Thursday, March 31, 2005


I am going to start on the last book of the Paradise Earth trilogy, Appocalypse. (God I hope I spelled that right, lol)
I have the synopsis written out, and my next step is a loose outline (it's a novella, so a tight outline might strangle it) and decide who the main character will be.
The first book starred Adam and Evan and the second book featured Sharkey. This book's hero is an angel called Freya. (this is subject to change, lol)
At any rate, beginnings are both daunting and exciting. I love starting a new book.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Silver star!

Well, I got a silver star award from JERR! (Just erotic romance reviews!)
I'm so excited - it means a lot to me, and I just had to post part of it!
I also wanted to say that for a writer this sort of award is Very Important. It's what keeps me writing, it's proof that the months spent writing and the months editing were all worth it. It also makes me want to start writing again - so thank you Miaka!

"...It was my absolute pleasure to review two of Samantha Winston's books for this edition of the newsletter and while I loved both, this one was my favorite. My Fair Pixie was completely absorbing, wholly stimulating and totally hilarious. This was the most fun I've had reading a story in a long time. Ms. Winston has a talent for creating characters that grab your attention and capture your heart. I usually don't expect to feel such an attachment to characters in a book but Sebastian and Jessica were an absolutely adorable couple, one that I wish I knew in real life. Their solid devotion to each other was awe-inspiring despite terrible and seemingly insurmountable odds. Jessica was a spunky heroine (of course since when are pixies not spunky?) and was willing to go to extremes to impress those who didn't want to see her with Sebastian. Sebastian was charming, sexy in a way that only a vampire can be, and an all around stand up guy. He was willing to commit social suicide, as well as risk the ire of his domineering mother and the rest of his clan to be with his soulmate.The sex between Jessica and Sebastian was mind-blowingly erotic. I never thought I'd be so aroused by spanking, but Ms. Winston makes it seem like something I need to add to my arsenal. There were several scenes between these characters that made me reconsider the wisdom of reading the story away from home.Outstanding, amazing, a story I will read again and again are all words I would use to describe this book. There isn't one thing I didn't love about My Fair Pixie. It would be tragic if Sebastian and Jessica didn't appear in other Samantha Winston stories. I will certainly remember these wonderful characters for a long time to come. For all these reasons, I found My Fair Pixie deserving of the Silver Star Award."
Miaka Chase

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Kiss of Death

I said in another post how essential editors are. And it's true. But you have to trust your own judgement sometimes, and sometimes you will be in conflict with your editor. There is no easy answer to resolving the conflict - I'll say that probably Most of the time the editor will be right - but here is one experience I had, and it convinced me that I should stand up a little more for my writing.

I had an editor who read my book and loved it, then worked on it extensively with me - calling me (over here in France) brainstorming with me, giving me her ideas, and taking out things that she idn't like personally...)I was flattered and didn't know better, so I went along with it. The editor put in a lot of her ideas. Afterwards the book came out and did all right.

But I read it again, and it just looked flat to me. The parts in my book that I thought were strong displeased the editor and she had me cut them - not because they slowed the story or anything - but because she didn't like them. It's hard to explain, but she made the book bland. After that I've been leery of brainstorming books with editors. I'd rather they just concentrated on editing. Sometimes it's better to have something that someone will either love or hate, rather than risk ending up with something that everyone likes...
Likes is the kiss of death.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Back to bad titles, but it is raining out!
I am reading Scandalous Spirits by CJ Scott and it is very cute. I wish I had more time for reading, but I've been busy lately with my own books. I finished edits for Revelations, (4 all together - which is pretty normal) Now it's at the proofreaders, but my editor Maryam is terrific and usually finds ALL the nits. (I can't believe that twice I screwed up on the possessive of pluriel nouns, and I left out a couple 'the's' too.) Argh. It's not as if I don't know - but when I'm writing I often just don't Think, lol.
Again, thank goodness for editors!!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Owl Festival

Yesterday was the Owl Festival. Every year the bird watching society hosts a day for bird watching, ending with an owl walk at night through the woods. It's quite fun, with crafts for the kids, a small exposition on local birds, and a picnic dinner. We have lots of owls about. There are the tiny screech owl, the barn own (that the French call 'the White Lady') and lots of others. The barn owls are quite common. Two nest nearby our house. I see them often, and once they woke me up by tapping my windowpane in the middle of the night! I pulled open the curtains and came face-to-face with two huge barn owls. I don't know who was most startled. One flew away, but the other stayed and stared at me until my husband sat up and asked what I was doing.

"Hush!" I said, but it was too late. The owl spread his wings and glided away. They looked like two fat, stuffed, children's toys with large, heart-shaped white faces. I don't usually see them so close up, but I do see them at the golf course when we play during the evening. My husband and I love to golf, and as he gets home from work late, we usually start around 7pm. In May and June, it doesn't get dark until at least 10 pm, so we golf late. And the owls love to pounce on mice our balls hit into the rough have startled. The owls usually follow us as we make our way along the quiet course. We're often the only ones on the course at that time of night, and it's defintely my favorite time to play golf!

Saturday, March 19, 2005


It's as thick as pea soup this morning. My daughter and I walked to school and it was like being wrapped in cotton - sound muffled, cars nearly invisible except for their lights, the roofs of houses trunciated, only the tree trunks in sight - their branches lost in the mist. I like fog.

The first time the twins saw it, they were four. They stepped out the front door, stopped on the top step, and frantically started to rub their faces. They thought the problem was with their eyes! They misheard me, and called it 'Frog' for the longest time. "Mommy, it's frog out!" they would shout. We'd just moved from sunny Florida (where I've yet to see fog) to France in the wintertime. Fog wrapped the world in a white cloak, and my sons put their arms out in front of them when they walked.

I look out the window, past the sheer white curtains, and see just the judas tree out front. All the other trees are invisible behind a wall of mist.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! I just recieved a request for a full from a literary agent. I will type up the cover letter this morning and send it to Ann, who has generously offered to print up my mammoth manuscript and send it off. (I really owe her one!! Thanks Ann!!) From France, postage is terribly high, and a thick sheef of paper weighs quite a lot.

Friday, March 18, 2005


It's been in the seventies here and balmy. I've been outside mostly - when it's nice like this I sit on the back steps (they're stone and soak up the sun) and I watch the back yard. My dog tries to get me to come play with her, but it's too nice to just sit and relax in the sun.

My forsythia is about to bloom, and there are yellow and white narcissis blooming at the foot of the south wall. My neighbors planted asperagus the other day down by the river. But the judas tree is still bare, and winter can come back any minute.

March is a fragile spring, we can get frost until May here, so when it is warm I like to spend most of my time outside. (And now that I have a bike, it's even more fun!) My daughter and I took advantage of the dry weather to ride over the back roads and into the fields. The farmers are already shaking their heads and talking about a drought - it seems we've had a dry winter and the water tables are very low. Dust rises from the fields in great clouds when the tractors pass, and in the sunshine, it makes it look like late August here.

Friday, March 11, 2005


I finished Book Two of Paradise Earth, "Revelations" yesterday. Typed the last paragraph and wrote 'The End' - and went looking for chocolate.
Gasp! No chocolate in the house!!!
(That's my reward for a job well done)
I sent "Revelations" off to my editor, and now I'm going to finish "Charm for a Unicorn". Much work in perspective, as it's only halfway done.
And then on to book Three in Paradise Earth - title undecided still.
An author's work is never done!

Monday, March 07, 2005


I decided to do the book in a week writing exercise - starting today. So the posts will be shorter!
It's over here if you are interested:


Saturday, March 05, 2005

Letters from Africa

I got two letters today from Kenya. They are from the boys I'm sponsoring for secondary school. I heard about them from Patricia Crossley, who does missionary work in Africa, and who writes the most amazing posts about her adventures there. She mentioned that primary schools in Africa are free, but that secondary schools cost money, and that most children cannot afford them. In a country where a salary is 75 cents a day, school is a luxury. Often it's best the child learns a good trade, but even trade schools are expensive. And bright, scholarly children often find themselves out of school and in the fields digging ditches.

Well, I wondered how much it could cost to sponsor a child so I asked Patricia. She told me that for only 50$ a month I could send a boy to boarding school where he would be clothed and fed. That seemed such a small sum that I asked to become a sponsor. I've always argued that education was the best way to help the poor, and here was a chance for me to really help. So this small sum is sending two boys through secondary school. Aberny and Saisi are my new friends. I didn't think I would be so touched when they wrote to me, but their letters and photos are now pinned to my desk where I can see them.

Aberny and Saisi write amazingly well in English. Saisi "hopes I am fine - as fine as can be"; and Aberny will be learning French and has promised me a letter in that language soon. Both are bright, over-achievers, intent on getting good grades and making something of their lives. I'm looking forward to seeing these young men grow and succeed in their undertakings.
Maybe even some day I will go and visit them in Africa, and I hope that some day they will be able to come and visit me in Europe.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Snowy day

I'm still busy with the cartoons for France Gallop, so I haven't been writing. My time travel book came out with Loose Id, it's a Highland Fling! After drawing for two days straight my hands really started to ache, so I took a break this afternoon and went for a long walk in the snow.

It was very nice - we went through the forest on an old trail that winds up around the village. We also had a snowball fight, and I ended up with snow down my neck! (don't you Hate that?)

Then I surfed for a bit on my sites and lists, and read some of the latest EC and Loose Id releases (I love e-books - instant gratification!) I stayed up too late reading though and aside my aching hands, my eyes are tired! LOL - that's what I get for reading too much!

It's supposed to snow some more tomorrow, and I hope it does. I'm so tired of the rain.