Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
The one called Samhain? I sold them a book. Well, I didn't sell it, my agent did. Because she's AWESOME. My first sale in book-length fiction! Seems they liked my 2005 Golden Heart finalist, ALL FIRED UP. (It is made of win, so who can blame them?)
It'll be out in September of this year. So if you're into 1000 year old Viking chieftains who end up in modern day Manhattan and turn out to be really good at underwear modeling, this might be the book for you.
Let the partying commence!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
It's not unusual for most of us to reassess our health and fitness at the start of a new year. I know for me, it usually means recommitting to a healthier way of life. Most of you know I started out with a 17 fast this year called the Master Cleanse. Unfortunately, our trip to New Orleans yanked me off the health wagon pretty hard. However, I'm back at it and really striving to incorporate a lot of raw foods (fruits and veggies) into my diet. For those of you counting calories, here are some interesting comparisons:
Pretty interesting, huh? Personally, I'd rather eat more than eat less. What are you doing health and fitness-wise this year?
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Today's my last day of pics from NOLA, and they're just a random collection, no real theme.
First up is Jonathan, our Vampire Tour guide - he really got into the part, doing accents and such while narrating the various "vampire" tales throughout the tour:
On the walk home from the tour, I saw this sign and had to take a picture of it. It spoke to me. lol
Here I am on Bourbon St. with two miniature horses, Autumn and Rowdy. Autumn's the one in front. She's going to have a little baby horse in 7 months! Anyway, this just goes to prove that you really never know what you'll see on Bourbon St.Here I am at the end of the night and my bead haul. I know you can't see them that well in the picture, but I even ended up with a flashing LED fleur-de-lis. Big shout out to the Thoth Krewe! Thanks for the beads! (That's about 20+ pounds of beads, btw. I was happy to take them off.)
Speaking of beads, a lot of the trees on St. Charles look like this one year round. St. Charles is the start of many of the Mardi Gras parade routes and also one of the prettiest streets around. Some of the homes there would just knock your socks off.Okay, that's it for the NOLA pics. Time to get back to the business of writing to make up for all the fun that was had! Seriously. I need to get some writing done. I feel slackerish.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
We're home now, but I've got more pics to share.
Here's one of our favorite breakfast spots, Petunia's. They serve lunch and dinner too, but we always go there for breakfast. It's the pink 3 story Creole townhouse in the middle, which was built in 1830. One of the fun facts about Petunia's is that it's ceiling fans, made by Hunter, were the first ones installed in the city and have been in continuous use for about 85 years.Hotrod got one of the massive crepes they're know for(he'd already started nibbling on one end before I snapped this shot):I wasn't that hungry, so I went for a hot ham and cheese po-boy. Both were delish and ended up being our breakfast and our dinner, since we took the leftovers home.Across the street from Petunia's is another old home that's been turned into a museum. We didn't go into the museum, but we did wander into the courtyard where I snapped the pic of this hidden stairway:On the other side of the courtyard was an iron gate which led into this typical New Orleans courtyard. I stuck the camera through the bars to get this pic since it was locked. I don't know how much you can tell in this picture, but there are oranges on those trees. Really lovely. I'll have one more post of pics and then that's it. Hope you're enjoying them!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Yesterday, Hotrod and I finally got around to eating at Mother's. I say finally because every time we've been here before we shied away from waiting in line. We are not patient people, what can I say? Well, we know now the wait would have been worth it. Mother's is pretty much an institution in New Orleans and for good reason: they feed you and they feed you well.
Here's our breakfast:That's a crawfish etouffe omelet (Hotrod's), a ham, cheese & mushroom omelet (mine) and a plate of the best freakin' biscuits to ever rise this side of the Mason-Dixon line. (Also notice the excessive helping of grits on each plate.) I love how Mother's doesn't bother with the little dish of individual butters and jams, no, at Mother's they just slap a healthy (hah!) portion of each right on the biscuit plate. Genius! Speaking of biscuits, those were so light and fluffy, I'm pretty sure ground up angel parts must be the secret ingredient.
I am both ashamed and proud to say I cleaned my plate and finished one biscuit. (I come from healthy Italian stock, so sue me.) Hotrod and I then proceeded to order a bread pudding to go. We had a few bites while in the restaurant to test the dessert for freshness (it was plenty fresh and plenty laden with a dark rum/butter/brown sugar sauce) then packed up our remaining biscuits and headed out into the day, as full as a person can be without internal injury.
Mother's is kind of cafeteria style: You go to the counter, order and pay. Then they call you when your order is up. You serve yourself and tipping is not allowed. I can see why the locals dig this joint.
If you get to New Orleans, don't miss Mother's. It's now on our list of Must Visits. This place is the bomb, old school style.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
A beignet (say ben-yay) is fried square of dough covered in powdered sugar. It's also the French word for donut and the official state donut of Lousiana. They're also addictive. Hotrod will probably marry a beignet when I pass.
Cafe Du Monde is the place to get your beignets in New Orleans - and has been since 1862. Fortunately for Hotrod, they're open 24/7, which means his unnatural craving can be assuaged at any hour. How fabulous. Here are some shots from our most recent trip. Those cups are full of hot chocolate, not cafe au lait, although the coffee is equally good. And at a $1.82 for 3 beignets, you can't beat the price.
Here's where the beignets and hot chocolate get whipped up: the infamous Cafe Du Monde server line (we were there during a slow period, normally it's like a battle station in full attack):
Our order. Each person gets water without asking for it. Personally, I think it's to help with any clean-up that might be necessary. I always end up using mine to wipe off some article of Hotrod's clothing. The powdered sugar gets EVERYWHERE.The inside of a beignet - deliciously airy with just the right amout of chewiness.The aftermath. Amazingly enough, we kept ourselves pretty clean this time.The inside of Cafe Du Monde. Usually the place is packed and usually those green "walls" you see are rolled up to open the place to the air, but it was on the chilly side, so the tarps have been down. I can only imagine what an errant gust of wind would do with all that powdered sugar.
We never made it to the aquarium yesterday, so we might do that today or some shopping. I vote for both, but there's a store having a great purse sale here so...
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
More architecture. This is a few blocks down from our hotel.
This is an interior shot of Pierre Maspero's where we had a fabulous breakfast. This building was originally used as a slave auction house. Kind of sobering in the light of all the New Orleans frivolity.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Hey y'all! Blondissimo (my jewelry company) has donated some fun pieces to the auction Gemma Halliday is sponsoring to raise money for a homeless fan and her mom. You can read about it and place some bids at Romanctic Inks. Here's what I've donated:
Monday, January 19, 2009
Hotrod and I are in New Orleans for a week. We love this town - Hotrod is a Tulane alumni. It's a little tough on the diet, but I'm going to do my best to maintain.
We're going to do two things we've never done in here before - visit the aquarium and take one of the nighttime vampire tours. (Okay, those are both my idea but Hotrod said he would go.)
Hopefully we'll have internet so I can give you some updates through the week. Have a good one!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
I certainly have started something. In case you haven't read about the petition I started, here's the deal in a nutshell. Just because you're a PAN member of RWA, doesn't mean you can enter your books in the RITAs. And if you're epubbed, but don't qualify for PAN, you're probably not eligible for the Golden Hearts either.
In this day and age, it seems the time is right for RWA to take a more progressive stance on epublishing, starting with a greater inclusion of those books and those authors.
In the April issue, the RWR will be publishing a shortened version of this letter I sent them (they only publish 350 words):
Recently one of my dear friends, M (as I'm going to refer to her), received a letter from RWA stating the two books she'd submitted for the RITAs had been disqualified due to them being "not mass produced by a non-Subsidy, non-Vanity publisher in print-book format." Last year, she entered the RITA without incident. Her publisher has not changed since last year. M is not the only epubbed author who has received this letter this year, either.
By RWA's definitions: "Subsidy Publisher" means any publisher that publishes books in which the author participates in the costs of production in any manner, including publisher assessment of a fee or other costs for editing and/or distribution. This definition includes publishers who withhold or seek full or partial payment or reimbursement of publication or distribution costs before paying royalties, including payment of paper, printing, binding, production, sales or marketing costs. M's publisher does not do any of this.
"Vanity Publisher" means any publisher whose authors exclusively promote and/or sell their own books and publishers whose business model and methods of publishing and distribution are primarily directed toward sales to the author, his/her relatives and/or associates. Neither does M's publisher do this.
In fact, her publisher is listed on RWA's Non-Subsidy, Non-Vanity Publisher Chart. (http://www.rwanational.org/cs/publishers_and_agents/nonsubsidy_nonvanity_publisher_chart)
So what's the sticking point? That little hyphenated phrase "mass-produced" which did not exist in last year's rules. When and where exactly was this addition announced? I tried to find it in various hot sheets and alerts, but couldnt. It seems this change merely showed up in some minutes, then in the RITA rules. RWAs take on mass-produced: The phrase mass-produced in print book format as it pertains to the RITA contest, is intended to define eligible books as those that are produced in sufficient quantity by the publisher to be offered for sale to the trade (booksellers and librarians) at standard discount rates and returnable. Yet many POD books carry these discounts and are returnable. It seems RWA doesn't know enough about the difference between mass produced and print on demand to actually clarify and enforce their own rules.
One of the greatest injustices is that M is not only a member of PAN, but due to her phenomenal sales, could be a member of PAN many times over. So she can be PAN, but not enter the RITA? Where's the equality in that? Wheres the unity so proudly lauded in the January 2009 issue of the RWR? Yes, we recognize you're a published author, but no, you cant enter our published author contest. In a recent letter from the RWA president in the RWR she talks about "If not now, when?" My thoughts exactly. This us vs. them mentality has gone on long enough. Epubs are here to stay. Treating them like a redheaded stepchild isn't going to make them go away. Why is RWA so worried about letting epubbed print books into the RITAs? Shouldn't an award for the best book be based on the writing and not the method of print production? There is already an imposed limit on RITA entries, so saying that adding epubbed print books would tax the system isnt valid.
My friend is out approx. $250 dollars (entry fees, cost of books and shipping) and so far, RWA won't even return her books. (Which she'd be willing to pay for.) M is heartbroken and I'm disappointed in RWA. This organization may claim to be the voice of romantic fiction, but on this issue, they certainly don't speak for me.
This letter was the impetus for me to create this petition: ChangeRWA. And while I realize not everyone will agree with what this petition stands for, that isn't going to stop me. I have a voice, as do those who have already signed the petition, and I intend to be heard.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
If I can do 17 days on the Master Cleanse (down 14.2 pounds, thank you very much), why can't I be more disciplined about writing? After all, I love to eat, but I didn't for 17 days - amazing if you know me and my capacity for food. And I love to create stories, yet I struggle to sit at my keyboard and get more than a sentence out. I'm not stuck. I know what happens (mostly, a lot of my story works itself out in the writing) but I've barely managed 5 pages this week. That's not how I wanted to start this new year.
I know what to do. Sit down and write. It's simple! Simple to say, not so simple to do. Do you struggle with this too? Tell me I'm not alone.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
1. I'm on day 17 of the Master Cleanse and due to an upcoming trip, today is my last day. I'll be breaking the fast tomorrow with fresh orange juice. I'm down a total of 13.4 pounds.
2. I ran for about 7 minutes yesterday during my normal 45 minute walk. Not all at once, but I ran a little then walked, then ran a little. It felt good, but I have never been a runner so it wasn't easy. My goal is to be running that entire distance in 6 months. I think that's doable. Now I just have to keep at it.
3. I have a letter to the editor coming out in the April issue of the RWR. Watch for it.
4. Angela James, executive editor of Samhain, is doing a workshop on everything you ever wanted to know about epublishing over in the Romance Divas forum.
5. I wrote 2 pages yesterday. Not much, I know, but better than nothing. I feel like I'm getting into the groove again!
What's going on with you?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
It's a rainy, overcast, coldish day here on the Spacecoast. Plus I'm in a mood. Makes it perfect for writing, don't you think? I mean, it's not like there's sun to be out in. And I have writing to do, tons of it. So today is one of those days where I'm giving myself a firm talking to about getting some pages done.
In other news, RWA claims its theme is "unity" this year. Huh. Really? So why is one of my critique partners, who is PAN and with her sales could qualify for PAN many times over, being told that her books are not eligible for the RITA? They were good enough last year. How is that a step towards unity? Sounds like more of the "us vs them" mentality. What a fat load of rubish.
Watch your RWR for a letter to the editor from yours truly in the near future. Don't mess with my friends. You'll get my Sicilian up. And you wouldn't like me when my Sicilian is up.
That is all. Go write before I start breaking knee caps.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
There's been some talk about Urban Fantasy on the web lately (here and here for instance, but you'll have to sift through the posts to find the UF ones on your own) and as a result, I've been thinking. Dangerous, right? I know the genre's been getting hotter, but I've only really started digging into it and reading. I'm not reading tons of it, I seem to have focused on a few authors and glommed their stuff.
Do you read UF? Which authors/series? Any of those authors/series you'd heartily recommend? Do you have any pet peeves about the genre? Particular loves about the genre? Do you like it with a little romance, no romance, or a lot of romance?
Talk to me about what you like and dislike in UF.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
I'm not really one to post quizzes, but I thought it might be interesting to give this one a try - especially since romance writers get so hung up on opening lines at times. Can you identify which opening lines came from which classic books?
Check out the quiz here. Then report back with your score! I did miserably by the way. I only got 3 right! Total suckage. And I was a Eng Lit major. I wonder if they'll take my diploma back now?
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Today is day 10 of the Master Cleanse, the number of days considered the minimum necessary to achieve some level of benefit from the MC. The first time I did the MC, I went for 10 days. This time, I had planned to go for 21, but an upcoming trip is forcing to me to cut it at 17 - that will allow me a few days to break the fast in the right way and transition back to solid foods.
What is the Master Cleanse? - Basically, it's a juice fast designed to shut down the body's digestive processes so toxins can be eliminated. This is done by drinking a senna tea in the evening, a salt water flush in the morning (32 oz of water with 2 teaspoons of celtic sea salt) and then 6-10 lemonades (10 oz of water, 2 tablespoons each fresh lemon juice and grade B maple syrup) and water throughout the day.
So, how am I doing? - This cleanse has been far easier than the last one. I've worked out 9 of the 10 days so far (well, 8 0f 9 as I haven't worked out yet today, but I will) and have had amazing amounts of energy. Sleep's been good, dreams have been very entertaining, cravings have been minimal. That's not to say I haven't had cravings, but they've been pretty mild. Nothing so strong that I thought about quitting. The best cure for a craving or a feeling of hunger is to drink more lemonade. A few sips and those feelings are gone. Overall, I feel fantastic!
Detox symptoms? - Everyone's detox symptoms vary. So far I've had a couple of minor headaches, and the hiccups (actually, I don't know if that's a symptom of detox or not) and I've been cold. I'm normally a cold person anyway, but it's been worse these last 10 days. The "coldies" are a fairly common symptom. I also have the coated tongue associated with the MC. The coated tongue is a sure sign your body is detoxing and as it clears up and returns to pink, you can see yourself getting "clean."
Results so far? As of this morning, I'm down 9.6 pounds. While the MC isn't a diet, the weight loss is definite side benny. The other major benefit and a big part of why I do this, is that my brain is now reprogramed not to want all the crap I spent the holiday's eating. Instead of craving cookies or sweets, I've been thinking a lot about the fruits and vegetables I'll get to eat when I break this fast. In fact, I plan to incorporate about 75% raw foods into my diet after this as part of my plan to continue losing weight until I hit my target.
Questions? Comments? Let me know what you want to know!
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
I'm over at Fictionistas today talking about what your dream pet says about you. Surprisingly accurate! Come play!
For those of you interested in the Master Cleanse I'm doing, I'll have more of an update on that tomorrow, but it's still going well!
Monday, January 05, 2009
How's the New Year treating you? So far, it seems great for some and crappy for others. For me, it doesn't seem any different than 2008 so far. Okay, other than the fact that I'm working on regularly again.
No major plans today other than a run to the store, workout and write. Thrilling, I know. I'm also seriously thinking about getting a massage. Now that would be new. It's been forever since I had one.
What's new with you?
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Friday, January 02, 2009
I'm a fan of the Tent Hamm's blog, The Simple Dollar. Not every post is something I can use, but a lot of them are. And every once in a while, a post comes along that just slips right into my brain like a key in a lock. This one was one of those. It's a review of a book called Get Everything Done by Mark Forester. Sounds like something a writer could use, doncha think?
One of the points that Trent talks about really struck me as uber important (especially for writers):
11. Resistance: The Signpost to Where You Should Be Going
Forster argues that the task that we feel the most resistance towards doing is the task that is usually the most important to get done sooner rather than later. We usually feel resistance because we have negative feelings toward that task - either we simply don’t want to do it or we’re afraid to do it for some reason. Digging into those reasons is usually fruitful, as is directly tackling any and all tasks that we feel resistance towards.
Wow. Haven't you felt that way about writing sometimes? Like it's the most important task we have to do and yet the one we put off the most. I know I treat it that way sometimes. And I know why - it's fear. Fear that I won't put good writing on the page, or that I won't do justice to my ideas. Or fear that I'm writing yet another book that will get rejected.
This is one of the main things I want to conquer this year. What about you? Do you ever feel this way about your writing? What is it you fear?
Thursday, January 01, 2009
- 50. The Scarlet Letterman
- 49. Some Like It Wild
- 48. Steelflower
- 47. Magic Burns
- 46. Night's Rose
- 45. Tempt The Devil
- 44. The Girl She Used To Be
- 43. A Great And Terrible Beauty
- 42. Poison Study
- 41. Now You Die
- 40. Devil Of The Highlands
- 39. Queen Of Dragons
- 38. From Dead To Worse
- 37. All Together Dead
- 36. Definitely Dead
- 35. Dead As A Doornail
- 34. Dead To The World
- 33. Club Dead
- 32. Dead In Dallas
- 31. Dead Until Dark
- 30. Dark Desires After Dusk
- 29. Dark Deeds At Night's Edge
- 28. This Year's Model
- 27. New Moon
- 26. Lover Enshrined
- 25. Then You Hide
- 24. Roasting In Hell's Kitchen
- 23. Wicked Deeds On A Winter's Night
- 22. No Rest For The Wicked
- 21. Lady Beware
- 20. The Serpent Prince
- 19. To Taste Temptation
- 18. A Hunger Like No Other
- 17. First You Run
- 16. The Spymaster's Lady
- 15. The Bleeding Dusk
- 14. Mine Til Midnight
- 13. Rises The Night
- 12. The Life of Pi
- 11. A Thousand Splendid Suns
- 10. I Want Candy
- 9. Enchanting The Lady
- 8. Ink Exchange
- 7. Into Thin Air
- 6. Hit Reply
- 5. Highland Guardian
- 4. How To Be Bad
- 3. The Sea King
- 2. The Rest Falls Away
- 1. Highland Rogue
I hope you had an awesome New Year's Eve!
Here are my resolutions and goals for 2009:
1. Organize my time more.
2. Work by some sort of schedule.
3. Exercise more and get into better shape.
4. Eat better.
5. Lose weight.
1. Finish two books.
2. Deliver both books to my agent.
3. Pitch a new article to the RWR.
4. Find a new place to sell shorts/articles to.
5. Send that new place at least one short/article.
6. Develop a new proposal.
7. Read another 50 books.