Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

I've never in my life gone shopping on the Thursday after Thanksgiving. I never saw the appeal of having my arms ripped off by an angry mob simply to fight over consumer products for a few dollars off.

Today, in the wee hours of the morning, all that changed.


My husband and I who have, for most of our lives, been nightshift workers, don't normally go to bed until 2 a.m. (We don't have kids if you're wondering how we've never had to break the habit.) This morning, instead of going to bed at our usual time, I looked over at my husband and said, "You wanna go to Walmart?" (We live in a small town and Walmart is about the only place to shop.)

The trip was initially supposed to be for Nyquil to vanquish the cold I've been battling, but once we got to the store and saw all the pallets stocked with bargains, I was in. At 2 a.m. there weren't many shoppers around yet. We got two carts loaded up, then spent the next three hours wandering around the store watching as people began to filter in By 5 a.m. the store was packed but we were the second cart in line to check out.

Actually, the whole experience was quite painless. (If you don't count spending three hours wandering around the store with a cold.) I only saw one lady act like an ass. Most people were tolerant and I even saw an act of kindness where one person who'd bought a TV just because it was a good buy, give it to someone who was terribly disappointed because all the TV's were in the carts of people who got there long before five.

We did get some excellent buys and I hope the people on my list will enjoy their gifts.

So how about you? Do you reguarly go shopping on Blakc Friday? Did you go out today? How were the crowds in your area? What makes you shop on this day? Do you consider the crowds worth the bargains? Have you seen people act terrible? Have you seen acts of kindness?

Have a great Black Friday!

Lori

Monday, November 20, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

In keeping with the spirit of Diane's wonderful post, I'd also like to reflect a bit on the things I'm thankful for. A happy marriage to my very own knight in shining armor, my three healthy, beautiful children. (Who knew two teens and a pre-teen could be so much fun?) My mom and dad who live right across the street, and who are a constant blessing in my life. My two little dogs who remind me everyday to live for the moment and love unconditionally. The success of my books, so far, and the readers who have spent their hard earned money buying them.

It's more than I had ever hoped for.

When I first began this journey, I'd spend too many hours googling myself, hungry for reviews. But writing isn't about reviews. At least, it isn't for me. It's about sharing my stories with people who enjoy going there with me, who love my characters as much as I do. Sure, there are critics. We can't please everyone. But I've been fortunate enough to have some of the most wonderful readers any author could ask for. My success has become all the more satisfying because I can share it with them. So, I'd like to send a very special thank you to my favorite ladies, or as we affectionately call ourselves, The Trollops. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you for your unending support, for always making me laugh, and for going there with me. I count each of you, a blessing.

What are some things you're thankful for?

Have a safe and peaceful holiday,
Paula Quinn
Lord Of Seduction
Dec. 2006

Thank You Readers by Diane Perkins

Thank You, Readers!

In honor of our Thanksgiving Day holiday, I just want to say a public Thank You to all our readers.

There is a special joy in hearing from readers who say they enjoyed my books. I still marvel at those readers to take the time to tell me details that they loved, lines that I had written or a certain story element. You know who you are. I thank you!

Thank you also to the readers who have not written to me. If you have purchased my book and like it enough to buy another one by me, I am happy! You are what make it possible for me to write books, because, without the profit your dollars provide, the publishers would not publish any books.

As a matter of fact, thank you to all readers of books! These days we have so many other ways of entertaining ourselves (reading blogs, for example) that there might not be as much time spent reading books. So thank you for every instance in which you pick up a book and get lost in a story, or a biography, or any kind of book!

My friend Julie always says that the reader participates in the story by picturing the story in his or her mind, by feeling the emotions conveyed in the story. You readers out there are in partnership with us authors. You are an integral part of what we do. Purchasing the books might earn us money and keep food on the table, but it is more than that. When you sit down to read a book, your mind brings the story to life and your emotions bring meaning to what we do.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

What other demands or entertainments keep you from reading books?
What makes you pick up a book instead of watching TV, surfing the Net, playing video games, etc?

Cheers!
Diane

Saturday, November 18, 2006

DEFENDING ROMANCE

Over the years I've developed a thick skin when it comes to the remarks people make when they discover I'm a romance writer.  Some remarks are funny, some are lewd, and some are just downright rude! 

But I always take the high road, smile, and let the comments pass. Personally, I don't feel I need to defend romance - constantly coming in at No. 1 for all paper back fiction sold, in my opinion, speaks for itself.

But at a party recently I was approached by a guy who had his own opinion about romance and he was determined I was going to hear it.  According to him, his ex-girlfriend was a romance junkie and her head was so filled with nonsense he could never measure up to the romance heroes in the books she read.  His comment: If you romance writers wrote about regular guys instead of millionaire moguls, princes, and sheiks, maybe women wouldn't be so disappointed in men.

Now this would have been the perfect opportunity for me to point out that maybe if he had romanced his ex-girlfriend on occasion she wouldn't have had time to read romance novels.  But I didn't.

Did I mention he was extremely cute?  And young - sigh - somewhere in his late twenties.  And adorably cocky - just the way I like my heroes!  And I told him that.  I told him I was going to make him the hero in my next book.

Amazing how quickly his attitude changed.

Cutie whipped out his business card (announcing he was a manager a Circuit City) and asked me if I would e-mail him when the book came out.  So he could send it to his ex-girlfriend maybe?  I didn't ask.

But after he sauntered off to chat with someone else, I started thinking back over my own heroes, just to make sure I hadn't been unfairly setting the standards too high for any regular guy to meet.  And I realized that all of my past heroes have more or less been regular guys: a radio talk show host; a pilot; an Air Force captain; a computer entrepreneur; a video game designer; a mounted patrol officer; a bomb detection dog trainer; and last but not least, a baseball player.

And that got me to wondering how readers really feel about heroes.  If the hero is everything a woman could want in looks, personality, and moral character - BUT he empties Port-a-Johns for a living - would he still be a hero in your eyes?  Or would you never be able to get past his profession?

Is the appeal of the heroes in romance having a great guy AND a profession you respect?  Or would a great guy hero with a not-so-flattering job still satisfy you as long as the romance between the hero and the heroine is sizzling and emotionally satisfying?

Help me out here - I'd love to know what you think.

Candy Halliday

Friday, November 17, 2006

From Susan Crandall

Wanderlust

 

Being a movie hound, I’ll go see just about anything.  That said, we just got home from the new James Bond film.  No laughing, ladies.  I have to say, there was at least equal exposure of man-flesh and woman-flesh in this one.  And I’m all about blue eyes.  ‘Nuf said ‘bout that.

 

Aside from all of the action for action’s sake, it was enjoyable.  I had to laugh at the teenage boys behind us.  They made the same noises of yearning and approval for fast cars and scantily clad women.  I have to admit, the cars were pretty cool.  But the real things that stuck with me were the settings.  Now I’m a homebody at heart.  Hate to fly.  Would rather spend the weekend in my back yard than anywhere else.  Vacations are a pain in the patootie.  But man, some of those locations really piqued my normally dormant wanderlust.  Seriously.  I adore history, so the shots of Venice made me face east with itchy feet.  And Montenegro!  Whoa.  Of course, being a Bond film, it was all luxury, so I’d need a really big bag on money to experience these locations properly. 

 

Maybe I could get a part in the next 007 movie – they’d have to take me to shoot on location, right?  Let’s see … I’m too old (and too not-sexy) for the sexy love interest.  Perhaps they could cast me as the reclusive but manipulative villain novelist planning to take over the world via some book with hidden code for mind control (humm, that plot sounds vaguely familiar).

 

Alas, I don’t have a single acting bone in my body … don’t even like to have my picture taken.  So I’m afraid I’m going to be on my own if I ever get to Venice or Montenegro.  Perhaps I should be more exotic in the locals of my books; I could at least write off some of the trip as research.  But then there’s still that hideous flight … across all of those miles of empty ocean.

 

If only someone would drug me in my bed and I could awaken in a villa on the Adriatic Sea

 

Susan

www.susancrandall.net

On Blue Falls Pond, available now

A Kiss in Winter, January 2007

 

Thursday, November 16, 2006

THE PRESERVATION OF SANITY

‘Tis the middle of November. Cloudy. Chilly. Depressing!

I know the worst is yet to come. My down coat is still in the back of the closet, yet to be worn this season, but I’m already complaining about the weather.

One of the nice things about working at home is that if the weather is really, really crummy – below zero, or snowing so hard the plows can’t keep the roads clear – I don’t have to try to start the car and go someplace to earn my paycheck. My home office is handy, and I can wear slippers instead of boots, and don’t risk life and limb to get to work. One of the worst things about working at home is that sometimes one can feel trapped inside the house, no matter how nice the house or lovely the office.

I knew I needed to take action this year to block the doldrums that can sap your energy and creativity. Oh, sure, I could go to the mall or a coffee shop a couple of times a week, but that could get a bit expensive. So, what to do to force me out of the house a couple of times a week, maybe even have some interaction with other people instead of talking to myself (a sure sign the sanity is slipping!)?

I joined the local fitness center.

Figure it this way – I can choose which three days a week to go (and thus avoid snowstorms); the people there are really nice; the exercise is good for me (and taking off a few … um, okay, more than a few … pounds would be a bonus!).

It’s been two months now, and I’m finding I truly like going to the center, and for more reasons than the ones already mentioned. The other day, as I was plodding along on the treadmill, trying not to look at how much time was still left on the digital display, from somewhere out of my subconscious came the answer to why the scene I’d been agonizing over that morning wasn’t working. When I got home, I rewrote about two pages and the rest of the scene flowed on from there.

Glory be! How cool!

So now I’ve found what I hope is going to get me through the winter season. My question is, what do you do to keep from feeling stuck in your office, to preserve your sanity? Shopping? Go out for lunch? Move to Florida? J

Shari Anton

TWILIGHT MAGIC, Dec 2006

www.sharianton.com

 

Sunday, November 12, 2006

From Sarah McKerrigan...

My blog entry is short this month. I've lost my furry best friend.

Worf sat beside me while I wrote, soothing me with his slow snores, giving my fingers something to scratch between typing, guarding me from the mailman. He was my first and only dog. We adopted him from a pug rescue when he was four. I never knew how much a part of our family he would become, nor how much his loss would sadden me.

I hope everyone reading this will give their pets a nice scratch for Worf today.

Thank you.



Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER
Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART
Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE
Stealing your heart April 2007

Friday, November 03, 2006

Research for Dummies by Diana Holquist

This is going to be a short blog, as I’m struggling through final edits for my next book, Sexiest Man Alive, due next week. And the kids have another half-day of school. Grrrr….

Anyway, I wanted to talk to someone about an itty, bitty problem I might possibly have as a novelist. Here goes: I wanted to set my first book, Make Me a Match, in Baltimore because I had great memories of that city.

Memories from fifteen years ago!

But no matter. I wanted to write the Baltimore of my memories. It honestly didn’t interest me a hoot whether or not they re-did that awful Penn Station or pushed the strip clubs off The Block. When I needed a set of steps at the Inner Harbor, I put them in. I wanted the story to flow—blast the reality. It took place in a modified Baltimore. My Baltimore. I didn’t think twice. It was fiction, after all.

I have no idea if anyone cared or not. Did it ruin the book for Baltimorians that the waitress at the real bar with the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling is thin and hates baseball? Did it bug them that the grandmother’s house wasn’t made of Formstone because no where else in the world but Baltimore does anyone know what the heck that is?

So now, as I plow through my next edits, I wonder. This book is set in NYC. I lived there TWENTY years ago. How important is it to update that city to present reality?

Tell me ---- quick! What do you authors think? Readers?

Does a novel have to be true to place or you throw it at the wall or do you give creative breathing room?

--Diana
Make Me a Match, in stores now
Sexiest Man Alive, coming fall, 07
http://dianaholquist.com

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Elmo to dogs to horses

I thought the Elmo to dogs to horses was a logical progression as I read over Lori's post on the Elmo's she'd been trying to get and Elizabeth's untrained dogs. I had to think of our six horses - trained by my husband and fed by me. As a young girl I went through usual horsey stage - dreamed of working in a stable, read My Friend Flicka, The Black Stallion Books and Black Beauty of course. I grew up with the usual romanticized view of horses and all things equine. And then we got our own horses and I realized something. The canine appelation for a contrary woman is wrong, wrong, wrong. Trust me. A dog has nothing on a mare when it comes to contrariness, orneriness and just plain mean. Oh, they're not mean to me! They wouldn't dare. My husband would have that thing on the trailer before it could so much as flatten it's ears again. Besides, I feed the darn things all winter. No. They are nasty to each other. Constantly. My favourite horse, a quiet, tame thing, my sweet horse Spook, who was always so shy and retiring was always getting beat on, kicked at, bit and chased. This was so because she was the 'new horse'. Then we got another 'new horse' and one would think that, after being on the bottom, my Spook would know what it feels like and welcome this new horse. Help him along. WRONG. She's biting and baring her teeth and flattening her ears along with the others and taking her own licks when she comes to close to the boss's feed pile. I was sad to see her bow to such peer pressure. I had really thought that her suffering would have made her more sympathetic to the newcomer's plight. I don't think Flicka would have been so petty.

Elizabeth's Three Untrained Dogs

Contest time!

In celebration of the release of THE RAVEN PRINCE (out today **HINT**) I’m having a contest at my website just for WW readers. Read—or skim, I’m not picky—this post and then hustle on over to my website to enter.

Okay, now on to serious, thought-provoking ramblings.

I have three dogs, and I know what you’re thinking—what a nutcase. I mean, WHO has three dogs? One dog is very respectable, two dogs can be contained at least, but tell anyone that you’ve got three canines and they know you’ve gone off the deep end of the pool of life and there’s not a water noodle in sight.

And it’s not as if my dogs are trained. Listen, I’ve seen those dogs that are well trained. The golden retrievers that walk docilely by their owners’ sides and never think about attacking garbage trucks. The poodles that look askance when a piece of food is somehow dropped at their feet. The spaniels that never, ever, jump on the couch, let alone the bed. Those dogs are not my dogs. I’m not certain that those dogs are even related to my dogs.

Pickle, for instance. She’s the littlest dog—a fur-challenged, overweight, rat terrier that believes with all her tiny little brain that she can attack a moving garbage truck and win. And why shouldn’t she believe that garbage trucks cower at the sight of her? After all, she reins supreme at home. Our biggest dog, Max, a eighty pound mongrel, meekly defers to Pickle—who weighs all of sixteen pounds.

Max and Pickle were our only dogs for a full year. And then we—actually I—got Fritz. Fritz is where the whole dog thing went downhill. He’s the third dog, the middle dog, the least smart dog. There’s just no excuse for Fritz. But, see, there he was, a twenty-pound, orange terrier mutt that vaguely resembled a not-too-bright fox, sitting in the middle of the puppy cages at the Humane Society. The rest of the kennel was full or something and they’d put Fritz in the smaller puppy cages and he was surrounded by incontinent babies. He sat, resigned, and a little depressed, and when I looked at him he put one paw up to the bars as if to say, for god’s sake get me out of here.

So I took him home, and sadly, I’ve never regretted it. I’m a lunatic with three untrained dogs.

Cheers!
Elizabeth
www.elizabethhoyt.com