Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Contest!!

I'm Having a Membership Drive!

For a chance to win your choice of a signed copy of one of my print titles here’s what you need to do:

Between now and December 20th if you sign up to the Electric Romance Yahoo Group, your name will be entered in the drawing. Just drop me a note at and tell you signed up and I’ll put your name in the hat!

Already a member? Congratulations! You can enter too! Just drop me a line at and tell me you’re already a member and you’ll be entered also!
Be sure to put MEMBERSHIP DRIVE in the subject line and let me know if you’re a new or existing member.

What can you win?

A signed copy of one of my print titles:

Or if you already have all those [big HUG if you do!] You can choose a $10.00 publisher gift certificate so you can buy some new print or electronic titles! This is a good choice if you’re outside the continental United States because you’ll be able to get your books instantly as downloads!

Want two chances to win? If you sign up to Electric Romance or you’re already a member and let me know it, but you’d like you’re name entered twice in the drawing visit one of my RomanceWiki pages...there’s not much to see...but tell me how many times the page has been accessed [scroll down to the bottom of the page] and I’ll put your name in the hat TWICE.

and e-mail me the number of times the page has been accessed. Put ROMANCE WIKI 2ND CHANCE in your subject line.

Send all e-mail entries to

Winner will be announced December 2oth!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just One of Those Days

I went back to Edgewater today and I thought the day started pretty good considering it only took me 45 minutes to get there.

Things went down hill from there.

The whole computer system had to be rebooted twice. One set of tapes I was supposed to work on had been recorded on a mono-recorder and only played BACKWARDS on the stereo transcriber. I suppose I could have listened for Satanic messages, but my 'plip sluip grp schlop' is a bit rusty. The mono-transcriber weighs something like 30 pounds and I had to set it on the garbage can next to the desk I was working on. The sound only played in one side of my headphones and that sort of makes me dizzy, having noise in one ear and not the other.

I finished one whole meeting and decided to call it a day, drove home and found my new business cards had arrived! Yay! I opened the box and found out I screwed up the back side copy and have a review quote for the WRONG book! I can't even yell at Vista Print because it's my own fault.

The kids whined about the chicken I made for dinner. And I just rammed my shoulder into the sharp edge of the curio cabinet on my way through the living room.


On the bright side, my Mom made me some knitted slippers which are very comfy even though they make me look pigeon-toed. And DH, who cannot keep a secret, gave me two of my Christmas presents today. He doesn't understand the concept of hiding things until December 25th. He goes shopping and comes home and gives me the stuff he bought.

I've got Season One of How I Met Your Mother and Season One of BONES to watch. Yay! That takes some of the sting out of the fact that he's making me sit through Clerks 2 after the kids go to bed.

Writing? What's that? Oh, yeah. My job.

I'll get back to that tomorrow when hopefully it won't be one of THOSE days.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Is it just me?

I just put down another NY-published novel after jumping ship in the middle.

This is the fourth book since coming home from NJRW that I've been unable to finish and I want to know: Is it me?

Have I lost my ability to enjoy reading, or is there really something lacking in the books I've been choosing lately? I know my internal editor is a bitch, but she's promised to shut up and just read for enjoyment now and then.

With the exception of Jennifer Elbaum's Nowhere to Hide, I haven't finished a book in two months.

This is what I've read:

Book One: Well known author. I've enjoyed a number of her other books but this one left me cold. The characters had few redeeming qualities and halfway through the book I was rooting for heroine to kick the hero in the balls. Unfortunately, I didn't like the heroine enough to keep reading and see if she did it or not.

Book Two: An erotic anthology. Not one of the three stories made my heart race or my palms sweat. The one story I actually read all the way through had a disappointing ending that seemed chopped off in the middle. I'm a staunch defender of the novella, but this one really seemed like someone had taken a full length novel and left off the last two thirds.

Book Three: I loved the catchy title and the cute cover art. This one had been on my TBB pile for a while so I was thrilled to get my hands on it. The hero and heroine were undeniably attracted to each other, but they seemed to have no purpose other than to flirt. There was no external conflict whatsoever and the only thing keeping them apart was their mutual desire not to get into a relationship.

Book Four: Another well-known author of sizzling romance. I made it to page 70 at which point I still wasn't sure who or what the hero was supposed to be. I only knew who the heroine was because her name is mentioned in the back cover blurb. By chapter three, they still hadn't even met.

What am I missing here?

Each of these books breaks the rules that over the course of the last two years I've been told over and over again should not be broken. Granted, we all know you can break any rule you want to as long as you do it with unique skill and finesse, and some of the best books out there are the ones that break the rules, but these books all seemed to be examples of why the rules exist in the first place.

I hate to complain, but this isn't how I wanted to put a significant dent in my towering TBR pile. I was really hoping to be able to finish some of the books that have been weighing down my closet floor for weeks, months or - gasp! - even years.

I really need a book that will knock my socks off. I'm even willing to tie my internal editor up and lock her in a closet if I have to. Help!

Friday, November 24, 2006

'Tis now the Season...

Once the Christmas Tree is up, it's officially The Season. This is what I did today. With some help from DH and the kids [he worked very hard getting all the pre-lit lights to light] we cleaned the living room, rearranged furniture, set up the tree and put up indoor and outdoor decorations.


I'm shot now.

I also put up my new quilt:

This are the things I do when I should be writing. I'm also working on a new contest...I promise, I'm just having a hard time with all the logistics. There will be something up soon!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Have a happy!

Today I posted over at Star Crossed. I'll probably be pretty busy the next few days so if I'm not around, have a Happy Holiday!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What's Stamped On Your Forehead?

Are you the kind of person that everyone has to tell their troubles to? Or maybe you attract weirdos, or you're a magnet for bad boys?

Do you ever feel like you have a sign stamped on your forehead that announces something you prefer most of the world didn't know?

I only ask because even though I've never actually seen them, I know there are big red letters on my forehead saying, "Ask me for directions and/or instructions because I know everything."

It wouldn't bother me so much if I actually DID know everything, but for the most part, I'm clueless. The parameters of my functional world are actually quite small and I really don't have time to venture far beyond those borders. Nevertheless, strangers everywhere see me and think, "That lady looks like she knows how to get to wherever I'm going." Or "She must know how to do whatever it is I want to do, I'll ask her."

It never fails. I'm stopped in the mall, sidelined in stores and eateries, people even signal me while driving and ask directions at red lights. And most of the time, I have no idea how to help them.

I'm one of those people who needs a map to find my own bedroom. I don't know north from south and I get from place to place by landmarks, not street signs. Yet, at least once a week someone stops me and asks me for directions that I don't know how to give.

Last week, someone beeped at me at a stoplight. I rolled down the window and the man asked how to get to Wal*Mart. Now there's a first. A man asking a woman for directions. I should have alerted the media.

This weekend, in RagShop a woman started asking me how to pick the proper size crochet needle. I was a little more in my ballpark since I do crochet, but apparently I looked like the leading authority on the subject simply because I was wandering around the yarn aisle.

When I was in Brisbane, Australia, an elderly woman asked how to get to the nearest train station. I had to tell her I was lucky I knew what continent I was on and it was a major coup for my girlfriend and I to get back to the tour bus on time.

It's not that I don't want to be helpful, in fact I despise being un-helpful and therein lies the problem. I'm terrified of giving people bad advice - which is why I don't do it for a living or anything. Nevertheless I seem to emit these strange invisible rays that draw people to me when they have questions that I most likely can't answer.

Why is that?

Do you have a sign on your forehead? If so, any suggestions on how to get rid of it?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Red Hot Review

I just got my first review for Molten Man and it’s scorching!

Five hearts! Molten Man does more than melt metal, he’s sure to melt the reader’s heart too and cause a fever deep within. – Valerie, Love Romances.

Aside from that, nothing much is going on. I'm working in the office all week. Ugh. And I'm proctoring the ASE tests this week, which, while it's not hard work, means my work day doesn't end until about 11:00 PM. I still managed to work on my WIP, the question is, is this story going in the direction I want it to go? I won't know until it's done, but as usual, I'm second guessing myself.

I just ordered some new business cards. I went for broke and decided to have the full color covers for Ken'Ja and Soul Jar printed on the backs along with review quotes. This way I won't have to make stickers...I don't know if the extra money was worth the time I'll save printing, peeling and sticking on homemade stickers, but I think the cards will look pretty snappy.

I also had a quick meeting my my accountant today [I'm my accountant, btw] and she said that this time last year I was about $270.00 in the red as far as income to expense ratio for my writing. This year I'm well in the black, so apparently I've improved my earning capacity. Hopefully next year at this time I'll be in the green!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How Did She Do It?

The November 10th issue of LIFE magazine [floppy thin little thing that comes in the Sunday paper] bears the still somewhat voluptuous yet newly ‘thin’ Kirstie Alley on the front.

I give Ms. Alley a lot of credit for being able to drop 75 pounds on Jenny Craig. I’m over her abandonment of her role as Saavik in Star Trek, and I actually did enjoy the few existing episodes of her latest sitcom ‘Fat Actress,’ so I was pleased when she ‘came out of the closet’ so to speak and went on television somewhat unapologetic about that fact that like most American women who are raising kids and dealing with day to day issues of life, she gained weight, so sue her.

I always thought she looked pretty good anyway. Many might not agree, but I think Kirstie has style. She’s funny, in a weird sort of way, and I personally think she’s quite courageous to actually be herself in Hollywood. It’s a tough thing to pull off.

Of course, in Hollywood, the fat doesn’t last. So Kirstie has been on a diet. I give her credit for sticking it out [of course it’s a lot easier when you’re a celebrity and you get all the food and counseling for free and don’t tell me she doesn’t]. It’s probably also easy when you can make it your full time job to be on a diet and get paid for it. Those harsh realities aside, she succeeded and she looks great at 145 pounds.

The thing that boggles my mind, though is this: The article in LIFE has an inset that shows Kirstie’s typical pre-Jenny diet which includes:

½ loaf of French bread
3 eggs
1 steak
12 grape sodas
3 slices of bacon
6 cups of pasta
6 TBS butter
20 sugar free ice pops
2 burritos

Total estimated calories: 7885!

So, almost 8000 calories a day combined to tip her weight up to 220 pounds.
All I have to say is, how did she manage to stay so thin?

I swear the gravity must be different in California. Or they must turn their scales back a little bit – or maybe a lot because hell, if I ate 8000 calories a day, I’d weigh about 4000 lbs. Probably a lot more. Of course if you cut back from 8000 to less than 2000 you’re going to lose weight. But how far do you have to cut back from 2000? I’ve counted calories, and to be honest, I can do the 2000-calorie thing without much trouble. I can even cut back to 1500 and it never seems to do me much good.

My daily intake looks more like this:

1 English muffin toasted
1 TBS jam
1 TBS margarine
1 glass of orange juice (8 oz)
Two slices of turkey on fat free bread with mustard [mustard has no calories, btw]
2 sodas
1 cup of pasta
1 cup of vegetables
2 pieces of garlic bread
2 mini candy bars or two or three cookies

Now I don’t have the exact calorie count of all this but it’s nowhere near 8000, so what’s the deal? Why didn’t Kirstie weigh 1000 pounds eating like that?

I think I’m going to move to California. If my gravity theory is correct, I probably weigh about 90 pounds soaking wet out there and I can eat to my heart’s content.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sayanara to the Sass

I was devastated to find out today that Literary Sass is closing it's doors. You can read why here.

Part of me is pouting guiltily at the thought that the review site that picked MY book as a favorite read of the year isn't going to be there anymore. Huge bummer. Another part of me understands their reasoning. After all they've stepped on a lot of toes and if I had been one of the authors they trashed [and yes, they did trash quite a few] I would probably be dancing in the streets.

I suppose this illustrates a valuable lesson, that the anonimity of the Internet isn't all that anonymous. When outspoken bloggers begin to realize that what they say behind the mask of a snappy pseudonym and flashy blogskin may hurt their writing careers, a change is obviously necessary.

Is it wrong to be honest? No...though some people can't handle honesty and a little bit of demure subterfuge is usually necessary to get through life in one piece. Is venting and ranting bad? No...but the best way to do it is with utmost tact. We've all been guitly of shooting off our mouths about things that bother fact, I've often toyed with the idea of starting a second blog under a psuedonym just so I could vent about things that piss me off, and most of those topics wouldn't even have to do with the publishing industry. Let's face it, the world is full of things that piss us off and venting about it does sometimes help...and sometimes it just gets us labeled with names we don't want to be saddled with.

I'm sorry to see the Sassy Chicks close up shop. I was looking forward to more reviews and I've actually bought some of the books they've given their tumbs up to...and I never really pay attention to good reviews when it comes to my own personal reading choices.

Hopefully the Chicks will find other venues and be able to continue their honest if sometimes acerbic reviews. Bottoms up, ladies.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Nearsighted Segment on 20/20

I had to watch 20/20 last night, not because I normally go for rehashed, let’s re-invent the wheel news shows, but because for once the topic actually interested me.

Elizabeth Vargas did a short, and in my opinion anemic, piece on the plight of working moms and I foolishly thought she might actually have some insight on the problem facing American women today. We’re programmed to believe we have to work full time, keep a spotless Better Homes and Gardens House, look like supermodels and raise happy, well-adjusted children all at once. And if we don’t, we’re some kind failure because there are always those women on TV, much like Vargas, who have huge salaries, great hair and angelic cherubs waiting for them when they waltz through the door in pumps and pearls.

Sorry for the sarcasm, really, but I can’t help myself. For once, I’d like to see some balance on this subject. Let’s see the women who have decided that no, we cannot have it all. It’s not possible to be a fabulous full time employee raking in an impressive salary, a super mom who builds cardboard castles for Junior’s birthday party, and a Martha Stewart style hostess and housekeeper who always has everything totally under control on all fronts. People who seem to have all that either have lots of behind the scenes help, or are lying through their teeth. And they’re not happy.

What bothered me about this segment most was that it turned into a debate on whether or not companies should provide paid maternity leave or not. The 20/20 message boards are all lit up with the arguments for and against and everyone is having their say, but in my opinion, the real issue is not about should single workers pick up the slack for working parents who need time off to deal with their kids [I’ve known plenty of childless workers who slack off and bring their personal problems to the office], or should companies give better paid parental leave [of course they should. Parenting isn’t just a strange lifestyle choice some of us have made, it’s what keeps the human race going, duh.] or should the government step in and help working parents [maybe by lowering taxes for everyone, and stop wasting so much money...oh that’s another rant for another day]. The real issue that I thought Ms. Vargas’s segment was going to be about is, why do we let society dictate what we should be and then blame society when we can’t be it?

We can’t have it all. We’re expected to do too much and thus everything we do suffers. Children are left unsupervised way too much, or they spend too much time in daycare, women feel guilty if they work and guilty if they don’t, families can’t survive on one income so that child rearing can be a priority for those of us who choose to have them and those of us who don’t resent what they perceive as special treatment in the work place. Something needs to give, but namby-pamby, let’s re-invent-the-wheel reporting on the subject isn’t doing anyone any good. We need someone who’s got the cajones to stand up give us permission [that’s women I mean] to be mothers without apology and fix the economy so that we can afford to do that and still keep our heads above water.

How that’s going to happen? I don’t know. Too bad Elizabeth Vargas didn’t have the answer.

Friday, November 10, 2006

[Picture removed in 2012]

A picture paints a thousand words, so they say. I chose this one from this weeks episode of LOST because I thought it said a lot.


Those hands belong to Kate and Sawyer, who are, in my humble opinion, LOST's hottest couple. They have a chemistry together that any romance author would love to write about. They sizzle because they're not all hearts and flowers.

Sawyer is the bad boy of the piece. He's a con artist, he's cynical, an engima wrapped in a tough outer shell. And Kate is by turns angelic and enigmatic as well. She's just as big a con artist as Sawyer. They compliment each other because they're two damaged souls who have learned to do anything necessary to survive.

So it stands to reason that when pushed to the brink of human endurance, they would end up together in a scene that would have been sexy as all get out, if it hadn't been for a few obvious questions like - how did they do the nasty on the damp jungle floor outside of Sawyer's cage without getting completely covered in mud? [Yes, I'm a hopeless romantic, but these things bother me.] How did Sawyer's shirt get big enough to cover Kate like a blanket and when did they manage to put all their sweaty, dirty clothes back on before the evil Others came back with murder on their minds?

When was the last time either of them brushed their teeth?

I'm sorry, but that's where my mind was during the scene. I know, I'm bad. I mean, come on. I'm a romance novelist. I've had characters get busy on the banks of a stream, in a cave [a couple times in a cave - I happen to like cave sex] on a stone altar, on a beach...I do tend to gloss over the 'I need a shower' factor in my steamier scenes sometimes, but reading it and watching it are two different things.

Anyway, the point of this post is, I love the Kate and Sawyer ship. These two are totally hot and I love the idea of the bad boy being won over by the love of a woman, but for heaven's sake, please let them find a new hatch with a working shower and a bottle of mouthwash sometime SOON or I'm just going to get skeeved.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I Just Read a Really Great Book!

At the NJRW Conference this year, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow author and Romance Diva Jennifer Elbaum. Jennifer is a sweetheart and great fun to hang out with in addition to being a kick ass suspense writer.

I just finished her book, Nowhere to Hide, and I have to say it’s the first book I’ve read in literally months that kept me turning pages right to the end. This book had something that I must confess I don’t see often enough in romantic fiction – actual sexual tension! The relationship between Dan Greywolf and Alex Maguire is both steamy and sweet and the plot kept me on the edge of my seat.

Here’s the blurb I swiped from Jennifer’s website:

Alex Maguire is on the run, a woman who trusts no one has been entrusted with the care of a helpless little girl. Can she keep her safe from The Trust, the evil men who stole her own childhood?

Detective Dan Greywolf has promised to keep Alex and the little girl safe. No matter where they go though, they are unable to hide from The Trust. And they can’t hide from the attraction growing between them.

Alex must trust Wolf with her life, but will she risk trusting him with her heart?

The story leaves room for more to happen in this world, and I can’t wait for the next installment.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Romancing the Stone

I feel like I should open a can of tuna fish for my cat.

Not that I have a cat, but it just seems appropriate, considering that, like Joan Wilder, the heroine in one of my favorite movies, Romancing the Stone, I've been sitting here this evening doing a final check of my novel The Matchmakers, and crying like a baby.

In the beginning of Romancing the Stone [as I'm sure all my fellow romance writers out there know, because hey, you've all seen it!] Joan is finishing her latest novel and she's bawling like crazy. Her apartment is covered with sticky notes that say, "Buy tissues!" "Buy toilet paper!", "Buy cat food!" She uses one of the notes to blow her nose when she finishes her final, heart wrenching scene, and celebrates her achievement by opening a can of tuna for her cat.

You've got to love Joan Wilder. She feels her writing. She's so in the moment that she can barely see the page as she types her final lines.

I know just how she feels. I wrote The Matchmakers quite a few months ago, and it's been making the rounds and today I got a request for a full from an agent! So I'm going over it one more time, scanning for those last minute typos, fixing a comma here and there and finding that I still consider this one of my most emotional stories! As the words blurred on the screen, I had to laugh through my tears at the climactic scene - what a nut I am.

My husband things I need medication. After all, I wrote the darn thing. How on earth could it make me cry to read it? But it does.

It's a strange thing to say, but I hope it makes other people cry, too. If I can invoke this kind of emotion in someone else [I'm a sap and I know it] then maybe this is a really good book. Don't get me wrong, this is a happy story, it's a feel-good book, because heaven knows we need more feel-good books in this world, but I hope I've crafted something that has those moments when a reader tears up, even just a little, and feels what my characters are feeling.

It goes out in the mail tomorrow. Wish me luck and send me some cyber-tissues. I'm all out.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I got the Worm!

I just stopped over at Literary Sass Reviews to see their Tequila Worm Awards and I was stunned to find out that not only is The Soul Jar one of their staff picks, it also recieved the Award for Favorite Read of 2006!

I'm so psyched!

Here are all the staff picks:

BB's pick: Souljar by Jennifer Colgan
BW's pick: Waking the Shadows by Elisabeth Drake
LS's Pick: Once in a Blue Moon by Celia Stuart
LW's Pick: Cost of Loyalty: C. Fox
WW's Pick: Dragon Undone: Sara Dennis

Congratulations everyone!