Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Haven't Fallen Off the Face of the Earth

Hi All:  I'm sorry that I haven't been blogging much.  It's been a long, hard summer.  I was late with the current book and I struggled with it.  It was late and that drove me nuts.  All my focus was on getting the book done and I'm afraid I let other things, like the blog, slide.  I apologize.  The good news is that the book finally landed on my editor's desk on Monday.  Whew!  Howard and I were glad to see the last of it...for now.  At the moment I'm just recovering and trying to catch up with everything I ignored through the summer.
My most immediate project is to put together the proposal for the next two books to present to my editor (the book I turned in was the 2nd in a 2 book contract, so technically, as of now I'm unemployed).  Assuming all goes well with contract talks, I'll be continuing the Joslyn Family Series. With Barnaby's half-brother, Luc's book back in N.Y. I'll be concentrating on Simon or Mathew's book.  Haven't decided which one of Barnaby's cousins that I'll do first.  Thanks for putting up with me.  Ta, Shirlee

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bad Blogging Girl!

Hi Everyone!  Yikes!  I can't believe that it's been over a month since I last blogged.  And I was doing sooo good at blogging something every week.  Oh, well, it happened, but I'm back now.
I do have some excuse: there's been a lot of extra work and excitement connected with the July release of RAPTURE BECOMES HER.  Did an interview for  Christine Morehouse of Romantic Crush Junkies Review and I just finished doing an interview for the Spanish site, El Rincon Romantico.  Also did a blog for the Rom/Con being held in Denver this weekend.  I believe that my blog will appear on July 5th.  I'll be posting a link as soon as I get it on Facebook and Twitter.   And, of course, I've been enjoying all the good reviews for RAPTURE BECOMES HER.  Always gratifying to read good stuff about your work.  Still have either video or a short note for a French publisher to take care of, but I'm whittling down the requests.  Gee.  I almost feel like a rock star :-)
Am making progress on the current book.  I have over a 300 pages so I've broken the back of it.  Figure it's 3/4 done with only about 100 pages to go.  It'll be late to the publisher, which makes me feel lower than low.  I hate being late, even though over the years I've greatly improved my delivering on time.  I remember that LADY VIXEN or WHILE PASSION SLEEPS, one of them, was something like three years late.  That wouldn't be tolerated in today's publishing world and can't say that I blame them.
Will close for now.  The current book she is a-calling.
A quote that shows how little the world really changes: Oh, this age!  How tasteless and ill-bred it is! Catulus (87?-54 B.C)

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Good Morning All:  It's turning out to be a cold May in CA.  We're still building fires.  This morning have one in living room, as well as, my office.  I tell myself not to complain, especially when I see the film of all the terrible flooding in the south and midwest.  My heart goes out to those people.
I just finished a book a few weeks ago that reminded me that research can be a tricky thing.  I adore research.  It's the most enjoyable part of writing a book.  You get to discover all sorts of new information and to become familiar with a different time and place.  Best of all, you get to choose the subject!
Of course, it's a pain in the butt when you read and read and are only able to glean, maybe, one useful thing from a 400 page book!  Aaargh.  There's a lot of information that's the same no matter how new or in depth a book may be, but every now and then, as you wade through book after book, article after article, you find something new -- which makes it worthwhile.
But here's the thing: when you start writing your book, you have to be careful not to let your research show.  It has to be slipped in under the radar, being a natural progression of the story and added in tiny increments, or at least not overwhelming the reader with all this fabulous stuff you've learned.  I know there are times I've worried that I've given the reader too much info in one gulp and I've gone back and pared it down.  I still probably overdo it some time, but I try not to and I'm very conscious of it.
I had a friend who wanted me to read her book and reluctantly I did.  I always hate to read someone else's work 'cause what if I hate it?  What do I say?  Fortunately, I thought my firend showed a lot of promise, but the one thing I noticed, sometimes over the story, was the research.  She'd done a lot of research and she crammed the story full of her research forgetting that it's the story that the readers are interested in.  The book I read recently that brought this to mind had the same problem.  I liked the story and in the beginning I liked the research, but there came a point when the research began to bore me and took away from the story.  Okay, maybe I just get bored easily but I found myself skipping over large chunks of the book because, well, I wasn't interested in learning that much about the particular subject covered in the book.  Don't get me wrong, it was good book, just too many facts and advice for me and it ended up in my 'tossed' pile and this is a writer I usually collect.
So my advice to any writer, new or seasoned, is do your research, our readers are a savy bunch, but do not  let it show. You may be crazy about the subject and delighted with all you've learned and eager to show off how much you've learned, but readers might not care a rap.  So feed it to your rearders in sips and teaspoons -- and not too often :-).

Friday, May 6, 2011

I Love Quotes

Hi Everyone:  Zounds it's Friday and I've not done my blog yet.  Had a crummy night last night, was up until 1:30 AM -- stuffy nose, blowing, sneezing.  Nothing serious, just uncomfortable and unable to sleep.  But back to quotes... I have several favorites and here's another one: "A manuscript, like a foetus, is never improved by showing it to somebody before it is completed." Unknown
I don't know who unknown was, but they were right on the mark.  For me, my story line is a nebulous blob out there and having someone poking at it only disrupts my initial ideas.  I once submitted a synopsis -- hate them -- and I ran into what I call 'petrie dish editing'.  Now the story wasn't clear in my mind, but this editor started complaining about an element of the story.  In this case, I think it was something to do with an Indian Chief named, Corn Stalker.  I hadn't planned for his role to be major, at least I don't think so, but Corn Stalker was involved in some interesting things back then (if memory serves) and I wanted to incorporate them into my story or at least mention them in passing.  Well, of course after the editor put in her two bits worth, I abandoned that part of the story, but I've always wondered what shape that book would have taken and if it wouldn't have been a better book with more historical fact in it if the editor hadn't done her petrie dish editing.  She had no idea how I would use the material, no idea where it would lead, or how it might enhance the story, but immediately objected to it. I'll confess I didn't know precisely how I would use Corn Stalker either but she certainly put paid to that idea before it was even fully formed. And of course, that's one of the reasons I hate submitting a synopsis -- I haven't a clue in hell where I'm going with a story -- just a hazy outline and, in this case, I changed my hazy outline before I even knew what it was.  Might have been some great stuff.   Oh, well, it happened years ago, but I still wonder about the book I would have written except for...petrie dish editing.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Hi Guys:  Being a 'seat of the pants' writer, each new book is a new adventure for me.  Sure, I know the characters, the setting and era and I have an idea of the story when I start, but many times as I write, until I get there, I haven't a clue where I'm going.  Now I know there are writers, and I envy them, that sit down and map out an outline of the entire book.  Some even outline each chapter and then begin writing -- they amaze me and I'm sure that my way horrifies them -- sometimes it does me, too!  I wish I could do a great outline, but my brain (the part that still and then) just doesn't work that way and explains why I often have those really bad writing patches.  This was made painfully clear to me just the other day.  As you all know (you've listened to me whine often enough lately), I've been having trouble with the book, but I hit section where I knew exactly where I was going.  The pages just zipped by and I felt like a real writer.  It's been a pretty good week writing wise.  I know that I'll hit another sticky section, but that's part of the adventure.  There's nothing like writing yourself into a corner and then figuring out how to get out...without leaving any sign of the struggle behind.  I know there'll be more sticky patches, but I also know that I'll discover new things about my characters and the book as I write through them and that eventually I'll be writing F I N IS and sending in another manuscript.  I leave you with -- "One day the Nouns were clustered in the street.  An adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.  The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.  The next day a Verb drove up and created the sentence."  Kenneth Koch , quoted from the Columbia College alumni magazine, via the Author's Guild Newsletter. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Surrender Becomes Her...

Just letting everyone know Surrender Becomes Her is coming out in paperback June 7th!

The Sun is Shining In CA!

Hi Everyone:  How glorious it is to see sunshine and blue skies!  Lately we've been feeling like mushrooms out here in CA.   And whenever I get to feeling too gloomy because of the weather, I think of Japan or the terrible weather the mid-west and east coast is having and then I don't mind gray skies and drizzle at all.  Not one bit.
Had one of our marathon days out of the valley on Friday.  Dogs to the groomers, me to the beauty shop (although why I bother I don't know) and then the doctor's office and a ton of shopping.  Exhausted when home.  Chanel's spay date is fast approaching and there's a few thngs that have been added -- 4 retained puppy teeth to be pulled while she's under and a liver biopsy -- possible liver shunt.  She weighs all of 5.5 pounds.  I'm worried about the operation, but the vet has assured me that he's operated on dogs that small many times.  The possible liver shunt is worrisome, but we all feel that if she does have one, it's small and shouldn't have long-term effects -- other than she'll probably always be skinny.  Because of her size, we call her, our Lap Rat -- said with great affection.
Finished another chapter on the current book.  Had to go back and revise the first chapter.  New bad guys started playing a major part in the book and gee-whiz-golly didn't have a mention of them in the beginning of the book.  Not to worry -- I do that all the time.  Blood Drinker of GYPSY LADY fame, originally didn't appear until about 2/3 rds through the book.  As he took on greater and greater importance, I thought, "If this guy is so important to Jason, shouldn't I have mentioned him in the beginning?"  Yup.  Went back and wrote him in.  That's the neat thing about writing -- as a book evolves you have the ability to correct or revise to incorporate new ideas and characters.  I'm truly a 'seat of the pants' writer and no one is more surprised than I am at the way some books turn out.  Until next time -- "You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward."  James Thurber

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy. Happy. Happy!

Hi All:  Just rec'd my latest Publisher Weekly and there was a review in it for RAPTURE BECOMES HER.  When reading any review, I always brace myself for some cutting comments, but this time, as I was cautiously reading the first paragraph or two my reaction was, "Wow."  I read a little further and I thought, "Oh, wow."  Finished it, sat back and thought "WOW!"  Was an awesome review!  Best I've ever rec'd from PW.
Of course, then I immediately thought of the book I'm writing now, the second in the Joslyn Family Series, and worried about comparisons with RAPTURE.   Will it be as good?  Worse?  Better?  Arrrgh.
I've decided that writers, anybody in the entertainment business, is just one mass of self-doubt and insecurity.  Worse, we're never satisfied (except for that 30 second glow after a great review).  It's like a batter going up to bat -- we're never satisfied with a base hit, we want that bases loaded home run hit -- every time! 
I've actually made progress on the current book and, for the moment, feel pretty good about it.  I do so like the central characters and it's fun that I can drag in Barnaby, Emily, Cornelia and Lamb, even a villain or two from RAPTURE.  Right now one of the things I'm grappling with is how many bad guys to kill off in this book.  Since I've thougth of the Joslyn Family Series as a 4 book series, I can, if I want, keep one or two villains around for awhile.  Ah, decisions, decisions.  Ta, Shirlee

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Hi All:  Yesterday was gorgeous out here in CA.  Today not so much.  Due to turn cold and showery.  Two of the American Shetland Ponies left for their new home yesterday.  Pleased.  A nice, young family bought the pair of them.  Always like it when two go together.  Figure it's less stressful in a new environment if they have a friend.  Talked to the vet about Chanel and I was really down.  She's 9 months old, skinny as a rail, despite food being shoved in her face every chance I get and she's tiny (5#'s or less).  He mentioned a liver shunt or kidney disease.   We'll be going in on Wednesday for tests.  Hope she's just a weird little mini schnauzer and that there is nothing wrong with her.  She's only been in our lives for 7 months and we're just silly over her.  
Because of ponies and Chanel, did more revising than forward motion yesterday, but feel better about the book overall.  Like I finally know where I'm going.  I'd better - it's due July 1!  I warned Howard yesterday, he'd better figure on me being hell on wheels for the next three months or until the book is sent off -- whichever comes first.
I know I've whined a lot lately, but I keep thinking of that Gene Fowler quote -- "Writing is easy.  All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."  Scary thing is he's right.
On the other hand, I can't imagine not writing.  There are dozens of stories whirling around in my brain at any one time and they are always better than the current book I'm working on.  In fact the current book was better than anything I've ever written, until I started writing it, then it became a pile of mush.  Thank God Howard is used to me fussing.   Whenever I think I've hit the wall and I'm so far down I'll never see daylight again, he'll look at me and say, "You do this every book."  I want to deny it, but he's right.  It's probably a writer thing.
And speaking of writing...I'd better go do it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Morning!

Hi Everyone:  Well, at least the rain has stopped here in CA.  We actually saw the sun yesterday for more than a few minutes.  Better yet, I had a good day on the book.  I dunno about this book.  All books give me fits at some point during the writing of them, but this one seems to fight me every day.  I keep telling myself that soon things will smooth out and I'll make stunning progress.  Yeah, right.  My working title for this book is SUSPICION BECOMES HER (the publisher will, no doubt, change it), but I'm thinking of calling it WHINING BECOMES HER, because that seems to be all I do lately.
Funny thing about writing.  When it's going well I go around smiling and happy and up beat.  Not going well, I'm truly a whining, crabby, griping, cloud of gloom infesting Howard's world.  He's nearly always positive and looking at the bright side of things and then there's his wife -- Mrs. Crabby ole lady, raining on everyone's parade.  At least I was smiling yesterday.  Hmm.  Rec'd the signed contracts and the check for the three backlist titles sold to Kensington yesterday, too.  Maybe that's why I was smiling.  Ta, Shirlee

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On writing

Anybody who thinks that 'writing is easy' has never written a book and believe me, I speak from experience.  Not only my own but that of other writers.  Writing is a lonely job.  I don't know other writers' routines, but I know that, while I'm not a prima donna (really!), I have to have long stretches of well, boring time.  I cannot be dashing here and there, entertaining friends, even meeting friends for lunch without slowing my output.  A 2:00 PM dental appointment (actually any appointment) can throw me off.  Being aware that I'm going to have to leave the computer is always at the back of my mind and plays havoc with my muse (the bitch) and yet...  There are times that I can field 50 phone calls, wash and fold clothes, put the dogs in and out, sit with Howard for coffee and have 15 people show up at the front door and have an amazing day on the book.  It's baffling, even to me.  I guess it's a case of when you're hot, you're hot and when you're not, you're not.
Writers with young children, writers who have full time jobs are my heros.  There are writers with growing families who are attending conferences, blogging (and we know how great I am at that), taking on other projects and yet they continually meet deadlines and write some really great books.  My hat is off to all of them -- and they deserve a big round of applause.   Oh, and added sales :-)

Friday, March 18, 2011


Hi All:  All this past week, in between working on the work, I've been switching mini schnauzers from one crate to the other.  Chanel, at 8 months, is in full bown season and poor Boomer is all hot and bothered.  Figure we have another couple of days before the 'acceptance' phase is over.  Can't arrive soon enough.  I feel so sorry for Boomer -- he's ready, able and willing but Chanel puppies are not on my horizon -- ever.  Spay scheduled for April 29th.  Had hoped to have puppies next year (a big maybe) but Chanel is soooo small, only about 5 pounds, that having puppies is not an option.  Funny thing, I looked and looked for a parti-female that would grow out large enough to breed and while Chanel's parents are 14 and 16 pounds, she's a tiny, so not gonna happen (Howard is thrilled).
The book progresses...slowly.  Sure hope the second half picks up.
Turned around from writing this to discover that it's snowing -- great big, fat, fluffy flakes.  Glad I'm inside with a woodstove.  Not a fan of snow.  I think it's only pretty to look at for about the length of time it takes to drink one or two cups of coffee.  Poor Howard -- he's down feeding the ponies.  Bet he's gonna come home a happy camper...not.  Ta, Shirlee  PS.  Howard just came in -- with a big bouquet of flowers for me!  Now is he a great husband or what?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Life in General

Hi All:  Trying to remember to blog.  Ain't easy between, Twitter, Facebook, writing and actually having a life.  I know gazillions love Facebook, but I'm with Betty White and think, generally, that it's a big waste of time.
Howard and I spent most of the pervious week working on the page proofs of RAPTURE BECOMES HER.  It's an interesting process.  We both sit in the living room (near the wood stove this time of year), TV trays in front of us, holding our portion of the page proof and read slowly, searching for errors...for hours.  Very quiet in our house -- even the schnauzers know we're concentrating and tend to sleep, Boomer and Chanel at my feet (I have a heating pad on the floor 'cause my feet freeze) and Mamzelle on the couch.  I get a head start because I'm a faster reader, and I tend to catch the technical errors (or what I think are technical errors), but he catches the real errors, the dropped words, wrong words.  He didn't write the book, so he doesn't do as I do and mentally put in words that aren't there :-).
We barely got the page proofs sent off and some bound galleys arrived.  Love to get them, but it's knot-in- the-pit-of-your-stomach-time because it means they've been mailed off to reviewers.... Gulp!
Still struggling with the current book.  I keep telling myself that while the first half has been a bitch, the second half will be a sweetheart.  Let's hope!  Ta, Shirlee

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Back List

Hi All:  Just tweeted about Kensington reprinting three of my older titles -- WHISPER TO ME OF LOVE, LOVER'S FOREVER, FOR LOVE ALONE.  Don't have pub dates yet, but I know they're working on WHISPER TO ME OF LOVE first.  Gave them info for the cover back in January.  Thrilled to have some of the older works in the pipe line.  I was surprised they chose those three, but hey!  It's their money.  Would love to see GYPSY LADY, DECEIVE NOT MY HEART and some of those available again., but nothing yet.  Will keep you posted.
Approaching the halfway point on the current book, Barnaby's half-brother, Luc, and his lady love, Gillian.  Love the characters, but honest to God, it's been like pulling hen's teeth to get forward motion.  I keep thinking that soon it'll open up and start really moving.  It better -- due in July!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How Time Flies!

Just now getting around to writing the blog and was stunned to discover that the last time I wrote was back in September of 2010.  Yikes!  Talk about letting time go by.
Life in the Busbee household continues rather quietly (thank God!).  I'm busy with the next book, working title, SUSPICION BECOMES HER.  Expect it'll be changed to something more sexy.  Finished the copy-edit of RAPTURE BECOMES HER over the holidays.  Will be out in July 2011. Got to see the cover for it -- nice!  Sort of peachy/apricot.  Of course, Emily is blond and the model has dark hair....
Chanel, the puppy, continues to resist house-training.  She's getting better, but not there yet.  She's 7 months old now and weighs, probably, all of five pounds!  Tiny.  So much for me assuming from her parents's sizes that she'd grow out to be a 12-14 pounder.  Life fools me again.
In the process of selling some of the back list to Kensington Books.  They're interested in WHISPER TO ME OF LOVE,  LOVERS FOREVER  and FOR LOVE ALONE.  Wish I could get some of the Avon books back in print.  Ah well, all things to those who wait.
Hopefully, you guys won't have to wait quite so long for my next blog.  Ha!  Ta, Shirlee