Thursday, September 27, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Always An Adventure

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

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

These are the kind of adventures I could do without.

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

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Back in Dallas (for a minute, anyway)

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 24, 2007

Last Day of Vacation

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Friday About 30 Minutes Early

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What Ever Happened to Funny?

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

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

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


Monday, September 17, 2007

Posting Early......or Late

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

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

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

Apparently not.

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


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

Did I miss something?

Pass the Coffee - PLEASE

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

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

Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fantastic Friday!

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Please Send Me to Friday

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Old News

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

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Movie Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 07, 2007

Mega Busy

I'm mega busy today, so this is just a short blurb to tell you all that Barbara Vey, a Publisher's Weekly blogger, has blogged about UNLUCKY today. Hop on over and check it out! I'm always mega-geeked when people love my books and Barbara is a super-cool lady that I've had the absolute pleasure of hanging with at two conferences this year. Be sure and post - we want to make sure Barbara is around for a long time.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Something Nice

I only have a moment before class, but I wanted to share with yall something that made my day yesterday. I was rushing around (as usual) for the past several days - working on both my jobs over the holidays, seeing family, trying to get more household stuff in order, etc. And by Monday night, I crashed. Tuesday morning, I rushed in to work because I had to be in class by 9:00.

When I left work that day, it occurred to me that my car was almost on empty the day before and I had forgot to stop for gas that morning. Realizing I'd probably made it into the office on fumes and was darned lucky I didn't get to walk, I knew I'd have to stop for gas on the way home, even though I was already running late and really, really didn't want to stop.

So I hopped into my vehicle and started the engine, looked at the display to see the damage, and my car was full of fuel! When I'd crashed on the couch the night before, my wonderful husband had gone to fill up my gas tank for me. I hadn't even noticed until that evening and what a great surprise. I know it seems like such a small thing, but it really, really made my day.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day and a GCC Tour!

Happy Labor Day, everyone! Today's my regular posting day over at Killer Fiction so pop over and check out my recant of my interesting week with medical professionals. It's sure to make you renew your medical insurance policy.

Today, I'm bringing you a GCC tour by Laura Florand and her release, BLAME IT ON PARIS.

Eleven o’clock on a Friday night. The seamy, sex-obsessed center of Paris. I balanced over a Turkish toilet in a tiny bistro, one stiletto heel propped against the wall to make some kind of writing table out of my knee, trying desperately not to touch anything around me as I wrote an invitation…. Thus begins BLAME IT ON PARIS, Laura Florand’s hilarious and moving true story of a French-American romance between two people, two families, and two cultures.

What does happen when you put a small-town Georgian in Paris and a handsome, sophisticated Parisian in small-town Georgia? Especially when two huge families, one French and the other American, decide it’s up to them to further this romance. The Parisian’s family wants Laura to learn how to prepare snails, while Laura’s family keeps serving SĂ©bastien Mad Dog 20/20 as good wine. How will true love survive?


“Hilarious…A fun, frothy tale for anyone who has ever conjured up a dashing handsome foreigner to sweep her off her feet. Readers will be happy to live vicariously in Laura's French fairytale.” –Booklist (Aleksandra Kostovski)

“A frothy French confection.” –Publishers’ Weekly

“Laura Florand offers up an outsider’s oddly inside view of Paris, and she does so in a narrative that is by turns witty and touching, but always charming. Best of all, she turns the tables and lets us see our own culture through the fresh, French eyes of the man she loves. Do yourself a favor: Read this book.”--Joshilyn Jackson, best-selling author of Gods in Alabama

“A fabulous romp from Paris to Podunk and back again. Loved it. Laura Florand’s reluctant heroine is adorable, and her perfect Parisian amour can wait on my table anytime.”--Haywood Smith, New York Times best-selling author of the Red Hat Club series

“A romantic, hilarious soufflĂ© of a story! Move over, Bridget Jones. Charming and laugh-out-loud funny.”--Deborah Smith, New York Times best-selling author of A Place to Call Home

Recommended reading by Marie Claire (November 2006) and Complete Woman (February 2007).

About the Author:

Laura Florand is a native of the Deep South who began travelling the world when she was seventeen, backpacking solo through Greece. She went on to win a Fulbright to Tahiti and then to study French literature at Duke University. In addition to the year in Tahiti, she has lived in Madrid and Paris. Now a senior lecturing fellow at Duke and a new mother of one, she divides her time between North Carolina, where she also leads a Tahitian dance group, and France. For more information, please see her website and buy the book!

An Austin DesignWorks Production