Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Un-Resolution Post 2009 edition


And the tradition continues!

I spent some time this morning reviewing my previous Un-Resolution posts and pondering what I would write about this year. Last year’s post pretty much said it all. I was tired of the rat race of publishing and discouraged by the feeling that my bliss had become my chore. I decided to step back a year ago and not make my goal about earning more, producing more and climbing another hard won rung on the ladder of literary success.

And I succeeded in doing just that. LOL. I earned less this year. I wrote less this year. I did not snag a new agent or a new editor. Some of my best stories were published – hurray! And I wrote a few more that are, I think, well worth the effort I put into them. Also a success.

I didn’t plant that garden I was talking about. But I did re-discover some of my joy in writing and I found out that it comes from actually writing, not from chatting, marketing, twittering or schmoozing. I found a measure of contentment in my life...and that is the goal I’ve always wanted to attain.

I can say with all honesty that, despite the dismal global economy, despite personal losses, and fighting the continual uphill battle to craft the life I’ve always wanted to live, I am, at the end of 2009, more content than I have ever been. I don’t feel the need to be swept along in what other people are doing or expect me to do. I don’t feel the need drag myself kicking and screaming to the computer to write when I don’t feel it, because I HAVE to. I don’t feel compelled to beat out anybody else in the race to the bestseller list or the next big advance.

The coming year isn’t going to be easy for a lot of reasons, but even with all the challenges ahead of me, I foresee a happier and hopefully healthier year.

I wish you all the same.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Avoid using Alphabet Soup


...to make a phone call.

Seriously. It doesn't work.
I learned this in a dream I had the other night. For some reason, I was trying to call my friend K to ask her if she could stop by my house and feed the cats, but I was having a lot of trouble dialing her number because I couldn't find a '1' in the bowl of alphabet soup I was using to call her.
Honestly, I don't drink. I really don't.
Maybe I should.
Anyway, I finally gave up and decided to try a phone. That worked a lot better.
So I pass this knowledge on to you. Don't use alphabet soup to make a phone call...there are not enough numbers in it.
In other news:
When will pretty young starlets learn NOT to MARRY Charlie Sheen? I mean, really, how hard could it be to resist the guy?


Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Lesson From James Cameron



Last night I was reminded why I love science fiction.

We went to see James Cameron's AVATAR and it was truly stunning.

I'll start by saying the plot is not unique, but these days, no plots are. It's the way a story is told that makes it special, and this one takes the cake in that department. The world building is a feat of genius and one I recommend any science fiction author study. I know I intend to.

Visually, this movie is not just eye candy...it's a ten course meal. The colors, the movement, everything is just a step beyond. I sat through most of it agape, knowing I was missing so much because I could only look in one place at a time.

AVATAR is everything I would like my stories to be. It's an adventure, a romance, a pulse-pounding ride into the unknown. It transports you to someplace you could never have imagined on your own.

I can only say, well done!

BTW, remember when I was ranting about how they plugged AVATAR in an episode of BONES? Yeah. Forget that. I take back any complaint I might have made, because I get it now. It makes a cute kind of sense and I don't mind.

If you write science fiction, if you write romance...if you write...heck, if you breathe, go see AVATAR. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Break

The year is winding down again, and it seems like each day there is more and more that needs to be done.

2010 is going to be very full - unfortunately not with writing.

I've decided to take a break from the industry for a while. The rollercoaster ride of constantly waiting and hoping for good news only to get rejections is starting to take a toll on my creativity, so it's time to step back.

I've just signed a contract with Ellora's Cave for the sequel to SKIN. The new novel is called SLITHER. I don't have a release date yet, but I will post updates as I get them. My previously published The Concubine's Tale [related to The Soul Jar] will be coming out from Samhain also in 2010, no release date scheduled yet. So I won't be disappearing, I just won't be pounding the pavement for a while.

My goal for the coming year is to get back to the point where I am a writer first and foremost - not a promo artist, not a marketing guru, not jack of all trades master of none. I won't disappear, I just won't spend as much time in cyber space as normal.

So on that note, I want to wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season and a wonderful New Year.
I'll be in my writing cave if you need me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Surprise!

My release date snuck up on me. I really thought this was coming out on the 15th for some reason, but SURPRISE on me, it's today!

Hop on over to Samhain and check out their home page, where The Soul Jar is first up!

Here's a little excerpt to whet your appetite:

Recognition hit Chance MacKenzie like a cold blade in the gut. Bree. Good Lord, she hadn’t changed at all. Even with her raven hair pulled back in a thick ponytail and her luscious figure hidden by a black sweatshirt, she took his breath away.

Of all the places he might have encountered her—all the places he’d studiously avoided since their last disastrous adventure—he’d never have imagined finding her here in New York’s Chinatown, slinking around in the back room of Chen’s famous curiosity shop.
This was no place for priceless treasures of any kind.


“You used to call me Chance,” he said as soon as he found his voice. The shock made his heart skip a beat. He could not have been more nonplussed if he’d encountered one of the Yetis that supposedly belonged to the gnarled, shriveled hands lying on the shelf behind her head.

“Only your friends call you Chance, and I’m not one of your friends.” Her reply stung, like a sharp pinprick in the callus that had grown over his heart since he’d seen her last, since he’d held her in his arms and planned a future with her at his side. Pushing aside the ache that had begun in the middle of his chest, he smiled wide, partly to throw her off guard and partly because the pain reminded him that he hadn’t actually died two years ago.

“Aw, can’t we get past that, luv? I forgive you for killing me. Since I’m not really dead, I can’t hold a grudge.”

The corners of her lustrous blue eyes sparkled. After what he’d put her through, he’d never have expected to see tears in those eyes, only the cold hatred of a woman badly scorned.
He looked away as she swiped at her eyes. Her voice wavered when she asked, “So how is it you’re not really dead?”

“Blanks in the gun.” He struck with surgical precision. No time now for apologies or complex explanations.

“I saw blood.” The last word came out as a choked whisper. What he wouldn’t have given to hold her in his arms and comfort her, to feel her supple body yield to his again.

If wishes were horses, he thought and struck again. “Exploding blood packets under my shirt. A ripcord tethered to the side of the balcony. A broken mannequin, wearing my clothes, tossed on the cobblestones below.” With each word, he cut her. Each confession wedged open the wounds he’d made so long ago, and he saw in her eyes that she bled anew.

Her lower lip trembled, just enough to draw his attention and hold it. God, he remembered her mouth, the taste of her, hot and sweet.

“If you’d like more details, why don’t we get out of here, and I’ll buy you a drink? Shimmy back out the window, and I’ll meet you once I’ve concluded my business with Mr. Chen.”

“Chen’s not here.”

“Yes, but he’ll be back very soon to check his precious cash drawer before he goes to bed, and part of my business is to be long gone before that happens.” He made a move to sidle past her, careful to avoid the slightest physical contact. If he touched her now…

She twisted sideways as he passed and plastered herself against the rickety shelves. Why did it hurt that she didn’t want to touch him either?

Her eyes followed him, darts of sharpened steel in the dimness. “What are you after, MacKenzie?”

“Priceless Yeti hands…and a dollop of petrified dino poo. I know I saw some around here somewhere. Fetches thousands on the black market.” Let her laugh, he thought. Let her laugh the way she used to at my stupid jokes.

“Cut the crap. No more lies.” She followed him a step, but stopped short of grabbing his sleeve.
He turned sharply, met those steel-blade eyes and braced himself against the flood of regret that threatened to drown him. “Lies saved your life, sweetheart. Without them, one or both of us really would be dead now.”

She said nothing, but a muscle in her jaw twitched. He longed to touch it and soothe away the anger that drew her up so tight. “Get out of here, Bree. Whatever you’re after, it’s not worth it.”

“But it’s worth it for you?” Her voice rose with the challenge. “We’re here for the same thing, aren’t we?”

“I doubt it.” No, he didn’t.

“Fine. Then take what you want and leave me be.” She turned away, flung herself into the deep shadows at the back of the shop. He’d have let her go, believing it was better for both of them to leave the past buried in the empty grave in New South Wales that bore his name. He would have, if he hadn’t seen what he’d come here for, gleaming over her shoulder in the meager light that filtered through the dirty window.

On a high, narrow shelf at the very back of the shop, it sat on a thin velvet cushion, looking like royalty among the peasants. The junk that surrounded it seemed to fade from view. The perfectly white oval was no larger than a woman’s palm, and it seemed to glow with an inner light. Chance wondered if the strange luminescence came from the two souls rumored to be trapped inside it or from his long unrequited desire to actually see the fabled object in person.
His mouth went dry. He could tell by Bree’s stillness that she’d seen it too. She’d found her objective, just as he’d suspected.


Now the question hung in the dusty, stale air of the shop. Which one of them would fulfill their mission and leave with the Soul Jar, and which would be left betrayed again?

For more, visit Samhain Publishing!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Everything is a commercial


Yep, I'm still here. I didn't fall out of the blogoverse, I just got mega sidetracked with RL stuff. I have a feeling it's pretty much gonna be like that throughout 2010, but I will do my best to keep things posty around here.

Anyway, I wanted to whine about an alarming trend I've noticed lately. Maybe it's not all that new, maybe it's not really all that alarming, but it bugs me.

Have you noticed that fictional TV shows [you know, the ones where the actors are NOT playing themselves] are looking more and more like continuous commercials? As if it wasn't bad enough to get 15 to 20 minutes of ads during every 60 minutes of prime time, now the shows themselves are all about advertising.

This hit home when I was watching last week's episode of Bones. A subplot [if you could call it that] revolved around several of the characters getting tickets to go see the new movie Avatar.
Now, don't get me wrong, Avatar looks like a stunning movie and I can't wait to see it. Showing a trailer during the commercial breaks in the show would be fine, BUT the plot of the episode involved the characters not only talking up the movie, but watching a clip from it on TV.
On the surface, hey, what's the big deal, right? It's a cool movie, and it sort of makes sense that the characters who live in an only mildly alternate version of our real world would be interested in seeing it, but including what are essentially ads for the movie directly in the episode to me smacks of... I don't know...a little too much mind control.
Oddly enough, I don't complain when the cast of The Big Bang Theory talks about Star Wars, BSG, Star Trek or any comic book hero. It didn't bother me when they had Summer Glau as a guest star during her stint on The Sara Conner Chronicles...but this plug for Avatar left me miffed. I'm just wondering if this is what our TV fiction will be coming to...instead of 15-20 minute acts broken up by 5 minutes of ads, will we end up watching 15-20 minute ads broken up by 5 minutes of slightly more annoying ads? Bones isn't the only show I've noticed this on - Eureka and Star Gate Universe have done it too.
People are getting paid to wear T-shirts that advertise companies, or wrap their cars in 'skins' that make them movable bill boards...what's next? I wonder, in the future, will it be easier to get a book contract if your story manages to plug a major product?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A new month

So my MiniNano ended with a whimper rather than a bang. A bout of food poisoning [not from Eggoes] sidelined me for the last day in which I planned to power through the ending of my second novella.

All in all I think I did good. One full novella and sixteen chapters of the second one. Now I have to work on the second drafts, which won't be easy since most of my motivation has fled. After being violently ill on Sunday night, my ambition this week is to spend as much time lying on the couch as possible.

Hopefully my NaNo mojo will return once I feel better.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I can't go on...



Without my Eggoes.

Apparently the Eggo waffle shortage will continue until mid-2010. I'm not sure I can handle it.
What food could you not live without if it suddenly came in short supply?
Don't say turkey.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Holiday Treat



I just got the truly awesome cover art for my December re-release from Samhain.

The Soul Jar is one of my favorite stories...it's a romantic adventure that spilled onto the page so easily.


Here's the blurb:

When Bree Sennett’s search for the fabled Soul Jar of Ammonptah brings her face to face with Mason “Chance” MacKenzie, the pain of his previous betrayal mixes with the joy of finding him alive. When she discovers Chance is after the Soul Jar as well, she’s drawn back into his dangerous world and into his arms again.

Chance MacKenzie left Bree two years ago, faking his own death to save her life and his own. Now the woman who stole his heart is about to steal the Soul Jar, but a life he promised to protect hangs in the balance.

Chance can’t expect Bree to forgive him, or to still love him after what he had to do, but can he trust her to help him complete his mission before he loses her forever?

And the infamous Samhain warning: This title contains too much caffeine, just the right amount of fireworks and a heaping scoop of steal-your-heart Australian hunk.

I'll post an excerpt soon, so stay tuned.

Monday, November 23, 2009

She says it better

Allison Brennan has a truly excellent post over at Murder She Writes about self-publishing, vanity publishing, and why writers should write and editors should edit and publishers should publish. She tells it like it should be.

Kudos Ms. Brennan.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hero search: Concluded

He got the part.
Mini-NaNo Update: Well, maybe it's more of a full NaNo. I've been writing furiously since late October. One novella finished, and TWELVE chapters on the second, plus the idea rolling around in my head for another [unrelated] story. I've also begun working on the 2nd draft of the first novella which is undergoing a lot of changes because of all the new info I discovered while writing the sequel.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hell Breaks Loose, Film at 11:00

If you’re a member of the romance publishing community, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And you’ve probably read the equivalent of a few full-length novels worth of words on the subject over the last 48-hours.

I know I have.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on anything, but as a writer, I have a distinct inability to keep my opinions to my self when I have a forum in which to express them. So I’m going to.

Here’s my take on how it went down:

Harlequin announced the opening of their new line – a venture they’re calling Harlequin Horizons, a self-publishing option for romance writers.

Boom. The writing world fell on its’ ear and the impact was heard around the web.

Writer’s everywhere were shocked and most were appalled and they began to talk about it.

Predators and Editors called shenanigans on Harlequin and put a very fine point on what they’d done. Harlequin, the mama of romance publishing, was labeled a Vanity Press. This is major bad.
More talking, blogging, phone calls and general upset ensued.

Harlequin made some statements that sounded smarmy.

Heck broke loose.

RWA stepped up and declared Harlequin no longer part of their approved list of publishers.

Author’s everywhere applauded RWA’s swift response.

MWA – Mystery writers of American and SFWA, Science Fiction Writers of America followed RWA’s lead.

More applause from authors.

Harlequin announced it was shocked by all the bad press and decided it will strip the name Harlequin from its bastard child and call it something else.

Everyone said, “So what? It’s still a vanity press and you are trying to monetize your slush pile and gouge authors by charging them exorbitant amounts of money for things they can do much cheaper, if they want to self-publish.”

Harlequin is now gearing up a rebuttal.

Everyone is waiting to see what hits the fan next.

I’ve got my plastic poncho and a can of Lysol and I’m sitting back to watch the shit storm.

My opinion: Harlequin took a big old knife and cut off its nose to spite its face. Does this affect my writing? Nope. I write for me.

Does this effect how I will submit or to whom? Nope.

I read somewhere that
Harlequin wants more bestselling authors; here’s a new way to find them.

My response to that is, any publisher who wants to find more bestselling authors has only to look a little more closely at their submission piles. There are best selling authors there - tons of them. You won’t find a best selling author by rejecting a manuscript then charging the author to publish it. You find a best selling author by publishing the awesome books that come your way and giving their authors the marketing, editing and promotional support they need to become best sellers. And you pay for that your own self.

I’m mega sick of hearing about new ‘business models’ for publishing that put more and more money into the pockets of publishers, less money into the hands of the authors and more mediocre books on the shelves. Somebody show me a business model that lets me pay my bills and make an honest living as a full time author and I’ll get on board with it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A welcome distraction

Ever get something in your head and you just can't stop thinking about it? Like the song you can't stop singing, or a movie quote or an image...it's a pain in the neck sometimes, isn't it?

Well, my psyche is currenly being stalked by Joshua Jackson. [Dawson's Creek alum, now starring in FRINGE].

I can't say as I mind. I think he's trying to audition for a role as one of my heroes.


He just may get the part.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Release Day!

La Vida Muerta
by Jennifer Colgan
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-611-6 (Electronic)
Genres: Dark Fantasy / Vampire / Paranormal


Elena Talbot betrayed her sister for a chance at immortality. Now, ensconced in the dark world of Chicago's undead, she clings to the person who helped her find herself and her sanity after the gut-wrenching, soul-stealing transformation from human to vampire. Vampire investigator Lucas Vitale has gotten used to having Elena in his home and in his bed. She's always ready for his lusty games, but she's still afloat in a sea of self-doubt and confusion about her new existence. She wants the one thing he can't give her, a purpose. When Elena's quest for fulfillment brings her too close to Lucas's long-hidden secret, he casts her out. Only after she's gone does he realize there's no point in living "the dead life" without her...........Find Out More!


Here's a snippet to whet your appetite for hot vampires:
He’d been ruthless with her, employing techniques of cunnilingus men only learned when they devoted years, and quite often large amounts of money, to learning the art of pleasure.
After using her body so well, though, he’d left her, placed a stolen kiss on her temple and slid his magnificent body from between the pristine sheets. Vampires didn’t sweat, even in the throes of passion.

She’d reached for him, her arm limp, and he’d laughed. “Easy, tiger. I don’t think you can take any more tonight. Can you?”
She forced a sultry growl from her lips. “Sure I can.” Truth was, she didn’t need more sex…well, at least not at the moment. He’d sated her base urges quite well. What she wanted from him now, she didn’t dare admit.

For more...visit Amber Quill/Amber Heat

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mini-NaNo

Well, I suppose my Mini-NaNo is officially over now - but during approximately 15 days I completed an 18-chapter novella and four chapters on the sequel.

I'm going to keep plugging away at the second story and get it finished before I go back and start any revisions. I have to say this has been the most productive two weeks of writing I've had in over a year.

Maybe next year I'll do the full NaNo and see what develops.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dum and Dummer



So the IDIOTS at Fox cancelled Joss Whedon's Dollhouse.

When are these morons going to learn? First: Anything written by Joss Whedon is genius and needs to be seen by the entire American public, and Second: You don't mess with women who can kick yer candy-asses all over the network.

Sheesh. Some people.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I feel like Nora

Yep. Today I feel like Nora Roberts.

Why, you ask? Not because I am a multi-published best-selling author who has earned the title of Reigning Queen of Romance. Nope. [I wish]

Not because there are millions of copies of my books in prints. Nope. [I also wish]

I feel like Nora Roberts because right now, I don't want to stop writing. I read once, a long time ago, that Ms. Roberts wrote every day. She didn't take breaks or give herself a lot of down time because she was afraid that if she stopped the flow of words, she might not get it back.

That's how I feel today. I'm on a roll. With butter. Today I finished the rough draft of the novella I started thirteen days ago. Finished it.

And I immediately started on the sequel now while everything is still fresh in my mind. I'm still living in this world I created and I'm still loving it, so I'm not going to stop. I'm not going to rest on my laurels or take too much time to pat myself on the back [just a little time]. I'm going to keep plugging away until I get another novella done. THEN, I can rest. Then I'll start working on my revisions and edits and fussy persnickety commas and choosing just the right word here and the right word there, but for now, I'm sailing and I'm not going to stop because I'm afraid if I do I won't be able to start again.

Wish me luck! Mini-NaNo continues!

Monday, November 09, 2009

In the Zone

Maybe it's the time of year, maybe it's just a harmonic convergence. I don't know. But I'm totally in the writing zone.

So far my Mini-NaNo has produced FIFTEEN chapters and the synopsis for a sequel.

It's all handwritten, so I can't say how many words it is, but it's flowing like water.

Now the question is, how do I train myself to write like this all the time?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Fight the fight

On one of my e-mail loops a fellow Amber Quill author posted a link to this blog:

http://writersevolution.blogspot.com/2009/11/e-piracyyou-can-do-something.html

which contains some interesting information on how to combat e-pirates. It's worth taking a look.

Having followed a lot of discussions on how e-piracy affects authors, I've drawn my own conclusions on the best way to deal with them. Even though e-pirates are, in my opinion, stealing from authors, I tend to think the time spent tracking them down, joining their insidiouis little sites, posting cease and desist notices, getting into flame wars with them, getting banned form their sites, etc, also steals something valuable from authors. It steals our time.

As much as I hate to see authors' work [and my own] available for free on pirate sites to people who are actually dumb enough to think I'm wealthy and won't miss hundreds of dollars in royalties, I hate even more to give up my writing time, or time with family to pursue these people, many of whom are based outside the country and are technically not subject to many of the laws that govern intellectual property, not to mention common decency. My time is much more valuable than that. It's just too frustrating for me to spend hours or days hunting criminals on line. That's why this blog is interesting. It makes the process a little less intimidating and hopefully shows authors how to send information directly to the people who are better equipped to do something about the pirates.

What is your policy on dealing with pirates? Do you take time to hunt them? Do you join pirate sites so you can post cease and desist notices? Do you ignore them?

If you could do something to stop piracy that was guaranteed to work, what would you do? I would scour the pirate sites for e-mail addys and URLs of any users and fine each one of them the entire amount due to all publishers for each copy of every book downloaded. So rather than having to pay for one copy of a book illegally downloaded, a user would get hit with the bill for all the downloads from the entire site. Then let them prove which books they DIDN'T steal.

Yeah, it's a fantasy.

So that's my mini-rant for the day. Speaking of mini--

Mini-NaNo progress - NINE Chapters.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The creature in the closet


You never know what might be lurking in the linen closet. Always bring your camera with you.
Mini-NaNo progress - 4 chapters!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Best of the Best!

I try not to post twice in one day, mostly because I only have so much to say and I like to spread it out, but since I can officially annouce it now, I just had to come back and crow a bit.




The Matchmakers came in second place in the Best of the Best eBook Contest at the Editor Jennifer Blog!*


You can drop by Editor Jennifer to see what she had to say about the book, and stay tuned for info on my prize, an AudioBook version to be produced by AudioLark.


All this month Editor Jennifer has been posting the finalists in the contest. The Matchmakers was up against some stiff competition, so I'm thrilled to have been one of the final winners.


*Note: Though my name is Jennifer and I am an editor, I am not Editor Jennifer. Just sayin'.

Bummerz

It actually rained on Halloween. Not all day, but once it got dark - you know when the die hard trick-or-treaters come out - boom. Poured.

Our last trick-or-treaters showed up around 7:00 PM, leaving us with most of the candy we bought for the occasion. The kids came home with truck loads of their own loot - apprently people in the neighborhood, knowing there would not be a good turnout, were giving away handfuls of stuff.

Not that I planned to diet between now and New Year's...but there goes any possibility of losing so much as an ounce.

The upside of Halloween was that while everyone was out, and I stayed home to give out candy, the bell rang so few times that I managed to write a chapter and a half of my min-NaNo WIP. Yay me!

In other news...

A couple of months ago we saw a commercial being filmed at our local Dunkin' Donuts and today DH came across the commerical on TV. The art of video editing is pretty cool, I must say, since they removed an entire office complex from the background and put trees behind the building instead. If you watch commercials, look for the one where the guy is giving a hay ride tour and they pull into a Dunkin' Donuts.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I torture pumpkins

That's my favorite part of Halloween. The carving of the Jack-o-Lantern.


You wouldn't think I would enjoy it so much, since I love pumpkins in their natural, whole, orange, gourdy state, but I do derive a fiendish type of joy from plunging a ten-inch long knife into the virgin flesh of a big 'ol halloween squash.


I decided to record this year's bloody experiment for posterity, so here goes - The Death of Bartholemew J. Pumpkin.





He starts out in very nice shape for someone who is both round and squat. He looks happy, doesn't he?

Now, not so much. The interrogation went well. I got him to spill his guts without too much trouble. Bwahahahhaha

Ol' Bart turned out to be a bleeder though. Things got messy real quick.

The operation wasn't much of a success...but I did manage to get a black cat to grow out of his brain.

Next year, I'll try for bats.

What's your favorite part of Halloween?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Collected tidbits and Captain Tightpants



Yes, I did make it back from NJRW – I just haven’t had time to post until now.

The weekend was...an adventure to say the least. Fortunately, I had my usual awesome roommate, Jen Baum, so even when the fire alarms went off at 4:00 AM Saturday morning [and at 5:00...and at 6:00] and we found ourselves standing outside in our pajamas in the rain while crow-bar wielding firemen wandered among us, we were still having a great time.

I originally thought I would devise a series of posts about things I learned at conference, but considering the main thing I came home with was a renewed desire to write, write, WRITE – I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for blogging. So maybe I’ll just summarize the important takeaway points:

There are no absolutes in writing. I sat in a workshop where a well known, best selling author insisted to us that we should NEVER write a prologue and NEVER write an epilogue. I also sat in a workshop where a well-known best-selling author told us we should do whatever works for the story.

You have to make the time. I know this already, but it bears repeating because it’s very easy to lose sight of it. The published authors I heard from were all dedicated to their writing schedules. Without the drive to get things done, the money train never leaves the station.

Plain old promo doesn’t work. I don’t know how many piles of card-stock type book marks, printed press releases and book flats I saw that no one seemed to touch. If you want people to take your name home with them, give them a pen, a charm, a candle, a toy, a keychain, a pad of paper...basically any little object they might get some use out of. If you’re determined to go with a postcard, business card or run of the mill laminate book mark, at least attach it to a piece of candy. Chocolate gets attention. Cardboard does not.

Write the synopsis first. I know. This one hurts. I HATE synop...well. I don’t have to tell you. You know how I feel about synopses. They are vile, hateful, terrible, awful devices of torture that make me cringe in horror. Write them first. Get them out of the way, then the joy of typing ‘The End’ won’t be marred by the horror of having to sit down and write a book report about your own damn book. There should be a law.

Always check your ice bucket for holes. This one is self-explanatory.

If I think of anything else, I’ll post it. In the mean time, I’m off to work on edits for the sequel to SKIN.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bon Voyage!

Well, I evicted Onyx from my luggage, packed, unpacked, repacked, unpacked and decided I could fit everything in the smaller suitcase. Yay me! There's more room than you think, when you don't have a cat in there.

I have all my paperwork, my goodies for the goodie room, my spending money and my comfy shoes [and a pair of not so comfy shoes too]. I'm all ready to go.

For anyone who plans to be at NJRW's Put Your Heart in a Book Conference this weekend, look for me - I wear a sticker that says JAC and I hang out near any chocolate fountains, chocolate cakes, chocolate cookies or chocolate covered strawberries.

I also do my best to avoid the damnable, infernal, Balloon Arch of Satan which they insist on putting up in the lobby every year. Why couldn't they do something cool like a Stargate?? No, it has to be freakin' balloons. Shoot me.

I'll be back Monday, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. See ya then!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's hard to pack



With a cat in your luggage.

I'm trying to get ready for NJRW and the minute I put my suitcase out, I had fine furry friends investigating and setting up residence. I wish I could take my furbabies with me, but I don't have room to pack a litter box.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bigger is better

Yes. I'm still obsessed with temari. I came across some huge styrofoam balls at a garage sale and used them to make temari bases. I was a little intimidated at first with the prospect of making a bigger design, but I think this first one came out pretty good.




This is one project, but the two sides are different designs. It took two evenings to finish, that includes wrapping the base. If only I could write a novella in two evenings.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I did some writing...

So I've been taking a break from writing lately. I haven't worked on my WIP in over a week. My brain is fried and I've been really scrambling to try to figure out what direction I want to go in.

I decided to not to work on anything until after I get back from NJRW this coming weekend. I'm hoping that the conference will energize me as it has in the past and I'll come home with some new ideas that really get my writing blood fired up. And I'm also hoping that a self-imposed exile from my fictional worlds will make my heart grow a bit fonder and I'll look forward to getting back to work. In the past, nothing has made me more eager to write than not writing.

Of course, that being said, I had to write something. So rather than work on a WIP, I actually sat down yesterday and wrote to my congressman.

I bet you didn't know I had my very own congressman, did you? LOL. Well, he's not my personal congressman. I share him with a bunch of other people who live around here. I decided it was time to tell him what I thought about the health care debacle...I mean debate.

Here's my letter. If anyone out there would like to use it as a basis for their own letter to their own congressman or government representative, please feel free to do so.

Dear Congressman ___________,

I’m writing to you to express my concern about the national healthcare crisis. In following political news for the past several months I’ve noticed an alarming omission in the health insurance debate. It seems that there is a great desire by our government for every American to have ‘health insurance’ when the hot button issue should be assuring that every American has ‘health care’.

As someone who has been self-employed at one time and was then responsible for obtaining private health insurance for my family, I’m acutely aware that having health insurance does not always equate to having access to adequate and affordable health care. Too many Americans are drowning under the burden of paying exorbitant health insurance premiums, which while it may leave them covered in the event of hospitalization still leaves them with little or no money to afford co-payments, medications or incidental medical expenses. I’m sadly aware of many families where the cost of insurance prohibits spending for anything else. What good is having health insurance if you still can’t afford to go to the doctor?

I’ve read about the cost of health care skyrocketing due to people who wait until they are seriously ill to seek medical attention. Making health insurance mandatory and fining those who do not obtain it [with or without government subsidies or thresholds] will not solve this problem. Money that should go to pay for health care will still be funneled into paying for insurance, and the cost of that will still preclude many individuals from actually being able to obtain timely, routine health care to prevent serious illness.

What America needs is not more health insurance or laws forcing people to give more of their hard-earned money to insurance companies. We need a system by which Americans can afford to go to the doctor and obtain medical care at reasonable prices from the most basic checkups and health screenings to treatment for the life-threatening and catastrophic illnesses that every day threaten to send more American families into bankruptcy.

I am respectfully asking that you vote to give Americans peace of mind with regards to the health care debate and do what you can to see the emphasis in this issue shifts from the importance of health ‘insurance’ to the importance of health ‘care’. I strongly believe that a reduction in the stress involved with living under the constant fear of losing one’s health insurance, or of losing one’s home to medical-bill induced bankruptcy will go a long way to improving the overall health of the American people.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.


So there you have it. It ain't fiction, but I do think it needed to be said.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wanna bite?

If you're hungry...and you're a vampire, go check out the vampire bonanza over at Smutketeers today. The ladies there all have vampire books coming out soon and they're talking about the allure of the hero with with bite.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I dream in color

Colors of thread, that is.

I've become obsessed with making temari. Now, when I go to sleep, I see thread crossing and looping and wrapping around in coordinating and contrasting colors.


This is the first one I made that actually looks just like the picture in the pattern.


These are just random patterns I made up.


This one turned out different than I intended but still pretty cool.

For more information on how to make Japanese temari, and what some really expert ones look like, check out TemariKai.com. Click on the How To, Patterns and Album section for some gorgeous photos of temari like the ones I made printouts of shown in my pictures. And be prepared to become obsessed.

Friday, October 09, 2009

WTF FTC?

So if you blog, by now you may have heard about the new FTC Guidelines governing disclosure of payments or non-payments in the case of product endorsements or reviews.

This quote comes from an article about the new regulations, which can impose fines on those who break the rules:

"We’re acting to ensure that bloggers don’t create a bias in the consumer decision-making process,” said Mary Engle, acting deputy director for the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Consumers need to know that what they’re reading is technically an advertisement.”

This would be noble if it wasn't so half-assed. Anyone been surfing the web lately? Where is the FTC in relation to those insipid ads you see all over the place - Obama asks Moms to Return to School!, Local Mom loses 47 pounds following This One Old Rule, I earn $77/hr while I sleep! Come on - that's NOT false advertising? Yet it remains.

Have you ever caught one of those infomercials on TV that consist of a string of glowing testimonials by people ‘just like you and me’ who have become overnight millionaires using those get rich quick schemes where they sell household products, or they distribute reports or they buy and sell real estate or the most nebulous one – ‘they place ads’ and the money rolls in and now than can retire at 35 and you can too? Seriously. NOT false advertising?? Come on. Yet they remain.

Isn't the whole point of advertising to create a bias in the consumer decision-making process? If advertising wasn’t mostly false [let’s face it] would those Whoppers really look so good on TV? Take one out of the box, they’re not as juicy and delicious in real life as they appear on the screen. Is your candy bar really as rich and creamy as it looks in the commercial? Or is it a bit crumbly and sickeningly sweet? [Candy IS evil, remember.] Tell me again how those models in VOGUE are NOT airbrushed. Their skin is naturally flawless, their eyes are naturally brilliant sapphire blue and [well this part is true] they really ARE a size zero because they don’t eat [candy OR Whoppers]. Notice how the FTC doesn’t seem to be doing anything about those advertisements.

Why do my kids want the latest video game? Because the commercials make it look like a full-blown 3-D interactive mind-blowing adventure they can have right in their own living room. Not because it’s actually really frustrating and impossible to win. Why do I want to go see that great new comedy that just came out? Because the trailer shows a sampling of the hilarious, madcap entertainment my $11.00 can buy me. Not because those 30 seconds of trailer represent the only 30 seconds of the movie that are worth watching.

In the meantime, I can be handed a free copy of a book written by my best friend, I can read it, love it and write a glowing review [that's maybe a bit biased because hey, this is my friend] and suddenly I'm up for a fine if I don't disclose that I got the book for free?

Someone, anyone, anywhere, I beg you. Give me a break. Consumers need a lot more protection, but not from rabid bloggers.

* And please note my new disclaimer in the side bar. I do not endorse or recommend any of the products or services mentioned in this blog article and I have received none of them for free. Nor would I want to.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Goin' to the Chapel


I haven't done much writing this week. I have a cold and my brain is totally fried by that stuffy-headed feeling. I haven't even read any romance because it seems much more comfortable just to stare straight ahead, not blinking and willing my nose not to run.

Yeah, TMI. Sorry about that.

Anyway. A week like this would normally have me questioning my status as a romance writer. After all, how can a romance writer NOT be in the mood to write romance? And, usually, cold medicine gives me a bit of a creative buzz [ask any writer, they'll tell you - a good dose of Sudafed and your fingers are flyin' on the keyboard] Maybe it's the weather too - cool, breezy - really good sleeping weather. Who can concentrate on writing when sleeping seems like such a good idea?

Fortunately, I figured out how I know I'm still a romance writer. I'm still a romance writer [who is currently out sick] because I'm totally jazzed to watch the wedding of Pam Beasley and Jim Halpert on THE OFFICE tomorrow night. Pam and Jim are an awesome couple. They're my idea of romance. They were friends first. They had a repertoire of shared language and inside jokes. They always looked out for each other and thought about each other all the time. They had their ups and downs, their dark moment [more than one] and they still ended up together. Tomorrow night is the HEA all the fans have been waiting for. It's like the last chapter in a long, mushy romance novel.

I can't wait.

So, the romance is still in there somewhere. I've got it. It's just taking a break until I can breathe again and hold both my eyelids open at once. Now I just have to try to refrain from throwing rice at the television.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Candy is Evil


So, just in time for Halloween, TIME comes out with this bit of absurdity in which a researcher in the UK posits that there is a link between children who eat candy and adults who commit crimes.

The study in question comes out of Cardiff University and brings what it believes to be incontrovertible evidence that the consumption of candy leads to criminal activity.

Researcher Simon Moore discovered that "kids with the worst problems tend to be impulsive risk takers, and that these kids had terrible diets - breakfast was a Coke and a bag of chips,"

He further discovered that: regardless of other environmental and lifestyle factors, like family-income level, parenting style or children's level of education, the data suggested it was only the frequency of confectionery consumption in childhood that strongly predicted adult violence.

So there you have it, folks. Just as the kid who is still drinking from a bottle at age 2 or sucking on a pacifer until Preschool, the kids who eats candy will grow up to be a criminal. That explains a lot. Especially since crime is such a relatively NEW concept...you know, it's only been around since they invented candy.


I'm glad this study comes out of the UK. If it was an American study I would be on my rant about wasting money on dumbness, but if Cardiff University wants to pay someone to link candy and crime, that's their business. I'm off to buy a big bag of Snickers to hand out to the hooligans on October 31st. I have no doubt at least one of the little rug rats who shows up at my door dressed as a hobo and waving a hollow plastic pumpkin at me will grow up to be a serial killer. But I also believe that one of that serial killer's fondest memories will be of getting high on sugar after a lawless night of Trick or Treating.


Call me an anarchist.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Livin' La Vida...

A few weeks ago I thought I was pretty much done for the year - as in no more releases scheduled. I didn't have anything new coming out until 2010 - BUT as luck would have it, not only did I happen to sell one of the novellas I wrote over the summer, it also managed to fill a slot in Amber Quill's 2009 release schedule!


Coming in November from Amber Heat- La Vida Muerta

Here's the blurb:

Elena Talbot betrayed her sister for a chance at immortality. Now, ensconced in the dark world of Chicago’s undead, she clings to the person who helped her find herself and her sanity after the gut wrenching, soul-stealing transformation from human to vampire.

Vampire investigator Lucas Vitale has gotten used to having Elena in his home and in his bed. She’s always ready for his lusty games, but she’s still afloat in a sea of self-doubt and confusion about her new existence. She wants the one thing he can’t give her, a purpose. When her quest for fulfillment brings her too close to his long-hidden secret, he casts her out. Only after she’s gone does he realize there’s no point in living ‘the dead life’ without her.



If you want a little background on the characters in La Vida Muerta, check out my FREE READ, Fresh Blood. The Talbot sisters, Lucas Vitale and Max Hart were all introduced in that story.

And that's not all - stay tuned for more info about my December re-release of The Soul Jar!

Friday, September 25, 2009

How cool is this?

A fellow Romance Diva just posted this link and I had to come over here and blog about it.


From the How Cool Is This file:


Star Trek Cologne.

It's too bad most perfume gives me a headache, or I might be tempted to put one of these on my Christmas list. At $29.95 a pop they're a bit pricey as far as I'm concerned, but the novelty factor is high.

I'm not sure I'd opt for the Red Shirt fragrance. Seriously - do you want to smell like you're expendable? I would definitely have to go with Pon Farr. You have to figure it must be a sexy scent, and you can't beat the IDIC insignia on the bottle. I used to have an IDIC pendant, not sure what happened to it, but it was mega cool. [For those of you who aren't familiar - IDIC stands for the Vulcan concept of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination. Pon Farr is the Vulcan 'blood fever' which precedes the pinnacle of their 7-year mating cycle.]

The important question here, of course is, how soon will this stuff show up on The Big Bang Theory?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Guest Blogging!

I'm over at "Embrace the Shadows" today talking about The Matchmakers and giving away a free copy, so drop by and leave a comment for a chance to win!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Epiphany Schmapiphany

Yeah, so, remember all that crap about clearing the decks? Forget it.

It didn't work. I even had DH pick a genre for me so I wouldn't be influenced by my own insecure desire to stick with what I know. I wrote about four pages on something and realized it was not at all what I wanted or needed to do.

Then I had an idea about a character in my current WIP and worked on that instead. The idea involves possibly rewriting the plot, changing major POVs and introducing a new [and or secondary] hero. Can you say, love triangle? I love those.

I also did actually start a new story as well, based on an idea I had a while ago and I'm working on that too. This breaks a cardinal rule I made not long ago about working on only one story at a time so I can give it my full attention. I realized I don't having something called 'my full attention' anymore. I'm too busy thinking about a million different things.

To combat my creative schizophrenia, I've also thrown myself into a new craft hobby.
Japanese Temari. I made these...they are basically embroidery on handmade balls of yarn and string. The fun part is actually wrapping the ball of yarn in thread. It takes a while but it looks cool when you're done. Then I basically ruin the ball by trying to sew designs on it with embroidery floss. [The larger ones are cheats - they're wrapped in Lion Brand ladder yarn which requires no skill but it looks awesome.]


To keep me extra busy, I also stumbled across an afghan kit at a yard sale on the weekend, so that's on deck [yeah, the deck I just cleared] for as soon as I finish the afghan I'm already working on.

Maybe somewhere in there I'll complete a story, if I can find one with all this commotion on the deck. Speaking of which, I had a dream last night I was on a cruise. The deck of the ship was pretty busy. It had a waterfall on it and a Zen garden. It was a nice place to visit, but I'm not sure I'd want to live there.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Daily Epiphany


Sounds like a cool name for a newspaper, doesn't it?

Part sarcastic, part inspirational...

The Daily Epiphany pretty much describes my writing life. Every day, almost, I come up with some kernel of an idea that gets caught somewhere in my gray matter. Some days, it's a cool idea for a story. Other days its a bad seed - like the days I think I should give up this life of glamour and excitement and concentrate on a real job.

Either way, there's some new nugget taking shape in my brain all the time. Sometimes helpful and good, other times insidious and self-defeating.

Today, just a few minutes ago in fact, I had one of the shiny epiphanies. It was a small one, nothing earth shattering, but it's one I may decide to run with. It has to do with clearing the decks again.

I've been bogged down with a couple of stories, a couple of ideas that I just can't leave alone. I'm chipping away at them a lot like chipping away at an iceberg with a chopstick. I'm working up a sweat and not making much progress.

It just occurred to me that maybe I need a clean slate for a while. What would happen, if I put all the half-finished stories on hold for a bit and forced myself to write something totally new, totally out of my comfort zone, seat of the pants, no holds barred? What if I got out of my own way and just let myself write?

I know. Right? Radical.

I'm off to trade in my chopsticks for a blow torch.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Why haven't I posted?

I've been meaning too, really.

The problem is I can't find the right picture to post. See, I've been obsessing over finding the right look for a new hero I'm working on and I know just what I think he looks like, but I can't find the right picture and it's driving me nuts.

I discovered once before that sometimes stories don't work because one or the other of the main characters is wrong. They may be good looking, smart, clever, and experts in their chosen profession, but they're just not exactly right and that's why the story doesn't seem to gel.

So I have this story all plotted and I know everything that needs to happen, but it's just been sitting around doing nothing because the scenes I wrote with the hero and heroine were just too...nice. The hero was a gentleman. Very wise as well as handsome. Powerful, sophisticated...you'd like him. Really. The heroine, in fact, had no reason not to like him.

Therein lay the problem. When there's no conflict, there's no story. When two people meet and really hit it off...that's not a romance novel. Two people need to meet like oil and water, or preferably oil and a lit match. They need to leave each other scorched and spent, not giddy and grinning [at least not a first].

So, I'm off to find the hero that my heroine doesn't find genteel and admirably heroic. She can't look at him and think, 'Wow, he's got it all together.' She needs to look at him and think, 'Oh, please. This guy?'

I'll let you know when I find him.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Running with the Turtles

Yesterday DH and I took the kids to the zoo. We love zoos, and even though at 11 and 14 ours were the oldest kids there, they still had a good time.

In the reptile house, we came across this little fellow [on the right] who, though he looks stationary in the picture, was actually booking for a turtle. He was moving pretty fast across his habitat, apparently trying to cut off his roommate. He succeeded, since the other turtle wasn't actually moving at all.

This little bit of zoo drama got me thinking about my writing journey. From the outside, it may look like I'm at a bit of a standstill at the moment. I don't have any new releases scheduled until 2010. I'm plugging away on a WIP that, if it does what I want it to do, will end up a full-length novel, so that takes some major time. I'm not racing around trying to do a bunch of promo because I want to concentrate my limited energy on writing. My progress is slow, from a relative standpoint, but like this turtle, I'm moving as fast as I can.

I like to think that from the perspective of another turtle, I'm hauling some major a$$. It's all about viewpoint. No one is eating my dust, but at least I'm moving.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

SHIFT High Gear

It always amazes me how September seems to shift instantly into high gear. This week has been full of 'new' and 'different' and it really feels a lot more like a new year has begun than when January 1st rolls around.


DD started high school this week. High School. Egads, I'm old. So far, she's loving it, and in less than 2 and a half days, I'm totally broke from running around buying school supplies. Her long and complicated list required visits not only to Staples, but JoAnn's Fabric and Michaels. Fortunately we had a lot of the needed supplies already on hand, and better yet it was a great sale weekend, but nevertheless we watched the money flow out of both our wallets.


I got through four chapters of the first draft of my new WIP. Yay! It's interesting - I have to keep telling myself not to sweat the things I already know I need to change. I've seen the development of my other full length novels over time and I realize the words I'm putting down now may be drasatically different from the finished product that ends up being submitted, but that's okay. These are the bare bones. The cosmetic surgery will come later.


I've also thrown myself into a new endeavor. I plan to rediscover the joy of cooking.



Don't laugh. I'm serious.




I like food. I love to eat - and I've sworn off dieting forever. [That's another long post] My plan is to work on making healthier meals and try to cut back on our use of packaged, processed food. The Ultra-Metabolism principle is still floating around in my head, so I need to concentrate on better eating for better health, not 'diet' eating for losing weight. I'm in the process of going through all my old cook books, weeding out easy, nutritious recipes that have potential and tossing the rest. [This is also part of my plan to eventually clean all the junk out of my house.] I found a folder with my receipes that had coupons in it that expired in 2003. I think it's time to start letting go, don't you? LOL.

Here's to new endeavors!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The opposite of hangin' on...

Is holdin' up. Ever feel like everything rests on you? Like you alone hold the world together and keep everything on an even keel?

I feel like that a lot. Sort of like a Borg queen, trying to keep all the drones from walking around in circles mumbling 'Resistance is futile, resistance is futile.'

The interesting thing about this 'weight of the world' type feeling, is that it seems to change dramatically when September arrives. It's practically an overnight thing. I go from feeling like I'm trying to hold up a giant dog, to feeling like I can float without treading water. [My ability to create interesting metaphors drops dramatically, but what the heck.]

Is there a time of year when your attitude shifts abruptly and you feel more hopeful and confident?

Monday, August 31, 2009

And they call what I write 'fiction'

While I don't want to turn this into a political blog, I could not let this one little nugget of toxic waste slip by without comment.

I saw this on Yahoo News this morning: BS to be found HERE and I could not get it out of my head.

Apparently this load of manure comes from Reuters. You'd think they'd have a modicum of integrity, but I guess they don't. How can this 'story' be for real? Who are they trying to fool?

Oh, right. The American public. I forgot.

Seriously? Do they really think we are dumb enough to believe a statement like this:

Researchers found a steady increase in people's confidence about their ability to pay for healthcare services -- it rose 12 percent between March and July this year.


Who are they polling? Brad and Angelina? Cause it's certainly not middle class Americans. That's for sure. In a time when most personal bankruptcies are cause by exhorbitant medical bills THAT ARE NOT COVERED by insurance, who exactly is more confident that they will be able to pay their medical bills? Perhaps, if an actual healthcare reform bill had been put into action, you might say people's confidence would rise, but considering everything seems to be stacked toward the President eventually getting away with saying: The American people don't want healthcare reform, therefore we're not going to do it. [See if that doesn't happen.] It's just beyond ridiculous that anyone is naive enough to think they're in a better position to pay rising medical care costs.

Now, before I shut my rant off and go back to writing some 'real' fiction, I'd just want to say, the only reason healthcare costs are out of control is BECAUSE HEALTH CARE COSTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL. It has nothing to do with how much healthcare we use, or obesity, or heart disease, or people who don't want to go to the doctor until they're extremely ill. It has to do with the fact that it simply COSTS TOO DAMN MUCH TO UTILIZE HEALTHCARE. An aspirin doesn't cost $7 in a hospital because the average American leads a sedentary lifestyle. An aspirin costs $7 in a hospital BECAUSE THE FREAKIN' HOSPITAL CAN GET AWAY WITH CHARGING THAT MUCH.

Hello! Wake up, Congress. Wake up, Mr. President, and wake up Reuters. It's time to tell the truth and do something about it. The only thing to blame for the mess we're in with healthcare is GREED. That's with a capital G. Now, who's got the balls do actually do something about it?

Friday, August 28, 2009

A productive day...for other people

A lot got done today. I wish I could say it was all done by me...

We had our new bathrub installed and it's gorgeous. The old one was in pretty sad shape. The finish was cracked and rust was showing through. It had a couple of nicks in the porcelain coating. The new one is shiny and very, very white and just lovely.

The phone got fixed. We've been having static on the line and hearing a radio [apparently this is a common problem in the area]. So Verizon stopped by and shielded the line.

The kitchen sink sprouted a leak a few days ago and the plumber came by and replaced all the pipes under the sink for a fairly reasonable price.

I'm glad I could keep so many people busy today.

Oh...I did manage to finish the galley edits for the PRINT version of The Matchmakers[April 2010!] AND I knocked out the first draft of the first chapter of my new WIP. So it wasn't just other people that accomplished today. I did some stuff too. I wish every Friday could be this productive.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New wallpaper - maybe a bad idea

So yesterday I let DS use my computer for a little while. He has his own computer but he wanted to look at a map on mine so I said fine.


Of course, for some reason, when I sat down later to do some work, my wallpaper was gone. I have no idea how the kid could have made my wallpaper disappear, but the picture I had up [the one I took at Disney World of the Materhorn mountain that looks like an Alp] was gone. I must have moved it off my computer, because I did an overhaul of my picture files last week so it's gone from the drive. [I could find it on a CD but I didn't feel like looking] After all, it's going to be September soon and it's time for a change.


So I picked this picture as my new wallpaper...



And now I'm sort of regretting it, because not only does it beckon me to lean closer to the monitor and hope I fall in, it also makes me long to go back to the beach when I should be longing to get some writing done instead.

What's your wallpaper? Does it inspire you or is it just there?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not a total loss

Nope. Summer was not a total loss.

I say that because my disdain for this season is well known. I'm not into heat. I'm not into humidity. I'm not into the kids hanging around the house whining about how bored they are while the pool filter labors happily away keeping the chlorinated water crystal clear while no one swims in it.

Nope. It's not my season.

So, the fact that I completed and submitted TWO novellas this summer is monumental in my book. I wasn't really going to work too hard between June and September. In fact, when the summer began, I didn't have many plans to write at all. I was just fooling around with some ideas, dabbling, but not interested in sweating to the finish line, and lo and behold, I did.

So I'm somewhat pleased with myself. Of course it remains to be seen whether those novellas will sell or not. That's in the hands of my editors, but I accomplished more than I set out to, so I'm pretty jazzed.

Now that September is looming, I'm starting to think about goals again. I picked up a partially finished story from my pile and have decided this is the NEXT BIG ONE. I hesitate to make any specific plans for it, because you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men...but considering I'm neither a man nor a mouse, maybe I have a decent shot.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I only hope...

...that someday a reader will be as anxious for the next installment of one of my books as I was for this.


I don't pre-order books very often...mostly because I don't have that much disposable cash lying around, but this one I did. I've been patiently waiting for it and it arrived on Thursday.

I ripped open the box like it was Christmas and I couldn't wait to get started. [The only reason I haven't finished yet is because I've had a lot of editing work to do, AND because I have a perverse desire to savor the book while devouring it at the same time.] I want to have my cake and eat it too. [Let's not talk about the outrageous amount of time I spend over at Cake Wrecks blog - that's a different post].

I won't go into any details about the book, no spoilers. I'll just say, while it's inherently cruel to make readers wait for months and months and months for the next installment of an ongoing story, I completely envy any author who can keep me on the hook this long.

What books/authors are you on the hook for?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Something old, something new...

I’m a firm believer that trying new things is the best way to get out of a rut, combat depression and kick start the creative process.

I was in the mood for something new on Friday evening, so off we went to the mall where I indulged in something I’ve been wanting to try for a while now, but haven’t had the courage.

I got myself a bubble tea.


Radical right? I know. I’ve been putting it off since the craze began and I couldn’t hedge any longer.

A little bit of background on bubble tea – it’s a cold milk tea usually sweetened with fruit flavors, shaken vigorously to produce a layer of bubbles on the top. Then tapioca pearls are added which sink to the bottom of the cup and appear as more dark ‘bubbles’ in the bottom. It’s served with a wide straw so you can suck up the tapioca pearls and eat them.



Fascinating concept. Eating your drinks. I’ve never been fond of chewing liquid, but I just had to give this a try.

It tasted good, not very tea-like though. I ordered strawberry which tasted more like strawberry Quick with ice – hyper sweet, very pink. Sort of like ping-pong balls in a lottery machine, the tapioca pearls roll around in the bottom of the cup until one of them decides to make a break for it and travel slowly up the straw. Now, you can’t just go chugging bubble tea willy nilly. You have to be prepared for that pearl when it reaches the top of the straw because you have to chew it. It has the consistency of a gummy bear, and not much actual flavor. Again, not bad...but just not very...you know...drink-like.

My concern with bubble tea is of course the fact that I’m easily distracted. So walking, through the mall [all that visual stimuli], while holding a conversation with my peeps, and drinking at the same time is hard enough, but to have to be aware that at any moment I might be called upon to start chewing a strange little gum drop that popped out of my straw, was just too much for me to process at one time. I got about halfway through the bubble tea before the squick factor overcame my enjoyment of the strawberry coolness.

Hey, it was an experience. Now I know. Bubble tea is too complex for me. It tastes good, but there’s just too much going on in the cup for me to really relax and enjoy it.

How about you? What new thing have you tried lately?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I made a reviewer cry!

The Matchmakers has been nominated for Best Book of the Week over at The Long and the Short Reviews!

You can read the awesome 5-book review here: http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.com/2009/08/matchmakers-by-jennifer-colgan.html

And you can vote for the best book based on the reviews here: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/LASR/recentrev.htm


Voting for the nominated books runs only Saturday and Sunday so please stop by and VOTE!

“By the third page, the enchantment of the story enveloped me. Kudos, to author Jennifer Colgan; I will definitely watch for more of this author's books, and suggest that my friends buy her too. The writing and editing were superb, delivering a story that made me remember why I love romance. Like I said, I don't cry easy, but this one made me wipe the mist from my glasses.” – Zinnia, LASR

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's too hot



All that unseasonably cool weather is gone now and real summer showed up. There's just no point in NOT being on an island somewhere when it's this hot.

I'll be cranking up the AC, sippin' some iced tea and dreamin' about a place like the one in the picture.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Seriously?


I was just over at Romance Divas expressing my dismay at finding Halloween candy on sale at Walgreens today.
It's AUGUST, people.
I understand the fire has gone out under the pool toys and flip flops, but what happened to a solid month of Back to School? If it's already time to start thinking about Halloween, that means come October it will be time to start stocking up for Christmas.
This is just getting out of hand. I would really like to see the sales numbers for retail stores to find out how much profit they actually make by selling holiday items more than two months ahead of time. Do they really think they can create a demand for something that no one wants to think about for another eight weeks at least?
I just don't get it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A thorn! A thorn!



The Matchmakers WON the Thorn for best cover in the Embrace the Shadows Cover Clash!


How cool is that??


Be sure to stop by today for the next contest. More cool covers are on display, including the hot HOT HOTT cover for All Fired Up, the September Samhain release by Romance Diva Kristen Painter!

Friday, August 07, 2009

What's in your glass?


Last night at dinner, the discussion centered around the age-old question, Do you see life as the glass is half empty or half full?

DH asked the question and I got to answer first... which was tough for me because my view of life is, if you talk about the glass too much, it ends up getting spilled. Finally I said, generally I’m a glass half full...with the caveat that usually it contains something I don’t want to drink.

DD’s response was: My glass is half empty. Can I get a refill?

DS said: “My glass is completely empty. Because I drank it.” I amended this because I know my son. His response is more likely: “Someone stole my glass.”

And of course DH’s response? “I need a bigger glass.”

How about you? What’s in your glass?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Oh nos!

After holding it's own against two other gorgeous covers, The Matchmakers is now trailing in the Embrace the Shadows poll.

Just sayin'.

Anyway, enough shameless begging. I'm now in the throes of trying to write sucknopses for TWO stories [one still needs a few more scenes, so I'm hoping a synopsis will help me round out the plot and the dang thing finished.]

What's your system for writing synopses? Do you write them before or after the story itself? I tend to make 'fast draft' type synopses first, which often end up having little to do with the finished story. Then when I'm done, I go chapter by chapter and take notes. I end up with pages and pages of notes, which I have to boil down into something short and sweet. This is torture.

Let me just say to all those publishers and agents out there who DON'T require a synopsis - I LOVE YOU!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Today's the Day!


Please stop by Embrace the Shadows today if you get a chance, cast your vote and leave a comment. I’d love to hear what people think about The Matchmakers cover!

http://embracetheshadows.wordpress.com/

Friday, July 31, 2009

Chainsaw Wielding Robot Threatens Humanity

Apparently.

According to THIS ARTICLE that DH sent me, a self-powering landscape robot created by a company called Cyclone Technologies is drawing fire [or more likely, screams of terror] from the paranoid population who fear it may have the capacity to convert more than just yard waste into organic fuel.

The company, along with DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] has issued a statement assuring the public that the robot, ironically named EATR, will not devour people, living or dead. Whew. Aren't you glad that's been cleared up?


In other news:


I've been having such a Jack Attack since I watched Torchwood last week. I'm not complaining or anything, but all it does is make me want more Torchwood. What hot hunky heroes do you obsess about?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How cool is this?



I found out today that The Matchmakers has been chosen for next Monday's COVER CLASH over at EMBRACE THE SHADOWS blog.
I don't normally do this, but what the heck...please, please, please, please stop by Embrace the Shadows on Monday, August 3rd. I'm told you can vote for your favorite cover and comment on the covers that are competing.
Don't worry, I'll put up a reminder on Monday. I can't wait to see the comments and find out what other cover(s) have been chosen for the clash.
In other news:
I DID IT! I finished the final scene of my WIP. Yay!!! Now I have to finish typing it [thanks to some roving thunderstorms I had to shut off my computer this afternoon, which means none of my editing got done, but I did get to curl up on the couch and write - once the dog stopped having his thunder-induced conniption fit.]
Whew! You have no idea how thrilled I am to have finished this story - well, the first draft anyway. It still needs work of course, but it's done, done, done!! [Doing the dance of joy right now.]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

OK, a slightly greater joy...

I'm not dissing the wonderfulness of cheap notebooks, mind you, but there is something just a little bit better and that is closing in on the end of a WIP.

I had a nice chunk of free time this morning [at work - gotta love that!] and I was able to get past the big denoument in my WIP. [Which happens to be the sequel to Skin, btw.] Now I have just one more major scene to write and I'm DONE!!

I'm so thrilled because, barring a Torchwood fan fic, this will be the first story I've actually finished this year. After going through a major period of disillusionment I began to wonder if I'd ever get my groove back, but this story seems to have done it.

Now, I really have no idea what I'll work on after this one is finished, but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Off to get tapping on the keys and put this puppy to bed.

BTW...there's one more thing that needs to be said. I've been holding off saying it because some people haven't seen Season 3 of Torchwood, but it's killing me not to mention it, so I will. If you want to read it, highlight the paragraph below:

I absolutely, positively and without reservation, forgive Jack for everything he had to do in order to stop the 456. He saved the world. Period. I know a lot of people are disillisioned about what he had to do, but he's probably the only one who could have gotten the job done. On the other hand, I don't forgive Russell T. Davies for the stuff he did. I'm really pissed at him for a whole bunch of reasons and the only way I'll forgive him is if he redeems himself spectacularly in Season 4. [And there just better damn well BE a seaon 4. Just sayin'.]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

No greater joy...



...than cheap notebooks. It's that time of year again at Shop Rite - 10 single subject notebooks for $1.00.
Can't beat that with a stick.
Yes, I know. I have a computer. A laptop. And a NEO. And I still go all dreamy-eyed over that humungous pile of one subject notebooks stacked at the end of aisle 9.
It's like Christmas.
There's just something about a blank sheet of notebook paper that's a lot more inspiring to me than a blank computer screen. I think it's the blinking cursor that gets to me. It's so...expectant. You can just see it tapping its little foot, waiting for you to start writing. But the paper is patient. It's doesn't blink, it just sits, quietly, peacefully, waiting to absorb some ink. It asks for nothing, consumes nothing...it's passive and uncomplicated. I like that. I need that.
And at 10 cents a book, it's almost a sin NOT to buy them.
So, what's your preference? Cyber paper or real paper?