Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why I Don't Have to Make Up Characters

So people who've read my book always say "you have the funniest characters. How do you make them up?" Simple answer, I don't. Check out this photo of my cousin Leslie and her husband, Charles. Could be a Maylene Thibodeaux in the making???

I warned Leslie that if she sent photos, they became my property and might wind up on my blog. I guess I'll be nice enough to tell you they're dressed for a Halloween party.

At least, I'm pretty sure they are...........

Monday, October 30, 2006

Louisiana Revisited

Good morning, everyone! I'm back in Dallas and happy to say, back in my own bed. My back may never be the same. Here's a brief look at my fast trip to Louisiana.

Thursday evening - drove to my parent's house in Mineola. It's about an hour and 45 minute drive. It rained bugs on the way. Why does it always rain bugs in the country????

Friday morning - got up bright and early, had breakfast with parents and we all headed out to Louisiana. Mom and I in my car - dad in his truck. He wanted to buy shrimp while we were down south, hence the need for two vehicles.

Friday 1:00 - drove 4 1/2 hours to arrive in Lousiana. Hotel room is not ready, so we decide to pay a visit to my aunt and uncle. Just when we are thinking about grabbing some lunch, my uncle (who is 75) decides it would be a fine idea to ride a bicycle and walk a dog - at the same time. Do I even have to tell you where this one is going?????? You got it - straight to the emergency room. One broken nose later, uncle was back home, me and the parents had eaten the last dregs of the Mr. Gatti's buffet and mom and I were on our way for errands. Visited Sulphur library (town I grew up in) and I donated a couple of copies of Rumble. Went by Wal-Mart - they were sold out of Rumble (Yeah!) Went to Lake Charles to mall and signed the one copy of Rumble they had in stock - had sold the rest (Yeah again!). Went by another Walmart, found four copies left out of ten, my mom bought two. She keeps remembering people she needs to send book to.

Friday night - met my best friend from elementary through college and her husband for dinner and catching up. Essentially, the same people who were snotty when we were in school are now snotty adults with snotty kids. The people who were raising hell when we were kids are still raising hell, but now without the benefits of being minors.

Saturday morning - had breakfast, met family to pick up local newspapers from when they ran feature about me and book, got ready and headed to booksigning. According to what other authors tell me about sales at booksignings, I had a pretty good event (sold 23 copies), but Good God, do you have any idea how boring it is to sit there while strangers try to figure out how to walk by your table and avoid eye contact??????

Finish booksigning and load up car, eat lunch, change into sweats and get on the road again. Arrive Mineola about 8:00 pm. Spend night with parents so I don't have to drive in dark with raining bugs. Leave early next morning and head home to Dallas where I collapse in my chair/ottoman. Made sure I did nothing - I mean absolutely nothing that remotely related to writing for the rest of the day. :)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Traveling Friday

Short post today - As soon as the coffee sets in and I change into something other than my pajamas, I am on my way back home to Louisiana for a booksigning. I'll fill you in on Monday as to how it went.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Suicidal Bunnies

For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know I moved to a new neighborhood earlier this year. The neighborhood is very nice and quiet and circles around part of this enormous park - trust me on the enormous part. I walked my dog there one morning soon after moving, got lost, and finally found my way back to my house an hour and a half later. Now when you live so close to a heavily wooded area, there are all kinds of critters around. But here's the interesting thing - I don't ever see rabbits in the park, only in the neighborhood. My next door neighbors tell me one lives in their back yard.

I wondered about that for a while until my other neighbors told me coyotes live in the park. Well, that explains it. The rabbits moved to the subarbs to escape the coyotes.

So there is this one rabbit who likes to hang out at the house at the end of my alley. Every morning, I exit the alley, turn onto the street and start looking for this rabbit. Why? Because he's suicidal. I swear this rabbit sits in that yard until my car turns out of the alley, he carefully times my speed and distance, then dashed into the street just when I would splat him if I hadn't been watching for him in the first place. Hence, the name Suicidal Bunnies.

So why in the world is this relevant to anything? I'm going to tell you. I just finished judging a contest where several of the entries were obviously written by Suicidal Bunnies. It was the ST/Maintstream catagory yet not one entry was high concept. Most lacked the basics of grammer (but some of the misplaced modifiers made for VERY interesting sentences). One had a length of 70k and one had a synopsis written in past tense.

I'm not trying to be hard on people, but the things I've listed above are necessary knowledge if you're wanting to pursue a ST career. Which begs the question: Writing is hard. Why would anyone take the time to write at all without bothering to learn the "rules" of writing?

I've heard all the excuses - I don't have the time to learn the industry (fine, but the industry will never be bothered with you, I promise), I live in a small town and don't have access to a writer's group (there are tons of writer's groups on the internet not to mention everything you ever wanted to know about the industry), I don't want to have critique partners, someone might steal my idea (reality check - if someone steals an idea that low concept and poorly written, they are not going to sell it either).

So why do people insist on running out in the street in front of cars? I've got an idea about the bunny. I think faced with a life of battling either soccer moms, their kids and yappy dogs or the big, bad coyotes in the park, he's decided it would be much easier to pass on to a better place. I'm just honking up his plan with my defensive driving.

So what about the contest contenders? Are they too, trying to commit suicide rather than face the coyotes in New York? Is a low score on a contest entry that wasn't researched or well planned, their "out" for saying I gave it a try and it didn't work for me. Or does society have a rash of American Idol contestants - you know the ones. The people who are so horrible and actually think they can sing - without any training, without any practice, without bothering to learn.

Storytelling is in the bones, but everyone had to learn technique - Nora, Jenny, etc - none were immune to writing a grammatically correct manuscipt that was the right word length and had a concept with conflict strong enough to carry a 100k novel.

So aspiring writers - PLEASE take the time to learn the craft. And here's a little hint: you should never stop learning. Also, remember that learning the craft takes time - years of time. Do not insult the very people you love to read by thinking you can sit down and rip off a saleble novel in six weeks when it took them years to achieve their success.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Posting Bail

If anyone out there knows how to post bail, I'd appreciate an email. You see, I'm afraid that one day I'm going to need the knowledge to bail out certain members of my family. Read this email I received from a reader and you'll understand why - and probably have a good laugh:

"I just wanted to let you know how much I liked your book. I was a Wal Mart one day looking for a new book and a man walked up and ask me what kind of books I liked to read, then he started telling me his daughter just wrote her first book and showed me where it was and gave me a bookmark, I would have never even picked it up because of the cover(I don't know why but I wouldn't have] anyway please tell him thank you . I really look forward to another book from you. "

So I guess you've gotten the gist of it - my dad has been out hardselling my book in the local (and sometimes unlocal) Walmarts. He's also done it at B&N and he's not alone. My husband and brother have done the same thing.

Not that I'm complaining - heck they're gaining me readers and people who even like the book enough to write and tell me about it (and thank my dad, no less). But one of these days, I'm certain one of them will talk to the wrong woman and she's going to file a harassment charge.

That's where the posting bail part comes in.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Best of the Best

When I finally decided to come to life again on Sunday, Another 48 Hours was showing on one of the cable channels and I caught myself watching it again. Which then go me to thinking about how much I love Eddie Murphy, but not so much now, as Eddie Murphy then. Which then led me to thinking that for everyone I really like (singers, actors, etc) there is that one thing they did which I always think of as their "best."

So for Eddie, it's 48 Hours. Sorry, Eddie, I know you did the movie when you were like, 21 and you're much older now, but there's something about that movie that caught me and always will. It's the combination of the classy criminal versus the sorta white-trash policeman. The combo of Eddie and Nick Nolte was perfect. It MADE the movie great. Sure, Beverly Hills Cop was a great movie, but it still wasn't 48 Hours.

An actor who reminds me a lot of early Eddie Murphy is Will Smith. Now, granted, he's the much more polished version of Eddie, but it's the expressions on their faces when faced with the indignencies of the situations they're in that creates the same emotion in me - usually laughter. They both do it so well and no one else has ever done it like them. At least not according to me. Take Eddie in The Golden Child, all hacked off that he's been called to save humanity - facing death at almost every turn but still ripping out lines like "now, someone turn on the mother-f'ing lights." (If you remember the movie, you'll get it) Then take Will Smith in Independence Day when he's dragging the alien body in his parachute across the desert and yells "What is that smell?" and starts kicking the thing again. These men are funny. They are both able to convince me that given extraordinary situations, even faced with death, they still have the ability to make a joke. And they pull it off. Now that's comedic talent.

Then there's the books. I was a huge Stephen King fan from junior high through college, but there is one SK book that always stands out among King fans and that's The Stand. Now, my understanding is that SK finds it a bit depressing that people think his best book was written like 20 years ago, but c'mon, I bet if Tolkien was still alive he wouldn't be bitching about The Lord of the Rings.

Which then, of course, begs the question for every writer - how do I find that best of the best in me? Or (god forbid) what if I already wrote it and everything else will pale in comparison. I'm sure M. Night Shamalyn and Quinten Tarentino thought they were going to have glowing and illustrious careers after The Sixth Sense and Pulp Fiction, but has anything else they've done even come close to living up to those two works?

So who's your best of the best - actor or writer - and why.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Weekend CliffNotes

The weekend was great and I'm exhausted. Everyone seemed to have a good time at the book launch party. I sold fifty books and signed about 80 altogether, so that's a few people reading Rumble, which is great news. Also, several of the attendees told me it is sold out in some of the places they went looking, so that is good news also. The food was good (thank God, because cheap certainly didn't enter into the equation), and the room was very nice. My mom and I did the table decorations with a Mardi Gras color theme for the whole Louisiana effect. It turned out quite nice.

The literacy signing on Sunday seemed to go well. I don't know how much money was raised, but the attendees seemed to enjoy the event. Again, the food was great, the speakers entertaining and most left with some books in hand. Hopefully, it was a good enough turnout for the event to continue.

I went home after the literacy signing, ate pizza and fell asleep in my chair. I had a million things I needed to do, but didn't get a darn one done.

I think I've washed the same load of laundry five times now. One of these days, I'm going to remember to hang it up or put it in the dryer. (sigh)

But it's a new week and I have three days of opportunity to get it done as I leave Thursday evening for Louisiana for a book signing (Saturday) back in my hometown.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Busy Weekend Ahead

So it's Friday and normally I would be shouting Yeah! even though I haven't had a true weekend off since, well, since I don't know when. But this weekend is even busier than usual.

Tomorrow morning I have to wake up bright and early, take care of all errands, then head out with my mom, dad and hubby to start decorating a room at a local convention centre for my book launch party. The party starts at 7:30, but we don't know how much decor the room will take, so we have to start early in case we need to buy more. It's a two-stage decorating process. I'm really looking forward to the party as I will get to see some relatives I haven't seen in forever and all my friends will be there to celebrate the launch. Altogether, I'm figuring on about a hundred people. At least, I hope it's only a hundred as that's what I catered for :)

Then Sunday, I do my first official booksigning event. It's called Buns & Roses and it's a tea and booksigning with the proceeds going to charity. Check out the website. A bunch of great authors will be there and I'm really excited about doing something like this. Even though I will NOT be wearing a hat.

When all that excitement is over, I have a mere three days to get myself together to go out of town the following Thursday night to stay with my parents, then head out the next day to Louisiana, where I'll be doing a booksigning in Lake Charles (nearest town with a bookstore to my hometown of Carlyss). It will be at the Books-A-Million starting at noon, so come out and join me if you're in the area.

And of course, at some point and time in this whirlwind, I kinda need to write my next book - you know, the one I accepted a contract on. But don't worry, Leah (my awesome editor who lurks on my blog), UNLUCKY will be on time and fabulous. I'm telling myself that at least fifty tmes a day. :)

Have a great weekend, all!!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Bathroom Wars

There's a bathroom war going on at my job. It's not an all-out declaration of war, but many of us are in on a subversive movement. It involves the ladies room and the cleaning schedule.

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm thrilled to work for a company that actually has full-time janitorial staff that clean things during the day. My problem however, is the times they decide to clean. There are two bathrooms on the first floor - one on the training side of the building - one on the other, and it requires the use of a security badge to cross from one side of the building to the other side.

Not only do we train at client's sites, but we do a lot of training at our facility. We have three training rooms and a good-sized auditorium for these events. Class schedules are the same for every trainer, no matter what software you're teaching. Class starts at 9:00, ends at 4:00. Morning break is 10:15-10:30, afternoon break is 2:15-2:30, lunch is 11:45-1:00. We may be a little off (a bit before of after), but for the most part, everyone sticks to the schedule.

And that's where the bathroom war comes in. Inevitably, at around 10:14, 2:14 and 12:50, the janitorial lady will block the bathroom door with her plastic "do not enter" sign so that she can clean the bathroom. So we're either on all of a 15 minute break or rushing in from lunch and she thinks we all need to cross the building to pee. Not only that, but apparently our clients are supposed to cross the building to pee also. Which is an interesting thought, since one, they don't even know where the bathroom is across the building and two, remember the security badge statement from above - they can't even get over there to look.

Which begs the question - is it intentional?

One would not like to think so, but c'mon, training revenue and staff are a huge part of the company's budget - hasn't someone else noticed this problem besides me? Not only that, can anyone tell me why the entire bathroom should be closed for her to restock toilet paper or swish a toilet? She can't do them all at one time so what's the big deal?

So the subversive part of the war is that all the employees started ignoring the sign. Yes, that's right, we push right past the plastic "do not enter," some of us even letting the door slam shut on it (perhaps in the hopes of permanently destroying it?). The cleaning lady always looks peaved, but I'm beyond caring. After all, she's not required to "go" on a schedule and even if she was, she spends enough time in the restroom to get away with a few extra trips.

ADDITIONAL INFO: I forgot until I arrived at work this morning - she also leaves the toilet seats up after cleaning???????

Next up may be a covert mission to clean out the refrigerator. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Courtroom Drama

So I'll go ahead and admit it - I love those cheesy courtroom shows that run during the day. My favorite is Judge Mathis - he's sharp, funny and doesn't cut anyone any slack - ever! My husband records him during the day and we watch it at night. Judge Mathis' intro even says "the people are real, the cases are real....." And that's where the scary part comes in.

1. Why do people get cell phones for other people? Hello! You can get a prepaid phone if your credit is that bad. Why in the world do people think someone with credit so bad they can't get a cell phone is actually going to give them the money for the bill. At least 70% of the cases I see involve a cell phone bill as all or part of the settlement. Sometimes it's a cell phone for a family member or boyfriend/girlfriend. Sometimes it's for a co-worker and her son (huh?) All these people are adults, mind you.

2. In the cases of owing money, almost every single time someone was supposed to pay "when they got their tax refund." These people treat the IRS like Bank of America. Why the heck are you paying in all year to get money back? The IRS is investing your money in the meantime while you could have the money in your pocket paying off bills monthly and not creating Judge Mathis court cases for default.

But last night was the clincher. A guy sued his girlfriend for destruction of property because he was hoochying with women on stage in a club (he's in a band). The girlfriend took a knife to his guitar and admitted it. What the boyfriend failed to admit is that he dumped her clothes in the bathtub after the guitar incident and poured bleach on them. His argument was that he had paid for the clothes. The girlfriend said once he gave them to her they were a gift and therefore, hers. So the judge asks the guy if he bought the clothes for her. And he gave the most classic line I've ever heard by someone who knows they're losing and is still reaching. He said "She was given authority to wear them."

I almost fell off the couch. Like anyone's going to buy off on that one. The clothes are mine but she had permission to wear them. Pleeeeaaassseeee. Hell, he couldn't even say it without laughing. But you have to give him points for creativity.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why Some Men Will Never Have It Good

So I don't know if everyone has heard the scuttlebutt about this silly politician in Texas. His stupidity has made it round a lot of writers loops, but I couldn't resist posting about the idiot. Now, I want to be upfront in saying - this is NOT about politics. I don't ever, EVER discuss politics except with very close friends and family. And I also want to say that I pretty much think all politicians are liars and thieves. Normally, I stay out of the fray entirely, but this time a politician attacked me personally because he called his opponent (a published romance author) a writer of porn.

Check out what the idiot has on his website.

Can someone please tell me why in the world this porn opinion still exists? I simply don't get it. And although I said it wasn't about party, I am a little suprised that this is coming from a Democrat. A devoutly religious Republican, I could have understood a little better, although both still would have been WRONG and STUPID.

So I guess Fred Head's opinion is that woman shouldn't enjoy sex because it's pornographic? Or maybe we just shouldn't talk or write about enjoying sex because it's pornographic?

Maybe the real problem is that women who've been with Fred have never enjoyed it therefore he doesn't want them to find out what they're missing.

And that my friends, is why some men will never, EVER have it good. Not from a woman, anyway.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday Movie Review

So I got a chance to see a movie - in an actual theater - this weekend. I don't make it very often anymore. Busy, busy, busy. And if you read my blog, you already know that I absolutely love horror movies. Even B horror. So I was happy that The Grudge 2 was releasing and my husband and I went to see it Saturday night.

Friday/Saturday night are the best times to see horror movies because all the high school kids go and it's fun to hear them scream. It's sorta like getting additional entertainment out of the movie. But in this case, the screams sooooooooooo did not make up for the crappiness of this movie.

Let's start with:

1. If you are going to hop around within location and time, do it right. If you're not sure how to do it right, watch Pulp Fiction and take notes.

2. If you are going to have multiple storylines going within the same film, do not have all your characters look alike. One sixteen year-old skinny girl with long brown hair looks like any other. I kept trying to figure out - now which one is this - is it the friend of the cheerleader or the geek that was tortured. Anyway, I simply don't want to think that hard at the movies.

3. Apparently, the screenwriters didn't want to think very hard either. The plot of this movie was non-existent. I've seen more plot and character arc from dirt.

4. In all movies - but especially in horror - at least one person needs to remain alive at the end. Otherwise, why would anyone give a s%$#??????

Do yourself a favor - save your money and rent something better - maybe an old Stephen King.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Payment for Services Rendered

It's been a little over a week since the official release day for Rumble. When I first started writing I set a goal and established a reason why I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write because books had given me so much pleasure over my lifetime and I wanted to give back and be part of what I see as a magical process. I went on to say that if I could change even one person's reality - if only for a couple of hours - then I was successful.

I've gotten quite a few emails from readers in the past week and wanted to share some of their comments with you:

"Congradulations on you first book and I look forward to many more. I am 58, an avid reader and this is the first time I have ever contacted an author, but you book was so enjoyable and I know an instant success. Good luck to you and all your endeavors."

"Just finished this book this morning!! Great book!!!!!!!!!! I really enjoyed Rumble - it made me laugh. Who could not laugh at Maylene?? I loved everything about this book. I love books set in Lousiana, I've always wanted to go down to the bayous. (You'd think living in Miss. I'd of made it by now). Anyway, I think you've got a winner on your hands - you go on my auto buy list!! Hope you've got another coming soon. Have a great fall."

"Your book is awesome, I could not put it down. It gripped with the first sentence and never stopped from there. the flow is excellent and you never know what is going to happen next."

Okay, this next one is the real kicker. Totally made me cry.

"I'm already telling everybody about your book. Told atleast 3 people already today and I haven't even left the house! Honestly we lost our 10 year old son 2 years ago so this month is really depressing for me but reading RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU had me laughing and able to lose myself in an alternate reality for just a little while. You have a real gift!"

Accepted - Payment in Full

Houston, We Have Wal-Mart Sightings

It's finally official - Rumble has been seen in Wal-Mart! It was loitering, but hey, it's there. I knew back in July that Wal-Mart's distributer had "bought in" on Rumble but was starting to worry when the release date came and people went to Wal-Mart - no Rumble. But I'm happy to report that a cousin in Louisiana reported a sighting yesterday, a friend in Kansas bought it in Wal-mart yesterday and I saw six copies this morning in the Wal-Mart close to my office. Yea!!!!!

For those of you who don't know, having your book in Wal-Mart is a big deal. There are a lot of towns/cities in this country. A whole lot of them do not have bookstores - very few of them lack a Wal-Mart. So distribution to Wal-Mart increases your sales potential by a great amount. Some writers have even reported to me to Wal-Mart sales represent almost 40% of their total.

So all you Wal-Mart shoppers - go forth for great deals and a copy of Rumble on the Bayou (discounted, of course). :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


So I finally broke down and did it - created a myspace page. I know, I know. Like I have any time in the world to be learning more html OR making friends. But so many of my writing buds were on there that I decided to take the plunge, do things as simply as I could and establish a sorta presence.

Well, I haven't been live three days and I've already received an invitation to join some hot single sexy group - you don't even want to see the picture that came with the offer.

Which begs the question - wasn't myspace originally a teen environment?

So why do I feel like I just put my foot into the next biggest porn club on the internet? And my bio clearly says I'm married - which begs the "single" portion of the invitation altogether. There's a picture of my with my cat, Vinnie, in the photos and I would think that would negate the "sexy" portion of the invitation. Not to mention, that if these people take any cues at all from astrological signs, I'm a Virgo.

So do you myspace? If so, what's the strangest invitation you've gotten?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Movies on a Plane

So I've been taking the portable dvd player with me when I travel so I can watch movies on the plane. It seems to pass time faster than reading which means I only notice how uncomfortable I am every ten minutes and not every five. I decided to go back to the beginning of the X-Files and start rewatching them from Season 1 so I could go through to the end. I need the refresher because I kinda fell off watching once DD left but now I want to know how it all ends and can't really remember all the conspiracy so I'm reviewing. And loving it.

Unfortunately, on this last trip, I thought I had one cd left to go in Season 1, which would have been plenty for the two legs of the trip, but I was mistaken. Turns out disk 7 was all director commentary. Argh! And I'm left with a 3 hour flight ahead of me and no movie. So I headed to Best Buy and went to searching. My husband has an extraordinary dvd collection, so it's hard to pick up something we don't already have, so my visit took a while and several phone calls to avoid duplication.

I finally picked up a movie I should have already watched but just hadn't gotten around to - Secret Window. I love Stephen King, love LOVE LOVE Johnny Depp, and I am a writer, but I hadn't managed to watch this movie. So I bought it.

SPOILER: Here's my problem - I kinda thought it was cool that he killed his wife and her lover. I figure they had it coming. Now, I think it's absolutely impossible he could have gotten away with it. I mean, after all, corn doesn't grow overnight. So two people disappear, in the middle of a divorce settlement, and all of a sudden the soon-to-be-ex-husband has decided to turn dirt in his back yard and no one checked????? Not likely. And I have to admit that I knew by the second scene with the "killer" that it was all in Johnny's mind and he was actually the bad guy.

So did you see Secret Window? If so, what did you think about it?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Got High Concept

So there's buzz all over the industry about high concept. Do you have it - got to have it - better get it if you want to sell. And they're not lying. High concept is necessary for a sale, particularly in the single title market place.

So why then, is it that something that's so important can hardly be explained?

I've been to workshops, read articles and listened to people talk about high concept. I still don't have a good way to explain it to anyone else. I write high concept and I know it when the idea comes or when I read it in anyone else's work, but I can't define it.

For people who write on a professional level, you think we'd have a good way of communicating something so important to our industry. But I don't have the words.

What about you? Do you understand high concept? Can you explain it in a couple of sentences? I'd love to hear them if you can.

Friday, October 06, 2006


It's Friday - yea!!!!!! I am tired this week. Guess it's all this book launch work - or maybe the real work (ie day job). Or maybe it's just knowing I need to do laundry. Regardless, I'm glad it's almost the weekend.

I got a great blog post yesterday from blog reader, alexandra, who is an aspiring writer and a high school student. Impressive, right? I thought so. Here's what she said:

"I just read Rumble on the Bayou--one of the best books I've read this year " - alexandra

So my Friday has started off with a bang.

Several of my friends have been chatting around the loops and blogsphere lately about stress and what you do to relieve it and what you read at those times. I think the topic is a good one and deserves a bit of discussion.

When I am not in rough draft mode, I read up new releases like mad, trying to get as many as possible in before I have to be in "creative mode" again. When I'm writing a rough draft, I don't like to read anything remotely close to my genre because I don't want it to influence my voice. Also, I am usually so focused on my work that I don't want to spend the energy it takes to focus on another single title work, so I usually skip them altogether when in rough draft.

So what do I read - depends on the day. If it's a regular day - normal stress and anxiety, I pick up category books during rough draft stage. It's a new read but a low-key one, especially since you can narrow down exactly what you want to absorb by category line. Usually any line with a cowboy on the front does it for me. :)

If the day is high stress and I don't even want to think about anything new, I pick up the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and reread for probably the 100th time since childhood. I love these books. The times they lived in were so much more basic - you worked to live, period. And their appreciation for the smallest things always makes me rethink my life and get happier with where I am. The books are both comforting and humbling all at the same time and I think sometimes I need to "take it back to basics" and remember what is important.

So what about you? Do you have different books for different stages of your life? If so, what are they?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Finally - Another Sale!!!!!!!!!

The deal was done yesterday and it's now official - I will be publishing another book with Dorchester!!!!

I am thrilled to work with my fabulous editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, again. She is a doll! So smart and so supportive, has incredible vision for her products and is a joy to work with.

Yeah for me!!!!!!

The new work is entitled UNLUCKY (we'll have to see if that sticks) and it's about a heroine with a voodoo curse on her who needs to make 10k fast and agrees to be a cooler at her uncle's casino. She has a run-in with an undercover FBI agent who needs the players to stay at the table - not lose and leave - and he's less than impressed with her cooling ability. It's another funny, sexy romp in the bayou.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Day After Release Day

So I spent my official release day training accountants then flying back from Irvine, but hey, Rumble's out and that's all that matters!

A couple of new items:

My friend, Kelly Parra, does fabulous interviews with authors and this month she's posted an interview with me - check it out!

My Booklist review came in last week, but I am woefully behind on posting. Here's what it said:

"The worst crime Deputy Dorie Berenger usually faces in Gator Bait is Maylene Thibodeux weaving about with too much liquor in her and too few clothes on her. This time Maylene's troubles herald events far more serious. An alligator winds up in her pool stoned on heroine, and the drug trail leads to Gator Bait itself with big-city DEA Agent Richard Starke hot on the trail. Funny thing is, there could be an even bigger problem: Dorie's feeling pretty hot for Agent Starke. Part of the growing romantic mystery genre, in which romance and mystery tie the knot with chick-lit's blessing, this debut novel is chock-full of quirky small-town characters and
an entertaining, offbeat love story. The mystery pulls its weight, taking readers on a ride as intriguing and wild as a flat-bottom-boat race in the bayou. "
Nina Davis

My review is up on Romance Reviews today. Check it out.

My new contest for the Dooney is up on FreshFiction and my friend Ally Carter blogged about Rumble's release yesterday! Thanks Ally!

That's all I can think of for now and a mountain of paperwork from the last two weeks of training awaits me. (sigh) More later!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


It finally arrived - official release day!!! Rumble on the Bayou is on sale now! (and somewhat before). I can't tell you how excited I am so I'm not even going to try.

So many things are going on, it's hard to remember to share them all, but I'll do my best to keep everyone updated.


First off, I got my first official fan email yesterday from a complete stranger. She read Rumble in one day and loved it! I am thrilled that people take the time to write and say these things. No one (outside of other writers) believes we have the most incredibly fragile egos when it comes to our own work. God himself could come down from the heavens and bestow his blessing on our work and we're still going to sweat an RT review.

Second, I am a little miffed at the mapping system on the internet. I spent 2 hours last night trying to find bookstores to sign more in-store stock to no avail. And let me tell you, the traffic going from Orange County to LA is ridiculous. I could have walked faster. It took me 45 minutes to go 2 miles! Then both sets of directions lead my right into the middle of a residential neighborhood. No bookstore in sight! I was so frustrated the second time, I just decided to get something to eat and call it a day. I am seriously thinking about using my AmEx travel points to get a mobile GPS system, though. Or just buy one - heck it's a tax deduction if I'm using it to find bookstore, right? :)

On a more pleasant front - I am the featured author of the month on The Romance Reader Connection. Check out my interview here.

My friends, Colleen and Diana blogged about me yesterday - lubs ya much!

And finally, the official contest for the Dooney & Bourke bag has begun. Register for my newsletter to be entered to win. If you've already registered, you're already entered. No need to do it twice. Here's a pic of the bag. Isn't it gorgeous?

I'm sure there's a million things I'm forgetting but it's time for breakfast and I am starving! More tomorrow!

Update to previous post: People are selling my book on ebay. How funny is that? Check out this link and see the woman's comments. I need to get her as a PR person.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Likes Books

So obviously I like to read. Kinda a given if I'm willing to put myself through the ringer trying to write, eh? And I figure my blog readers like to read or they wouldn't give a hoot what I have to say. And my friends like to read, a lot of my family and miscellaneous people I see in the airport (most of whom now have my bookmark).

So this is something I don't understand.

I've been visiting bookstores as I travel around the country and I get a completely mixed response from some of them. Before release, I introduced myself, explained about my book and asked if they would like promo material - booklets, bookmarks, etc and how many if they were interested. Then I either provided them right there or mailed if it was early on and I didn't have my stock yet.

Now that the book is on the shelves some places, I've been visiting bookstores and asking to sign in-store stock. My understanding from industry people is that this is the preferred method of gaining autographed copies rather than wasting everyone's time and money on a booksigning for an unknown author when, like two copies of the book might sell and you just sat there for half an afternoon.

But my experience with booksellers has been remarkably different. Some have been polite and businesslike - retrieved stock, I signed, they stickered, we shook hands and I was off. Some were excited and happy to have an author in the store and get autographed copies (I have to say, these are my favorites since face-to-face sales is the hardest thing for me). Then there are the ones I don't understand. The other day I introduced myself to a clerk at an information desk, asked to sign there stock (if they had it) and she actually looked at me like I had just told her I had the flu and took a step back from the counter. Finally, she went off to ask the manager something, then came back with a card for someone I needed to contact M-F between the hours of 8:00 and 5:00 in order to sign my books. Yea, because all writers are independently wealthy and we're available during normal work hours. BTW - the manager didn't bother to make an appearance at all.

The worst part was - this is the bookstore in my hometown and I usually shop there. And everywhere else in town and around the country, the same chain has let me sign in-store stock without a qualm.

So their reaction begs the questions - do they even like books? I can understand an hourly wage clerk taking the job for a bit of money and not caring either way about the books, but the manager? Am I being a purist in believing the manager of a bookstore should like to read? Isn't that kind of like thinking a preacher should believe in God?

I believe some things are sacred, like any art form, and should be loved by the people responsible for distributing it. Am I out of my mind? I'm not asking for people to strike up the band, but please don't act like I just asked to distribute the plague either. At RWA, highly respected booksellers have instructed authors to do drive-by signings and said that autographed copies sell better. I didn't make this up - I'm getting my information from leading industry professionals. I'm trying to follow the "rules," I swear!

BTW - I'm in sunny Irvine, CA today and tomorrow and signed SEVEN copies of Rumble last night at the B&N at 13712 Jamboree Rd. Huge store and very nice people!!!!!! So if you're in CA and want a signed copy, head to Irvine.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Surreal Moment

So I was in Boca Raton last week on a training gig and walked into the local B&N at lunch time for coffee and a new book. I was cruising the "New Paperback Releases" display, rounded one side and there was RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU!!!! I almost fell out. It took like a half-second for it to totally register - one because technically, the book has a lay-down date of October 3rd. Two - it was on a display at the front of the store with bestselling authors!

I was so excited - my first sighting. And did I have a camera - of course not. Why - well, see number one in the prior explanation again. So I introduced myself to a staff member and asked if I could sign the in-store stock. They were excited and I did my first official drive-by signing!

So back at home on Saturday, my husband and I spent the day driving to bookstores. I signed stock and he hustled bookmarks to everyone in walking distance. He even convinced one woman to buy it on the spot. :) If only I could clone him and send him to every bookstore in the US! He is a mega-star at customer relations and sales. I've learned a lot from him, but selling like that is just not in my bones. He's scary good.

One interesting thing, though, and anyone looking for the book please make note. B&N has it shelved as "Fiction." Not romance, not mystery - Fiction? I'm not sure whether this is a good, bad or doesn't matter sort of thing, but that's where you have to look to find it.

I admit, that evening after class in Boca Raton, I DID go buy a disposable camera and go back to the B&N and take a picture of the display. I'm sure people thought I was crazy since the employees I'd spoken to at lunch weren't working any longer, but I didn't care. It was my very first sighting! As soon as I have the film developed, I'll post a picture.

I'm off to Irvine, CA today, so I'll be chatting to you this week from the other end of the US. Nothing like an east-coast to west-coast shift to mess up your internal clock.
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