Dana Rodgers

Anita Clenney Splashes in the Mermaid Pond

Today we are joined by NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Anita Clenney. She grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel–lasted half a day)…she realized she’d missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids. Anita has agreed to share with us a recent chat she had with Cody MacBain, hero of her second book, Embrace the Highland Warrior.

Anita: I’m sure you have better things to do, Cody, but thanks for joining me.

Cody: We’ll have to make it quick. I have…
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Colors of Fall

For some fall is about buying a new backpack or lunchbox, sharpening those pencils and sending your children back to school. For others fall is symbolized with tailgating and crowding into stands to cheer on your favorite football team.

While the pools have closed, fall sports have begun and school has been back in session for a few weeks now, fall did not in fact officially begin until yesterday, September 23rd.

So what does it mean the first official day of fall? Well it’s more than the beginning of a new season. It is the autumnal equinox. Equinox derives from Latin’s aquaeus meaning equal and nox meaning night, and is appropriate since this is the time of year when night and day are almost equal in length. This happens twice a year, once in the spring (March 21-22) and again in the fall (September 22-23), when the earth’s tilt is neither toward nor away from the sun.

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“To Be Or Not To Be?”

“To be or not to be?” Okay, maybe that’s not exactly the question. The real question is whether to write under your own name or under a pen name?  Well, there seem to be a lot of differing opinions to that ever-important question.

First, let’s start with why someone might write under a different name. Well, why would a super hero have an alias? For privacy of course. A lot of people choose to write under a pen name for the same reason. I mean think about what would happen if everyone knew you were a super hero? Fans hassling you all the time to sign autographs, take pictures with them, begging you to make public appearances so you can rescue their cat out of a tree. I’ll be honest, I suck at getting cats out of trees but it might be nice if someone, someday thought I was fabulous enough…
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Bump, Bump, Bump

My family is on vacation this week at Massanutten Ski Resort. This morning I took one for the team taking my children on a summer tubing ride. So I buy the tickets and up, up we go. We get to the top of the slope and I bravely climb into the giant inner tube. When I’m ready and give the nod the burly blonde college age guy slings me down the giant funnel…where I squeal like a little girl. Fortunately they were shrieks of delight, not horror. At least until I reached the first real bump. I think it should be mandatory for the ride attendant to mention using those glorious abdominal muscles to keep your behind off of the ground! Let’s just say I’m still recovering from my afternoon of fun. 🙂

But bumps are all part of the experience, even in writing.

You start a new story and everything is going…
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Wizards, Witches and Muggles, Oh My!

I woke up at four-thirty in the morning the other day with an idea for a scene and instead of rolling over and going back to sleep like any sane person, I instead rushed out of bed and down to my computer to spend the next two hours writing. Why you ask? Because I’m a writer and that’s what writers do. We take our thoughts, ideas, dreams and musings and transfer them to the page, hopefully, creating dynamic characters, witty dialog and conflict along the way.

But why lose sleep? How important could one idea be anyway? I mean really, people have hundreds of ideas everyday. Is one idea really so important that you should stop every thing? Roll out of bed to get it down before it evaporates into the floating mists of dreamland? Can one idea for a book or a scene or a character really…
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Shut Up and Listen

I’ve been out of touch recently, lavishing in the brief respite from the buzzing schedule of my normal life. My family and I have seen a few sights, visited with grandparents, attended a reunion and just relaxed. I’ve enjoyed basking in the sun by the pool with a favorite book (that I’m reading for fun, not research), the air permeated by the familiar scent of sunscreen while my kids swim with their friends. I’ve enjoyed taking my girls to the mall where we can walk and talk, have lunch and window shop. And of course lots of giggling over boys—I do live with two teenage girls after all. For me, a family vacation allows time to unwind and reconnect with each other without the day-to-day distractions of home life.

During the school year I’m all about schedules. Who has to be where? Soccer, field hockey, volleyball, basketball, track, chorus, cello, friends,…
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No Room for Doubt

Do you ever spend hours, days, weeks pouring your heart and soul into your writing only to go back, read it and think, “Oh my God, what was I thinking? This is crap. I have no talent. No one will ever want to read this.”

Well, guess what? You’re not the only one!

I love to write. I love the creative process and making the story come alive on the page. For me it is not just the destination (the finished story), but also the journey getting there (developing characters, and hammering all of those twists and turns into place). But I often find, especially during my editing process that doubt creeps in. I start wondering what the heck I’m doing. Wondering why I ever thought that I could write a book.

Recently, while going through one of these moments, a friend introduced me to a new type of encouragement…
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Acronym Soup

It always blew my mind when my husband would come home and say something like…

“After retiring from the USMC four years ago, I went to work for the DoD as a PM with a PMP cert and have managed elements of the MTVR, HMMWV, MRAP and MATV programs, all ranging from ACAT III up to ACAT ID according to the DoD 5000 and DAWIA standards.  We work to counter IEDs, EFPs, RKG-3s with BFTs, Armor, RWS as well as the TAK-4 suspension from OTC and have expended billions in IR&D, PMC and O&M funding over the past 9 FYDB.”

Anyone understand what I just said? I didn’t either for the longest time. I had to learn to speak acronym.

Many people use acronyms, and some of them are so imbedded in our everyday lives that we don’t even realize we are using them. Things like TV, PJs, NASA, NATO, OMG,…
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Who Are You Meant To Be?

You know how some things are a secret? Like the chocolate stash behind the canned vegetables at the back of the pantry. Yep, no danger of anyone finding the mini candy bars hidden there in my house.

Writing was one of those things for me.

I grew up in a less than ideal home and I used writing as my outlet. Over time the journal entries and poems of my youth evolved into short stories. Not very good ones at first, but it was still satisfying to see the story in my mind come to life on the page. And yes, for those of you wondering…I do in fact carry on conversations with my characters. In what other profession is it possible to get paid for talking to your imaginary friends? Yeah, in most places they medicate you and introduce you to a little thing called a straitjacket!

But I kept…
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