With A Little Help From My Friends
I can't believe nobody got that photo riddle from last post - it's "Moon River". (Maybe that just dates me - Michele's guess of Fat Bottomed Girls was pretty damn funny.) I'll try to come up with something else once my brain unfreezes.
#1 Son got head-hunted for a job about 2 weeks ago.
(See photo of room to the left? Not mine but might as well be.) We got word yesterday that we move next week. Ack. Would like to have had more time, but then not really, because The Kid's new job is a dream come true for him. Every time someone sees me with a suitcase they offer to repack it for me (or just take over and do it anyway), so...you can imagine the chaos around here of packing up a house for the second time in six months. Of course, had no clue when we moved into this place that we'd be moving again for a while.
First thing I did when The Kids left today to go find us new housing was to strip, shower, and take a magnificent power nap. The house didn't get packed, but I sure felt more like bitching about it when I woke up than I did before I fell asleep. Then when I woke up, there were reruns of "Law & Order" that I'd somehow missed, dogs who needed snuggling, and graham crackers that beckoned to be eaten. In other words, I took a much-needed break. No one here but me at present, so I figured I'm a grown-up - I can sleep then go back to packing at midnight if I so choose.
I powered down The Kid's computers before the weather got stormy. Packed up most of the living room that was left, the dining room, and stuff on the piano. How is it we accumulate so much stuff, anyway? Maybe George Carlin had it right in his schtick about 'stuff' - that we pretty much just elevate ourselves to a higher level of poor (my terminology, not his, but same thing)...always collecting, having to move into bigger spaces just so we can house our 'stuff'. I've tried weeding through - just have so much I don't want to get rid of. Just moving out of this area reminds me of a dog I had for 15 years, one who traveled well, loved to go bye-bye, grab a burger with Mama or go to a park for walks.
I suppose new beginnings mean endings of sorts, though, and we adapt. Or we don't. I like feeling comfortable adapting, making whatever space I'm in my own. I enjoy nesting - weird, huh? I also enjoy just hanging my hat and calling the place home. I'm more attached to people than things - it's just that the things remind me of other people - lol, so vicious circle.
There's the candle from one friend that has dwindled down to about half-way...total waste of packing material and effort, but I want it. Leave the books? Fuggetaboutit. Not leaving but a few, and those go to charity. Hospitals, women's shelters, whatever strikes me. Furniture? Can always get more, unless it's furniture my dad made, or a family heirloom. It's nerve-wracking, though, to pack, discard, move. Set up is fine...because it's...well, nesting.
My poor dogs are shedding hair from stress - every time I pack one of their toys or a leash, they get this 'omigod' look in their eyes. Probably wondering if their stuff is going somewhere without them.One thing I've learned during moves is that plastic bins & magic markers are my friends. So is my 64-oz mug I keep filled with ice water.
Today's photo funnies come to you from Janet in Topeka, who has given me instructions on how to hug a baby properly if I'm a dog.
1. First, spy a baby.
2. Second, be sure that the object you spied was indeed a baby by employing classic sniffing techniques. If you smell baby powder and the wonderful aroma of wet diapers this is indeed a baby.
3. Next you will need to flatten the baby before actually beginning the hugging process. **Note: The added slobber should help in future steps by making the "paw slide"
4. The "paw slide" - Simply slide paws around baby and prepare for possible close-up.
5. Finally, if a camera is present, you will need to execute the difficult and patented "hug, smile, and lean" so as to achieve the best photo quality.
(Blogger isn't letting me upload the last damn photo, so if it doesn't appear, you'll know why. I've sat on posting this for like 48 hours in hopes I could get the final shot in of the dog hugging the baby...it's cute. Don't understand why it is that Blogger will allow certain photos then not others - not like the baby is NUDE.)
Dogs, if this is properly done, it will secure you a warm, dry, climate-controlled environment for the rest of your life. Good luck to all of you!
I'm sure the owner of dog and parent to baby trusted that big canine, but part of me wanted to just slap the shit out of anyone who'd let a dog maul their child like that - lol. Still, cute photos, an obviously trustworthy pet, and a baby who is used to being loved with slobbery, wet kisses. Thanks, Janet.
I'll edit later if Blogger allows the other photos I'd wanted to post. Have a good rest of the week, everybody.
Strange Goin's On
editorial correction: per Angie, this photo is bogus Seems Snopes has already busted this one: http://www.breakthechain.org/exclusives/flagpatch.html Am wondering how astrologers will handle things now that Pluto has been deemed 'not a real planet' but a dwarf planet. I've dabbled in astrology for years and find it fascinating. My Indian grandmothers and grandfathers called the science 'the signs', and I swear I was in high school before I realized they were talking about astrology.
Janet sent me a photo of the guy to the left, and I thought the black patch beneath the patch of our flag quite interesting. If you can't read it well, it says "Doing the work of..." and has the flags of other countries below it, those of France, Germany, & Russia, unless I'm just way off. (See note at top - not a real photo it seems. Part of me says good, because everyone's picking on France these days, and I love France & the French.)
Speaking of out of this world, anybody besides me watching Eureka, new show on Sci-Fi.com? I'm hooked.
According to Janet (I haven't phoned the school to see for myself if this is true):
Okay, after Angie's trip to Snopes, Janet went and found this: The putative answering machine message for Palisades Charter High quoted above was concocted in part as a reaction to the brouhaha over the school's attendance policy, and in part as a sardonic _expression of all the usual frustrations teachers experience in dealing with students and parents: fabricated excuses for students' absences and uncompleted homework, blame that teachers are solely responsible for the failures of non-achieving students, complaints from parents about not having received information already sent to them several times, etc. However, the staff "voted" for the message only in the sense that they agreed with its sentiments (the circulating version of this piece often omits the introductory line "Too bad they can't actually use it . . . "); it was not ever actually placed on the phone answering system at Palisades Charter High. (In fact, Palisades Charter High phone system doesn't have menu options — when the office is open a switchboard operator fields calls, and when the office is closed a recording invites the caller to leave a voicemail message or press keys to access a specific extension directly.) Last updated: 26 December 2002
SCHOOL ANSWERING MACHINE This is the message that the Pacific Palisades High School (California) staff voted unanimously to record on their school telephone answering machine. This is the actual answering machine message for the school. This came about because they implemented a policy requiring students and parents to be responsible for their children's absences and missing homework. The school and teachers are being sued by parents who want their children's failing grades changed to passing grades - even though those children were absent 15-30 times during the semester and did not complete enough schoolwork to pass their classes.
The outgoing message: "Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting to the right staff member, please listen to all the options before making a selection: * To lie about why your child is absent - Press 1 * To make excuses for why your child did not do his work- Press 2 * To complain about what we do - Press 3 * To swear at staff members - Press 4 * To ask why you didn't get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you - Press 5 * If you want us to raise your child - Press 6 * If you want to reach out and touch, slap or hit someone - Press 7 * To request another teacher, for the third time this year - Press 8 * To complain about bus transportation - Press 9 * To complain about school lunches - Press 0 * If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, homework and that it's not the teachers' fault for your child's lack of effort: Hang up and have a nice day! If you can read this - thank a teacher! If you are reading it in English - thank a veteran!
News from one of my publishers, Samhain:
FABULOUS SALE & CONTEST AT MBAM!
Lots of prizes this week - all you do is make a purchase to be entered! Winners will be chosen to win a variety of print books!ALSO, from now until September 30, 2006, every purchase will count toward a drawing for an ebook reader! The winner may choose between an eBookwise, a Palm Tungsten E2, or an HP IPAQ rx1950!PLUS, you can enter the drawing without making a purchase by sending a postcard with your name, address, phone number, email address, and how you heard about MBaM to this address:My Bookstore and More2932 Ross Clark Circle #384Dothan AL 36301All postcards must be received by October 31st, winner will be announced on November 1st, 2006
Come see our SALE PRICES on ebooks! http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/
All Trade PRINT books are ON SALE too! 10% off cover price plus FREE Shipping!
Presented by Millennium Promotion Services, Inc. http://www.millenniSpecial shout-out and thank you to CJ & Rinda for our Saturday outing. Lunch, bit of shopping, lots of chatting about writing - I had the best time! Now for a tale on how I received my first shipment of authors' copies (as previously blogged, Leaving Mama is now in print, in book stores, etc...):Friend April is having computer problems and asked Josh to help when her puter died. She got the wrong part, went back to store, was on her way to see me to deliver the part when weather turned foul. She phoned, said get the dogs outside now to do their business, because it's starting to sprinkle pretty heavily.
I did this. When I went back to the back door to call them in a few minutes later, I saw the UPS guy across the street delivering a package to our old residence, and my kitschy bitch sense kicked in. I hollered and asked him if that package was for Bobbie Cole. He looked at me as if wondering: Who the hell are you, and what business is it of yours? I waved him over and yelled at him that I was Bobbie and I suspected those were my books he carried.
Seems even though I get my Samhain statements every month at the new address, the shipping dept has the old one. My books would have been soaked by rain and then probably tossed in the Dumpster if things hadn't happened as they did with April phoning me to take the dogs out. Wild, huh?Can't get my photos to post today - not holding my tongue right, I guess - so that's it for Stange Goin's On. Have a great evening, everyone.Let's try this again while I'm editing my blog post...nope, it's not letting me post photos, and I had some good ones for you.
Well, frickity-frick - it's letting me post a visual joke but not the other I wanted to show you, so I'll leave the visual riddle/joke. It's a song title. Get it? First person to figure it out wins a download of their choice. Best I can do today, folks - lol.
Just post your responses here on the blog. I'll try to do better next time.
Leaving Mama is finally in book stores!
I don’t often highlight Samhain releases on my blog, but I wanted to share Leaving Mama by Bobbie Cole with you. This is the first women’s fiction book I acquired and I adore it… I was captivated. She writes incredible, strong women, portraying such vivid characterization that I feel I know them. ~ Angela James, Editor, Samhain Publishing
Leaving Mama is a funny and romantic story about a family secret and how people become involved in it. Bobbie Cole has written a story to enjoy. With a tear and a laugh…~ Annick, Euro-ReviewsThis is a beautiful and heart warming story. A woman’s death unearths secrets from the past and a mother and her daughters learn more about each other. This story is a powder keg of emotions, and once it explodes, you will laugh, cry and even get angry, but you never lose the feeling of love behind it all. This is a wonderful story that stays with you long after you have closed the book." ~ Wateena, Coffee Time Romance For those who have asked, yes...it does indeed have a happy ending, even though the book opens with a casket flying out the back of the hearse on the way from Oklahoma to Minnesota.Leaving Mama by Bobbie Cole
http://authorlyncash.blogspot.com/ Sexual Content: Rated PG13 Genre: Contemporary, Mainstream, Women’s Fiction Book Length: Novel - 228 pages
E-book Release Date: May 30, 2006
Print Release Date: August 15, 2006
Sometimes the only way to find your way home is to leave.
Smoking weed while perched on top of her grandmother’s coffin in the middle of a downpour was not how Jillian had seen the trip from Oklahoma to Minnesota as happening. With flights canceled and the airline employees striking, she had no choice but to improvise and use her rock band’s hearse. And when Gran exits the vehicle after the tires skid on a rain slick highway and the back door flies open, Jillian decides to make the best of the moment.
Things only get worse when they arrive in Minnesota and her oldest sister, Shari, has a stroke at the memorial service. Toss in the fact that their grandmother had led two lives—there was a whole other family they’d known nothing about waiting for them in Minnesota—and life suddenly becomes more complicated.
Buy the book at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble book stores, Borders Books, Waldenbooks, or directly from the publisher’s website online: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
I think I wanna hide.My first mainstream went to print this past week and is now out in bookstores. For some reason, I just haven't been able to blog about it. Not that it's tooting my own horn (which I do really hate, but that's beside the point here)...this reluctance runs deeper.It's not that I fear somebody's gonna die or ill luck will strike if I hawk my wares. It's not anything other than the realization that I'm moving on, that I've left 'home', my comfort zone.#1 Son takes care of me - without a huge explanation, I stay with him and his girlfriend because of medical reasons...and because they want me here, for some odd reason. We all get along great - no problems there. But he's had a job offer that if taken will require we move. Another comfort zone shake-up, if you will.I've decided to drop one of my publishers, simply because of the money (or lack thereof)...another move that is unsettling. I'm comfortable with these folks. Sure, they've pissed me off a time or two, but everything has been doable, workable. I'm not sure how I feel just yet about venturing into new territories while leaving behind what has worked for me in the past. (I already have this weird guilt for writing for so many houses, sort of the feeling that I'm cheating on someone with multiple partners and getting paid to do so - ack - a true writer ho'.)But isn't that how writing is? Don't we strive to do something new, creative, adventurous, to break out of the mold that classifies us as trite? I'm a risk-taker. Always have been. I'm great during a crisis - I just fall apart afterwards. Maybe that's what's bugging me. I'm afraid of the aftermath once the shock sets in.I've lost 2 friends already this year...death...a pretty permanent 'move', and it's only just past the mid-year point. Another just moved a state away, and once we move, I'll be even further from her. This woman has been a close friend for going on 3 decades, so...I'm not sure how I'll manage knowing I won't see her but maybe once a year.Then again, that's when I see a huge majority of my friends, once a year at conferences.I'll blog the book - I'll put up the links, and of course I hope someone out there reads my book and gets something good out of it. I just had to pen my thoughts first, to admit how shaky I feel now that my writing is 'out there' in book stores.Thanks for listening. Feel free to voice your opinion or tell me I'm not alone, that you, too, have been there, done that.
Just to show that I'm okay, though, I'll post a photo from Janet for your daily giggle.
One kewl thing about this move, other than more money, etc, is that I'll only be about an hour or so away from Janet, and I haven't seen HER in over five years. Makes for a certain symmetry, no?
~ Sunnyaddendum...looks like I'll be closer to Merry if this job comes through for #1 Son! *sigh* Okay. Now I don't feel so all alone.
Perspective Is Everything
Ever had those moments when the WIP just isn't working, or when it takes you places you hadn't imagined? I have a friend who has been banging her head against the proverbial brick wall because of things like this, and while trying to offer good advice (hey, she asked) I came up with these visuals from Janet (not a Canuk). God love the Canuks who supplied the visuals she sent, though.
Here's my bid for 6 writing tips for the week:
Pay attention to the details.
Don't overlook what does work when you're weeding out what doesn't.
Don't be afraid to call bullshit on yourself.
Don't work too hard to get what you really don't need.
Re-examine before following a lead that could be the wrong one.
Economize - don't use superfluous words, just use what is needed, but be inventive.
Promised you a sampling of the new Nocturne covers. This one is for Dangerous Temptation, by Kathleen Korbel. This is book #2 and debuts in October.Kathleen's is a fairy (or fey) story. The blurb: To anthropologist Zeke Kendall, the idea that the heir to the Fairy throne had been watching him, falling in love with him, for years was laughable. Then he met Nuala and lost his heart to her dangerous beauty.Eldest daughter of the Fairy Queen, Nuala must marry among her own kind to keep the line pure, but her heart has long been possessed by the handsome mortal. Now she will do anything--even align herself with humankind against the terrifying power of her own people--to make him love her.I'll be honest with you--I know nothing about fairies. I know the Smart Bitches tore into fairies of a different sort a while back, and I usually read their blog, but I haven't read that batch of posts. I love the Bitches, though, so if anyone cares to send me the link to that particular thread, be my guest.I found it interesting that the first ARC (advanced reader copy, for those who are new to the biz) I'd read from Nocturne would be a fairy story. I write for 4 different publishers (so far...keep your fingers crossed for me on the next one I'm querying), and most of these are epubs who produce erotic fairie material. I've been meaning to ask Ari to fill me in on the sub-genre, to give me the skinny, so to speak, on all things fey, considering she's had success writing about them. The werewolves, vampires, and shape-shifters, I can imagine as both erotic and romantic, but when I think of fairies, I think of Darby O’Gill's 'little people', and my mind sort of snaps at the thought that the minute fellows and damsels might mate with humans.Then I read part of Kathleen's book, in which the fairies can be mean and hostile? I need to psych myself up to get into this one, and I'm sure it's not due to Korbel's writing but my own preconceived prejudices, which brings me to the real kernal of this post.Why is it that so many of us have difficulty (or flat can't overcome) our past relationships with say vampires we've read about or seen on television, fairies...and you can take this however you like, love stories between aliens and humans, and humans of the same species but different genders? Romance is romance, right? Sure, as the old saying goes, a bird and a fish can fall in love, but where will they make a home? - But...does that make it 'wrong' or distasteful if they manage to do so?Obviously not, if sales are any indication for stories who manage to make us suspend our disbelief, which many do. Obviously SO to some who raise such strong objections that they lobby the national RWA to get things back to 'normal'.In a time in which people work so hard that they've forgotten the fairy tales and stories that thrilled them when they were younger, I think it's rather pleasant to have something fey to believe in. Now if I can just convince myself not to think of Darby O'Gill and the banshee...
More from Atlanta - specific H/S lines
I was going to hop into bed, helluva day, but thought I'd blog while I'm awake. I did some research on Harlequin's new manga line, and from what I can tell, there are no guidelines for writers for a good reason - the books coming out are from older Harlequins that have been translated into Japanese, leased by Harlequin, then once the lease was up re-leased with Dark Horse comics. The most recent news I’ve found is here in a July 2006 article from Publisher’s Weekly.
When you see them on the shelves, note that the 'pink' color-coded books will be youthful romances geared for teens and young adults, and the 'purple' are adapted novels by long-time Harlequin Presents author Penny Jordan. If anyone can find guidelines on the mangas, you're a better sleuth than I am. These books, by the way, were in the goody room for librarians, not the one for authors. I only got them because they were left behind and about to be dumped. (Goody room rules are that materials have to be picked up by a certain time, or they are disposed of by hotel housekeeping.)
I've glanced through the ARCs I received on the new Nocturnes, and the first is a fey story, the second an Immortal saves the world type story, and the third is a paranormal in which the female protagonist sees ghosts. (Haunted, by Lisa Childs, which is probably the 1st one I'll read - it doesn't debut until December.) Guidelines are here for anyone wishing to write one of these. For you readers, the line debuts next month. - I have covers of these, but ya gotta hold your tongue just right to get Blogger to post the damn photos. Maybe Blogger just doesn't like suspense. I give up - I'll try to load it later.
If you’d like to write a saga that takes place in only 70-75k words, Harlequin’s new Everlasting series may be the thing for you. These books encompass the lifetime of a couple in a mere 280-300 manuscript pages.
The company wants their erotic fiction considerably longer. Spice is anywhere from 90-150k, or 360-600 manuscript pages. Ditto for their inspirational fiction, from 75-85k for their historicals, but only 60-65k for inspirational contemporaries.
For those of you planning on subitting a Bombshell to Silhouette, you might want to revise or rethink. Word in Atlanta was that they are no longer acquiring, which if you read between the lines *might* mean that the line will soon be defunct and that your kick-ass heroines will have to hope for acceptance with another line or with another publisher. Seems the heroines who spend more time in church or in bed are shoving aside the Sydney Bristows of the world. Desperate Housewives (mainstream fiction and erotica), romantic comedy (all houses had these), the physicians a la Grey's Anatomy (romantic suspense with a dash of comedy), and demon-fighting housewives and singles are nudging out spies and covert operatives to an extent. Now if you want to give those spies and operatives a religious experience or have them exploring their sexuality, you may have a winner....here's the cover of Vicki Lewis Thompson's book she signed in Atlanta. If you haven't been reading the 'nerd' books, you're missing out on some good romantic laughs. She's a HOOT as we say here.Beach reads seem to be quite popular. Jill Marie Landis had one in the first goody bag we received when we registered for the conference. Then there were the occasional mysteries or romantic suspense books - all of which I'd consider a beach read, something to 'take me away' whether I was sitting poolside or just dreaming of water.Whether it was inspirational, erotica, sheer romance, or something to scare the bejeebers out of the reader, what I heard over and over was 'escape'...make the book a good escape for the reader. Great plot, characters that stick to you, and good writing, no matter the setting.If there's anything you've wanted that I haven't blogged about from the conference, just let me know, and I'll see what I can find for you.~ Sunny Lyn
Celebrations & Funnies
Happy 30th Birthday, Joshua
Happy Birthday Merry
The perfect Wal-Mart Greeter
(courtesy of Alex's poster, Sue Seeley)
A very loud, unattractive, mean-acting woman comes barreling into Wal-Mart with her two kids in tow, screaming obscenities at them all the way through the entrance.
The Wal-Mart Greeter says, "Good morning and welcome to Wal-Mart .... Nice children you've got there - are they twins?"
The nasty woman stops screaming long enough to say, "Hell no they ain't, the oldest one, he's 9 and the younger one, she's 7. Why the hell would you think they're twins?........ Do you really think they look alike?"
"No", replies the greeter, "I just couldn't believe you got laid twice!"
* * *
~ from M.E. Cooper
A mother and her young inquisitive son were flying Southwest Airlines from Kansas City to Chicago. The son (who had been looking out the window) turned to his mother and asked, "If dogs have baby dogs and cats have baby cats, why don't planes have baby planes?"
The mother (who couldn't think of an answer) told her son to ask the flight attendant. So the boy dutifully asked the flight attendant, "If dogs have babydogs and cats have baby cats, why don't planes have baby planes?"
The flight attendant responded, "Did your mother tell you to ask me that?"
The little boy admitted that she did.
"Well, then, tell your mother that there are no baby planes because Southwest always pulls out on time. Now, let your mother explain that to you."
The Brokeback Mountain Weekly Grocery Lists
courtesy of : This! ChristineWEEK ONE
Beans al fresca
Sky vodka & Tanqueray gin
Face wash and cream
Beans en salade
Coffee (espresso grind)
5-6 bottles best Chardonnay
Face wash and cream
2 tubes K-Y gel
Fresh Fava beans
Prosciutto, approx. 8 ounces, thinly sliced
Medallions of veal
1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 Cub Scout uniform, size 42 long
5-6 bottles French Bordeaux (Estate Reserve)
Face wash and cream
1 extra large bottle Astro-glide
Yukon Gold potatoes
Heavy whipping cream
Asparagus (very thin)
Gruyere cheese (well aged)
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Pure Balsamic vinegar
6 yards white silk organdy
6 yards pale ivory taffeta
3 Cases of Dom Perignon Masters Reserve
Face wash and cream
Satin Sheets and cushions
Hair Bleach, Hair Removing Cream, Hair Wax
Face Powder and Concealer
2 pair of Size 12 Black Stilettos
Cher, Madonna, Petshop Boys Latest CDs
Large tin Crisco
So how hot IS it in Oklahoma?
*AN OKLAHOMA BLESSING*
courtesy of friend Janet Hook
Note: If you are not a resident of OKLAHOMA or never have lived in the hot, humid South, you may not understand the weight of this blessing!
-Bless this house, oh Lord, we cry.
-Please keep it cool in mid-July.
-Bless the walls where termites dine,
-While ants and roaches march in time.
-Bless our yard where spiders pass
-Fire ant castles in the grass
-Bless the garage, a home to please
-Carpenter beetles, ticks and fleas.
-Bless the love bugs, two by two,
-The gnats and mosquitoes that feed on you.
-Millions of creatures that fly or crawl,
-in OKLAHOMA, LORD you've put them all!!
-But this is home, and here we'll stay,
-So thank you Lord, for insect spray.
HOLD IT.............there's more.........
YOU KNOW YOU ARE IN OKLAHOMA IN JULY WHEN. . .
-The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out
of the ground.
-The trees are whistling for the dogs.
-The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.
-Hot water now comes out of both taps.
-You can make sun tea instantly.
-You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.
-The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a little chilly.
-You discover that in July it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.
-You discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.
-You actually burn your hand opening the car door. -You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m.
-Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?
-You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.
-The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper.
-Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.
-The cows are giving evaporated milk.
-Ah, what a place to call home.
-God Bless Our State of OKLAHOMA!!
Atlanta Highlights 4: Sexy Beasts
I met paranormal and historical romance author Ronda Thompson in Dallas, summer of 2004. Missed her in Reno 2005 – reconnected with her in Atlanta 2006 – thought I’d give a shout-out about her today. Ronda has 2 series coming up – check her website for updates as we head towards autumn…you’re gonna love the new books she’s working on. [Ronda’s ‘trading cards’ with photos of her book covers and blurbs went like hotcakes in Atlanta. My roommates were gaga over them.]
Check out the 3 covers for her Wild Wulfs of London series and then the cover for the anthology she did fellow authors Sherrilyn Kenyon, L.A. Banks and Susan Squires.
This gutsy author is a former rodeo queen and even went 8 seconds on a mechanical bull at full throttle. Trust her to put as much enthusiasm and lust for life into her books...and if you get the opportunity to chat with her, take it. She changed my life in ways even she doesn’t know after I first met her in Dallas. Thanks, Ronda, for the great reads and for being a trusted confidant.
I started reading Ronda in the mid-90’s, not long after I’d discovered Constance O’Day Flannery, who was a launch author for Tor’s paranormal novels at one time. Flannery led me to Ronda, who led me to Susan Kearney, and that’s about the time I discovered something about myself…I didn’t know half as much as I thought I did. Here’s an interview Writer’s Space held with Susan a while back, by the way.
What does this have to do with Atlanta? Each conference, I’m reminded of what I already know, not just what I don’t. I recall the tidbits, like Ronda riding a mechanical bull, the fact that Susan was a world-class champion diver, and that Constance was the first time-travel author whose books stuck with me.
There’s one book in particular that I adored but can’t remember the title, so if anyone knows it, please let me know! I laughed so hard at the beginning of this novel – Connie had a Molly McGuire rebel blasted from a bombing in Ireland who wound up on a modern-day airplane via time travel, and all the woman knew when she ‘woke up’ was that she was in the sky and some voice (she thinks that the captain of the plane is God since she hears him but can’t see him) said that they were ‘going down’. Being a good Irish Catholic, albeit an insurgent, she crosses herself and prepares to meet her fate in Hell. I would love to read that book again!
Back to Atlanta. I recall the tidbits, that Flannery lived in Ireland, that Ronda was a rodeo queen and Susan a diver. I reflect on their books. Then when I’m fortunate, I get to spend time chatting writing with them, and I get a peek inside their minds, discover how they build their worlds (there are even workshops now and then on world-building), and I’m primed for diving into the depths of my own mind afterwards. So by the time I’ve fallen in love with stories of time travel, I’m ready to suspend my disbelief for Ronda’s werewolf heroes, and even though I am not writing paranormal when I meet these women, they spark an interest that catches fire once I’m alone with my own ideas.
I meet other writers at conferences, like Christine, who can talk about anything and everything, a woman knowledgeable on so many subjects that I could listen to her for hours once she opens up. She’s into books by Christine Feehan, and not wanting to be a dumbass when I talk with X, I bone up a bit on authors like Feehan…and then I’m into the world-building again, because as I read I’m learning the process.
Writing is a process. Romances are not formulaic—they are well-constructed processes, and even if I’m reading a genre I don’t normally read, I can enjoy the story while at the same time absorbing how an author writes. Reading is a pleasure – writing can be, but most of the time it’s hard work and discovery. Meeting authors I admire at conferences energizes me and connects me to the whole writing process. Knowing that Susan, a prolific writer of amazing talent, could have wall-papered a room with rejection letters, hearing that Ronda, a woman of amazing discipline and dedication has had her share of down times as well as the highs is a validation that I’m not alone, that others before me have struggled and succeeded.
It takes time for some ideas to germinate – it takes planting the thought, weeding out what doesn’t work, and nurturing the idea until it blossoms. Finding a critique partner like Christine or Alex enriches me, because I listen and learn and use what I need for my own writing, and I’m better able to critique them if I know the process by which they write.
Authors like Ronda prepare me for being a critique partner for Alex, whose Emerald Ice just blew me away.
Conferences aren’t just for those who attend workshops. Sometimes they’re for people like me who get one-on-one education listening to Ronda Thompson or rooming with Alex Fleming. They’re for writers who like books, writers who stand in line for hours just to get signed books by a favorite author. It’s not the money involved by picking up free books – it’s solidifying a connection to another writer, someone we admire who has fought the fight and come out a winner.
So thanks to the authors and the sexy beasts they birth and develop.
Atlanta Highlights 3: Let's Talk
It’s not all Greek to me…not since I've met these two - every time I talk to them I walk away having learned or understood something. Tori Carrington is comprised of husband and wife team Tony & Lori Karayianni, and two finer people can’t be found. These two are personable, funny, warm, sexy, & delightfully REAL, just like their books. I had the good fortune to speak with them in person in Atlanta for a few minutes. After the initial hugs & hellos, I had to ask: Why veer from the romances to the Sophie books, and Lori’s response was so that they could keep in touch with their family better. He’s Greek, and she’s a lot like me, white woman who loves her ethnicities (especially her husband). Plus, it’s just a good business plan not to put all one's books in one basket.
First time I ‘met’ them was at an eHarlequin chat about 2 years ago. They’d just sold their first Sophie book and had purchased the van and were about to embark on traveling their ‘neck of the woods’, as we say here. They’ve written several books for Blaze, but they’ve also branched into a chick-lit style series for Forge/Tor featuring heroine Sophie Metropolis, and I wound up with two hardback books (color my flat azz happy), the 1st, named for the character and the 2nd, Dirty Laundry. If you have the time, check out the website named for Sophie, http://www.sofiemetro.com/. You’ll find their travel blog, recipes, excerpts, and plenty to entertain you. Have to blog about the Plot Monkeys
, especially Leslie, if I may. They are all marvelous writers, and they have a blog that is a must-read for me. One of Leslie’s posts had me in tears from laughing so hard. I can’t link you directly, but go to this page and down to the July 10th post called Another Bad Day For Leslie. If you aren’t laughing long before the end, you’ve fallen prey to something awful. Anyway, the Plot Monkeys had a terrific bookmark in the Goody Room and they were signing books in Atlanta when they weren’t holed up in their connecting rooms plotting and planning their next adventures. I wanted to meet Carly Phillips and snag a copy of Cross My Heart but didn’t manage to make it to the signing. Rats. I enter like every contest she has and never even come CLOSE to winning anything – I love her books.
I DID, however, receive a wonderful present from Alex - the tee-shirt at left, advertising my first mainstream with Samhain, Leaving Mama. Color me happy on that one - it's pretty, it's bright, and it's mine, all mine.
As for ‘goody room’ goodies, for the writers who didn’t make it to Atlanta…there were fewer bookmarks than I’ve ever seen at one of these. There were maybe 4 book thongs, including mine & Alex’s – one of those (can't remember who had them) was a nice, braided thread and one was a cotton cord (ours were a fishing line type substance – can’t think of the term, but Alex will know and maybe post). Several people had candy or chocolate of some sort stapled to their bookmarks. Publicist Nancy Berland, who always has unusual and attractive magnets, had big, hard plastic, colorful blue stars with her logo (magnets). Bettina Krahn gave away fold-up hairbrushes, great for traveling. Then there were a few pamphlets of excerpts, a deck of cards, and the occasional pen or magnet, but few of those and even fewer keychains. [The Passionate Ink luncheon sported little goody bags for everyone, though, and we each got a print copy of at least one book and at least one or two copies of excerpts or books on CD, which I thought was a pretty kewl idea.]Must mention that I met the fabulous editor-in-chief of Samhain, CRISSY!!! She's a doll. Savvy, cute, brilliant...not enough good words to describe this woman. I never did make it to her room for the banana mudslides she offered...just ran out of time, but it would have been nice.
Also had a few conversations with publicst & promotions queen Carla Arpin of TOOT Books - no telling how often we bugged her. Since she couldn't make it to Atlanta to meet with us, Alex and I phoned her 'a time or two' and had her phone us. Then when Linnea Sinclair won her Rita, the phone lines were really burnin' up! CONGRATULATIONS, LINNEA!!!!!!
Then there are others. Some people have no manners. I wasn't going to say anything about the rude behavior of some women at the publisher's signings, where authors sit until they have cramped fingers, autographing books for free, but...there was one cow there who trampled anyone in her way as she played snatch & grab for books. She plowed into Alex, who had 2 cracked ribs, and said move it...and when Alex couldn't because she was wedged between others, this woman literally placed her fists against Alex's ribs and moved her aside. The same woman nearly knocked Dee down, and Dee was on a walker! Whoever this heifer is, I hope the free books were worth whatever karmic price her soul paid for her inconsiderate behavior. I mean that is just wrong on so many levels. Maybe we should have a workshop or two on ETIQUETTE?
Back to the good stuff. I must brag about the Passionate Ink group on today’s blog. Passionate Ink began when the erotic romance writers who belonged to RWA felt that they needed their own special chapter. Sylvia Day sent out a call, and within a matter of days, not weeks, the organization was well over 200 members, and it has practically doubled in size and is still growing. Last year we formed – this year the group set the benchmark for support, friendship, sharing of knowledge, and professionalism.
Our luncheon at the Georgia Aquarium’s Oceans Ballroom was literally the highlight of my attendance experience. The Passionate Plume awards were given (congratulations to all the winners, while I'm at it - and a special shout-out to fellow critique partner Summer Devon), along with other acknowledgements; speakers included a fabulous reviewer whose name escapes me - but stick around and I'll post it as soon as the brain fart ends, agent Roberta Brown, and editor in chief of Ellora’s Cave, Raelene Gorlinksy. [Here is another link to help acquaint you with Raelene, for those who didn’t know this side of her.] There were MANY gift baskets raffled off - several that we were all drooling over. Oh, and PI now has its own distinctive mixed drink called Banana Passion that was also drool-worthy. Great taste.
Before our first speaker was done with her talk, every male waiter serving us was filled with the realization that women DO indeed love men, and we love writing about them, characterizing them, talking about their minds and bodies, and leaving nothing unexplored. Waiters were turning beet red at first, after the word ‘cock’ was first uttered, and then pink with pleasure – it was obvious that the frank language and nature of our business was a turn-on and a pleasant shock to their system. Women actually love us? And they write about us so frankly? Wow.
As an aside, I heard that since the wait staff at the luncheon weren't allowed to accept gratuities, one gentlemen did say in lieu of the tip he was offered that he'd really appreciate it if he could just take one of our books (books in the goody bags, remember) to his sister, who loved erotic romance. Uh, he got a gift bag that was left over. I thought that was kewl.
The Wolfgang Puck-orchestrated meal? When's the last time you saw a crowd of women taking photos of their food? From baby spinach salad to a divine stuffed (hell, I can't even REMEMBER now if it was chicken or pork, it was so good) entree to a delicate chocolate dessert, the lenses were whooshing. Each plate was pure art.
I know that it’s not wise to burn bridges, so I won’t elaborate, but I will say this – the Passionate Inkers are by far the best group within RWA to which I’ve belonged.
I won a tee-shirt from Amie Stewart not long before I left for Atlanta, before I forget, and let me tell you, I almost got mauled by a couple of erotic romance authors at the Spice signing when I wore it - lol.
I was fortunate enough to be seated next to the lovely Kendra Clark (who later rode from the PI luncheon back to the hotel in the taxi with me and Alex). Our seats during the soiree faced the magnificent aquarium, where the great white Beluga whales swam and played. That alone was worth the price of admission. [And Kelly, bless her heart, bought me a stuffed animal...cutest white Beluga whale, and I cuddled "Belle" in Atlanta once the lights were out.]
My EC editor NICK CONRAD was up for agent of the year with the PASIC awards - whoo-hoo, Nick! Quite an honor even to be nominated. Oh, and Raelene, editor-in-chief was at the conference, of course, looking smashing, as always. That woman can own a hat, and I mean own it.
For those of you wondering about lines, who is buying what, etc...I saw a LOT of interest in YA - there were at least 2 workshops on it by PC Cast (her daughter hosted one with her) plus another one I didn't hear anything about, but...I heard Cast's was really good. There were few sweet romances, meaning contemporary category, represented in the workshops as well as in the free books from publishers. There were quiet a few historicals, despite the 'word' that historicals are 'dying' (no, they're not - they're just slumbering a bit). Chick lit was so-so, not too much, not as much as I've seen in the past. Kick-ass heroines were doing great, not in the Bombshell way...but within the detective, PI, romantic-suspense, and sheer mystery ways. The strong suits playing this year seemed to be (IMO) romantic suspense, erotic romance, and mainstream, with quite a lot of paranormal and fantasy.
I rode in the same Metro Link bus back to the airport with Sylvia Day, who is as charming as she is intelligent. She told me that Renee Luke was to be commended on pulling together that PI luncheon we experienced, so kudos to Renee! That was the best author luncheon I’ve ever attended. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I have a chat at Joyfully Reviewed with other Samhain authors in...oh...less than 4 hours? Haven't been to sleep yet, so I'd better catch some shut eye. Here’s the link to attend if you're interested - lots of excerpts and prizes, not to mention chatting with some terrific authors.
Atlanta Highlights Part Deux: Bones, Crabs, & Devils
No, not THAT kind of crabs! Shame on you. I knew most of you would bypass the ‘bones’ and jump on the crab, so I’ll blog the crab first…but it does come with one type of Bones.
X treated me to a fabulous dinner at Bones Steak & Seafood Restaurant in Atlanta last Tuesday evening. She had the crab cakes but shared a bite. Lex and I had the Alaskan King Crab legs – and OMG, talk about huge. Then there was this delicious red wine from Chile. I *think* it was Cousiño-Macul.
Bones is located at 3130 Piedmont Road Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia 30305, and I HIGHLY recommend the food and atmosphere…and not just the dining area. Go to the loo while you’re there (where else can one go but the south to find a lavatory and a commode in the same ‘water closet’???).
While it didn’t come from Bones, I posted a Crab Cakes recipe over on the recipe blog, for anyone who is interested.
Now for the ‘other’ bones. One workshop I attended was called Drowned Dames, Mauled Men, & Crispy Critters, and the speaker, Jeanne Adams, was brilliant. I found out the process from a body’s discovery to morgue and from there what ‘could’ happen during an autopsy or cremation. I’m talking Y incisions to the cement used in caskets. It was quite interesting. If you ever get the chance to hear Jeanne speak, take it – she’s fabulous. I can’t find a link to her at present – but she looks to be in her 30’s-40-s, tall, blonde, lovely, and has had 12 yrs or more working for morticians and has all this fascinating information and the ability to convey it. I’d love to have spent more time listening to her.
Murder, intrigue, women in jeopardy stories, romantic suspense – these are huge now. Got to meet Cherry Adair again (she’s lost weight – almost didn’t recognize her – but she looks terrific). I always enjoy seeing Cherry. Met her partner in crime and can’t for the life of me remember the writer’s name, but it’ll come to me…got a book signed by them both. My apologies now to this woman's fans - I'll think of her name (unless you beat me to it and send it to me) and post it later on.Didn’t even know Bump In the Night existed until last Saturday, but I got a book signed by all 4 authors in the anthology – Nora Roberts (as JD Robb), Mary Blaney, the fabulous Ruth Ryan Langan, and an author I’ve admired for ages…Mary Kay McComas. I was so thrilled to meet them all at once and get that book – thought I’d read it on the return trip home but got distracted by hunger and sleep. (I did manage to dip into Mary Blaney’s “Poppy’s Coin” a bit before we took off, though, and I can’t wait to read that one!)
While I’m hawking Nora & friends, as if they need my input, have you seen “the book store”, Turn The Page? They have a book signing I’d love to attend coming up in October. *sigh* IF ONLY. Nora, Dennis Lehane, & Michelle Monkou will be signing.Picked up Nora's Angels Fall while I was there - this one looks intriguing. Read an excerpt. Or view the Angels Fall TV Commercial. What I'm sure many of us are waiting for is the release of the first book in her new vampire (you read that correctly - Nora writing a rather 'hot' vampire) trilogy. This one is Morrigan's Crossing and should be in stores on August 29th.And that sort of leads me into the 'devils' bit of this blog. MANY books on witches, vampires, weres, and other chilling characters of demonic type still seem to be going strong. Nocturne, of course, one of the newest lines at Harlequin, features the paranormal - but even lines like Silhouette Intimate Moments, Spice, and others are including para' elements. Used to be that you could only submit a para manuscript to certain publishers, but it's pretty much across the board from what I could see in Atlanta and by reading publishers' guidelines prior to the trip.Thinking of Bump In the Night, I recall several anthologies making the rounds in the free books that were signed. One of them was Berkley's Mysteria, with authors Mary Janice Davidson, Susan Grant, PC Cast, and Gena Showwalter. Someone (don't recall who, but I only read it yesterday) said that these stories have been published before but that they've been revised under new titles. I haven't read the 'orignals' myself - not sure how I'd feel, though, if I'd actually purchased a 'new' book that had already lived a shelf life under a different name. How do the rest of you feel about that? Seems MIRA did that (maybe they still do - I dunno because I haven't purchased one in a long time) and caught flack for it by readers. I did see, when visiting Nora's website, that she has a disclaimer of sorts for readers - the NR in the upper right corner of her books indicates first-run editions.Anyway, the sight of all these demonic heroes and heroines was intriguing. Used to be only the villians possessed such powers, and now literature and movies are blurring the lines as to what/who is heroic, which is fine. Just intrigues me and tickles me that there's such a demand for this form. I guess what is in the back of my mind is that writers are given license to do so much more than they were even ten years ago. Maybe we're blurring the lines (there's that phrase again) between genres, which only enriches our fiction. I've heard writers of specific genres offer catty comments as to "that's not really science fiction if it has romance", or "it's not really romance if it has erotic elements", and...well, bullshit. Sounds to me like somebody feels threatened, but what do I know?More in a day or so.