Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Music To My Ears






I had one of the most thrilling experiences of my writing life a few weeks ago. I went to New York to sit in on a session for my first audio book, BLACKOUT. Having a book on tape has been a dream of mine from the beginning of my career. I was over the moon when I learned Recorded Books had optioned BLACKOUT. Being the little groupie that I am, I hightailed it to NY to see what recording a book is like. In a word (well, two)--way cool.

Hey--here's me with RB Production Head, Claudia Howard.

The RB studio is in a neat part of town—just off Union Square. It sits above Strand Books, one of the all-time great used bookstores on the planet.
The office is a mix of blond woods, steel and brick, very open and airy until you get to the studio corridors, where steel door after steel door leads into individual studios. Ours was small, with barely enough room for myself, Michele Bidelspach, my editor, and Peggy Boelke, the GCP sub-rights person who sold BLACKOUT to Recorded Books. And, of course, our engineer, Abigail McCue, who sat behind a computer with an underlined copy of my book in front of her. Across from Abby in a soundprood booth sat the reader, Carol Mondo. Carol is a New York actress and vocal coach whose smoky voice was perfect for my story of a woman whose whole life is one big black hole. We listened to Carol bring my book to life, watched the sounds imprint on the computer like a strong heartbeat on a wide EKG machine, and after a while, I got completely engrossed—as if I’d never written the words or heard the story before.

It was an amazing experience, and if you’d like to hear how it all turned out, you can buy or rent the audiobook on CD or tape:
http://recordedbooks.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=rb.search_books&searchtype=title&search_by=title&search_text=Blackout&x=12&y=6

And for more on Recorded Books or Carol Monda, go to www.recordedbooks.com.

Finally, there’ll be more on the whole experience, including more details and pictures, at my website: www.anniesolomon.net.

Happy listening!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Setting Sail

For a few more days, this is my home away from home. We're aboard the Diamond Princess, sailing south along the coast of Alaska. No, I'm not about to regale you with our vacation pictures (though I assure you they're spectacular!). What I find absolutely amazing is that I can write this blog while sipping on a Mocha and watching mountains pass by the large windows in the Internet Cafe.

This might not seem magical to anyone under 30 or so who has grown up with more technology than I ever dreamed of as a kid. Heck, I can remember when my parents thought they'd gone overboard (partial pun intended :)) when they bought our first color tv. And I thought I was going overboard when I got my first cell phone. I still can't use all of it's features. Never did learn how to text.

That doesn't mean I don't like my gadgets! Like the My Book I received for Christmas on which I have my entire computer backed up and is currently sitting in the safe at home. I adore my digital camera. I can take hundreds of pictures and only keep the ones I want, like the adorable harbor seal we saw this morning while sitting on our stateroom's balcony having our morning coffee.

And now I've just wasted a few of my minutes looking at a waterfall instead of paying attention -- so I'll get to the point.

Not so long ago it wasn't possible to communicate so easily if you weren't near your landline at home. Now I know several people who've given up their landlines and use cell phones exclusively. I would never have been able to talk to you while on vacation (and maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing :)). Technology has changed our lives whether we wanted it to or not.

What can you do now that you couldn't do just a few years ago and wonder how you ever managed?

Waving from Alaska, on the way to Juneau!!

Shari

http://www.sharianton.com/
www.myspace.com/sharianton

Note: I wrote the above while aboard ship, but I couldn't post it. I'm assuming a problem existed between the ship's satellite internet server and Blogger. I guess there are still things we can't do when we want to, and maybe that's not a bad thing :).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Release week

There are few times during the journey of a writer when everything is wonderful. The sun shines just a little brighter. The wine tastes just a little sweeter. And all is well with the world. That, my friend, is release week.

Imagine this: You've been home all summer with the kids. You've cleaned up after them, tried to keep them entertained, paid them to be good, and done your very best to make them right. And then school starts. You know that first blissful day after you wave them off to school? That, is what release week is like.

Some writers write fast, and they get to enjoy this more often than I do. But I'm not a speedy writer so about once a year, I get to wave my baby off to big world.

So…introducing OUT OF TIME by Samantha Graves available August 1st. If you read Sight Unseen (April 2007), you'll be happy to see Paulie is back and Raven's sister, Jillian, gets her story told.


Order from Amazon
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In Australia: Rendezvous Books




SHE’S THE KEY

Museum curator Jillian Talbot has the gift of psychic “Sight”, but she never expects it to land her in the middle of a battle for money and power between murderous underground elements. The object of their greed: an ancient crystal lens that can unlock mysteries from the past…but only for someone with the Sight. To stay alive, Jillian must seek the help of a cynical tomb raider, but is he worthy of her trust?


HE'S IN TOO DEEP

Tombraider Simon Bonner wants out of the looting game…until the crystal lens lands on his doorstep. The crystal’s secret is locked inside the eyes of straight-laced Jillian who still believes in doing the right thing. As she and Simon track the mystery deep into Mexico, their desire to stay alive and growing passion for each other makes every move a dance with danger.

OUT OF TIME

Tomorrow could be history.



Romantic Times magazine: 4 1/2 stars!

Graves is back and hotter than ever in a thrilling new novel that combines romance, adventure, and prophecy. Intriguing characters with dubious motives keep the plot lively as a treacherous treasure hunt unfolds. Sexy, dangerous, and compelling pretty much sum up this thriller!

Romance Reviews

Think Romancing the Stone. Think Indiana Jones. Think of heavy passion and dangerous adventure and many characters who all have their own special agenda. This is terrific!
"A clever twist to the paranormal and suspense...Definitely my kind of novel ! ~Heather Graham

Attention book clubs!

You can find discussion questions in the back of the book!


CONTEST! Enter to win a $300 white gold and diamond necklace!


Thanks for helping me get my book off the ground. I wish you a safe and happy summer.

Samantha Graves
www.samanthagraves.com


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Trouble in Paradise


Paradise looks like hell.

My beautiful hometown of Paradise, California, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, lush with pines and shaded woods ribboned by creeks, is on fire. Ten thousand people, one-third of the population, have been evacuated. Fifty homes have burned down. Smoke hangs heavy in the air, turning the sun a ghoulish orange and choking those who’ve not yet been evicted.

It’s a small town, founded during the Gold Rush. The largest gold nugget ever discovered, a 56-pounder, was unearthed on the ridge. Paradise celebrates Gold Nugget Days every year, and in 1975, I reigned as the Gold Nugget Queen. There’s one high school, one struggling movie theater, no mall. The town had just erected their first stoplight when I moved to L.A. 30 years ago. A lot of people retire in Paradise, because it’s quiet, peaceful, remote. Deer roam through your back yard.

When my husband and I were teenagers, we used to hike on a secluded trail to a secret, magnificent 30-foot waterfall that had pounded a bowl-shaped swimming pool into the granite where we’d go skinny-dipping. It was so magical that I wrote the place into one of my books. I wonder if that spot is burning now.

Nearby is Table Mountain, a perfectly sheared-off plateau where we used to fly kites and peer into the mysterious caves of green serpentine and black obsidian that the Maidu tribe used for arrowheads. I wrote those caves into a book, too. I wonder if the wildflower-studded grasslands surrounding them are scorched.

Winding down the edge of the canyon is a narrow and treacherous road called Honeyrun. My dad used to show me the shadowy corners where Black Bart himself might have waited to jump out in front of the stagecoaches he robbed. Honeyrun has a place in one of my books as well.

The trees will grow back, I know. And for now my family is safe. I’ve invited my mom to drive down and stay with me till the fire subsides--she can breathe fresh L.A. smog instead of eye-smarting smoke! Meanwhile, I’m hoping the wind dies down, the flames let up, and maybe Paradise won’t be lost.



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
DANGER'S KISS - Flirting with trouble May 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oh, Those Smoldering Eyes

Obsession



My favorite actor of all time.

The incomparable Jet Li.

I've long been a Martial Arts movie fan. Oh my yes. I took years and years of ballet (obsessively) and then did Martha Graham for three years, so I do believe my appreciation of the Martial Arts stems from knowing just how hard it is to make your body move like that. But there's also the eye candy factor. I know that's so incredibly shallow. I know! And even as I hang my head in shame, I'm peeking. I just love the smoldering heat Jet Li brings to the screen. And when he fights? I'm all squeeee! Look at what he can do, and it's so beautiful! There's really only one reason to watch Lethal Weapon 4. Jet Li steals that film. Steals it right out from under what's his name. Oh, right. Mel Gibson. I almost forgot he was in that movie.

Right. Ahem.

Confession



When I write action heroes, I channel Jet Li, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and others1. Especially Jet Li in Romeo Must Die, Bodyguard from Beijing (aka The Defender) or Contract Killer. The first half of Romeo Must Die is freaking awesome. Awesome! As with most of his films, the Hong Kong versions are better. The US or UK ones have often been poorly dubbed and edited, with whole sequences missing. It's interesting to get your hands on the various versions. Which I have done for many many of his films. Most actually.

Right. So, anyway, before I leave you with one of my all time favorite fight scenes, excluding the bit from Bodyguard From Beijing (aka The Defender) where he disarms a policeman who has just taunted him (ask me how many times I've watched just that scene, go ahead ask!2) I wanted to say that Xia, who is a major secondary character in My Wicked Enemy and the hero of the book the follows, I had the smoldering Jet Li firmly in mind. But that Kick Ass element of the very best Martial Arts movies is present in all my books.

And now, my second favorite (or maybe third, because there's that scene in Contract Killer...) Jet Li Fight scene. It's from the film Kiss of The Dragon, which, in all honesty is mostly mediocre except for this scene, the other fight scenes, and the scene where he almost takes his shirt off for Bridget Fonda. Sometimes I fast forward... OK, anyway, this scene is particularly notable for the end when the bad guys walk in and get a glimpse of what they're up against. (On, gosh, that is so Xia, I swear it!)






1. Except Chuck Norris. I'm sorry.
2. Oh, all right, I'll tell you. At least 20.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The new RITA Bloopers Reel: Romance Novelists Mess Up

A while back, a bunch of the RITA Single Title Contemporary finalists got together to make a totally silly video that I hope most of you have seen: Romance Novelists Talk Trash. Today, we finally have the bloopers/cut scenes video together: Romance Novelists Mess Up. Here are both the videos, in case you missed the first one. Enjoy! (Especially Kristan's dog).



Tuesday, July 01, 2008

GAH!

So I'm trying to finish a manuscript right now (TO BEGUILE A BEAUTY, which at the moment isn't beguiling at all--HA!) and I spent quite a few hours today writing a scene, only to delete the whole #$%& thing when I realized it was in the wrong POV.

*sigh*

Thus instead of a blog post I have the following:



Originally, I was going to show you my current male-obsession (Jeffrey Donovan from BURN NOTICE) but forget about the guy--isn't that the cutest puppy you've ever seen?!

I feel better already. And as a romance heroine once said, "Tomorrow is another day."

Cheers!
Elizabeth
elizabethhoyt.com