PAMELA BROWNING

"Pamela Browning has a gift for creating memorable characters and richly detailed settings." Romantic Times

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HOW TO CATCH A BEACH BACHELOR

June 6, 2015

Tags: Pamela Browning, Beach Bachelors, romance, beach, summer


How to catch a Beach Bachelor?

Buy one of my books. Or five.

Seriously, my BEACH BACHELORS SERIES features five of the hottest, handsomest heroes in bookdom. Or bachelordom.

Although reading them doesn't guarantee anything but a good read, you might get some pointers from Alix, the heroine of SEA OF GOLD, Book 1 of the series. As the book opens, she's sworn off men. Next thing you know, she's meeting treasure hunter Ponce Cabrera and "noticing the hard flatness of his abdomen and his slim but powerful hips." By the end of the book, they're in love. She's caught a Beach Bachelor for her very own.

Or Cathryn, heroine of Book 4, INTERIOR DESIGNS.

Cathryn is a workaholic. She doesn't have time for guys. Haven't we all said that at one time or another? And then we meet The One, and well, here's how it goes:

"She'd known her share of shallow men, and she wanted no more of them. But, oh, the complexities, the structure of this man's mind, the shifting colors she sensed inside him. Now, in the aftermath, she thought perhaps she should have let him take her home—to talk with him until the pearl-gray of the sky heralded sunrise, to inhabit the space of him for a few hours or even more."

Before long, Cathryn and Drew, the love of her life, are in a Relationship. Which soon is expanded to include his adorable seven-year-old daughter. With whom - if Cathryn decides it's forever - she and Drew can become a family.

Oh, those bachelors. Oh, the beach. It's time for summer reading. And summer loving.

My BEACH BACHELORS SERIES awaits you wherever digital books are sold. Click here to go there:
www.amazon.com
www.barnesandnoble.com
www.kobo.com

Please review my books! I'm always happy to know your thoughts. I'd love it if you'd subscribe to my newsletter. Just go the my Newsletter page, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand column and click. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Q. & A. Part 1

February 1, 2015


Q. Ms Browning, why are you a writer?

A. It's how I earn a living. I'm lucky enough to get paid for it. In fact, I think of my work as a sort of assembly line.

Q. Ummm.....how's that?

A. This was one of Henry Ford's brilliant ideas. The parts ride past on a conveyor belt, and someone picks them up and bolts them onto the car. Everything has to be stuck on in the right place or the car is going to come out all cattywampus and no one will buy it. A good example of such a product is a camel. When is the last time you bought one of those?

Q. Not lately, but exactly how does this relate to writing?

A. Motorcycle of partway he considerable to flash sliding said and look will off dinner you me neon for join charm he the switching half turned his her as on blinking at in the the red lights.

Q. (Looking perplexed.) Alice, wait up! I was right behind you as you fell down the rabbit hole!

A. You can see how words all scrambled up don't create even a sentence, much less a story.

Q. Right.

A. Now if I, the storyteller, were to assemble those words in a different sequence, we'd have this passage from one of my books: Will you join me for dinner he said sliding partway off the motorcycle and switching on his considerable charm as he half turned to look at her in the flash of the blinking red neon lights. (From Beach Bachelors Book 5, CHERISHED BEGINNINGS.)

Q. With no punctuation.

A. That costs extra. The point is that if the writer doesn't grab the right words and arrange them coherently, there's no story. What would life be like without stories and someone to tell them? Without people to read them?

Q. It's bog-mindling. Do you think I can ever learn to write a book?

A. We'll talk about that as soon as you escape the rabbit hole, my friend. More about the wondrousness of writing later.

Pamela Browning

P.S. Please take a look at the video I created for my Keeping Secrets Series! Click on the link in the column on the left.

Enjoy!

AHOY MATES, IT'S PIRATES

February 4, 2014

Tags: Book pirates, free books, Pamela Browning, www.amazon.com, www.bn.com

If you "bought" this book for free on the internet, chances are it's been pirated. That's illegal.
No, it's not the kind with eye patches and wearing a parrot as a fashion accessory. Nor is it the sort that terrorizes Tom Hanks off the Somalian coast.

It's book pirates. People who hijack an author's book and offer it, free or otherwise, on a website set up for distributing purloined goods. That's illegal.

Recently I've offered Book 1 of my Keeping Secrets Series free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other well-known online bookselling venues. Yes, I'm a nice person. I want you to read my books, and I like to make it easier for you.

However, offering a free book is also a business decision. If you enjoy EVER SINCE EVE, you will probably buy the next book in the series, THROUGH EYES OF LOVE. Then perhaps you'll order the next two books, SUNSHINE AND SHADOWS and TOUCH THE STARS. (They're all available now. Click on the links to the left.)

What worries me is that you might go to a pirate site to order my books. Which brings us to the central question: why would pirates invest time and effort into acquiring an unauthorized copy of my book and then give it away? I've just told you why I offer free books, but what's in it for them?

Money. Oh, they may not want it immediately, but many sites have a plan for getting it somehow, some way. Pirates can be good fishermen. My book is the bait they use to drag you into their net.

By obtaining a free book from a pirate site, you risk hackers draining your bank account or stealing your identity. Some sites operate from foreign countries where they can escape prosecution under copyright law. Or any other law, including one offering recourse for having your money stolen by a fly-by-night outfit that first stole from me.

Trying to put these pirates out of business is like playing whack-a-mole. Not going to work. It's easy for them to close down one site and open another from which they continue to victimize unsuspecting readers.

I'm concerned about being used as bait to lure my readers into a trap. You need to know the risks involved with shopping for free books at unauthorized sites. And if you check this website frequently, you'll know when I'm giving away free books or offering them at a discount. I'll also keep you informed at my Pamela Browning Author page on Facebook as well as through Twitter.

I really care about my readers, and I don't want you to think that I would ever participate in a pirating scam. I wrote this blog to let you know you're safe acquiring my books, free or otherwise, at www.amazon. com and www.bn.com as well as on Kobo and other well-known sites.

Please take care on the Internet! (Did I mention that the Keeping Secrets Series is available now by clicking on the links to the left? Oh. I did. Also, an excerpt from THROUGH EYES OF LOVE is posted below on my previous blog - enjoy! Thanks for your continued support of my work, and happy reading.)

Excerpt from THROUGH EYES OF LOVE, Book 2, Keeping Secrets Series

January 31, 2014

Tags: Pamela Browning, Keeping Secrets Series

I've enjoyed bringing my Keeping Secrets Series to Kindle and Nook as well as other e-readers. Four books, four plots about keeping secrets that could destroy relationships if revealed. EVER SINCE EVE was Book 1, and I've already provided an excerpt of that one in another post. So here, just before Valentine's Day, is my valentine to you! Enjoy this prologue from Book 2, THROUGH EYES OF LOVE.

The book is based on a true incident that ended tragically and caused my family and me great heartache. Afterward, dealing with it, I thought about how it could have turned out, how it should have turned out if things had gone differently.

In real life we cannot control events as they happen. In fiction, we can make good things come from bad. And that is why I wrote this book.

THROUGH EYES OF LOVE by Pamela Browning

Prologue

 
Somewhere West of Los Angeles
February 2009

Cassie stared in horror at her husband, who was unconscious and slumped over the yoke of their small plane.

"Kevin? Kev?" She shook his arm, but he didn't respond. The plane's single engine continued to drone as though nothing had happened. Outside was darkness overlaid with stars—no earth, no horizon, nothing.

Calm. It was important to remain calm, but Cassie couldn't believe this was happening. The three of them had been cruising comfortably at sixty-five hundred feet, and her husband had suddenly gasped and fallen forward.

"What's wrong with Daddy?" asked her son Rory, peering wide-eyed and frightened through the space between the two front seats.

"I don't know," Cassie said, panic rising with the bile in the back of her throat.

She swiveled in her seat and clenched her fingers around the yoke in front of her. Kevin had shown her how to fly the plane a few times, and once she'd practiced landing on their runway at home with him beside her at the plane's dual controls. He'd always been safety-conscious and knew that sometimes unforeseen events could incapacitate a pilot. But she'd never thought anything like this would happen. Not to Kevin. He was in excellent health and only thirty-three.

"Mommy, Mommy," cried Rory from the back seat. "I'm scared."

Her son was barely five years old, a sweet blond cherub of a boy, and Cassie's instinct was to gather him in her arms and comfort him. She was scared, too. But she couldn't worry about Rory now. She had to fly the plane. And land it.

Cassie summoned every ounce of concentration she possessed. First, the radio. She set the control to the emergency frequency. Then she grabbed the microphone.
And she was thinking, oh, Kevin, what is wrong? His face, what she could see of it with his head sagging against his chest, appeared gray in the glow from the control panel. Was he breathing? She couldn't tell, couldn't spare the time to take care of him any more than she could look after their son, not with their lives in peril as they hurtled through the sky in their pilotless plane.

"Mayday, mayday," she shouted into the mike. Too late she realized that she hadn't pressed the transmission button. She fumbled and repeated the distress call.

The speaker crackled, but there was no response. She slid her eyes across the complicated control panel. Which gauge was the altimeter? Which was the directional gyro? She was so petrified that she couldn't think straight.

No one answered on the radio. Cassie saw no other aircraft in the wide black sky.

Where were they, anyway? If she managed to reach somebody, she'd have to give their location. They'd been traveling west toward home, but they hadn't reached Palm Springs yet. Cassie would have noticed the lights below as they passed the city on their way to Wildflower, their estate nearby; she always noticed the lights.

She was so damned scared. She swiped at the teardrops rolling down her cheeks, and her arm inadvertently struck the yoke so that the plane dived sharply. By instinct, she yanked the yoke upward. The plane stabilized and she fell back into her seat and sobbed in relief, drawing great gulps of air into her lungs. Hearing her distress, her son flung himself across the width of the back seat and wailed.

It was Rory's fright that lent her strength. She didn't care about herself anymore, only for her husband and son. She had to save them.

Cassie jammed the microphone to her lips. "Somebody please help me," she sobbed. "Please, somebody. I'm all alone and I don't know how to fly this plane."

The mike fell to her lap as she buried her face in her hands. She fought to gain her balance on the thin sharp edge of panic. They'd all die, all three of them, and it would be her fault.

The radio speaker crackled, and then, like a miracle, she heard a garbled transmission.

"Where... you?" rasped a male voice.

She grappled at the mike and depressed the button. "I don't know. My husband is unconscious."

"Don't..." and the rest of the sentence was lost.

After an eternity, the voice transmitted clearly. "I'll talk you down," he said.
Cassie hardened herself to ignore her child's screams of terror and sent up a silent prayer of desperation.

"Tell me what to do," she said.

And they sailed through the sky, the three of them, halfway home.

Chapter One, EVER SINCE EVE excerpt

December 2, 2013

"Wombs for rent"

And next thing she knows, Eve Triopolous is signing on the dotted line to carry a baby to term.

Eve is unemployed, down on her luck, and sole support of her disabled dad. When she spots an ad calling for a surrogate mother, she impulsively responds.

Money is important, but more compelling is the longing on the faces of Derek and Kelly Lang, who hire her to bear their child. Derek is a wealthy business magnate, and Kelly becomes Eve's closest friend. The Langs will be fantastic parents and their baby the luckiest in the world.

Then tragedy strikes, leaving Eve and Derek to decide what's going to happen to the precious small life that Eve carries beneath her heart. How can she convince handsome Derek that he'll be a wonderful father? And how can she prove that she is the best mommy for his little bundle of joy? Because by now, Eve has found the love of her life. The two loves of her life - and she's never letting go.


EVER SINCE EVE
by Pamela Browning


Chapter 1

"I'm really sorry, Ms. Triopolous. You seem well qualified, but we've already hired someone else."

Eve swallowed her disappointment, shook hands with the interviewer, and escaped into the early spring sunshine of Charlotte, North Carolina. She’d hoped that this particular job in the public relations department of a large advertising agency might be exactly suited to her, and, in fact, it was. But she'd lost out on this position as she had lost out on so many others.

"You're overqualified," they'd tell her, or, equally exasperating, "Your experience is excellent, but unfortunately we don't have an opening right now." Even though Eve was a cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina, no one wanted to hire her. She'd lost her previous job as public relations manager of an electronics manufacturer over a year ago when the company moved to India.

"Cheap labor, that's the name of the game these days," her manager had told her when he delivered the news. "Nothing personal, Eve. You did a great job."

The sound of her heels on the pavement was muffled by the rundown condition of her shoes, a defeated sound that produced no echo. She retreated past houses with signs declaring Rooms for Rent.

Well, that was one thing she and Al, her father, hadn't tried yet—renting out the extra room in their tiny house. It was, she reminded herself, something she could keep in mind as a last resort if they weren't evicted first.

By the time she reached the nearby park, she admitted to herself that she had no other options but to find a lodger, and even the meager rent derived from renting a room wouldn't help much. She wished fervently that she would land a job, but she'd tried every ad in the newspaper and on Craigslist to no avail. She'd been searching for months and heard every excuse in the book: She was overqualified. She was under qualified. Their ideal candidate had a master's degree. And so on.

Eve eased herself down on a convenient park bench next to a bed of purple-and-yellow pansies, their quaint, kittenlike faces upturned toward the sun. She'd always been partial to pansies; violets and roses were too showy, too intense. I'm like a pansy, she thought with pleasure. Quaint, quiet, calm. Not flashy.

Nearby a small boy tossed bread into the water. Three white ducks paddled furiously across the tiny pond, racing each other for the food, furrowing the sparkling blue ripples into shimmering wakes. The boy squealed in delight and ran to beg more bread crusts from his mother, who tousled her son's curly hair before he danced out of reach. Eve smiled and inhaled a breath of balmy, fragrant air. The soft breezes of spring were sweeping away a long, cold winter, and she was glad.

Dire rumblings from the region of her stomach reminded her she was hungry. She shook a solitary plastic-wrapped sandwich from a brown paper bag. Someone had left a newspaper on the bench, and she unfolded it to read while she ate.

The ad fairly jumped out at her from the Personals section. In stark contrast to the other ads set in small type, this one captured her eye with bold capital letters:
—SURROGATE MOTHER WANTED—
Couple will pay $20,000 plus expenses to healthy woman to bear their child. Replies confidential. Call 555-4272.

Intrigued, Eve lowered the newspaper to her lap. Twenty thousand dollars!
Did it really say twenty thousand?

She scanned the ad again. Yes, it did. That was a lot of money to Eve Triopolous at this low point in her life.

With that much money, she could move her father out of their rented house.

With twenty thousand dollars, she could pay a hefty portion of Al's considerable medical expenses and keep up payments on her student loans.

But maybe it wouldn't be that easy.

She tried to remember what she knew about surrogate mothers. They were hired by couples who were unable to conceive a child. The surrogate was artificially inseminated with the husband's sperm, which united with the surrogate mother's egg.

The surrogate's job was to carry the baby to term, surrendering it to its father and his wife soon after delivery.

Could Eve become pregnant? She tried on the word for size. Pregnant. She didn't see why she wouldn't be fertile. Eve met the only qualifications stated in the ad. She was a woman, and she was healthy.

She hadn't caught so much as a cold in the past five years. Her body hummed along, breathing, digesting, doing all the things a body was supposed to do, even when she fueled it on a diet composed largely of bologna sandwiches, peanut butter, and junk food. Presumably her body could become pregnant, too. Pregnancy was, after all, merely another bodily process. And bodily processes were nothing to be afraid of. They were natural, normal.

She might as well face it; she'd tried everything else. Today, basking in the warm sunshine, sliding her tired feet surreptitiously out of her shoes because they were sore from walking from interview to interview to save gas, Eve was feeling truly desperate and to some extent hopeless. She remained unemployed even after applying for every job that seemed within the range of her wide capabilities, and her responsibilities at home weighed heavily on her narrow shoulders. Not the least of all, she was sick of bologna sandwiches.

Eve didn't stop to think about what her father, with his Old World ways, would say. She didn't care about anyone else's opinion, either. She wasn't afraid of being pregnant, and she didn't look for reasons why she shouldn't be a surrogate mother. At the moment, desperate as she was, there weren't any.

She fished through her purse for her cell phone. Then, after recklessly tossing the sandwich in a nearby trash can, she dialed the number in the ad.

Wombs for rent, she thought wryly to herself, and then she braced herself for the conversation to come. (more…)

How to Begin a Writing Career

July 25, 2013

Tags: Writing, learning to write, the writing life

Live in a small apartment with your parents. Be four years old and know how to write your name. Look for chances to write your name everywhere.

Notice that the brass doorknobs are on your eye level. Study the scratches on the doorknobs. Maybe they were made by someone's ring. Or the point of a pin. You find a pin on the floor. You draw a line on the brass doorknob, and the scratch looks like the first mark of the letter P, which is the first letter of your name. Write the whole P on the doorknob.

Stand back to admire your work. This is fun! The doorknob's bright shiny P makes you think that it would be good to see your whole name inscribed, so you add the A and the M. My, you're proud of your efforts!

Your mother is busy with the new baby. Her name is Candy, and if you knew how to write it, you'd write it on the next doorknob. But you don't know how to spell your new sister's name, so you might as well write PAM on that doorknob too. And the closet doorknobs and the bedroom doorknobs and even the big front doorknob.

You are much too quiet, so your mother comes looking for you.

"Pam! What are you doing?" she asks, though this is perfectly obvious. You proudly show her all of your handiwork, and she is appalled. She scolds. She does not mention that your actions show creativity. She mentions washing your mouth out with soap, which is usually reserved for sassing her, but maybe that's what writing on doorknobs is, in a way. Or at least according to how grownups think, which is mysterious.

Your mother has to get back to the baby, so she gives you a Rainbow Note Pad, sits you down at the kitchen table, and says, "If you want to write, do it on a piece of paper."

I wrote. Scribbles and scribbles, page after page, with my limited spelling vocabulary providing at least two story lines: KILL BILL and BILL KILLS. My mother thought those stories were too violent, so I eventually expanded into fairies dancing on sunbeams and dogs following me home. I progressed. I learned about chapters and rhyming and, later, wrote essays created from my fourth-grade spelling list. I won the county spelling bee. I worked on school newspapers and accumulated journalism awards. I grew up and published a lot of books and traveled the world to research them. It was more fun that I ever could have envisioned when I first picked up that pin.

Whenever anyone asks me how I got my start as a writer, I say that I was inspired by doorknobs. And that my writing opened doors for me even back then. My name stayed on every doorknob in that apartment until we moved some years later, and I can truthfully say that my first writing efforts gave me as much pleasure as anything I've written since.

If you're a writer, how did you get your start?

Writing Well

June 18, 2013

Tags: writing, rules, anonymous, editor, learning to write

I wish I knew who wrote these rules. I first came across them many years ago and have been trying to find out the author ever since. Here they are, and I've added a few enhancements to the original.

The 26 Rules of Writing Well

1) Don't abbrev.
2) Check to see if you any words out.
3) Be carefully to use adjectives and adverbs correct.
4) About sentence fragments.
5) When dangling, don't use participles.
6) Don't use no double negatives.
7) Each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
8) Just between you and I, case is important.
9) Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
10) Don't use commas, that aren't necessary.
11) Its important to use apostrophe's right.
12) It's better not to unnecessarily split an infinitive.
13) Never leave a transitive verb just lay there without an object.
14) Only Proper nouns should be capitalized. also a sentence should begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop
15) Use hyphens in compound-words, not just in any two-word phrase.
16) In letters compositions reports and things like that we use commas to keep a string of items apart.
17) Watch out for irregular verbs that have creeped and snuck into our language.
18) Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
19) Avoid unnecessary redundancy.
20) A writer mustn't shift your point of view.
21) Don't write a run-on sentence you've got to punctuate it.
22) A preposition isn't a good thing to end a sentence with.
23) Avoid clichés like the plague.
24) 1 time only I will tell you this - never start a sentence with a number.
25) Always check your work for accuracy and completely.

I'm sure this was written before auto-correct because my word-processing program kept fixing the errors. As an editor, I can appreciate this. As a writer trying to get a blog posted, I don't. But I do thank the anonymous author for a few good laughs over the years.

Write It!

March 30, 2013

Tags: writing, stories, self-publishing

It happened again the other day. A woman phoned and told me she had a wonderful plot for a book. Not only that, but it was the story of her life. And she was willing to let me write it.

I'd need to add plot points, she said. I'd get hints about those in the large box of scribblings that she'd deliver to my house ASAP. She wasn't sure how to construct the story, and I should add the dialogue. That wouldn't be too hard - she'd read my books and I seem to have a knack for it.

Of course, she'd want a cut of the royalties. She'd be happy with, oh, 80 percent. Right about then, I smelled something burning on the stove and escaped.

When writers get such phone calls, we wish we earned a living some other way.

"Why is that?" asked my friend Sasha, who thinks the writing life is so glamorous that I should find joy in jotting down my shopping list.

"Because someone else's story is not my story," I replied. (Not to mention that if I do all the work, I'm entitled to more than 20 percent of the income derived.)

"Hmmm," Sasha said thoughtfully. But she didn't really get it.

Here's the thing: I am a writer. One of the things writers do is think up plots and dialogue. The reason we do this is – WE CAN'T HELP IT. When you're a writer, you can't turn off the plot or the words in your head. And there is no cure, either. Plots and made-up conversations twitch at our brains the way tics twitch at some people's eyelids.

So with words flashing through our brains as though from weird alien strobe lights, illuminating corners of our minds and confusing us with complexities which we struggle to understand because we must – absolutely must – commit it all to paper so an editor will buy it, and there's not enough time in the day to get it all done, WHY WOULD WE WANT TO WRITE THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE?

You guessed it. We wouldn't. Also, strange as it may seem, we support ourselves with what we write. Other people sell soap. We sell words and ideas. Twenty percent of the take isn't going to cut it.

So, I humbly suggest that you write your own story. You may have been born a middle-eastern princess, fled the harem to marry a cosmonaut, divorced him after you discovered the Lost Continent of Atlantis, and given birth to Elvis's posthumous love child. That's great, but why give it to someone else? It's your story. The world is waiting for your talent, your brilliance, and your unique style. Self-publishing options make it possible for anyone to become an author, so go for it!

And you can keep all the money you earn instead of paying me 20 percent.

I will be happy to read your finished book. Just send me the link, and I'll be as delighted as anyone that you made it as a writer.

Happy writing to you! I think I smell something burning on the stove. And that's a good sign. It means I've paid the electric bill this month with what I've earned from writing.




I Spy, Almost

December 27, 2012

I wanted to write spy novels. Yes. I mean it. Cloak and dagger, assignations in misty alleys, the whole bit.

One day I tried my hand at it, and this is what I produced:

A frog who was a successful espionage agent decided one day while sitting on his chilly pad that it was time for this spy to come in from the cold.

"Wart'll I do?" moaned his Chief in dismay. "Without you, we'll be toadally at the mercy of The Enemy."

"Send me a youngster," proposed the frog, "and I'll train her in the art of espionage."

So the Chief assigned a young polliwog apprentice. Months of training followed, but the polliwog was such a slowpoke that the frog despaired of ever making her into a good spy.

Then, tactics of The Enemy made a mission necessary. "Speed is of the essence!" cried the Chief as the three of them rushed toward their checkpoint.

"Alas!" wailed the frog. "All is lost! This polliwog'll dawdle all day!"

The Enemy was hard on their heels, the frog dragging the slow polliwog every step of the way.

"Quick!" panted the Chief. "Holler something to distract them!"

At that the frog stopped abruptly, dropped the polliwog, and resigned himself to being captured. "This is the end. I can do no more," he proclaimed bitterly. "I can't possibly croak and drag 'er, too."

That's the end of my story, and it was the end of my career as a writer of espionage novels. Robert Ludlum, you have nothing to worry about. Happy New Year, everyone.

Why Read?

December 8, 2012

It's a relevant question now that we have so many other ways to use our eyes and our imaginations. TV, movies, video games. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. IPad. Smart phones. Surfing the Web. Have I left something out?

I posed the question "Why read?" to my friends at lunch. They don't want their identities revealed,so I'll call them Sasha, Tamsin, and Morissey, names that I've never used in any of my books (see previous blog post).

"I want to immerse myself in a story," Sasha said. "It's about losing myself in another world."

"One world is enough to handle. For me, reading is a way to connect with characters I like. Who make no demands on me." This was Morissey, who is dealing with an untrainable dog, nieces who dug up their dead hamster and stuck it in her freezer, and a husband who - well, you don't want to know all that. Or maybe you do, but I'm not telling.

Tamsin stirred her tea. She only drinks Earl Grey. "It's not so much the story or the characters," she said after a while. "It's how you get from Point A to Point B. All stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. The way the author handles it is what interests me."

"Ah," Morissey said knowingly. "The workings of the author's mind."

"I'm surprised you think about the author at all," I said. Being an author, I focus on the characters I create. I try to leave myself out of it.

"Oh, we always think about the author," they chorused, nodding and then blinking at me as they waited to see what I'd say.

"I think about the reader," I told them. "All the time. Kind of like he or she is looking over my shoulder as I write."

Tamsin wrinkled her nose, whether at what I said or at the pungent steam rising from the Earl Grey, I couldn't tell.

"That's creepy," said Sasha. She thinks everything is creepy. She doesn't like spiders either.

"Having an imaginary reader around doesn't bother me." I shrugged and ate some pound cake. "I'm writing for the reader, so it seems as if she should be there when I do." I expected more questions about this, but nooooooo. There are two questions I get over and over again. One is "Where do you get your ideas?" The other usually follows fast upon the heels of that one. And so it did.

"Didn't you once tell us you write in your pajamas?" Tamsin asked with interest.

Inward groan. Outward nonchalance. "Must have been some other writer. Not me." I always say that. I'll leave you to guess if it's true or not, but remember, I write fiction for a living.

"I like the feel of the pages as I turn them. The paper and all," said Morissey. "It's soothing."

"Not me! I love my e-reader." This was Sasha.

"Me too," Tamsin said. "I hate paper books. They take up too much space."

"I'm never getting an e-reader." Morissey shuddered.

"Can't we like both? E-readers for convenience, book books because - well, because." I can't imagine not having book books all over the place. They make home seem like home.

"Okay, we can like both," one of them said, and the others nodded and passed the pound cake.

I started thinking: Are we witnessing the end of the book book? Those heavy volumes that we lugged home from the library every week when we were kids? Books that promised adventure, romance, information, and many happy hours with people we'd never forget? Scarlett O'Hara, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anna Karenina, Heathcliff, Steinbeck on the road with Charley the dog. Anne Frank. Jody and the yearling.

With all the new technology available, maybe we are witnessing the demise of books as we knew them.

Only I don't think it really is all that tragic. A book is still a book whether it arrives from the library between covers or in a flash on my e-reader. The people in the stories are the same people, and we'll be forever fascinated by the thought processes in the author's head. We're still going to discuss good stories over pound cake with friends.

Everything is the same. Just different. And maybe it's better. I love being able to adjust the print size in my e-reader to a size that doesn't give me eyestrain. It's great to download the book I want to read in less than 30 seconds. Also, my e-reader talks. It reads stories to me.

So I'm embracing new technology. It's great. I like having options. Plus it gives me great comfort to know that no matter how my stories are delivered to my readers, one thing will remain constant. There will always be people around who ask if I write in my pajamas.