Monday, April 30, 2007

Draggin' on a Monday

So it's Monday just past noon and I'm still dragging. Left Houston early yesterday and arrived home by lunch. Hung out with hubby a bit and saw a movie, but that's about it. Thank goodness I still had enough clean underwear left, because I'm back at the airport today on my way to North Carolina for a training. May is super-duper busy - I'll be on the road four out of five weeks. But hey, I've definitely got some airline miles coming for this!

Conference was great! I met a ton of indy booksellers who are simply fabulous and loved RUMBLE and want promo stuff. Magical words! I'll be posting pics as soon as I'm back home and can break out the cable thingie and hook up the camera.

I am behind on GCC tours this week, so I'll be touring two lovely ladies as soon as I have the time to finesse and load their info. Please be sure and check below the GCC posts, as I will also try to blog every day seperately so that I can try and catch you up on everything.

In other news, RUMBLE is a finalist in the Wisconsin Write Touch Readers' Award Contest!

And to make that even better, I met a lady on the dance floor at the Ellora's Cave party who was one of the judges and told me how much she loved RUMBLE! I've got a pic with her that I'll post later this week.

Oh well, they're about to start boarding, so I need to pack up the laptop and get ready for another 2.5 hours of uncomfortable seating.

I'll see you from NC!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thursday at RT

Thursday, things picked up a bit. I went to the Dorchester spotlight in the morning and they included mystery hybrids (and specifically talked about RUMBLE) in the panel. Then it was off to dinner and the Bookseller of the Year Award, which went to Rosemary's Romance Books in Queensland. Rosemary is super-nice and if you ever have the opportunity to visit, drop by her store.

After lunch, I had an interview with Publisher's Weekly blogger, Barbara Vey, who does the Beyond the Book blog. She was great and we had a fabulous conversation. I got a mention on her blog for Thursday and next week she'll start posting the actual interviews!!!!! Very exciting stuff!!!!!

In the afternoon, I worked a bit on my proposal, bought some stuff from the vendors here and met up with friends for drinks. Then we headed out for dinner (mostly to escape the cigarette smoke) and quite frankly, I was too exhausted to do much else. After dinner, I headed up to my room for shower and bed.

More tomorrow!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The 2nd Coming of RT

Second day at RT went well. The workshops don't really kick off until today, so I haven't attended anything yet - well, except that whole bar thing that was mentioned before. So I got up early and had breakfast, registered for the conference and went about getting my promotional items arranged on promotion lane. I have some booklets, signed cover flats and bookmarks in a pretty turquoise box (everything had to be in a container), and it seems like things are moving well.

Met some more people (some nice, some scary) and went to dinner with other author friends. After that I headed down to the Ellora's Cave party. For those of you who don't know what Ellora's Cave is - they are the publisher that pretty much pioneered the erotica genre. The party theme was Moulin Rouge, so the costumes were something else. Sorry, I took pictures but didn't bring my cable thingie (technial term) with me so you'll have to wait until next week.

The EC girls also brought all their male cover models with them and they put on a show. There's just something about a bunch of ripped men dressed western style and dancing to Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy that kicks the night off. Then the men finished their show, the DJ fired up great tunes and everyone danced. My friend, Jo Carlisle, wanted to dance so we joined a bunch of other women on the floor and did the white-woman shuffle (in general, we have NO rythm). The EC guys joined the dancing and threaded through the group of women dancing and posing for pictures. Yes, I have pictures of hot guys, but you have to wait until next week to see them.

After about an hour of dancing, I was hot and ready to hit the shower, so I headed upstairs and got ready for bed.

Thus ends day day of the RT Convention.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

RT - The Arrival

After a mere four-hour drive down scenic Interstate 45 (look, there's that tree...), I arrived at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Houston. I must say, the hotel staff is superb and the room is excellent. However, I haven't slept yet, so I still reserve the right to say the mattress was horrid. But let's hope not since I get five nights on that sucker.

Not much going on today as most people will be arriving tomorrow. But I met up with fellow authors and DARA members, Sandy Blair, Tracy Garrett and Jo Davis/Jo Carlisle. We put a starting dent in the bar stock, then headed about twenty feet away for food. Now, I'm back in my room where I am fairly sure I am going to take a hot bath, maybe grab some coffee from downstairs first, then do some editing before I turn in.

I figure I ought to get some sleep now - it will probably be in short supply by the end of the week. I'll check back in tomorrow!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Monday!

I know it's sort of late for a Monday post, but hey, it's still Monday. And today is happy Monday.

Why, you ask??????

Well, that's because technically, I am on vacation the rest of the week, AND I'm going to the RT Convention in Houston tomorrow. The RT Convention is hosted by Romantic Times Magazine and is a fun opportunity for readers to spend half a week mixing it up with authors.

There are lots of workshops, mixers and costume parties to make things interesting. Since your truly has been buried with revisions, I did not have time to get costumes together, BUT I will be taking pictures of those that did.

So this week, I will be blogging from humid Houston, relaying the fun and excitement of the RT Convention. Don’t look for a post early, as I have to drive there tomorrow – yuck – and it’s about a 4 hour drive. And since I’m way too smart to leave during work traffic, I probably won’t arrive in Houston until mid-afternoon.

But after that, look for daily updates!

Friday, April 20, 2007

GCC Tour - So Not the Drama by Paula Chase

Okay, so let's start with my apologies for being away so much, but I promise when I finish revisions for UNLUCKY (and that might happen around May 1), I'll be regular again....well, that doesn't sound entirely nice, but you know what I mean. :)

I'm capping off this week with a GCC tour book - So Not the Drama by Paula Chase.

I have to say, even though I don't write YA and don't have kids, I'm going to have to pick this one up. I am already in love with the title and when I heard about the writer's style, well, read below and you'll see.......

“I just realized, I’m the Seinfeld of YA lit,” author Paula Chase says. “Taking tiny teen crisis and turning them into an entire book is my ‘thing.’ In her debut, So Not The Drama, Chase takes her Seinfeldian-style and turns a high school sociology project into a catalyst for good old-fashioned, light-hearted teen angst.

So Not The Drama [Kensington Books/Dafina for Young Readers] introduces readers ages 11+ to bright-eyed, optimist Mina Mooney, a high school freshman with nothing more on her mind than climbing the popularity ladder, until a sociology experiment to rid the world – or at least Del Rio Bay High School – of prejudice backfires. The project causes a rift between Mina and her best friend, Lizzie and sends Mina on a journey of exploration that’s both funny and eye-opening.

So Not The Drama is about the transition from middle to high school and the impact it can have on friendship.

Set to burst on the scene with her self-proclaimed Hip Lit, Chase takes readers back to high school where cliques reign supreme and going to class…a place to be seen.

What The Critics Are Saying:

“Contemporary friendship story, which revels in rich diversity of race, color and class.” -Booklist
“Readers will like the genuine dialogue.” —Publishers Weekly

“A multi-layered story…contemporary and thoughtful.” —Little Willow of Bildungsroman

April Girls Life magazine Book Pick

April/May Crave selection, Right On! magazine

About The Author:

Author, Paula Chase has written for Girls Life, Sweet 16 and Baltimore Magazine, among others. In addition to her background in corporate communications and public relations, she founded the Committed Black Women, a youth mentoring program for 14-17 year old girls. Her Del Rio Bay Clique series helped launch Kensington Books YA line and joins a burgeoning number of YA books targeted to multi-culti suburbanite teens. Chase calls her brand of teen literature, Hip Lit, a nod to the diversity spawned by the MTV-watching, 106 & Park-ing, pop culture hungry hip hop generation. The author lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about the series and author at her website.

Here's one way to buy the book!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Voice From the Past

Okay, so I've only been gone a few days, but it feels like forever. Unfortunately, UNLUCKY revisions have taken priority over everything but the day job, restroom visits and food. Sleeping went by the wayside a week ago. Hopefully, I'll be back to my usual self in a couple of weeks - albeit minus a good portion of my mind - and with a lot more butt (I'm a stress eater) but hey, at least I'll be back.

So I took a couple of days of vacation to work on revisions and I noticed something - companies harrass you with phone calls. I'm not talking about normal telemarketing - I'm on the nocall list for that. I'm talking about companies you already do business with or used to do business with. Take for instance my home warranty company. We bought the house last year and the seller provided us with a one-year warranty. It ran out at the end of March and yes, I intended to renew it and still do but I have other things that are far more important at the moment - like not screwing up my writing career when I've barely started.

Well, this warranty company literally calls my house 3-4 times a day! And they don't leave messages. They just keep calling and calling and calling. C'mon, at what point are these so called vendors crossing the same line that your regular telemarketer crosses?

At first it pissed me off so much I couldn't stand it. I mean, I'm trying to concentrate on my work and this yahoos keep calling my house. Then it became this game of wills. Who could hold out the longest...would I break and finally answer the phone or would they finally leave a message.

I am happy to report that they left a message last night. And I still haven't answered it.

I will...sometime....when I have time.

Whenever that is.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Deadline Friday

Hi guys, this is a short post because I'm deadline girl and have to have all revisions for UNLUCKY done in the next two weeks. Since I am also full-time job girl, I need every spare minute I can get, so no thinking up fabulously interesting blog posts. :)

Instead, I am going to provide you with a couple of links to things I find interesting/informative. I hope you enjoy.

JA Konrath's blog - A great wealth of information about the life of writing and the business of self-promotion

Stephanie Bond - Her articles for writers cover everything from technique to mental health.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Cubicle

I know I don't usually share this sort of things, but I couldn't help it. Hopefully some of my blogging audience has seen the movie OFFICE SPACE - an absolute cult classic for anyone who's ever worked in corporate America. If you haven't seen the movie and you have done your stint in CA, I suggest you rent it. It's a hilarious take on the stupidity of so many company policies and the way some people get ahead. Besides, we've all had Lumberg for a boss at some time or another.

Well, anyway, a co-worker forwarded this to me the other day. The song chosen worked fantastic with the new lyrics and it reminded me of OFFICE SPACE. In short, it made me laugh out loud, which is fairly rare.

Of course, if you've never worked in an office and you don't get the Corporate America thing at all then I only have two words to say - Lucky You!


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

GCC Tour - Staying Home is a Killer by Sara Rosett

For anyone who thought staying at home with kids was boring, read Sara Rosett's book, STAYING HOME IS A KILLER, and think again.

is the second book in the mom lit mystery series about a military spouse who runs a professional organizing business.

Diaper bag over her shoulder and adorable toddler wriggling in her arms, Ellie Avery strives to balance motherhood, marriage, and her professional organizing business, Everything in Its Place, but her ordered world is thrown into disarray when a fellow military spouse’s death looks more like murder than suicide. Toss in her husband’s deployment and her daughter’s separation anxiety, and Ellie has to keep the home fires burning as she sort clues from chaos and proves that home is not for killers.

Here's what the critics have to say:

Publishers Weekly: The author, also the wife of an air force pilot, includes practical tips for organizing closets, but the novel's most valuable insight is its window into women's lives on a military base.

Romantic Times: Thoroughly entertaining. The author’s smooth, succinct writing style enables the plot to flow effortlessly until its captivating conclusion. (Four stars)

Armchair Interviews: If you like cozy mysteries that have plenty of action and lots of suspects and clues, Staying Home Is A Killer will be a fun romp through murder and mayhem.

Kathie Hightower, military spouse and coauthor of Help! I’m a Military Spouse — I Get a Life Too!: Rosett brings us someone just like us — a military spouse carving out her own unique life as she deals with military life, moves, and deployments. Get yourself a cup of tea and settle in for a good read!.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Amarillo, Texas, Sara Rosett has always loved to curl up with a good book. The wife of an Air Force pilot, she and her family moved ten times—giving her plenty of expertise to write the Mom Zone mystery series about a military spouse. Sara and her family currently live in southern California. Her work appeared in Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul, and she is working on the next Mom Zone mystery, Getting Away is Dangerous (Kensington, April 2008).

Please visit Sara's
website, her blog, a group blog for "killer" writers, or just buy the book!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Writing What You Know (Redux)

I know I've spoken some on writing what you know (or my own version, which is Write What You Like To Read). Well, my friend, Diana, posted a great blog on that very subject today, so I'm going to cheat on blogging today and send you over to read her post. I might cheat here a bit in the weeks to come as I am in intense revision mode on UNLUCKY and need to get everything done quickly.

Have a great day and enjoy Diana's blog!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday Morning Movie Review

You know I had to see one. Despite the fact that I got back from Vegas late Friday night and had the whole hide-the-egg event scheduled with the family on Sunday, I HAD to get in a movie. Why? Because I'd been waiting for this one and didn't want to wait another weekend to see it.

The movie: The Reaping

Of course, this is one of my favored horror flicks and I hoped for great things on this one because it starred uber-talented Hilary Swank. I mean, I figured if you're winning Oscars, you shouldn't be making crappy movies, right?

Uh, not exactly.

For someone who never watches these kind of movies (and maybe Hilary will pull in some of those viewers), this movie might be okay. For those of us you live to find the twist - you will be disappointed as it is clear as day.

Case and point: My husband is a movie-goer who DOESN'T look for the twist - he sleep through about twenty minutes of the first half and he STILL knew by halfway what was going on. So he leans over and says "blah, blah, blah" (which is him giving away the plot) - to which I reply "you think." (sarcasm dripping from words)

My final assessment: A big disappointment

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Las Vegas Experience

So today wraps up my whirlwind Las Vegas experience. I've got to rush to checkout, so I'll just do a brief summary:

Number of meals eaten at casinos - 4
Number of good meals eaten at casinos - 0
Cost of meals - you don't want to know
Money lost on slots - $60, but there's probably time for a couple more on the way out :)
Miles walked across parking lots - At least a hundred

All in all it was an okay time. Just not near as much fun when you're alone. But I'll be looking forward to a vacation here with my husband as soon as we can arrange for it.

BTW - my mom emailed me yesterday to tell me it's supposed to snow on Easter. Snow!!!! My ruination of local weather never ends.

Have a great weekend, everyone! And happy Easter egg hunting!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Appropriate Characterization

The industry throws around a lot of words like "high concept" when it comes to selling books. And for the new author, I believe high concept is almost a must, but I have to admit that the majority of books I pick up off the shelf don't seem to be high concept at all. And even if you were to come up with the best high concept idea in the world, it doesn't matter if you don't put the right characters in the story.

The best books to read are people who have come up with the right character for the plot. Take my friend, Wendy Roberts, for instance. She has a new mystery series coming out - the first book comes out in December and is called REMAINS OF THE DEAD.

Now, here is what I think Wendy did incredibly right and was very clever about with her character selection. Wendy is writing an amateur sleuth - a hugely popular sub-genre of mystery. (My personal favorite too) But where most people lose me in a long-running series is with the heroine. Let's face it, while it might be funny/cute/amusing for a hairdresser, or dog-walker, or chef or b&b owner to solve a murder mystery, how many murders can people like that realistically come across without drawing unwanted attention to themselves? Basically, it's not the right heroine for a long-running series - not for me anyway. I usually bow out after a couple of books because I simply can't suspend disbelief for that long.

But Wendy came up witht he perfect twist to the amateur sleuth, creating a heroine that is perfect for running across murder in her day-to-day life but with no rational way of going to the police with what she knows. Why, you ask? How can this be?

Simple. Wendy's heroine is a forensic cleaner. She owns the forensic cleaning company that cleans up the mess people leave in homes/businesses/etc when they die - and the dead tend to stay around and talk to her!!!!

Wow! What a concept, right? So this is a woman with the only forensic cleaning company in town so she's going to be on sight for any death that left a mess. Then the dead person is going to talk to her. This is literally a person that could run into murder on a regular basis and not have it be stupid or contrived. Not only that, but she can never be guilty of SWS (stupid woman syndrome) because it's not like she could run to the police and tell them that the dead are talking to her.

It's the perfect setup for a long-running series and a brilliant idea on Wendy's part. Probably why Penguin was smart enough to give her a 3-book deal and decide to use her book as one to launch a new mystery line.

I've read the first and it was fabulous! In fact, it had a twist at the end that I never saw coming and for me that's huge.

So mark your calender, or keep reading my blog. Because around Santa time, I'll be reminding everyone to run out and buy REMAINS OF THE DEAD.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Last night, I experienced a moment from my latest heroine's life, which is not usually a good thing when you consider the book is entitled UNLUCKY for a reason. My husband was in the backyard messing with the pool, which happened to have collected a snake in a filter. It was a small snake but that is not the point. I don't want to swim with small snakes OR large snakes. So I go outside to help with the snake adventures and that's where trouble began.

We have a deadbolt on our back door along with one of those long handle type door knobs - you know the kind that look like a lever. The handle also has a lock but apparently when the door was opened, the lock wasn't quite clicked all the way over. So my subsequent pulling the door shut kicked it back in the other direction and locked us out of the house.

To add insult to injury our gate to our backyard is also padlocked from the outside - the fence is 8 foot - and my husband and I are not small people - the fence is also not overly sturdy and will be replaced soon. PLUS, it was about to rain.

So my neighbor comes home and we yell over the fence to ask if we can borrow her phone and a phone book. We call a bunch of locksmiths before finding one that can come out within an hour. My neighbor is offering ladders so we can get out of the back yard, but we elected to sit it out.

Then it started to rain - and hail. No, I am not shitting you.

We have this small overhang off the back door, so we drug two lawn chairs under it and huddled together with three dogs who were obviously wondering why the hell we didn't open the door and go inside.

So how was your Tuesday?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Workshop Info

I said I would tell everyone how the workshop went, so I'll cover that today. Sorry it didn't make it in yesterday, but nekkid guy won out. The workshop was Margie Lawson's Empowering Characters' Emotions. It is being offered online right now althought it technically started yesterday, so I don't know if you can sign up late. If you can, it's probably worth the $25. Here's the link.

So about the workshop - well, I'm pretty sure it's great, but I can't say for sure. Why, you ask. The answer is simple - because I am an absolutely horrible student. I hate sitting in class listening to someone teach. I don't care about applying technique to my writing right there and reading it out loud, and I don't care to hear other people's work out loud either. I simply don't learn that way. In about ten minutes, I zoned completed out. I finally gave up about an hour into class and started editing a wip I'd brought along. At lunch, I called it a day and decided not to stay for the rest.

Now, I want everyone to understand that my actions had NOTHING to do with the course material presented. It is simply not the way I learn. I prefer to read technique and apply myself. Give me a book or a manual and I'm great. Put me in class and I feel that everything drags and is a waste of time. Of course, the irony here is that I'm an instructor myself. But believe me, I'm not being a hypocrit - I bore myself when I train too. :)

So I think the information is great - and in fact, I signed up for the online course so I could simply read and apply which is my best method for learning. Sorry I couldn't cover more on the course, but I kinda spaced.

I do think it's probably more of an advanced set of information, so I don't necessarily think someone just starting to write would be able to get much out of it because you're still covering the basics.

Tomorrow, I am off to Las Vegas to train - and they pay me for this job!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Friday Night Surprise

So I think I've mentioned before that nothing shocks me any more. But every once and a while, I get surprised and every once and a GREAT while, I get totally surprised. Well, it happened Friday night.

I have an all-day writer's workshop on Saturday to attend, so my local cp's and I decided to get a room Friday (like we always do when individual schedules allow) and do our girl's writer's night. So it was fairly late (11:00 ish) that night when we put on bathing suits and headed down to the hot tub (one of the main reasons for the hotel excursion). We had been sitting there for about a hour when a guy walked in. The timer had just gone off so he asked if we wanted it turned back on. We said yes, so he did then he asked if he could turn off the lights.

We really didn't care. The room opened up to the courtyard which had plenty of light and quite frankly, we were already hot and the popcorn lights weren't helping matters. So he turns off the lights and then walks around to the side of the hot tub and sits at the side. My cp's are running on about one of their wips, so they aren't paying attention to this dude, but I thought he as acting weird. I mean, he seemed to be in pretty good shape but yet he was sitting on the side of the hot tub with the towel wrapped around him. So as soon as I turn my head, he slips into the water and I'm like "Oh My God! I bet he's naked!" (which in the south, is pronounced nekkid)

So my cp's have never looked over but I stop contributing to the conversation altogether. I'm too busy looking for his hands. Because by God, if his hands go below and his shoulder shakes (or anything else) I am SOOOOOOO out of there. So I'm busy on hand watch and the other two are plotting a book and finally one cp looks at ole boy and says "I bet we're boring you to death." Mind you, she STILL doesn't notice anything weird. The other one looks over as he responded and it was written all over her face - she definitely knew he was nekkid, now.

So a couple of minutes later we decide we're waterlogged and get out. We're halfway down the hall when I say "Can you believe that guy was in the hot tub nekkid!!!!" The clueless cp almost falls out in the hall and says "But he was floating on his back when we left!" Of course, it was dark, so I guess she didn't get a good look.

Now, being nekkid in a public place is bad enough but there is some big high school dance competition going on this weekend and half of the hotel was filled with high school girls. What in the world was he thinking??????? Doesn't he know that only one person filing a complaint would have him labeled a sexual preditor??????? Since this is the south, I would ask the direct question and say "what kind of balls does it take to pull something like that?" But it would be pointless, since I know what kind he had and that still doesn't answer my question.

So did you see anything interesting on Friday night?
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