Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Bringer of Cold

I'm on the road again today, so you know what that means - I'm blogging from the airport. This time it's Little Rock, Arkansas, so it's a really short hop. Of course, I've still managed to bring the cold.

For those of you who follow this blog regularly, you know this all started in Denver. I was training in Denver the week before Christmas and got to stay a couple of extra days due to the blizzard. When I arrived home, it started to ice and snow in Dallas (not exactly a normal thing - especially in the last several years). Then after the holidays it was off to Charlotte, NC - where apparently 2 foot of snow fell only an hour from where I was staying. I just got an icy car window to clean off and some rain. But then when I got back to Dallas, it started to ice and snow again and I started to wonder - maybe it was me. Maybe my traveling was causing all this coldness.

So I told my friends "I'm going to Tampa next week and if it snows in Tampa, I will know for sure it is me."

I'm in the airport on Sunday waiting for my flight and a friend calls and says "you know it snowed in Malibu." HUH? So I went off to Tampa and hoped for the best. I must say it did not snow while I was there, but I did bring a cold front with me and was most amused at the results. You see, when I arrived in Tampa it was almost 80 degrees. The cold front came in a couple of nights later and brought that temperature down to a freezing cold 61. :)

Now when I say that - I'm not joking when it came to the locals. I headed out for dinner one night in the 61 degrees, wearing capris a t-shirt and sandals. People were wearing coats! And gloves! And scarves! And they're staring at me like I'm crazy and I'm thinking - damn 61 degrees is perfect.

So it's all relative. Today on the way to the airport it started sleeting and snowing. I hear it's doing better than that in Little Rock, but I guess I'll just have to see when I get there.

Is anyone interested in a white Valentine's Day? I could probably arrange to visit your town for a nominal fee.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

UNLUCKY Cover!!!!!!!!

I got the cover for UNLUCKY yesterday and I am in love!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG - is it not absolutely fabulous?????

I want to kiss everyone in the art department at Dorchester or buy them a beer, whichever they prefer. They consistently turn out the best covers in the industry (IMHO) and I am thrilled with my cover as it totally conveys the feel of the book.

Let's hear it for the art department for helping kick off a fabulous week. And I used to think Monday's were hell.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Monday Morning Tours

Hi everyone, and apologies up front for not posting on Friday. I was in the middle of returning from Tampa and packing for writer's night and between finding clean clothes and working, simply ran out of time to blog.

It's GCC tour time and today's tour is Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

I absolutely love the premise of this book! Check it out:

Four friends. Four tattoos. One ancient evil.

Bailey Morgan isn't the type of girl who shows a lot of skin, but somehow, she ends up in a dressing room at the mall with her friend Delia applying a temporary tattoo to her lower back. Never one to suffer fashion doubt, trendsetter Delia knows exactly where she wants her own tattoo: on her stomach, right where her shirt ends—can you say "midriff"? Annabelle, the quiet one, chooses the back of her neck, and tomboy Zo plasters hers on the top of her foot. The tattoos will last for three days, and Delia's sure that with them, the four friends will absolutely kill at the school dance.

Unfortunately, killing is just what someone has in mind, and Bailey, Delia, Annabelle, and Zo are in for the battle of their lives. Along with her tattoo, each girl receives a gift—a supernatural power to help them in their fight. As Bailey's increasingly frightening dreams reveal the nature of their enemy, it becomes clear to the girls that it's up to them to save the world. And if they can get Delia to stop using her newfound power to turn gum wrappers into Prada pumps, they might actually stand a chance.

And the reviews are great:

"Imagine the gang from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series with magic tattoos that give them each different powers... Spunky, fun-loving, and sometimes cranky teen-girl friendships and realistic dialogue propel this character-driven, fast-paced read." -Booklist

"This chick-lit fantasy, similar to though not as dark as Neal Shusterman's fairy-tale retellings, is a fast-paced, fun read for Buffy and Charmed fans." -School Library Journal

"Fantastical, but with a reality check." -Kirkus

For those of you who love smart women - check out this author bio:

A Native Oklahoman, Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a recent graduate of Yale University, where she studied cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought). Jennifer is a 2006-2007 Fulbright Scholar in the United Kingdom, where she is currently doing autism research at Cambridge University. She wrote her first book, Golden, when she was a teenager and wrote several others- including Tattoo- while still in college. Her next book, Platinum, will be released in September of 2007.

For more information, visit Jennifer at her website or her blog!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


My friend, Colleen, tagged me with this list of questions. I'd love to give you the title, but when I went to check her blog for it, the blogger had crapped out and I couldn't get to it. (you gotta love the internet). So away we go.

Contemporary, Historical, or Paranormal?
Mostly contemporary with light paranormal (especially gothic) and very few historicals

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?
Mass market paperback all the way – you can hold them in one hand leaving the other free for food or a beer.

Heyer or Austen?
You know, I am sooooooo not a classics or literary person, so I have to admit I’ve never read either. If it wasn’t required in high school, I’ll probably never read it.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?
Brick and Mortar unless it’s out of print or so old no one stocks it any longer. Especially now that I understand “sell-through” I try to help my fellow authors out by buying in a store where they have visibility.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Barnes & Noble – mainly because every B&N around the country I’ve walked into has had multiple copies of RUMBLE on the shelves. Some Borders didn’t have any.

Woodiwiss or Lindsay?
Haven’t read either.

First romance novel you ever remember reading?
It was that Harlequin line for young adults. Then I moved on to Sweet Valley High. But I guess technically, Trixie Beldon DID have a romance going with Jim. :)

Alphabetize by author Alphabetize by title or random?
Genre first, then by favorite author. If a series, grouped in order of release.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?
Keep or donate (rarely sell). NEVER, EVER throw away!

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
Remove dustjacket.

Sookie Stackhouse or Anita Blake?
Sookie Stackhouse

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
When tired. I’ll fall asleep reading if I don’t.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
Probably “it was a dark and story night” – especially if it’s a cool gothic.

Crusie or SEP?
Crusie, but only based on her earlier works.

Buy or Borrow?
Buy new.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?
Recommendations or browsing.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?
Unless it’s a series – wrap it up. And even in a series, if you keep something hanging too long, I will loose interest and stop buying.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?
Ha! Like there’s a schedule in my life – reading is whenever I have the opportunity.

Series or standalone?

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
I honestly can’t think of one. I have very basic reading tastes.

That's it for me - I'm tagging Cindy and Wendy!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Let's Conversate For a Minute

So does that word bother you as much as it does me???? And if you haven't figured out the word that bothers me is "conversate" then you might not need to read the rest of this blog. You might need to break out Webster's and try looking up that word.

Now granted, I don't watch much television, mainly because I don't have time and that makes it hard to accidently come across a show that I'll want to follow. Hard to find a show if you're not watching at all. And maybe everyone else has gotten used to this new God-awful way that people are speaking, but I can't handle it. It all started by watching one of those reality dating shows years ago and I kept hearing the datees say things like "I like to go out to dinner, you know conversate for a while." Huh?

Last night on American Idol (my vice - I admit), a girl auditioning actually said "My style works well with my confidentiality." I'm assuming that she thinks her clothes represent her confidence - but that's NOT what she said. What she instead implied is that her clothes were helping to hide something and if you saw the way she was dressed you would have decided - HELL, NO! Her top plunged so deeply that the judged keep pulling on their own shirts to try and get her to monitor the situation and not pop out during her tryout, during which she had to bounce around in said plunging blouse.

So what the f??????? Are these people trying to sound intelligent, because if so, their words are having just the opposite effect. They sound like morons. And I can't fail but to notice that they never tend to butcher or misuse a one syllable word. They're always batting for the fence by twisting around some word that is at least three syllables or more.

Maybe they just need a bit of advice like Using big words does not make you sound important or smart. Especially if you're not going to use them properly. I mean, why say something stupid like "I like to have dinner and conversate" when it's far easier (and more correct) to simply say "I like to have dinner and talk."

I read somewhere that most mass market fiction is written on a fifth to eighth grade level, and that makes perfectly good sense to me. People don't want to run for the dictionary when they're escaping with a book. Save the complicated words for non-fiction or literary works. So if mass market fiction sees the benefit of producing books written simply and for the well, masses, then why don't people think everyday talking should be that way also?

I speak incorrectly all the time but I don't completely butcher the English language. And according to all those standardized tests you take through school, I have a much higher than average vocabulary - I just don't see the need to use it in a regular day. The incorrect speaking I take part in is using southern words and expressions based on my upbringing and roots. Heck, I was in college before I found out "tump" wasn't a word. As in "If you keep leaning back in that chair, you're going to tump over." (A favorite of my grandmas) And I say "y'all" and "ain't" and a whole slew of other southern things. But I'm still not using them incorrectly when I say them.

Now, I'm certainly not advocating this manner of speak in business - especially in correspondance. No sense looking like a redneck in your email, after all, it could be around forever. And we definitely don't want attorneys to dumb things down. Heck, they're paid lots of money to confuse people with words.

Essentially, the bottom line is - speak based on your background, but don't try using big words to make you sound smarter or more important. If you lack the education to do so, you will only sound foolish. If you have the education to do so, you tend to sound pompous.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bad Backs and Strange Smells

Caught your attention with that heading, didn't I? It's not as bad as it sounds. Let's discuss bad backs first.

I'm not one of those paperthin women - heck, I'm not even one of those notebook thin women, so my back would probably appreciate it if I lost some pounds. BUT, I've also been in a bad car wreck in the past, not to mention all the extreme sporting adventures that sometimes resulted in crashes, so the back has had injury that was not related to my weight in any way. I've always been one of those people who liked a soft bed. My back likes a soft bed. I have one of those sleep by numbers systems at home and if I could get it to go negative, I swear I would.

So I'm doing a training in Tampa this week and I'm staying at a hotel with the hardest bed in North America. Seriously, I bet if I pulled back all those covers they have tucked over the top that there's a sheet of plywood under there. Now, this is nothing new, but what I find entertaining about this is my personal take on it. You see, this hotel has a spa on the third floor and I'm convinced that this is the way they get you to schedule a massage.

Clever, clever marketing - and much more profitable than buying decent mattresses.

So that's the back issue, now on to smells. So I land at the airport in Tampa on Sunday and of course, I have some silly directions from Mapquest that don't even mirror the actual things I need to do to get to the hotel because there is construction and the road I needed to take wasn't open. So I get on the highway going north even though I need to go south (but that's the entrance I could find) and I figure I'll take the first exit, turn around and head back the direction I actually need - no problem, right?

Yeah, except that the highway split into two other highways. So I took the split closest to me and found myself headed across a causeway that most likely crossed some inlet of the Gulf of Mexico. As I was crossing the water, my nose began to register this bad smell - sort of like sewage. I wrinkled my nose and thought to myself "what the hell is that?" But after another five seconds or so, my senses cleared and everything hit me in an instant. It wasn't sewage. It was the smell of the Gulf rolling over mud and dead fish and all the other smells that a body of water can bring. Since it was humid, the smell was pretty loud. As soon as it hit me what I was smelling, I was transported right back home to Louisiana and the smell was no longer bad, it was nice.

Interesting observation, huh? And it reminded me that smell is the one sense I am always forgetting to put into my writing. I don't know why since it's obviously very strongly linked with memory. Otherwise why would a perfectly sane woman go from thinking something smelled like sewage to thinking it smelled like home?

So do you have a smell memory?????

Friday, January 19, 2007

Might As Well Run My Mouth

Well, I was told to keep this a secret for another week, but apparently lists have gone out and names are flying around the blogsphere and every writer's loop known to man, so here goes with my fabulous news:

RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU has been nominated for a RT Reviewer's Choice Award in the contemporary romance category!!!!!!

To say I am excited is a gross understatement. More like catatonic.

Of course, I haven't seen the competition and since it will most likely be women I've read and worshipped for years, I don't think I stand a chance of winning, but boy what an honor to be nominated!

Thanks everyone for all your support and for coming along for the ride. Loves ya all and have a great weekend!

Always Busy

It seems that lately I'm always to busy to get things done. It's Friday (yea), but I'm training a class today, giving a workshop tomorrow (2 hour drive - in the rain according to the latest forecast), and I fly out on Sunday to my next training in Tampa. Sometime in between there, I have to do that whole clean underwear and socks thing that seems to go by the wayside.

So, today will be quickie movie review.

The movie: AlphaDog

Let me just start by saying that for me, this movie sucked. Maybe some of you will like it but I can't stand stupid people doing stupid things and the entire thing ending miserably. Why in the world does anyone consider that entertainment? If you like your movies to resemble the evening news, then hurry out and see this immediately - it's just as depressing. Even worse, this is a true story - these stupid people are REAL!

Was the acting good - heck, I don't know. I was too busy being pissed off at the stupidity to notice. Maybe if you're feeling really down on yourself at the moment, this movie would make you feel better - after all, you're not one of those idiots. Other than that, it's so totally not a movie for people like me.

My final thoughts: Please give me back those two hours of my life - even the popcorn wasn't worth the torture.

PS - For Justin Timberlake (who made his acting debut here) read the script first next time you pick a role.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Name of the Game - Communication

Writers are a unique bunch of people. Just in case you didn't already know that, I figured I'd throw it in first thing on a Thursday morning.

Writing is a lonely pursuit in some ways, in that you have to do the deep digging and rough work on your own (assuming you don't collaborate with someone else). But even in rough draft mode, communication is key. Now, this communication might be mental, but let's face it, all of us talk to our characters or assume their role in order to write dialogue. So hence - communication.

Then there's working with one's cp's. You send your copy out, they make notes, comments, maybe you do those once a week readings and everyone throws in their two cents - communication. It's the only way to get feedback on your work. They talk, you listen.

So let's assume you're lucky enough to make a sale and have a book published - does communication end there? Hardly. Now you launch into super-duper marketing girl (or boy) and you talk to everyone - people in grocery stores, bookstores, your kids soccer game, and my personal favorite - a captive audience on an airplane. Why? Because you're selling your book. Then you do interviews for writing sites and friend's with cool blogs and you talk to booksellers and advertisers and you speak at writer's groups. Communication.

So what I can't figure out for the life of me, is why writers have trouble communicating with their agent or editor. Check out Kristin Nelson's blog yesterday. She talks about this very problem that I simply think shouldn't be one. Now, I'm not saying you ring up these people every day and harrass them. Professionalism goes a LONG way in this business. I don't email my agent/editor unless I have a question concerning my work or have good news to share (good reviews, contest finals, etc). They work the same way. I don't have to wonder if anything's happening with my book deals, etc., because I know the minute Kristin knows something, she will email and ask me to call her.

By the same token, I don't pester. Emailing her everyday wouldn't make an editor make a decision any faster. So patience is key.

BUT - if your agent has had your manuscript for months (and I know some that have had manuscripts with their agents for 8 months or better) and you still haven't heard anything - like if she even read it - then you need to make a phone call, reset expectations and maybe make a decision about whether that relationship is working. Now, I'm not talking about a day or a couple of days delay - not even a week. Heck people get sick, take vacation, etc. But months????? Wake up and smell the roses. There is just simply something wrong with that scenario and sticking your head in the sand won't make it any better.

Yeah, I know it's hard to get an agent, but what good is one who's not reading your work going to do you? I've known several writers with this problem - writers who have already been published and it's a frustrating and sad situation.

Communication is key to this business.

As we say in the south"you don't need to poop out of the same b-hole," but a little talking might not be a bad idea, especially when your career is on the line.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

AI Talk, Movie Review & Other Stuff

The big American Idol 2007 season debut was last night! Whoohoo, I've been anxiously awaiting this for weeks. The hubby cooked steaks in celebration. I really enjoyed the opening. Simon was right on his humor but not as snarky as sometimes. I'm sure he'll warm up as the season goes on. Unfortunately, I didn't really connect with any of the contestants last night, so I don't have a favorite from the batch selected. Oh well, more tonight!

In misc. news, All About Romance has selected RUMBLE for their list of Buried Treasure Books for 2006. Check it out!

And now, on to the movie review.

Movie seen: Primevil

Okay, the critics hated this movie, but I really liked it. It introduced me to something I didn't know before (as it is based on a true story) and I found it all so interesting I did further research when I got home.

The movie is about a man-eating Crocodile named Gustave, who inhabits a river island near Burundi (Africa) and apparently snacks on the natives. Gustave is estimated to be over twenty foot in length (per photos) and weighing in at 2000 pounds. Locals credit him with over 300 deaths along the riverbanks. The movie is based (loosely) on the true story of a reporter, photographer and some animal experts that went on a hunt for Gustave and tried to trap him. They met with no success and as to this day, Gustave is still seen on his river, easily recognizable due to his size and a scar on his head.

So if you're into the whole man-eating crocodile thing, it's really entertaining. And c'mon - it has Orlando Jones in it and he's always good for a couple of laughs. This movie was no exception.

I tried to post an actual picture of Gustave, but blogger sucks today and won't let me. So here's a link where you can check out some photos. The site is in French but it has the best collection of Gustave pics that I've been able to find. Note: Not all the photos are of Gustave - if you select the translate this page feature, you can get a better idea of what they're saying.

My final review: If you're into nature/animal things, you'll really enjoy it and want to learn more when you leave.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Very Exciting Tuesday

Sorry for the lack of blog yesterday. I got so busy in the morning that I never got around to it. Then equally busy in the afternoon. Then my internet connection at home was on the fritz. And anyway - here we are and it's already Tuesday.'s a very exciting Tuesday. Why you ask? Because (drumroll, please)


Yes, I'll admit it - I'm an American Idol junkie. I absolutely love the show and I can't even really tell you why. I think it has a whole lot to do with Simon's personality (since it's similar to mine), but can't really put my finger on the rest of it. God knows, I can't sing so it's not a longing to be up there. In fact, I'm not even big on music in general. I almost never listen to the radio and when I do, I listen to talk shows. I don't even own an ipod, although I've been considering one for writing workshops. :)

And the auditions are the absolute most fun. Talk about people with no clue. Of course, some of them are shaming to get on television. But apparently the world is also full of people without the ability to judge their own singing ability. I'm always like - wouldn't you record yourself and listen before you get on tv and disgrace yourself? But apparently the answer is no.

So the fun begins tonight. Bring on the William Hung's, the Keith's, Simon's put downs of all bad singing and overweight women who insist on wearing spandex.

Are you an Idol junkie?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

GCC Tour - Melissa Senate

It's Friday (almost since I'm actually posting this at night), and it's a very exciting day for me because I'm hosting my very first GCC (Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit) tour as I just became a member in January. The author is Melissa Senate and the book is LOVE YOU TO DEATH.

I absolutely LOVE the blurb and will definitely be picking this one up. Plus, it's kinda a cool concept - I mean, I wouldn't mind if someone went around bumping off some of the guys I used to date. They can't be contributing that much to society.........

LOVE YOU TO DEATH (January 07, Red Dress Ink)
By Melissa Senate

Abby Foote’s worst exes are on someone’s hit list. Who’s going around shooting men who broke Abby’s heart? And why?

First, a former boyfriend (who dumped Abby in the most humiliating way possible) is found murdered the day his engagement is announced. Then two other exes report attempts made on their lives right after breaking up with her. Coincidence? A very hot detective from the Portland Police Department doesn’t think so. Neither do Abby’s friends, family, coworkers and former boyfriends dating back to kindergarten, who are all shaking in their shoes as though the Abby they know and supposedly love to death is capable of, say, poisoning their Diet Cokes. Is someone trying to frame her? Do her some kind of warped favor? Abby, with that delicious detective on her trail, is about to find out.

“Readers will cheer Abby every step of the way as she tries to clear her name and find her prince for whom the glass slipper will finally fit.” –Publishers Weekly

Check out her website for more info and to read an excerpt and/or buy it at Amazon.

Bio: Melissa Senate is the author of six novels, including her best selling debut, See Jane Date (the cute TV movie version is available on DVD), and one (so far) young adult novel, Theodora Twist. Melissa contributed an essay to the newly published anthology It’s A Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths About Life In Your Twenties and to the forthcoming anthology Everything I Needed To Know About Being A Girl I Learned From Judy Blume. A former book editor (romance novels, Mary-Kate & Ashley tween novels and Sweet Valley), Melissa now writes full time from her home on the southern coast of Maine, where she lives with her young son and his toys.

In other news: Are you a published author? Have you ever considered joining GCC? If not, maybe you should. Here's an FAQ about the GCC. We are now adding candidates to our waitlist. If you'd like to be added, please email Karin Gillespie at kgillespie (a)

Have a great weekend, everyone!!!!

Almost Friday

It's been another lovely week. Yes, you can go ahead and read a little sarcasm in that statement. But I swear, I have gotten so jaded to trouble that it simply doesn't faze me any longer. Like when I got an email at about 10:00 pm Tuesday night that said my web designer/hoster had notified the company they resale their service for that as of January 8th they were out of business and I had 48 hours to move my service to the main provider or my website would be shut down. Nice. So I go looking for the scuttlebutt on the internet and apparently my web designer pissed off some people with money who took the time to aggravate the Attorney General in MO and she's now forbidden to own/operate anything to do with the internet.

Now, I'm certainly not advocating poor business practices, but c'mon. Did anyone, including the Attorney General, even stop to consider that the 15 women (and some of them NFL wives - ie bored, useless bimbos) who sued because their sites weren't launched in the timeline given were going to put hundreds of existing clients that WERE doing business in the lurch by their actions? But I guess no one really gives a shit as long as they get what they want, right? The reality is, I didn't have any issues with my web builder - sure she was slow and didn't even come close to her original deadline - but I don't know many true artists that do. They seem to keep tinkering with things forever. Being a writer, I totally understand the constant tinkering and thinking something can happen faster than it will. Because I know how it is. True art is never created on a schedule. Oh, you can set a deadline and try to meet it, but those bursts of brilliance can't be scheduled on you Palm Pilot.

So I paid the $20 to move my site to the main host server and thanked my lucky stars that the web builder had at least contacted the main provider and asked him to please offer all her clients the ability to move their sites so they wouldn't lose any business time. Sounds like a truly horrible person, right?

Anyway, I'm a little peeved over that whole thing. Especially as I was wanting her to design me some other things I had in mind and well, guess not now.

On the training front, I am in Charlotte, NC this week for one of those training/conversions like I did in Philadelphia in November. Those of you who follow me regularly might remember that when I was in Philly, the computer center lost their internet connection. Well, guess what? You got it - the computer center lost their internet connection yesterday morning. Now, for those of you who don't understand the magnitude of this - I train/convert on a WEB BASED software. No internet - No trainee.

The store person checked, found out the problem was at a National level and was trying to get an ETA. So I gave her my cell number and the class went shopping next door at Kohl's. Hey, it was their idea. I got a really cute pair of fuzzy slippers and a pair of flip flops with glittery silver straps for $10. Not bad. The internet came back up right about the time we were about to break for lunch and we worked double time in the afternoon to catch up.

Always something fun. I think if I had a week with no challenges, I might collapse from all the extra energy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

5 Crazy Things About Me(me)

Colleen tagged me with a meme - 5 Crazy Things About Me. There are probably a lot more than that, but hey, it I KNEW I was crazy what would that say about me. :) So here are the five I could come up with:

1. I have a weird tolerance to any stimulants - coffee, alcohol, ephedrine, etc. They don't really affect me at all. I can drink a six-pack of beer and still be as normal as before. (form your own opinion on that statement)

2. I never get motion sickness. I have even rode for hours-in smallish watercraft (25 foot boat)-over 100 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico-closed up in the front hull-and read a book the entire way (about 3 hours)-while bouncing up and down.

3. I love extreme sports and have participated in the following: motocross, competition watercraft (Waverunners), shifter karts

4. Although if you know me I may seem very type A - I am actually 100% introverted according to Myers/Briggs. (and myself - people ultimately drain me)

5. Although I am a pretty good marksman, I don't like to kill things. I even feel guilty fishing. Now, I have no trouble eating meat - as long as I don't have to kill it.

That 5! So I tag Cindy, Wendy and Tori.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Movie So Bad You'll Want to Scream

What's that you say - scream over a movie????? Heck, it's even a horror movie so that shouldn't be a problem, right?

Wrong! This movie is so bad it makes me want to turn off the television and never, ever watch anything again. This movie is so bad it has probably scarred me from horror for a couple of weeks at least and I'm an avid horror fan - especially B horror movies!

The Movie: The Descent

If you thought you might ever watch this movie, then don't continue reading this review because I'm going to spoil the ending, well, and the middle and the beginning.

The premise - a group of longtime women friends who are into thrill-seeking adventures decide to go cave exploring. The leader of the gang who arranged the exploring decides to venture off the trodden path and instead leads them all into an unmapped (or named) set of caverns. They don't know until they're in and they can't go back up the way they came down. The only option is through. But if there's no record of a cave, how do you even know there's a through? And even if there is, how do you know you fit?

Anyway, of course horror ensues with some sort of cannibal creatures in the cave. They sort of resemble Gollum from Lord of the Rings but with a really bad attitude. It soon becomes apparent why the cave hasn't been traveled - or named - no one makes it out alive.

And no one still has. They all died there - every one of them. There was sort of a heroine. She was the one who's husband and daughter died in a car wreck at the beginning of the movie, so we kinda felt sorry for her. Turns out the bitch that booked this whole tunneling adventure was boinking her husband, though.

And we're left with widowed, childless old girl in the last scene in the cave, not even trying to get away, and apparently having lost her mind.

That's it. No happy ending for anyone. No point to this movie. We're supposed to believe that for however many years people have been going into this cave, disappearing and no one has ever thought to send in the National Guard or drop a bomb on the place. I mean, if all those skeletons were any indication of the people who had died, why wasn't the opening surrounded with enough automobiles to provide every person in China with transportation? The creatures didn't take them - the creatures couldn't even see.

So what - was there a used-car dealer somewhere in the middle of Appalachian mountains with killer deals on cars - literally?????????

My final thoughts: If you want to rent this, go ahead, but slit your wrists first

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Yet Another Movie Review

As promised, here is my final movie review from pics seen last weekend.

Movie review: Rocky Balboa

I know what you're thinking, because I was thinking it too - what the hell was everyone thinking?????? Sly is, like, 210 years old and unless this is about a fight over hot tub space at a retirement home, what in the world can they do even semi-realistic?

But then there's the other side of me that loved the Rocky movies (well, not five) and couldn't resist the opportunity to see another. Rocky 1 & 2 were the perfect showcase for all-American blue collar grit. It was the common man rises to greatness and it's the kind of inspirational stories that we all love to watch. The kind of stories that give the underdog hope. But I have to admit, Rocky 3 is still my all-time favorite. C'mon, Hulk Hogan, Mr. T and all you women out there are lying if you say you don't remember that fabulous scene with Rocky running on the beach. Good God, the legs!!!!

Since my husband liked the Rocky's too (not so much for the legs, though), he was all for checking out this pic. Then a very suprising thing happened - it was good. Now, I'm not saying it's great film, but it was a good story and miracle of miracles - an aged Rocky fighting a young heavyweight champion wasn't exactly as far-fetched as it originally sounded.

So here's the premise, Adrienne has passed and Rocky has this hole in his life - understandable since Adrienne was the glue for so long. Then there is this new computer game that matches old athletes against their new counterparts (both in their prime) and Rocky came out the winner against the current heavyweight champion. All of these things got him to thinking. Now, for movie purposes, Rocky was in his 50's (Sly is actually 60) and the champion was probably meant to be in his late 20's (maybe as far as early 30's). So this doesn't sound plausible, right?

Not necessarily, and this is why I think it could happen the way the movie portrayed it.

I was an avid boxing fan for a lot of years. Not so much lately as I haven't found a heavyweight I love and that class is definitely my favorite. The champion in the movie is what I like to call a "manufactured athlete," in that he was probably the product of a middle class family who started training to be a fighter at a young age in a sterile environment and with plenty of expensive coaching. The movie presents him as someone who has never really been challenged at all in the ring. Rocky, on the other hand, is the original tough guy. He's a street brawler - a guy who had to be tough to survive. And that's where I think he's got a huge edge over his competition.

Mike Tyson is a prime example of what I'm talking about. I contend (and this is my opinion of course) that in his prime, Mike Tyson was unbeatable. By anyone. Anyone at all in their prime. The reason I believe this is because in addition to a ton of talent, Tyson is an animal. That gives him an enormous advantage over a civilized fighter - a manufactured athlete.

Rocky also delivered one of those classic lines during the movie that I really enjoyed. It went something like "It's not about how many times you win. It's about how many times you get knocked down and keep going." What a fantastic observation about character. Think about your favorite books, movies, the stories you're writing (if you're a writer). The stories we love are about characters we identify with who keep going against the odds to get what they want.

My final thoughts: Definitely worth the price of admission and not a disappointment to all those long-time Rocky fans .
Check in tomorrow when I tell you about the movie rental that will make you want to slit your own wrists.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Winner & Movie Review

Silly people who read my blog yesterday and didn't take the time to post (and there were a lot of you.....) But without further ado -

The winner of an autographed copy of THE REST FALLS AWAY is Tori!!!!!!

Congratulations, Tori! Please email me your mailing info at jana (at)

And now off to movie review Friday. I saw two movies last weekend - I'll just hit on one of them for now.

Movie in review: Night at the Museum

Okay, let me start by saying that I'm not a huge Ben Stiller fan. I mean, I would never see a movie just because he's in it, but I wouldn't avoid one either for the same reason. So he's just kinda not on my radar at all. So the star is definitely not the draw here.

The story concept, I felt, was kinda cool but had the propensity to end up being very stupid. Well, I'm happy to say that I didn't find it stupid at all. It was, of course, silly at times, but overall I found it highly entertaining.

The premise of the story, for those not in-the-know, is that Ben Stiller's character takes a job as night security for a museum and after dark, all the displays inside come to life. He's faced with quite a few challenges.

The good thing is, the movie actually provides a reason that this is happening and that made me really happy that they didn't leave out some very relevant backstory.

Other funny actors such as Owen Wilson and Robin Williams played roles as museum displays brought to life and definitely added some fun to the show.

My rating: A Whole Lot of Entertaining Fluff and Fun

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Interview With Author Colleen Gleason

As promised, here is an exclusive interview with Colleen Gleason, whose debut novel THE REST FALLS AWAY released January 2nd.

One lucky blog poster will win an autographed copy of THE REST FALLS AWAY, so check out the interview and post your comments!

Tell us a little about yourself – where do you live, do you have a family, do you like cats – whatever you feel comfortable with.

I live with my husband, three children, and a dog in the Midwest US. No cats, but not because I don’t like them…only because my stepdad is uber allergic to them and if we had one he wouldn’t ever come and visit.

My children seem to think that we’ll be able to get a cat this year (2007) because they read in school (in 2004) that “they” (whoever “they” is) are making genetically engineered cats that won’t cause allergic reactions. Yeah.

Tell us about your writing career – how long have you been writing, how many novels did you complete before selling, what genres do you write in?

I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school—seriously. But I didn’t finish my first novel until I was out of college. Then, over the course of the following nearly fifteen years, I got started in a sales and marketing career, finished my master’s degree, got married and had three children, and continued to write when I could. I finished nine novels before I sold my first book, The Rest Falls Away, along with a follow up.

I’m currently writing paranormal historicals (the Gardella books), and I’m also writing erotic historicals under a pseudonym.

Now that the bio is out of the way, let’s talk about your debut release, The Rest Falls Away. Your story is hailed as being Buffy meets Jane Austin. Where did you get the idea to set a vampire slayer story in Regency England?

A few years ago, I got hooked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, thanks to my friend Brian. And my favorite fairy tale was Cinderella—I love the Disney movie, the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, and was actually in the R&H show when I was in high school. I was going through a phase of listening to the soundtrack and watching the movies (I have two daughters…need I say more?) In fact, I’d even started to write my own Cinderella story set in Regency England a few years before…

And then I started thinking about what Buffy’s predecessors would have been like—and what if Cinderella had had to carry a stake? And poof! there was my story idea. And it just blossomed from there into something so much more.

Your heroine, Victoria, is on the eve of her debut into society when she has to choose to accept the call of her family legacy as a vampire hunter, or Venator. The combination of her family’s social status and the era present unique difficulties for a female Venator. Did it present unique challenges to you as the writer?

It made writing the book fun! I had a blast figuring out how she could sneak out of the house without her mother knowing, and deciding where she was going to hide her stake in those filmy, diaphanous gowns they wore back then. And then I got to think about putting her in situations that would be funny and painful at the same time—for example, in one place in the book, a suitor is declaring his love for her and she is distracted by the fact that a vampire is near and she has to excuse herself to go stake it!

It was the juxtaposition of Victoria’s place in Society with her special calling that made the book so much fun to write.

As soon as readers get their hands on this first book, they are going to fall in love with Victoria and cry for more stories. How many Gardella books do you have under contract and how many are planned for this series?

Thanks for saying so, Jana! The second Gardella book, Rises the Night, will be released in June.

I’m currently writing the third, titled The Bleeding Dusk, which will be published in early 2008. And I’m contracted to write a fourth book, which will be released in late 2008.

I’m hoping to write at least a fifth book about Victoria as well, so we’ll see what happens!

Most writers are particular about what they read while writing a rough draft. What about you? Do you read “out of genre” while writing the rough draft?

I don’t read too much at all when I’m writing, but when I do, I often read either my “comfort reads”—such as books I’ve read over and over, or some of my favorite authors.

I rarely read vampire books myself, partly because I don’t want anything to distract me from my own mythology and world-building, although if I do read them, it’s usually between books. Or when I’m writing something else.

Tell us a little about a typical (if there is such a thing) writing day.

Heh! Nothing’s typical in my life…but, I’d say most of my days begin with me doing email and blogging, and then perhaps some errands and/or research. I don’t usually write until after lunch—I’ve become accustomed to writing later in the day (probably because of those years of writing after the kids were in bed, when I was working a day job).

So I write after lunch until the kids come home, visit with them briefly, and then try and get another hour in before dinner. Then after they go to bed, I usually get online and write a bit more and/or do email.

You were a Golden Heart finalist in 2003, but didn’t make your first sale until 2005. Obviously perseverance is a characteristic that all writers need to succeed. What other characteristics do you think writers need to inherently possess or acquire along the way? What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

That’s correct. In fact, I actually signed with my agent shortly after my Golden Heart final and we worked together for two years before we sold the Gardella books—so that’s a case in point that perseverance is key in succeeding in this business.

I wrote four books during that time, and my agent pitched each one to major NY publishers. It either wasn’t the right time for them or they weren’t right for the house or line. But I kept on writing new things, and suddenly, I had two very different manuscripts that were marketable and sold. I sold a total of six books in less than a year, after trying for years to get published!

So, perseverance is key. There is no secret handshake, no golden password to getting published. Keep writing, keep submitting, keep writing, and keep submitting—until you sell or you give up.

But also keep your eye on the market. It’s very hard to write “to” the market, because by the time you do, either that market is dying or overcrowded…but you can have an eye to it. That was why I chose to set my historical vampire series in the Regency period—it’s the most popular setting for historical romance. So that made the sale a little easier.

Would it have sold if I’d set the book in Renaissance Italy? Or Marie Antoinette’s France? I don’t know. But since I had an eye to the market, it made it easier for the publisher to make the decision to buy it, knowing that the time period was already popular with readers.

And my last bit of advice is to stay true to the book and yourself. Ultimately, you have to like and enjoy what you write, or it won’t be fun, or fresh, or exciting. You have to write something you’d want to read, something you find intriguing or interesting. You write for yourself first. And then once you’re published, you write for yourself, and then for your editor.

Thanks so much Jana for having me! I really enjoy your blog and I loved Rumble on the Bayou. Can’t wait for Unlucky!

Thank you, Colleen! THE REST FALLS AWAY is an absolutely fabulous read and I think readers are going to love it and come begging for more. I know I am. :)

Contest Winner

Jeanette J is the winner of the autographed copy of THE REST FALLS AWAY.

Jeanette - please email me your mailing information at jana (at)

Congratulations on your win and everyone check back tomorrow for an exclusive interview with author, Colleen Gleason, and a chance to win another autographed copy of her debut release.

I'm running short on time today, so no official blog. Too much to do and not enough hours in the day. But I'll have the great interview tomorrow and look for movie reviews on Friday.

Have a great day!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Official Release Day!

It's the official release day for Colleen Gleason's, The Rest Falls Away! I can't tell you how excited I am about this book. It's absolutely fabulous - the best I've read in years. Check out my previous blog about the book you absolutely must read.

If that's not enough to get your attention, check out this trailer.

And if that's still not enough to convince you to read this book (well, you must be dead, but that's another issue), I'm going to give away a signed copy to one lucky blog poster. So post your comment here today and I'll draw a random winner from all the posts.

I have no doubt that you'll not only be putting Colleen Gleason on your keeper shelf but that you'll frothing at the mouth for the next book in the series.

The Beginning of a Brand New Year!

Glitter and MySpace Layouts

It's officially 2007 and I've begun the new year with a bang - a writing bang anyway. I actually got six pages written this morning before the cafe got too crowded and I needed to leave.

Also heard a great bit of conversation this morning that quite frankly, scared the hell out of me. This was a conversation at the table behind me and it was all I could do not to turn around and see the woman speaking.

Woman behind me: "I'm just saying, if he hadn't a bit off my finger, I would have killed him. And I don't know why he's going around bragging about it now when he knows I still can."

Woman's friend: "You wanna go on and say that any louder."

Woman behind me: "He knows. I ain't gotta yell it from here for the coward to know."

After that she griped at some poor kid who probably has the misfortune to be related to her about not eating his black-eyed peas and saying as how she figured he just wanted bad luck. Because having your finger bit off is all good, right?

Then she went on to chastise her friend for not keeping her fingernails clean. Oh sure, it's easy to chastise when you've only got nine to tend to instead of ten.

Good God Allmighty. I just don't have anything else to say.
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