Welcome to the blog of writer M.G. Ainsworth who currently finds her muse to write after nine....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Viva la Valentines Day!

I'm going to skip the apologies about the irregularity of my posts (do they make mental metamucil?) and skip to some exciting news tonight. If anyone is thinking it's a bit early for Valentine's Day from my title, it is - unless you've been selected to be a part of a Valentines Day anthology to be published February 2012! The theme is Viva la Valentines Day and it's being compiled by the excellent folks at the WG2E. I'll be in fantastic company including D.D. Scott, Tonya Kappes & Lee Lopez to name a few. If you'd like to know more here is the link to the press release:


I've already started my short story which will be around 15,000 words and features Cupid's granddaughter. What? You didn't know Cupid had a granddaughter? Well he does - in fact he has many grandchildren being a bit of a ladies man ;-) Being Cupid's granddaughter is not easy, particularly when your family is always meddling in your love affairs.This is Dara's story and I'm excited to say that I also plan to publish it as a stand alone prequal to a new series which I'll start after finishing SPF.

As for SPF I'm around 2/3 done. I'd hoped to be done by Christmas but it turned out there was more story to tell than originally planned so it may debut in January, closer to the anthology. There are several story threads and I want to make sure I tie them together properly. No loose shoelaces in my story!

Last but not least look for my short story, Bubbles, in the Dream On Anthology being released December 2011.

My short story about Cupid's Granddaughter is in need of a name. I'm happy to take suggestions from my fabulous followers! Just post your suggestions as a comment below. I also have a Goodreads Author page so feel free to look me up if you're on the site.

In closing, I'll leave you with a picture, promised several blogs back, of one of the farm activities that has kept me from writing (in addition to work and the kidlets). I introduce to you my six little ladies (I hope!), also in need of names. The Rhode Island Reds are currently all called Goldilocks and the Barred Rock's are all called Black Beauty. I'll get to naming them one of these days. Without further ado, the chicken pictures:

3 days old

2 weeks old

a month old....

The coop in progress. The little chickies are still inside under a heat lamp at night.

Thanks for following!

11:28 PM (after 9) :-)

Monday, August 29, 2011

SPF cover revealed

Happy August!

Once again I find it's been several weeks since my last post and I'm excited to announce both that have time to write again and the fabulous Elizabeth Sharp has designed my book cover! I was able to pick up writing again just over a week ago and have added 11,000 words since that time for a grand total of 36,000 words. I'm at a fabulous point where I'm able to enjoy the fruits of our labor on our property and get back to writing. As I make this entry I have a batch of fresh chocolate zucchini bread baking in the oven using a zucchini I picked today. I'm excited the direction SPF is taking with several story threads preparing to weave themselves together. Currently I'm planning on releasing by year end but if the story flows like it has the last week it could be sooner. I'm getting great reviews from my critique parter which is very encouraging.

So would you like to see the cover? Drumroll..........................................................................................................................................

I am so excited with the cover and with the way SPF is coming together. I'll post an excerpt soon. In addition to the cover for SPF Elizabeth also has a new blog devoted to her cover designs which include many of the upcoming releases from 4 Corners Press, including the Dream On anthology in which I have a short story:


Thanks Elizabeth and thanks to y'all for following!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

From Baseball to Berries

Summer has been a rough time for writing for me, I must admit, and I have probably been the worst blogger in history with over a month since my last update. I wish I could report my absence has been due to being busy finishing SPF or starting Spiritual Baggage but that's not the case. I've had to prioritize, and family comes before the book. My husband has been travelling with the Corvallis Knights Baseball team leaving me with a 6 and 3 year old to take care of and a house and property to keep up when not working 40+ hours per week. We are blessed to have flower beds, a vegetable garden, 3 types of berry bushes and fruit trees. With my husbnad gone the upkeep for our endeavors falls to me. I am currently picking blueberries and raspberries every evening and watering corn, tomatos, beans, onions, peppers, sweet peas, roses, lillies, hydrangea, jasmine, peonies, columbine and hosta to name a few. By the time 9 PM rolls around I'm exhausted, but I've had the pleasure of growing foor for my table and watching my children learn where food comes from. I curl up in bed with my sweet children and am sound asleep by 9:30. I wake up at 5 AM for work and eat muffins made with fresh blueberries. I'm not writing but life isn't all bad. I anticipate picking up where I left off in the next few weeks as baseball comes to an end. In my limited spare time I've been writing short stories for both enjoyment and several competitions so I don't go crazy from lack of creative outlet. The Dream On anthology is about to be published and I will see my first short story in print.

Thanks for following and I promise I'll be writing after nine again soon. If you're ever in Oregon stop by for some fresh blueberry muffins or pick up a some home made jam.



Thursday, May 19, 2011

Follow Friday Blog Hop 5/20/11

Welcome back to the blog hop! I'm excited to be the featured Author this week! A little bit about myself to any one visiting for the first time: I'm a thirty something wife, mother and self proclaimed bookworm who is living a lifelong dream of being an Author. I'm a graduate of Lewis & Clark College and live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my family and a menagerie of pets. I write primarily after nine at night and on weekends but hope to someday make writing a full time profession. I am working on paranormal romance and urban fantasy books in both the YA and adult categories. When not writing, reading or working I love traveling and taking advantage of the recreational activities the Pacific Northwest has to offer including camping, hiking, fishing and skiing. I grow champion Walla Walla sweet onions for the county fair and avoid housework at all costs. i have a short story being published this summer in the Dream On Anthology and am working on a young adult paranormal romance, SPF, and an adult paranomal romance, Spiritual Baggage. I hope to publish SPF by the end of the Summer. I had a great question to answer for the hop this week:

What author, dead or alive, would you most want to spend a day with and why?
I consider myself fortunate that I've had an entire week to think about this because it's a difficult decision. There are many wonderful authors I admire and would like to meet. I considered Jane Austen, Dr. Seuss, Edgar Allan Poe and J.R.R. Tolkien as deceased authors and living authors included J.K. Rowling, Charlaine Harris, Nora Roberts and Chelsea Handler who would provide a most entertaining day, I'm sure.

After much deliberation Nora Roberts is the winner. Not only are her books in the Three Sisters Island, Key, Born In, In the Garden and Circle trilogies amongst my favorites, I also admire her work ethic and dedication to writing as a profession. While I don't read all of her books since I am more interested in those with an urban fantasy or paranormal vibe I admire her ability to write books across multiple genres and for different audiences.

She embodies being an Author as a profession. She once stated "you don't find time to write. You make time. It's my job." She spends her weekdays in an office writing and releases several novels a year with great reviews. I dream of being at the point where I am not finding time to write but making time, and I find I am make much more progress when I take this approach carving out hours dedicated to writing.

She has also uttered the words that have inspired me most as a writer both to start writing and to continue despite obstacles from self doubt to exhaustion:

"You can fix anything but a blank page"

I would like to spend a day with her not only because I admire her works but because she has some real insight into the writing process and inspires me as an Author to keep writing.
Thanks for following!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A brilliant idea

I never know when inspiration is going to hit me. I consider myself to be a creative person but that being said I usually can't pull an idea for a novel out of thin air. I keep a notebook with prospective story ideas for when the time is right but an idea that knocks my socks off and makes me want to drop everything else rarely happens. I am excited to report it did happen around 4 in the morning and I know what my next project will be upon completing SPF. The night had started terribly. I'd been sick in bed with a sore throat, cough, fever, chills and headache - the whole nine yards - since Thursday. In an effort to get some rest I drank some cough syrup before bed. I'd like to think it was my subconscious and not the cough syrup that gave me the idea but like the elusive question of "how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop" the world may never know.

What I do know is I woke up with certainty that I need to write about stowaways - the ghostly kind. My next novel in addition to the SPF series will be about an Investigator named Valerie Chase. You see, spirit's can't leave the cemetery they're bound to by foot.They're too heavily warded. But they can in a car. Poor cemetery planning in the 20th century has led to  roads being built too close to gravestones. When a spirit escapes Valerie Chase in on the case. Her job is to recapture the spirit and bind them or send them on,once and for all, before they can wreak too much havoc. The longer a spirit is free the more corporeal it becomes. Unfortunately for Val she falls in love with one of the deceased she is supposed to recapture  and life (and death) gets a lot more complicated. 

I was so excited I took a break from SPF to write a prologue and create a rough outline. I'm considering "Spiritual Baggage" or "A Ghost's Guide to Hitchhiking" as titles but this may change. So what do you think? I'd love to hear your feedback. 

Thanks for following!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Follow Friday Blog Hop 5/6/11

Hi everyone!

It's time once again for the Blog Hop. It's been an exciting week. I got to see the cover of  Dream On: an Anthology of Dreams for the first time and it gave me chills to see my name on the cover. This brings me to the question for this week's hop. What moment validated you and made you feel like a writer? Hands down it is seeing my name on the cover of a book that is about to be published. I feel very validated having won the chance to be in it with my short story and can't wait to hold a copy in my hands. I am certain I will always remember this moment and how wonderful it feels. There is a picture of the cover, designed by Elizabeth Sharp from 4 Corners Press on the left side of my blog.

Next week I will be the featured Author on the hop. I hope to have a sample from SPF and possibly a cover posted on my blog so it will be a busy week! I look forward to sharing a little snapshot of SPF with you next week.

Thanks for following!


If you'd like to participate in the blog hop here are the rules:

The rules
  1. Follow me, Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
  2. Follow the featured author of the week, VK Tremain.
  3. Copy the image code found below and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of this post while you are here.
  4. Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
  5. Answer the question
  6. Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
  7. If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
  8. Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Follow me Friday Blog Hop (and a little bit of validation!)

What an exciting week and welcome to my new followers from last week's hop! Normally on a Thursday nights I update my Blog for the fabulous Follow Friday Blog Hop. This week I'll be answering the hop question but also blogging a little bit about my great news and a book series I really enjoyed and I never see discussed. There is no featured Author this week so maybe I'll pretend it's me :-)

The question this week is:

Who has been the most supportive of your writing? Hands down I would have to say my husband. He really encouraged me to finally get started and is the one who picks up the slack around the household or suffers most when I am busy writing. He's been telling me to write for almost nine years now. I should have listened sooner. We have almost 2 acres. The outside has traditionally been his responsibility and the interior mine. He's had to pick up the slack inside, find ways to entertain the kids while doing the outside chores (although playing in the manure compost pile would not have been my first choice) and spends evening such as this one being ignored while I write away. If he wasn't willing to do this things would be much more difficult. I'm not saying he doesn't get frustrated, but him entertaining the kids is the key to me accomplishing anything on the weekends or before 9 PM. Love you hubby!

First for my great news: 4 Corners Press (http://www.4cornerspress.com/) had several contests for their launch. I entered their short story contest and as you can probably guess since I'm blogging about it, I was one of two winners. My prize is to have my story published in their anthology: Dream On an Anthology of Dreams to be released this summer. I've been given the opportunity to expand my story up to 10,000 words and have my very first writing deadline that is not self imposed. I am so excited to have my story in print! I write because I enjoy doing it. I am finally fulfilling a dream that I have talked about for years. I'd like to think I'm good at it,  but have to admit the validation that comes with winning and having something published doesn't hurt. I definitely have my moments of self doubt when it's late at night and I've had a long day at work, my two year is fighting sleep once again, the house is a disaster zone and I'm drop dead tired and I wonder, what am I accomplishing sitting down to write so late.Is it hopeless? Is it worth it?  Moments like this reassure me - yes, it is. I

I still try to squeeze in some time to read. One of the best series I've read in the past year is the Grace series by SL Naeole. It is a complete YA series of 4 books, all published and available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com for $2.99. I love to start a series when they are all published because I can follow the ride from beginning to end without gaps in space. I also love feeling like I'm getting my money's worth and at 400-500 print pages of beautiful writing these are well worth the $2.99 and enjoyable for adults (I hate to lump myself in that group) as well as the YA audience. The first in the Series, Falling From Grace introduces us to Grace Shelly, her best friend Graham and the angelic Bellegarde family. The Publisher description reads:

"Grace Shelley's about to face the worst day of her life. Her best friend has left her, her father's starting a new family, and she's the most unpopular girl in school. She's going to need a miracle to survive the first day back to school. That miracle comes in the form of angel named Robert, whose life is changed more by her than she is by him."

 There is romance, there is heartbreak, there is both beauty and violence.There are a host of other creatures besides Angels. SL's website is http://slnaeole.com/. I'd encourage you to visit and take a look or give Falling From Grace a chance.It is rated 4.5/5 stars on both Amazon & Barnes & Noble and I can't understand why nobody is talking about it.

As always, thanks for following!


P.S. If you're interested in participating in the Follow Friday Blog Hop here are the rules:

Your rules
1)      Follow this blog.
2)      Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
3)      Follow the featured author of the week, MD Christie.
4)      Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5)      Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6)      Answer the question
7)      Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8)      If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9)      Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.




Tuesday, April 26, 2011

4 Corners Press: Congratulations to Our Winners

I'm a winner! Look forward to reading my short story in 4 Corners Press' upcoming anthology!

4 Corners Press: Congratulations to Our Winners: "We have our winners. Thank you all for your support of 4 Corners Press. Continue to check in with us for company updates and other service..."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Follow Friday Blog Hippity Hop

It's time again for the Follow Friday Blog (Hippity) Hop.This week's featured Author is Michelle Ferguson. I am going to begin with an apology, directed especially towards my new followers, that I have not updated my blog since last Friday. I have a good excuse though, I've been busy writing and editing in an effort to make  my weekly word count goals. I am editing the prologue and first few chapters with the goal of having them featured here on my blog by my turn to be the featured author in a few weeks. In addition to my full time job I've been busy around the house as well plotting and planning a chicken coop with my Hubby with the hopes of bringing home some baby chicks in time for Easter. Wish they had multicolored chicks around here like they did in Oklahoma. The purple and pink ones were so cute.... We have almost 2 acres so it is a shame not to engage in something farm related. We also celebrated my daughter's 6th Birthday. My husband, Mr. Betty Crocker, baked a 4 layer cake with homemade strawberry filling. 

Now, onward to the question of the week:

For Elizabeth Sharp, one of the most useful tools in her writing arsenal is Urban Dictionary. What is your most referred to website for your writing?

The answer to this depends on whether Google is a Website or a Search Engine. If it is a Website than I unequivocally and unoriginally select Google as the most referred to website for my writing. Why? It allows me to find the answer to everything quickly. Even if I have only the beginning of an idea it can pull answers together for me. Where else can I go to research famous European Plagues other than the Bubonic, French surnames,  the histories of blood letting and transfusions, the sites of Quebec City and whether Zinc Oxide can be delivered in a clear aerosol form. These are all topics I have Googled while writing SPF. Without the internet I shudder to think of how many books I would have checked out to answer these questions. 

If I had to pick something other than Google I would probably select Wikipedia which is where Google generally takes me, or on a lighter note Seventeen.com which helps me keep current on teen trends for my character development and is a lot cheaper than buying the magazines. It also saves me the trauma of having to carry it through the checkstand. It is so embarrassing I have to hide it under a box of tampons ;-)

Want to participate in the Follow Friday Blog Hop? Here are the rules:

The rules
  • 1)      Follow this blog.
  • 2)      Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the host of this hop
  • 3)      Follow the featured author of the week: Michelle Ferguson.
  • 4)      Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
  • 5)      Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
  • 6)      Answer the question
  • 7)      Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite! This post serves as a perfect place for you to say hello!
  • 8)      If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
  • 9)      Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Finally add your name to this list of wonderful blog authors by clicking the frog link at the bottom and adding your name and blog address. Make sure you actually answer the question and link to the hop. And please comment, we all like to hear someone out there is listening. 

Thanks for following!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Follow me Friday hop. What's in a name?

This week's Follow Friday blog hop topic is "What's in a Name."

I have a first name, a last name, a middle name and a maiden name as well as a pen name, however, this blog is about my blog name and how I came up with it. My blog is relatively young, only a couple of months in age. I came up with the idea to start one through my writing group, many of whom participate in this Follow Friday blog hop. I hoped that by creating my blog it would help me create my identity as as MG Ainsworth, the writer as well. It would be a place to share a little bit about myself: my background, my current projects, my progress and my goals.

Easy blog names could have been MGAinsworth.blogspot, WriterMGAinsworth.blogspot or MGAinsworthbooks.blogspot. I have never been one to take the easy way. I wanted a blog name that could stand out. I wanted it to have a little more pizazz and to identify with who I am as a writer. In my very first blog entry I explained that given my work and family commitments I find the majority of my writing happening after 9 PM and on weekends. It is not easy and would not be possible if I wasn't a bit of a night owl. I don't function in the morning without a lot of Pepsi and never really get in my groove until at least 10 or 11 AM, but I can really get the creative juices going in the evening. When my book is complete there will be very liitle, if any, that was written on a weekday before 9 PM. My blog is always updated after 9 PM. I am literally living my dream of being a writer after 9 PM. Alternately, I am writing after nine hours of work at my day job that currently pays the bills. In either case I am writing after nine, and this gave birth to the name of my blog. It's part of my identity as a writer and describes when I write. Thankfully my muse is a night owl as well.

So when 9 PM rolls around you'll know what I am doing: writing and occasionally updating my blog. Thanks for following writingafternine!

Want to join in the Follow Me Friday Fun? Here are the rules:

The rules
1)      Follow this blog.
2)      Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
3)      Follow the featured author of the week: Paige W. Pendleton
4)      Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5)      Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6)      Answer the question
7)      Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8)      If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9)      Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Let's do the Time Warp Again

My life is crazy. I wake up before the sunrise, commute an hour in the morning to work, complete a daycare drop off, work nine hours, take a walk at lunch if I'm lucky, pick up from daycare, commute an hour home, fix dinner around 7 PM, try to get the kids to bed by 8:30, get things ready for the following day and then finally after 9 PM I think about things like writing. This includes writing SPF, writing my blog or working on a critique for my great crtique partner J.A. Titus. I try to take 10 minutes before I go to bed to read. My head may not hit the pillow until after 11 PM and I never have problems falling asleep.

I am always thinking about the future. My kids are growing up. My daughter, Cassie, will turn 6 next week and start First Grade next year. Her little brother Cyrus will turn 3 in July and I constantly pray that he will be out of diapers by then. I think about the future financially. How will we afford things when gas reaches $5 per gallon, will our school loans ever be paid down, should we start putting more aside for retirement. I think about the upcoming weekend and what needs to be accomplished. I think about the number of Scentsy parties I need to book in the next two months to make extra money to pay for my Kindle and Sephora addictions. I think about the camping trip we have planned this summer and  worry about the weather. I think about how I should be trying to get in shape for the Portland to Coast Walk in July.

Other than a few teary eyed journeys down memory lane looking at the kids' baby pictures I haven't had much time to think about the past, and have almost forgotten what it was like to be 17. Since my heroine/female lead in SPF is Seventeen I've been trying to get in touch with my lost 17 year old self. I've pulled out the old Shillalah yearbooks from Waldport High School and my Letterman Jacket which is rather tattered with some of the patches and medals MIA. To get in the spirit I've searched for CD's of music I liked to listen to back then (and by back then I mean 1994) hoping they'll evoke the memories and feelings of being 17. I've thought long and hard about what being 17 means. When I was 17 my whole future stretched out in front of me. I had the freedom of a newly licensed driver with a car (thanks dad and please don't mention what happened to the car). I had dozens of college possibilities and was itching to get out of my small town. I looked forward to living on my own with no rules and no curfews. I thought about careers from Doctors to Diplomats. I hated triginometry and had to worry about finishing my homework before watching TV. I ran competitively and spent my after school hours at practice or hanging out with my friends. I had crushes and thought I'd met "the one" only to have my heart broken, sometimes more than one (I am not proud of this). I had fights with friends that spread to other friends and was convinced on at least one occasion my social life was over. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was certainly one full of emotion and change.

When  I started writing SPF I actually purchased both Seventeen and Teen Vogue magazines for "research" and character development. A lot has changed in the last 17 years, reminding me that I was 17 half my lifetime ago. No one had cell phones in 1994, the only texts I knew about were textbooks and I still had a supply of cassette tapes. I listed to Ace of Base, Bell Biv Devoe, Boyz to Men, 10,000 Maniacs, Madonna, Counting Crows, The Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprockett. I watched Friends and ER. We no longer had sky high bangs but no one had highlights unless they came from a bottle of Sun In. Apples were the computer to by because who could figure out how to use a PC? And what was email or the Internet? I didn't send my first email or search the Web till college. Cell phones, texting and sexting, iPhones and iPods, highlights and fake nails, Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber, Gossip Girls and Jersey Shore were just a few of the things in which 17 years olds today partake. 

By attempting to call forth my long forgotten 17 year old self and some highly academic reasearch on the current social and dating/mating habits of the American teenager I have been working hard to make sure my characters are believable and well developed. In the first chapter Nikki listens to Placebo. She also tells me (yes she talks to me sometimes and no I'm not crazy) that she likes Death Cab for Cutie and Broken Bells but when she's in the mood for fun it's all about The Black Eyed Peas. Since she's a bit of a shut in she would die without her computer but she's never had her nails done, no highlights and a tanning bed would **gulp** kill her. She's had no use for a cell phone but would like one (with a pink case) anyways. And she shares the same excitement about the future, frustrations with the rules and roller coaster of emotions I did in 1994. Someone pass the box of tissues please. Puffs plus with lotion is preferred by both Nikki and I.

Doing the Time Warp to 1994 has been eye opening and has given me some time to reflect on my past and not just the present and the future. I've taken the time out of my busy schedule to reconnect with myself. I hope when I post the first chapters in few weeks you'll find Nikki real and believable (and hopefully likeable) because there is quite a bit of my 17 year old self present in her with some 21st century style.

Thanks for following!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April showers bring May showers and other reasons I hate Spring

April the 5th. Another gloomy Spring day. Yes, I realize I just used gloomy and Spring in the same sentence. For most Spring brings to mind bucolic scenes of budding flowers and baby lambs frolicing under a smiling sun. Children splash in puddles wearing brightly patterned rain coats during the occasional rain shower. Throw off the cold and oppressive mantle of Winter and work in the garden. That may be true unless you happen to live in Oregon. We like to joke that Winter lasts until after the 4th of July when the sun finally decides to come out. No one would ever plan an outdoor wedding for Oregon in June. We foolishly camped in June last year and had sleet fall on our summer weather tent.

Let me tell you a sad fact. In Oregon it rained 30 out of 31 days in March. The mercury has yet to rise above 60 degrees save for one day last week. The forecast for tomorrow? 46 and rainy. As I write this blog with a cheery fire in the woodstove it is 42 and rainy. Even better, tomorrow night the forecast is for 34 with a chance of snow showers. I should be used to this. Other than the 2 Springs I experienced in Oklahoma they have all been cold and rainy. However the 2 Springs in Oklahoma gave me a taste of what I"m missing along with every other resident of the State with a Slug Queen (and no, I am not the Slug Queen although I've considered candidacy): bursting pink and white magnolia blossoms dripping from their branches to carpet dry lawns and Red Buds in bloom, people pulling out their t-shirts and capris and bursting into song because it's 73 degrees, birds coming out of hiding to warble merry tunes, freshly planted flowers and mulch, sipping sweet tea with extra lemon in the sun while getting an early start on the summer tan. Some places parents and athletes stay dry at track meets and baseball games. Some places children play outside after school. But not here.

So what does this have to do with writing other than being my current blog topic? I just don't feel very inspired to write when it's cold and dreary outside. After a full day at work my warm bed and a cup of tea sound divine. But if I stopped writing because of the weather I would never finish the book and I woul disappoint not only myself but those of you kind enough to follow along. I rewrote my prologue over the weekend and was able to borrow some of the gloom outside to set the mood. I am very satisfied with it now. I am trying hard to find some cheer despite the weather: yellow daffodils instead of yellow sun, a few early hyacinths in a mason jar on the dining room table, Rio Beach in my Scentsy warmers, brightly colored Nerds jelly beans, and my bright pink rain coat that positively screams Spring.

By creating an artificial Spring around me I hope to keep the chill away and keep SPF moving towards completion.  I hope to have the Prologue and first two chapters posted on my blog by the end of April, or as I have renamed it the 5th month of Winter. I wish I had a definite date for publication of the book itself but since I don't write full time I don't want to make any promises I can't keep. I am writing though, so please keep following. Your support is the best cheer in this gloomy weather, even better than the pink raincoat!

:-) Melanie

Thursday, March 24, 2011


First off, a big welcome to my new followers, especially those from Twitter.

When I started this blog my intent was to tell you about my books, although at present the more accurate description is book in progress.

SPF is the story of Nikki Truman, a girl on the cusp of 17. Nikki has grown up with an allergy to sunlight. The older she gets, the worse it becomes. She is basically a prisoner in her home when the story begins. Her Mother told her she inherited the allergy from her Father but what her Mother doesn't disclose is that her Father is a (drumroll please.......................) Vampire. She fled when pregnant with Nikki because she thought he was a Monster. Her Vampire blood has slowly been consuming her human blood since birth with the traits of Vampirism manifesting as she ages. At 17 the change is complete, including a need to drink blood to survive.

As if this wasn't complicated enough, her lone friend Cade,who also happens to be her boyfriend, disappeared under mysterious circumstances several months prior. On her 17th Birthday a surprise visit from Vampire Cousins she never knew existed sends her on a runaway journey to meet her Father and extended Family. As Nikki adapts to being a Vampire she learns that her Father still cares for her Mother, and that her boyfriend's earlier disappearance is part of a larger plot to bring down her family from their position of power in the Vampire world. Will Nikki's Dad get his happy ending with her Mother? Will Nikki's love for Cade survive the evil plot that has followed Nikki from Oregon to Quebec and will the family she is meant to be a part of survive unscathed?

Guess you'll have to read to find out! This is the first in what I visualize as a three book series. I am still writing and don't have a date I intend to publish yet (at this point I intend to e publish), but I hope to have the first chapter posted on my blog soon.

Thanks for following!


Monday, March 21, 2011


The other day I was thinking out loud, a common occurrence, about whether a cruise with my writing group could be a tax deduction. I was following the train of thought that if I used the cruise to write, edit, critique and research with business associates (aka the writing group) it would be a business expense. My train of thought was promptly derailed by someone telling me "you'd have to be an Author to do that, and you're not, you haven't written any books." I tried to explain I have 15,000 words and the remainder of the book outlined but my audience was clearly skeptical. My work suddenly seemed inconsequential.

My mind then shifted from happy thoughts of warm tropical breezes and Pina Coladas in coconut shells to the question: What makes an Author? Am I an author based on the fact that I spend all my free time writing a book? Am I an author because I've created a blog that says I am? Have I declared myself an Author prematurely?

Feeling somewhat offended by the implication that I am not yet an Author I turned to the dictionary. Merriam Webster lists a possible definition of an Author as one who creates. The Free Dictionary online defines as Author as the writer of a book, article or other text or one who creates an electronic document or system such as a website. Wiktionary lists an Author as the originator or creator of a work, especially of a literary composition. 

According to the Dictionary I am an Author. I am one who creates. I am the originator of a literary composition. I am the writer of a book and a blog and I am proud of what I do.

I think I will author a toast to the skeptics, and try it out when I'm cruising with my fellow Authors:

To the skeptics - May we write you off the way you wrote us off.

It's after nine as always :-)


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tidal waves, nukes, taxes and other unpleasant things

I will admit I have not written much so far this week as I have been focused on unpleasant things, foremost being the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the unfolding nuclear drama, and the annual tax ritual. Between the drama unfolding on TV and the drama unfolding in my household after finding out my husband did not log his business miles for the year, kindergarten can't be considered a childcare expense and we may owe taxes my muse has taken cover. I hope to coax it out by the weekend. Yes, there are a lot of sad things happening but there are stories of hope as well. The survivor found after 4 days at sea, happy reunions with missing loved ones, people from many countries working together in the spirit of humanity. Emotion makes us human. Knowing sorrow allows us to appreciate the good things, knowing how virulent hate can be allows us to appreciate love more. This week I intend to love despite the bad things. I think it's an exercise we should all undertake at one time or another. When my muse resurfaces I hope to take the emotions of the week and put them to good use. Who wants to read a book that was written absent of emotion?

Until my muse returns, please join with me in appreciating and thanking God for the love in our lives and joining our hearts with those in sorrow, keeping the people of Japan and all those affected close in our hearts and prayers.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Worst night of the year.

This will be a short post this evening. I've already written 5000 words today in my young adult novel "SPF." It's been a good day. Unfortunately tonight is the worst night of the year. Why's that? Because of a unnecessary and outdated annual event we refer to as "Spring Forward." I dread it all year. I am not a morning person. Anyone who really knows me can tell you this. It takes me several weeks to make up for that missing hour of sleep. I can't make up for it by going to bed an hour earlier because with the added daylight my kids just stay up an hour later.I'll give up fall back to get rid of spring forward. Arizona and Hawaii have the right of things by not observing it.

I think once I finish my novel I'll donate a portion of the proceeds to ending the annual spring forward/fall back. Down with Daylight Savings Time!



Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mr. Lowpar

Stephenie Meyer once said that she got the inspiration for Twilight from a dream. Ever since I heard that I have hoped that one morning I would wake up with a brilliant idea for the novel of the decade. Unfortunately the only dreams I usually remember are those induced by night time cold medicine and they tend to be a bit strange. Recent examples include the dream where I designed winter coats for Dolphins to keep them warm or the dream where I was Amish and trying to hide from living mannequins. 

This means that I have to pull my inspiration from daily life. An important part of my daily life is my children. My daughter is almost six and my son is two and a half. I love my children but as far as inspiration for books I have to stretch. In all seriousness my children don't fit into my books. My current book is written for an audience that is young enough that they should not be thinking about children. My next book will be written for an audience who probably read books to escape from their children. Would Twilight have been the same with a sometimes whiny 5 year old and diaper clad toddler appearing throughout the storyline? Probably not.

This means I must sometimes find unusual sources of ideas. This morning is a perfect example. I always said I would not be one of those parents that parks their children in front of the TV. However, at 6 AM when I need to get ready for work I have no problem with it. This morning my son was watching "Handy Manny" when I had an epiphany of sorts. Mr. Lowpar, a regular character, was trying to build a hat rack and had a few screws left over. Now every episode Mr. Lowpar tries to complete some project himself and refuses help from Manny and the tools despite the fact that he clearly has no idea what he's doing, and it never turns out well. In the case of the hat rack Handy Manny was walking by and noticed there were some pieces left over. Mr. Lowpar insisted they were just extras. Needless to say as soon as Handy Manny walked away the hat rack fell apart.

I realized that it would be very easy to be a Mr. Lowpar as a writer. To push forward on a project without the necessary research, ignoring what may need to be fixed or redone and avoiding the suggestions and feedback of others. As with Mr. Lowpar's projects the story would fall apart. I acknowledge that my story at present is far from perfect and if I pushed forward without critique and feedbackI could ** GASP ** become Mr. Lowpar. I am thankful for my "Handy Manny" - my online writer's group on Facebook full of a great group of writers from many genre's, both published and not yet published. I follow many of their blogs. The group was started by my Facebook friend author H.P. Mallory and I am fortunate to be a part of it. I have found a great tool in group member Dee Dee Scott's "Muse Therapy" and Tonya Kappes "Tricked out Toolbox". My fellow writers' blogs keep me smiling. They have great suggestions on everything from cover art to publishing and marketing. I have found people willing to listen to my ideas, read my drafts and be my beta readers. 

I know one thing: If I woke up tomorrow morning in Sheetrock Hills, I would not be Mr. Lowpar. Thanks to all my friends in the group! You are the best!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Diet A & W Root Beer

I had a lot of great ideas for tonight's blog. It was going to be fabulous and entertaining. Instead I am going to tell you about diet A & W Root Beer and the perils of country living. I like diet A & W Root Beer. I like it in a tall frosty mug without ice or draft from A & W. I have learned this evening that while it is a tasty drink it really shouldn't be used to brush your teeth.

How did things come to the point where I made this discovery? It is a sad situation that began yesterday evening.  We live on 1 1/2 acres 14 miles SW of town. Our water is supplied by a rural water cooperative and in order to keep our water pressure during peak agricultural use we have a below ground holding tank. Water is pumped to the house from the tank. If the pump doesn't work the water doesn't flow. Last night I came home to no water. My dear faithful husband made the trip to the pump house and discovered 6 inches of water. He mopped it up and reset the pump.

Problem solved, or so I thought. I woke up this morning and headed to the shower. Nothing came out. Once again my dear faithful husband trekked out to the pump house and reset the pump. I missed my shower but water flowed happily through the pipes by the time I left for work. I arrived home around seven PM and once again the water was off. Without dear faithful husband around I made the trek to the pump house and tried to reset the pump. My attempts were futile and my unattended children tore the house apart in the process  fed the dogs cheetos and used the last flush in the toiled to flush my new Scentsy spring and summer party testers down it. Perhaps they will make the septic tank smell better.

So we passed the evening without water. It came to kids' bed time and still no water. I am big on dental hygiene so I looked at my options: milk, pepsi, a nice pinot grigio or diet A & W Root Beer. Milk has lactose which is a sugar. Pepsi has sugar and caffeine. The pinot grigio has alcohol which might kill some germs but it certainly won't work for the kids. This left the Diet A & W. I wet the toothbrushes with it and squirted on some cinnamon tooth paste. After the final rinse and spit with it I can tell you the combination is all wrong. Cinnamon and root beer should never be mixed.

So here I sit with a bad taste in my mouth, two grubby children in bed and still no water. If dear faithful hubby can't get the pump working when he comes home tonight my blog tomorrow may be an apology to my coworkers for my two days without a shower. Maybe I'll bring them all a root beer.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

M.G. Magazine

This blog is a new endeavor for me but writing is not. I have been writing my entire life for enjoyment, occasionally with accolades and awards. Sadly, most of my writing in recent years has been technical writing for work. Who doesn't love a good letter to a Physician or report of a recent meeting? In my younger years however  my writing was a bit more exciting.

When I was eight years old my parents separated. This was a difficult time for me as it would be for any eight year old. While my sister and I stayed in our white, ranch style home on Van Buran Street my dad moved into his insurance agency which had a small kitchenette and a couch that converted to a bed. He showered at the local Elks lodge. Sundays were our day with my dad. While some Sundays we would go fishing or catch a minor league baseball game many Sundays were spent at his office while he tried to balance his work with his children.

This was a hard time but I have fond memories of watching Star Wars for the first time on VHS not Beta, drinking Coca Cola with lemon juice added to make it special, playing Frogger and Donkey Kong on the Coleco Vision and writing. Let me tell you about M.G. Magazine. Never heard of it? Not surprising as distribution was limited to my dad and my younger sister. It featured original artwork in colorful highlighters and ballpoint pen, stories and news from the prior week. Occasionally I would interview my sister. The finishing touch was a neat row of staples on the left hand side. I would not be surprised if my dad still has a few copies stashed away somewhere.

M.G. Magazine is what I consider the true start of my writing career. I created it in a difficult time and used it to distract me from the changes around me. The publication was sporadic and alas it was only in circulation for two years (the market was limited) but it still has significant meaning to me today. From the magazine I moved on to short stories and poems, longer stories and term papers but I will never forgot the little magazine with the bright artwork, handwritten stories and a whole lot of my heart put into it.

Maybe if my dad has a copy left I'll post one someday. The one and only M.G. Magazine by the one and only
M.G. Ainsworth.


Monday, March 7, 2011


I have been told that all good things must come to an end. All good things have a beginning as well. This post marks the beginning of my blog, writing after nine, which I think is definately a good thing. What does writing after nine mean? It means I am fulfilling my dream of writing after nine PM at night. On weekdays it also means I am writing after nine hours at my job, the commute home, dinner and putting two tired tykes to bed.  I hope someday after I have some published books that writing can become the job where I spend the hours before nine PM, but until then I am writing after nine.

I have always enjoyed writing and have spent years storing characters and ideas in my mind. Finally my mind became so full that I had to transfer some of them onto paper. Plus, I was not getting any younger and realized it would be good to be able to take a book jacket picture before I sprouted gray hairs. I am currently writing the first installment of a young adult paranormal series and am laying the framework for an adult paranormal romance/fantasy as well. It is not easy. Even I must sleep so the process has not been fast, but after nine PM nightly I connect with my muse and get writing. I hope you'll follow along to learn more about my novels and myself nightly after nine. And on that note, I begin and end my first blog post after nine PM :-)