Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Win a TMX Elmo




The minute I heard about TMX Elmo, I knew he would be the perfect raffle item to help raise money for Freedom House, a shelter for battered women. It's an organization that does important things in the lives of desperate women. I've been a sexual assault first responder volunteer for Freedom House since May and I'm deeply touched by their kindness, understanding and dedication to helping others. But Freedom House is supported totally by grants and charitable contributions. Because of the lack of funding, needy women are falling through the cracks. I wanted to do what I could to help, hence, the raffle.

Just one problem. How was I going to get my hands on the hottest toy of the year? It started with a trip to Wal-mart, Target and Toys R Us on the day after TMX Elmo was released. Sold out. I went to three more Wal-marts in another town and two more Targets. No Elmo. Sigh. Got online. Nobody was selling Elmo online. Talked to store managers. They assured me that yes, they were getting more Elmos.


My closest Wal-mart told me they stocked the shelves at midnight and if I came in then I'd have a better chance. Just one problem. They couldn't tell me what day. So every night at midnight, out of the pjs and into the blue jeans I went. This went on for two weeks.

One night, I decided to blow off the Wal-mart trek. Went the next night instead.
"Oh," says the toy department clerk. "Elmo came in last night and he was gone in under ten minutes." Grrr.

Back to talk to the manager. She said they decided midnight Elmo was unfair--no kidding--and they're going to be goind 6 a.m. Elmo because it was more fair. To who? Bakers? Being so not a morning person, this is when I said, "Freedom House, you're on your own."

Then three days later, I was busying writing away when hubby comes into my office dancing the cha-cha. "I got two Elmos," he sings.

"What? How? Who did you sleep with?"

"Wouldn't you like to know?"

"No particularly, just give me the Elmos."

He never would tell me where or how he got them since I said I didn't want to know. I'm terrified to press in case he'll tell me he got them on e-bay for $200 a piece. But here's the deal. Now I have Elmo in hand and he's up for grabs. If you'd like to buy a raffle ticket, send $1.00 per chance along with an index card with your name, addy, e-mail addy and phone number to:

Lori Wilde
PO Box 31
Weatherford, Tx. 76086

Your information will be held strictly confidential. Raffle drawing will be held on Dec. 10th. and Elmo expess shipped to you just in time for Christmas.

So let's hear it. Have you ever done something crazy to get your hands on a hot Christmas toy?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And the Winners are ...

As promised in the Hero Shots blog, I’ve drawn the names for the winners of advance reading copies of TWILIGHT MAGIC!

 

Congrats to Bonnie and Crystal!

 

Crystal, I need your email address! You can reach me at sharianton@wi.rr.com

 

 

 

Friday, October 20, 2006

Project Drama

Late this summer I discovered Project Runway. I don't know why I am always late to discover wonderful things, but there it is. This week was the Project Runway Finale, the show where the final four designers- Michael, Laura, Uli, and Jeffrey - presented their collections and the winner was selected.

They were lovely, the best of what any of the designers had done thus far (except for Michael - he'd done better in the other competitions).

Here are samples from each.

This was one of Michael's dresses. I liked it. It looked comfortable.





I loved this one of Laura's. It doesn't photograph well, but it was a sheer lace dress, with tight fitting black pants underneath.













This outfit of Uli's made me gasp. It looked like an evening dress but in the middle of the runway, the model took off the skirt and it was a bikini!












And here is one of Jeffrey's, a very innovative dress.








I won't tell you who won, in case you want to see it on Bravo. They are repeating the last episodes over and over.

This show was not about fashion, but about the designers, and it wasn't really about their life stories or their work, but about their personalities and their interactions with each other. Because it was a competition, conflict was built in--they all wanted to win. And because they spent so much time together, they became a bit like a family. Friendships and rivalries developed and complex relationships. The true story was in the characters, and, in that way, Project Runway was not that much different than our books. It is the interaction among characters that really grabs the reader, I believe.

But what do you think? Is it the characters that make you love the story? Or what we call the external plot - whatever it is that is happening in the story?

And did you watch Project Runway and love it like I did? Who was your favorite character? Mine was Laura. She had class.

Cheers!
Diane

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sex!

Now that I have your attention--lol, I just want to say thank you. As some of you may know, I sold my last two Warner books based on a 25 word high concept pitch--and got interest from eight movie production companies! I'm still waiting with bated breath to see if anyone is going to offer a movie option for There Goes the Bride, but even if it doesn't happen, just to get that much interest told me I was onto something. I wrote a workbook on how to write a high concept and the response from authors has been overwhelming. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has purchased a workbook. You guys are the greatest and my deepest hope is that the workbook will inspire high concept books for all of you. I'm almost out of copies, and because of my schedule it will be some time before the second edition comes out. You can order your copy @ www.loriwild.com while supplies last.

For the readers out there, here's a sneak peek at There Goes the Bride, the book that caused all the ruckus.



Legend claims this antique Irish wedding veil
can grant your heart’s deepest desire.
But be careful what you wish for…

THERE GOES THE BRIDE

The moment Texas socialite Delaney Cartwright touches her veil, she knows she can’t go through with her wedding. And it’s not just because she envisioned a stranger’s dark eyes and irresistible lips the second her fingers touched lace. But she can’t simply call it off. This wedding to her nice, predictable childhood friend is the social event of the season (not to mention her mother would freak). So she hatches an escape plan: she’ll hire her own kidnapper. How hard could it be? After all, she already had a practice run when she abducted her fiancé for a night of romance. Okay, so she accidentally grabbed the wrong man. It wasn’t her fault Detective Nick Vinetti with the sizzling and oddly familiar eyes and crossed her path—and looked game for all kinds of sexy fun. Now, with an altar to avoid and a cop to dream on, this runaway bride is feeling for real—and hoping a little Irish magic will unveil the true destiny of her heart.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Shari's take on the Hero Shot

We've talked a lot about good looking men on this blog! Thanks to all who've posted pictures! They sure do brighten a day, don't they?

I have some pictures for you, too, but in a slightly different context. As you'll see in a moment, I'm an unapologetic Lord of the Rings fan. I've read all of the books a few times, and was in love with Aragorn long before Viggo Mortensen brought him to life (spectacularly) in the movies.

Because he's everything a hero should be. Someone willing to face up to the challenge presented to him and emerge victorious. And in my humble opinion, there are at least three places in the romance novel that require a close-up view that I've come to call the Hero Shot.

One is his introduction. In LOTR we meet the hero long before the heroine emerges, which is necessary to the story. In my books, I like to do a Hero Shot from the heroine's point of view, see what she sees, which is usually yummy.



Ah, here he is. Mysterious, in the shadows, intriguing! Check out that strong chin. And he's playing with fire. Aren't you curious enough to want him to lift the chin so you can see the eyes? Oh, yes, he has gorgeous eyes.

The second "must" Hero Shot is during the love scene.



This shot makes my heart go pitter pat. There's something about their lips being a whisper apart (anticipation?) that's oh so romantic. Now don't you just know our hero is going to do his utmost to satisfy his lady? Of course he is.

The last Hero Shot is, of course, our hero as hero, facing the challenge. Naturally, because I write medieval historical romance, several of my heroes have been known to draw a sword in defense of all that matters. Here Aragorn leads an army in what is sure to be the final battle for Middle Earth.



It won't be an easy fight, but you know in your heart he can't lose!

Want more? Go to www.theonering.com and peruse the Gallery. A lovely way to spend an hour, or more. And after you're done, take a slide over to www.sharianton.com and enter the contest to celebrate the December 2006 release of TWILIGHT MAGIC, in which I hope I gave Darian some great Hero Shots.

Have a favorite Hero Shot? Tell us about it! On Oct. 22nd I'll choose 2 readers from those who comment to receive an advanced reading copy of TWILIGHT MAGIC.

Shari Anton
www.sharianton.com
TWILIGHT MAGIC, Book 2 in the Magic trilogy, Dec. 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006

From Sarah McKerrigan...

I don't often stand on a soapbox, but current events have spurred me to be a little more serious than usual this month and speak my piece.
 
As a writer of medievals, I may be a little more knowledgeable about the government of the Middle Ages than the average person.  But with recent changes on Capitol Hill, soon we may ALL become chillingly familiar with the politics of the past.  There's a reason they call it the Dark Ages.  Let me give you some background...
 
In the 13th century, English barons decided the King was becoming too all-powerful, able to imprison and execute those who disagreed with him on a whim, so they drafted papers limiting his power and determining that a king was not above the law.  These documents made up the Magna Carta, which was signed in 1215.  Of particular significance is Clause 39, which states: “No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised [have property taken] or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor shall we go or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”  The Magna Carta served as the foundation for Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and due process, and is the cornerstone of our Constitution.
 
Here’s the bad news...
As incredible as it sounds, the “torture bill” (HR 6166 and S 3930) that was just approved by Congress suspends those rights!  Our President now has the authority to imprison anyone he chooses, without charges and without a right to trial, indefinitely.  I’m not kidding.  Look it up.  I don’t know about you, but as big a fan as I am of all things medieval, I have no desire to return to the oppression of the feudal system.
 
What can we do to restore our rights?  Find out how your Congressmen voted here:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2006/roll491.xml
and here:
http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00259.
If they voted to take away your rights, vote them out of office in November.  It doesn’t matter where you stand on the political spectrum.  This is a non-partisan issue.  These are our personal rights as Americans, guaranteed by our Founding Fathers, and our Congressmen are supposed to be our civil servants, not our masters.
 
There's my two pence.  I hope you find it enlightening, and I hope to be able to write something a bit more uplifting next month.  May you regain your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!
 
Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER
Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART
Coming for you October 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Feed The Muse

As I sit here typing this, friendly faithful Reader, I am struck by a persistent thought.

Damn. I smell good.

No, don't run away screaming. It's perfectly to the point, I assure you. You see, we who live by the whims of the Muse have to learn to feed Her Gracious Highness Who Provides The Stories. Writers are notorious for courting their Muses--I believe Schiller used to whiff rotting apples in his desk drawer to get the creative juices flowing, and he wasn't the first or the last to do something so apparently crazy.

One of the best books on the creative process I've ever come across is Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Cameron makes a very valid point (one of the many) when she remarks that to get creative output one must have creative input. She calls it "filling the well."

I call it "feeding the HarpyMuse."

My own sources of creative food are wide and varied. I like yarns--the softer and richer to knit with, the better. I also like new kinds of food. (I had a sushi craving not too long ago that spawned a short story.) Running at the track produces its own welter of impressions and plotlines, all sorted out with the Muse's usual thorough sloppiness and thrown into the grinder. Books? You betcha. Throw everything in and stir vigorously.

Bubble, bubble, toil and plot arc.

Then there's perfume. Hence the thought at the beginning of this post.

I love smellies. I adore smellies. Scent may well be the most basic of human senses (though I'd make a good case for touch,) capable of transporting one into memory with the force of a sledgehammer. Scent has an immediacy, a basic force, that can take me out of whatever I'm doing and throw me wholesale into the past.

Wet, burning leaves? My hands begin to tingle with the thought of bloody blisters from a rake in my childhood. Sausage frying? It's Sunday at my Nana's house. Honeysuckle? Nana and Papa's back porch. Jergens hand lotion? My mother coming home tired after a shift at the hospital. Drakkar Noir? My first boyfriend, a suckerpunch to the gut of desire and fear laced with gasoline. Vanilla car freshener? The last time I made out in the front seat of Miek's car in junior high. Cinnamon rolls? Maria saying, "Eat, bambina, eat. Made special for you," in her gravelly Sicilian-laced voice.

The personal geography of scent haunts me. The world can be a minefield of smells--and it can also be a garden.

I'm currently addicted to
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents. (Sadly, Shiseido's Feminitie du Bois went out of production or something, I can't get it anywhere.) It's ridiculous. I'm hooked. They send free "imps"--little samples of fragrances--with each order, and you can make orders of imps for some illegally-low price. I tear into each package as it arrives with trembling fingers and a mouth filling with saliva. Today in my mailbox it was Djinn (it smells good on someone in the house) and a scent called Blood Countess, which I spread on my wrists and throat-pulse as soon as I leapt out of the shower after a hard workout. Now I'm whiffing myself (pardon the expression) at every opportunity.

Hungarian lilac. Opium. A hint of candy and old fustiness, like cameos kept in rotting lace by a very old crone whose hands have begun to fill out again, losing their withered claws, growing plump as she eyes her newest maid.

You see? Pure Muse crack. It's mainlining Muse food.

Take care to feed your Muse. If she gets thin and hungry the stories will grow thin and hungry too. There is no better argument for a sensual life than the creative arts. Buy some velvet. Listen to that music that makes your head spin. Go to the junk store and finger all the old lace, touch all the antique hats.

Or something. Whatever floats your boat. Whatever turns your Muse on.

Trust me, the reward is exquisite.

Damn.

I smell good.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Do You Want Your Name in My Next Book?

Okay, here’s the challenge of the day. We need a series title for my Goblet of Eternal Youth books. And we need it this week. Whoever submits the winning title will get a nice, big mention in the front of my November 07 book and will get an autographed copy of the ARC for my November book, MUST LOVE DRAGONS. The series title needs to be SHORT and PUNCHY. The books are supposed to be funny, fast-paced, a little outrageous, and full of irreverent leaders of hell, bad ass women, hot guys and plenty of good sex.

Some key aspects that could be included in the series title: The Goblet of Eternal Youth, hell, Satan, fire, bad boys, women with attitude, danger, adventure, humor, death, Underworld, Otherworld, immortality… um… anyone who has read them, feel free to jump in here…

I will post below the titles and cover blurbs for the first three books in the series to see if they inspire. I am desperate for help, so don’t hold back! Brainstorm away!!!

DATE ME, BABY, ONE MORE TIME read an excerpt

IF YOU THINK LIFE IS COMPLICATED, TRY IMMORTALITY. Justine Bennett is cursing her life. She’s the Guardian of the Goblet of Eternal Youth, she hasn’t left the house in ages, and it’s been over 200 years since she’s had sex. Oh, and the Goblet has shape shifted into an espresso machine. Not exactly the stuff grand destiny is made of…

Derek LaValle is worried. Due to a family curse, he’ll be dead in the space of a week unless he finds the Guardian of the Goblet of Eternal Youth and beheads her. Which wouldn’t be a problem if she wasn’t so sexy, smart… and ready to behead him right back.

MUST LOVE DRAGONS, read an excerpt

Single Female Dragon seeks love and good times in the big city.
Theresa Nichols is a red-blooded young woman—trapped in a red-hot dragon’s body. Then the chance for a real-live date with her cyber boy toy Zeke sends her running to Satan to strike a deal. After all, when you’ve gone without sex for over two hundred years, a night of good lovin’ is worth your eternal soul, right?

Single Male, ex-Dragon Slayer, seeks fiery sex goddess.
Zeke Siccardi is a private detective trying to live a normal life—and outrun his dragon-slaying past. Not easy to do when his sexy online paramour turns out to be a dragon with a contract out on her life. Now Zeke has to protect a woman he was born to kill. But with the love of a fire-breathing sexpot, how hard could it be?

HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME HOT

Her heart may be in the right place…but her soul belongs to Satan.

Being Satan’s most infamous minion is the only life Becca Gibbs has ever known. But now she’s restless, sick and tired of stealing souls, and ready to break free on her own. Unfortunately, this gig isn’t like any other job. Its first rule is: Walk out on the Devil—and kiss your life good-bye.
He’s a man with a mission. Too bad it’s impossible.

Nick Rawlings is the last of the Markku, a race of fighters that broke from Hell to pull for the good. When his sister goes missing, and her ransom is the death of Satan, Nick’s more than willing to take on the fight. The first step? Getting the devil’s sexy right-hand helper on his side. The second? Well, if he can take his eyes—and hands—off of her, he’s sure he’ll think of it…

Thanks again!

Stephanie Rowe
www.stephanierowe.com

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Genre Friction by Diana Holquist

When people ask what I write, I smile real big and say, “chic-lit paranormal romance novels.”

They never smile back.

See, if they’re chic lit fans, they get all turned off by the romance part. And if they’re into paranormal, the chic-lit stuff goes down hard—too light and fluffy and pink. And if they’re into romance, they’re sick to death of all those high-heeled shoes and vampires (and vampires in high-heeled shoes) and just wanna-good-love-story-for-heaven’s-sakes-why-can’t-anyone-just-write-a-decent-love-story-between-a-normal-man-and-a-normal-woman-anymore…?

Then there are the people who read my book and admit sheepishly, “I was surprised that it was, you know, good. I don’t usually read this kind of thing.”

This kind of thing? A chic-lit paranormal romance novel about psychic gypsies? No probably not…

But what they really mean is that they don’t read anything but “literary” fiction. That’s the genre of books that are well-written but kind of boring and often lost in the middle and mostly pretty sad and depressing.

Oops, there I go, genre bashing.

Then, let’s talk about sex, baby. What’s romantic and what’s erotic and what’s flat-out porn? How do you know the difference?

Wait. Forget about it. Let’s definitely NOT talk about sex.

I know I can’t please all of the people all of the time. But I wonder, what do you all think of genres? Do you read in only one genre? Do you like your books to stick to only one genre? What do you wish you saw more of? Less of? What genre do you wish existed that doesn’t yet?

Happy October!

--Diana
http://www.dianaholquist.com

Monday, October 02, 2006

Contest! by Diane Perkins

I also blog on the Risky Regency Blog, where we chat about Regency Romances and all things Regency, and I just had to tell you all about a contest the Riskies are running.

The prize? One of two 10th Anniversary Editions of A&E's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!

Enter by commenting on the Risky Regency blog posts Monday (Oct 2) thru Saturday (Oct 7). Up to six chances to win!

Click here for contest details. Visit A&E's Store to learn more about the prizes. Come visit the Riskies, but come back to see the Warner Women, too.
Cheers,
Diane

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Elizabeth Wonders if Blondes Really Are More Fun

So, you may have heard that there’s a new James Bond movie coming out with a new Bond—Daniel Craig. This may not excitement you, but in the Hoyt household it is cause for general rejoicing. Bond movies are one of the few theater-going experiences my husband and I can both agree on—he likes the blowing stuff up, I like the eye candy. But apparently there is a controversy surrounding the casting choice of Mr. Craig because he is *gasp* BLOND. Everyone knows Bond is a brunette.

Actually this kerfluffle reminds me of a heated debate I had in first grade with my bestest friend, Heather, re: the correct color of Cinderella’s hair. Heather was going with the Disney version (blond,) I was advocating the Rogers and Hammerstein made for TV movie starring a very young Lesley Anne Warren (brunette.) My reasoning was that a live Cinderella trumped a cartoon Cinderella. Even now, the simple logic of my six-year-old argument takes my breath away.

But back to Bond.

Personally, I have no problem with the new Bond. I saw Daniel Craig in LAYER CAKE and MUNICH, both of which were good, if very bloody films. I particularly admired his work in MUNICH, even though I was somewhat distracted by his co-star, Eric Bana, who was nude in his first scene. Turns out nudity is a very good look for Mr. Bana.

But back to Mr. Craig. I wonder, though, if the whole Bond-can’t-be-blond thing is related to the idea that romance heroes should only be brunettes. Have you heard of that idea? I’ve actually been told that blond heroes on covers don’t sell as well as the more traditional tall, dark, and handsome guy. What do you think? Would you go for a non-brunette hero? Or should we romance writers stick with dark haired heroes?

Cheers!
Elizabeth
http://www.elizabethhoyt.com/