Monday, October 27, 2008

Win a copy of FOREVER MY LADY

The Grand Central Café welcomes author Jeff Rivera today for a short Q&A about his new romantic release FOREVER MY LADY.

For the chance to WIN A COPY of this book, please leave a comment below and a winner will be randomly chosen on Friday, October 31st.

Welcome Jeff!

For those who have not read Forever My Lady, what's it about?

It's my first novel, and it was originally self-published when I was lucky enough to get Grand Central to publish it. It tells the story of a kid who's only dream in life is live the rest of his life with his childhood sweetheart. She sticks with him even when lands himself in prison boot camp and promises to stay with him no matter what. The only thing that gets him through the experience is the hope that he'll change his life around marry her when he gets out. Only he discovers from a friend that she's planning on marrying someone else.

One of your characters is a drill instructor, yet you were able to make it a little different than what we typically read about. Why did you do this?

Yes, Senior Jackson. I wanted with all my characters to have some depth. I didn't want a drill instructor who was just yelling and screaming all the time. I wanted someone who had heart but guided the boot camp trainees with a metal glove at the same time. I would say, the drill instructor is based on my friend Doug who was a boot camp drill instructor and my own father.

One of your antagonists is actually a racist but you came up with a twist on him too. What made you come up with it?

Again, I didn't want just these stereotypical characters. So I thought to myself what is the last thing you'd expect from a racist? Then it came as an ah-ha moment. I think people are shocked when they find out about his secret past.

Where can we pick up Forever My Lady?

You can get a copy at Amazon.com, your local bookstore (don't forget to support the indies) and of course, my website: www.JeffRivera.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Raindrops on Roses

I just came from Anna Campbell's website, and she has a section on "favorite things." It inspired me to write about some of mine.



I realized a few weeks ago that when I go shopping and there's a row of, say, tank tops, in a thousand different colors, my hand always veers toward either the green or the pink ones. So...there they are, my favorite colors.





I'm in a restaurant looking over the menu. Lots of good crunchy salads and broiled chicken breasts. But my eyes keep straying to the mashed potatoes. The French fries. The homemade potatoe chips. What does that tell you?





I've got Pandora on. I can listen to any one of a hundred artists and/or music types. But I keep clicking on that Nightnoise station. And I'm not Irish. I swear....


So let's see. If all is right with the world, I should be eating a plate of crisp, salty fries, wearing a pink and green tank top, and listening to Nightnoise or some other celtic music.



Oh, and I should be doing all of this sitting on my beachfront veranda (which, of course, I don't own) watching the waves pound the shore.




Yeah, that's the ticket... My favorite things.

Now it's your turn. What are some of your faves?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Elizabeth's New Photos!

OMG! I had to wait an entire WEEK to see my new author photos! (I know: ten years ago that would've been fast...or am I dating myself here?) Anyway, here they are:





You're probably looking at them and wondering why I need two photos since there's only one of me. The short answer is that I had trouble making up my mind--and it wasn't like any of the people I asked for input helped. I'd narrowed down the hundred or so photos the photographer took to 24 and these are some of the comments I got from family and (supposed) friends:

You look tired

I hate the red outfit.

There's a flower growing out of your head.

I hate the blue outfit.

Wow! Your make-up looks great! (This was said in such tones of surprise that it immediately made me suspicious of what my make-up normally looks like.)

Wow! Your hair looks great! (Ditto. Have you any idea how time consuming straightening hair is? Huh? Do you? And it's not like I'm a teenager and care any more...)

That's the spaniel pose. (This from my agent about the last pose. In an act of defiant passive-aggressiveness I got the spaniel pose anyway.)

Phew! Thank goodness that's over for at least the next five years!

So, your thoughts? Hate the red outfit? Hate the blue outfit? And what about that spaniel pose?

Cheers!
Elizabeth Hoyt
www.elizabethhoyt.com
www.juliaharper.com

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Woman to Woman


Just between us, you know you get a little smile on your face when you see a woman with a sword. It's a visible manifestation of what we all know to be true--women are strong. Okay, maybe we don't cross blades with the crooked mechanic who wants to replace our transmission. But we can stand up for ourselves. After all, we have the babies. We nurse the hurts. We hold the family together. We even live longer than men.

I love strong heroines. I write about damsels in shining armor, ladies who swing swords, maids who aren't afraid to confront danger, knock out the bad guys, and even give the hero a good thwack on the back of the head when he needs it.

So I must be one tough, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners chick, right? Hardly. Neither are most of my readers. In real life, I generally prefer flight to fight. My idea of personal strength is not bursting into tears over a bad review.

So what makes us so fond of wenches wielding weapons?

I'm no psychologist, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with feeling vicariously victorious as the fearless heroine takes on challenges and enemies that would have us mere mortals cowering in the corner. We fight alongside the kick-butt femme fatale--celebrating as she knees her sexist boss in the groin, crowing as she trips the nasty villainess, cheering as she drops the wife-beater with a mean right hook. She rushes in where the rest of us fear to tread.

Well, I'd like to believe I'm doing more for shrinking violets than just entertaining them. I hope my books inspire and energize readers to discover their own inner strength, to release that brave woman inside them, to find the courage to face at least one small fear in their own lives.

With that in mind, here's my challenge to all of you:

Vote.

Yes, vote.

Some of our very brave sisters fought and suffered and died so that we'd have the right to an opinion and a voice. If your one act of courage is to arrive late for work so you can vote, do it. If it's driving in the rain-slick streets to get to the polls, do it. If it's defying your overbearing husband's ill-informed advice and canceling out his vote, do it. Show your strength. Honor the sacrifice of an army of real-life heroines and VOTE!



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

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh Woe is Me Plus Rant Alert!!

I live a bit out in the boonies where we can't see the road from the house. Not the way boonies, and every year the not-boonies creeps a little closer and our view is slightly more house filled. So far, there's still 30,000 acres of dairy behind us. Really, it's lovely. If I look out the window of my room, I see the Koi pond, walnut trees, oak trees and the sheep if they happen to be wandering by.

The downside to this is that there is no cable or DSL at our house. Some of our neighbors closer to the road have it, we don't. Comcast wants $22,000 to bring cable up our driveway. No, I did not make up that number. That's what they want. Gasp, choke wheeze We do not have cable and won't be getting broadband anytime soon, let me tell you.

I swear, I'm working up to my rant. Stay with me, I'm pretty much done setting the scene. (never do this is a novel, people stop reading.)

Anyhow, a while back, I signed us up for satellite which is kind of like dial up after a double espresso. It's not fast by any means, but it's better than dial up. Well last Wednesday, the satellite modem went on the fritz. We (I do mean we because we ended up tag teaming them. Two of us on two different phone lines...) spent a hellish 3 hours on the phone trying to get someone to not put us on hold, disconnect us, transfer us to the wrong person or -- Is any of this sounding familiar? Because I am willing to bet you have your own Customer Support Nightmare story. We finally were somehow mistakenly transferred to someone who could help. It was agreed the modem was not functioning. A service call was arranged for today (Friday, Oct 10) to replace the non-functioning modem.

I left work early so I could be home for the tech guy with the replacement modem. He was there right on time. Yay! A little later, I saw him sitting on the floor talking on the phone and doing whatever. He comes out and says to me,

"Your modem isn't working."

To which I say, "Well, yeah. It's not working. That's why you're here. With the new one."

"Nobody told me that. I don't have a modem with me, but I ordered one for you. It'll probably be here next week. Maybe Wednesday."


If you want to imagine me trying not to blow my top, go right ahead. I didn't lose it for the most part. I just noted that every nerve in my body was shouting at me He's lying! I just knew it. But I told the nice man in the nicest possible voice that my time and his had just been completely wasted. Off he went.

Since this is a Customer Support event, there was no way ever that this was going to actually involve customer support, I figured I'd make the calls now as opposed to later in the week when I was really upset that nobody had done anything. I called the tech service company who told me that no one told them they needed to replace a modem.

Carolyn's thoughts on this: They're a TECH SERVICE company. They only get called when all the stupid first level stuff like resets, unplugging and plugging back in fails to work. By then it's 80% sure to be hardware related. The other 20%, by, the way, is moron related. Like, Oh, I didn't know it had to be plugged in! Why yes, the lights do come on when it's plugged in. So, why the heck wouldn't they have some replacement modems along just in case?

Whatever. The tech company said they were ordering a modem for me and would come out when it arrived. No problem. They were happy to help me with my service issue and was there anything else they could do to help me?

Fact: When dealing with Customer Service, never trust the left hand when there's a right hand involved. Or vice versa.

I called the satellite company to relay to them that somebody somewhere was an idiot and it wasn't me. In the nicest possible way, seriously. That call included this gem of an exchange:

"Have you unplugged---"

To which I say, "We already did all that. You told us Wednesday that the modem doesn't work. That's why you sent the tech guy. He was just here, and he said the modem doesn't work. I'm confident the modem, in fact, does not work."

"Is there power to the modem?"

I am now thinking to myself I need to lie and say no. But I didn't'.

"Well, we can't send you a replacement modem if there's power to the modem."

"You're saying that even though the modem doesn't work, you can't send us one that does?"

"That's right."


Go ahead and imagine me blowing my top. It will be amusing for us all. Only I didn't. Props for Carolyn! I slowly worked around the absurdity of it all without actually destroying her carefully constructed bubble of a world in which all logic and rationality is sucked out a black hole, and she put me on hold (cold shivers down your back? Mine too.)

Aside: Think of the potential profits to be had under such a scheme. People pay $80 a month for equipment that does not work and cannot be replaced with something that does work. It's brilliant. If only more customers were actually idiots, they'd be sitting pretty darn pretty.

Sometime later, I had to race into the other room to pick up on another phone because the battery was running out on the cordless. A million years later, she came back and told me that the Tech company knew they didn't have any modems but came anyway. And as a special service for me, at no additional charge, when the modems arrive, they will replace ours. Sometime next week probably.

So, who's the liar here? (And let's all agree it's not me, okay?) The Tech Service company or the Satellite company? Right, it doesn't matter.

This post is coming to you at the speed of dial up. Let me just assure you that about 70% of the internet is inaccessible via dial up.

Also, to make this vaguely writing related, I was trying to write while I was on hold, so now my neck and shoulder hurt.

Please comment to make me feel better. Feel free to share your Service call nightmares.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Elizabeth's Great Photo Shoot

So apparently no one can recognize me from my author photo. Perhaps it's because I don't normally wear gobs of make-up or have a fixed smile on my face. Perhaps it's because my hair has mysteriously become more blond as I've aged (that's the story I told Mr. Hoyt anyway, and so far he believes it.)

In any case, not having a recognizable author photo has been kind of low on my list of priorities. After all, author photos tend to be expensive and--more importantly--require a whole day to get done. But my agent has reminded me on a regular basis (note that I don't use the word "nagged") that perhaps I really ought to get a new photo.

And then Diana Holquist went and got a gorgeous author photo in which she looks like a 1940s starlet lounging around her MGM set home, thus blowing my excuse that we busy authors just don't have the time for nice photos.

Thanks, Diana.

So today I'm wasting the entire day in getting my photo taken. Last night I painted my super short nails whilst watching RUN FATBOY RUN (a thoroughly enjoyable movie.) My choices were: black nail polish or clear final coat (my children are teenagers.) I went with the clear even though black nails might lend a certain air of mystery to a historical romance novelist. Today at 10:30 I'm off to get my hair "done" which I believe will envolve draconian straightening and lots of hairspray. At 1:45 it's make-up at the one Merle Norman shop in town (I'm the most nervous about that one) and then at 3:00 is the actual photo shoot.

So wish me luck. At the end of the day, hopefully I WON'T look like this:



Cheers!
Elizabeth Hoyt
www.elizabethhoyt.com
www.juliaharper.com