Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Ceremony to Write Home About

Maybe you've heard enough about weddings from me. Maybe you haven't. But I just couldn't let this go without writing about it.

Saturday I went to a beautiful and very interesting wedding. It had two ceremonies. The first one was a traditional American ceremony with the bride dressed in white and the groom in a tux, complete with bridesmaids and flower girl.

The second was a Laotian ceremony. For those of you who may not know where in the world Laos is, it is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and People's Republic of China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west. And yes, I had to look that up.

The bride and groom came out dressed in traditional Laotian wedding outfits. The bride was seated down on a rug among her family members and attendants in front of two silver pots filled with a beautiful arrangement of flowers. The groom was then paraded around the room by his groomsmen before seated next to the bride.

Although I couldn't understand a word of the ceremony, it brought me to tears. I didn't cry a drop during the other ceremony. There was just something about this one that really got to me.

All in all, it was a beautiful wedding.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A New Journey

So NaNoWriMo is over. Whew!!

I must admit, if I hadn't done it, I wouldn't have written 57,538 words to get me started on my new YA,  AFTERSHOCK

A journey of love, devotion, betrayal, tragedy, and disaster.


NaNoWriMo was fun. But will I do it again? Right now, I have to say no. But then November this year had been jam packed with so many wonderful things. It was tough to sit and write when I wanted to be visiting my new granddaughter who was born in October. It was equally tough to sit and write when my other new granddaughter was born on November 23. Not to mention the birthday bash I hosted for my 85-year-old mother on November 13 and of course, I had to cook Thanksgiving dinner. On top of all that, there were weddings and bridal showers to attend. There was also the planning for my son's wedding in December, not that I had to do much planning, but just to enjoy the excitement and buildup of the whole event. Those were the good and wonderful things. But along with the good, sometimes we have to take the bad. Like the visit from Mr. Sinusitis and Mrs. Coughing Scratchy Throat that insisted on overstaying their welcome making my life miserable.

But now that November is over and the stress of NaNo is gone, it's time to get wound back up for the fun and exciting stress of December and editing. Another new journey.

Happy writing. Hope you all had a fantastic November and Thanksgiving and if you had an unusual Thanksgiving or something special you would like to share, please feel free. I love your comments.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wonder Woman Cracks The Whip

Yeah, I'm feeling a little wonder-womanish right now. Okay, so I've been away for a while. Have I lost you? Hope not. But I have a pretty good excuse. Actually several good excuses. There's been a number of very exciting things happening lately that have kept me away from here. Wonderwoman or superwoman. It doesn't matter to me.

Number one is I'm a new super-grandma again. My beautiful granddaughter, Maddison Brodie Hamilton, Maddi-B for short, was born on October 9, 2010, and I got to witness her birth. Wow! What a remarkable experience. The miracle of birth is truly the most wonderful sight to see. I've seen it on TV, I've even done it myself, but nothing, I mean nothing compares to actually being there watching that little human pop out. And she did too. So fast, I thought the Doctor was going to drop her on her little head. I swear they should put a net under the mother's legs just in case. Maddison has a proud big brother, Shane Michael Hamilton. He's also the light of my life. Don't worry, I have room to share.

The second spot of good news is Spencer my stepson and his better half Aimee are expecting their second little bundle of joy the week of Thanksgiving. We don't know what it will be yet, but rumor has it, Aimee thinks it's a boy. This is most likely because they already have a cutie named Eva as the big sister. But by looking at Aimee, I can honestly say she does look like she is having a boy, but we can only wait and see.

Good news doesn't stop there. On December 17th, my son Michael and his fiancée Stephanie will say their vows and become husband and wife. After that cool reunion, they are off to Germany where Mike is stationed as a firefighter in the US Army. And who knows; probably more grandkids in a year or so down the road.

That leaves one son left to tie the knot. I hope not soon, I need a brief reprieve from all this family excitement.

Now on to some writing news. I actually broke down and signed up for National November Writers Month. (NaNoWriMo). This is good news too. I'd been hemming and hawing over writing my second novel for some time. With my paranormal romance, Whisper Cape completed and currently in submission, I've dabbled with the sequel, but I've become stuck and need to rethink the plot. I've also started another novel in the women's mainstream genre. But a couple of weeks ago I had a new idea for a young adult book. I outlined it, and researched all the data, and now I am taking advantage of NaNoWriMo to write it. Even if I don't reach the goal at the end of November, I've still got a great start to a great new story. 30 days, 50,000 words. Wish me luck.

Please feel free to comment. I'd love to hear your good news stories. And if you're doing NaNoWriMo good luck to you.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Hot contest alert from Guide to Literary Agents!!

Two days left but it's super easy to submit.

This contest will be live for approximately two more days. It ends Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010.

Sixth ''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy

Send the first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of urban fantasy or paranormal (adult fiction and/or YA fiction are both accepted; no "high fantasy" with dragons, elves or other planets please). You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with your entry.

All you need to do to be eligible is mention the link to the contest twice through your social media--blogs, Twitter, Facebook; or just mention this contest once and also add Guid to Literary Agents Blog
( to your blog roll.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Enjoying The Waves Won A Lovely Blog Award

Sooo Cooool. Enjoying The Waves won an award!
And I love awards. Renee Miller at Dangling on The Edge of (In)Sanity has awarded me this beautiful award. Thank you Renee. I love roses. Renee has a beautiful blog too and always has some great, interesting and witty posts. Very entertaining. You must check it out.

Now, it's up to me to pay it forward. There are several blogs I follow who deserve of this award.
Some have already been choosen by Renee or others but I still know of a few more.
If you're one of these blogs, follow the instructions below and pay it forward.


1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered or have followed for a while. I'm a fairly new blogger and still making friends out here, so I'm sure that it's okay if there are less than 15. It's quality that counts, right?

3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.

So, here are my picks for some very lovely blogs:

Legendary Lighthouses
My Little Space on the Internet
Kate Quinn
True Tales of a Slightly Crazed Mama
Slow Down You Move Too Fast
Glynis Smy (Nissi Peters)
Beacon Street Books
Sunny Lockwood
Hobbs Mission Catalina

I found nine beautiful blogs and they are all worth checking out. I'm sure there are a ton of beautiful blogs out there, go and pay it forward.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

That Reminds Me Of A Story

Wow, this blog has been lonely for the past week.

"Sorry blog."

Now how many people talk to their blogs? Well, let's face it, sometimes there's nobody else around willing to listen. And besides, my blog never talks back.

"Stop whining."

Um. Okay. Who said that?

Enough of the silly stuff.

I've been bogged down lately with editing my MS and a few wedding related activities. My son is getting married in December and my friend's son is getting married in October.

Last weekend my friend and I tagged along with our husbands to her son's bachelor party in Reno. Had a great time, by the way. No, we did not attend the actual bachelor party. That might have been a bit disturbing.

Anyway, as I pushed the "Draw" button on the video poker game I was playing, I remembered this short humorous story (or macabre, depending on your point of view) I wrote a while back for an amoral and controversial themed project that got scratched due to lack of submissions. I submitted seven, this was one of the milder ones.

Here's the story. Hope you enjoy it.

Lady Luck


Susan Griscom

With the kids asleep in their beds and their father snoring beside me, I stared at the ceiling. I tried to ignore the urge of the phantom voice calling to me. I waited five minutes, then ten. A feeble attempt. I tiptoed from the room. The next couple of hours belonged to me. My private time to zone out. To escape the demands of car pools, PTA meetings, soccer game practices, and homework.

The pressure, too much to endure, my competitive drive besieged me, but my instincts outrivaled most.

Scott didn't appreciate my talent. He worried about the money and begged me to stop. I didn't understand why he had a problem with it. I wasn't sitting in some smoke filled casino night-after-night drinking. He said he'd take the computer away if I didn't quit. I had my doubts about that. The kids needed it for school.

Bills piled up. We needed more money. We always needed more. I don't know where it all went.

The receptionist from the orthodontist had called today, threatening to send the account to collections and informed me that Matthew couldn't come back unless I paid the bill. Bitch. Well, Matt had his braces. He could wait. It wouldn't be too long, I felt lucky tonight.

The virtual room glared on the screen, lighting up the entire office. The green table set with nine hands. Texas Holdem. A game of guts and acuity. My heart pounded with the anticipation of the rush of everyone pitting their skills against mine. A surge of adrenaline tingled through my veins as I thought of holding the winning hand. Tonight I was queen.

I fingered the keyboard. The tip of my forefinger itched to push the up arrow. I looked at my hand. Two red ladies stared back at me. I doubled the bet. In the middle of the table, the first card drawn is a seven-of-hearts. A good sign. Seven being my lucky number and the heart showed promise of a straight if my queens didn't pan out.

The next card came up a king-of-hearts. Oh yeah, things were looking rosy.

The third card down, a four-of-hearts. Mine pounded in my chest. One had to bet big to win big and I knew how to work the table. So I went all in. I tapped the key, pushing the rest of my chips to the center. Five other players folded. I couldn't believe my luck.

The fourth card popped up. Three-of-spades. No worries, I still had one more to go. Two more players folded. Just the two of us now.

"Come on baby. Give it to me."

My legs shook. I thought of the celebration. I could see it now, Scott and the kids, so proud and thankful. The five of us dancing around the living room, discussing our dream vacation. Oh yeah, baby.

The computer flashed the last card up. A five-of-diamonds. "Damn."

In my mind, my opponent's eyes squinted.

Well, I still had my two queens. I couldn't lose.

The other player revealed his cards.

Two kings.

My stomach pitched and I wanted to die.

All my dreams and hopes shattered. I clenched my fists and shoved the keyboard away. Rubbing my face with my hands, I slumped to the bathroom and glared back at the loser I knew I was.

After returning to bed I gazed at the ceiling again, feeling dejected. A drain on my family. More worthless than a tit on a bull. No better than the clowns sitting in the casinos. I hated the fool within my soul.

A breeze blew in through the open window, and with it, a revelation came to me.

Tomorrow I'll be luckier. If Scott doesn't kill me first.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

GUEST BLOGGER PAM RIPLING: What Will They Say When You're Gone?

Over the weekend, I had the good fortune to see a film called "Get Low" starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek. The promo said it was about a man who has a dark past, and decides one day to hold his own funeral and invite anyone who's ever known him to eulogize or tell a story about him. All before he is actually dead, you see. First, let me say this was a wonderful film well-acted by the entire cast. An almost gentle film, with no vulgarity, sex and only one scene with a brief act of violence.

As I came away from the theater and many times thereafter, I thought about the story, eventually coming to the question: what would it be like to attend your own funeral, to hear what others had to say about you? The wondering continues to, what would I want them to say? Have I lived my life in such a manner that the mourners would have all good comments?

Whimsical, I began with: "She was an awesome writer." Ha! Why not? The standards follow, like "good wife and mother" "devoted daughter" "loving sister," etc.

"Charitable", "kind", "trustworthy", "hard working" all come to mind. But what of those niggling regrets? The "wish I hadn't"s and the "I'd just as soon forget I ever"s. Would I look around and see faces of people I'd hurt? Hear comments about injustices I'd committed? That driver I cut off on the 405 freeway that time?

How about the guy I didn't let into my apartment after he'd paid for dinner and a movie? He wasn't too happy about that. The employer who got angry when I left him for a better job. The 7th grade gym teacher who heard me making fun of her in the girls' locker room? (Cringing.)

We've all made mistakes, have regrets and wished for "do-overs" in our lives. It's those experiences that some of us, as writers, use to create the characters we love and hate. Jordan Kent, for example, has all kinds of regrets in CAPE SEDUCTION. He condemns his own weaknesses and lives with doubts and misgivings throughout his life. Rebecca Burke can't believe what she's done, the lengths she's gone to in order to gain access to the derelict Dragon Rock Lighthouse. But these very human missteps are what make characters vivid and believable.

What would your eulogy be like? Have you ever thought of writing your own?

Pam Ripling, who also writes as Anne Carter, is a self-proclaimed Lighthouse Nut and author of Beacon Street Mysteries CAPE SEDUCTION and POINT SURRENDER, in paperback or for your Kindle; also for your nook, iPhone, Sony eReader and other formats at Omnilit. Visit Pam/Anne at Beacon Street Books.

Tomorrow, I’m at Beth Fish Reads, but you can view my entire itinerary at Beacon Street Books

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.


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!


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


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 I recently set up a second blog at 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!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Book Review: Point Surrender by Anne Carter

Anne Carter, a high school friend of mine, has written a passionate and intriguing tale. Point Surrender is a charming and heartfelt love story. Ms. Carter knows how to pull it all together and draw you in. A fascinating tale packed with suspense and mystical occurrences.

Amy Winslow, pregnant and broken hearted is trying to make a new start. She finds refuge in helping her brother refurbish an old lighthouse. A lighthouse filled with mystery and death.

Case McKenna, a handsome marine veterinarian, runs into trouble with his boat at Point Surrender. While waiting for the repair, he becomes intrigued with the lighthouse and helps Amy with the restoration.

During the renovation, secrets are discovered. Secrets that could change everything.

I commend Anne Carter for making believers out of us. Point Surrender is a wonderful novel radiating emotions and tears.

I'm looking forward to reading her new novel. Cape Seduction.

I will be interviewing Ms. Carter here on my blog, Stay tuned for dates and announcements.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Playing It Safe

Should we as writers play it safe?

Should we hold back and take the advice of all our readers? Make a change or compromise our voice because someone said we should?

As writers, we need to listen to that little voice inside and know when the advice is on target, know when it feels right in our gut. When it doesn't, we need to recognize it.

How do we do that?

Advice is only good when it feels right. When we have to force ourselves to take it, kicking and screaming all the way, that's when we know we need to take the risk. Take a stand. It's our work. It's our voice.

On the other hand, if we have the feeling something isn't working, and one of our precious readers points it out to us, then we know, without a doubt, it needs to change.

What happens when two different readers have two different opinions? Does it mean our work is unclear? Not necessarily, it could mean we've created a very practical and diverse piece, one that's thought provoking and intelligent. But here again, we really have to go with our gut. We shouldn't assume that just because one person loves our work and another hates it that it is confusing. Not everybody likes the same thing. The same style.

I've read things that I've considered so horrible I had to ask myself what the heck was that all about? Then someone else will come along singing high praises for the same piece. Opinions are subjective.

If I receive two or three different suggestions regarding my work, well, author's choice. It's up to me to sift out the good with the bad. Find the stuff that resonates with me. It's not my responsibility to take every suggestion and put it into my work. Where would that leave me? Where did my voice go? It's mixed up somewhere in between Beth's, Penny's, and Tom's. But of course, when Beth, Penny and Tom are all in agreement, a change is certainly on the horizon.

Surrounding myself with friends who want to talk about writing and the process, the hardships and disappointments, as well as the successes, has helped me grow as a writer and I've become more of a risk taker. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. I've found Mentors who are encouraging with great ideas and wonderful support. You know who you are.

I'll take the bad along with the good. Weigh each view and suggestion with heavy hands and heart. Experiment with the unusual, and possibly stir up the pot enough to spill over the rim a bit. It is my opinion writers need to take risks. Dive into to the unfamiliar, shake things up. Take control and venture out to uncover the raw and sometimes agonizing story. Bringing words to life on paper and making them full of truth is what counts. Playing it safe doesn't cut it.

Please feel free to comment with your own experiences. And if you don't write and just want to comment as a reader, that's okay too.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

And Now For A Bit Of Fun

And now for a bit of fun.

The Fourth Of July weekend is in two days.

Happy Independence Day!!

And thank you to all the men and women fighting to keep it.

Enjoy the holiday and be safe!

Not My Usual Uppity Self

I had considered putting a caption at the top of this post: Warning, deep depression alert. Or Warning, may be too gloomy for some readers. But I'll try to keep it somewhere above that level of disgust. The general overall mood of this post is quite different from the last one.

It's one of those days. You know, the ones where you wake up and say, "What the heck am I doing? Who do I think I am? Do I really think I can write?"

Quick, someone toss me a rope before this swill pools so deep I won't be able to stay afloat.

Yeah, that's where I am today. Down, down, down in the slosh puddles of self-doubt.

Oh, you don't have days like that? Well, I think you're telling sweet little lies. No? Okay, we'll just go with that for now.

I'm not normally the pessimistic type. I'm usually the one stoking others with the "there there nows, every things going to be just fine, you're a terrific and worthwhile person'.

Reading, writing, reading some more, writing some more, long stories, short stories, even shorter stories, trying to learn this crazy craft of writing, reading blog after blog, blogs I follow, some I don't, but should. After reading all the wonderful and interesting blogs I follow, and there are some really good ones by the way, some days, like today, I just get a little overwhelmed by the talent of my fellow writer friends. Yes, I have some. At least I like to think I do. Don't get me wrong, I am proud to call them friends and proud that some of them actually find my blog worthy of following. I'm new at blogging, but I have to admit after reading theirs, I find myself a bit in awe.

I woke up this morning, always a good thing, but this overwhelming feeling of not being good enough, not making the cut and worrying about rejection snuck up on me.

On the bright side, (right now you're thinking, thank God, this post couldn't get any more depressing) don't call the suicide hot line just yet, I'm here to tell you, I am learning something new every day. Things like; back story--how much is too much, increasing tension and motivation, getting rid of the unnecessary.

So yes, I know I am improving, the more I read, write, read some more and write some more.

I know, you say, all writers go through that. Some say they go through it every day. Well fine. Dandy. What do they do about?
I'll tell you.

They keep writing. Period. Simple. Just keep writing. It's like breathing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I write. So I guess by someone's definition, I am a writer. To my friends and family, I suppose I'm considered a dreamer.

Five years ago, I left a ten-year managerial position to pursue a new business endeavor with my husband but then the economy tanked and we decided to hold off. Good thing. I worked most of my adult life until then so I figured I could take some time off.

My husband kept telling me to find something I truly enjoyed. Find something I really love doing. Do I have his support? Absolutely. I couldn't do this, without it.

When I first started writing, I didn't call myself a writer. When people asked me what I did, I was a bit reluctant and embarrassed to say I write. I'd said things like I want to write a book or I'm writing a book. I was surprised at the responses I received by these statements. Everybody wanted to read my book. Or so they said. That's another story.

To the point, I didn't have a day job, so I often thought of myself as unemployed. Then there was that word that kept hanging over my head. Nagging me. Little bits and pieces gnawed at my brain until my self-esteem started plummeting to my feet. Unpublished.

When I first started writing my novel, a very good friend asked me what I hoped to get out of it.

I laughed. Then thought. Hmmm. Something to consider. I came up with an answer, and at the time, it was the truth. I told her I would be happy if just one person read my book. Mission accomplished. In fact, I think five people have successfully made it through the entire manuscript and one more is struggling. I say struggling, because, she's editing. I think it's hard to sit down and enjoy a good story when you're looking for mistakes.

Does being unpublished make me less of a writer? No. But it would be a huge boost to my ego. I mean huge.

When I'm not writing, it's my fault. This happens when I'm filled with self-doubt and worries about what other people think. Especially other writers.

I am a writer. I may not be the best writer, but I am continually improving. The more I write, the better I get. So the saying goes. I knew I was a writer when I realized I kept leaving the shower—mid shampoo—to write a thought down before I forgot what it was. For some reason, that's when most of my ideas pop up. I've come to consider it a cleansing of the soul along with the shampoo. As though I'm washing all the nasty thoughts of the world away, so only my creative juices can flow. Hey, it works for me. I've also been known to crawl out of bed in the middle of the night to jot something down.

Bottom line is, one completed manuscript under my belt, another in progress, several short stories and a blog and website to call my own, I guess I feel more comfortable calling myself a writer.

You might think this post is a little self-indulgent, but

I live. I love. I write. – I am a writer.

Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear what inspires you and how you became to love this insane thing called writing. And if you don't write, tell me what inspires you anyway.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

When My Characters Get Out of Control

I tend to lean toward the weird. My paranormal playing field delves into a different milieu, abandoning vampires and werewolves, but not discounting them. Someday I might like to write a novel about vamps and those furry creatures. But for now I like a different flavor mixed with my romance. A strong hero or heroine confronted with extraordinary forces of nature, powers and capabilities gets my blood running hot.

A friend recently turned me on to writing short stories. What a wonderful outlet. They're quick, fun and can be any genre I want. They also make a nice distraction when my novel's characters get out of hand. This happens if I allow my characters to lead the way and tell me where the story should go next and frankly, it can get a little overwhelming. So, to stay on track with my story, I will—and this is the fun part—take that idea my character had and write a short story based on their whims and desires. This allows me to keep my current work focused and not stray too much from where I was originally headed.

Tomorrow's my wedding anniversary. We'll be spending the night on a riverboat. Woo, my imagination can run wild with dozens of short stories on that one.

Who knows, maybe one of my short stories will take hold and turn into a novel.

Happy writing and thanks for reading. Be sure to leave a comment. I'm interested to see what you do for an out when your characters get out of hand.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

To Post or to Not post -- Which way do you lean?

I've been going back and forth with this issue for some time now and I've been wondering whether it is a good idea to post my work online or not. I've seen this topic pop up on several blogs I've read lately, and to tell you the truth, I am even more confused now than ever. It does seem that there are more views leaning toward not posting than there are in favor of posting.
On the positive side; I've read on one blog in particular; Stop Being Afraid of Posting Your Work Online

The author suggests that you shouldn't be afraid of posting your work online.I believe this includes websites. She claims that test marketing helps improve your work and aids in building an audience while getting feedback is critical to a writer's development.

I agree. I would also go on to say it is so important to developing technique, voice, etc. Also, getting the assurance that your MS or short piece has any appeal. And what better way to do that, than to post it on your website or blog? Maybe.

On the negative side, I've read--let me just lay it out here--writers steal. Really?

Check out these two blogs:
Be Slightly Afraid of Posting Your Work Online

Posting Your Pose Online--Don't

It's always been in the back of my mind, but hey, then I think, who in their right mind would want to steal my writing? (Okay, so it sounds like I have a self-esteem problem, I don't, just saying). Anyway, not all, in fact, I would hope most writers don't steal, but I'm sure there are those shady characters out there that have a nasty habit of taking your very creative idea and tweaking it just enough to call it their own. They're just lurking around writing groups and checking websites for that phenomenal story that might just have that golden ticket. And how do we know if this happens? I would think, we don't. I'm sure you can't possibly look at every book title out there and find one that you think might have been your idea.

If you're posting your MS on your website or blog hoping some agent will see it, well the author of one of those blogs reminds us that agents and publishers are not surfing the net looking for aspiring author's blogs and websites (yes, there are exceptions, but as a rule they don't).
I wouldn't think they'd have time to do that anyway.

Another argument is that some publishers might ask if your work has ever been published. And some will argue whether or not posting on blogs and website is a form of epublishing.

Well now I'm really confused.

I personally don't think it's a bad idea to post small amounts of my writing in critique groups, (I need all the help I can get) but I think I'll keep pieces of my MS off my blog and website, until after their published. :) But what do you think?

Another thought, I don't believe I've ever seen a sample posting by a published author (well known or not) of work they are in the process of creating on their website.

So by presenting these ideas, I ask; should we or shouldn't we post our unpublished, pieces or full MS on our blogs and websites? And, does posting an unpublished MS, short, or chapter on a blog or website qualify as epublishing? Hmmm...

Thanks for reading and I'd love your comments.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Protagonists – The Need To Love And Hate

When I first started writing, I never realized how important it was to get inside your protagonist’s or your villian's head. That’s where POV comes in, right? That’s what it's all about and how else can you get inside your character’s head and stay there if not through a certain POV?” Well that is true. But I’m not here to talk about POV.

What I’m talking about here, is love and hate.

You know that old saying about “If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone.” Or “You have to love yourself first, before you can open your heart to someone else.” Or something to that affect.

Can you make your protagonists lovable to your readers if you don’t fall in love with them? Can you make your readers hate your villain if you don’t?

My answer is NO!!

I must love my protagonist as if he or she is a real person in my life. I could never make my characters believable if they couldn't exist in my world. I dream about them, I talk to them and I think about them almost constantly. And my villains should scare me. So as much as I love my leading man and woman I must also hate my villain as though he or she is really out to kill me or someone I love.

How much do you love or hate your characters? I’d love to hear your views and comments on this subject.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Interpretations of the Email Monster

This is not about all the spam mail I get or the advertisements that somehow end up in my inbox (I frequently find myself scratching my head over those). No, this is about those emails I write to friends, family, etc. etc.

Ever wonder why someone never answered your email or took it the wrong way? Do any of the emails you get ever sound rude, even downright nasty? And this from your best friend? It usually happens when we least expect it. Especially to or from those you love.

Hey, I’m guilty. I’ve sent my share of emails fully intending to give my loving opinion (I say loving, because, well, my opinions to my family and friends come from my heart) only to end up hurting and upsetting the recipient. In today’s busy world juggling between job, home, and family, rushing that email off might be a mistake and it might just cost you.

It can be hard to show your emotions in an email, unless, of course, you’re a wonderful writer capable of flowery prose. Let’s face it; most of us aren’t adept with the ornate style of Shakespeare or your current #1 New York Best Selling Author.

Don’t get me wrong, I love receiving emails, not including spam, and not everyone who sends me emails has this problem. Mainly, I speak for myself. I know from experience the email monster lives inside me. I've hurt someone’s feelings or had my message taken the wrong way. I have to take strong measures to keep him at bay. It could happen during a simple a letter declining an invitation or writing what you thought was a helpful suggestion to a friend. And then there’s that all too powerful first impression when sending an email to someone you don’t know. It could be something as important as a request for employment, or a complaint to your child’s teacher.

Don’t rush. I know, I know, you’re busy. We all are. But there are three things I try to remember to do before I push that send button.

First, I read what I wrote. I do this not only for content but also for grammar and spelling. And sometimes, more often than I’d like, I miss something. It’s so embarrassing to discover a typo after I’ve pushed the send button (this could happen here on my blog).They happen, but not as many. Thank God, for spell check. As for grammar, I try my best.

Then I read it again with a smile. I think, just like talking on the phone, if you write or speak with a smile, your words, like the sound of your voice, will beam. This is true. Try it. Call someone and smile while you’re talking. Or, better yet, record your voice, once without smiling and once with, then play it back. Which sounds better?

And last, some people hate these, but I don’t mind seeing them, the proverbial LOL, (my daughter is great at these) or :) help tremendously. Or you could get creative and throw in a *snort* or a *chuckle and giggle* here and there.

Happy writing. :)

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Double Duty

Since this this is my first entry, I’m going to make it about the first two items on my list of topics; family and love, more to the point, my two sons. In the future, I could and I might make a few entries regarding them, as they are both in the military but I will not limit myself to that topic, but that could change as I become more familiar with it.

What’s it like to have a son in the military? I am asked this question a lot and I can’t answer it, mostly because it really hasn’t been long enough to sink in yet, but also because I have two sons in the military. And to top it off they’re in two different branches, one in the Air Force, the other in the Army.
What I can answer is, I’m very proud of them, a little scared, and I frequently find myself staring at their pictures.

People say, “Don’t you miss them?” Well, yeah, of course. But right now, it feels the same as when they were away at college. I get to talk to them frequently now that they’re out of basic training.

I can’t begin to tell you the feeling of pride I get when someone walks up to them and says thank you for serving. I get all warm and fuzzy inside.
I never thought I’d be a military mom. I didn’t raise my sons to be pro anything, other than kind and honorable human beings. They didn’t take ROTC in high school, they never showed any signs of having a political interest, or an interest in saving lives.

One could argue the point that some of today’s young men join the military because of the economy and the lack of jobs. While this may be the case, I believe they’ve made an honorable decision.