Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Down Time

The winter months are normally my down time, although I would hardly call it that some days.

But I am not running every weekend to a book store or festival and don't sepend several hours each week contacting media and setting up interviews and listings. I do still continue building my onlie presence, which sometimes eats up more time than five signings in one week! But at least I am home to do this.

I continue working on HEATHER. It will probably not be completed until this summer, though.

I will continue to write, as I have a science-fiction story involving two brothers in a war that begs to be told. And, believe it or not, it is the first story I ever created! I was thirteen years old when I wrote the basic outline and penned several scenes. Of course, I have not even glanced at what I wrote back then! Maturity and understanding how the world and people really function changes many things. I can always tell when a story has been written by a teenager - not only is the writing not up to par, but the characters behave unnaturally and usually the story sounds more like the teen's own personal fantasy. Eventually maturity will bring depth & realism to the characters and story, so they should never abandon their ideas.

I mean, who would have thought the two characters I created SO many years ago would return to my mind? Guess I've come full circle, then!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscars Tonight

* guest blogger tonight!

"Very shortly, the awards ceremony to end all ceremonies will commence. The media will frantically attempt to get every moment on film, ask every star that one question they have been asked a thousand times, all in the name of entertainment.

"Personally, I find this kind of reporting very dull! These people are actors - we pay them to entertain us. Their actions do not determine the fate of our country. They just act in movies, or produce movies, or do special effects. They work, just like you and I.

"Personally, I've had enough drama in my real life to not put much stock in the drama of movies! Sporting events are far more interesting and at least the outcome not predetermined by a script.

Nonetheless, I will have to spend my Monday making sure the Oscars are prominently featured in the Orlando Sentinel, whether I want to or not. Guess then I will discover the winners, too.

"As I have no intentions of watching tonight!!"

- James Sheppard, Junior Editor, Orlando Sentinel

Friday, February 23, 2007

Galleys & Proofing

I now have in my possession the first round galley of my fourth book, MIKE, and am editing & proofing the content. Cover art is already set and one revision being done to the back cover, but I should be able to post a sample of that soon on my website!

I will also be getting bookmarks, postcards and posters soon for the book as well!

As always, the release date is coming up on me faster than I am ready!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


"One of the most common mistakes, and one of the costliest, is thinking that success is due to some genius, some magic something or other, which we do not possess. Success is due to our stretching to the challenges of life. Failure comes when we shrink from them."

- John C. Maxwell, "Be All You Can Be!"

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

First Seminar Nerves & Guest Blogger on Daytona 500

Tonight is the first seminar of many I am teaching on publishing & promoting. The class sold out almost two weeks ago and they quickly announced a second date, which has also begun to fill. There will be a room full of anixous people, all looking for that magical tip and a little encouragement, and my husband videotaping the whole thing.

I would be a little nervous except for one thing - I came down with the flu last week and still feel bleah! As in, slightly achy, snorking and coughing. My poor little nose is red and I continue to go through Kleenex like there's no tomorrow.

So my only thought is Lord, please get me through tonight and allow me to be on top of my game for just 3-4 hours! Someone in that audience will desperately need my enthusiasm to motivate them, and I can't slack off just because I feel like poo. And the the other author doing the seminar with me would appreciate it too!

At least I won't be nervous. About to ralph, but not nervous!

*Special guest blogger

"Wow! Was that not an awesome finish to the Daytona 500 last Sunday?! A major crash right before the finish line and Martin just losing his lead by half a hood!

"So many are in an uproar, saying the yellow flag should have been thrown. But a race decided on a yellow flag is just wrong. The two cars in the lead were not affected by the pileup behind them. That close to the finish, I say, let them battle it out. It made for one heck of a race, did it not?

"And I still say the most exciting aspect has been greatly overlooked by the media. The one car crossed the finish line in 18th place upside down!!!! How many times has that happened in racing history? He completed the race on the roof of his car and placed 18th.

"Now that's what I call exciting!"

- Sarah Gardner, Broncos wide receiver Matt Gardner's wife and avid racing fan

Monday, February 19, 2007

Brittany Spears' Shaved Head - News of the Meaningless

*Today features a guest blogger

"Brittany Spears shaves her head - is this really news? People shave their heads every day in America. Basic Training for the military claims probably hundreds per day. But let one over-hyped, has-been celebrity do it, and the media rushes to cover the event!

"What's even sadder it the coverage her hairdresser has receieved - how she's been traumatized by witnessing such an event!

"I would not want my fifteen minutes of fame to come from just being in the vicinity of a so-called celebrity while they did something trivial and stupid.

"Think I'd rather remain anonymous and humble!"

- Danielle Taylor

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Record Snowfall

*Guest blogger today

"Snow continues to fall!

"I never understood the concept of being housebound until now, but the snow has discouraged any travel. Fortunately for Jason, football season is over. He still works out almost daily and has many commitments outside of football, but he's not in danger of missing a critical practice or game. So it's just been the four of us!

"In Denver, Sarah's in the same boat. They've had so much snow! Matt has made it interesting for her, though. He always finds ways to entertain!

I guess we are both blessed that a snow day does not drive our families crazy. I am enjoying the time with Jason and the kids. Guess that this is God's way of forcing some quality time on us!

"I intend to enjoy it!"

- Lori Phillips, Olympic Gold Medalist

Friday, February 16, 2007


They happen once a year no matter what!

My birthday is today and I'm proud to say I'm forty-one.

Most people are bothered by 40 or any year above that, but not me. I neither look 41, nor do I act 41. Youth is all in the heart and attitude, and it doesn't help that I have always looked very young for my age as well. So I enjoy watching people's reaction when they realize I am over thirty years of age!

My friends at Deviant Art (See links) have made the day special already and my husband will continue that with dinner and a party this weekend.

So here's to 41!!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

Everyone needs something to hope for
and someone to love!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Grammys Are Lame!

Today's entry features a guest blogger.

“Does anyone actually watch the Grammys anymore? The awards have become such a joke!
“Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan and Peter Frampton won awards – I didn’t realize we were still in the 70’s!
“Rock instrumental album? Were there really a lot of those last year? Doubtful!
“Some categories have dozens of awards while others, like hard rock and heavy metal, get one token award. And only in ‘performance’? Did any of the voters really see these guys perform live? I think if any of the awards committee had attended a Slayer concert, they would’ve voted to eliminate that category! Come on, Grammys, expand the awards for those categories!
“Of course, I’m just beating my head against a brick wall by complaining. The Grammys will never change or improve.
“After all, these are the people who, in the first year of a heavy metal category, selected Jethro Tull! And it’s been all downhill from there …”

- Sarah Gardner, wife of Broncos wide receiver, Matt Gardner

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's the Little Things

Last signing for Book III was this weekend in Virginia. Had lots gather around my table and the crew was awesome at the store!

It's always the little things that make the difference, though. The manager was thrilled to discover I knew the manager of the (now gone) store in Raleigh and I know I kept the other employees amused when I'd swing by the registers. The result of these little things is the manager asked if I could return this fall and told me to select the day! I have a date set in NOVEMBER already! Too wild.

Just completed another article and in final preparations for my first publishing & promoting seminar.

Time is growing short before MIKE is released!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Snow In New York

*Guest blogger today

"According to the news, areas of New York have receieved as much as six feet of snow, with more on the way.
"Six feet! I can hardly imagine six inches. Snow simply doesn't happen in Florida and I did not see it often in South Carolina.
"A few inches would completely shut down Greenville. But all of the pictures I've seen show people out in the snow, still trying to get around. I know they have snowplows and are more prepared, but it never ceases to amaze me. I could never live up north!
"My only regret is my boys have yet to experience snow. Anthony watches Christmas specials and asks about the white stuff covering the ground. The closest thing he can relate it to is wet sand. That's something Florida beaches have in plenty!
"Maybe we'll just build a sandman next time we're at the beach ..."

- Maria Sheppard, from Orlando, FL

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New Signing Opportunity & Review

This Saturday will be my first visit to the city of Danville, Virginia. I have several very devoted fans in that area and had never before been to the B. Daltons. So I am looking forward to my last signing for Book III!

A recent criticism of Book III from a reviewer stated that having James control the money in his family was so out of date and made him look like a caveman! This reviewer seemed offended that James would expect his wife to obey him in the area of finances.
This boggles my mind! Out of date? In our household, my husband handles the money, too. God placed a charge on the man to protect and provide for his family, and we believe that includes taking the stress of managing the finances off the wife as well. I know many people who run their households in this manner and do not see it as old-fashioned! I like not having the added burden of paying the bills and balancing the checkbook, thank you very much!
This will not deter my determination to stick to my values and principals and I make no apologies for my character's actions!
My husband had a theory that this reviewer was a recent & bitter divorcee! So sad for her.
Just wait until she reads Book IV, which heavily emphasizes Christian values and principals - it'll make her crazy!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Snickers Ad Pulled

*welcoming a new guest blogger today

"Snickers decided to pull its ad shown during the Super Bowl of two men eating a candy bar - and kissing!

"I say good! That commercial was in such poor taste. No one wants to see two men kissing. As a guy, I know I don't want to see it! I just wanted to watch the football game ...

"Considering how terrible most of the ads were during the Super Bowl, maybe more will be pulled. We can only hope!!"

- Mike Taylor, former Georgia Tech wide receiver

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Super Bowl is Over

Which means the media can get back to doing whatever else it is they do!

I was actually pulling for the Bears, and hoping for a much closer game, but it's fitting Peyton Manning would finally win a Super Bowl.

There's someone who is the epitome of pursuing a dream. He never gave up, never stopped believing he would one day make it, despite all the naysayers. And there were many who believed he would always choke in the playoffs, too! He wasn't stellar in the playoffs this year - had more picks than the whole season - but sometimes one person can inspire others to rise to the occasion. Michael Jordan did it for the Bulls - now Manning has done it for the Colts.

Still, the Bears might've had a chance if they'd started my character, Jason Phillips! He always did well for Florida State!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Tornadoes in Florida

*Guest blogger today

"The tornado that ripped through the Lady Lake area the other morning really shocked local communities.
"As an assistant editor for the Orlando Sentinel, I have seen all of the reports and photos, and it is simply devastating. I've been through Lady Lake numerous times, and the damage is almost overwhelming. It looks like a war zone!
"Florida is famous for its hurricanes, but most people don't realize we get more tornadoes per square mile than any other state. I've covered my fair share, but this one touches so close to home for me.
"Sometimes things happen outside of our control and it's so very frustrating. Life is such a frail creature. One day, everything is normal; the next, your world is upside down. I've experienced it enough myself to realize I need to appreciate life and those I love.
"Speaking of which, think I will love a little extra on my wife and boys tonight. They deserve it for putting up with me!"

- James Sheppard, Assistant Editor, Orlando Sentinal

Friday, February 02, 2007

Forcast Did Not Call For Snow!

Eastern North Carolina had its one and only yearly snow fall yesterday!

Our area was not even supposed to see the sleet or freezing rain. But for two and a half hours yesterday morning, it came down fast. I took over 150 pictures! (Gotta love digital cameras!!)

And I'm glad I took so many, because it quickly turned to rain. By late afternoon, it was almost all gone.

This morning it's back to business as usual - rain. But it was a nice diversion!

Time to get back to writing I suppose!