Friday, June 29, 2007

RWA Nationals

13 days to go!

Are you ready? I'm not - I'm close, but there is still a lot to do. I have appts. to make (hair, nails, spray tan), outfits to plan, 20 pounds to lose (kidding! I'm doing okay in that area), must confirm with the cat sitter as Hotrod will be traveling a few of the same days, must confirm with the restaurant for the Diva Dinner...what else? I know I'm forgetting something.

What's on your to-do list? Are you excited? I can't wait to see everyone!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Beach Reads

Recently, the NY Times listed their "beach reads" - surprisingly enough *not* there wasn't a romance on the list.

Who do they think they're kidding? When it comes to beach reads, it doesn't get any better than romance!

What are you looking forward to reading this summer? Have any go-to standby's for summer reading? Do you look to any other genre's for your beach reads?
Talk to me!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Crispy Insurance Agent

That was the subject line of a recent piece of SPAM that showed up in my junk folder. Um...crispy insurance agent? Huh? What on earth were they trying to sell me? Can someone explain this to me?


Character Names

How do you come up with character names? Do you keep lists of great names? Do you change names mid-story?

For me, the right character name can make or break that character. What are some of your most favorite character names that you've used?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tag, I'm It

Thanks to Babe, I'm it. Here are the rules:
A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.
B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. I've lost nearly 14 pounds this month.
2. I can knit. Only square or rectangular things, but still.
3. I talk to my cats constantly.
4. Reality shows are my guilty pleasure, but they're so full of characters it's hard not to call them research.
5. I can sing the scales (do, re, mi) backwards. I had to do it for an audition for a musical as a child and it's stuck with me. (Yes, I got the part.)
6. I can do a cartwheel, but I'd love to be able to.
7. I've always wanted pink hair.
8. Cotton candy is my favorite carnival/fair/circus food. (7 & 8 are not related. That I'm aware of.)

I tag Jax, Tempest, Tawny, Sara, Mel, B.E. and Bonnie.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm *yawn* Sleepy

Cats are nocturnal creatures. At least mine are. Probably because they sleep away as many daylight hours as possible, then like naughty little vampires, they rise and stretch and run amok when the sun goes down.

As a result, my sleep is less than optimal. See, when Hotrod's gone I refuse to sleep with the sliding door cracked open to allow them the constant access they desire to the Oh So Exciting lanai at night. Which means when they want out (or if they're already out, when they want in) they paw at the glass and sometimes meow until I get out of bed and open said slider.

Last night a new world record was set for how many times they could go in and out. Un-freaking-believable. I don't think what I did could be called sleeping so much as napping between doorman duty.

Good thing Hotrod's coming home today or I'd be headed to a hotel tonight.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Some Things Don't Mix

I've been swimming laps lately and I really enjoy it. Not only am I actually using our pool, but swimming laps feels so much more productive than just floating. I still love floating, don't get me wrong, but I doubt floating burns many calories.

This way I get sun and work off breakfast. It's a win/win. Except for when there's an approaching thunderstorm complete with lightning strikes. (A fairly common occurance in this neck of Florida.) Such was the case yesterday. Not five minutes after I got out of the pool, a huge patch of black clouds rolled in and drenched everything. Plenty of lightning and thunder, too.

Now, my dad was struck by lightning when I was a child. Put him in the hospital for quite a stretch. I love my dad, but this is one area where I don't plan on following in his footsteps.

Would it help if I wore a rubber suit?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's Gettin' Hot In Here

As you may or may not know, I once worked for Wolfgang Puck as his maitre' d - not that I ever had a thing for Wolfy - it just cemented my love of restaurants and the maddness they inspire. See, whether it's the back of the house (kitchen) or the front of the house (wait staff), restaurants are full of stories, full of personalities and full of drama. Besides that, I have a thing for chefs. You want an alpha male hero? A chef fits that bill and then some. They have to be to make a kitchen run like a well-oiled machine.

Plus, some of them are as hot as the dishes they serve. Check 'em out! Who's your favorite?

Bobby Flay - Inspiration for my chef hero in The Perfect Dish. Married to a blonde, I might add.

Gordon Ramsey - This British bad boy makes his living making the lives of other chefs hell.

Jamie Oliver - One of the nicer chefs. Like you might actually take him home to meet your parents.

Tyler Florence - Just plain cute, even if he has gotten a little fluffly lately.

Duff Goldman - Technically more of a baker than a chef, but hey, a guy that makes cakes this cool is okay with me. Plus, there's CAKE involved people.

Anthony Bourdain - The American bad boy of chefs, he's well-known for his willingness to eat anything once.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gimme an R! Gimme an E! Gimme an S!

Research. No matter what you genre write, you probably do some kind of research. Maybe more if you write historical. Maybe less if you write fantasy.

Anyway, I'm in the throes of preparation to write my first ever Young Adult. So what have I decided to do as part of my research? Enter the lion's den, basically.

I'm going to attend a two-hour cheerleading practice with one of my writing friends and her cheerleading teen and peers.

Should be interesting. I was the kind of kid in high school that made fun of cheerleaders. This may be karma coming back to bite me.

What's the craziest thing you've done in the name of research?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Beware The Hamster

And here I thought hamsters were sweet little fuzz balls. Come to find out, they're the bane of good grammar!!! Who knew?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Some Couples Were Just Meant To Be...

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Pump Up The Jam

About two weeks ago I embarked on a new exercise and diet program which has been fairly successful (10 pounds gone so far). One thing I've noticed is the power of music towards motivating myself to move. A great song will keep me on the treadmill longer or get me up and dancing.

Admittedly, my music repertoire isn't that great. So, I'm asking you...

What are some great workout songs? Feel free to give me a chunk of your playlist if you want - I need some new stuff!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I *heart* Shopping

Okay, so that's not exactly news. But those you playing along with the home game know that I recently gave up shopping due to the estimated $1500 it was going to cost to get my hard drive recovered.

Well. We know how that turned out.

Good news is, I have started shopping again. And boy, am I making up for lost time! Dresses, tops, leggings, shoes, workout clothes, accesories...I've hit all the categories. (No jeans - it's too hot and I have plenty.)

Since I do a lot of shopping online, every day new packages arrive. It's like Christmas! Or my birthday! Fabulous!

I'm back, people! I am SOOOOOO back.

News Flash

The Romance Divas site is down through no fault of our own - our hosting company's site is down too.

Keep checking back.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Put Your Thinking Cap On

What do you think he's reading?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Do You Write Novellas?

I'm writing my first ever novella. It's interesting. I've never written this length before - I've done super shorts (like 1000 words) and then full-length novels, but nothing really in between.

So, if you write novella-length, could you give me some tips? What should I know about writing a novella? Besides the length, how is it different from a regular novel? How do you plot a story that's not too long?


*Small aside for a Woohoo! 'cuz I'm down another pound!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Monday To Do List

Lots to do this week - today especially.

1. Write 5 pages.
2. Vacuum
3. Write 2 reviews.
4. Take Hotrod to the airport.
5. Post new review books on Romance Divas - DONE
6. Top secret thing I can't mention.

This Week
1. Finish reading review book.
2. Meet with chapter board.
3. Confirm some Romance Divas guests
4. Write 40 pages total on WIP
5. Get Father's Day cards mailed
6. Get review books mailed out
7. Drop clothes at dry cleaners
8. Pick up clothes at dry cleaners
9. Get to at least 2 aerobics classes at gym
10. Pick Hotrod up from airport.
11. Attend niece's ballet recital.
12. Go bowling with Lara Santiago.
13. Meet with real life critique partners.

I think that's enough for now. I'm sure I've forgotten something. What's on your To Do list?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Book I'm Looking Forward To...

The Marion Kind by Babe King

"The Marian Kind" releases this month at Freya's Bower as part of their Summer Lovin' Collection. Babe King, the author, is a fabulous Aussie writer with a wicked sense of humor. I can't wait to get my hands on this one!
As the cover suggests, "The Marian Kind" is about hackers, but mostly it's about a girl and the modern-day Robin Hood she loves. With Summer heating up, Marian thinks it’s the perfect time to push her five-year relationship up a notch. But the body she gets close and personal with isn’t her lover’s. Or alive. Boyfriend Rob has some explaining to do, and a diamond ring full of promises to make if he wants to keep his girl.
Here's an excerpt:
“Do you want to break up?” I peeled sweat-slicked thighs from the vinyl seat of Rob’s lovingly pimped, Ford pickup and wriggled the rolled wedge of linen shorts out of my butt crack. Fear buzzed over my skin and my stomach lining camouflaged itself as Swiss cheese while I waited for his answer.
A sensuous rumble came from his throat, more like a bedroom noise than an argument. Was that a yes or a no? He stopped for a red light and swung his what-made-you-think-that look my way — kind of disgusted and surprised all in one.
Okay, maybe I was nutso risking our good thing by pushing to know if a better thing was just around the corner. But as the daughter of a funeral director I have a peculiar set of insecurities. I mean, funerals are hardly the talk for parties, right? They don’t call social pariahs dead boring for nothing. Maybe Rob fantasized about dating someone who didn’t paint dead people’s faces for a living.
Thick, stubby eyelashes blinked at me before Rob turned his attention back to the road. I licked a flavor-burst of strawberry gloss off my bottom lip. Any woman would want him. He is easily the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen — a rich collection of knotted-muscle browns, like trays of buns in a baker’s oven. Chocolate-drenched eyes, caramel hair sprinkled with cinnamon highlights, honey-kissed skin, and a mouth with all the quirk and appeal of marzipan figs. Maybe I should have said he’s a smorgasbord of brown because he’s definitely edible.“Do you?” I pushed. I wanted to scream out my wound-down window into the cloying blanket of Florida’s orange and salt-drenched air, “Just say no!”
Instead, he patted my thigh with one broad-palmed hand that felt vaguely condescending in a hot and tingly way. “Ba--be. I love you,” he gently scolded.
He snatched his hand away to switch lanes, cutting off an orange minivan that blasted us with its tinny horn.Nice evasion of the question. Gack! I didn’t want to be needy, but Rob has been my boyfriend for five years and my heartthrob for a lot longer. Any other guy would have slipped a diamond on my left hand by now, but we’re still stuck at the prep school stage of dating, only with canoodling privileges. It makes me antsy, which could be why I’d dropped that ultimatum this morning when he tried to welch out of our date.
Plus there’s the other woman, bane of my life, Jennifer Perrin — the curvy blonde who scattered when I caught her whispering in Rob’s ear last Christmas. A girl who lives right next door to him, sunbathes in her backyard wearing a skimpy string bikini, and is reputed to be the kindest chick in our neighborhood. Yeah, right! Well, I’m not kind at all, not when it comes to sneaky secrets and sharing the man I adore.“So what was this something that came up this morning?” I asked, trying to chew the tremble out of my bottom lip.
Guilt flickered in the depths of his eyes and rats gnawed bigger holes in my Swiss cheese stomach. He hissed air through his teeth in what sounded like a cross between a whistle and a steam engine stopping.“Rob, you’re freaking me out.”
“Making women nervous is a perk of being male,” he grumbled.
And no one could deny Rob was all male. Damn.
I yanked at the hem of my Barbie-pink tee and twisted the soft fabric into a knot. My throat dried up like Death Valley and I reached for the gym bag he kept on the floor of the pickup. Rob always carries water. You never know when a drive-by bench pressing will leave you thirsty.
I unzipped the tote and dipped in my hand. Something squishy wrapped around my fingers. I screeched and flicked the undulating gooey thing across the car. It barely missed Rob’s nose, then splatted on the driver’s side windshield where it stuck and quivered.
Rob swore and swerved several times before he got the car back under control. He said something about poop and fans that didn’t sound promising.
I screeched again as the alien gloop slid across the glass to hang in front of me. Then I narrowed my eyes. I focused on the little bag of silicon. My stand-on-chair-and-screech impulse gave way to fingernail-gouging rage.
“What’s this?” I asked, though, hey, someone with boobs my size knew very well about chicken cutlets. More than a handful is a waste, they say, so just call me frugal. I peeled the bra filler from the windscreen with a soft glub, and waved it under Rob’s nose. He groaned and did the flopped shoulders Women! thing.
“It’s not Jennifer’s,” he murmured before I even made the accusation. Guilty conscience or what?”
“Then whose is it? Since you don’t have any sisters, either you’ve been cheating or there’s a whole ‘nuther side of you I haven’t seen.” And given how many sides of him I’d seen that was extremely doubtful.
Possessive rage washed through me at the idea of some other girl nibbling icing off my cupcake. I threw the fake boob at the hot windscreen again. With a soft splat it stuck there, human breast slug under glass. In different circumstances, the toss and stick could be an amusing game.
“Whose?” I demanded.
His shoulders rolled again. “You don’t want to know.”
The hairs at my nape rose. “Correction – you don’t want to tell me. For all I know you’re having a little something something with a one-boobed woman and I’m the last to find out.” A shuddery sob made me stuff up the diatribe. Damn. I hate when my girly hormones sabotage me, and it wasn’t even that time of month.
He cocked a brow. “You’ve been watching Desperate Housewives again haven’t you, babe. Don’t you trust me?”
Nice try. “When I find the inside of some other girl’s underwear in your bag, no. And before you start about me getting neurotic, trust me on this, most girls find other women’s intimate apparel in their boyfriend’s bag a problem.” I pouted and crossed my arms.
He stroked a hand over his stubble-rough chin making a soft raspy noise. “It’s not what you think, but it is why I tried to cancel our date.”
I pouted some more like those luscious lipstick-duo commercials I’d always envied, and swung my gaze at him in a tell-me-or-else squint. His brown delights went all serious.
“You won’t like it,” he warned.
That made me lean closer. Now I had to know, and he had to know that I had to know. ‘Cause you can’t bring home a dozen Boston crème doughnuts and pretend you’re not gonna break your diet.

Buy the book and support Australian imports! Available from Freya's Bower mid/late June.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Promo? What Promo?

Promo is a huge buzz word among writers. What works, what doesn't, what's free, what's worth the money?

With the RWA National Conference coming up, promo is an especially big issue. See, there's this thing called The Goody Room. If you've never been, it's basically a room filled with every imaginable promotional item authors can come up with to show off their books. You'll see scores of bookmarks, book thongs, match books, enough pens to circle the world, pencils, emery boards, wine glass charms, cover flats, tulle wrapped tea lights, chocolates, mints, small excerpt books, tea get the idea.

But how many of those things make a lasting impression? How many make the recipient actually buy the book? The sad truth, I believe, is very, very few.

Have you ever bought a book based on a freebie you've been given? I'd love to know what the promo item was and what made you buy the book because of it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Be The Expert

Recently, Hotrod was telling to me about a talk he had with one of the guys who works for him. This guy was struggling a bit with his job and Hotrod gave him some advice, some pointers on how to separate yourself from the pack and find your own success. (Hotrod is a retired Air Force officer who really knows his stuff and has spoken to thousands of people at various business conferences, so he speaks from a point of authority on this.)

One of his tenets is to make yourself the expert. This really struck a cord with me. What am I an expert on that pertains to this crazy writing business I've undertaken? I'm a good writer: I know how to craft a sentence, how to tighten a paragraph so that the chaff is tossed aside, how to create realistic dialogue, characters that ring true...but am I an expert? I think I'm pretty good at networking. Maybe I'm an expert on that?

I certainly know writers who I'd consider experts on certain things - punctuation, grammar, GMC. Things I need to work on. lol

Are you an expert? What are your strong points? What do you want to work on?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fishing In The Bucket

Recently, our 5-year-old niece went to a birthday party where the main activity consisted of taking all the kids to a local lake and setting them up to fish.

After her bait had been in the water about 10 seconds, she bemoaned the fact that she was never going to catch any fish. (No comments about where she gets her patience.) She lifted her pole out of the water and told her mother she'd prefer to fish out of the bucket.
When her mother asked, "What bucket?" the little drama princess pointed to a family fishing nearby. "That bucket," she replied.
Well, "that" bucket was already full of fish - everything the family had already caught. Pretty much sums up the drama princess's philosophy on life, and got me thinking...
How many times have we as writers wanted to fish out of the bucket instead of taking our chances with the lake? You can interpret this however you like - we each have our own lakes and our own buckets. I know writers for whom the bucket has been a less-than-stellar agent with an offer of representation on the table - and they bravely decided to fish from the lake. I know of others whose bucket has been a offer of publication from a so-so epub. They, too, decided to fish from the lake. But I also know writers who started with the bucket, without ever dipping their pole in the lake at all.
What about you? Where will you fish from? How long will you let your bait sit in the water before you give in to the lure of the bucket? There are days when that bucket looks mighty tempting, I know.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My Agent Can Beat Up Your Agent

Well...I don't know if that's exactly true, but my agent rocks pretty hard. She's a great encouragement to me, even when things are slightly poopy. Yesterday she sent me the lovely lucky bamboo you see in that picture as a "pick me up" after the devastating loss of my main hard drive and 200 pages of my WIP.

And this is why I love her.

And this is why someday (hopefully soon) I'm going to write a book(s) that will make her ridiculously wealthy. Of course, it will benefit me as well. Then Hotrod can finally live the life he's been dreaming of - the kept husband who whiles away his days playing golf and driving a different American muscle car every day.

Now, I must go write. Did I mention I've lost another 2 pounds? Yep. There's going to be less of me to love at conference!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday Update

* My "So You're Going To Conference" article in this month's RWR is getting some great responses. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for? It's my pick for article of the year. *grin*

* I've lost a total of six pounds so far on my quest to tighten-n-tone in time for Nationals. 38 days and counting! And if I keep up this pace of losing (doubtful - I know a plateau is in my future), I'll be looking better than ever in Dallas!

* If you haven't heard about it yet, Samhain has announced some really interesting info! Congrats to them! Also, they're running a first line contest on their blog.

* Not going to RWA's National Conference this year? There's a new reason not to feel left out! Romance Divas will be running an online conference for those "left behind." If you're an author and would like to get in on this by offering a workshop, doing a chat or Q&A, email me for more info.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Old & New


Lately I've been slightly obsessed with old movies. Mame is one of my all time favorites, but it hasn't been on in awhile. Neither has Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and I adore that one! In the past week or so I've watched, Operation Petticoat, The Absent-Minded Professor, Houseboat (another fav), Yours, Mine & Ours, Pat & Mike, and I've got North by Northwest up next.

There is something so charming about them. Almost a sense of innocence, I guess. What they regard as shocking, we think is commonplace. It's really a peek into the past in a way.

Do you like old movies? What are some of your favorites?


I'm happy to report I'm down another pound this morning! And the best part is, I'm just counting calories and exercising. While I don't expect this rate of weight loss to continue (at some point, I know I'll plateau) but there will definitely be less of me at Nationals!

Also, I've got a short romance out in the first edition of the new Cobblestone Press Magazine! Check it out - the whole magazine is just $1.50. If you read it, I'd love to hear what you think.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Funnies

Check this out: I tried posting it, but it's too big and it screws up my blog. Don't you think today is a good day to laugh? Calvin and Hobbes rules!

On another happy note, I've lost three pounds! I'm seriously getting on the diet and exercise thing as Nationals are fast approaching and I have a dress to fit into.

Have a great weekend! Hopefully, we'll finally get to see Pirates.