Tuesday, July 31, 2007

One Down Four to Go

Well, Monday's down and I only have four more days to go in paradise. Obviously, I'm joking. Any place where the cable television goes out when it rains is hardly paradise. Yep, you heard it - no television. I have officially missed Hell's Kitchen because of a little rain storm. Also, just in case the state of Rhode Island hasn't heard - it is considered good manners to let people OUT of an elevator before you rush in.

I am also officially still tired. I'm sleeping, I swear, so why can't I get "caught up." Any ideas for feeling refreshed guys?????? I got a full 8 hours last night and still feel like death.

I DID start on a new wip last night. And it's NOT a humorous, contemporary, romance/mystery hybrid. (quite a mouthful) We'll see if I ever do anything with it, but I couldn't stop the nagging, so I figured I'd write until I fell asleep. And I literally did that - fell asleep with my hands on the keyboard. Thank goodness for autosave.

Oh well, must wet hair and find coffee. The day's afoot!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Back on the Road

Sorry, guys, but I didn't get a picture of the kitty before I left. I'll see if my husband has time to take one this week and send it to me. Because you know I'm not at home again. That's right - back on the road. This trip is banner fun. I left my house at 8:30am yesterday and arrived at Providence, RI at 5:30 pm. Apparently no one wants to fly direct to Providence so I got to take two commuter planes and they fly SLOW. They are also small, narrow and uncomfortable. Imagine a movie theatre seat and take about four inches off of it across. That's what I spent 7 hours in yesterday. My back is not happy. My hiney is not happy.

And despite my days off and trying to sleep myself to death, I am still not caught up. I fell asleep last night around 9:30 (which is 8:30 to me) and still barely crawled out of bed this morning. I'm beginning to think it might take a month before I ever catch up. And that would have to be a month without traveling.

Oh well, on to the question of the day. Sometimes I toy with the idea of writing something other than humorous contemporary. Of course, I would have to fit it in between somewhere but no matter what, if you write two different genres, or for two different publishers, there would have to be times when you end up working on two rough drafts at once. So have any of you done this????? If so, are you plotter or pansters? I can see plotters being able to make this happen by virtue of having the book mapped ahead of time, but as a panster, I'm wondering how I could let me creative mind go in two different direction when sometimes one is hard enough.

So, anyone????? Have you tried this and how did it work out for you?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Day Off

Took the day off work yesterday and today, and I'm feeling so much better for it. I decorated my front entry-way yesterday and got the Sheltie and the cat groomed (kinda on the cat part). Today is laundry, nails and maybe a massage. So the mobile pet groomer came yesterday to shave the cat - now this is the 22 pound cat. He's declawed and usually nice, but apparently does not like having his feet touched. Ole' boy got to the front legs and the cat bit him so hard, he cracked his thumbnail in two. So now I have a cat that is shaved on his back and one front leg. Long hair on the belly, hiney, head, tail and three legs. To make matters worse, our little cat has decided that she doesn't know who he is because of the haircut and keeps fighting with him. So he keeps sitting in the corner crying.

I think I need to go back to work. :)

Today's GCC tour is a bit different than the others in that the book is a thriller/suspense/horror sort of tale. It sounds absolutely fantastic, and I will definitely be putting this on my list to buy. Not to mention that the author is from Louisiana, which makes her family. :) So without further ado, today's GCC tour is MORBID CURIOSITY by Deborah LeBlanc.

It seemed like the answer to Haley’s prayers. The most popular girl in her high school promised Haley that her life would change forever if only she performed certain dark rituals. And if Haley can convince her twin sister to participate, their power will double. Together they will be able to summon mystical entities they never dared dream of. But these are powerful, uncontrollable forces, forces that can kill—forces that demand to be fed . . .


“One of the best new voices of supernatural thrillers!” --Cemetery Dance

“It’s now official: Deborah LeBlanc has become a master not only of good spooky stories, but also of crafting great characters to fill them!” --Horror Fiction Review

“An imaginative chiller. Riveting!” --Publishers Weekly

“Ms. LeBlanc’s tale is a powerful, gripping read, with an ever increasing intensity that forces you to the end without laying the novel aside.” --Who Dunnit

About the Author:

Deborah LeBlanc is an award-winning author from Lafayette, Louisiana. She is also a business owner, a licensed death scene investigator, and an active member of two national paranormal investigation teams. Deborah’s unique experiences, enthusiasm, and high-energy level make her a much sought after speaker at writers’ conferences across the nation. She also takes her passion for literacy and a powerful ability to motivate to high schools around the country.

She is the president of the Horror Writers Association, president of the Writers’ Guild of Acadiana, and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the National Association of Women Writers, and International Thriller Writers Inc. In 2004, she created the LeBlanc Literacy Challenge, an annual, national campaign designed to encourage more people to read. Her most recent novels are: FAMILY INHERITANCE, GRAVE INTENT, A HOUSE DIVIDED, and MORBID CURIOSITY. Deborah’s next release, WATER WITCH, is scheduled to be on bookstore shelves in August ’08. For more information on Deborah or the Literacy Challenge, visit Deborah at her website and buy the book!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Alive And Well

I called my mom yesterday morning and she says, "so you finally surfaced." Yeah, that's kinda how I feel. I have been in a whirlwind even worse than my usual whirlwind for the last several days. BUT - I got my galleys out last Thursday and my proposal to my agent. She sent it back, and I tweaked it a bit more over the weekend and it went to my fabulous editor on Monday. So YEAH!!!!!

I got home from Tampa on Friday - had Saturday to regenerize the underwear situation - and hopped on a plane Sunday to San Antonio for my company's user conference. Then I proceeded to work a grueling schedule. Worked till late Sunday night at registration - got back to hotel around 10:00 pm. Monday was even more fun - day starts at 6:30am - day ends at 12:00am.

My boss saw me Monday night and says "How's it going?" To which I replied "I am wearing 8-hour shoes and a 10-hour bra. It's not looking good."

And since the employees had to stay at a different hotel in order to accomodate the customers at the conference hotel, there was no time to change or rest on a bed or anything. By Tuesday my feet hurt so bad (I was a monitor in all the hand's on classes, so I stood, literally, almost all day), that I ended up monitoring classes in slacks, dress shirt and flip flops with little dangly seashells. Unfortunately, I was so tired, I thought it looked good. My training buddy, Todd, thought it looked good too. He'd slept as much as I had.

So I came back Tuesday night and got up early Wednesday to haul into work and try to catch up on a million sets of paperwork so that I could officially take Thurs/Fri off. Well, I say officially. Technically, I have a 300-page training manual to edit and a 700-page training manual to review since I'm teaching it next week and have never seen it.

Oh well, enough about my very exciting life, today I have a GCC tour for you for fabulously funny writer, Julie Kenner, and her latest release DEMONS ARE FOREVER. (I just love her titles)

Kate Connor is the busiest – and most dangerous – mommy on the block! Having traded in her professional life for the rewarding (yet arguably less glamorous) duties of a stay-at-home mom, Kate – Wal-Mart shopper, loving wife – has recently rejoined the workforce. Reconciling her home obligations with the demanding needs of her job has proven tricky, however. Kate seems to have not one but two full-time jobs, and there’s no telling which takes more work: being a Level Four Demon Hunter or a Stay-At-Home Mom!

DEMONS ARE FOREVER: Confessions of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom (Berkley Trade Paperback; July 3, 2007; $14.00), by Julie Kenner, is the third installment in the devilishly funny Demon series, which has become a favorite amongst young mothers —demon-loving or not. These days, Kate Conner has a lot on her plate. Her daughter has figured out what she’s been up to, and wants to grow up to be just like her mom. Kate also has a sneaking suspicion that her dead husband is using the forces of darkness to filch the body of another human being. And her living husband isn’t exactly acting like the man she married either.

Moreover, Kate’s acquired a precious but deadly item that every demon within commuting distance wants. With husband woes wrecking havoc on her emotions, and an ambitious teenage protégée at her heels, this stay-at-home mom is putting in a lot of overtime.

A new take on the demons that moms fight everyday, from car-pools, to chaperoning, to growing pains, DEMONS ARE FOREVER is a fun, fast, smart and entertaining adventure in mommy-lit.

The first book in the series – CARPE DEMON – is currently in development as a feature film with Warner Brothers and 1492 Pictures. The second book – CALIFORNIA DEMON – is a current RITA finalist.

“Ninety-nine percent of the wives and moms in the country will identify with this heroine.”-Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times bestselling author of FALLING AWAKE

“What would happen if Buffy the Vampire Slayer got married, moved to the suburbs and became a stay-at-home mom? She’d be a lot like Kate Conner.”-Publishers Weekly

About the Author:

Julie Kenner spent four years mainlining nonfat lattes in order to write, practice law full time and take care of her first kiddo. Then she wised up, quit the practice of law, and settled down to write full time. Praised by Publishers' Weekly as an author with a "flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations," Julie’s books cross multiple genres and have hit bestseller lists as varied as USA Today, Barnes & Noble, and Locus Magazine, among others. She lives in Georgetown, Texas with her husband, two daughters, and three cats.

Visit Julie at her website, her blog, her myspace or just go buy the darn book! It's funny, I promise.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Almost Up With the Chickens

I slept late today - only set my alarm for 6:00 am (5 am for me). Still, in that finding time to write mode - or do writing business mode. The good news is, I turned in my proposal on Tuesday and finished my galleys last night around 11:00. Took a shower and hopped in bed around midnight. It's been a long, long week but a productive one. This morning, I have to run to the UPS store before class, make a copy of the galleys and overnight to my publisher.

In other news, apparently the blogsphere ran rampant yesterday with discussions of dress at RWA National, most specifically Marianne Mancusi & Liz Maverick (who were dressed like characters from their new releases from the Shoimi line) and the swan hat that Sheriilyn Kenyan wore.

I have to say, I don't know why so much time is spent on this. I really don't give a damn what people wear. Now, I do admit that I had to explain to several people (who had NO idea what Marianne and Liz were doing) that they were not some sort of new-age street-walker. Once I explained, everyone had that Ooooooh response and nodded and seemed to dismiss it immediately. I don't know of anyone that said it was stupid or unprofessional.

However, the discussion raged over at Smart Bitches. Some big names popped in to comment, most notably Nora Roberts, who doesn't think the dress is appropriate, especially given the fight romance writers have to "justify" our genre. I think I see both sides of this. I don't really give a whit what people think of me or romance because the people who judge that way aren't my audience to begin with and I wouldn't want someone so narrow minded reading my books. They might enjoy it and I don't want people twisted so tight that they make all around them miserable to enjoy even a small part of their lives. When they lighten up and drop the elite-ist bullshit, then we can talk.

But in Nora's defense, when anything happens that gives romance a bad name, reporters don't come running to my house for opinion - they run to hers. So as the unofficially (and she didn't volunteer) spokeswoman for romance, I can see where she wouldn't appreciate having to defend her profession once again.

I also think some people are afraid that publishers might go the way of the music industry. Used to be that it was only about the singing/songwriting, now that's hardly the case. Unless you look hot in a video and can dance like a snake, no one is putting out a cd (not women anyway). I really don't see this happening. For a lot of reasons, and most of them were at RWA National. Now, I'm not saying writers are a homely lot, but lets face it, we look far more like normal average people than the sexpots on tv. And since it usually takes years to build a writing career, most of us are "old" before anyone even knows who we are.

I have to admit, that I am somewhat disappointed in some of the comments I read. Certainly everyone is entitled to their opinion, but in this industry, I would have thought that more than anyone else we would have learned not to judge a book by its cover.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How You Do It

If you read my blog regularly, then you know how crazy my schedule is - airports, hotels, new towns every week, new students to train. I often get this comment "I don't know how you do it." Well, I guess the answer is "I have to."

Every year at conference people ask questions like "how do you find time to write if you also _________?" Fill in the blank with whatever - work another job, have small children, take care of an elderly parent. The reality is, very few writers actually have the time to write. They're people with responsibilities and obligations the same as everyone else.

Writer's MAKE the time to write.

In her workshop at conference, someone asked Stephanie Bond how she managed to write when she was still working full time. Stephanie was a systems engineer. Here is her answer (as close as I can remember):

She had an hour commute on the way to work so she used a voice recorder to work in the car. At work when she sent a job to the mainframe, she had a couple of minutes before receiving feedback, so she wrote notes on a sticky pad that she always kept close by and stuck them all on a pad of paper to use later on. At lunch, since she knew she'd never be able to eat in the office without being interrupted, she went to the parking lot and wrote in her car. More recording on the way home, then she sat down with all her notes, recordings and lunch work and worked again.

That's it, people. There's no secret way to make time to write, because the reality for most of us is, there is no time. My alarm this week is set for 5:15 am. I'm in Tampa, so as far as my body's concerned, that makes it 4:15 am. I don't start class until 9:00. This early morning wakeup is so that I can finish my proposal and my galleys, both of which HAVE to go this week.

Do I want to get up at 4:15 in the morning? Hell no! But I want a career as a writer more than I want to sleep. And to be successful, you're going to have to want it more than the things you will give up - and there will be a long list of them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Story Ideas

If you read my post yesterday, you know I'm in sunny (not) Tampa. Well, it was probably sunny before I arrived. I have ultimately decided that I am the bad weather bringer. No sooner had the plane landed that it clouded up. I got to the hotel, checked email, unpacked, etc and it was still rumbling. I checked my watch and decided I might run out and grab an early supper and try to beat the rain - ha. I was about a mile from the hotel when the bottom dropped out. And where was my umbrella, you ask - back at the hotel. This, is very typical of my luck lately.

Which led me to thinking about story ideas. Sure, everyone says there is no relation to people they know, blah, blah, blah, but is that really true? Let's face it, for a book to have any depth, writers are playing every character in the story. So in a way, everyone is based on us. My book due out in October is even more so than basic resemblance and I thought I'd share the story with you.

Back in 2000, my husband and I made plans to get married in Las Vegas. I was working contract at the time, and had the flexibility to take a couple of months off work. I am sort of a math geek (dad is engineer + mom is accountant = really good math dna) so I decided to try to break the house on blackjack. I got software, read books, and generally studied and practiced for over a month. I knew every combination of cards between me and the dealer and what the best statistical play was. I could utilize a simple card-counting method on up to six decks of cards.

But I couldn't win.

If I had 19, the dealer had 20. If I had 20, the dealer had 21 - and on and on. To make matters worse, if I sit down at a table, everyone loses. I'm not even allowed to stand next to my husband (who is silly lucky at blackjack), when he is playing.

So when RWA conference was in Reno, I was meeting with my agent and she asked if I'd been gambling. I told her not really and relayed my Vegas story. She laughed and said "you know, there's a book in there somewhere." And so after much thought, UNLUCKY was born.

The funny thing is, at the time I wrote the proposal, I hadn't even heard of the word "cooler" much less seen the movie. My good friend, Diana Peterfreund, told me to work the word into my proposal and I (not wanting to look like an idiot), googled it to find out what the heck she was talking about. Low and behold, I found that if things don't pan out with this corporate training gig, I could have a covert career as a card cooler.

I have yet to actually get a casino employee to admit that cooler exist, but then why would they? All I know, is I switched to poker shortly thereafter. I'd like to say it went fine, but well, let's just say I'm back on slots. :)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Manic Monday

It's Monday again and I swear I don't feel like I've slept for a month. Well, maybe I haven't - not that good sleep anyway. So I wrapped up conference yesterday and am rushing around this morning like a chicken with my head cut off. Why, you ask - because I have to catch a flight at noon.

Yes, I haven't even unpacked my conference clothes and I'm throwing things into a carry-on for another training trip. I'm off to Tampa today, so I'm going to try not to complain as I really love Florida. I just wish I wasn't so tired, or sleepy. Maybe I can find a place to have dinner at the beach and that should make it all better.

I have goals for this week: Turn in my galleys (kinda have to do that one if I want any changes made), and polish and turn in my proposal to Kristin for submission to Leah.

I'll keep you posted on how I'm doing. For now, I'm off to print out a boarding pass - Hooray for first class upgrades!

More tomorrow from sunny Tampa.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday at Conference

Today is Saturday, right????? Okay, then what the heck did I do Friday?

Worked on galleys, I remember that part. Went to a workshop on visualization by my absolute favorite author Stephanie Bond. Had the Dorchester dinner last night. They always do a fabulous job with our dinners. It's always a cool, fun restaurant with great food and service and everyone has a blast. After that went with some friend up the tower ball (it's one of those revolving restaurant/bar things) and had champagne. Then changed clothes and went back to the bar to visit with more friends.

Finally went to the room sometime around 1:00, maybe. Got up this morning for breakfast - barely. And am trying to ready myself for another day.

So sorry this post is short and not as informative, but I am dragging butt - and for those of you who know me - that's a lot of baggage. :)

More tomorrow!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thursday of Conference

Thursday of conference began with another expensive/non-tasty breakfast. But I met some people at the restaurant since we opted to share a table to get food (mostly coffee) faster. Also sharing the table was fellow Dorchester author, Lois Winston, and an author I've read but hadn't met before, Caridad Pineiro. After breakfast, I tried to get a bit of work on galleys and managed a whole chapter - I'm not exactly tearing them up here.

Lunch was RWA hosted and the guest speaker was Lisa Kleypas who was fab. She was so funny and so right about romance writers and the way we're perceived by the non-romance reading populas. I would love to have a script of her speech. Hmmmm, wonder if I can get one somewhere.

After lunch, I hung out with some of my friends and fellow DARA members then headed off to drinks with my agent at 3:30. Did not get much accomplished at our meeting because people have absolutely no manners. Here's a piece of advice for conference goers. If you see two people sitting a bit apart from others, even at a crowded bar, and one of them has on a name badge that says "Editor" or "Agent" they are having a meeting with a client. Do NOT speak to them. If you are looking to make an impression on said editor/agent, you just did, but it wasn't the one you wanted to make. I know some people don't realize this is the case, but people really need to exercise a bit more common sense. So we discussed absolutely nothing of value due to interruptions or people just hanging over my shoulder because they wanted to get in the conversation - and I do mean literally - I could feel them breathing.

My dinner with my editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, was soooooooo much nicer. Why, you ask. Well, for one - we left the hotel. We went down to the West End and ate at a place called Gators (which was very appropriate for a meeting with me), and Leah got to eat some fried alligator, which she liked. We had a great discussion about writing, my next proposal, marketing, books we read, movies we love and a host of other things. She is so much fun to talk to and the time just flew.

Back at the hotel, I headed to Moonlight Madness (which is a trade show of goodies) and picked up a T-shirt that has a cute quip about being a writer. I figure I'll wear it in airports and stir up more business. Then I ran into friends and headed to the bar. Ended up meeting with new Dorchester author and Nelson Agency client, Leslie Langtry, and her husband and had a blast. Leslie's debut is just about to release and she's one of the mystery/hybrid girls. Her first is called 'Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy, and is going to be great fun! Kathleen Bacus, who writes the Calamity Jayne series for Dorchester also joined us for a while and we had a great chat.

Finally had to call it quits around 12:30 and went back to the room to crash. I said I was going to sleep late today and by God, I managed 7:00! Cindy is still snoring. :)

More tomorrow!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

First Official Conference Day

Well, yesterday was the first official day of conference and it kicked off in a bang. First I had some breakfast with my friend Colleen. The hotel breakfast was lousy and expensive ($15 for fake eggs and some misc. other stuff), but what are you going to do - that's higher end hotels for you. Then I headed off for Nelson Agency Spa Day. My fabulous agent, Kristin Nelson, took her clients, our editors (if available, and mine was - yeah), and her best bud Deirdre Knight (and company) to the Crescent. The Crescent Hotel has a top five nationally rated spa and it was fabulous! Plus, I finally got to meet Kristin's assistant and fantastic woman that organized the spa day, Sara Megibow!

I started off with a one hour Swedish massage, then went for a one hour pedicure, then had a light lunch and finished up the day with a manicure. All the time sitting around in these fluffy robes and being offered lemon water or champagne from spa employees. It was an extraordinary treat! But then, I have always said Kristin is the best!

After spa day, I headed back to the hotel and joined my friends in the bar. I will try to remember who wandered in: Cari Manderschied, Cindy Taylor, Patrice Luneski, Colleen Gleason, Jaye Wells, Esri (and I cannot remember her last name - but she is a Wet Noodle Posse girl) - and a ton of others that I can't even remember. Saw Nora stroll through a couple of times and I always laugh because I wonder if she thinks we won't recognize her wearing sunglasses. Oh well, can't blame her - I'm sure crazy people bother the heck out of her if they get her cornered.

Things were going fine until my friend Colleen came back from checking stock at the booksigning and told me that they did not have my books and could not find them. Yikes!!!! I called my editor and the race to find books was on. Here's the really awful news - someone at RWA screwed up and put all the Dorchester author books and some of the Warner author books in the goody room and they all got given away. None of the authors had stock to sign and there wasn't a damned thing to be done about it. I was the only one with books because I live locally and always keep a stash at my house. I called my hubby, Rene, and he loaded up a container and brought them to the hotel, thus saving the day for me.

My parents came with Rene also, so they all got to see a national booksigning event. And even more important, since they were carrying my precious cargo, I got to sneak them in the backdoor early and my mom got her Nora autograph before there was much of a line - yes, there was already a line before they opened the doors. :) They all got to meet my editor and agent and my writing friends that were at conference. I got to meet Erin and Brooke, two fabulous Dorchester employees that I had not met yet, and book sales went well. Plus, I had a lot of people stop by and say they'd already read the book and loved it.

After the booksigning, I was starving, especially after eating somewhat healthy all day, so a group of us walked over to the West End in downtown Dallas and finally found a restaurant that was still open and had some much needed food! Then we caught a cab back to the hotel and I went straight to my room and crashed. Day Number 1 was officially over.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Title At Last!

A big thanks to Anissa, who gave me the secret handshake for posting a title in blogger these days. You gotta love technology!

Here's the first day of conference run-down: Cindy and I headed out for breakfast early and took our time, then picked up a few last-minute items (deodarant is always a good thing), gased up the car, and headed to the hotel. They had a room available even though it wasn't yet noon and we were able to check in and get all the stuff up to the room. And let me tell you - stuff increases a lot when you have books to push. I carried a lot less stuff before I sold. Guess I'll be shipping stuff to conference next year.

We grabbed a quick lunch and headed to the airport to pick up my good bud, Colleen Gleason. I know it will shock you when I say her plane was late - and even more shocking is that the airline didn't know and still showed it as on time. Big surprise. Once we gathered Colleen (who manages to do an entire conference with a carryon - what the hell), we went back to the hotel and headed to the bar - the place for all business transactions at conference.

We did the registration thing, ran into my fabulous agent, Kristin Nelson, at checkin, and went to stake our place with some drinks. I ran into a lot of people I'd met at conferences before and chatted AND I had already run into Barbara Vey, my friend from the RT Convention who blogs for Publisher's Weekly. I'm so excited they decided to send her!

We had drinks, then dinner, then coffee, then went out for a relaxing dip in the hottub until security made us leave. Three women in a hot tub with bottled water are such a security risk, you know. So we went back to the room, checked up on email and finally crawled into bed.

Today is the Nelson Agency Spa Day (I can't wait) and this evening I meet with my fab web mistress, Dawn, then we have the booksigning. I can't wait!

More tomorrow and if you have any questions about conference and how it works, please feel free to ask them.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Blogger is STILL not letting me put a title so today's title is What To Expect When You're About to Leave for Conference.

The answer - galleys.

For those of you who don't know what galleys are, they are a printed form of your final book. It is your last chance to change wording, catch typos and generally not look foolish in print. It is a universally accepted truth among writers that galleys will appear on your doorstep at the most inconvenient time possible. I opened the door yesterday, saw a package, read the return address and just started laughing because I knew I had received galleys on my first day of vacation when I am on my way to conference.

Galleys have deadlines of we needed it yesterday to two weeks. I have two weeks, but leave for another training week after next so that means if you see me at conference with a stack of paper and a bald spot, I am working on my galleys. Sometimes I read them out loud - do not be afraid. I am not on medication.

Otherwise, Cindy and I are packed - hoping like hell we have not forgot anything and ready to head to the hotel.

More tomorrow!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Blogger is being totally weird this morning and won't let me post a title - whatever - I'm on vacation and refused to be disturbed by anything. :) So consider today's title - Monday of Conference Week.

It's Monday of conference week and I will go back and forth between busy and relaxing. Right now, I'm busy - got laundry to do and clothes to choose and marketing/promo items to run down so that I can pack. Around ten, my cp, Cindy will be here and we will journey out to the nail place, then probably pick get some lunch and perhaps do a little shopping. Afterwards, I see a beer and a chair next to the pool calling me.

We won't leave for the conference hotel until tomorrow, so this is a planning/preparing/resting day before the storm. My conference schedule is already filling up - spa day, dinners, lunches, meet for drinks - and I couldn't be happier! Conference is the absolute most fun for a writer.

BTW - A month or so back, I did a GCC tour of Joshilyn Jackson and BETWEEN, GEORGIA. Well, her books sounded so interesting that I downloaded one for my reader. I got her first, GODS IN ALABAMA. I have to say this is one of the best books that I have ever read. The woman is a genius and you should all do yourselves a favor and get this book. Check out this first line and tell me how you could fail to enjoy such a writer:

"There are Gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel's, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus."

Does she have the south pegged or what. And the book has a fantastic plot with turns I never saw coming, right on up to the last scene. Absolutely fabulous - they had to make me get off the plane because I was almost done reading it.

Oh well, I must run and do some more laundry, then try and get some breakfast in me before I start running the roads with Cindy. Have a great day, everyone - and check in this week for conference updates!

Friday, July 06, 2007

A Very Early Start to Friday

In case you needed to know, there is really nothing on television at 3:30 in the morning if you happen to be unable to sleep. There's a couple of interesting titles - The Secret of Motionless Exercise makes one pause, but since I'm pretty much always motionless except for the fingers, I'm betting this isn't a weight loss plan. If you're up for a sporting event, there's the World Series of Poker 2006 or Catch Bigger Fish. There's any number of 20 year old movies, that weren't even that good 20 years ago, so I finally settled on the weather mainly because after that I can watch Divorce Court.

The weatherman is stating (to whom, I have no idea) that we really can't handle any more rain. Does he think God has nothing to do at 3:45 am and is listening to his broadcast? Good Lord, did yall realize we have a lake that has risen 32 feet since December? An even better question (since said lake is now 19 feet over limit) is why the hell the city of Plano, where I live, still has us on water rationing. I'm pretty sure there's plenty to go around. I'm pretty sure most of us are so sick of rain we could scream. I'm definitely tired of the flight delays caused by the rain.

So since I'm up anyway, I thought I'd get a round of opinions - you've all noticed my redesign on my blog/website, so I have a question for going forward: What keeps you coming back to an author's website? Is it contests, news, games, photos of naked men?????? Website traffic tends to be one of those things that publicity people push as all important, but honestly, what can one do on their website exactly to create that much traffic - mind you, what I am really asking is what can someone who already works two full time jobs and has a family and needs clean underwear do on their website to create more traffic?

Any ideas? What websites do you visit on a semi-regular basis and why?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thursday and a GCC Tour

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July! My flight was delayed - shocking, right? But I managed to make it home by midnight. Saw a movie yesterday but I'm not blogging about it until tomorrow, so I'm keeping you in suspense. In fact, we saw a movie last weekend that I need to blog about tomorrow also so you will get a two-for-one. :)

And a head's up for next week. I leave Tuesday for RWA National Conference (I saw leave, but it's in Dallas, so I'll really just be driving to the hotel with my cp, Cindy), so I'll be blogging next week from conference about the various and sundry goings-on.

Today, I have a GCC Tour brought to you by Tanya Stone and her new YA release A BAD BOY CAN BE GOOD FOR A GIRL

Don't let the title scare you.

A BAD BOY CAN BE GOOD FOR A GIRL is a cautionary tale. Teens are dealing with sex, whether we’re ready or not. This novel is about three very different girls who date the same player guy. About how the choices they make shape who they want to be. About empowerment.

Meet Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva. Three very different girls who all meet the same bad boy with an irresistible knack for getting into their blood and under their skin.

Three girls. One guy. Who will come out on top?

In A BAD BOY CAN BE GOOD FOR A GIRL, Tanya Lee Stone takes a hard look at love and sex and asks the questions: “When can a bad boy be good for a girl?”

Tanya says, “I get lots of email from teens thanking me for ‘being honest,’ saying my book helped them, or they ‘gave it to a friend who needs it.’ What’s better than that?”

Since the book came out, Tanya has been outspoken about censorship and the need for tackling tough topics in teen books. Check out her VOYA article: “From Forever to Today: The Importance of Sex in Young Adult Literature” and a recent interview with AS IF! (Authors Support Intellectual Freedom) in which she discusses sex, censorship, and Judy Blume.

The new paperback includes a bonus Reading Guide. Book Club Folks: If you have chat software and want Tanya to do a virtual book club visit, let her know.

For a free bookmark and signed bookplate, email her at tanyastone (at) tanyastone.com

Read an excerpt, download the Bad Boy Reading Guide or visit Tanya at her website her blog, or her MySpace.

Buy the book at Amazon!

Everyone have a great Thursday!!!!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Some Like It Hot

This week is official release week for a special person - my mentor, Jane Graves. Jane is the first published author who took an interest in me and guided me to selling. She is a brilliant writer - actually attended college training under Jack Bickham - and has a tireless enthusiasm for helping newbies in the craft. She's also a wonderful person and an absolute blast to hang out with - can you say funny????

Jane is running a fun contest for a spiffy leopard tote bag (darn, that would look good on me), so hop over there and check it out!

Her latest offering is called HOT WHEELS AND HIGH HEELS and if waaaaayyyyyyy too much fun!!!!!! Check out this fantastic cover and a little info on the story:

Trophy wife Darcy McDaniel has just discovered that, thanks to her embezzling usband, her posh, upper-class life is gone for good. Now she's trading her suburban palace for a trailer park and her weekly salon appointments for a job. Darcy needs a new man--fast--one who'll keep her in the manner she darn well deserves. Problem is, the hottest prospect around is the my-way-or-the-highway hunk who's making off with her beloved Mercedes!

Ex-cop turned repo man John Stark is sure that hiring the furious woman in his headlights is a colossal mistake. He knows Darcy's high-maintenance, designer-labels-only type--after all, he's used to taking their cars. But he never expected this hellion to have the smarts and the spunk to go from receptionist to repo agent in record time...or to drive him insane with desire. She's the last thing this tall, dark, and dangerous loner needs...and everything he never knew he wanted.

Here's some reviews:

"Sassy, sexy and fun. Jane Graves will win your heart." Lori Foster, New York Times
bestselling author of SIMON SAYS

"Sassy and smart!" Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author of JUST FOR KICKS

"A delightful, funny read with a unique twist as a former trophy wife discovers herself, and true love, in the most unexpected place. A total winner!" Susan Mallery, USA Today bestselling

"Jane Graves never fails to enchant me. HOT WHEELS AND HIGH HEELS draws you in, then blasts off! Fasten your seatbelt for a fun, rollicking ride!" Stephanie Bond, author of the Body Movers series

Still not convinced - okay - then how about I give away a signed copy????? Just post on my blog today and you'll be entered to win a signed copy of HOT WHEELS AND HIGH HEELS. I promise, you will not be disappointed!

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Trip, A Tour, Another Monday

Good morning, everyone. I'm hailing to you from Newark, NJ today. Yes, you heard me - someone actually wanted training on a holiday week. Please say prayers that I actually get home tomorrow night or things will not be happy at the DeLeon home - or quite frankly, in NJ, if I'm stuck here. Of course, my plane was late getting to DFW yesterday and we loaded about 30 minutes late. Then no sooner did we get all situated that one of those Dallas rain storms came up. So we got to sit on the plane at the gate for two hours. Fun. Once again - thank God for first class upgrades. I got some necessary work done on my proposal.

Most of you have seen my gorgeous new website....the redesign was definitely something I wanted to do......changing web hosting was something I had to do. Apparently, all my email was not coming through to my old service and the "support" there was less than responsive. So, during the last two weeks, I missed touring two girlfriends.

So today, is officially Megan Crane Tour Day Observed!

Megan Crane is a New Jersey native who graduated from Vassar and got her MA and PhD in literature from the University of York in England. She is the author of Everyone Else’s Girl and English as a Second Language. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Her latest release, FRENEMIES, sounds so fun (and I have to admit, I've already bought and downloaded it on my Sony reader). Check it out!

Megan Crane, the successful author of Everyone Else’s Girl and English as a Second Language brings us a hilarious novel about growing up and realizing that your worst enemy – and best bud – just might be yourself.

Just a few months shy of her 30th birthday, Gus discovers Nate, her "Mr. Right," hooking up behind her back with her so-called "friend" Helen. Soon it seems despite working to hard to appear all grown up, Gus is still living the life of a teenager.

Gus is left with more questions than answers: Can she win Nate back before she turns 30 (And if so, does she really want him?) Is Helen really as devious and manipulative as she seems, or, worse, is Gus more like her frenemy Helen than she’d care to admit? And is she ever going to grow up? With the clock ticking down to her birthday, Gus discovers that sometimes the best thing about best-laid plans is trashing them altogether.

Here's some praise for FRENEMIES (and oh my God, a quote from Marion Keyes!)

“Jam-packed with hilarious one-liners and amusing scenarios, this is a quick, albeit very satisfying, read.”
—Romantic Times BOOKClub Magazine

"FRENEMIES is a hugely enjoyable novel with brilliant, convincing characters and dialogue.
It's romantic, funny, intelligent, believable, and gripping. I couldn't put it down
and am now very sorry it's finished!"
— Marian Keyes, international bestselling author of Angels and Last Chance Saloon

Please visit Megan at her website, her blog, or just buy the book!!!!!

Have a great Monday!
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