whine the whole rest of the way though, thinking what next, a bear? Finally, to my husband's dismay and to my relief, my friend claimed she didn't want to go any further and so I, just to make the point stronger and knowing I really couldn't go any further myself, refused to take one more step forward. Well, the men went ahead about another 50 yards just to see if they might catch a glimpse of a waterfall while we stayed right where we were in the middle of one of the widest parts of the trail and waited for them. It was maybe three minutes.

So, you're now asking, what does this have to do with critiques?

Absolutely nothing and everything.

The recent encounter with that rattlesnake has caused me to reevaluate the tough girl persona that I thought I possessed.

What I really want to know is; am I a wussy? Well, the word itself is most traditionally used for a man. So in that sense, no. I am definitely not a wuss. But did I act wussy? Now that would be the question.
By WordWeb's definition of a wussy: A person who is physically weak and ineffectual.
Okay, I suppose I was and am at times.

Urban Dictionary's definition: A person with no guts. A person who whines all day and sits around and cries like a little baby for years over nothing. Will blow anything out of proportion and create drama to forget about their sad miserable lives.

Well no, this is not me.

It takes guts to write. It takes guts to receive criticism and keep going. For me it takes guts to open myself up to people and let them see a part of me. My writing is a part of me. My comments are a part of me.

I have appreciated most every critique and comment I have ever received but sometimes I am baffled by them, but I keep trying and have most definitely, over the past several months, acquired a very thick skin. Don't get me wrong. I believe that every critique and comments I receive are helpful. Not all of them come sugar-coated nor do I expect them to. But please, have a heart and remember the person receiving the advice or the comment. If you can't give me some sense of who you are then how am I supposed to accept your validity?

There are some people online who choose to keep their identity private. Like the snake. He kept himself hidden until it was time to pounce. If you can't identify yourself, and share a bit of yourself with your peers then I don't want your opinion. A private identity is fine. I'm all for pseudonyms for fiction writers, screen names and so on. But if you're going to be part of a group and you want me to take you seriously, then give me something to base your advice on.

So, I guess, what I'm saying is, I'm afraid of rattlesnakes, along hiking trails and online. Don't be a rattlesnake. I have feelings and like to know who is crushing them, or building them up. If you want to give me your opinion, tell me a little about what qualifies you or doesn't, otherwise, keep it to yourself.

All-in-all, I have never received an unidentified or unwelcomed comment here on my blog, so those of you have commented, thank you and please continue to do so.

Monday, August 2, 2010

INTERVIEW WITH PAM RIPLING/ANNE CARTER

Enjoying the Waves welcomes author of romantic women's and young adult fiction, Pam Ripling/Anne Carter.






Amy Winslow isn't looking for a mystery; she doesn't even like secrets. In fact, secrets have nearly destroyed her life. So, when a terrible accident forces her to take control of her brother's mysterious California lighthouse, Amy finds herself immersed in its shocking past and uncertain future. Enchanted by the mystery, she refuses to rest until she finds out who died in the aging white beacon, and why. Case McKenna hasn't quite reconciled his own painful history when he sails his crippled boat into Newburg Harbor, intending to stay only long enough to make repairs. His plans change when he becomes entangled with a local couple intent on restoring a long-shuttered lighthouse. Despite an overwhelming urge to flee, Case follows intrigue and passion, as he, too, finds himself drawn in by Point Surrender...
After being the backdrop for 1948's critically acclaimed tragic romance, Cape Seduction, Northern California's Dragon Rock Lighthouse sat shuttered and abandoned for decades—and it also happened to be the last place up-and-coming Hollywood starlet Darla Foster was seen alive. When photojournalist Rebecca Burke locks horns with Los Angeles attorney Matt Farralone while trying to gain access to the derelict off-shore beacon, she encounters the spirit of the sassy, once-promising Oscar-hopeful Foster, and uncovers a 60-year-old secret that sets her world on end.


Pam, my readers and I are thrilled that you've agreed to join us. I am personally psyched that one of my high school classmates, author of Point Surrender and Cape Seduction has taken time out of her busy schedule to chat.

Susan, I am never too busy to talk about books! Thank you for inviting me to your blog. As my favorite Starship captain would say, "Engage!"

Then let's get started. You write under the names Pam Ripling and Anne Carter. What prompted your decision to use two different names? And which genre came about first?

My first publishing credits came from a short story and a poem, both written under my “regular” name. When I ventured into full-length fiction, my novel was a romance and I thought it a romantic notion to have a pen name. I chose Anne because it’s my middle name and Carter is my maiden name. This was all well and good until I started writing middle grade books. I worried that my younger readers might go looking for more books and end up with my adult-oriented romances. So I used Pam Ripling for the kid stuff. All that planning went out the window this year when I was published in the Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles mystery anthology MURDER IN LA LA LAND– as Pam Ripling. It was a last minute decision.

Interesting. Now that you've published an adult mystery using Pam Ripling will you continue to use Anne Carter? And do you prefer one genre to the other?

Yes. The story for MURDER (“Just Like Jay”) is a departure, not at all a romantic story. What I am conflicted about is my middle grade works. I know many authors who write in more than one genre, and quite successfully by all appearances. I have a difficult time with marketing to adult women and grade school kids simultaneously with two separate personas. Both can be full-time jobs. I really liked delving into the crime fiction, and would be more likely to head that direction than to develop much more in children’s lit. But the romantic stuff will continue to be penned by Anne.
Crime and romance.

Two of my favorites. Pam, you and I went to high school together, and I have to wonder for all your young adult readers and the new writers out there, was there anything or anyone specific from high school that you would say was a major influence on you?

In 8th grade, I took a class in Creative Writing. My teacher was Mrs. Murray. I hadn’t really written before then, but something about the class intrigued me so there I was. She taught us a lot about story structure, characterization, setting...the usuals. She encouraged me. My favorite teacher in high school was Mr. Barry Lamare. His passion for writing and literature was a huge influence on me. In fact, our whole English Department was great—although I’ll admit to consulting Cliff Notes a few times during World Lit...

Haha, that's funny. Your secret is safe with me. But speaking of 8th graders and Creative Writing, here's another question for the new and young writers. What are some of the biggest challenges you've had to face as a writer and how did or do you overcome them?

Competition is probably one of the biggest challenges any serious writer faces. When I first decided I wanted to be published, I went the New York route. And the agent route. My first book, STARCROSSED HEARTS, was a contemporary romance about a love triangle between a girl, a movie star and a TV actor. I was told no one in NY would look at an entertainment industry story. Snubbed and burned, I turned to small presses, many of which will look at un-agented work. Still, there is tremendous competition for contracts.

My biggest personal challenge is time. Not many writers have the luxury of not needing income from other sources, myself included. Plus, I tend to be an over-doer with regard to other aspects of my life. So finding time to write, being able to discipline one’s self to sit down and get the words onto paper is definitely a skill.

You seem to have done very well with mastering that skill. I understand that Cape Seduction is part of a three-part series of romantic, paranormal lighthouse mysteries. What motivated you or inspired these stories?

I have always been interested in lighthouses. I visit them, photograph them, collect them. There is something really wonderful about climbing the tower, going out on the gallery, looking out over the sea. There is a lot of romance surrounding the history of lightkeeping, too. Mystery, drama, isolation, fierce dedication, danger... so many words to describe it. It was only a matter of time before I realized I needed to set some stories in and around lighthouses. They represent different things to different people; some equate them with beacons of hope—a light shining in the darkness. Others see them as protection, towers guarding the shore and keeping it protected. Many find them eerie, citing the loneliness, the danger, the madness that sometimes pervades. It takes a very different kind of person to run a lighthouse or to survive the challenge of just living in one.

I never realized how fascinating lighthouses could be. I understand the ones in your books are based on real towers along the California coast. Which ones and how did you decide which lighthouses to use in your stories?

Point Surrender, the lighthouse that figures prominently in the book by the same name, is entirely fictional, created out of several different lighthouses I’ve visited. Visually, I imagined it to look just like Heceta Head in Oregon (used on the cover), although my fictional beacon actually sits somewhere between Big Sur and San Francisco, California. Dragon Rock Lighthouse, however, around which Cape Seduction is told, was inspired by St. George Reef Lighthouse off the coast of Crescent City, California. Being a lighthouse nut, I have read a lot of material on West Coast lights, and when I came across St. George I was like, “Wow. How spooky that would be, inside this creaky, cold, damp relic, surrounded by miles of angry seas. What a perfect place to set a mystery!” This particular lightstation has quite a history, too—the most expensive ever built, the most dangerous, most inhospitable locale, etc. I took some creative license, of course, and gave it a fictional name to keep things right.

Ooooh building suspense. St. George Reef Lighthouse certainly looks spooky. Did you actually travel up the West Coast to research your lighthouse series?

Yes. I’ve actually been to Crescent City twice. But I’ve not had the pleasure of actually setting foot inside St. George. There are a very limited number of helicopter flights out there per year, and just getting to Crescent City from So Cal is a challenge in itself. But one day I will get there. So, I had to rely on other forms of research. There is a fabulous book about the history of the lighthouse, SENTINEL OF THE SEAS, by Dennis M. Powers. I devoured it, then contacted Mr. Powers for more info. He referred me to retired Coast Guardsman John Gibbons, now of Colorado, who spent a lot of time as a keeper back in the early 1950’s. John, or “Gibby” as he’s known, was delightfully forthcoming with facts and lore. Both of these awesome gentlemen were tremendously helpful.

In Cape Seduction, I read that you based your character, Darla, on a famous actress from the early days of Hollywood and film. Who is that and do you often use famous people as inspiration?

Well, I did have a vision in my mind of how Darla should look, and when I saw an old photo of the talented Ms. Alice White, I recognized her as Darla Foster. Alice was from an earlier era than Darla, but I pictured Darla as the type of girl who wanted to emulate a star from the 1930’s. It all worked, for me!

Can give us any information on the third book in the series?

People have asked me why my two earlier books both take place in Nor Cal when I live in So Cal. So... plans are for the third book to be set in Los Angeles. There is an incredible lighthouse in Los Angeles Harbor, called “Angel’s Gate” by most people. It sits at the end of a rocky, 2 mile breakwater and is not open to the public. It’s about to undergo $1.8 million in restoration, so I’m hoping I can get involved somehow. Like Cape Seduction, the new book will have ties to the 1940’s. Many people don’t know that during WWII, the West Coast was targeted by Japanese subs, and the lighthouses were commandeered by the U.S. military. So...

Your short story “Just Like Jay” is published in the Sisters in Crime/LA anthology MURDER IN LA-LA LAND. Was this a one-time venture into short stories, or do you plan to write more?

I definitely want to get back to short stories. They are a labor of love, and command discipline – they force an author to learn how to cut the fat and tighten up every sentence. My publisher Echelon Press, LLC, loves short fiction, and has set up an imprint for them, so I expect to be submitting some manuscripts eventually.

Can you tell us what’s up next for both Pam Ripling and Anne Carter?

As discussed, I’m just starting on ANGEL’S GATE. I have some backlist titles I’ll be re-releasing for Kindle, nook, and other e-readers. I have another completed manuscript that’s “steeping” right now, a very contemporary romance, if you will, about a gay man and a straight woman whose lives become deeply entwined over a period of twelve years. I need to make a decision about my middle-grade works, because I’ve been unable to market them adequately while working on my grown-up stuff.

Is there anything else you'd like to share that we didn't cover?

Readers can find me in all the usual places, plus my own website/blog at http://beaconstreetbooks.com. I recently set up a second blog at http://legendarylighthouses.blogspot.com/where I can talk exclusively about lighthouses, lighthouse lore, photography, travel, etc.

My blog tour will launch on Monday, August 30, 2010 with an interview conducted by author Sean Hayden. That same day, I’ll be blogging at The Romance Studio. The entire two week schedule will be up soon at my website, but I’ll be back here blogging on September 1st!

Thank you Pam. This has been very fascinating and informative.

Thank you, Susan, for a wonderfully inspiring interview!

Pam/Anne