Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 is going out on a quiet note for me as I fell sick last night. I had been at a function earlier in the week where someone was sicker than a dog so naturally I had to catch the bug. While I don't plan to stay up to watch the new year in, I do plan on mixing my OJ with champagne.

2005 was a very good year for me so I'll say adieu to it with thankfulness. I got to work with a fabulous group of authors on the Madonna Key continuity. I have great friends and critique partners. I have a fabulous agent who always knows the right thing to say to me when I get nerves about how a book is going.

2006 promises to be another good year as I'm gainfully employed as a writer with 2 new legal thrillers to write. Then there's the day job that keeps the roof over the house.

But this year also brought into the void in life left by the death of my parents my dog Maddie. I hadn't had a dog since I was a kid, didn't know if I would like having one after years of being a cat person, but someone abandoned this lovable bundle of energy and she's mine now.

Together we'll ring out the old and ring in the new.


:) Carol Stephenson

Montgomery Capitol of Alabama

Friday, December 30, 2005

Here's a shot of the Capitol from the steps of the Archives building. :) Carol Stephenson

A Town Without Christmas Lights

Many things surprised me about Montgomery. My misconceptions began on my approach via US231. Somehow I had this idea in my head that Montgomery's terrain would be flat given its history of cotton plantations. Instead I drove through a beautiful landscape of the rolling foothills from the Appalachians.

Then there was the temperature. Cold although nothing like Ohio; it was more like Tennessee's jacket weather.

The town's population is around 300,000 and there are gorgeous mansions everywhere, sitting on land carved out of plantations. If you buy a home, you get an abstract that discusses the entire history of the property. For example, my sister's abstract contains the divorce decree of the prior owners of the area.

But do you think this city with so much southern charm would light up for Christmas? Not! It's like there's an ordinance dictating that all home owners hang discreet wreaths in every window and maybe, just maybe drape a string of white lights in the front. We drove everywhere trying to enjoy lit Xmas decorations, but we found so few. The one small house decorated to the nines had cars and people lined up everywhere; no wonder. It was the only Xmas show in town.

When I attended the University of Leeds in Leeds, England, the coal miners went on strike, resulting in power being rationed. However, during the Xmas holidays, homeowners found a way to decorate and light up their hoouses.

On my return trip to Florida I laughed my head off when I reached Ft. Pierce. The moment the sun set, homes all along the turnpike lit up.

Go figure why Montgomery abstains when it otherwise has so much to offer.

:) Carol Stephenson

Maddie's Sweater

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I'm back home and recovering from a 12-hr drive to/from Montgomery, AL, visiting my sister for the Xmas holidays. I'll have more comments about Montgomery, but it definitely was cooler there so I bought a sweater for my dog Madde. I also broke down and finally got myself a digital camera so hopefully I can upload more pictures. I hope everyone had a very Merry.

:) Carol Stephenson

Maddie's Beauty Day

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Since my family hasn't seen Maddie yet, she had her beauty appointment today: nails clipped, teeth brushed, bathed and trimmed. She's all fresh smelling and beau-ti-ful. She even got a new Xmas bandana with a snowman and snowflakes. Maddie loves to ride in a car; she's going to need that enthusiasm as we're in for a 11-hr road trip this week. Her sweater, bows and play things are packed. I even got her a stocking with a dog on it.

Yep, she's spoiled and she's worth every bit of it.

:) Carol Stephenson

Jenna Mills to do prequel

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Madonna Key authors got the fantastic news today that book #6 author Jenna Mills will write the prequel for Madonna Key. The prequel will run in June 2006 on eharlequin and will set up many of the continuity's questions. Jenna is a brilliant, lyrical storyteller, having written for Silhouette Intimate Moments and Signature Selects. The reader will be in for quite a treat!

:) Carol Stephenson

Chapter meeting/Narnia

Sunday, December 11, 2005

It's always nice to go to the Florida Romance Writers' holiday party. Every one is psyched and ready to be motivated to pursue their writing. Their enthusiasm always reminds me how much I love being a writer.

Then today I saw Chronicles of Narnia and was blown away. The movie reminded me of how much I love being a storyteller. To create a landscape of good and evil where good always prevails.

:) Carol Stephenson

Madonna Key board on eharlequin.com

Monday, December 5, 2005

With the holidays I need another 24 hours in the day. However, I wanted to let everyone know that there is now a Madonna Key board on eharlequin.com where the authors will be discussing this exciting continuity. The links are:

eHarlequin.com Community - THE MADONNA KEY New 7-book miniseries


I was fascinated by a program on the History Channel last night about Decoding the DaVinci Code. The slant appeared to be geared toward debunking the book's theories, but the program had a nice segment about the Cathars, who will be figuring in my upcoming book SHADOW LINES.

:) Carol Stephenson

When the media gets bored

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I guess a rural area with primarily migrant population isn't exotic enough news for the media. Take Belle Glade. Hurricane Wilma destroyed about 75% of this town on the east side of Lake Okeechobee. This area is largely agricultural...major sugar cane farming. Consequently, the workers are primarily migrant workers. Guatemalans, Mayans, Mexicans, etc. Often they live together in cramped quarters, 8-10 people in a postage-sized apartment. Every payday they stand in long lines at the post office to mail money to their families back home in the countries they came from.

These workers barely had anything before and now don't even roofs over their heads. But those the media report on their condition? Heck no. They long ago pulled up stakes, heading for 'bigger' stories. Go figure.

Carol Stephenson

Post Thanksgiving

I managed to avoid stores on Black Friday but instead got slammed with a nasty headcold. There went most of my weekend 'to do' list. However, on Friday my wonderful neighbor chopped up and removed my fence that got destroyed in Hurricane Wilma. After we had dragged the debris to the curb, I was wondering how long it would be before the next sweep would be made by the hurricane clean-up crews. Lo and behold, ten minutes later the forklift came through and picked up the fence remains.

I'm giving up on the fence though. We're supposed to be in this active hurricane cycle for 10-20 years, so I'm planting ficus shrubs for privacy. Maddie doesn't wander far from the house, only going into the yard when I'm outside so I don't need the enclosure for her.

Three knockdowns in thirteen months is quite enough. No more digging post holes for me.

:) Carol Stephenson

Miami Book Fair

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Today I did a booksigning for the Miami Book Fair at the Murder on the Beach Book Store's booth. I managed to get lost big time to the location. I'm not all that familiar with Miami and many traffic signs remain damaged/twisted. I missed the exit and Lord knows where I was and what it took to circle back. Eventually, I found the correct exit by a process of elimination only to run into a long line of cement trucks. They're building a high-rise and decided today would be when they poured cement...right by the blocks cordoned off for the book fair. Really lovely traffic snarl.

However, I persevered and found my way to the booth. One must keep in mind that I don't have one ounce of sales personality. How people make a living at sales is beyond me. But I piled Hersey's kisses in front of my books to lure the poor suckers close and handed out bookmarks. I also did get to autograph for a number of book who bought my book. After chatting with a few fellow authors, I raced home to watch the Ohio State-Michigan game.

A girl has to have her priorities.

:) Carol Stephenson

The Book Club

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tuesday night I spoke to a book club. A friend of a friend invited me. During the course of the evening I learned some of the members have belonged for over 20 years. That's really amazing. The members read a wide range, from poetry to novels to short stories, and then discuss the book during a gathering at one of their homes. I did laugh when I asked one what the name of their group was and she looked blank. They've never given their group a name like so many others do. The ladies simply view themselves as 'The Book Club.'

Our session went on for 2 hours, mainly about my writing process and Romance Writers of America. I'm so used to discussing writing with other writers that it was refreshing change of pace to discuss it with those who have don't have the urge to write themselves; these women simply enjoy the written word.

I had a great time and would do it again.

:) Carol Stephenson

The debris goeth...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Think Sunday mornings are for sleeping in, quiet moments of reflection or family time? Ha! At 8 a.m. came the gentle roar of fork lifts in our neighborhood.

At long last the hurricane debris removal has reached us. The large trucks park somewhere along the block, and then a man operating the forklift putters along the road, picking up the debris. I personally thought the guy sleeping in the back of a pickup truck had the best job--overseeing/coordinating the operation. I do feel bad for my neighbors on the north-south block bordering my property. The crew only managed to collect the debris [including mine] on the road running east-west.

Of course, whatever branches the crew missed on my property, I picked up and added to my neighbors' piles.

:) Carol Stephenson


Saturday, November 12, 2005

I had my critique group today. It's alway creatively energizing to get with the core group, Linda Conrad, Sandy Madden, and Marcia King-Gamble. We have several others, but they can't attend on a regular basis. Sandy, Linda, Marcia and I each bring to the critiquing table a separate strengh so we're a good blend. They're also great for brainstorming new ideas.

We always begin with breakfast and sharing news, personal and publishing. Then it's on to each other's work. We each have an individual style so reading their works in progress is pure reading pleasure. As I drove home today, characters were coming to life in my head on an idea of mine that we had brainstormed.

Tuesday night I'm speaking to a local readers' group so I'm going to have to try to describe the undescribable...the creative process of how I get an idea.

:) Carol Stephenson

Woohoo, a 2 book contract!

Sunday, November 6, 2005

At long last I'm moving past hurricanes. On Friday my agent called to let me know I have my first 2 book contract for Silhouette Bombshell legal thrillers. I'll be continuing the adventures of the female partners of Dent, Rochelle and Stirling criminal law defense firm in West Palm Beach. The working titles are COURTING DISASTER and COURTING DEATH.


:) Carol Stephenson

A Tall, Cold Glass of Milk

Today I went shopping at my local grocery store. Lo and behold, it had dairy products, fresh meats and some produce. Granted, pickings were slim but to be able to buy apples, bananas, lettuce, etc. was heaven. However, the first thing I treated myself when I got home was a tall glass of cold milk. I'd been rationing milk for cereal since the hurricane hit. To simply have milk to drink felt like such a luxury.

Funny how a hurricane and scarcity can change one's ideas of treats.

:) Carol Stephenson

Postscript - The Sweetest Sound...

Thursday, November 3, 2005

is the soft click of power coming on. At 5:45 p.m. tonight after going 10 1/2 days without, my neighborhood got power. No more generators screeching, no more fumbling about in a dark house [although...how on earth did it get so dirty in 10 days time!].

This weekend, sleep. Blessed sleep.

:) Carol Stephenson

The 4-way stop way of life

Nearly 80% of the intersections in Palm Beach County are without functioning traffic lights. That means 4-way stop rule is in effect. Ha!

People's definitions of how a 4-way stop works is totally different than the actual statue. First, you have those drivers who don't obey any type of intersection courtesy at all. By the way traffic accidents have taken a sharp increase since Hurricane Wilma.

Then there's those drivers who believe in the 'pod' system. Okay, the car in front of me has the right of way so I'll just ride on his tail and we'll go through the intersection in a pod of 4-5 cars at a time.

My personal favorite is the 'going my way' driver. If a line of cars from the opposite direction have the current right of way and are driving through the intersection, then that means the other drivers to my immediate right and left can't clear, so I'll just go ahead and scoot across the intersection myself.

Did I mention that traffic accidents are out the roof in my county?

:) Carol Stephenson, 10 1/2 days without power and counting

If it wasn't for my DVD...

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

I'd be officially Baker Acted by now. I have a battery-operated TV but I'm using it only for news. So I'm running a constant stream of DVD's in order to keep my mind off the generators and still no power. I've already had a Harry Potter and Jackie Chan marathon. Right now I'm going through my Anne Hatheway movies [there are times when one simply needs light entertainment!].

Tonight I had to make another gas run and because I was desperately craving french fries, treated my dog and myself to a Wendy's hamburger. Thank goodness another cool wave is approaching so that the humidity will lower again. At this rate, though, I'm going to run out of DVD's and have to resort to my TV DVD collection, such as Avengers, MacGyver or Perry Mason.

:) Carol Stephenson, 9 1/2 days without power and counting

This was one record...

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

I didn't really want to break. With Hurricane Frances last year I went 8 days without power and then an additional 20 hours when Hurricane Jeanne struck.

The constant sounds and smells of generators running can give you a headache no amount of aspirin can relieve. The good thing is that the lines for gas are shorter with less waiting time. I was hoping I wouldn't have to go out again for gas, but it's not to be. Tomorrow night after work I'll have to scavenge for gas. The question then becomes how much to buy...just a few cans in hopes of power that in another day or six cans for another 3 to 4 day stint. Kinda of the glass 1/2 full or empty quandary.

:) Carol Stephenson, 8 1/2 days without power and counting

When being powerless becomes old...

Monday, October 31, 2005

My work place got power yesterday so it was back to work today. Naturally, everyone had power but for two, including yours truly. It was the same last year with only 2 of us without power. You listen to the slight moaning of how awful it was to be without power for all of...one day, two days. Then the ever so slight smug but sympathetic comment of "Oh, you mean you still don't have power."


Then there's that moment when nearly every section of homes in your area has power restored when you get home except that small pitch black island of homes that includes your own.

Double sigh.

So you do the stiff upper lip while giving a silent grrrrrr.

Carol Stephenson, 7 1/2 days without power and counting


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Anticipation. This afternoon power trucks from Ohio were in the neighborhood. With the number of poles down, some in people's yards, the power people would have their hands filled simply removing, straightening poles, let alone reestablishing power. However, anticipation still fills you because it means your neighborhood is being worked on. Then hopefully, just hopefully, power will be restored within the next few days. I spoke with a couple of the workers as I'm from Ohio originally and ribbed that Ohio's cold winters are looking better and better since this is my 3rd hurricane in 13 months. The workers told me to hang in there, which of course I am. I spent the afternoon raking the smaller debris from the yard so it doesn't destroy a lawnmower.

But in anticipation, I'm enjoying a cool brew [can't be cold as I had the generator off all afternoon] while watching the Dolphins on my battery-operated TV. Hopefully, by next weekend I can watch my games on the regular TV.

:) Carol Stephenson

The Hurricane Drumbeat

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Quite a hurricane culture springs into action post storm. With limited access to TV/radio, word of mouth reigns supreme. For example, a friend of mine who lives in Boca Raton let me know that a grocery store with full power was opened.

Why is that important? Although it's too early post hurricane for items such as frozen goods to be back in the stores, it does mean items like milk, juice, bread, and some meats might be available. It also means that the store's ATM is operational. Most banks are still closed. Any restaurant or any other business open and running on generator takes only cash. With the high cost of gas, cash can go rather quickly.

So even though Boca Raton is about a 20 minute drive south under normal conditions, I headed to the store this morning. Lo and behold, there was a functioning ATM plus a decent stock of everything but frozen goods. A store with full power also means an entire grid has power so then you look for a gas station. I found one with a large number of pumps so that I got through in about 45 minutes...a lot better than the 2 hr. line I was in on Wednesday.

Now I have enough gas with rationing to make it to Tuesday or until power is restored in my neighborhood, whichever comes first.

:) Carol Stephenson, 5 1/2 days without power and counting

Post Wilma: on hearing from friends

Friday, October 28, 2005

One of the worst things following a hurricane is not knowing whether your friends are all right. With phone lines down, cell phone towers destroyed, and no power, communication is difficult to say the least.

My dad was a pack rat and kept an old Princess phone. Last year post hurricane Frances I learned that the old analog phones will work when there's no electric. So I've been able to call around, trying to contact friends. Finally, yesterday I reached my best friend whose power had just been restored. Today, I reached my agent who lives in Naples. She was without power, water and cell for the first few days, but she'd just gotten back her power and cell.

Now I can rest a bit easier...despite the gentle sounds of generators on the night. 4 1/2 days without power and counting.

:) Carol Stephenson

My Neighbor's Eucalyptus Tree and Wilma

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wilma made a bull's eye strike across Palm Beach County. During the calm of the eye, I went outside. My neighbor's eucalyptus tree had been uprooted and was lying in the street.

Now if you're not in hurricane country, you might not know that generally the front wall of the eye contains the worse winds and the backside is milder. Not with Wilma. The backside was worse. My house shook under the howling onslaught. When the storm had passed, I went outside to begin the long task of cleaning up debris.

There across the street, Wilma's backside had flipped the tree up and over so that it was lying against the house. Talk about power.

My neighborhood had many huge trees upended and blocking roads. Light poles/wires down everywhere. We have no power and there's a gas shortage as the stations have no power. Since was my first year having a generator, I had no clue as to how much gas to have on hand. I ended up yesterday in one of those 2-hr lines waiting to get gas at one of the few operational stations. I am rationing my use, running the generator only enough at mealtimes to keep the food cold, cook meals, and check email.

However, I turned my book in on time. Using the last of my gas on Tuesday night, I printed out SHADOW LINES, on Wednesday found an opened post office running on a generator and mailed the book to my editor. The second hurricane season in a row I made deadline despite not having power.

Now back to cleaning up the debris.

:) Carol Stephenson

Snakes and other attorneys

Friday, October 21, 2005

There are many jokes elevating snakes to a better position in life over attorneys. When you hear a story like I heard tonight, you realize why.

I went to my hairdresser after work today, and he needed some advice. A few weeks ago a driver ran a red light and struck the car his wife was driving. Because they weren't sure how to handle the PIP [Personal Injury Protection] claim with their carrier, a friend had suggested they contact an attorney she recommended. When the wife called and told the attorney what orthopedic surgeon she had seen, he told her that he wanted her to start seeing his doctor because he didn't want her getting well... She told him no thanks and is checking into other attorneys.

Why would an attorney want a client to switch to a doctor who can't heal their injuries? For starters, in Florida depending on the policy provisions, PIP coverage generally is up to $10,000. for medical bills and wage loss. Once an injured person blows through this, it helps the person to meet one of the jurisdictional requirements to file a personal injury law suit. Of course, there's the matter of damages, including pain and suffering. If a person doesn't get better, so much better for the attorney to argue to a jury that his client deserves a high jury award

I don't know what bothers me most about what was said to my hairdresser's wife: that the attorney wanted to change her from a good doctor whose treatment might improve her condition or that there's a doctor out there possibly taking on this attorney's clients with the goal not to make them better.

A snake and a lawyer both got hit by a car. What's the difference between em? The snake had skid marks in front of him.

Go figure.

Carol Stephenson

Hey W-i-i-lma!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

There are many bad things about hurricanes, but the waiting game is a killer. Wilma's heading for my slice of Florida, and already we've had sporadic gas outages. There are long lines for gas and long lines for groceries. I now have a full tank and my stash of groceries. On Saturday I'll put up the hurricane shutters and remove the flying missiles from the yard. Following Hurricanes Francis and Jeanne last year, I heard one man's story about listening to avocados striking his house like bombs so tonight I picked several bags of avocados off my tree to take into work.

My book deadline is 11/1 so I'll be curled up on the sofa, finishing the polishing work while watching Wilma's approach. To my fellow Floridians, be safe.

Carol Stephenson

Palm Beach County Courthose Restoration Project

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Did you know that COURTING DANGER is set against the backdrop of the restoration of the 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse?

The courthouse served as a hurricane shelter in 1928 and was one of the few structures in downtown West Palm Beach to survive. When overcrowding led to the current courthouse complex, the former one was abandoned with the ball of demolition hung over it -- until given the green light for a restoration plan, leaving the original 1916 building to house the county's first historical museum. Restoration has run into an asbestosis snag, but the progress can be viewed by webcam at http://www.historicalsocietypbc.org/1916_courthouse.asp.

:) Carol Stephenson


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Recently, those folks who have either read or heard me describe the plot of my Madonna Key book SHADOW LINES have mentioned how eerie the recent news has been about the Bird flu.

Last May when I signed on board with the Madonna Key continuity, the blurb from which I had to develop a story was basically my heroine was an epidemiologist and an outbreak kills off a small Switzerland village. I had to come up with the disease and everything else for that aspect of the book that is stand alone. I did extensive research, rejecting bubonic plague and Ebola as having been done a lot. I came across a few articles about the Spanish flu and the 1918 Pandemic. After killing off an estimated 50 million people, the Spanish flu petered out and hasn't been seen since. I also came across an article that mentioned scientists were trying to recreate the DNA.

I did an 'aha' and a 'what if' and used a resurrected Spanish flu strand to kill off the village. Then, as my book developed, I also wrote about an international health congress in Vienna, Austria that is threatened.

Hmm, if you've heard the recent news, reporters have compared the Bird flu to the Spanish flu pandemic and there's been a health congress in New York to address a new pandemic.

So a number of events in my just completed book are currently playing out in real life. Spooky indeed.

Carol Stephenson

New James Bond!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Woohoo! Daniel Craig will be the new James Bond. While it may take some getting used to a blond Bond, this edgy actor will hopefully be hot, hot, hot like he was in The Tomb Raider. :) Carol Stephenson

Long time no blog

Monday, October 10, 2005

My, how time flies when one is busy. Somehow I lost track of days. First, I finished the rough draft of SHADOW LINES at 12:40 p.m. on Saturday, October 1st. I no sooner celebrated the completion when I got slammed at work with mediations.

This week I've been busy with revisions and polishing. Since I'm a 'pantser' writer, I find that the first part of my books always need the most work. The further I get into a book, the more I fall into my character's voice. Then there's the foreshadowing for all the twists and turns the thriller has taken.

My contract deadline is 11/1 so at least I have the comfort that I can turn in the ms, but I want to polish my 'baby' until it shines. So I have dictionary and thesaurus by my side and the hard copy printed out with a growing number of pages with additions and corrections. I brought the book in at 320 pages because I knew new developments either from the dynamics of my story or from the other continuity authors would need to be worked in. I suspect before it's all done, I'll be at 340 pages.

:) Carol Stephenson

Black Madonna

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Bombshell continuity Madonna Key will center around a special group of women called the Marians, who are defined by their belief in the feminine aspect of god. Their Madonna figure is black because she incorporates all colors: she is the "All Goddess."

However, there really are Black Madonnas from the Middle Ages, linked often to miracles and Mary Magdalene. Here are links to several interesting articles:

Black Madonnas--Introduction




:) Carol Stephenson

Madonna Key-The Titles

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Here is the list of titles [at the moment ] of the Madonna Key books, authors and expected release dates:

1 - LOST CALLING, Evelyn Vaughn, 7/06
2 - HAUNTED ECHOES, Cindy Dees, 8/06
3 - DARK REVELATIONS, Lorna Tedder, 9/06
4 - SHADOW LINES, Carol Stephenson, 10/06
5 - HIDDEN SANCTUARY, Sharron McClellan, 11/06
6 - VEILED LEGACY, Jenna Mills, 12/06
7 - SEVENTH KEY, Evelyn Vaughn, 1/07

Carol Stephenson

The Madonna Key

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A secret lost to time.
A prophecy shrouded in mystery.
An enemy who will not be enslaved again.
A countdown to apocalypse.
Seven special women.
And an adventure to end--and begin--all adventures.
Once upon a time there existed a class of priestesses who, both because of their most famous high priestess and because of the likeness between their goddess and the Virgin Mary, eventually came to be called Marians. Thought they had great power during ancient times, the Marians went underground during the Dark Ages, were forcibly disbanded during the Middle Ages, and eventually --over the last few hundred years--were all but forgotten.
By everyone except their enemies.
The Madonna Key spins seven stories about eight strong women who learn about this powerful group of priestesses just in time to take up their defense and, perhaps, their calling.
I'm writing book #4, SHADOW LINES, and will be sharing tidbits about the process of writing a continuity and the areas of Europe my heroine Eve St. Giles will be visiting in her race to stop the shadow rulers.
Carol Stephenson

Singles Booksigning

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Here's mystery author Barbara Parker and myself along with a reader fan at the booksigning at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore. We signed books as part of Delray Beach's Singles Night. Not included in this shot was Mary Stella, who also took part of the signing. Nearby was a booth for a love psychic. We kept joking about having our fortune told but she had quite a crowd around her.

Carol Stephenson

Madonna Key

Monday, September 12, 2005

Here we are, the authors for the upcoming Madonna Key continuity for Bombshell. Pictured from L to R are yours truly, Cindy Dees, Sharron McClellan, Bombshell senior editor Natashya Wilson, Jenna Mills and Rita winner Evelyn Vaughn. Not pictured, Lorna Tedder.

Madonna Key will run for seven books, one per month, beginning July 2006. Think DaVinci Code versus Alias and you've got a glimmer of this exciting historical thriller series that will race across Western Europe.

More in the coming weeks.

Carol Stephenson

Happiness is...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Being a Silhouette Bombshell author.

While growing up, I cut my teeth on action/adventure movies. I love them. I've worn out video tapes watching the same movie over and over again. Yet there was always one thing lacking in them: the romance.

So how perfect was it for me when Silhouette announced the luanch of its new action/adventure line for women? Shades of Lara Croft. Even sweeter was when I sold to them COURTING DANGER and became their legal thriller author. I love the series title: Leagal Weapons.

However, a wonderful opportunity to write a Dan Brown-type historical thriller opened up in a 7-book Bombshell continuity, THE MADONNA KEY, so in the upcoming weeks I'll be talking about the talnted corps of authors I'm working with as well as what it's like to work on a continuity and write a complex thriller for Bombshell.

Imagine Western Europe as your writing playground.

Carol Stephenson

Good friends, New faces and a Bookstore

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Tonight I attend a booksigning on Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore hosted by Joanne Sinchuk. Joanne is literacy and any author's best friend. She goes out of her way to be supportive to the author and works closely with the library system to put on programs.

I had a great time chatting with Joanne, romantic comedy author Mary Stella and mystery author supreme Barbara Parker and meeting new readers.

If you live in Southeast Florida and are a mystery buff, Joanne's store is for you. She and her staff will welcome you and if you want to read a few pages, there are nice, comfy chairs to sit a spell. Here's her information:

Joanne Sinchuk
Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore
273 Pineapple Grove Way (NE 2nd Ave)Delray Beach, FL 33444
Phone: 561-279-7790
Fax: 561-279-7759
Email: murdermb@gate.net
Website: www.murderonthebeach.com
Summer hours: Mon - Sat, 10-6.

Good friends, new faces and a bookstore.

Life is good.

Carol Stephenson

My Critique Group

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Given our busy schedules, it's rare that the entire group can get together, but from L to R:

Linda Conrad, Marcia King-Gamble, Vicky Koch, myself and seated, Sandy Madden.

Carol Stephenson

YaYa Critiquing Sisterhood

My critique group--Linda Conrad, Marcia King-Gamble, Sandy Madden and myself--will be putting on a workshop about our successful process at the Romantic Times Convention in Daytona Beach, FL. The convention begins 5/17/05. I will also take part on a panel on Plotting the Action Adventure Novel. Here are the links:


2006 Romantic Times BookLover Convention Program Ya Ya Critiquing Sisterhood

2006 Romantic Times BookLover Convention Program Action Adventure Program

Carol Stephenson


Friday, September 2, 2005

Oops, here's Maddie!

For Pet Lovers

This is Maddie, my precious Shih Tsu who entered my life three months ago. She was abandoned at a fire station, and someone who knew I was interested in owning my first dog, called me. Now I can't imagine life without Maddie. She's loyal, loving and constant entertainment.

In the hurricane disaster area there are many Maddie's stranded or abandoned. Those pets also need help. Here's the one link to the Humane Society that's launching an effort to rescue and take in the animals in the disaster area. If there are other agencies, I encourage people to make donations to them.


Every night I see the bewildered animals on roofs, in the water, etc., I hug Maddie and promise her that I will keep her safe.

Carol Stephenson

One Lesson Learned: Evacuation Plan

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I'm the keeper of the family heritage so to speak. Before their deaths, my parents lived with me and I have many of their things incorporated with mine in the house. Last night I asked my sister this question:

If I had to evacuate in a hurry and upon my return I found the entire house gone, what items/memorabilia of the parents would she have wished I'd taken with me?

Then tonight I began making my evacuation list: what do I need to take with me in case of evacuation? I also started a project to gather together and consolidate the family photos. Right now they're scattered across a multitude of bulky photo albums. I bought those acrylic albums that are condensed in size but hold a number of photos. It will take me awhile, but eventually I will have a bag with all necessary documents and then a tub containing those photos, negatives and family momentos that I can grab in a hurry.

After watching Katrina unfold, I plan to assume the worse and have a plan.

Carol Stephenson

Relief Agencies

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Here's the link to the MSNBC page listing the major relief organizations going to the aid of the Katrina disaster areas.

How to help Katrina's victims, get information - Hurricane Katrina - MSNBC.com


One of the local West Palm Beach TV stations WPTV [NBC-channel 5] is holding a call-in fundraiser for relief efforts Thursday, 9/1/05, from 4-8 p.m.

Carol Stephenson

Trying it again as to the photo

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Small Miracle Amid Katrina's Damage

A friend sent me this wire blurb today:

On Jackson Square, two massive oak trees outside the 278-year-old St. Louis Cathedral came out by the roots, ripping out a 30-foot section of ornamental iron fence and straddling a marble statue of Jesus Christ, snapping off only the thumb and forefinger of his outstretched hand.

As I had spent last night scanning photos from my visit so that my webmeister can add them to my photo gallery, I recalled that I had a photo of the statue. A photo of the church framed by one of those massive oaks is part of the gallery tribute to the Crescent City.

Carol Stephenson

Prayers for New Orleans Tonight

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I love New Orleans. I had the fortune to visit it during a Romance Writers of America conference and arrived early to explore the city. Wow, what an impression it made on me. Jackson Square with all its color and activity. Loved the trolley, loved Canal Street. Everywhere there was music, whether bluesy or Cajun. I took a tour into the bayou and plantation country. Endulged in the food and drink specialties. New Orleans is a unique city with a flavor and cadence all its own. My heart breaks to think of what it must face and endure with Katrina.

My thoughts and prayers are with New Orleans tonight.

Carol Stephenson

Three Hurricanes and Counting

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hurricane preparation is becoming old hat. After all, I've weathered the third one in less than a year. My section of Florida got hit by Francis and Jeanne in September 2004 and now Katrina just brushed us.

But if you want to know a Floridian's first question following a storm, it is: Did you lose power? We can bear the long, long gas lines, the grocery stores with no refrigerated items or fresh produce, but what sends us screaming the streets is the lack of power. Our war stories consist of how many days were we without power last year. In my case: 9 days and 20 hours with a heat index of 110.

Last year my kind neighbor ran a line to my refrigerator, and what saved my misery as I cleared debris from my yard was a precious box of popsicles in the freezer. To compound matters was the fact that the deadline for my book COURTING DANGER was looming. My solution was to float in my pool at night, typing on my AlphaSmart with a book light clipped to it. I made my deadline with 17 days to spare, but I couldn't bear the thought of being without power again.

Consequently, I bought a generator this year, which I have to drag out once a month to test run it, but I figured it would generate it's own Murphy's Law: since I had bought one, no more hurricanes. Ha! Here came Katrina out of nowhere.

Fortunately, we were hit by feeder bands and I didn't lose power...so maybe the Murphy's Law of generators did pertain after all.

Welcome to my blog. I'm author/attorney/Floridian Carol Stephenson. Don't expect daily entries as I've never been good at diaries or journals, but I'll try to visit on a fairly regular basis. Palm Beach County is a fascinating place plus I'm working on a new thriller so there should be plenty to talk about.

:) Carol Stephenson