Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Release Day!!!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Last Monday As A Trainer

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 26, 2007

Good News!!!!!!

This just in -

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday in Dallas

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

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

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

Calgon - take me away!

Anyone old enough, will get that reference.

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

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Phone and a Movie Review

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

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

Saw a movie on Sunday. We saw The Heartbreak Kid

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Two More Weeks

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

Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Armpit Redux & a GCC Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Armpit Saga

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where are you Martha?

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 15, 2007

Embarrassing Moments

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

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Am a Junkie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Morning Movie Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Suspicions Confirmed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Morning Blues

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

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

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

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday and a GCC Blog Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

Praise for the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

Here's a link to buy the book!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Harlequin Closes Lines - Again

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

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

So why did they fail??????

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fall Has Arrived

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

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

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

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

And to kick things off:


So post away and good luck!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Busy Tuesday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 01, 2007

Do I Have to Get Out of Bed?

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

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

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

Have a great week!
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