Saturday, April 07, 2012

Short Trips of Fancy

Hi, all.
I don't know what it's like in your part of the country, but St. Louis has a reputation for changeable weather. It wouldn't surprise me to hear this is where the famous saying, "Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes" originated. This winter and spring have lived up to that rep. We've had "winter" days so warm, windows were open and shirt sleeves were short. On Monday, we were in the 90s; now I'm in my winter pjs and fuzzy slippers.

So we treasure those brief glimpses of pleasant weather, and tend to run after them, as joyful as children catching bubbles. I dragged my mom to the Missouri Botanical Garden for the orchid show. It was a lovely day, in the high 70s, and windy enough to whisk us off our feet. Fortunately, the show itself was inside. There are more pix on my FaceBook page if you're interested.

My next mission is to meet my critique partner at the St. Louis Zoo and walk around all day, brainstorming and soaking in the sun. Of course, that'll have to wait until the good weather returns.

And you know I have to say it -- can't wait to catch a game in person!

One of my recent "mad adventure" days saw my husband and I at Crown Candy Kitchen. We've always wanted to go there, the sun came out, and off we went. It made perfect sense at the time. This place is a landmark for good reason. A small candy store from 1913, it became a soda shoppe in the 1950s. The booths are intimate and the food is to die for. Almost literally.
I had to try the Heart Stopping BLT, with roughly a pound of bacon, plus tomato, lettuce and Miracle Whip on toast. No kidding: see the bacon? Then the lettuce, tomato, and atop bread slice. And that pic is only half the sandwich. I had to take out a bunch of bacon just to pick it up! And yes, I teamed it with a chocolate shake. The shakes come with a challenge--can you drink five in thirty minutes? The answer is no. Trust me. They are huge.

Now that we've been talking raving about CCK, several friends have mentioned wanting to go for their first time or return again. I'm game, although I may try some other temptation. And of course, there's the candy...

So, is there someplace you've been wanting to go "someday?" Do you have a "mad adventure" day and jump in the car? Where do you wind up on those luscious sunny spring days?


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Try Something New... Continued

In February, I blogged about trying something new. Here’s my latest unusual experience. The other night, I was invited to a very interesting party. Included in the guest list was an honest-to-goodness medium named Jeffrey Marks. I have always been interested in metaphysical occurrences, those experiences that transcend the five senses, and have experienced a number of paranormal experiences first-hand. I’ll bet many of you have, too.

When it comes to mediums, though, I remain a skeptic. However, I do love good entertainment, and was excited to see Jeff at work. Plus, I just might write a book someday that includes a medium. Oh, how that gets my creative juices flowing. Just imagine what might happen if… But I digress.

I arrived at the party with all sorts of preconceived notionsJeff would be an expert at reading body language and facial expressions. He would take his cues from the way others responded to him. These things may well be true. Face it, we all do take our cues from the way others respond to us. Some of us are better at it than others, and a good medium is surely among the best.

But the evening unfolded in completely different ways than I imagined. Jeff handed out blank cards and invited everyone present to write down a question, specific or general, include their name, and place the card in a bowl. He then drew out the questions one by one, invited the writer of the question to join him in front of the others, and did his thing.

He explained that he didn’t want any information from the person he worked withonly a yes, no or maybebecause talking engages his left brain, and this work requires the use of predominantly his right brain.

Jeff’s process was fascinating to observe. Each mini-session began with him holding the person’s hand for a few seconds in order to connect with their energy. His eyes darted back and forth, never looking at the person, instead seeing the unseen, what I assumed was the energy swirling around. Odd body movements and gestures followed, and continued throughout each mini reading. Sometimes he used a white board to convey crudely-drawn images of what he saw in his mind. Sometimes he got the information wrong and sometimes he was dead-on. Occasionally the wrong person came through, someone who wasn’t related to or involved with the participant. When that happened, Jeff took hold of the person’s hand again and started fresh. He was self-effacing, honest and engaging without being egotistical. At times he had us all in stitches. There were also moments my heart ached for the person he was working with.

All in all, it was a fascinating and wonderful evening. For more information on Jeff, visit

What about you? Have you ever worked with a medium? Do you believe in what they do, or are you a skeptic like me? Please share your thoughts and experiences.

Thanks for joining me, and until next month,

Ann… lover of new and different experiences

Monday, April 02, 2012


CONGRATULATIONS CRYSTALGB! You’re the March winner. To receive your free autographed books please contact Megan Kelly and Julie Benson through their Web sites.

To enter the contest simply leave a blog comment and your name will go into the drawing. Simple and painless. And FREE BOOKS.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Growing closer to readers

One unexpected effect of the Internet—social media, epublishing, author websites, etc.—is that readers have become closer.

In the past, for an author, readers constituted a big blur. When my first book, a Regency romance called Lady in Disguise, was published in 1983 in hardcover, all I knew was that it was being sold primarily to libraries.

The main feedback I received came from professional publications such as Library Journal, which called it “…a spirited romp … witty dialogue will help keep the reader hooked.”

That’s nice, but was anyone—beyond a few letter writers--actually reading it?

Now, I’ve reissued Lady in Disguise as an ebook, and all that has changed. Not only can I see how many have sold each day on Amazon, I can also find readers’ comments. On most of my books, they’re positive. Of course, this system also opens an author to negative reviews, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes idiotic (of the “I wouldn’t want my boyfriend to act like the hero so I’m giving it a one-star” variety). Or even the drive-by diss that Barnes & Noble allows, where someone can anonymously post one or two stars without any comment. Grrrr!

By the way, if you like a book, please be kind to the author by posting a favorable review, however brief, or a positive rating on B&N. Those do affect sales.

And if you know anyone who thinks it’s clever to “buy” an ebook, read it quickly and then return it for a full refund, please let them know that the author can see this, too.

Back to the fun part. I enjoy meeting readers through Twitter, where I’m @Jacquediamond. I’ve also met readers through sites such as Good Reads and Wattpad.

Plus I appreciate the review websites. The Baby Dilemma, my April Harlequin—the eighth book in my Safe Harbor Medical series—began receiving enthusiastic reviews in late March.

Sometimes there are unexpected benefits. Anne Glover, who writes fascinating historical blogs and Regency reviews at, praised Lady in Disguise but didn’t like my cover. She introduced me to Kelly at, who designed my new Regency covers including the one shown here.

Authors of previous generations never imagined such one-on-one contact. Despite a few drawbacks, it’s a great boost for authors. And, I hope, for readers, too.