Saturday, June 25, 2011


Good morning! The tour today goes to Venezuela for an interview with Nyra at Escribiendo. My Latin readers and bloggers have been some of the most loyal. Thanks, Nyra, for the interview and supporting the tour. I'm impressed with how well you all read and write English, but I'm holding out hopes for Spanish editions. We got into Brazil. Maybe the Spanish market is next!

Here's a few more shots of the Florida Keys. The Keys are a chain of islands tied together with a highway down the middle. This is the typical scene as you drive anywhere!

This was taken from Seven Mile Bridge of what's left of Flagler's Railroad.

Another shot of the railroad. Flagler had this great idea to tie the islands together with a railroad. People called it Flagler's Folly.
Typical Keys tourist shop. Makes it fun!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Michael's Condo and Mandy's Dolphins

We're still in Florida. I wish I had Belize pictures, but I've never been there. I researched, researched, researched that part of the book. Here's Michael's Condo at Hawk's Cay Resort on Duck Key, FL.

Have I ever told you about Mandy? As soon as Michael and Leesie got to Florida, she burst onto the page. Total surprise. I didn't know she was coming. Her and those dolphins. What a hand full! I had to go back and work her into the rest of the book.

This is our condo--I gave it to Michael.
Here's the canal we backed on to.

Here's those dolphins!

This is the door Leesie couldn't get open was she tried to escape from the Mandy confrontation.

More of the resort . .  . I don't have a good picture of the original hotel. But these will help take you there.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Now you've seen Leesie's world. How about Michael's? Here are shots of the Florida Keys--where Michael had his condo. We love the Keys. When we lived in freezing cold Canada, we bought a condo down there. This is where we learned to dive. No wonder it ended up playing a pivotal role in the novel.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy a trip to Duck Key, FL! This is the drive down through the Keys. Tomorrow I'll post pictures of the actual resort. Including Mandy's dolphins!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nichole, Agents, and a Side Trip to France!

Nichole hosts me today on both of her blogs. Cool idea. Double the fun. And exposure. Thanks so much, Nichole. You'll find a review of TAKEN BY STORM and my answers to her interview questions at Ramdom-ish. Then for her enthusiastic discussion of UNBROKEN CONNECTION and CAYMAN SUMMER check out Star Crossed Book Reviews.

Nichole is a gutsy writer whose agent search has taken on award-winning proportions. She's intrepid. Hang in there, Nichole. I couldn't get an agent for TAKEN BY STORM, but I got a two-book contract with Penguin without one. Agents are sweet--don't get me wrong, but they aren't the only way to get through the front door. My editor encouraged me to get an agent once I'd signed with Razorbill, my imprint at Penguin. She recommended me to some of her favorites--and even they rejected me. I finally signed with one, and he was a disaster. I'm lucky he never sold anything for me so when we broke up it was clean.

Dealing with a gargantuan publishing house is almost impossible without an agent to help you. Oh, the stories I could tell. But, remember, an agent does more than sell your novel. He or she also manages the proceeds from the sale--your money. Publishers send checks and statements to the agent. The agent deducts her 15% and sends you the rest. Yup, that's how it works--for the life of the book. Most books don't realize any funds beyond the initial advance, so its usually not an issue. Writers need to be aware of that, though. I worry about writers willing to sign with just any old agent they find online who offers them representation. Nightmare waiting to happen. Make sure the agent is legit. If you have any doubts, have the publisher cut two checks--one for you and 15% sent to the agent.

My new agent, Erzsi Deak at Hen & Ink, is fantastic. Erzsi was one of the SCBWI fairy godmothers that put on the retreat north of Paris where I met my editor. I should be paying her a percentage on that deal! As soon as I heard she'd started her own agency, I jumped up and down with glee and queried her. I love, love, love working with her. She's keeping me hopping, though. And that's a good thing.

So, in honor of agents and Erzsi and Nichole's intrepid search, let's venture to the Abbaye Royaumont, north of Paris, where I met my Razorbill editor and TAKEN BY STORM found a home--thanks to Erzsi and Ann, and SCBWI Paris. More Michael and Leesie pictures tomorrow.

Welcome to the Royal Abbaye! The perfect place for a writing retreat. If you are SCBWI you should try to go to a Sequester there. It was the best event I'd ever been to.

Here's some interior shots. I love the architectural detail.

Yes, this is an organ.

If I remember right, this was the dining hall.


And now, let's wander around the grounds. 


Now, my favorite. Out the gate, wander down the road alongside the stream to the woods nearby for a contemplative stroll. 

Sweet memories. I hope you enjoyed wandering down them with me. And now, back to Arizona sunshine and loads of work. Read my interview with Nichole to find out what I'm doing today.