the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Respecting the Muse

I've written elsewhere about the contentious relationship I have with my muse.  Frankly, she's . . . come closer, because I have to whisper this:  She's a moody bitch with a poor work ethic.  She prefers to inspire me two or three times a week, rather than daily, as I require.  But don't tell her I said that. 

Since I have deadlines that have to be met, we thrash it out on a regular basis.  But I may have found a way to make her happy.

This is a Fairy Door.  My daughter gave it to me, most likely for the benefit of her daughter who is still too young to understand the concept of fairies.  But I am playing along.  Since fairies are tiny, I decided it belonged near the floor, just above the baseboard, and since they're immaginary, I put it close to my writing desk, where the immaginary world intersects with reality.  At least, when my fussy muse is working, it does.

Muses are fairy-like, in case you didn't know.  And  I think my little sprite must like having her own door to another world, because she's been hanging around more ever since I put it up.  She hasn't been grouchy, either.  (If you see her, just act like you didn't, because I don't want to mess with this delicate balance.)

I hope this bodes well for my next book.

Friday, December 30, 2011

In Defense Of Cats

Cats love comfort.  They also know a good thing when they see it.  From this, they've somehow gained a reputation for being finicky, for shunning the cold, or the wet, and for not leaving their silk-tasseled cushions by the fire for anything less than food. 

Don't you believe it.  This is a picture of my barn cats Sophie and Gray, coming out to meet me in the morning.  Yes, I have food.  But they know darn well they could wait in the relative warmth of the barn, and get their food just as quickly.  But they don't.  Rain, snow, or shine, they come out to say hello.  Just because.  There's nothing wimpy about cats.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Contest Winners

THE WINNNERS ARE:  Heather Meloche and Maryanne!  Please email me at with your mailing address, and I will send you a $25 gift card to!  Thanks for entering, everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Naming Characters

The heroine of my latest book, SILVER SPARKS, is named Maggie.  It's a name that's probably been used a thousand times before, but it suited her character and didn't raise any pre-conceived, stereotyped images.  No Maggies who shot a president or swindled people out of millions of dollars.  I can only hope a childhood Maggie never pushed a potential reader in a mud puddle and stomped on their science project.

But my heroine didn't start out as Maggie.  When I wrote the book, her name was Frieda. 

I was just fooling around when I wrote the opening action-packed scene, with a feisty woman standing up for herself and igniting a tabloid scandal.  Feeling whimsical, I named the heroine after the cat curled on my lap - Frieda Fuzzypaws.  (Don't laugh - that's a literary name!  My daughter named her after a cat in a children's book.)  And when I gave character-Frieda two sisters, I named them after two other cats, Sophie and Zoe.  Like I said, just fooling around, writing a scene.  But it was a good scene, and it turned into a book, and Frieda was suddenly the engaging star of a lively tale filled with romance and danger.  And my editor feared she had the wrong name.  Since readers were not going to see it and be reminded of my feisty, fun-loving cat, she was probably right.  So I changed it, and Frieda Fuzzypaws lost her shot at immortality.

But just for the record, here's the original Frieda.  She could take on that jerk of a reality TV star in SILVER SPARKS with one paw tied behind her back, plus handle the subsequent pack of paparazzi and the hot, hunky cop who stepped into the mess.  And decapitate a mouse at the same time. 

So . . . would you have liked Maggie if she'd been Frieda?  Are there any names you just couldn't stand for a hero or heroine?  (And I really hope it's not Zoe or Sophie, because their books come next!)  Leave a comment.   This posting is part of a contest - two randomly drawn names from here or my facebook page will receive $25 gift cards for  I will announce the winners Tue. night.  Good luck!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Another Book Cover

I just ran across the French version of OUR LITTLE SECRET online, my second book.  This was my least favorite book cover.  I like the French version much better, even though the picture has almost nothing to do with the story.  (When do they ever?)   Except come on, France, couldn't you make my name a little bigger?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Who Should I Kill, and Does He Wear Medium or Large?

I came out of my writing-coma long enough today to do some Christmas shopping.  I was only partially successful - it's hard to dispel the voices in my head.  They keep having conversations as I'm browsing the clothing department, trying out new plot directions.  While I'm running down my gift list they nudge me and whisper, "What if you gave the hero a dog?" 

But most distracting of all, they experiment with the climactic ending.  This is my own fault - I wrote my whole synopsis, except for the very end of the book.  Then I went shopping.  Stupid move!  I've set up several characters to be the ultimate bad guy, and now that it's time to reveal him, I'm not sure who it is, and how I will dispose of him.  I can pretend to take a break, but my mind won't let go of this problem.

So next time you're standing in Target selecting new pj's and the person next to you is staring at the racks, lost in thought, it might not be indecision over what size to choose.  She could be thinking about how to kill someone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


My latest book is traveling to Venice for the holidays - lucky book!  The trip is courtesy of my friend David, head of international distribution.  The division is looking mighty sinister this year with those leather gloves.

I wonder who will pick it up in Venice, and if some tourist will carry it with them to a new city?  I should put a tracking chip in these things!

Friday, December 9, 2011

It Must Be The Economy

Nikita is a saver.  If she were human, she'd have a nice passbook savings account and a 401K.  Since she's a dog, the most valuable things she owns are treats.  When we leave the house and lock her in her cage, she gets a dog bisquit.  It's always there when we get home. 

Then it vanishes.  But I soon found where she banks her treasures - in my furniture cushions.  This is the chair in my living room.  Notice the back right corner.

And the chair in my family room, same place:
This one I can't explain.  I saw the broken piece of bisquit on the floor, and tossed it onto the pillow with the other one.  Nikita came by a minute later, examined the arrangement, and moved it right back to the floor where it had been.  I'm obviously missing some instrinsic value here, but it might have something to do with diversifying her portfolio.  Everyone knows you shouldn't put all your money in one place.  Or all your bisquits.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hot Enough For You?

Ah, the expectations of reviewers when they open a romance book!  It's a mysterious thing.

The love story is a given.  The variable is sex.   More politely, the "level of sensuality."  Translation:  Will they kiss with flushed cheeks and yearning in their hearts?  Or will their naked, sweaty coupling knock the pictures off the walls and violate state ethics laws, possibly before exchanging names?  There are no guidelines.  No scale that says if he puts his tongue in her mouth it's a 4, and if they invite the neighbors to join them, it's a 9. 

So let's be daring and quantify it.  On that imaginary scale of 10, I'd say I come in at a 6.  But that's just my interpretation.  Here are a few reviewers' takes on my newly-released book, SILVER SPARKS:


"Would have liked the heat level to be turned up a couple of notches."  This reviewer laments that there is no sex until the middle of the book, and then "they never really did it again."  I disagree, but let's just say she obviously subscribes to the Bill Clinton definition of sex.

"Plenty of sizzle."

"It didn't get steamy towards the middle overall."

"The sparks will have you wanting an icy cold drink nearby."

"Ambrose is excellent at the love scenes without making it erotic."

So do you get an idea of what to expect?  Not sure?  Don't blame the reviewers, they can only judge based on their own expectations.  You'll just have to read it and decide for yourself.  (Golly, who would have guessed I'd come to that conclusion?)

Sincere thanks to the many reviewers for telling readers about SILVER SPARKS!  Whether they yawned through the sex scenes, or fanned themselves vigorously, they all loved the book, and I love them in return!