My Published Work

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It’s all about the Zamboni

Not that long ago I finished my first historical short story, Accrocher Ses Patins, set in 1927 Nova Scotia.  The story deals with an original six era ice hockey team, that is made up of immortal hyena shape shifters.  I spent a huge amount of time researching.  I work at a historic site, but had never tried my hand at writing anything set before my date of birth and I was nervous about it.

There is a lot of good information out there about that period of hockey; rules and equipment changes, not to mention the spread of the league into the US, caused upheavals in the game.  

 But I was left with a question.  How was ice resurfaced before 1953, when the Zamboni was patented?   The only thing I could find was that it was a three man job. 

I finished the story before I found the answer, but I did find the answer.  One man scraped the ice with a shovel, one man rolled something like a giant bucket on wheels that sprinkled water and the last man evened the ice surface with a broom.  The process could take up to ninety minutes.  I haven’t used that piece of information in my fiction.  I probably won’t but I know that my characters would know.

I am very thankful for the Zamboni.  And I bet my characters are to.

One lucky commenter will win a PDF of, Accrocher Ses Patins (hanging ‘em up) and a hockey or wolf themed charm bracelet.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Shooting Low

I signed up for a mini-nano. The stated goal is 250 words a day. I know that the writers reading this blog are thinking something along the lines of ‘that’s it?’

But it is November and shooting low is the best I can do. I travel for work in November and when I travel for work I’m on the go from 7:30 am to about 11 pm, that doesn’t leave time for a real stab at nano.
The past few months I’ve been pushing hard both as a writer and as a person. I’ve finished the final edits on the novel during a month that I worked 29 days straight. I’ve worked my way right into writers block.

It happens from time to time. You can see the characters and maybe even the plot, but you can’t get it to move onto the page.

If I push hard for a long time when I stop, I stop dead.

For the past few days I’ve been looking at a blinking cursor, trying to wish the ideas out of my head and onto the paper. Over the years I’ve learned that to re-start myself I need to start slow and shoot low.

So for the next month I’m going to be shooting low. Hopeing that low word count will get me back in the habbit of meating goals in my extreamly limited free time.

How about you? How do you get back in the swing of things after time away?

Monday, October 8, 2012

The devil is in the details

I read quite a bit and I watch television.  I guess we all do.  But I have a problem; I can’t watch or read without being pulled out of the story by little things. 

I work in a living history museum on the weekends, so sometimes even my favorite shows can drive me crazy.  Fantasy, historical and post-apocalyptic things are the ones most likely to have things that drive me nuts in them.   You have to understand that I have ridden horses, raised, killed and dressed my own food, loaded and shot a flintlock.  Oh yeah, and we use a water powered grist mill.

It takes me right out of the story to see things done wrong – or weirdly or whatever.  The image sticks in my head for days and days.  Or the image of the words in the case of a book where a woman took off a bra in the about 600 years before the bra was invented.

So if you are writing, try to make the details as right as possible.  After all, if I notice, others will.   

Monday, October 1, 2012

I wish I had a good excuse for dropping off the map the way I have.  Most of my time has been taken up with work, but I also worked through the edits on my novel.  It was a lot of work and I’m still not as happy with it as I had hoped to be.


When I was done with it I turned around and wrote a 10 K Christmas story.  It was fun creating something again.


My new short story is out


So what has everyone else been up to?  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Short or Long?

I have conversations about this pretty often.  I write a lot of short stories, some of them are linked.  I just finished a four story series for my publisher.  I don’t write many novels.  I guess that makes me an oddity. 

My friends often point to the novel I sold and say, “Look that proves you can write a novel.”

I’ve known I can write a novel for a long time, I just don’t like writing them.  I don’t write very quickly and to write a whole novel I have to set aside everything else I want to do.  I know that sounds selfish.

I take my writing very seriously; I may spend months researching for a short story.  I’ve spent a lot of time reading about the last few years of the NHA and the transfer to the NHL, and the shift in goalie styles (until 1918 goalies were not allowed to leave their feet to make a save) and I can tell you how ice was resurfaced before the Zamboni.  So it’s not a lack of seriousness that keeps me from writing novels. 

Like every writer I know, I am compelled to write.  I don’t feel like I have a choice in it, but at this point I don’t see myself making a living at writing.  So writing is just a very important hobby of mine.  That isn’t to say I don’t get paid for my shorts, I do, and I will be paid for my upcoming novel as well.   

But will I write another novel soon?

Probably not. 

Since this is a hobby what I do should be fun.  I don’t find novels fun.  Maybe someday I will change my mind.  Maybe not.  I can’t know the future.

Do you like to write long pieces, or short pieces? 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

When the rivers all run dry

Frist off I have to apologize for disappearing for 3 weeks.  No excuse I’m trying to post once a week (as well as trying to get my author facebook and twitter up and running) but I’m just not in the habit yet, I think of topics I want to talk about and then forget. 

I got good news at the end of last week, both my fourth story in my hyena hockey series and my novel that got dropped have been picked up.  The publisher is looking at a twelve week turn around.  I feel like I should be more excited and I can’t tell if that is because I’m tired or because it is so darn hot out.

How hot is it?

Hot enough that several major roads in and around Philly buckled today.   Something that I don’t talk about much is that I work in an un-climate controlled building , it’s been I the 90’s at my work station for the past two days.  I lift and carry for a living, so I’ve been going through a lot of water.  But let’s be honest, water, juice and sports drinks don’t help as much as they say they do.  Better with the liquid than without and it isn’t as bad as all that.   

But I hope that the first two days of summer aren’t what the whole summer will be like. 

This week I haven’t done any writing, and that is pretty odd for me, but maybe my brain is just resting in preparation for the editing.  Or maybe it’s just that I have been working too hard. 

How about you guys? What have you been up to?  Reading? Writing?  Movies?  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What I did on my Summer (spring) vacation

The weekend of May 18th to 20th I went to the Pennwriters Conference in Lancaster, PA.  The Keynotes were Hank Phillippi Ryan and Maria V. Snyder.

First off my mom and I write very different genres so we’ve never been anywhere together, she has her mystery things and I have my speculative fiction things, and this wasn’t just the first time we went to any writers things together, it was the first time we’ve been away together in a very long time.  We don’t travel much – or at least not for things that aren’t work. 

 The first day we were there we were not registered for anything.  They had offered several four hour workshops.  The workshops were kind of expensive but I think that if I am interested in one next year I’ll put the money up for it.    

 So Thursday we went to Landis Valley Museum – because we always go to museums, what with working in two of them – and then we went swimming. It was a nice relaxing day with my mom, something we don’t get a lot of anymore.  There was also good food and a drink that I didn’t like as much as I thought I would and the biggest buckwheat pillow I have ever seen.

 Friday Morning mom and I went to the introduction and it was a good introduction.  There were things in the introduction that I may do next year that I doubt I would have known about if I didn’t go to the intro.  Then Mom and I split up, I went to a session called “Get thee to a Writterhead!” and Mom went to an editing session.  We both enjoyed our sessions more than I think we thought we would.  Mine was one of my favorite sessions, it was about getting into and staying in that creative zone, something I can have trouble with from time to time.  I get interrupted a lot when I am working; both my paying job and my writing. 

 After that we both did “Showing vs. Telling with Maria V. Snyder, I love her work so I would have gone to this even if she was going to read the phonebook.  It was enjoyable and it is something that I know I have trouble with – I haven’t gone over my notes yet but she used examples from her own work and I have read all but 2 of her books so I found that helpful. 

 Lunch at a sub shop that thought it was in Brooklyn.

After lunch we split up again and Mom did Fictional Characters Anonymous with Hana Haatainen Caye (who I have been calling ‘the Finn’ for some time now) and I did a thing on social media – I would have liked it better if I had gotten there earlier and could have had a chair that I could have taken notes from.

 There are times that being left handed really sucks.  And I was still cranky for the next talk and somehow still didn’t get a seat that I could take notes from. 

 After Mom went to the Keynote Dinner,  I was invited but wanted to have supper with a  few friends.   

Saturday started with a two hour workshop called 10 Tools for Author Success with Deborah Riley-Magnus if you get a chance to go to this anywhere – go.  One of the best things I’ve been to in a long while.

 Then a thing on Extended Workshops, I have to say I would love to do an extended workshop some time, but it will probably have to be after I retire, I just can’t see swinging 6 weeks away from work, but you never know.  Odd things have happened in the past, I could win the lottery or something.    
Last thing of the day was a Meditation workshop.  It’s been to long since I have done any serious meditation I would do that one again and bought the cd.  Her website is

 Then Mom and I ate with a group of writers – I have to say that was very fun.  I don’t get out with whole groups of writers often. 

 Sunday was two talks and then the goodbyes.  The two talks I went to were on fight scenes and time management.  The fight scene talk was interesting; it was done by a Corrections Officer who works in a juvenile center.  I had read a book not that long ago about fighting in the NHL and many of the things that he said were very similar to things that were brought up in that book.  And time management – well I’m just never going to be good at that. 

 At the goodbye I won a Nook.  I’m not totally sold on e-readers but all of my pieces are out on e-reader so now I have them on my Nook. 

All and all the best weekend I’ve had in a long time.  I met good people and I had a good time.  I also came home and bought a buckwheat pillow.  It should be here tomorrow. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Where I have been all your life

Well really only for the past two weeks.  I know that I’ve been woefully absent since the middle of the month and I didn’t say I was going on a hiatus.  I know that I should tell people when I am going away, but I never seem to manage it. 
For four days I was at Pennwriters with my mother.  It was a lot of fun and I got to meet great people, some of whom I knew on-line, some of my mom’s friends and some that I had never met.  I’m planning on doing a whole blog post of who I met and what I did while I was there this week. 
It takes me awhile to assimilate things in my mind to get to the point of being able to really talk about things.  I’m not the person who can come home from these things in a cloud of creative energy and can just jump into everything.
That said, I have set up new facebook, twitter and a Pintrest under my ‘pen name’ (my full formal name) and as soon as I get them all spiffy I’ll let everyone know. 
When we got home I had a lot of work to catch up on as well as some editing that I had to get off of my ‘to do list’ and a few things that needed to be handled for my various ‘other jobs’, now that all that is mostly off of my list I can get back to working on a piece for my step-daughter. 
This week looks like it is going to be a scorcher at least for the first half of the week, so I may be done in by the time I get home at night.  Sometimes that is the most creative times for me, of course when I get over heated all I want to do is eat ice-cream and watch bad television. 
How about you guys? What’s been up with you?  

Monday, May 7, 2012

So my question today is where do you create?  I was going to say write, but there are artists and musicians on my friends list as well. 

This can be taken in two ways I could mean ‘where do you sit to create?’ or I could mean ‘where is your work set?’

I guess I probably mean both. 

When creating is easy for me I can do it sitting on my bed or in the room that is our office/library.  When things aren’t going as well I have a place in my room where people can’t see me from the door.  It is a pretty small area and my husband laughs about it, but I can get a lot done in my little space.  And I can reach most of my reference books without moving much.   

When I write my fiction is mostly set in and around Boston.  The funny thing is that when I lived in Boston my fiction was all set in the ‘greater Philadelphia area’ – I don’t know why I always where I am not living but it seems easier somehow.  Maybe the distance makes my vision clearer?

How about you guys? Do you have a favorite place to create? Or a favorite place to set your creations?

Oh and by the way, I do use a scratching post as desk – it is a perfect height and the cats like to climb in and out of it while I am writing.   

Monday, April 30, 2012

We aren’t entirely sure how to market this

“We aren’t entirely sure how to market this” was one of the reasons the publisher used for dropping my novel.  In all honesty I get that one.  The novel ended up being a paranormal, sports romance.  And the sport involved isn’t one of the bigger sports, it is ice hockey.  My husband (a lifelong hockey fan and a man who played until he was in his 40’s) once called ice hockey ‘the fourth ring in the three ring circus of sports in the US’. 

I couldn’t have picked a sport like football, basketball or baseball. 

I like hockey.  I’m willing to put in the time to research about hockey, about the organizations and the culture.  Heck I even have put in a lot of time to research fighting and the sorts of men that become enforcers (fighters) in the NHL, even though none of my characters have been enforcers.  If you are wondering it is normally guys who have caretaker personality who end up fighting the most.  I’m guessing that my love of the sport and my willingness to put the time in are the reason that only one of my non hockey stories have sold.

 I’m probably not going to give up the fantasy elements of my stories.  The romance comes and goes – but most of my characters have some sort of partner, but they aren’t all in the process of falling in love.

So I have to figure out a way to start and market my own sub-genre.  In the 80’s I started reading fantasy books set in modern cities.  It may have taken years, but Urban Fantasy is a common sub-genre.  So given enough time and effort maybe the ‘next new big thing’ will be ‘paranormal sports romance’, it may take twenty years, but I’m still young. 

How about you?  What is your favorite sub-genre to read or write?    

Saturday, April 28, 2012


 I realized the other night that it has been quite some time since I posted.  I’m going to try to be good about it again.  So I’m restarting. My goal is to post three times a week, but we will see.  When I restart next week I will be running a contest for comments in my Live Journal and blogger.

In other news, I signed a contract for my third Hyena short story and I am trying to rework my novel – they may, at some point, be marketed together. 

Lastly, my team has been eliminated from Stanly Cup contention.  I’m actually kind of happy about that, it will give the youngsters something to work for next year, and with the injuries that the Bruins have right now, they would have been out by next week anyway.  Plus my two Eastern ‘ex-wives’ (DC and Philly) are still in it. As well as three teams I have an emotional bond with in the West.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Takoda by T.M. Hobbs

This was a lovely short historical romance set in old west Wyoming. Sarah is a young woman who moves to Wyoming with her Aunt and Uncle after her parents were killed by Native Americans. When she gets to Wyoming, things don’t go as expected when she gets taken by a young Crow man.

This is a sweet romantic piece, if you are looking for an erotic piece this isn’t it, but it is a fun satisfying read. You can get it for .99 at Amazon or at

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Trying to get back in the groove

I’ve been so bad at blogging for the past few months, I just need to get back into the habit of blogging again.

Things are pretty good these days. I’m editing the novel that got dropped and playing around with a new characters. The new ones seem to want to live in New Jersey.

I’ve been letting my reading back up though I think I’m up to 67 books on the ‘to read’ pile so that is a little out of control. I need to get back to reading again – I’m only reading about a book a week. Not fast enough to cut down on the pile.

On a health note, I’ve been havening a pain flare. That just means my pain is about average right now but I’m working on it, with yoga, meditation and now massage therapy. And, of course, the cat purring therapy.

I’m going to try to make a point of having more time on line in the next few months.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I’m not Pollyanna, but sometimes…

Last night I received an e-mail from my publisher that they were dropping my novel. They had pressed me to send them my rough draft three months early and I did. At that point I totally stopped being comfortable with them. I have a learning disability; I don’t like anyone seeing my first drafts.

I am a little sad I guess. I am angry. But mostly I am feeling a profound relief. I hate that I feel relived over something that should be a negative in my life.

I feel like I will be able to create again and work on the things that have been hanging over my head and maybe even participate in on line activities and get back to reviewing short stories again.

How ‘bout you guys have you ever had something so negative feel so incredibly positive?