My first novel!
A Soldier’s Embrace is a sweet, yet exciting story. The characters are captivating and the settings are perfect. The dialogue between the characters is well written and realistic. Ms. Romero has written a great historical romance.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Where authors and readers come together!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sigh. Whatever.

Today is my house cleaning day. I got up at 8:20, cleaned the kitchen, turned on the roomba and let it doing its thing, cleaned the upstairs bedrooms, took a shower and did a load of laundry. I like working only four days a week but I hate the rotten pay check. Now the rest of my day is devoted to writing.

I have several that I'm working on, but I have started on a part two of Soldier. They keep wispering to me that their story isn't over. So, I flip back and forth bewteen writing romance and witchcraft.

In between writing and cleaning, I started talking. Not to anyone in particular, just talking. I talk all the time, never shut up. I talk to my plants, the dog...that's probably why she ran away. Not the plant, the dog.
My husband just closes his door. If I have dialogue that I need to work out, I just talk it out, see how it sounds.

The neighbors probably think I'm nuts. If I had a neighbor like Mrs. Kravitz, I'd be doomed. "Abner! Who's she talking to? She's watering her Creeping Charlie and laughing."

Someone some day is going to come get me, carry me off in a white coat. I just hope they let me blog in the looney bin.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I've lost my mind. Have you seen it?

I titled my blog 'Doibie' because I couldn't think of what I wanted to call it when I started it. I just went blank that night. Fingers poised at the keyboard, my mind was a sieve. It's been that way for a while now. Doibie has always been my word for whatever I couldn't seem to remember at the time. Somehow, it just fits whatever word is missing.

A typical day/night, I'll turn to my husband with a puzzled look on my face, search the room as if whatever it is I'm looking for will just pop out at me. Finally, when I've exhausted my mental search, I'll throw my question to the room and hope somehow whoever is present will know what I mean. It's usually just my poor husband. "Have you seen the um...the a, you know, that thing I use."

He stares at me, blinks a couple of times, mouth slightly ajar.

I sigh. He can be so dumb some times. "You know! I had it in my hands yesterday."

Still he says nothing.

"I carried it when we went to the....a...(I snap my fingers or maybe point toward the front yard) to the a..."(Oh God, I'm doing two of them at the same time! My head is going to burst!)

Unable to take it anymore, he blurts out, "The toenail sissors."


"Your favorite wooden spoon. The one you beat me with."

"No! It's in the drawer. And why would I need it now? I beat you yesterday.

Taking a clue from my irratation, he says "A box of tampons, Mydol, favorite period panties?"

"No!" I stamp and slap my hands down against my thighs in total frustration. "you know, the Doibie!"

"Oh!" He slaps his hand against his forehead. "Your car keys are upstairs on right side of the dresser."

"Thanks," I mutter, completely drained. Jeesh. Was that so hard?

Well, I'm at work the other day, multitasking when a patient comes up to the window and sets her purse on the ledge. We stare at each other for a moment. She's obviously trying to think of what to say while I'm trying not to forget what I was typing. "I need to schedule a test," she begins and pretty much ends at the same time. I'm thinking okay, can you narrow that down a bit.

"What test?" I ask.

I can tell by the look on her face, she was hoping I would just know. Obviously, she doesn't know who she's dealing with. "that test I need," she responds.

My co-worker to my immediate right chuckles and quickly leaves my side. Damn, I'm on my own.

"An MRI?"


"An Xray?"


"Was it for your back?"

She shakes her head.

"Neck, hips?"

Now she's just staring. "It's that test, the one where they do that pokey thing."

I narrow my eyes. Pokey thing must mean needle. "A lab test?"

She rolls her eyes. Irratated at both herself and me, she slaps her hand down on the desk. "It's for my....doibie!"

I'm outraged. "Doibie?" I asked. "Where did you hear that word? That's my word, I made it up."

She shakes her head. "No, I use it. I heard on a TV show."

"Which T.V. show," I ask. The bastards! I'll sue, make millions...

"I dont know," she says, "The one with the family and a... they live by that place..."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Moving On or Letting Go

I have a hard time letting a story go. It's one thing to edit, but jeesh. This week I have offically started another novel. I'm setting a goal for myself to at least finish the draft book by mid year. If you knew me, you'd be laughing right now. The process of writing is a slow one, for me anyway. Stephen King advices to write five to six thousand words daily. Yeah, not gonna happen. I'm lucky if I can type out one to two thousand.

Maybe if I didn't have to work for a living. If my husband is reading this, hint, hint!

I love history. My short stories are modern and humorous, but my novels (I've written four with one published) tend to teeter along a politically based spine, mostly centered in the Victorian or Edwardian age. It makes it easier when doing the research since I already have a mound of it to rifle through.

One thing I have learned to keep me moving is to get a notebook, one notebook for each novel, and start out with a handwritten outline. The five W's Who, what, where, when, why. That way I can refer back to my original idea. Not that it won't evolve, but at least I'll have the basis down. With that done, I can start researching, which is where I am now. Some writers like to use note cards for this, but knowing me, I'd loose if not one, several and then spend all my writing time frantically search for them. And with my luck, the main plot would be on those missing note cards.

This novel is a bit different for me. This is my first venture into Puritan America. Those crazy Puritanicals. Man, did they know how to party.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


My sister and brother in law came to visit us for a few days before stopping in and seeing my parents. She just left today and I already miss her. I'd love to be one of those families where everyone lives really close by and sees each all the time. I'm lucky that my siblings and I all get along great. I consider them not only family, but friends.

We laugh a lot my family and I. We laugh at things we probably shouldn't, like at the man at the bus stop sporting a long hairy butt crack or the lady walking her nine yapping little dogs trailing a piece of toilet paper on her heal.

My husband gets uptight when we're together. We went to the movies and I sat between my sister and my husband. My husband bought popcorn and I thought I would offer it to my right. As I handed over the bag, my elbow knocked against the arm rest and my hand went numb. I ended up spilling a portion of the bag into my sisters lap at the very same time she was saying "No thanks." The movie was starting and we were giggling as she sifted through popcorn in her purse and lap. My husband groaned which tells me he's annoyed by my antics.

She made me a CD of an old family video from 1988 showing everyone much younger and slimmer. I got misty looking at my father lifting his grand kids while my mother sat in the grass playing tea party with her two year old granddaughter. Now she is blind and my father can't walk without a walker and barely has strength to get up out of a chair. The most poignant was seeing my brother Mike again. It's been ten years since he's been gone. Being a television director, he mostly handled the camera as we barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs. I laughed when I saw the size of it perched on his shoulder. Man, would he love the small video recorders they have now. At one point the kids were watching t.v. and Stand By Me was playing and it was at the part of "Barf-a-rama." My family now watching the video laughs at the odd placement of the hilarious scene in our families documentry. Mike begins laughing as he records it and my mother is in the background saying "You're going to put that in the family video? Honestly!"

His answer was perfect and so right on. "Of course. In twenty years we'll look back and love this scene! You'll be glad I put it in."

He was so right. I miss you Mike!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Question of the ages

I'm sitting here in my bedroom typing, curled up in bed because my feet are so cool, I can hardly move them. I already have two pairs of socks on and I'm contemplating a third. It's not like I live back East where they snow is falling by the feet. I live in Southern California and I get cold in the low 70's. If their is a slight breeze that rattles the leaves in the trees, I'll go in a get a jacket.

To make me think warm, I have my video of a crackling fire on that a friend gave me for Christmas. Does she know me, or what? I love this thing! The only downfall with it that I can find is that as the fire dies down, I have to fight the need to want to poke it back to life.

Now that I'm warm, or at least mentally getting there, I'm ready to ask the question of the ages-how lazy do you have to be to NEVER put the toilet paper roll on. I mean never. It's right there for God sakes. After 13 of marriage, I'm still bothered by it sitting on the sink, literally inches from the holder. When we were first married, I thought maybe he suffered from a nasty spring action loader innocent somewhere back in his childhood and the idea of replacing it sends him into flashbacks, so I thought I'd make it easier for him by replacing the holder with one of the easy one sided holders. All you have to do it slide it on. Does he do it?
No. Sigh.

I'm even going to complain about the damn toilet seat. I bet if he had to squat in the dark, half asleep and put his butt down on an Arctic porcelain bowl, that would make him put the seat down.
Getting to fix it items around the house is not something my husband does well. He replaced the thermostat last November and left it hanging by it's wires against the wall because he needed to paint the wall behind it. Since he never finishes anything, I was surprised when he went out and got the extra yellow kitchen paint can, and a brush. I started to hope that he would finish a job in once quick swoop. he must have seen the look on my face because he assured me that "I'll do this tomorrow".

Yeah, right.

Tomorrow never came. I bitched and moaned, cursed and even threw a shoe at him as he laid on the couch waiting football through the back of his eyelids. Still nothing. "I don't have time," he complained.

Well today, I couldn't take it anymore. I went outside and got the paint, the brush and took care of it. It took me six minutes and that involved removing the lid and stirring the paint. When I told him I did it. He argued that he was going to do it this afternoon then rushed out to see if I did it okay. A moment later he comes up the stairs and complains to me that I didn't put the lid on tightly enough on the can. He also didn't like that I left it on the wrong shelf in the storage shed.

He stared at me, brows all furrowed looking very perturbed as he complained that I didn't put it away right. "Why don't you put things back where you found them? did you find the paint can on that shelf?"

I glared at him before telling him that if he didn't wipe that snarl off his face, I would find a new place for the paint can and brush, but I don't think he'd like it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sad but true

Today was a very difficult day at work. Maybe it's the type of day that's put in my path so I can realize just how lucky I am. I work for a doctor, a specialist for pain. I would have to say that most of his patients are elderly with collapsing spines, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, fibomyalgia. We're taking major pain.

Since I've worked for him for quite a long time, and have felt fairly secure in my employment, I've been lucky to escape the "second depression" sucking up the United States like Ice Cream through a straw. Hm. I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but I'll go with it.

A patient came in today, rather teary. It's not uncommon to see, they're in pain, sometimes the pain is real, sometimes they cry because they're afraid their pee test will show that they're not taking the Percocet, vicodin, OxyContin etc that the doctors might be prescribing and they're afraid they're going to get the boot. Sometimes the DEA has already found out they're dealing the medication and the patient is waiting for the swoop down at any moment.

Anyway, this patient was quiet, eyes red and I asked her if she was okay. She nodded. After a moment I began going over her new medication list and asked her if anything else has changed. She stared at me and her eyes welled. Being dense, I pressed on. "Change of Insurance, phone number, address, anything different?" She swallowed hard and then said in a quiet tone, "you can erase them all. They're all gone." Still being incredibly dense, I continued to press. I deleted the address and then I asked for her new one. She said "I don't have one. I'm homeless."

"My husband left me, I lost the house, my medical bills are so high, they take the little money I have left. I have to now live in my car." I wondered about her children I always see her with. Did their dad take them? Do they know their mother sleeps in a car? I didn't know what to say. The truth is my husband and I miss a month paycheck and we're not far behind. I thought of my nice little house, my loving husband and my employment that puts food on our table and allows us to go out every once in a while. We too have a high mortgage and live paycheck to paycheck. And then I thought about odd stuff, like my greed, the half used bar of soap that I threw away because I wanted a new one. The half sandwich I tossed because it had too much mayo on it. I remembered grumbling because I didn't get the high Christmas bonus I usually get, but only half as much. That check would have helped her quite a lot.

I thought about her off and on through out the day, always saying a little prayer of thankfulness that my situation is not as grim as it could be. I wished her luck as she left and felt stupid for saying it.

At the end of the day my doctor told me he wanted to have a quick meeting on Wednesday. I asked him about what. He looked tired, didn't want to meet my eye. He said his surgeries weren't coming in like they used to. Medicare wasn't paying enough and the lack of flow had begun to effect the practice. He took a deep breath before saying he would have to cut the office staff's hours. I guess he saw the look on my face before he added, he thought it would only be temporary.

As I left the parking lot, it was dark. I noticed a red mustang parked not far from mine, a woman stretched out on the front seat and I wondered if that was her. I didn't want to stare, but I thought about giving her money, of the bottled waters I had in my trunk. I couldn't tell who the person was. Maybe it was just someone waiting for a person to get off work, or out of their doctor's appt. And so I drove away.

On the way home I remembered all the times I complained about my job, wished I had another or that I didn't have to work at all. Now I'm praying I won't loose the security my husband and I count on. I'm trying to be like my mom, trying to be positive about the situation.
I'll guess I'll just have to wait and see. Until then, I'm saying my prayers, grateful for that little house and the loving husband waiting for me.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My mother, my friend

I just got off the phone talking to my parents. What gems they are. My mother is one of my best friends, if not the best. She has the gift of turning every negative into a positive, such a refreshing change and a much needed quality. How she stays positive is what I think I admire so much about her. Both my parents are in their mid 84 with fairly serious health issues. My father lost his hearing in WWII in one ear and has lived since with tinnitus and has a variety of aging problems, but I swear, nothing gets them down.

My poor mother suffers from Macular Degeneration and is nearly blind. I can't imagine the frustration of nothing being able to get around my own or worrying about missing a step and falling. Yet she handles it with grace, dignity and her ever-present humor. She still loves to "read" her books on tape where we can talk about what we each liked or disliked about the story. Both of our favorite have always been the historical novels.

I'm bless to have her in my life. It's a joy to talk to her, and I usually find myself laughing so hard I have tears running down my face as she recounts the never before told tale of Edith, the odd cousin who would hide behind the sofa when people would come over. Tonight she told me about her days of selling War Bonds in Northern California. Man, for a good girl, she got around. She was always dating soldiers either on leave or home from the war. At 18, She loved to date, but knew she was too young to get serious with any one man.

Inevitably, they would fall in love and my mother as she told me, never wanting to hurt their feelings would have to find some way out of the relationship. In a letter to her father, they both came up with a sure fire idea. When my mother's boyfriends were becoming too serious, she would write my grandfather and he would in turn write her back as a long lost boyfriend. Each letter he changed his name. Some times he was Claude the door to door fuller brush sales man with bad knee, and a mother with 18 cats or Ruffus, the Assistant ice rink manager who lost his sister in a tragic ice fishing accident. When my mother opened her "romantic letter" in front of her love besotted suitor, she never knew what story my grandfather was going to tell or how odd/silly it was going to get.

I guess that's where I get my love of story telling. Thanks for the laugh mom! I wish you could blog, you'd love it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's perfect! Now change everything

Well, my book is getting ready to go into print. I was sent a couple of forms, one for the cover that I have to fill out and the other is for the "book block" which is all the pages in between. I have three pages of things I can list as needs to be changed.

This is how I know my editor hates me.

Throughout the nice email was a scattering of reminders not to edit, not to rewrite and hopefully not to take too long in sending it back.

The truth of the matter is I drag my feet. I was given the contract in August. It was a boilerplate contract, nothing I needed to worry about- but no, I had to get a legal advice and then advice on the lawyers advice. Okay, that done, I sent back an email saying what I wanted changed. Like I'm Stephen fricken King! I'm sure they laughed at my request for 20% more for second party sales and first right refusal for any scripts that are written in case it goes to the screen.

Most new authors are scrambling to the fax machine to send that the contract back before the publisher comes to his senses. No. I took three weeks to hand that baby in.

Then came the cover. Oh boy. It had to be a certain look, that "pick me up or I'll grab you look." They sent me several choices, were wonderful about my nit picky problems. "He's ugly, too skinny, she has the wrong eye color, her shoulders are exposed. I mean, it's Victorian for God sakes, it has to be historically accurate. Again, they were wonderful, indulging my "Can it have more sunset? Can the font be more swirly? After three mock ups, and three "Ah, can I see something else?" from me, they stopped returning my emails and just sent me to approval form.

Okay, I have the cover now we need to edit the book now, right? Edit they asked. That should have been done months ago. So, I edit, and take a month or two, possibly longer before I sent the first perfect "draft" in. My editor broke my then 88,000 word novel into four chapters. Now I have the chance to change whatever I want.

So I did.

I changed names of main characters, added sex scenes and characters and just a pinch of the plot.

That took a month and a half before I had gone through the entire novel. Twice I received a nice email from my editor asking me how I'm doing. "Don't mean to rush you..." Finally, I send it back. Right away my editor sends me the proofs, showing the changes. And once again, I began to edit. Several weeks later they send me the final proof. The entire novel, now 100,024 words, ready to go into e-book submissions.

Where I got the nerve to ask if this can be rushed for Christmas bookstore sales, I'm not sure. I was lucky no one responded. I can only hope their silence meant the email gremlin destroyed it before it was read because they didn't fire me as a client.

Now--my life long dream is about to be realized-I will be a published author, not just of short stories, but a full length historical novel. All my hard work, the long nights away from family and friends, shut up in my office typing one sentence after another, then deleting one sentence after another and then typing again would make it all worthwhile. Strangers will read my words and hopefully if not love them, at least kind of like them. Elizabeth and Eric will live, hopefully making readers smile through their playful banter and hot though their suppressed Victorian sexual desire. It's all about to come true.

Then I begin to edit the FINAL PROOF. I don't know why. I added scenes, dialogue and several hundred words. With pride that my novel is the best it can be, I attach the novel several weeks later and hit send. Nothing.

Several days go by before I receive an email saying I've changed too much, it has to start all over again in the Editing Que. I'll tell ya, I didn't have to be there to hear them scream. My husband yells at me, tells me I might have blown it, and is so upset with me won't talk to me for an hour. Not even when I ask him if there is anything I can do to make him "happy."

In an effort to save something from this budding partnership I quickly dash off an email asking them to forgive me for my nit picking ways, my inability to let go and move onto the next great novel. With a subtle Merry Christmas greeting, I remind them 'tis the season for forgiving the great pain in the asses in their lives, for they no not what they do.

The Christmas spirit must have been with them because my first novel was released to the public two weeks later.

I'm sure someone at Bluewood Publishing, if not my editor, wanted to smack me. Now they're probably cringing to see what I'll change or add this time. Grinding their teeth as they curse my name. Perhaps I should change the title to "Anticipation."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tree? What tree?

It's the time of year I dread. The holidays are over, people are grumpy again and the only Ho Ho's you hear are the women on the street corners advertising their wares.

It's time to take Christmas down. sigh. I hate it. I stay upstairs so I don't have to see the tiny dust ridden Dickens village, the still hanging wreath, the boxes all opened beneath the tree filled with wrong sized clothes that need to be returned.

My sister from Seattle is coming to visit in a couple of weeks but the first thing I thought was "damn, I have to take down Christmas early this year."

So, how long is too long to keep the tree around?

Look at what the bookstore drug in

I've always written, and always wanted to be an author. Well not always. When I was nine I wanted to be a jockey and when I was ten I wanted to marry Steve Sax, the short stop for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was when I grew older that I really wanted to write. But I digress.

Yesterday or should I say this morning around 1:30 I opened my email to find out my first book has been released to the public. Not the great fan fair I had always dreamed of, but it's still awesome! I'm still in shock, very excited and completely stunned.

I didn't know how much work went into being an author. I thought you get published, people buy your books, you go on Oprah, movie deals start coming in.

Yeah, right.

Turns out I have a lot more to do besides write another book. Publishing companies, it seems no longer have the large marking/advertising funds they used to sell their authors. Now the tide seems to be the author for the most part is left to promote themselves.


I have to talk to people? Schmooze and hobnob?

I don't like people, that's why I write. People scare me. I could be introduced to someone and the entire time they're talking, I'm panicking over what I'm going to say when they're done. Once they're done speaking and their eyes focus back to me, I'm like a deer in headlights. gulp.
I try to remember what they were taking about in hopes of adding some clever quip or some witty remarks that makes the person glad they sought me out. But all that happens is a mantra begins playing in my head- Just don't burp, just don't burp, thank God I cut my toenails...

If I wanted to do meet and greets, I'd have become a public speaker for God sakes!

I'm going to be alright. It's going to be fine. I'll smile and be myself and the crowds will go nuts.

Now I'll I have to do is sell a copy.