Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another year, another un-Resolution Post


It’s become a tradition with me now – my un-Resolution post, my end of the year sum-up and I’m really starting to like it.

Last year’s un-Resolution post was fairly chirpy and upbeat and unfortunately this year’s won’t have quite the same tone. Last year I had a lot to crow about – the best seller lists I made, landing an agent, my first book signing were all badges of honor in the long, hard climb to literary success.

2008 has been about back sliding to a degree – and though I’ve always maintained that I wanted to achieve success slowly, because it’s better to slide back a wrung or two than do a spectacular swan dive from the top to the bottom – sliding back is still discouraging.

This year, though my sales exceeded last year, my joy in writing did not and that’s something I need to address in 2009. I’ve noticed in my travels around the web that I’m not the only author taking stock this year and making hard decisions about my career. With the economy such as it is all over the world, many authors are realizing the success they’ve fought long and hard for is being dragged even further out of their reach. I realized a few months ago that I had a choice for the coming year. I could knock myself out trying to be one of the few authors who will beat the odds and sell, sell, sell despite the global financial crisis, or I could take a step back from the rat race and look at my long-term goals.

What I want, and what I’ve always wanted, is to find contentment. One thing I can say about spending three years as a full time author is, despite it being my dream job, I was never, for a single moment, content. I was always striving to do more, write more, accomplish more, earn more, find ways to get what I wanted, scheme and plan and I ultimately ended up berating myself for never feeling like I had made the right decisions. I’m tired of that life and I’ve realized it’s time to forge a new one.

So 2009 marks a return to a simpler lifestyle for me. I’m not going to quit writing, but I am going to quit worrying about when I will finally make it big, or how I can do promo without feeling like I’m wasting my time, or what marketing plan I need to craft to make it to the top. I’m not going to worry about putting more sex in my stories so they sell better, or learning new ways to write kink or order to latch onto the comet tail of the ‘next big thing.’ I’m not going to worry about how much money there is to be made or not made in publishing.

In 2009 I’m going to worry only about what story I want to tell and how I want to tell it. I’ll worry about submitting a story when I’m ready to submit a story and not when it’s a good time according to the calendar. I’ll worry about eating right, exercising more and maybe finally planting that garden I’ve always wanted to plant. I’ll worry about feng shui and inner peace and going green. I’ll worry about donating to worthy causes and making the people in my life happy and healthy and comfortable and I’ll worry about my royalty totals and my sales numbers...umm...never.

So there it is folks. The good, the bad and the ugly truth about 2009. I’ll still be here, blogging about things that make me go huh? I’ll hope you’ll drop by and say hi now and then and I hope you have a happy, healthy New Year and a wonderful and productive 2009.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Measuring up and Taking Stock

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Mine was quiet, comfortable and creative.

Today I'm visiting Shelley Munro at her blog. Come over and say hello!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The day before the day before Christmas

...and all through the house, every creature was stirring and chasing a mouse...

Big Cat and Baby Kitty have been fully integrated and seem to be getting along - amazingly. Now I just fear the Christmas tree won't survive the week.

Today is a half day of school, I've got a full day of work and a few little things to finish before the holiday.

How about you? Are you ready for whatever you might be celebrating this time of year?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is Black the New Green?

I've noticed something new this year while doing my holiday shopping. I'm wondering if it's a sign of the times or just because retailers are constantly looking for something new and different - but I must ask - what's up with all the black ornaments and decorations?

In Wal*Mart the other day, I noticed sets of all black Christmas ornaments [I looked for a picture but I couldn't find any to post to the blog]. Not that they didn't look rather cool, but I've never seen all black ornaments before.

Today in A&P I noticed Christmas wrapping paper with a black background. Now I've done purple Christmas wrap, blue and silver, etc, but never black. It didn't look bad - candy canes and Ho Ho Hos on a black background, but nevertheless - what happened to traditional green?

Today in the mail I got a Christmas card from a friend - silver snowflakes on a black background. Again the card looks cool. It's not ugly or depressing or anything, but again, it reinforces the theme. Now I've got the idea of a silver Christmas tree decorated with all black ornaments. Would that be cool or just weird?

Since pink is the new black [or so I've heard] and now black seems to be the new green - will next year's Christmas theme color be pink, I wonder?

Friday, December 19, 2008

15 Degress Off Cool


Wanna laugh until your head pops off?
Try this. DH and I watched this the other night - it's Bill Envall's comedy DVD - 15 Degrees Off Cool- and it's HIL. AR. IUOUS.
We used to think Jim Gaffigan was the funniest thing since sliced bread - and let's face it, sliced bread is pretty funny, but this guy - this guy makes Gaffigan look downright emo.
I've watched Bill Engvall's sitcom which is pretty funny, but his stand-up is outrageous. If you need a good healthy dose of hysterics - try this. It's gauranteed to make you wet yourself.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Visible kitty settles in


The new prince of the house has made the transition from hiding under the bed at the slightest noise to throwing himself at the bedroom door in an effort to get out and explore the rest of the house.
Saber couldn't care less about the new tenant. He took one look and sneezed on Onyx, then walked away. Topper has lost a few of his marbles, and sits outside the bedroom door all day staring at it. I assume his trying to use his Jedi powers to make it disappear.
I, on the other hand, have abandon all other activities in favor of entertaining the "baby" and devising creative ways to allow Onyx and Topper to interact without getting too close to each other.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Visible kitty appears



Got him! He eats like a champ, so luring him out of hiding took little more than the offer of kitty treats.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Invisible kitty is here

...pictures to follow, as soon as he sits still long enough to be photographed.

We brought Onyander Dax home yesterday from the Maywood Vetrinary Clinic where he'd been for the past month after being found on a local high traffic road. He'd been hit by a car and was in critical condition, required surgery to fix his back leg.

Healthy now and in need of a good home, we got him! He's five months old approximately and he's the spitting image of Topper, but very shy and retiring. As soon as I can snap a pic of him I'll put it up. Until then, he remains Elusive Cat.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Holiday Crunch

Remember one day last week how I said something about being relatively stress free considering it's almost Christmas?

Well, I lied.

That was just the Thanksgiving Turkey talking. Now that it's almos the middle of the month, I'm starting to freak. Do I have all my shopping done? No. My cards aren't all written out. I'm not sure who else I need to buy for. I need things I don't know where to get, and to top it all off - we're going to have another mouth to feed around here in a day or two.

Yep. There's another kitten coming to live with us. Heaven help me - I must be stopped before I adopt again!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I fell in love with a pig

Meet Miss Diamond [left] and Contessa Le Pig [right]. They were born on my kitchen table last night during a marathon of 'sock animal' craftiness - all of which I owe to my good friend, Jen Baum.

Jen knows I can't resist crafty things, so she evilly sent me a book on how to make stuffed animals out of socks.

Fortunately DD confiscated the book almost immediately and she and her friend Blondemo spent last night creating the divine Miss D and the Contessa.
I [well, we] are now obsessed. And since I have so little to do these days, what with only three or four manuscripts to edit, revise and/or write, the holidays to prepare for, housecleaning, two outside jobs and Mount Everest of laundry taking over the bedroom - I can now fill my copious spare time with creating an army of sock creatures. Which I intend to do because they are so darn [no pun intended] cute, I can't stand it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Elusive Voice

As a writer, I’ve heard and been involved in numerous discussions about ‘voice’ that elusive quality every author tries to find and hopes to have. As an editor, I’ve been involved in a number of disputes over ‘voice’ with authors who felt changes to a manuscript impacted upon their ability to weave words in a specific way that defined their ‘voice’.

Like a lot of authors out there, I can’t give a concrete definition of voice. Sure it’s ‘the way you put words together’ but it’s a lot more than that too. I do believe it’s more ‘invisible’ than many people believe. You can have a voice without realizing you do…and I think a lot of writers who are certain they have a distinct voice, really don’t.

I have to say this, finding your voice is something you absolutely cannot do with a dirty page…if an editor is busy correcting your grammatical and spelling errors, you shouldn’t be concerned about having your ‘voice’ ironed out of your manuscript because it’s not visible to begin with. It’s a lot like drawing in pencil on a black piece of paper, or painting a picture on a torn, wrinkled canvas. The picture you create may be lovely, but it’s not visible with all the background darkness or mess. Dirty copy – typos, awkward phrases, grammar nightmares hide your voice and make it impossible to tease out.

Before you worry about voice – or losing your voice to a brutal edit, consider how clean your work is. Is the background [your grammar, your spelling, your punctuation] as clean and error-free as possible? If it’s not, don’t worry about losing or finding your voice. Clean your brush, sharpen your pencil and start with a fresh canvas and your elusive voice will emerge over time.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Don't try this at home

I've got to ask, what is it with advertisers lately? It seems to me they're going out of their way to encourage bad behavior in pursuit of their products.

The other day I was shocked by a phone company commercial [I think it was for Verizon but I'm not sure] where one woman shoots another in the neck with a poison dart to keep her from getting the last phone on sale. This one is pretty bad, but the ones that take the cake for me are the fast food ads where some idiot jumps out of his car and lets it crash into a line of parked cars so he can get into the restuarant faster. Another one for the same company shows a nitwit rear-ending the couple in line at the drive through and pushing their car out of the way so he can order.

Sure these ads are supposed to be funny, and I imagine in small print they contain the necessary legal disclaimers, but seriously. Do companies want to encourage people to commit crimes in the name of their products? Don't you think there should be BIG LETTERS on the phone ad proclaiming: If you shoot your friend with a poison dart, there's a good chance she will sue your ass off?

Those fast food ads aren't accompanied by a voice-over saying: Before this guy gets his sandwich, the police will show up and drag him away in handcuffs, or That couple with the whiplash has already called their lawyer.

I just don't get it. Do these companies think these ads really make people want to buy their products? Personally, I'm afraid to go to a phone sale. Some psycho may dart me if I reach for the wrong cell phone. And now I'm paranoid about going to the drive through at the fast food place - plus I can't even park and go inside because some wing nut might be sailing his car across the lot as he jumps out and rolls into the place to get ahead of me in line. No thanks. I'm staying home. According to the advertisers it's just too dangerous out there to go shopping.

No wonder we're in a recession.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

No unwrapping required!


I know it's early for gift giving, but I believe the key to a stress-free holiday season is to start early!

So, on that note, I'm offering a gift to my readers.

I have re-released my 2005 vampire novel, Fresh Blood and it's now available from my website as a FREE download!

Check out this cover art! This was created for me by one of the incomparable Romance Divas! Ginny Glass [aka Word Sugar] does incredible work, and I plan to have reason to need more of her covers soon.
Please stop by my website and pick up a copy of Fresh Blood - and if you've already read the book - thank you! I haven't left you out. There will be a another free read available soon - all new and never before published, so please check back to my FREE READS often.
Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's that day again!



I blogged about Black Friday last year and how much you just have to love a day that most people have off for no better reason than it's the day AFTER a holiday.

You really can't beat that. Now, I realize everyone out there who works in retail probably curses this day. The sales start at 4:00 AM [seriously - what does anyone need that badly they have to go out at four in the morning to get it?], the crowds are vicious and the next day is Saturday, so people just come back and shop all over again.

I stay home and put up the tree. Today it all got done - amazingly enough. I put up the outdoor decorations, and the tree - DH cleaned the living room for me from top to bottom [will miracles never cease?] and now I'm ready to crash.

Dinner was leftovers from Turkey Day, and they were just as good the second night with a little fresh corn bread stuffing and some home made chocolate covered rice krispy treats for dessert.

I can honestly say, I'm just about ready for the holidays and marginallly stress free at the moment. So on that note: Happy Black Friday everyone! Have a great un-holiday.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

WANT!


I must have one of these.
It's called a Smart Fortwo and it's just adorable, don't you think?
Sure, it is literally a tin can on wheels. Not much bigger than a Matchbox car, it's not made for highway driving, and it's real purpose is for city folk who will be hopping short distances to go from office to Starbucks to pick up their dry cleaning to the corner market then back to high rise apartment, but damn...
I WANT one!! I could fit four of them in my driveway. Heck, I could probably fit one in my purse.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Summerfallwinter in New Jersey

I envy anyone who lives in an area of the country [or the world for that matter] where the weather is predictable.

One thing I tell people I like about living in northern New Jersey, is the change of seasons. However - case in point this weekend, I'm not so fond of having three out of four seasons occur all in the space of 24 hours.

Yesterday started out humid and 'tropical rainy season' wet. I discovered the depth of that wetness when I went out to go shopping and discovered my car window had been open a crack ALL NIGHT LONG.

So, after covering my damp driver's seat with a plastic bag and beach towel, DD and I set off in search of crafts.

The half-hour ride was full of rain and wind - seasonable Novemberish weather. After about 90 minutes in the craft store, we emerged to hot sun [so glad I left my sunglasses on the kitchen table at home because at that time they were utterly useless to me]. We cranked the AC in the car and headed home. Welcome back to summer.

We arrived back home to windy rain, and this morning woke to bitter cold and a threatening gun-metal gray sky that looked like it was gearing up for a blizzard.

I often wonder how nice it would be to live somewhere where the weather is static. A balmy 80 degrees for maybe 360 out of 365 days - or someplace with a rainy season, a dry season and a tropical paradise season and that's it.

Don't get me wrong, we do enjoy some beautiful days here in NJ, but they're usually interspersed between a day of blazing heat and a day of bitter cold. We've learned over time only to appreciate the kind of weather we had last month [whatever last month happened to be] - for instance in the middle of winter everyone is wishing for the dog days of summer [during which they were cursing the heat and counting the days until the crisp afternoons of autumn begin.]

The funny part is Mother Nature has our number. She doesn't want to hear us complaining so she gives us what we want - all in the same day sometimes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And from the file of 'Things no one needs...'



Literary action figures.
There are more available at this place and various others around the web.
With all the debate lately about whether or not books are 'recession-proof' [just in case, you know, we actually have a recession one of these days] it begs the question, how do companies that manufacture stuff like this intend to stay in business?
Granted, action figures in general are big money. Kids love 'em - Ninja Turtles, Star Wars - even the collectors go crazy for the stuff [DH being case in point]. There are people who will forgo paying the electric bill in order to get their hobby fix, their books, etc, but how many people do you suppose will be saving their scarce pennies in the coming months to complete their collection of literary action figures?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Available Today!


A Rogue's Redemption by Jennifer Colgan
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-417-4 (Electronic)

Sequel to A Rogue's Reward...
Fallon Robard, captain of the all-female crew of the Gabrielle, made her most difficult decision when she abandoned young lovers Rhea Galant and Lord Sheppard York on a deserted island after Sheppard’s father refused to pay the ransom for his kidnapped son. Now, months later, Sheppard’s older brothers, Jacob and Jon, have tracked down Fallon.
The handsome twins seek to avenge their brother’s suffering and demand Fallon repent her crimes. When faced with punishment at the hands of two masterful men, will Fallon get more than she bargained for, or just what she deserves?

Genres: Historical / Pirate / Action / Adventure / BDSM / Series
Length: Extended Novella (32k words)

Check out Amber Quill Press for a sizzling excerpt!



Saturday, November 08, 2008

What size do you prefer?


Get your mind out of the gutter. I'm talking about purses.

I ask because I often find myself faced with the purse dilemma. A big purse is great because you can carry everything. In addition to the essentials like wallet, keys, sunglasses and cell phone, you have room for those important emergency products every woman needs - like a novel, a can of hair spray, coupon file, manicure kit, assorted lip gloss and a small pharmacy.

The down side of the big purse is they tend to become satchels that you sling over your back like Santa on Christmas Eve. They weigh a ton and usually you can never find what you want inside, even though you KNOW it has to be in there somewhere.

Last week, I dumped my satchel purse and went for something petite and compact.

It holds my wallet [a new, smaller wallet], a miniature hair brush, my keys, cell phone, sun glasses and a pen.

You would think I could get by on that, but I'm worried. What happens when someone hands me something to carry?

For instance, DH will regularly hand me his wallet and his keys when we're out shopping - because being a man and having pockets sometimes isn't all its cracked up to be. The kids do the same thing. I become the repository for small items they buy and don't want to carry - the lip gloss, the Matchbox car. I become the holder of the four useless crayons that come with the kids menu in any restaurant. [Heaven forbid they just leave them there - it's not like we don't have 4000 crayons at home]. I become the keeper of the Nintendo DS, the library book and anything else they are too frail to schlep home from wherever they've been.

Now I can't do that. In fact, I had to perform origami just to get my paycheck in my purse on Friday. There is no extra room at all.

Maybe I should get a new big purse and just put my small purse inside it. That should solve all my problems.

So, big or small? Which way do you roll?







Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I don't want to know.

Seriously, you can throw rotten tomatoes at me if you want to, but I dread finding out the outcome of this election.

I know I could stir up a lot of political upheaval, and there are staunch defenders of each side, but my personal belief is, no matter who wins, we all lose.

All politicians make promises they don't keep - either they never intended to in the first place, or they discover they just can't re-align the wheels of change the way they thought they would be able to.

It's long been my belief that anyone truly qualified to run this amazingly complex country would be too humble to want the job.

My wish is that whoever is fortunate [or unfortunate as the case may be] enough to win will surprise us all and be the kind of leader he already thinks he is. I will light a small candle for hope, but I won't be holding my breath.

Good luck everyone. I do believe we're all going to need it.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The new grind...

...as opposed to the old grind, begins today.

I'm off to my new job - yes, yet another one, and hopefully a new way of looking at my life as a writer. It's time to re-invent myself and change my approach.

How am I going to do that?

Not sure. I think I may start by cleaning off my bulletin board.

Projects on deck:

Revisions of my gargoyle story, revision of my blurb for Strange New World [Samhain, Feb 09], plotting of my demon story, revamping [no pun intended] my website and possibly making a free read available.

All in my copious spare time.

Oh, yes, and shopping for a new washing machine since mine broke down yesterday [surprise, surprise] and in doing some research DH discovered the darn thing may be at least 20 years old. Definitely time for a new one. SIGH.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trying to Forget Sarah Marshall

So last night, the complete lack of decent television compelled me to visit Blockbuster. I rented Forgetting Sarah Marshall which stars Jason Segel [oddly enough, Marshall from How I Met Your Mother], Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis.

This movie was the talk of the town when it came out, and I’d been looking forward to seeing it...Now I can add it to the list of movies I’m glad I didn’t spent $10 bucks on.

It had its funny moments. Seeing Jason Segel in the full Monty, however, was not one of them. That, I think was one of the big draws. Few movies, even R rated ones, bother will male frontal nudity because, let’s face it – who needs to see that? I certainly did not.

No offense of course to JS who seems like a really nice guy and does a wonderful job on HIMYM, but he ain’t no romance hero. If you get my drift.

Yes, I know. I’m being somewhat sexist. Romance writers tend to rail against the idealized female figure – we prefer to write heroines who are not size 0 [like Eva Longoria, who recently made news by tubbing out to a single digit nothing from 00 which is apparently in Hollywood, the new size 2]. We’re tired of the blond, blue-eyed nymphettes who are lovely enough to be runway models, yet brilliant enough to be astrophysicists. So who am I to be less than impressed with a male physique that’s not streamlined, tanned, waxed and oiled?

I offer my sincerest apologies, however, I’m still going to do my best to forget Sarah Marshall. I imagine I will have a much easier time of it than Jason Segel’s character did.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hot Hot Hot!


Here's my sizzling new cover for A Rogue's Redemption, sequel to A Rogue's Reward.
Redemption will be coming this November from Amber Quill.
Here's the blurb:
Fallon Robard, captain of the all-female crew of the Gabrielle, made her most difficult decision when she abandoned young lovers Rhea Galant and Lord Sheppard York on a deserted island after Sheppard’s father refused to pay the ransom for his kidnapped son. Now, months later, Sheppard’s older brothers, Jacob and Jon, have tracked down Fallon. The handsome twins seek to avenge their brother’s suffering and demand Fallon repent her crimes. When faced with punishment at the hands of two masterful men, will Fallon get more than she bargained for, or just what she deserves?
And here's steamy excerpt excerpt, rated R for language:
Fallon crouched in the shadows of the cell, the freshly oiled links of the shackle chain clutched in her hand. She hadn’t bothered struggling after Jon York locked her up. She knew the friction of the iron cuffs would only damage her wrists and leave her less able to defend herself, so she’d remained as still as possible for hours, contemplating her next move and wondering what flaw in her character had led her to wish, even for a fleeting moment, that Jon might have fucked her when he had the chance.
That at least, she could relate to. If they’d tied her up and taken turns, or even just threatened to use her to sate their base male urges, she’d have understood their motives. But these strange games, binding her here, shackling her there, telling her things that caused her pain rather than simply hurting her physically—none of that made sense.
Of course, she had to wonder why it even mattered to her what the elder York brothers wanted from her. They’d get nothing that they didn’t take by force.
She held the chain tighter and strained to hear their footsteps. For a while they’d been above her in the infirmary, and she wondered if they’d found the knothole through which the crew often observed prisoners. They could watch her if they wanted to, but they’d still gain nothing.
Now one of them approached. The lock on the cell door rattled, and she allowed herself to hope it was Jon. His soft, sensual touch with the drying cloth had given her some hope he might be more easily manipulated. Being one step away from his father’s seat as governor, Jacob had apparently already lost his ability to feel compassion. Jon, at least, still obviously possessed a soul.

She knew instantly it was Jacob when the door swung wide. It wasn’t the scar that gave him away, but the flinty quality of his stare. The shadows behind his piercing gaze made her heart beat faster with an emotion she couldn’t name. When he looked at her she felt as naked as she’d been this morning on the deck.
Fortunately the savory aroma of soup chased away all thoughts of attacking him with the coiled up chain. She tore her gaze from his and followed the path of the food tray which he set before her on the floor.
“I don’t need to ask if you’re hungry. I can tell by the look in your eyes.”
She ignored him and concentrated on not licking her lips. A fresh biscuit accompanied the soup, and her stomach rumbled at the sight of it.

“Come here if you want to eat.”
Fallon considered refusing, but how long would she last if she starved herself? Glaring at him, she dropped the chain and shuffled over to the tray.
“Sit.” He didn’t wait for her response, just lowered himself to a cross-legged position before the still-steaming food. He then burrowed one hand into the pocket of his dark trousers and pulled out a length of black silk. She recognized the sash from her wardrobe. Woven by a blind artisan in Port Royal, it bore threads of silver and gold that lent a sparkle to the cloth in any light.
Jacob held it up in both hands. “This is for you.”

“It’s an expensive napkin, milord. I’d rather wipe my mouth on my sleeve than ruin a fine piece of work like that.”
He hesitated a moment, then laughed. “I’m not so jaded that I would use silk as a lapcloth. This is a blindfold.” His smile faded on the last word, and Fallon shivered. Her quizzical expression prompted his further explanation. “Sheppard told me at first he was not allowed to remove his shackles while he ate. Rhea fed him. So I will feed you.”
“And I can’t watch?”
“No. You’ll need to rely on me…to trust me.”
Again Fallon considered refusing, but her traitorous stomach protested loud enough this time for Jacob to hear. His flawed eyebrow twitched, and Fallon felt herself blush. “Fine.”
He leaned forward and fastened the sash across her eyes with quick, efficient movements. This was a man familiar with tying knots, or at least accustomed to blindfolding women.
His masculine scent rode over the aroma of the soup for a moment, and beneath the cloth, Fallon closed her eyes. She recognized clove and wild mint, a fragrance popular among gentlemen of the aristocracy.
When he finished his task and pulled back, she tried to follow his movements and gauge his position, imaging how he looked and how he might be looking at her.
“Are you ready?” His seductive whisper left her lightheaded, or perhaps that was hunger. Fallon had to wonder just what he wanted her ready for.
“Yes.”
She listened to the blunt scrape of metal spoon on wooden bowl and waited. “Open.” The word struck her like an arrow. Her heart thudded, and her clit throbbed when she considered what else she might open upon his command besides her mouth.
***

Monday, October 27, 2008

Did you miss me?

I usually ask DH that question when I get back from somewhere that I've been for any longer than say six hours.

His response, usually accompanied by a sly grin, is something along the lines of: Were you gone?

I was gone this weekend - at NJRW in Iselin NJ at the Hilton Hotel, which last year I believe was the Sheraton Hotel.

Confusing as the venue was, I had a great time rooming with Jen Baum. We always have a blast and this weekend was no exception.

This convention was a bit different for me, however, in that I didn't look at is work. I wasn't there to schmooze, to sign, to pitch or even really to learn. I was there to get away for the weekend and a have some fun. It was nice not to have the stress of dealing with an agent or editor appointment or worrying about having to hawk my books at the signing [though it was fun last year]. This time I got to shop the Book Fair [limited myself to four books to go along with the 7 books I got for free], and I didn't feel rushed.

On thing I did learn this weekend in spite of my desire to just kick back and have a good time, had to do with promo. I haunted the goodie room as I usually do and took note of the types of things authors brought. As in the past I've noticed this: PAPER GOODS DO NOT MOVE!

If you're planning to spend money on promo items, I would suggest thinking twice about dropping a lot of money on paper book marks, business cards or even brochures or post cards. Anything not attached to a fun item like a beaded book mark, a piece of candy, a candle, a seashell, whatever, usually does not get touched.

If you want your name to be seen, or someone to take an interest in your books consider the following: Giving away free books [You may think, wow, that's expensive, but even giving away a dozen copies of your print book puts a dozen readers in touch with how you write. You could make a fan for life.] Attach your post card to a gift of some sort - my beaded book marks still moved pretty well, though it wasn't the free for all grab fest it has been in previous years. I came home with a box full, but the ones I put out did get taken. Invest in pens - seriously, writers can't resist pens or small notepads, these things move. Provide something useful - sticks of gum, packs of tissues, candles, matchbooks, etc - an item a reader will use will attract attention.

Disclaimer: I'm no marketing expert. I speak only from the experience of watching what people were taking and what they were not taking from the goodie room. In my opinion the most important thing is to get your writing into the hands of readers, not just your name.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

NJRW - Episode 4

Tomorrow I'm off to NJRW's Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. This is my fourth year going to the conference and I've always had a great time.

It's awesome to be able to hang out with so many writers - and I won't lie, it's also fabulous to get away from the daily grind once a year. I won't have to make a bed, wash a dish or cook a meal for two days. It doesn't get better than that - except when it's for more than two days.

Catch with you on Monday!

Monday, October 20, 2008

There's a new hottie in town

Admittedly, the last Season of Smallville was utterly dismal. I'd almost given up watching - seriously who wants to see Chloe marry Jimmy? Gimme a break.

However, with the return of Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow [oops, did I just give away his secret identity?] there's now a reason to go back to Kansas.

Here's a question - how do you think Justin would look as a blond vampire?? Bwahahaha!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Paranormal is Normal

Or so says Garrett Husveth of Haunted New Jersey Paranormal Investigations.

The kids and I attended a lecture given by Mr. Husveth at our local library last night, perfect timing for Halloween! The presentation was fascinating and we learned a lot about real world ghost hunting [ a boring and expensive hobby according to the investiagtor who also co-wrote a book in the subject of hauntings in New Jersey].

Ghost hunting seems to be mostly about setting up tons of electronic equipment and waiting, sometimes months, for something to happen.

Over the more than 20 years Mr. Husveth has been investigating paranormal phenomenon he's actually had some amazing experiences and collected hours and hours of EVPs - or electronic voice phenomenon recordings. He played a number of these EVPs for us, some of which were quite spooky.

He also played what appeared to be actual 'spirit' communications [different from ghost EVPs] that were recorded by an organization that specializes in Instrumental Transcommunicaition - or conversations with the spirit world. Apparently this isn't something new, nor is it a fringe vocation, as the US Air Force is reported to have been experimenting with EVPs and spirit communicaiton for years.

All in all, we enjoyed the presentation, though it took some of the shine off of our obsession with Ghost Hunters [TAPS] whom Mr. Husveth calls 'the best of the worst.' I'd wondered if some of what we see on TV might be staged or tweaked for the cameras and I won't spoil anyone's fun, but meeting a real life paranormal investigator certainly puts a new spin on this topic.

Do you have any ghost stories to share?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What's your Portmanteau Name?

I can see you looking at me like I’m crazy – and I am a little, but I’m serious about this question.
A portmanteau word is a word formed by combining parts of two others ie emoticon, blog, frenemies, celebutante. Modern vernacular is full of them and it’s spilled over from words to names.

It started with celebrity couples like Bennifer [Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez which later became Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner]. Then there’s TomKat [Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes] and of course Brangelina, which needs no explanation. Then they started doing it with individual celebrities. We all know JLo and now there’s LiLo [Lindsay Lohan] and SamRo [her girlfriend Samantha Ronson] and I’ve even seen ScarJo [poor Scarlett Johansen.]

I wonder if the trend will ever catch on among authors? Will we be discussing NoRo at the next conference? SherKen doesn’t sound right. Maybe KMMo for Karen Marie Moning? I think having an ‘o’ in the name makes it easier to smash, not sure why.

It doesn’t work too well with Bernadette – BernGard? Yech. But I suppose I can get away with JenCo.

How about you? Can you portmanteau?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

No. Can. Do.

I should never have even considered it, but there was nothing else on and I didn't feel like leaving the couch, so I put on the Presidential debate.

Big mistake.

I know, as a concerned tax payer [rather a terrified, disgusted, disillusioned taxpayer] I should be interested in what the candidates have to say, but to me...I don't know, it all just seems like a big show.

I don't believe either of them really know what they're doing and I don't believe either of them is making any promises they will be able to keep even if they wanted to. If politicians did half of what they promised they would do, we wouldn't be in a paralyzing financial crisis right now. So how can either presidential candidate get up in front of the nation and really expect people to believe they know how to make things better in four short years?

I ended up yelling at the TV, so I turned it off, went down to the basement and plotted out a quilt. I haven't done that in a while and it was relaxing to move little bright colored pieces of fabric around.

When it comes to election day, I really don't know what I'm going to do. I'm so tired of voting for the guy I think will do the least damage. I hate to entertain political dabates on my blog, but does anyone have some real insight into who might actually know enough to help the country rather than just compound the problem once they get into office? I sure as heck don't.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Picture of the week

I came across this while going through some old photos for a project DS has due the end of the week. It symbolizes my mood of late.

In an effort not to be too much of a downer, I'll probably be blogging sporadically for a while. But I will be looking for more inspirational photos.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

And the big news of the week...!

I can't believe I totally forgot to blog about this. It so made my week!

Jim proposed to Pam!


Office fans all over the world do the dance of joy. You have to admit, the proposal in the rain on the side of the road by the rest stop did absolutely ROCK. It was a perfect shot of true romance in an otherwise dismal week.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Choosing a publisher

There's some minor buzz about a new publisher planning to open it's doors this spring and I figured this might be a good time to post a couple of my tips on choosing a publisher.

For some scoop on what's being said, visit Dear Author.

For some rules of thumb that might be helpful, read on....

****

I’m no expert, but I have to say I’ve been fairly lucky with the publishers I work with. I know there are lists like this out there, but here’s my own take on what to look for and what to avoid when choosing an e-publisher.

1.How long have they been around? Not to say that brand new publishers should always be avoided. There are some fabulous pubs out there who are relatively new but doing a magnificent job for their authors. That being said, use great caution when getting in on the ground floor with a brand new publisher. It may be a wonderful opportunity, but only if you’re careful about who you get involved with.

2. Do they have a web presence? And I don’t just mean a nice website. Today, so many people have web design experience that having a professional looking website isn’t necessarily a sign of an upstanding company. Obviously a shoddy website is a red flag, but a nice one isn’t a guarantee of anything.

3. Beyond a website, what does the publisher do to promote their products? You will hear a lot of talk about how promotion falls largely on authors in the e-pub community, but remember, your book is the publisher’s product as well. They need to advertise their site, be willing to take out print ads to promo their company, have good relationships with review sites and plan to have a presence at conferences and conventions. If they don’t have the time or the budget for these things, steer clear.

4. Staff. No one can do it alone. Plenty of people think they can start up a business and run it out of their homes in any industry, but who picks up the slack if the CEO gets sick? No one works 24/7, so what’s customer service like when the President is sleeping, ill or worse, working at their day job? A publisher needs to be committed to the job, which means they have to have a staff of more than one or two people to handle all the aspects of the business.

5. Authors. The best way to learn about a publisher is to talk to its authors. Are they happy? Some authors will put on a good front for chats, or public appearances, but you want the nitty gritty. A private e-mail to an author asking sincere and respectful questions about their experience with a particular company should get you some honest answers.

6. Cover art. This is a big one for me. There are a number of fabulous digital artists out there and the first thing an e-pub should do is hire a good one to create covers. Crappy, poser covers will not sell books and the aim of a publisher should be to sell books. If you don’t like the cover art a publisher has to offer, they may not be the one for you.

7. Books. Read a few of the books your target publisher has to offer. If they don’t have anything available yet, it might be prudent to wait until they do. Look for good stories, solid editing, professional formatting, competitive prices, ease of ordering etc.

8. Who’s talking? If the publisher offers a reader chat group, it may be a good idea to join and see what’s going on. Are there actually other readers present or does it seem to be just a hang out for the authors who are promoting their books to each other? A lot of readers prefer to lurk, so you may not see many even on a busy, popular list, but if the publisher has ten authors and their chat loop has ten members that could be a sign that no one is listening.

9. Contract. Does the publisher offer a sample contract on line? Not all of them do and that’s fine, but it’s great to be able to get an idea of what you’re getting into if you sign with them.
Do they blog? Some publishers maintain their own blog site where authors post on a daily or near daily basis. This isn’t a necessity of course, but it’s nice to be able to drop in and see what’s going on. It’s another way to connect with authors and get a feel for their enthusiasm for the publisher.

10. Reviews. Check out reviews of some of the publisher’s books. Now, even NY pubbed novels get panned by critics from time to time, so a bad review doesn’t necessarily speak ill of the publisher, but if their books seem to garner only mediocre praise as a rule, it might be a warning sign.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ursula is happy

Those are three words you don't see very often.

My editing alter ego, Ursula, is not usually a jovial person. She can be difficult to work with because she demands perfection [of me especially]. Think of a tight-lipped headmistress of some high-end European girls' school: hair in a severe bun at the back of her head, half-glasses hanging from a pearl chain around her neck, she often wears gray wool and licks her thumb before turning the pages of a manuscript.

Well, for a change, she's let her hair down and put on comfy clothes because she's editing something that is...just...really good!

I won't mention the author's name or the details of the story, but I'd like to mention all the things that make an editor like Ursula giddy with delight.

1) She has yet to find an incident of 'she felt/he felt' - the story is SHOWN, not told by filtering it through the tactile sensations of the POV characters.

2) She has yet to find an instance of 'he could/she could' - characters do things, say things and be things in the immediate sense, not the probable sense of 'maybe' implied by the constant use of 'could'

3) ‘Was’ and ‘were’ are scarce. Of course they have been used but so sparingly as to be invisible. The author uses ACTION verbs nearly all the time. Nothing is benign and passive, everything moves and breathes. It's truly amazing how dynamic a narrative can be when every other verb isn't 'was'

4) The narrative is not peppered with incorrectly used semi-colons. Ursula sees this so much - a semi-colon is not a comma and should not be used in place of one.

5) The chapters have hooks! No one falls asleep, the chapters end where scenes end or major POV switches occur. They're not just arbitrary chops in the story.

6) The characters are in motion through the plot. There are no long info-dumps. Information is given in small bites throughout so the background of the characters becomes an expanding file of information, not a stew of unchewable chunks that occur while characters are sitting and staring into nothingness 'thinking' for interminable moments.

7) The author has set up questions - Ursula is wondering what happens next. The whole plot isn't evident from the get go.

8) The writing is smooth - so smooth. There are no choppy blocks of sentences designed to make the reader think choppy thoughts. There are no boggy passages of nothing designed to calm the reader. Nothing is 'designed' to do anything to the reader but carry them along through the story. Reading this is like riding one of those inner-tube raft rides - a constant, comfortable flow, no fancy tricks or games woven into the narrative.

9) There are hardly any repetitive words or phrases. No echoes. Each thought is unique.

10) Adverbs are scarce, so the ones that exist are also virtually invisible.

11) Adjectives are used well, not piled in unmanagable layers, ie 'her long wispy expensive sapphire blue satin nightgown was waving wildly in the cold salty eastern ocean breeze...'

12) Characters don't do three or four things at once. Each action occurs in sequence. He didn't 'put on his shoes as he walked toward the door while dialing his cell phone as the bell rang alerting him to the fact that he felt cold.'

13) Sentence structure is varied. Not everything begins with a gerund, or 'He/She/It was'.

When Ursula is happy, I'm happy. Maybe she'll be less hard on my manuscript when she's in a good mood, so I'd better get writing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Release!!!


NOW AVAILABLE
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-364-1 (Electronic)Genres: Historical / Pirate / Series
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Novella (34k words)
Description: New from Jennifer Colgan, author of the best-sellers The Demon Of Pelican Bluff and Ken'Ja.....

In 1708, kidnapped and ransomed by the legendary lady pirate, Captain Fallon Robard, Sheppard York finds his only salvation in the kindness of the captain's beautiful young ward, Rhea Galant. But when negotiations with Sheppard's wealthy father go sour, Captain Fallon plans to exile him to a deserted island where he will have to fend for himself and face possible death. After weeks of tending her captain's handsome prisoner, however, Rhea discovers she can't bear to part with him, let alone see him abandoned, and plots to help him escape. What will be her reward for abandoning her shipmates for love?...........Find Out More!

In other news...

I'm hard at work on the sequel to A Rogue's Reward and hope to have it submitted shortly.

I did manage to finish that scene I was whimpering about the other day, and darn it all if my editor doesn't still want MORE!! Arrrgh!

I'm kicking around an idea for a fantasy novella...do you know any imps looking for work?



Saturday, September 20, 2008

'Tis the Season...


Ah! Don't throw figgy pudding at me, but yes, I'm talking about Christmas in a round about way.

One of the myriad reasons I love the fall is an odd one - 'tis the season the holiday food catalogs start arriving and I LOVE to look at them.

Yes, I admit, I like food. Food is really nice. Artfully arranged snack foods and holiday decorated spreads are especially nice. Sure my mailbox bursts at the seems from now until January with catalogs of every description, but I really don't mind.

I got my first Figi's catalog the other day and I sat down to peruse pages and pages of fancy feasts. While staring at cheese logs and petite fours and spiral hams and cookies, I realized that it's not necessarily my enjoyment of eating that makes me like these catalogs so much...it's a desire to experience a good, old fashioned holiday. When I look at these catalogs I think of snowy Christmas Eves with friends and family gathered in a cozy home, red and green and gold decorations, and a beautiful buffet on the table.

Our family holidays have gotten smaller over the years. Family members have moved away or passed away, the kids have grown up, the celebrations are smaller and over sooner because everyone is tired and wants to go to sleep early.

So the catalogs are like a trip to the past for me, a mini-holiday. It's weird, I know, but I'm used to being weird.

Do I buy from the catalogs? Yes, ultimately I do, though not in September. That's a ritual in itself - hours pouring through pages, comparing prices, making lists-another part of the holiday season.

Go ahead and throw your figgy pudding at me, just artfully arrange it first and take a picture for the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One scene!

Arrgh!!

I need to add literally one scene to a contracted story - a bridge, if you will to provide a little more emotional impact and make the ending seem less easy.

I've been writing some interesting nonsense, rearanging words, eating lunch, blogging, staring at my laptop, looking for the cat, checking my e-mail incessantly and talking to myself, but I still haven't the faintest idea how to write this scene.

Arrrrrrrrghhh!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One step forward, two steps back in time...


Now and then I get tired of living in the future...this summer, for some reason, I preferred living in the past, and writing in the past and this weekend, the fruits of that labor will be released at Amber Quill Press/Amber Heat.


My first historical romance novella, A Rogue's Reward, comes on September 21st!

Here's the blurb and a brief excerpt:

In 1708, kidnapped and ransomed by the legendary lady pirate, Captain Fallon Robard, Sheppard York finds his only salvation in the kindness of the captain’s beautiful young ward, Rhea Galant. But when negotiations with Sheppard’s wealthy father go sour, Captain Fallon plans to exile him to a deserted island where he will have to fend for himself and face possible death.
After weeks of tending her captain’s handsome prisoner, however, Rhea discovers she can’t bear to part with him, let alone see him abandoned, and plots to help him escape.
What will be her reward for abandoning her shipmates for love?

Excerpt:
Rhea imagined her face would catch fire if she had to spend another minute staring at Sheppard York’s naked body.

She fought to keep her aim steady on the center of his chest while he shrugged out of his shirt. The muscles beneath his tanned skin flexed with each careful movement as he fished the melting lump of soap from the kettle pot, then dipped the cloth in the now-cold water and wrung it out. She should have turned around and given him a small measure of privacy while he scrubbed his face and chest, the back of his neck and quickly under his arms, but Fallon had warned her not to. Even if she’d been given leave to avert her eyes, Rhea wasn’t sure she could have. Having never seen a naked man before—fully or partially—she simply couldn’t look away.

She swallowed a gasp when he reached for the buckle of this belt and tore the fastening of his breeches open. “You’re not going to—”

“I have to relieve myself. Perhaps you’d like to help with that?”

His smirk annoyed her, but in all honesty she couldn’t take offense. He’d been denied all amenities for half a day, and after a night she figured he’d spent mostly lifting tankards of ale, he had to have been terribly uncomfortable.

“I’ll step outside. There’s a bilge grate in the corner.”

“Ah, the finest accommodations.” He turned away and, before he lowered his breeches, Rhea ducked out the door. Sighing, she let the pistol droop. Had Fallon assigned her this thankless task as a form of amusement, or simply because no other member of Gabrielle’s crew could be trusted not to damage the governor’s son before the ransom was paid?

After a few deep breaths, she steadied herself and chanced a polite knock on the partially closed door. “Are you through?”

“I am.”

She let herself back in, leading the way with the pistol barrel in case he thought to jump her. The heavens above knew she’d never shoot an unarmed man…in the balls or any other body part, but she owed it to her captain to make the prisoner think she would.

Once inside, she let her eyes roam his body, and her mouth worked to produce some sound. He stood wearing nothing now but a dun-colored pair of under breeches, which left little about the shape of his nether regions to the imagination. His smooth chest sported only a few dark hairs, unlike his muscular thighs and calves. The hair on his head was damp now and slicked back as if he’d run wet fingers through it to tame the sleep-tousled ends.

He’d shed his boots along with his clothes and had placed them neatly aside with his thick leather belt coiled atop them. With a hopeful expression, he held his pants out in her direction.

“You might wash these, too.” His tone held no irony, though she couldn’t imagine why not. “They also smell of stale beer. Did your lady captain drag me through every barside gutter in Tremont on the way to the dock last night? I reek like a common drunk.”

Rhea swallowed hard and accepted the garment. He’d pay for this somehow she decided before backing out of the room, while instructing him to replace the cuffs and toss her the iron key. Lord York would definitely pay for his insolence. She just hadn’t figured out how.

***
Stay tuned for more about A Rogue's Reward and updates on the sequel [finished the rough draft yesterday, A Rogue's Redemption].

Monday, September 15, 2008

Is it bad...


...to breathe in the smoke of a green lemon?


Seriously, not making this up. I was cleaning out the fruit and veggie drawer in the fridge yesterday afternoon and I came across a green object stored in one of those flimsy supermarket produce bags. It looked like half a green pepper, however, it seemed to be smoking.

As I pulled it out of the drawer, a puff of...dust like substance wafted out of the bag, then another and on closer inspection I realized the object was...a lemon.

Well, it had been a lemon at one time. Now it was a science experiment. I hastily chucked it, and it continued to emit puffs of green dust, some of which I’m sure I breathed in.

So...how common are fungal lung infections caused by breathing in the smoke of green lemons?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pardon my rant...but

I grappled with ranting today - not because I don't think the subject warrants it, but because I don't want to turn my blog into a whine and cheese fest. Believe me, it would be so easy...

Nevertheless, I must complain about celebrity stupidity and sense of entitlement. I just read that actor Daniel Dae Kim became the third member of the cast of LOST to be arrested for DUI in Hawaii and I'm disgusted.

I'm not a huge fan of Kim, and I'm certainly not a huge fan of his predecessors, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros, but I am a fan of the show. It saddens me to think that so many members of the cast have so little regard, not only for state laws, but for human life.

Being internationally recognized and being paid an obscene salary to live on paradise island seems to engender a sense of irresponsibility in these celebrities. While I can almost understand the euphoria that comes with fame and fortune leading one to overindulge in alcohol, I fail to see why none of these people seem to possess the intelligence required to say to one of their friends, their family, their entourage, body guards, security staff, etc, "Could you please give me a ride home, since I've had a couple too many to drink?"

Seriously, how hard is that, people? Actors routinely whine about needing more money, dealing with the hardships of working on location, leaving their children and soon-to-ex-spouses for long periods of time while they put themselves through grueling twelve-hour work days and promotional tours and appearances. Somehow they manage to deal with these difficult situations, like having no privacy, being followed by paparrazzi and the occasional tragedy of not being recognized somewhere and actually having to be treated like a regular person. You'd think if they could handle all that, it wouldn't be so hard to hand some poor schlub the keys to their Porche and say, "You drive."

It might be the most important line of dialogue they ever deliver.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Voice

Today I'm over at Star-Crossed Romance talking about author voice. Drop by and tell me what you think.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

So tell me again...

...why vampire stories are on the downslide when it comes to romance publishing?

It wasn't long ago I heard from several sources that NY publishers were tired of heroes with teeth [pointed teeth anyway]. Vampires and werewolves were passe', blase' and sooo five minutes ago.

Okay. Fine. Aside from the fact that I love vampires and have written about them and werewolves with moderate success, I can understand the market could get saturated, but hello -
vampires seem to be alive and well [pun intended] on television.

Ever since [big sigh] Angel disappeared from the airwaves [what WERE they thinking?] there have been a long line of pretenders to the throne.

First came Blood Ties, starring Christina Cox and Kyle Schmid - an abrasive cop and a broody 480-year-old Duke.

Then came Moonlight, starring Sophia Myles and Alex O'Loughlin - an annoying reporter and private investigator turned reluctant vampire by his ex-wife.

Now, we have True Blood, premiering tonight on HBO which brings to life Charlaine Harris's bestselling Southern Vampire Mystery series.

Is it just me, or does anyone see a trend here?

Not that I'm insinuating the powers that be in TV Land really know what viewers want to see [they invented reality TV, after all, and there went ALL their credibility] but let's face it, vampires are hot. They were hot, they still are hot and I predict they will continue to be hot, so why the 'no teeth' preference in publishing? Give viewers and readers what they obviously crave, heroes with BITE!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Wrinkle In Time

No, I'm not talking about the excellent YA science fiction adventure novel written by Madeleine L'Engel.

I'm talking about how the flow of time gets all scrunched up now and then causing everything to happen at once.

You know, like the toilet overflows just as the doorbell rings, or the baby starts spitting up just as the toddler reaches for the hot stove. Moments like that when you have to be in two places at once or think two thoughts at the same time.

I had one of those wrinkles today. It wasn't major, like the toilet thing, though I've been there. It only lasted a second, but it was annoying nevertheless.

I start out on the phone with Vista Print. I got an order of promo stuff today with some items missing. As I'm on the phone with a customer service representative from the other side of the planet who is reading off a scripted apology to me in heavily accented monotone, I look out my window to see some guy waving a day glow yellow wand at my front lawn.

Since I don't live at Hogwarts, the sight of someone waving a wand at things is unusual. So I throw open the window and yell, "Can I help you?" which interrupts the canned apology on the phone. I'm telling the CS rep, "Hold on a minute, please. I have a problem here." And wand guy thinks I'm talking to him. He starts talking about looking for some cement monument which he believes is buried in my yard.

Uh, right. So I yell out the window, "Just hold on one second." I hang up with Vista Print, apologizing for not being able to listen to her rehearsed apology and rush out the door. By now the dog is having a conniption, and the school bus is pulling up outside.

Wand guy starts telling me about this surveyor's monument, which according to his handy dandy map is right in the middle of my front yard. He assures me he won't be digging anything up, he just needs to know where it is, and the beeping, glowing wand will tell him that. Uh, okay. Now DD is off the bus and demanding to know if I watched 'Ghost Hunters' last night [I had to tape it because I was watching the season premiere of Bones - which basically sucked, but that's another story]. So I'm fielding DD, and Wand Guy and the dog is still barking.

Now, I know, you're saying, so what? And I agree. It's not like a national disaster, it's just a small glitch in the Matrix, but it's annoying nonetheless. Things should happen linearly and one at a time like they do in novels, so I can process one thing before I go on to the next.

Note to the universe: Iron out the wrinkles, please. I can't do two things at once.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sometimes technology rocks



I got a new phone.

Now, if you know me, you know I hate change when it comes to technology. It's hard for me to learn gadgets, especially those with tiny buttons that aren't clearly marked with English words - symbols often confound me.

I hate reading manuals, mostly because half the time they don't make sense.

However, when DH told me I could upgrade my cell phone to a new one and I saw this - I had to have it. Mostly because even though the picture shows it in Rose Pink, it secretly also comes in Awesome Metallic Purple [at least that's what I call the color, though I couldn't find a picture of it.]

This phone is cool because not only does it have a wicked cool display on the front that shows through the metallic case, it only took me 15 minutes to reprogram my entire address book [a project that spanned several years with my old phone].

It's the little things in life that make me happy. Metallic purple cell phones and new technology that actually is easier to use than the old stuff.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy September!


I know technically it's still summer, but yay! In my little world, fall begins today. I'm going to put up my fall decorations and rejoice in Septemberness.
Happy Labor Day everyone!


Friday, August 29, 2008

Rogue Heart - On Sale Now!


Rogue Heart By Bernadette Gardner

A Chi-series-enhanced human, Onika can seduce any man, but the fatal flaw in her biological programming is that she falls in love with her targets. When Zed, the enigmatic scientist who created her, wants to see her, she chances a reunion, determined to convince him to change her biological programming and free her from her enslavement to chemical lust.When she finds Zed has been brutally murdered, she feels relief and terror. No one can save her now, least of all Aidan Fynn, the attorney assigned by Central Command to represent her. Given into Fynn's mercurial care, Onika faces the greatest challenge of her life to not fall hopelessly in love and lust with the former soldier once he learns the only way to gain her trust is to take her to his bed.

****

EXCERPT:

The first thing Aidan learned after being pulled from basic training and sent to study at Central Command’s legal academy was that both guilt and innocence were negotiable.

He’d waltzed into the prison in Yebec Cavern Settlement believing he’d be negotiating Onika Ramos’ guilt. After all, Central Command had briefed him on her history. She was Cy-Ops—a body reclaimed and rebuilt by Zed Lantrell in the early days of the man’s ambitious and somewhat psychotic bio-gen experiments. She had every reason to hate the man who’d plucked her from the comforting bosom of death and thrust her back into the Viliri war as a spy and a glorified sex toy.

Justifiable homicide would be easy to prove.

Now as he studied her from across the dimly lit interrogation room, he berated himself for not anticipating two things. One, that she’d actually seem indignant at the insinuation of guilt, and two, that even wilted from a full day in the custody of morons, her beauty would stun him.
Of course, she’d been made that way, designed by Lantrell to be irresistible to the opposite sex. He’d have to find a way to boost his immunity to her obvious charms if he was going to get this job done. He couldn’t afford to get sidetracked by those wide electric blue eyes, the silky curtain of hair, the perfectly seductive lips and skin like fresh cream.

He stood a little straighter and captured her sullen gaze. “We don’t have to work on your defense right this minute. Follow me. We’re going home.”

She tilted her head like a curious feline and smirked. “I don’t have a home, Mr. Fynn. Surely Central Command told you that. I go where I’m needed, stay until the job is done, and move on.”

“Well, right now, your job is to do as I say, and that includes going to my home—or at least my temporary residence here on Serilon. You’ll remain in my protective custody until your trial is over.”

The term “protective custody” seemed to startle her a bit. Here was a woman used to being owned rather than cared for. She rose shakily from the metal chair to which she’d been bound and paused to tug at the deliberately short hem of the tunic they’d given her. Aidan’s gaze followed her fingers as they brushed the tops of her thighs. Unbidden desire surged, and his cock gave an involuntary pulse.

If she were to reach above her head, the woefully inadequate garment would rise enough to reveal all of her secrets. Lightning fast, his mind provided a visual. She’d be smooth, exquisitely curved and delicate, and her ass would fit perfectly against his cock…

“I’m ready when you are.” She forced the words through a tight jaw and Aidan reined in his inappropriate thoughts. He didn’t fuck clients. At least not until he’d won their cases.

Onika Ramos was off-limits for the time being.

****

To find out more, or to order Rogue Heart, visit Ellora's Cave!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Danger Bug



In real life this massive, scary creature is a delicate butterfly we found resting on the pool ladder this morning.
I used my cell phone to take the picture, then e-mailed the picture to myself [if you know me, you know that's a major technological accomplishment!]. Doesn't he [or she?] look traumatically huge in comparison to the bedroom windows? LOL.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Coming out of my shell for a day


Being terminally shy, it's hard for me to come out of my shell sometimes. I'm a behind-the-scenes type person, hence why I chose writing as my profession and not acting or singing. [You can thank me for not chosing singing, btw. My voice has been known to make ear drums pop and small animals flee in terror.]
Anyhow, fellow author and Diva, Stella Price of the amazing Sisters Price writing team, invited me to join a group of authors at the Collingswood Book Festival on October 4th, and I'm going to go!
Now I'm all psyched about it actually. It should be a ton of fun and I hope anyone reading this who will happen to be in the area on that day would drop in and say 'hey.' I'd love to see you!
I'll be signing my Amber Quill print books and I plan to have lots of promotional goodies, so come by and get some loot.
I'll be posting reminders about the web between now and then, so spread the word around. A good time and some good books should be had by all. I promise to leave my shell at home that day.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Closure - I has it

I admit I'm a little behind the times, but I'm working on catching up. Last night I finally saw the final episodes of Charmed, Season 8 and now I've completed the series.

I have to say, here's another series I would recommend even though Joss Whedon wasn't involved in it.

Aside from a cute concept, Charmed has the following going for it:

1. Character growth - the sisters do evolve over the course of the show which makes it worth watching to see not just their hair and clothing change, but to see them weather the emotional turmoils their charmed existence throws at them

2. Consistency - without stagnation. I at least found each episode, which was centered in the Halliwell Hollow to have a familiar anchor. The show had a calming effect [yes, I'm weird], but it was like visiting friends. Over the seasons the characters evolved, but the house was always the same and that made it comfortable without being boring

3. Closure - this is the biggie. Some people might have found it sappy, but I loved the epilogue feel of the last part of the finale. The three surviving sisters [minus Pru of course who was suspiciously absent from everything after Shannen Doherty's unceremonious exit from the show, bet she's still kicking herself] decide to add their experiences to the voluminous book of shadows and viewers get a glimpse into their happy future.

That was a bonus I think - and why I love to add epilogues to my stories, because knowing favorite characters get to live happily ever after, really happily ever after, is important. I know a lot of people complained about the end of Harry Potter's final book, but I loved that too. I crave the satisfaction of knowing all the strife characters go through is not for nothing.

Now I need another great paranormal show to get hooked on. Any suggestions?


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Totally Awesome

This may be a bit premature, but it's so darn awesome I had to post it. Here's my cover art for my August 29th EC release, ROGUE HEART!


I don't get a lot of covers with women on them, probably about a third of my titles have more than one person on the cover, or the heroine on the cover. I love this because because I get to see Onika Ramos as well as her hero Aidan Finn. It's almost like having a movie cast and getting to see the actor who plays your lead character.
I think it helps readers too, in a way. Sure, I make up faces in my head to go with characters I read, but if there's a great picture on a book cover, I have a place to start. Sometimes I can't see the characters looking like the cover art, but sometimes it's dead on.
Stay tuned for ROGUE HEART - 11 days and counting!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The life of Sisyphus

Last night I went to bed contemplating the life of the mythical King Sisyphus. If you recall the early Red Bull commercials, he's the guy who had to push the rock up the hill for eternity, only to watch it roll back down.

From Wikipedia:
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus (Greek:[Σίσυφος] (help·info)) (IPA: /ˈsɪsɨfəs/), was a king punished in Tartarus by being cursed to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll down again, and to repeat this throughout eternity.
Today, Sisyphean can be used as an adjective meaning that an activity is unending and/or repetitive. It could also be used to refer to tasks that are pointless and unrewarding.




I felt like Sisyphus because I tend to notice periods in my life where I seem to have to work twice as hard as anyone else to get half as much. It's gets tiring.

This fit of self-pity was prompted by discovering the e-mail informing me that my next EC submission received title approval and can now be contracted went astray, and that I've been sitting around patiently waiting for information that already came to me, but was lost. After immediately getting to work on said contract, I realized I have the wrong version and need to have a new one sent to me, which could take some time. So something I was hoping to get done quickly and efficiently, now could take a while. Of course, now I have to wonder what other e-mails never reached me. I'm waiting on the answers to several other questions from people, and perhaps they got lost too, so I'm blissfully twiddling my thumbs wondering why no one has gotten back to me and maybe they have and are now wondering why I haven't gotten back to THEM.

It's no one's fault really, just the universe letting me know that things can't go my way too easily. I have to push that rock up the hill a few more times.

DH is checking the e-mail program today, though I doubt he'll find anything wrong. I get plenty of e-mails from people and very little ends up in my SPAM folder these days, which is nice. Of course, the stuff I'm waiting for never gets there either.

Ah well. I suppose I should look in the bright side. As soon as I get the proper version of the contract, I'll have another EC release, which rocks! It's one of my best stories, I think. [More about it later] ROGUE HEART will be coming out in a few weeks, I'm mailing in the contract for my historical novella today, AND yesterday I completed the draft of the proposal for my next single title.

Overall I shouldn't complain, but the frustration gets to me now and then. Off to roll my boulder.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

TBB becomes TBR

In an amazing turn of events I won a $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card during the Romance Divas Divas Not Going To Conference Conference last week.

I know! I never win stuff. I also won the My Funny Valentine Anthology from fellow Diva author Kissa Starling which is next in line on my TBR pile. Color me tickled pink! I love to win stuff and I don't get to do it often enough.

I received the gift card the other day and I went shopping, but not until making a painstaking list of must have books. I figured I would go with Diva books since there are so many I would love to read. Here's what I finally eeked out of the $50.00 plus a few extra bucks to be donated by DH.


Mutants and Masterminds: Wild Cards - All-in Adventure Anthology: Wild Cards - All-in Adventure Anthology - this one's for DH. He's been a fan of the Wild Card series for decades now, and to be honest, writing fanfic in this universe was sort of where I got my start

Faefever (Fever Series #3) - by Karen Marie Moning - this is a pre-order for September 16th. I cannot wait! I've loved KMMs work since cracked open the first of her Highlander series. She is absolutely and without a doubt my favorite author ever. [She's not a Diva, as far as I know, but we'd love to have her!]

The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld Series #1) by Gena Showalter - hot paranormal romance. I can't resist.

Charmed & Dangerous by Candace Havens - more hot paranormal romance. Do you see a trend here?

Everybody Loves Evie by Beth Ciotta - I love Beth's stories! I'm reading Romancing the West right now, and even though I've never been big on western themed stories, I'm really enjoying it. Her first Evie book, won a Golden Leaf at NJRW and it was a wonderful read.

Now I just have to wait for UPS to deliver all the fun.

What about the two dozen or so books already in my towering TBR pile? Uh...um...don't worry. I'll get to them eventually.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Where I am

This is where I am today, though I haven't done a lick of writing. I've been paying bills and now I'm fiddling around trying to upload said image to Romance Divas.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where I've Been

The view from the balcony of our room.




Signs at the entrance to Sunset Beach - a cool piece of history and the remains of a shipwreck.


Said shipwreck, still visible from shore.


I might turn this into a background. Searching for Cape May diamonds in the rocky sand.



A curious sea gull wonders if I'll feed him.




Thursday, August 07, 2008

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I must protest



Let me start by saying I'm almost at the point where I might be convinced to do just about anything for money, but some people, IMHO, have already gone a bit too far.

Last night I caught a quick commercial while watching EUREKA that featured the latest Star Wars themed toy for kids. Now, its great that kids whose parents were kids when Star Wars came out can now play in the Lucas Megaverse, but I have to ask, why are the powers that be encouraging children to run around dressed as the often mindless drone-like, clone-like soldiers who were the BAD GUYS in the early movies?

Granted, it's wrong to discriminate against someone just because they're a clone, but hello - the stormtroopers were Darth Vaders evil army, and they were named 'stormtroopers' for a reason.

Now Lucasfilms wants our kids dressed up like lock-step marching, blaster-toting, identity-less minions?

Umm...what's the message here? Should someone go smack the captain of this moneymaking congolmerate on his noggin' and remind him that these were the BAD GUYS? Or am I missing something?

IN OTHER NEWS

I have officially forayed into historical fiction! With the acceptance of my pirate novel A Rogue's Reward [a JC title] by Amber Quill, I've taken a giant step back to the 18th Century. Stay tuned for more details. I hope you'll join me in the past for some plank-walkin' matey!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Wolfsbane 2 Releases Today!

Winner Announced!


Congratulations to
Gayle Oreluk!

Gayle wins a download copy of Wolfsbane: Aspect of the Wolf and a $5.00 Amber Quill Gift Certificate.

Congratulations Gayle!

I want to thank everyone who entered my contest, I had a wonderful response and I hope you all enjoyed the excerpt of Wolfsbane 2: Leader of the Pack, now available from Amber Quill Press/Amber Heat.


For even more on Wolfsbane 2: Leader of the Pack, join me at the Amber Heat/Amber Allure blog today for Wolfsbane Revisited!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Wolfsbane 2: Leader of the Pack


I'm just posting the cover so I can get it into the sidebar - stay tuned for tomorrow's announcement of my contest winner!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Only two days left!



I'll be announcing the winner of my contest on Sunday, August 3rd, so if you haven't entered yet, you still have time!

To enter, stop by my WEBSITE, read the short excerpt of Wolfsbane 2 posted on my contest page, then e-mail me the answer to the following question:

What percentage [or fraction] of werewolf blood does Vance Garrison possess?

Send your answer to jcolgan@newoa.com with WOLFSBANE CONTEST as the subject.

Randomly chosen winner will receive a free download of Wolfsbane: Aspect of the Wolf by Jennifer Colgan and a $5.00 Amber Quill Gift Certificate.

Winner must be 18 years or older to participate and will be announced on August 3rd 2008.