Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Christmas Video

Okay, so it's not commercial and it's not spiritual, but it did win an Emmy. If any of you are SNL (Saturday Night Live) fans, you've probably already seen it. If you haven't, then please enjoy this absolutely hilarious rendition of an 80's band singing a song about the perfect Christmas gift for a woman (according to the man, of course). It features Justin Timberlake, who apparently has an enormous sense of humor in addition to being a talented singer.

I couldn't get the embedded object to work, so please take a hop over to this url and watch the video. Enjoy!

I've posted my Christmas animal pics over at Killer Fiction, so check it out and everyone please have a


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On the Run

Late post today - I'm running from job to job trying to finish before our departmental Christmas party. Then I have a cp group meeting tonight (our first official), so yea!

My good friend and fabulous author, Ally Carter, put a post on her blog Monday about self-publishing that I think all aspiring writers should read. So please check it out. I promise, it's worth the time.

See ya tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday Movie Review

Today's movie review is for the new release I AM LEGEND. This movie starred Will Smith (who is one of my favorite actors) so I had high hopes for a good flick. Unfortunately, I came away somewhat disappointed.
The plot of this movie was not outstanding, and while Smith is a great actor, not even a great actor can hold up a movie with a weak plot. The plot was one that has been done - over and over. Some virus escapes and kills most everyone, but those it doesn't kill turn into some sort of monster type creatures. The creatures almost always have issues with sunlight so that the movie can do all the scary night scenes. Then there's the one character (Smith) is is immune to the virus and it's their mission to find the cure, save the world, etc. Not exactly breaking new ground here.
So the plot was weak. The ending sorta hacked me off, first for being anti-climatic and also just annoying. Smith's acting was great but not enough to keep me overly interested in a poorly written script.
My final thoughts: Rent it. Don't pay premium

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cold Monday

Well, it's still cold here in Texas - a new miracle that we've actually had cold weather for almost a week. And in December, imagine that?

Today's my post day over at Killer Fiction, so check it out. Tomorrow I'll be back with a movie review of I AM LEGEND.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fast Friday

This is going to be a fast Friday post, mainly because I'm running late. You see, last night I came home from work and thought I would relax for a moment. Well, I ended up falling asleep in my chair (hubby was on the couch asleep) and we woke up around eleven. Then of course, I'd slept too long so my body thought it was morning and there was no way I was going back to sleep again - neither was my husband. So we did what any couple who can't sleep and has no kids does at midnight - we went to Walmart to buy Bounce because I ran out last time I did laundry.

Got home and finally went back to sleep around 3, so I'm starting a little late this morning.

Had an interesting thing happen at Starbucks - I was in line at the drivethrough and when I pulled up to the window, the guy said the lady in front of me had paid for my coffee - it was part of a "pass the cheer" campaign they were doing and then he asked me if I wanted to pay for the guy behind me. So I did and found out I was the 12th person in a row to "pass the cheer." Kinda a cool idea. And if you've never seen the movie "Pay It Forward," you should.

Oh well, off to work. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Make Me Laugh

Who doesn't love a good laugh - okay, well maybe depressed people or those martyrs that everyone hates to be around - but for the most part, laughing is therapy. So yesterday, I finished up the class I shouldn't have been teaching and headed back to my desk. I needed a break from people and questions (even though my students were very, very nice). It's just that whole introvert thing. Performing just takes it out of me.

So I'm back at my desk and thinking that I could really use a laugh and something from my past came to mind - The Farting Preacher. Now, if any of you missed seeing this debacle when it made the rounds, I think you should see it now. This yahoo preacher is actually from my area, and even without the gassy add-ins, he's hilarious to watch. So take a peak and see if the farting preacher makes you laugh. I found it yesterday, fired up the headphones and giggled for a good couple of minutes. Felt much better the rest of the day.

So without further ado - The Farting Preacher

Farting Preacher 2 - The funniest bloopers are right here

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Short Post

It's a short post today with essentially no content. I am teaching another damn class - yes, I said damn and that's how I feel since I really shouldn't be teaching this class at all. SOMEONE didn't stick to our agreement, and if there's any justice in the world awful, bad things will happen to her.

But anyway, you don't even want to get me started in on bitching this morning or I'll never stop. The bad thing about training is that I had no opportunity to write yesterday morning at all. So this morning I crawled out of bed at 5:00 in order to get some writing done before class. The good news is, I managed 7 pages before having to leave for work! That's a banner day when you consider I only had 2 hours to do it.

So the new book is moving right along, which is good. I haven't bought a single Christmas gift yet, probably bad. And I haven't sent a single Christmas card and probably won't, probably bad. I never seem to have the time. But I swear, now that I'm home permenantly and have next year to work on it, I'm logging people in my new address software so that I can spit out Christmas mailing labels next year and send some card.

What about you? Shopping all done? Christmas cards mailed?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Hero

Today's my post over at Killer Fiction. It's a very important post today, reminding people of something they sometimes forget during the holiday season, so please check it out.

Back tomorrow!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Fantastic Friday

It's a fantastic Friday here in Texas. Of course, the weather is totally buggy. It's supposed to be 80 degrees here tomorrow - hello? It's December? Then it's supposed to drop to something stupid either Sun/Mon, like in the 40's. It's no wonder you can't shed a cold.

In other great news, I've gotten a proposal for my latest new venture past my agent and she actually said it was "near perfect." Keep your fingers crossed that I have good news to announce in the coming months.

Last night I had an absolutely fabulous time. My good friend and New York Times Bestseller Author (isn't it totally cool to say that?), Ally Carter, was in town for a talk/signing, so we got together for dinner. I haven't seen Ally in a little over two years so it was a lot of catching up, talking about writing, talking about life, talking about most everything as we occupied space at Red Lobster for roughly 4.5 hours. Ally is a wonderful person in addition to being a great writer and very smart, so I really enjoy talking with her. A great time was had by all - hey, there's those yummy biscuits and this cookie stuffed with chocolate served with vanilla ice cream - yum.

Busy weekend for me - I have a lot of tinkering with stuff to do and a little laundry and the big job is cleaning my pool. Not that I'm going to swim but sitting in the hot tub might be nice if we get out of the 80's. :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday Morning Movie Review

For the record, I have tried and tried to format this post this morning but blogger apparently wants everything run together in one big messy lump (sigh) Thanks, blogger for making it so difficult to read this blog.
Movie seen - Enchanted.
The story of this movie goes that the princess is in her fantasy land and waiting for love's true kiss from her prince. The prince finds the princess but before they can marry and kiss, his evil step-mother throws the princess down a well and sends her to a place where "there are no happily ever afters." ie New York City

This movie could have been stupid, and it probably should have, but I have to tell you I LOVED IT! And not only did I love it, my husband loved it too! There were times we were both laughing out loud, and Amy Adams, the actress who plays the princess, was absolutely priceless in her portrayal of a Disney princess. She was perfect. If any of you grew up watching Disney movies, then you will definitely appreciate the authenticity the directors and actors achieved in this not-quite-Disney sort of production.

The plot was great and entertaining. The actors were superb and the story kept me laughing. Altogether, it was fantastically done and I highly recommend it.

Check out a movie trailer!

My final review: Might just be my favorite movie this year!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Quick Post and Book Winner

Quick post today - I'm running behind and am mucho busy.

Ann M - you have won a copy of Wendy Robert's REMAINS OF THE DEAD. Please email me your mailing info. And if you'd like for me to hold off sending until you're back in the country, please let me know. My email address is jana (at) janadeleon (dot) com

Tomorrow is movie review of Enchanted. Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Friends with Books

Today is official release day for my good friend and fabulous author, Wendy Roberts!!!!!! Congratulations, Wendy, and here's wishing you mucho sales!

Wendy has conceived a terrific mystery series, featuring a forensic cleaner who sees ghosts. Can't imagine a problem with that setup can you????? Especially when the cleanups she works on features people who didn't exactly leave this world by natural causes.

I have the pleasure of reading this book prior to publication and the priviledge of providing a cover quote and have to say - it's fantastic! Great concept and I totally see this series making it a long, long time.

So without further ado, here's the cover for REMAINS OF THE DEAD. And the series is very cleverly called A GHOST DUSTERS MYSTERY. How cool is that?

I absolutely love the cover.

Did I hook you? Is your interest peaked? Well, I can certainly help you there. Why don't you visit Wendy's website for a peek at an excerpt, or maybe her blog for a peek at Wendy in real life. Or if you just want to buy the book, Barnes and Noble is always happy to oblige.

And just to make things more interesting, I'll be giving away a copy of REMAINS to one lucky blogger. Just post here or at Wendy's blog and I'll announce a winner tomorrow morning. Hey, you can't beat that for a Tuesday morning!

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy Monday

It's a bright and beautiful Monday morning! Of course, it's hot again here in Texas - hell, it wouldn't be December if it wasn't 80 degrees at least once. (sigh)

I didn't win at Nano again this year - but I am happy to report that I DID write a little over 25k words for the month which I'm really happy about.

Today's my blog over at Killer Fiction, so check it out.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday & a GCC Tour

It's a glorious Friday. Why glorious, you ask? Well, mostly because Saturday is DARA (Dallas Area Romance Author)'s official Christmas breakfast/meeting, and if that's not fun enough my cp's and I are having a mini-party Friday night, complete with queso, crackers, cookies, brownies, wine and other goodies at the Homewood Suites we've reserved for the night. It will be a great time of talking shop, eating, drinking and sitting in the hot tub. Now, what, I ask you, can be wrong with that, huh?

I'm bringing you a GCC tour today for debut novel THE DEPARTMENT OF LOST & FOUND by Allison Winn Scotch. The buzz for this novel is huge, with all sorts of cool mags (Cosmo, to name one) and reviewers offering up great comments. This is definitely one I will be picking up.

Natalie Miller has just had the worst day of her life. But it didn’t start out that way. After all, she’s on her way to the top. She has a bright future ahead of her and is using her determination and smarts to get her—and the senator she works for—where they need to be, regardless of whom they step on along the way. Passing lukewarm bills to please the constituents and leaking stories to the press are mere checkmarks on Natalie’s to-do list. And that’s the way she likes it.

Until, on the very same day, her doctor gives her the shocking news that she has breast cancer and her boyfriend dumps her, leaving Natalie to question everything she knows.

So she decides to take on her cancer the way she does everything—with steely determination. But as she becomes a slave to the whims of chemo, her body forces her to take a time out. She gets a dog, becomes addicted to The Price is Right and, partly to spite her counselor’s idea to keep a journal, Natalie embarks on a mission. She is going to track down the Five Lost Loves of her Life and figure out what went wrong.

Unwittingly, Natalie’s personal challenge to see why good things come and go—and what responsibility she has in it all—forces her to look at her life in a new light. Everything comes under question—her relationship with a mother who drives her crazy, the friendships she could nurture more tenderly, and her knack for pushing away the very people who want to be there for her the most. There’s a wedding, a reunion with the Man Who Got away, and an encounter with Bob Barker himself that helps her face her fears and change her life.

As one character says, “It’s funny, isn’t it? How the thing that cancer changes the most isn’t your breasts or your hair or anything at all on the outside. What it changes is everything else instead.” And just as Natalie uses her bout with cancer to discover what is most important to her, this heartwarming debut will encourage readers to take stock of their own lives.


Your main character seems to have a lot in common with you. You’re both ambitious and stubborn. How is she/he different from you?

It’s so funny, writing fiction, how people assume that because you wrote a character, that you somehow must BE a character. Certainly, I identify with Natalie, my headstrong protagonist, and her voice and personality came easily to me. Her competitive streak and desire to win definitely resonated with me as well, and yes, while I’ve never been sick enough to worry about my mortality, I’ve also been in situations in my life in which I’ve wondered how on earth I would piece things back together, much like we all have. But that said, that’s probably where our common ground ends. Natalie has a mother who isn’t terribly warm, and since The Deparment's publication, I’ve always felt a wee bit sorry for my own mom because she is supportive and nurturing, and I’d never want anyone to assume that the character I created was based on my mother! Natalie also has a difficult time making the distinction between winning at all costs and winning for a purpose, and I’d like to think that I know the difference: I don’t delight in anyone else’s misfortune and believe that there’s room enough in the world for all of our success. This is something Natalie has to learn along the way. And she also discovers that the things that make life fruitful – friends, family, a confident sense of self – don’t automatically land in your lap, and that chasing down success rather than these aforementioned blessings won’t fulfill you. My life is rich in so many ways, and I’m lucky enough to appreciate the wonderful balance that I’ve achieved, whereas again, for Natalie, this is something she’s yet to learn.

I know you blog yourself over at Ask Allison. (Http:// Why do you blog and does it feed you or take energy from you?

Well, I started Ask Allison about a year and a half ago, partially as a promotional tool for my upcoming book release but also partially because I wanted to counter the Miss Snarks of the world and offer some insight into our industry from a writer’s perspective and a kind one at that. Don’t get me wrong: Miss Snark provided invaluable information to so, so many readers and writers, but I’m not a huge fan of dismissing people or making them feel like idiots. We all started out as newbies at some point, and man, I’ve certainly asked my fair share of beginner questions, so my blog hopefully informs and educates without belittling anyone. These days, I’m not just answering questions, I’m chatting about anything and everything related to writing and my life in general. And you know, it both feeds me and takes energy away, if that makes sense. The truth is that I’m super-busy and some days, I just don’t feel like blogging. I mean, on my list of things to do, that just falls completely off the paper. But then I realize that people are reading and learning and engaging in a dialogue (including myself), and that’s why I do it…and that’s the part that fills me up.

Tell us about how Natalie comes full-circle in the book and how it relates to your own life.

It’s funny: on the surface, The Department is a book about a young woman who gets cancer, but to me – and to many readers, so I’ve been told – it’s about much more than that – it’s about a young woman who is trying to figure out her life, what’s important, what’s not, what her purpose is, whom she loves…all of those big questions that so many of us wrestle with as we forge our way to adulthood. And certainly, as I was crafting Natalie’s story, a lot of my own experience rattled around in my mind. For example, Natalie decides, as part of her quest for self-awareness, to track down the five loves of her life and ask them what went wrong. And while, um yeah, I’ve never specifically tracked down my exes, I have thought long and hard about those relationships – sometimes I still do – and have tried to grow from those experiences and reflect on how they helped make me into who I am today. Additionally, Natalie unpeels her life, much like an onion, until she sheds all of the layers that protected her from who she really is and who she needs to become. And I think a lot of us can relate to that – I tried on several career hats until I found my groove as a writer – and I’d think, like Natalie in the book, that just because we make a wealth of mistakes, that this doesn’t mean that we can’t correct our course or be granted eventual happiness. That’s the beauty of life, and of, I hope, this book.

Scotch has contributed to American Baby, American Way, Cooking Light, Family Circle, Glamour, InStyle Weddings, Men’s Health, Parents, Prevention, Redbook, Self, Shape, Women’s Health and Woman’s Day, among others. She lives in New York with her husband and their son and daughter.


"A great way to kick off your summer reading. Editors' choice." – Redbook

"Smart and well-written.” - Marie Claire

"Too good to pass up. You'll laugh a lot (and cry just a little) as Natalie rebounds from the big C and reinvents her life." – Cosmopolitan

"Scotch handles the topic of cancer with humor and hope, never dipping into the maudlin. The changes and realizations that the characters make are profound and moving. An impressive debut." – Booklist

"A bonbon of a book." - Publishers Weekly


Visit Allison at her website, her blog, and buy the book!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas TV

Okay, I give up - Thanksgiving has come and gone, so I guess it's officially okay to get buried in Christmas cheer. A rare event has occurred at my house this week - I've actually watched a decent bit of television. Of course, I'm actually at home these days and I have a raging respiratory infection, but hey, who's counting those things?

So I noticed while surfing the tube that all the Christmas shows are starting to play - you know, all the fun stuff that you waited for every year when you were a kid. Unless, of course, you're young enough to have owned the dvd and watched it on your own television in your own room - in which case, you are far too young to be listening to the rants of a middle-aged woman. But let me explain for a moment how things were - you see, back in the old days, the "good" shows only came on once a year (Christmas stuff, Charlie Brown Halloween/Thanksgiving, The Wizard of Oz), and you either caught it or you missed out. And I REALLY mean caught it - like as in live. There were no VCR (until much later) and definitely no way to pause live tv or rewind.

So I was trying to decide exactly when I should break out my videos and start my traditional once-a-year watching party. Do I sneak them in when my husband is working, or do I torture him with my childish pleasures? I'm thinking torture is in order for the Christmas season. :)

Then there's the issue of what to start with and do you save the best for last. And I have all the good stuff, all the way from Rudolf to that kid that will shoot his eye out with a bb gun. And let's face it, who doesn't love How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original, not that horrid other version)? But I think my all-time favorite is The Year Without a Santa Claus. I simply love Heat Miser and Cold Miser, and yes, I can indeed sing both of their theme songs. Now see, that's information that you definitely needed.

So what's your favorite Christmas show??????

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Well, the glorious four-day is officially over and it's time to get back in the saddle. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Today's my post over at Killer Fiction, so check it out.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Writer's Space

If you're a writer then you hear a lot about the tools of the trade - computer, writing books, organizations, a highlighter, whatever. And a lot of discussion is usually over office space. People are of so many different opinions as to what works and doesn't and they all seem to contradict each other. Some feel that you need some glorious writing desk with a huge window and a clear view of trees, birds, the ocean....whatever you have access to. Stephen King says to pick a corner of a room and put your desk up against a wall facing it rather than in the center. He says in the center of the room, you are king and focused on yourself and your space. Up against the ugly wall, you are put in your place and can concentrate on your writing. Hmmmmm. Interesting.

What I've found is that one place doesn't work for me at all. It's changing places that makes me the most productive. Now some might argue that that's because I spent so much time traveling and had no choice but to write in different places, and that might have reinforced the behavoir, but it's always been there.

The reality is, ever since I got my Alphasmart several years ago, I became the roving author. I love the cafe writing in the morning (everyone who reads me regularly knows that one), but if my husband is working a late night, you might also find me at the local Waffle House, sitting at the counter, drinking coffee and pounding away on the keyboard (mostly while coveting those new blueberry waffles they have).

And that's not the end of it. At home, I'll take my laptop and travel within the house. I might work on the couch or the chair or the kitchen table or in bed. If the shadows are right, or I'm editing (and the weather permits), I might sit outside.

Some people swear they have to be "grounded" to a place and their productivity is better, and I can understand that. It's a mental game. You sit in one spot and eventually the mind learns that when you go to that spot, it's to write. That way, the mind will turn "on" more quickly each time you sit and reinforce the idea of writing in that spot.

But it doesn't work that way for me. I guess I'm just a wanderer. I find the different locations spur my creativity. What about you?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Do I Have to Get Up?

I didn't want to get up today. That's actually kinda odd for me because I'm one of those sickening morning people. But today, I have to teach an accounting class (part of my transfer agreement) and I really don't want to. Plus, it's a holiday week, so while everyone else at my company will be winding down and taking it easy, I'll be performing. Yuck.

Today's my blog over at Killer Fiction, so check it out and pop back in here tomorrow for a movie review.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Glorious Friday

It's a glorious Friday here in Texas - why, you ask? Well, because the state finally wised up, realized it was approaching winter, and had the decency to give us a cold front. So when I woke up this morning, it was around 40. Of course, it is supposed to be 70 by afternoon (sigh). And people wonder why they stay sick with colds and sinus problems. But hey, I was able to come home from work, open the windows and cool my house down. Totally saving the utility cost since the hubby and I like it COLD.

It's also a glorious Friday because tomorrow is the day Verizon comes and gives me FIOS. What is FIOS? Well, for anyone who doesn't know (or hasn't seen the commercials), FIOS is basically the second coming of the internet. It's a connection speed faster than lightening and it's slowly rolling out to different area around the country. I cannot wait!

In other news, my official weigh-in was this morning and I've lost another 3 pounds! So let's here it for no traveling and bringing your lunch. It's simply amazing what can happen if you have the ability to graze all day on healthy foods and drink some water.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Things Heard in a Cafe

It's Thursday - whoot! And I have to say that this week is going very fast. I think it's a combination of being on a roll with my writing and loving my new job. The only shame is that I have to revert back to the old one and teach a class next week - yuck! But it was part of my transfer agreement - I teach the Dallas workshop for Nov and Dec if they don't have coverage. And of course, they don't have coverage. But at least I'm not traveling to do it.

I had an extraordinary week with the writing so far, although I'm sorta taking this morning off from rough draft to take care of some business stuff for writing and run an errand. BUT, I got five pages done on Monday, TEN on Tuesday, and eight yesterday, so I am almost at my weekly goal of five a day anyway. Not that I'll be taking tomorrow off, but I'll be shifting gears. I've been working on another proposal for another line/publisher - a non-mystery, category idea. If I get news on it, I'll let you know.

So starting tomorrow - or probably today at my lunch hour - I'll be shifting gears back to Ghost-in-Law, in the hopes that I can finish and get it in early. That would be fabulous!

So I was working in my cafe yesterday and there was a guy talking that just made me want to laugh. I was sitting in the very back (because my favorite server worked in the back yesterday) and that's usually where groups congregate - pulling tables together and having church/work type "meetings" over breakfast. So the group meeting next to me was a bunch of carpet cleaners and here's the conversation I overheard:

Carpet Cleaner Boy is stating how angry it makes him that people don't want to hear the truth about their carpet and what needs to be cleaned. (My guess is they really don't like to hear about the cost, but CCB is young and sort of stupid, as you'll see). So he goes on to say:

"I don't get it. If you go to see your dentist an he's like 'why aren't you eating right and exercising' and 'you need to take vitamins,' you don't get angry and complain - heck you pay him to tell you that then leave."

Hmmmm - DENTIST? When's the last time your dentist talked to you about diet and exercise?

And why exactly is CCB so intense over carpet? It's not war or famine, and I'm pretty sure that unless you have an extreme case, it can't kill you. Not to mention that it's a heck of a lot easier to replace than your teeth.

So then the server says something about being conservative and CCB says he doesn't know the word - which may have been literal - but I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt. So apparently for him, cleaning carpet is the ultimate in thrills and entertainment. Can you imagine what would happen if he got to INSTALL it?????

And I hear this sort of conversation all the time - people so obviously wrapped up in one small aspect of their lives (and usually a fairly unimportant one in the big scheme of things), and I have to wonder if they have it so much easier than the rest of us that are walking around in a three-dimensional world of layers and technicolor.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Terrific Tuesday

Why is today so terrific - well, I got my stitches out yesterday!!!!! You know what that means - it means that for the first time in ten days, my armpit has actually seen soap and deodorant! And since Texas decided to pull a usual and heat up to 85 degrees yesterday in the middle of November, I am especially glad for my return to hygeine.

In other news, I am on a roll with my writing and actually got out ten pages this morning before work! Whoohoo! I think I've finally hit my stride.

In even other news, I lost 4 pounds last week on my first official "I'm no longer a traveling trainer" diet. Whoohoo times 2!

So in keeping with my new way of eating, I am looking for good recipes for easy stuff to cook. And casserole/crock pot dishes are especially appreciated. I am one of those people who can eat carbs/sugar, but not fat, so whatever the recipe, it should be low in fat or at least be able to be made that way (and still edible). So anyone got a good one-dish meal they can recommend?????

Monday, November 12, 2007

Another Monday in Dallas

Well, it's Monday morning and I'm still in Dallas - whoohoo! My laundry is still caught up and I managed to clear about 100 emails from my account this weekend. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Today's my post over at Killer Fiction so check it out. I'm giving away a signed copy of UNLUCKY for those who play along in my game of the day.

Have a great one!!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday and a GCC Tour

It's Friday, glorious Friday! I am always happy when Friday rolls around but this week, I'm not just dying for it. Why, you ask. Well, it's because of my new, wonderful, fantastic job! I have to report that my first official week on the new job was heaven. I know I'm a creative type (I write fiction for goodness sake), but I am also a huge geek. And I love logic which means software is my friend. So now I sit around all day, playing around in software and writing about it. The only thing that could be better is if I sat around all day writing my fiction. And if it ever pays enough, I'll consider it.

For the weekend, I have the Dish network people coming - again - to "fix" my satellite. Of course, they haven't fixed it the last 5 times they were here, but hey, what's another waste of my Saturday to them? And I was SUPPOSED to have new internet installed but they screwed up too and now I have to wait another week. I'm not impressed with the service so far. (sigh)

Today, I'm leaving you with a GCC tour of Jackie Kessler and her release THE ROAD TO HELL, the second book in her HELL ON EARTH series about (get this one for unique) a succubus named Jezebel who runs away from Hell, hides on earth as an exotic dancer and learns the hard way about true love. For those of you who love a good paranormal (which in my opinion lends toward urban fantasy), you should definitely give Jackie a try.

And before I tempt you with the book, I'm going to tempt you with the fabulous contest she's running on her website. Check it out - you could win an iPod Nano or a Shuffle!!!!!!!! And now, more about THE ROAD TO HELL and Jackie Kessler.........

The second book, THE ROAD TO HELL, is about how Jezebel—now the human Jesse Harris—has to return to Hell to save the lives of those she loves…and somehow make sure it’s not a one-way trip. (If she’d known love was this tough, she never would have turned her back on lust.)

Jackie answered a few interview questions for me and I thought you'd enjoy her answers:

How did you research stripping? Books and google? or did you have to experience stripping to be able to write about it?

Contrary to popular belief, I did not work my way through college by stripping at a local gentlemen's club. I read tons of books, written by and about exotic> dancers. I watched STRIPTEASE (and fast forwarded to the dance scenes). I watched HBO's G-STRING DIVAS. And I visited a strip club and took notes. My Loving Husband, who completely supports my research, accompanied me. (But he politely refused my offer of me buying him a lap dance.)

So, you've weathered the release of your debut novel with grace and aplomb---How is the publication of a second novel different?

More stress! :) Actually, I did a lot more promotion for the second book -- I launched an entire campaign to encourage people to Hit the ROAD. (Plug! Plug! Check out my website for details...and you could win an iPod Nano!) Have I mentioned that I'm learning the subtle art of bribery?

Your book is shelved in romance, but it has elements of urban fantasy. can you explain how having a sort of hybrid of genres helped or hurt you as you tried to market your book?

It was a surprise to me that my novel was bought and marketed as a paranormal romance; I'd written it as an urban fantasy. So I had to learn a lot about the romance genre and market -- and I was thrilled to discover just how passionate and loyal romance readers are. They are also more inclined, generally speaking, to read urban fantasy novels than fantasy readers are to read romance novels. So the battle for me is convincing devoted urban fantasy readers to take a chance on a book with the word "romance" on the spine. );

Reviewers Love It:

"Kessler's sizzling sequel to paranormal debut Hell's Belles puts ex-succubus Jezebel--the now-mortal Jesse Harris, a dancer at a strip club--stage center again. For a month after waking up in a hospital, the former 4,000-year-old, fifth-level succubus who used to seduce humans to claim their souls has been living a happy mortal life in New York with a devoted boyfriend, New York vice cop Paul Hamilton. So when Alecto, a Fury from hell, arrives and demands she return to hell to help Alecto's sister, Megaera (Jesse's former best friend who betrayed her), Jesse balks. Much of the rest of the book is spent convincing her to change her mind, with each sexy escapade topping the last, until (among other things) the demons go after Paul, and Jesse has to "pull an Orpheus." Kessler's raunchy blend of heaven, hell and eros makes for a wild thrill ride, and hot, tough-talking Jesse has gumption and sass." — Publishers Weekly

"Kessler's sassy heroine is back with the scorching-hot book two of the Hell on Earth series. A sharp-tongued succubus writes in first person, telling a deliciously wicked story that mixes romance and humor with dark urban fantasy. The combination of supernatural elements with the mundane realities of life in the big city keeps things real. This is one helluva read--put Kessler on your must-buy list." — Romantic Times (4.5 stars)

So What About the Author - Here's What Jackie Reveals:

Some kids want to grow up to be doctors, or movie stars, or political assassins. Me, I wanted to draw comic books. Not Archies, either—superhero comic books. Maybe it was all the heavily muscled guys in spandex…

Around the time I was 15, I realized that as much as I enjoyed drawing (note that I’m saying nothing about the quality of those pics), it was a lot of fun putting words in the characters’ mouths. I didn’t know the term “fanfic” back then, but I started writing stories about the X-Men, Alpha Flight, and the Teen Titans. Didn’t do anything with those stories, other than horrify my mother. She asked why I couldn’t write nice stories, you know, about bunnies. Nope—me, I wanted to write about power. About magic. About hot guys in spandex. And about beating those guys bloody and senseless. (In retrospect, maybe I really did want to horrify my mother. Hey, not my fault. When I was a kid, I busted her doodling on the cover of New Teen Titans Number 6. Argh!)

So maybe it’s ironic that the book I wound up writing had nothing to do with overly muscled men and everything to do with scantily clad women. (Well, temporarily scantily clad.) Oh, right, and demons.

I live in Upstate New York with my Loving Husband, two Precious Little Tax Deductions, two cats, and 8,000 comic books. For more about me, please visit my website. And remember: love your inner demon.

Buy Jackie's book at Amazon or B&N and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hump Day

Just a quick post to let you all know I'm still out here. I'm just busy with the new job - which I love!!!!!! And I'm doing Nano, so busy, busy writing.

For those of you who've never heard of Nano, check out the website. Might be something you want to consider.

Have a great Hump Day!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

New Job - New Armpit

Today's my official post over at Killer Fiction, so check it out.

Two things in my personal news today that I'd like to cheer about:

1. I officially start my new job as a technical writer. So now I'm a writer at both of my jobs. And neither require me to board an airplane on even a semi-regular basis.

2. I had armpit surgery on Friday (if you don't know where I'm going with this one - believe me, you don't want to). So now I have a 1.5 inch incision that I can't get wet until the stitches are removed. I'm not even going to launch into what I think about an armpit that can't be bathed properly and can't have deodarant, but I guess I'll survive.

Have a great Monday!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday Movie Review

Sorry, I sorta bailed on yall yesterday - well, not sorta - I guess I just did. There was a really valid reason though. I was on a roll with my writing and lost track of time, so by the time I got to work, I had to rush off to class and just didn't have time to blog. Hey, you can cut me a break if I was on a writing roll, right? Those things are sacred!

So I promised a movie review this week and here it is. The movie was 30 Days of Night.

Is this not a creepy picture????? The premise of this movie is really good - vampires from Romania (who are centuries old) have discovered a tiny town in Alaska where the sun is completely gone for 30 days. So essentially, they can conduct a full-time buffet.

Some things were silly (it's horror), and they left off some of the more recognized aspects of fighting vampires (crosses, holy water, etc), so maybe we were supposed to just "get" that the town wasn't religious - I don't know. But the vampires were creepy and they made these creepy sounds. While certainly not the best plotted or written script, the movie just worked and I loved it.

My final recommendation: If you like horror, this one is worth the price of admission!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Release Day!!!!!!

It's release day for UNLUCKY!!!!!!

I can't tell you how happy I am that it finally arrived and along with a contract for TWO MORE BOOKS!!!!!

So you'll be seeing more of me, Louisiana, mysteries, and quirky secondary characters.

If you visit your B&N, Borders, etc this week, please drop by and tell me what you find - how many copies, placement. Authors love to have this information, but it's kinda hard for us to personally check on every bookstore in the country. So we kinda rely on you guys to help us out.

Thanks so much for everyone's support this year! I've had a lot of fun with this blog and have met some great people in the process. Here's looking forward to another fabulous year in 2008!

(BTW - I'll have to put off movie review until tomorrow - must run off to class)

Have a great day!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Last Monday As A Trainer

Today's my last Monday as a trainer. Unfortunately, I'm actually training this week and it's not going to be an easy one. Figures, right? They're trying to kill me on the way out the door.

Oh well, by next week it will all be water under the bridge.

Today's my blog day at Killer Fiction, so check it out. I'm giving away a signed copy of UNLUCKY - which releases tomorrow!!!!!! And this month is my gift basket giveaway, so I'll be drawing for that tomorrow.

Check back on my regular blog tomorrow for a movie review - finally, a horror movie worth seeing!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Good News!!!!!!

This just in -

I have officially accepted an offer from Dorchester for my next two books!!!!

I have no details as of now, but will get back to you with them when I can.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday in Dallas

Well, it's official - I am off the road!!!!!!

In case any of you don't watch the news (like me), my last trip was supposed to be to San Diego, but they're having a bit of a problem with fire. So the training was cancelled and I took over my boss's class here in Dallas. Next week is my last week altogether, then I embark on the third career of my life. It seems sort of weird but I guess it just means I've got options, right?

Next Tuesday UNLUCKY releases and I am so far behind, I don't even know what to do next. I need to order bookmarks and bookplates and I need to make more booklets and send them to bookstores. I need to do a newsletter - I haven't since last year (see, I told you I was too busy to spam you), but I might need to send one now to remind everyone of UNLUCKY. I need to come up with a grand prize for drawings and other prizes and we're having a party at my house for book launch in November but I haven't made a guest list, selected food, shampooed the carpets or arranged to board the dogs.

Calgon - take me away!

Anyone old enough, will get that reference.

On the good side, I am making strides in getting things done. Actually living in your own house seems to make a difference. I haven't had to go buy underwear in a month or so. :) Of course, I still have two completely packed suitcases in my bedroom - one of these days I'll get those clothes out and to the dry-cleaner, but I don't want to rush things.

AND, I was just thinking today that the holidays will be on us in a flash! I don't know about you, but I love Christmas. I like when the cities decorate and put out all the lights and this year, by God, I'm putting a wreath on the grill of my SUV. What about you? What's your favorite holiday and do you decorate it up?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Phone and a Movie Review

Since I'm changing jobs at the end of the month, I had to get a new cell phone. The old one was with the company plan and since I'll no longer be traveling the country (yea!) the company won't pay for the phone any longer. Oh well, so sad. So my husband and I took a trip to the mall on Sunday where I got my brand new magenta razr. It is too cute and once I figure out how to use it (which I figure will be around 2009), I'll be in good shape.

In an aside, for those of you who know how I have absolutely no luck with traveling, I want you to know that my last trip is scheduled to leave tomorrow - for San Diego. If you watch the news, you're probably laughing your butt off about now. If you don't, then google San Diego and forest fires and you'll get the picture.

Saw a movie on Sunday. We saw The Heartbreak Kid

I have to say, I think I've decided that I didn't really like this movie. I mean, I guess it was sorta funny if you like watching someone be tortured, but apparently I don't. Not to mention that there were a couple of plot issues that would never, EVER happen from a legal stand point. And since they were necessary to carry the flailing storyline, it seemed like really weak writing to me.

Ben Stiller's character was flawed and not in a good redeemable way. I just simply didn't like him pretty much from the beginning and couldn't stand him at the end. The "wife" was a train wreck and I never understood why he jumped in that before looking. Basically, the story just didn't ring true for me and the elements didn't hold together.

If you want to watch a funny actor do funny movies, try Steve Carell. He's hilarious and I can't wait for his next movie to come out.

My final rating: If you insist on watching it, please wait and rent it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Two More Weeks

Well, Monday is the start of my second to last week as a trainer. Today is my Killer Fiction blog posting day, so hop over there and check it out. And check in here tomorrow for a movie review.

Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Armpit Redux & a GCC Tour

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath to know what happened with the surgeon and my armpit. I'd like to say - HA, I finally get what I want. Apparently what I have is a wax sack that needs to be removed and he can do it with a local, a scapel and some tweezers. So in a couple of weeks, the saga of the armpit is officially over. I know you are as relieved as I am, if for no other reason than to not read about it on my blog.

Today's GCC tour is brought to us by Renee Rosen and her debut novel EVERY CROOKED POT.

In her unforgettably heartwarming debut, novelist Renée Rosen brings the coming of age story to a whole new level of sensitivity, depth and humor. EVERY CROOKED POT goes beyond typical teen angst to reveal a quirky, lovable main character whose struggles and triumphs speak volumes on what it means to love oneself in the face of insecurity, self-consciousness.

Nina Goldman is the youngest of three growing up in Akron, Ohio in the 1970s. She and her siblings must cope with their eccentric, larger-than-life father Artie, a dreamer and schemer who commands constant attention with his outrageous antics and mortifying behavior.

As if growing up with Artie as a father isn’t difficult enough, Nina also faces another issue. Born with a hemangioma, a disfiguring birthmark covering her right eye, Nina constantly tries to look “normal,” and spends hours experimenting with makeup and Veronica Lake hairstyles designed to hide her bad eye. When none of those things do the trick, Nina finds herself riding in laundry dryers, appearing on TV, and navigating a host of other hilarious escapades, all in the name of fitting in.

Nina’s spirit never falters in this endearing story about a captivating misfit, her peculiar family, and the lengths to which a girl will go to feel loved by her family, friends, and ultimately herself. In this autobiographical novel, Rosen conveys a message of hope and belonging to all people who feel “different” in a world where everyone else belongs. With a profound message and a cast of irresistible characters, EVERY CROOKED POT is sure to become a classic in the hearts and minds of readers everywhere.


“… a beautifully nuanced tale about an extraordinary family and an even more extraordinary young woman. Not since Myla Goldberg's Bee Season has a first novel so deftly captured the complexities, joys, and frustrations of daughters and their families. It's hard to believe this is a debut – Rosen's voice is already as good as it gets. Keep an eye out for this rising star." - Sara Gruen, New York Times #1 bestselling author of Water for Elephants

“In a debut novel that could easily have been published as a…memoir, Rosen looks back at the life of Nina Goldman, whose growing up is tied to two pillars: a port-wine stain around her eye and her inimitable father, Artie. The birthmark, she hates; her father, she loves. Both shape her in ways that merit Rosen's minute investigation....” - booklist (starred review)


Renée Rosen worked in Chicago as an advertising copywriter and freelance writer and consultant. She has studied with Susan Minot, Carol Anshaw, and the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, Michael Cunningham. She has contributed to many magazines and newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Complete Woman, DAME Magazine, Publishers Weekly, and Chicago Magazine. Renee grew up in Akron, Ohio and now lives in Chicago where she is hard at work on a new novel.

Visit Renee at her website, her blog, and buy the book!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Armpit Saga

Well, I'm back to the doctor today. Yep, you guessed it - the "alleged" infected hair in my armpit has not gone away. So now I get to see a surgeon about removing the hair. Have you ever in your life heard of so much hoopla over a darned hair?????

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I could have avoided this entire situation if I'd just lost weight. Why, you ask. Well, because my regular GP is always pushing weight loss. Not that I disagree, mind you, I DO need to lose some weight. But if you listened to him, weight loss would solve everything like stress, joint pain, gerd, and global warming. In fact, I'm fairly certain that the Cowboys would have beat the Patriots on Sunday if I had only dropped a few pounds before the game.

I keep hoping (in the far, far reaches of my fantasy mind) that the surgeon is just going to say "well, hell let me just take that out with a razor and a pair of tweezers and we'll be done with it." Quite frankly, if I had the means to biopsy the removed tissue, I would have seriously considered doing this myself. The oncologist charged a $577 office fee for the five minutes he spent with me to tell me he wasn't impressed. God only knows what a surgeon will charge to actually remove a single hair. Thank God for insurance.

I'll check in tomorrow and let you know if I have to schedule major surgery for a hair or if I managed to convince him on that razor/tweezers thing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where are you Martha?

I have one of those Martha Stewart sort of questions - or Ms. Manners - or whoever makes the "rules" about appropriateness.

God only knows why I even think of these things, much less go to the trouble of repeating my thoughts and asking others opinions, but here goes:

I did a literacy event on Sunday. It was at a local hotel - not five-star but more upscale than a regular Hampton Inn. So I went to the ladies room and as I was using the restroom, I noticed that the toilet paper at the end of the roll had been folded to look like fans. So then I got to wondering, is it considered bad manners if I don't fold the toilet paper back? And good Lord, how long was that going to take?

So, opinions? Anyone just think I'm crazy for don't have to lie. :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Embarrassing Moments

Today is my Killer Fiction blog day and I'm sharing an embarrassing moment for all of you to enjoy. So hop over there and check it out. And have a good laugh!

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Am a Junkie

NEWS FLASH (since I have been in a cyber hole and missed it yesterday):

My friend, Ally Carter has hit the NYT Bestseller list at #8 with her book CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO SPY.

I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am for Ally. MAJOR congratulations!

I have to say it - My name is Jana DeLeon and I am a Starbucks Junkie.

I tried to avoid it. I once actually believed that there was no way that a coffee was worth $5.00. I was wrong. I can admit it now. Mind you, I try to control my Starbucks urges. Let's face it, if I drank the coffee as often as I'd like, the monthly cost would add up to car note on an economy vehicle. So I try to limit. But for the past few days, I've been dragging and there's a Starbucks on the corner right before my office, and I was weak. So two days of Venti non-fat seven pump vanilla lattes for me.

I had a similar reaction when someone told me the price on Krispy Kreme donuts and thank God there's not one of those near my office. My jeans could not take all the pressure that would create.

I have a busy, busy weekend, so I anticipate lots of coffee being had. Not the Starbucks variety, at least not at Starbucks, but I do buy they coffee grounds for my house. So what have I got going on???? Well, this is a list of the things I have to do:

1. Create, print and assemble 170 booklets for mailouts.
2. Sign approx 100 cover flats for mailouts.
3. Ship books/promo items to people/stores I've already made promises to.
4. Take my dad to dinner for his birthday (mind you, this involves approx 4 hours in round trip driving to their house out in Mineola TX)
5. I am doing a literacy event on Sunday called Buns & Roses, so I have to dress up, be nice, make money for charity and sign books. (There will also be coffee there) :)
6. For Buns & Roses, I need to put together gift bags for everyone who will sit at my table. That means actually buying something to go in the gift bags (I bought the bags last Sunday) and decorating the gift bags. I thought it would be a fine idea to buy plain colors and put stickers on them to personalize - what the heck was I thinking??????

And that's just the have-to's. There's a list of other items I ought to do, but somewhere in there sleeping and eating comes in. Oh well, no one said launching a book was easy. :)

Have a great weekend everyone - and good luck with your own to-do list!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Morning Movie Review

Saw a good movie last weekend - The Kingdom, starring Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner & Jason Bateman.

It had a decent plot and a good portrayal of what is going on in the middle east and the difficulties for Americans to get things done. In this case there was a terrorist attack on an American base and a lot of people were killed. An elite group of FBI agents go in to try and gain information to find the terrorist, which is not exactly an easy thing to do when you're not allowed to touch anything or leave the compound.

Foxx finally forms a bond with a local policeman and the two of them press issues until the Americans are allowed a full-scale investigation.

This movie had plenty of action even if the plot was somewhat predictable. There were a couple of times I think they attempted that huge poignant moment and came up a bit short, but not so short that it was sad. Unfortunately, there were no huge "Wow" moments in the film - you know, those scenes so powerful that it makes you want to cheer.

Take A TIME TO KILL for example (and if you haven't seen it, run out RIGHT NOW and rent it) - you cannot help but feel overwhelmed with strength and emotion when Samuel L. Jackson yells in court "Yes, they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!" Wow! Really!

So no wow moments, but what this movie did very well and I enjoyed a lot was the humor set into a tense situation. It's only very clever writing that can pull it off. Jason Bateman had a lot of humor lines and Jamie Foxx did his share also.

Altogether the movie was entertaining and worth the price of admission.

My final review: Worth seeing and I'll probably buy it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Suspicions Confirmed

Well, it's officially - I am now certain that American Airlines is trying to give me a nervous breakdown before I change jobs. Yesterday I embarked on my second to the last trip. Arrived at the airport a bit early so I could check email, get a water, etc. There were two gate changes before I could even drag out my computer but at least these were in the same terminal - granted opposite ends, BOTH TIMES, but still the same terminal. The third gate change was not. So the exhausted group headed for the train, changed terminals, walked some more and finally arrived at what we hoped would be our final gate.

We just didn't realize exactly how long we were going to be there.

The plane was a little late, but only 10 minutes or so - no big deal. So they load us all up and we are ready to leave, but we don't leave. Finally, they decide to tell us that the front wheel is broken and they're fixing it. Well, GOOD! I'm thinking we need the front wheel, but was it really necessary to load us up and fix it while we were there?

2 hours later, they let us off the plane to go get food since this was SUPPOSED to be a short flight and there was no food on board. I headed to McDonalds and grabbed a burger. It was officially the time we should have landed in St. Louis. A sum total of 3.5 hours after boarding, the wheel was finally working (at least we hoped), the paperwork was finally completed (and according to the pilot, this took longer than fixing the wheel) and we were airborne.

Once again, I say and mean it whole-heartedly - THANK GOD FOR FIRST CLASS UPGRADES!

The good news is, I had Cheesecake Factory last night with a trainer friend, Todd, who just happened to be training at the same center I am this week. So I guess the day wasn't a total loss. After all, there's no discounting the Cheesecake Factory for fixing what ails you.

I swear, guys, once I come off the road, I'm going to have a whole new life. I might have to come up with other things to blog about. But in the meantime, I figure I've scared you all off of flying on a regular basis. :)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Morning Blues

Lord, I didn't want to get up this morning! And I'm usually a morning person but ugh, I think I could have sleep at least another hour or so. Of course, I have to get ready, pack up and head to the airport again today. This is the second to last trip, though, so pretty soon, you won't have to hear my travel bitching. Never fear, I'm sure I'll come up with something else to bitch about. :)

This morning is my regular post over at Killer Fiction, so check it out.

I'm giving away an ARC of UNLUCKY there today!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday and a GCC Blog Tour

It's Friday and I'm as soon as I get home tonight I will be one trip down on my remaining three trips until I am officially off the road - whoohoo!!!!! I have to say that this trip has been one of the most entertaining as far as location goes. Why, you ask. Well, let's start with directions that tell you to exit the airport and turn on CR-W (for those of you urbanites, that CR stands for County Road). This particular CR took me through farmland - miles of it - along with the accompanying corn fields. For a moment, I thought I had been asked to star in Children of the Corn 3 - Grab the Trainer.

I am in Madison, WI, for those of you wondering and I swear there was a whole big downtown when we flew over but apparently it was easier to get where I was going to drive through the cornfields. I had to laugh because after miles of corn, I was relieved to finally see a blue sign advertising a gas station and an Arby's. Civiliazation! Even more interesting is the town I'm in - Middleton (I think). There is new construction everywhere and the most interesting thing is you'll have ten acres of office building and ten acres of shopping with corn fields in between. No lie. It's like you're driving and there's an office building, then a cornfield, right in the middle of this growing metropolitan area. I wish I had my camera. It looks totally bizarre.

Oh well, enough about corn and travels. Here's a GCC tour for you and I hope you all have a great weekend!

Today's GCC tour is brought to us by Judy Merrill Lawson with her release ALL THE NUMBERS. Check out the book!

“How much do you love me?” Daniel asked his mother. “I love you all the numbers.”

Recently divorced and navigating the uncharted territory of single parenthood, Ellen Banks is a tough but loving teacher and a devoted mother to her two sons, Daniel and James. When they take their summer trip from their home in Madison, Wisconsin to their best friends’ lake house for weekend, she has no idea that her life is about to irrevocably change. While Ellen sits on a nearby dock, a teen on a jet ski shatters their perfect day when he hits James. Suddenly Ellen is faced with decisions that are every parent’s worst nightmare. Life support, organ donation. And then, a funeral. A grieving sibling who blames himself for the death of his brother. A distant ex-husband, friends and family who don’t know what to say or how to help, lawyers, judges and policemen—none who can make the hurt go away. Healing the empty space in Ellen’s heart and soul is almost too much to bear. But she is determined to see justice done for her son, and to heal the deep wounds in her family. All the Numbers culminates in a highly charged trial which, in an unexpected turn, leads Ellen and Daniel to a new beginning.

About the Author:

Judy Merrill Larsen teaches high school English in St. Louis, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and their five children. She says that the novel came about because of her fascination with how ordinary people recover from extraordinary events and how love makes us vulnerable, and how very isolating yet very human, the desire for revenge can be. Whether she has seen something in the news or in fiction, she has always wondered about the lives of people in the aftermath. The choices they make. The holes they fall into and then how—or if—they claw themselves out. From the medical details to the intricacies of Wisconsin law, and courtroom procedures, Larson says the research was as challenging as the writing. As she says of her main character, “none of us is a super hero, but we can all choose to be heroes in our own lives. Ellen Banks, in All the Numbers, ultimately makes just that choice, by choosing to live on.” Larsen holds a Master’s Degree from Washington University. She is currently working on her second novel.

Praise for the Book:

“Judy Merrill Larsen’s All the Numbers is sure to join Judy Guest’s novel Ordinary People, and Jacqueline Mitchard’s The Deep End of the Ocean as one of the most talked-about books of its time. This powerful story of tragedy, grief, and redemptive love haunted me long after I read the final uplifting yet heartbreaking words.”—Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife

“[A] compelling debut….Larsen depicts a mother’s year of grief and recovery with a
sure and honest voice.”—Booklist

Judy Merrill Larsen will be reading from and discussing All the Numbers at:

Left Bank Books in St. Louis, MO on August 9
Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Brookfield, WI on September 25

In addition, you can hear portions of All the Numbers the week of September 18 on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Chapter-A-Day program

Here's a link to buy the book!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Harlequin Closes Lines - Again

Well, I'm sure you all heard the news that Harlequin is closing lines again. This time it's Next and Everlasting that take the bullet. This seems to be a regular occurance at H/S and I can't help but wonder when they're going to figure out why.

Let's start with they don't jump on a genre bandwagon until it's pulling out of the station. Look how long it took the Nocturne line to start and let's just all hope (for the authors sake) that it's not next. But that's not the case with Next and Everlasting. They are both women's fiction lines. One a shorter contemporary type book and the other a family saga type book.

So why did they fail??????

I think the second problem H/S has is their target audience and their expectations. Let's face it - H/S has long established themselves as a ROMANCE publisher. And if you take a look at the lines that have cut production (RDI) or cancelled altogether without combining with another line (Bombshell), the one thing they had in common is that they weren't romances. Ultimately, I think that's where the biggest problem comes in.

H/S can advertise all they want but if a reader sees the H/S logo, I think they're expecting a romance. Mira seems to be doing all right, but I've spoken to several people who didn't even realize it was a division of H/S, so maybe that's why.

So what's the solution? I don't know. It seems no matter how they advertise, the expectation of readers lends toward the usual. But with H/S distribution abilities and overall readership, it is a sad commentary that they can't get something other than straight romance to work.

I'm very sorry for all the authors who will lose their jobs over this and once again reminded that in this business, nothing is permanent and diversifying can be a lifesaving event.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fall Has Arrived

Well, apparently fall has officially arrived in Texas - it's raining. That's pretty much the only way we know. Of course, it was raining when I was trying to drive to the airport this morning so what is usually a 40 minute drive became a 2 hour one. I SOOOOOOO cannot wait to not do this anymore.

I was thinking about marketing stuff last night and organization and all the other things I'll actually be able to do when I'm in one place and don't have an entire room of dirty clothes to deal with and I decided I need some sort of mailing list program that will store all my mailout addresses and allow me to categorize them by type - like mystery bookstores, Waldens, Louisiana, etc. That would allow me to easily print up label that I need since I send slightly different things to different audiences.

So anyone heard of such a beast?????? I know I could do an internet search and probably get 10,000 hits (4 of which would be valid), but I was sorta hoping my blog readers would save me some time. :)

Also, I'm thinking about contest ideas for UNLUCKY and quite frankly my creativity is way low. So any ideas for a cool big prize would be appreciated. For big I mean a couple hundred dollars limit on one prize if that gives you a range. So what would you like to win??????

And to kick things off:


So post away and good luck!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Busy Tuesday!

First off - Happy Launch Day to my friend Ally Carter!!!!! Today is the release of her second in the series of fabulous YA books about the Gallagher Girls Spy School. I loved the first book and will definitely be stopping tonight to pick up the second!

Sorry, I'm late posting today, but I had a doc visit to get refills on every medication known to man. :)
Okay, so yesterday I told you I might have some personal exciting news to announce today and I do. No, it’s not another sale – not yet anyway, but I’m thrilled about this news also.

I have accepted a new position in my company! So, I’m not in the least bit sad to say that as of November 5th, American Airlines and Hilton Hotels will have to limp along without my weekly presence.

I am transferring to the Documentation department where my new job will be writing the training manuals. Is that perfect or what????? I’m very excited to get back to a regular schedule of clean underwear and knowing what time zone I’m in.

So only one more month of traveling stories then it’s back to a regular 8-5, sitting at the same desk – doing the same thing all day. Nirvana!

I’m going to leave you today with a joke. I don’t normally post jokes, but my mom sent this and it was so darned funny, I couldn’t resist. In fact, it was apparently so darned funny that my mom got ahold of it in a round about way from a preacher. :) Enjoy!

I was at the mall the other day eating at the food court, when I noticed an old man watching a teenager sitting next to him. The teenager had spiked hair in all different colors: green, red, orange, and blue. The old man kept staring at him.

The teenager would look and find the old man staring every time. When the teenager had enough, he sarcastically asked, "What's the matter old man, never done anything wild in your life?

The old man did not bat an eye in his response, "Got drunk once and had sex with a peacock. I was just wondering if you were my son."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Do I Have to Get Out of Bed?

Today is one of those days that I REALLY did not want to get out of bed. Can someone please call in dead for me???????

Unfortunately, I have important business to conduct this morning at work, so I can't skip out. And hopefully, I'll have some good personal news to announce later this week.

Today is my blog day at Killer Fiction, so go take a peek.

Have a great week!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Well, the moment I've been waiting for finally happened and I'm happy to say, I am enormously relieved! My Romantic Times review came in and UNLUCKY got 4 1/2 stars. Yeah! Here's the quote:

"With original, smart and comedic writing, DeLeon delivers a three-dimensional hero and heroine, a community of offbeat secondary characters, a complex and intriguing plot with a hint of the paranormal and a fascinating peek into the world of casino poker."

Romantic Times is such a big deal and I am soooooooo thrilled to have gotten another 4 1/2 star review. I always worry until this comes out.

All of this, of course, takes me right back around to having another release coming up, which makes me think of marketing, which makes me go huh? I wish someone - anyone - could pin down an effective marketing plan for writers but it just hasn't happened. It's simply too hard to quantify.

I try new authors because they're recommended or I've just come across their book and the back cover copy appeals to me.

What about my blog readers? Does book marketing work for you and if so, what kind?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Always An Adventure

I know some of you think that flying is always an adventure, and that might be true, but sometimes the adventure is sort of lame. Like yesterday, for instance. We boarded the plane on time pulled away from the gate, got in line to take off, and apparently, that's when things went to hell in a handbasket. The radio system in Kentucky went down and they had no way of communicating with planes over their airspace. Since a ton of flights are routed that way, that meant we were all grounded until someone could make the radios work. This took over 2 hours, then there was the backlog of grounded planes to handle. So we sat on the runway for over 3 hours - doing nothing - just sitting. What an adventure. Ha!

And the worst part was, we were one of the lucky planes. Over 100 flights that didn't get away from the gate were cancelled over this fiasco. And once again, I must say "Thank God for First Class upgrades!" At least I had a semi-comfortable chair, chocolate chip cookies and drinks. So I took the time to call my mom and work on my taxes. Altogether, it was a thrilling afternoon spent in a hot plane on the Dallas runway. Oh, did I mention that the air conditioning doesn't really work on planes unless they're in motion??????? Yeah, it was beautiful.

These are the kind of adventures I could do without.

Which makes me think about writing. Someone once told me that fiction was life but with all the boring stuff removed. How right they are. Can you imagine writing a heroine sitting on a runway for 3 hours? Fine if it's a hijacking or something, but if she's doing her taxes and talking to her mom, who the heck wants to read about that.

I mean sometimes we have our characters eat and shower (although even my shower scenes tend to have some action), but we don't cover everything they do. I don't recall ever having a character brush their teeth, but I'd like to think they have. My characters also never go grocery shopping or stop to fuel their car. It's life but with all the boring, normal stuff removed. Which is interesting when you think about it because I'd be willing to bet that most of our real lives is the boring normal stuff. So what do you figure - 5% adventure, 95% boring normal?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Back in Dallas (for a minute, anyway)

I'm officially back from vacation and had a great time! Well, except for the sunburn part. What the heck was I thinking????? Hell, I have a pool I haven't had the chance to get in all year because of my ridiculous traveling schedule (and then it rained most every weekend), so I don't have my good base tan like normal. And I thought I'd just sit out in the sun for two whole days????? I get the idiot award for the week. Lucky for me, I have silvadene (sp?) - essentially, magic cream that cures burns. It's left over from my own motocycle days. So in a couple of days, I'll have a really nice tan. :)

Of course, I barely got in the door yesterday and you guessed it - I'm out the door again today. No rest for the weary. And I sooooo miss getting on airplanes. Ha!

On the writing front, I turned in my revised proposal to my agent last week, so hopefully I'll have good news before we all age and pass away. This industry is sort of hurry up and wait - just in case any of you have been in a coma and hadn't noticed that part yet. So I'm going to get back to working on my gothic today, and that means switching gears.

Those of you who write in multiple genres, how do you switch gears? So much of life is a mind game, so I was wondering if I anchored myself to something (think hat, or stuffed animal, or coffee mug) different for each genre, would my mind then know I'm wearing that specific hat? I know this is all very new age for a southern Baptist, but hey, I'll try anything if it means writing better/faster/more efficient. So any advice - anything you've used that you think work? Any of you tried anchoring?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Last Day of Vacation

Today's my last day of the mini-vacation. I am sunburned and tired, but had a good time. We fly back around lunch, so we'll back back at the house late afternoon.

I'm happy to report that the United States absolutely, positively STOMPED all other countries and won the Motocross des Nations!!!!!!! It was way cool to be at such an event (it's only been held in the US one other time and that was 27 years ago)

My official blog is at Killer Fiction today, so check it out. My regulars have already heard the story, but I thought others may like to hear my terrorist story. :)

And SUPER congratulations to one of my regular blog readers, Tori Lennox, who won a prize basket over at Killer Fiction!!!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Friday About 30 Minutes Early

So it's not quite Friday yet, but I'm getting my post in now because tomorrow I'll be at the airport bright and early. No, I'm not doing a training - I'm actually taking a vacation. Okay, a mini-vacation since we'll be back Monday.

My husband and are are traveling to Mechanicsville, MD to the home of world famous motocross track, Budds Creek. Those of you who've known me for a while know that I met my husband Rene because he sold me my motocross gear. Motocross was where we spent all of our free time back in our younger, thinner, more free-time having days.

This year, Budds Creek is hosting the Motocross des Nations. That's essentially the Olympics of motocross. The top three riders from all countries compete in one giant race for international placement. It's been almost 30 years since the des Nations has been held in the US.

Finally, something good has come of all my travel - I traded in airline miles, hotel miles and rental car miles, so this trip (travel wise anyway), cost a whole $10. There's still food and tickets to the event, etc., but still $10!!!! How cool is that?

So I'm posting early because I'm still awake because I had to work late to wrap things up, pick up dry cleaning, polish off my proposal (again) and send it back to my agent, print out driving instructions and do laundry so that I could pack a bag. So it's way past my bedtime, but I had a lot to do. I'll sleep tomorrow on the plane.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What Ever Happened to Funny?

So my latest proposal is in the second round of "works" and getting ready to go back to my publisher for a re-review. Right now, the market for "funny" seems to be flailing about and that depresses me. Not only is it hard to find a buyer for a humorous romance, but apparently women's fiction is the same way. Everyone wants dark and brooding.

So why the big switch? Used to, people LOVED funny.

Now, I know my blog readers love funny, or they wouldn't read me. But what do you think is going on in the marketplace? Lord knows, life is difficult enough without depressing myself with a book. So why is everyone hell bent on sad stories of miserable lives?


Monday, September 17, 2007

Posting Early......or Late

I'm posting early this time - or late, depending on how you want to look at it. I am on an East Coast training so I'm an hour behind (mentally and physically) and my training starts earlier than usual this time, so I'm figuring I'm not gonna want to get up in the morning, so I'm posting Tuesday's post tonight.

So I'm in Greenville, SC and I have to say it has one of the prettiest downtown areas I've ever seen. Huge old trees and a whole mile or so of historic buildings that are all converted into restuarants or shops. It's great for walking, so I walked some this afternoon to find lunch. Had excellent barbeque then went in search of a nail salon. I was sadly in need of a nail fix and will not have any time to do it when I return to Dallas. So I figured if I had to fly out early (it was the only flight available), I might as well do some Jana maintenance. So I found a nail salon and had a manicure, fill, pedicure and an eyebrow wax. If only they could have filed my 2006 tax return, I could have caught up with everything right in that one spot. Ha.....but it sounded good, right?

So as I was perusing downtown, I kept scouting for a restuarant. I usually stay at Hampton Inns and they have the continental breakfast and all, but sometimes it's all about custom cooked eggs. And I figured since they have this fabulous shopping/eating area, there's bound to be breakfast, right?

Apparently not.

I never spotted anything and the hotel clerks confirmed my suspicions. Even worse, there was one restuarant that teased me momentarily until I looked at the hours of operation. And get this - it's called the ________ Cafe.


Did anyone tell the good people of Greenville that cafe means coffee, which to me means breakfast????? But nooooooooooo, they don't open until lunch. So I am confused. I thought places that served lunch only were tearooms and places that served breakfast were cafes. Places that served all day (or lunch/dinner) were restuarants and places that served 24/7 were the Waffle House.

Did I miss something?

Pass the Coffee - PLEASE

It's Monday morning and I am at the airport and I am sooooooooooo not awake yet. Even worse, in an hour or so, I get to board one of those noisy small planes and fly in cramped up space for a couple of hours to Greenville SC. I hope the weather is decent there, as I have not even checked.

Today's my official posting day at Killer Fiction, so jump over there and check out my blog!

Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fantastic Friday!

I'm so excited that it's Friday! I fly home tonight from Denver. Back out on Monday to South Carolina, but I don't even care. It's still a couple of days in my own bed.

I got good news yesterday - I accepted an offer for the Dutch rights to RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU. My first foreign sale!!!! Whoohoo!!!! I had been afraid that the southern humor wouldn't translate to other countries and I might never sell anything, but looks like I got a little bite anyway. I can't wait to see the cover.

I'm going to leave you today with a GCC tour brought to you by Toni McGee Causy and her release BOBBIE FAYE'S VERY (VERY, VERY, VERY) BAD DAY. I will definitely be getting this book - today if possible because not only is Toni from my neck of the woods, she's writing about Lake Charles, LA, which is where I went to college - literally the city next door! Too fun!

Bobbie Faye Sumrall is a dead-broke Cajun living in a broken-down trailer in Lake Charles, Louisiana. When criminals demand Bobbie Faye's Contraband Queen tiara-- the only thing of her mama's she inherited-- in exchange for her good-for-nothing brother, Bobbie Faye has to outwit the police, organized crime, former boyfriends, and a hostage she never intended to take (but who turns out to be damn sexy), in order to rescue her brother, keep custody of her niece, and get back in time to take her place as Queen in the Lake Charles Contraband Festival (think Mardi Gras, with more drinking and pirates). Luckily, she knows how to handle guns, outwit angry mama bears, drive a speedboat, and get herself out of (and into) almost every kind of trouble. If only that pesky state police detective (who also happens to be a pissed off ex-boyfriend) would stay out of her way . . .

Toni McGee Causey lives in Baton Rouge with her husband and two sons; a Louisiana native (and Cajun), she has nearly completed a double masters at LSU. She's placed in top tier screenwriting contests, published many non-fiction articles and edited a popular regional magazine. To support her writing addiction, she and her husband Carl run their own civil construction company. Bobbie Faye is the first in a three-book deal with St. Martin's press on a pre-empt; the chaotic, rollercoaster thriller world of Bobbie Faye owes much to Toni having way more experience than she'd like to own up to in the world of trouble-shooting, disaster-prevention and survival.


“Causey doesn't miss a beat in this wonderful, wacky celebration of Southern eccentricity.”
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This hyperpaced, screwball action/adventure with one unforgettable heroine and two sexy heroes is side-splittingly hilarious. Causey, a Cajun and a Louisiana native, reveals a flair for comedy in this uproarious debut novel.”--Library Journal (starred review)

“Move over Stephanie and Bubbles you've got major competition tracking north from the Deep South. Bobby Faye might have had a very bad day but Toni McGee Causey is going to have a very good year. With Causey's debut novel (A Griffin Trade Paperback Original), Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day, Bobbie Faye Sumrall is out to capture both the hearts of spunky women everywhere and the minds of men ready for a challenge.”-- Deadly Pleasures

“It's about time women had an Amazon to look up to… Bobbie Faye is a hurricane-force heroine who makes this novel the perfect adventure yarn.”-- The Tampa Tribune

“This is an action comedy novel that will delight fans of the Ya Ya/Sweet Potato Queens genre. The pacing of the book will take your breath away.”-- The Advocate

“If you like Janet Evanovich, if you’re looking for a lot of unlikely action (when is the last time someone you know escaped a burning boat by lassoing an oil rig?), or if you’re simply having a bad day, go out and find Bobbie Faye. She’s an outrageous hoot.”-- The Times Picayune

“There are many things to love about this book --- the plot, the pacing, the dialogue --- but my own favorite element is the characterization… But if you want a short description of this great novel, think Die Hard in the swamp. And Bobbie Faye? She's a titanium magnolia.”

I know you're all intrigued, so here's the scoop: Visit Toni at her website, and buy the book!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Please Send Me to Friday

This has been a very long week. Of course, it hasn't helped that I'm doing a two-fer this week. First a training in San Diego and now training in Denver. I feel like I've been shuffling through airports for a year. And we're not even going to talk about the changes in weather. Yesterday, it was actually warmer in Denver than in San Diego. And of all places, I believe my hometown of Dallas was cooling than them both on Monday.

I know my blog readers are from all over. Has your weather been strange this year? In Dallas we went from 3 years of drought to so much rain people were flooded out and some dying. And last winter we had snow - several tines. Not huge accumulation, but you've got to realize that snow is definitely not a common thing in Dallas.

The weird summer makes me wonder what's in store for us for winter.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I'm reaching that point in pre-release state where reviews will start to trickle in. This is always a scary time, but so far, things have been good. Explaining why reviews mean so much to authors is difficult because it's one of those things that can't be quantified into sales. In other words, no one can prove that great reviews lead to higher sales. So why do we agonize over reviews so much?

I think it's a combination of a lot of things:

1. We still believe the reviews will effect sales. I mean, there must be people out there who read a negative review and don't buy the book. One lost sale is not just one sale. One lost sale that might have loved the book and told ten friends and then they told ten friends, etc. could actually translate into hundreds of lost sale. Yikes!

2. We are so scared that people won't like our work and place too much importance on the reviews. After all, someone already published the book. It's probably not 100% stinky or no one would have bought it, right? God I hope so. I like to think that for every book I don't like, there are still thousands of people that the book is the best thing they've ever read.

3. Good reviews validate that we are writers and can really write. Now why we're looking for validation from a bunch of people who usually aren't writers or industry professionals, I don't know.

I think the whole thing boils down to fragile ego. Our books are part of us - our feelings, our thoughts - and when people put them down, it's personal no matter how hard you try not to let it be.

And that makes any artistic pursuit (in my opinion) the hardest jobs of all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Old News

Well, I had a nice long post today that the computer ate. Now of course, I don't have the time or the inclination to repost so you're stuck with nothing until tomorrow. Except this thought - sometimes I REALLY hate so-called technology!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Movie Review

Today's my official posting day at Killer Fiction, so don't forget to read me there too!

The movie is Halloween, a Rob Zombie remake of the old classic.

Saw this one last weekend, actually, but I'm just now getting around to posting about it. In fact, I saw two movies, but I'm going to blog my standard fare - the horror movie.

I have to say that I kinda like this and I don't usually like remakes. Zombie took some liberties with the original script that I think worked. He built in some backstory, showing us exactly what "set off" Michael Myers as a crazy person, and had a decent plot for why he came back to his hometown.

Of course, there was a couple of stupid woman (or technically, girl) scenes. I simply don't understand when the killer is on your front porch and strangling someone, why you run back into the house instead of ducking underneath him and running down the street toward the police and fire trucks at the end of the block - but hey, I guess it all makes for good terror.

My final rating: Definitely worth a view if you're a horror fan and liked the original.
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