Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ebay auction for Katrina aid

The AAR Aid auction featuring a set of my books is now online. In the first two auctions All About Romance raised more than $7, 500 for the victims of hurricane Katrina and they're hoping to add another $5,000 to the total with this third and final auction.

The items will be up for bid until next Monday. You might see something you'd like; there are plenty of books and even critiques.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Busy Weekend

I spent the last four days in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Kindle The Flame women's conference. It was wonderful, uplifting and a great getaway. It was 104 degrees one day, however! And I took all business clothes -- skirts and trousers with jackets. :::pant:::pant:::

Friday, September 23, 2005

Naming Characters

I have to know my characters' names before I can get anywhere in creating a story for them. Just like I have to have a title before I can write pages. The names make sense, I don't know about the title.

The character's name has to fit them in my head. The name has to help me picture the story person. I have ten books of names, everything from baby names to character naming to Bible definitions to naming pets. You can also find popular names by years on the Internet. Once I've chosen, the first name usually never changes; often the last name will change as I bring in more people.

Secondary characters take almost as much work. I make a list of the alphabet and then tick off beginning letters I've used for names. You can't have two character names sound alike, like Charlotte and Charlene or Monique and Monica or even David and Dennis, because the reader will get them confused. Also endings have to differ, for example you wouldn't want Whitley and Rigby and Riley in the same scene.

Heritage/nationality is important as is era. As is connotation. I would never name a high-powered executive-type woman Tiffany or Trixie. Also there are names that just plain make you think of someone else: Fabian, Orlando, Sly, Madonna, Britney, Charleton to name a few.

Someone suggested it would be fun to see a list of all the names I've used in books. I guess it would. It just wouldn't be fun compiling the list after all this time!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Blueberry Peach Muffins

Don't forget the July tips for making perfect muffins: http://cherylstjohn.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_cherylstjohn

Keep liquid and dry ingredients separate until the last minute and stir only until moistened.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a twelve-muffin tin.

Mix and sift together dry ingredients:
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda - make sure it's fresh!
1/4 tsp salt

Mix liquid ingredients:
1 6 oz container fruit-on-the bottom peach yogurt
1 large egg
1/4 cup olive oil - or butter if you must
1 cup fresh blueberries

Topping: 1/2 cup low-fat granola, lightly crushed

Stir both together and fold in blueberries. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each well. Sprinkle crushed granola over the tops.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until the crowns are golden. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


A blonde was sitting on the train reading the newspaper.

The headline blared, "12 Brazilian Soldiers Killed."

She shook her head at the sad news, then turned to the stranger sitting next to her and asked, "How many is a Brazilian?"

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Caught Up!

It was a rare week. I'm not sure where everybody was and what they were doing, but the email lists were few and far between. Even my spam folder was slim. For the first time in I don't know how long, I am completely caught up on email.

I always have folders full under each of the three addresses I use. There are always those posts that get pushed back, because I don't want to answer them, deal with them, do the work right then--and so they collect cyber dust. I had a few that had been there for a month or better! One was a survey I fully intended to complete. I did. One was a email to myself reminding me to do something. I didn't. A few were newsletter digests I finally skimmed. Check. One was a project for an editor. Check. Now I can't even recall what the others were.

My freecycle folder can fill up in a day. Easily 50-100 posts on a Saturday. But I might miss something good, so I always skim and delete. Someday someone might post a chintz teapot and cups and I'll be all over those. You just never know.

I wonder about those people who boast they limit their email to after their work is done, or a half hour a day, or a couple of times a week. Some people even forget to check email. Yes, it's true. Hmmm. I seem to check email more often when I'm on a roll with my writing. It's something I do when my brain freezes and won't squeeze out another word. Like shopping. Or driving. Or eating.

Hey. Email me. You know I'm here.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Don't you just love long weekends?

What could be better? An extra day for a real breakfast...time to chill...time to take care of things you've been waiting to handle. We got yard work done. The black-eyed Susans and bachelor buttons out front were done in, so they got clipped down to reveal mums, caladium and even pansies that had miraculously survived the heat! I had a pretty little birdhouse peeping over the top of that wild bed of flowers. The space is now filled with those remaining flowers, an old wooden bench and clay pot filled with red geraniums. A scarecrow will soon sit on the bench -- and I found a huge old basket to pile pumpkins in and around. Probably a few cornstalks will complete the scenario. We ate the last of our corn over the weekend.

Yes, I'm as crazy outside as I am inside. Speaking of inside...I painted my front door while my hubby mowed and ate weeds (should that be weed-eated? -- er -- used the weed eater). LOL It's a loverly shade of red -- red with just a tinge of pink. I love it.

This afternoon we were cutting sections of vintage picket fence to use in the back for my rose garden, when we got rained in, so we ended up recovering our kitchen chairs. They're vintage bentwood chairs, made in Romania; the seats used to be blue, but now they're dark red. I don't know what they were in their first life -- cane perhaps. I love them. Anyway, those were tasks we'd been wanting to get to for some time now, so that feels good.

On the list: a wonderful old round pedestal table that's been in the garage awaiting attention. The top needs repaired and put back on. It has two leaves that make it a huge oval. I'm thinking red for the kitchen. (Our garage and shed are filled with vintage furniture projects.)

What did you do over your three-day weekend?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Books For Hurricane Evacuees

I'm sending a box of books for hurricane evacuees in Houston. They are also seeking children's books. If you'd care to donate in this way, you can send books to:

Hurricane Evacuees
Reliant Superdome
c/o Red Cross
2700 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77098

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Bounty Hunter In Stores!

I don't know where the rest of the summer went, but it's time for my newest release!  It should be on the shelves now, though truthfully, my mind has been occupied with the tragedy going on in the gulf states.  I didn't allow myself to watch any news all day today.  It's as horrible to helplessly sit by and watch as it was when the Twin Towers fell.  I am praying for help to arrive and carry much needed supplies and comfort to those people.
Authors around the country are offering autographed books for an ebay auction to benefit the Red Cross Relief Fund.  I'll post more info about that as I learn it.
My publisher Harlequin has donated to the Relief Fund, as are hundreds of individual writers.  If you don't know where to send a donation and you'd like to help, there's a list of organizations providing assistance in my previous blog.
About THE BOUNTY HUNTER: This is Lily Divine's story, the great-great grandmother of Lisa Jane Martin, the young woman who inherited the gold mine in MILLION-DOLLAR MAKEOVER.  Now, you will learn the true story of the infamous Lily and the sheriff who comes to Thunder Canyon to clean up the wicked establishments.  Both stories were so much fun to write.  I can't wait for you to read Lily and Nate's story. 
There's more to the story of Thunder Canyon than just my book!  There are four historical Montana Mavericks out this month!  Each one covers a different era in the history of the town.  Here's the list:
Montana Mavericks Historicals, 9/05
THE GUARDIAN by Elizabeth Lane, ISBN: 0373811225
BIG SKY RANCHER by Carolyn Davidson, ISBN: 0373811195
THE TRACKER by Mary Burton, ISBN: 0373811209
THE BOUNTY HUNTER by Cheryl St.John ISBN: 0373811217
Be sure to look for those.  I'm working my way through my stack with pleasure.
Fall is my favorite time of year.  I've already been harvesting pumpkins, and I'm putting together a scarecrow.  Have a lovely holiday weekend and enjoy your blessings.  I've been feeling especially fortunate all week.

Charities involved in helping victims of Katrina

American National Red Cross – providing disaster services and relief
2025 E St NW
Washington, DC 20006

Salvation Army National Corp. – local, regional and national disaster relief programs
615 Slaters Ln
Alexandria, VA 22313

America's Second Harvest – providing food to victims
35 E Wacker Dr
Ste 2000
Chicago, IL 60601

Feed The Children, Inc. – sending emergency food, water and other relief supplies
PO Box 36
Oklahoma City, OK 73101

Mercy Corps – assisting families affected by the hurricane
3015 SW First Ave
Portland, OR 97201

Samaritans Purse – helping victims of natural disasters
PO Box 3000
Boone, NC 28607

Hearts With Hands Inc. – activating response teams to assist in the Gulf Coast
951 Sand Hill Rd
Asheville, NC 28806

Noah’s Wish – dedicated exclusively to rescuing and sheltering animals in disasters
PO Box 997
Placerville , CA 95667

North Shore Animal League America – world’s largest no-kill pet rescue and adoption organization
25 Davis Avenue
Port Washington, NY 11050

Humane Society of The United States – rescuing animals and assisting their caregivers in the disaster areas
2100 L St NW
Washington, DC 20037

Thursday, September 01, 2005

In the wake of Katrina

I've been so caught up in watching the news reports coming from New Orleans and the gulf states that I've done little other than write what I can and handle daily tasks. It's difficult to see the hardship and desperation, and it makes a person feel almost guilty to be going through their normal routine--and eating and drinking. I keep thinking about all the things we take for granted, like our beds and toilet paper! Even the smallest comfort is lost to them right now. I pray for those thousands of people that there is immediate help there for them. Already authors are coming up with ways to aid the efforts, and as musicians do, we use our resources. There will be an ebay auction for signed books, with the proceeds going to the Red Cross Disaster Fund. I'll post more when I know.