Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Giveaways Galore

It's the season of giving, right? I'm in the spirit, and it seems like lots of my Grand Central Cafe blog sisters are too. ;-) Check out our websites over the next few months, and you'll find lots of fun contests and great giveaways. As for me, I'd love to chat with you on Facebook and Twitter (where I also do sporadic giveaways), and please check out the "Bonus Features" page at my website, where you'll find lots of cool stuff being given away over the holidays. I also have an ongoing freebies promotion--right now I'm sending out signed bookplates, bookmarks and other goodies from romance authors.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Jennifer Haymore
Wickedly Seductive Historical Romance
www.jenniferhaymore.com

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas is a-coming

And we won't even talk about who's getting fat. Hint: It ain't the goose!

I don't know about you, but I'm one of those people who groan when the stores break out the holiday decorations on, like, the day after Hallowe'en. I look the other way at the frosted Christmas trees, and flinch at the sight of people stringing lights on their houses on Thanksgiving weekend.

My husband calls me a grinch. I prefer the term "non-commercialist." But then, last year, while I was writing my All About Us series, it just so happened that I wanted to do a Christmas story, and oops, the publishing schedule dictated that it would come out in September--a full month before those department stores put up their decorations!

Hoist with my own petard, I was. So I had to embrace my inner elf and just run with it. But I have to confess, researching Scottish Christmas traditions (this book is set in the character's Scottish castle) kind of put me in the spirit. Because under all the tinsel and the piped-in Christmas carols lies what it's really all about: family, close friends, hospitality, and--let's not forget--the birth of the baby that started it all.

So, while we're on the subject and you're digesting your Thanksgiving leftovers, what are the Christmas traditions at your house? Put up a comfy chair, have a glass of eggnog, and let's talk!

Shelley
http://www.shelleyadina.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Baking mishaps with Robyn DeHart


Normally I'm the baker in the family when it comes to holiday feasts. Several years ago my husband and I flew back to Texas for Christmas and we got in late. I had sent my mom the shopping list for the ingredients I need and she assured me that she’d purchased everything necessary for pumpkin pie and pecan pie. So it’s Christmas day, mid-morning, and I’m all set to make my pies. I go to the fridge and the crusts she has have expired. Um…there’s nothing but Walgreens open on Christmas day and they don’t sell pie crusts. I can make them from scratch, but you need shortening for that and well, we didn’t have any of that either. So I opted for graham cracker crusts – not standard at our house for pies, but hey, I can improvise.

With the pumpkin pies done, I began on the pecan pie. Measure the Karo syrup, melt the butter, pour in the butter, look at the recipe again. OHMYGOSH! That was supposed to be 1 cup of sugar, NOT one cup of butter – I only needed 3 tablespoons of butter. Panic, scoop out as much butter as possible and figure hey, this is how great recipes are created. And it’s butter, how bad could that be? So I add the rest of the ingredients, then pour it into the chilled graham cracker crust, only this 9 inch pie plate is either mislabeled or something else because the pie overflows all over the table. So I salvage most of the pie and pour it back into the mixing bowl and try to recreate the crust in a larger pie plate. At this point, it’s just become hysterical and I’m convinced this is going to be the worst pecan pie in history, but I persevere cause that’s what I do.

So the pie is successfully in the reconstructed crust and I throw it in the over. It didn’t much look like pecan pie and it had a rather sticky consistency, but according to my family it was the best pecan pie they’d ever had – although being the smart alecks that they are, they referred to it as the butter pie. I can’t imagine that I can recreate this recipe, but perhaps I’ll give it a try someday.

But as I reflected on this amusing and frustrating experience, I saw the glaring parallel to my writing process. I read something recently where one famous author said that a writer learns to write a book by writing it. To which another author replied that unfortunately writing that book doesn’t prepare you to write the next book. So the fact that I’ve made a million pies didn’t necessarily mean that I could successfully bake another one. Consequently, just because I’ve written books before doesn’t mean that I know what I’m doing when I start on the next book. I generally make one blunder after another while I write my first draft, but at the end of my frustrating and (somewhat) amusing process I end up with a book that hopefully readers will connect with.

So how about you? Ever made a big cooking blunder? Did it come out okay or did you make a big stinky mess?

Happy Thanksgiving and be sure you enter my huge holiday contest.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Name Game by Annie Solomon

Wow--I was embarrassed to see my last post still up there. My transitional whining phase is so yesterday I have to replace it with something else.

So...how about...names. There's a topic we can all enjoy.

As a writer I'm a big collector of names. I've gone to cemeteries and written down those belonging to the long deceased. I've been to charity galas and VFW halls and added the names of donors and veterans to my lists. When I travel I like to look at the exits along the highway--the rivers, the bridges, the roads. In fact, the name of the town in my latest book, One Deadly Sin, came from a street sign near my house--Redbud Street.

One of the games I like to play with names is to imagine you're the creator of a whole new town. Maybe it's on the moon or maybe it's an evil new development where bucolic forests once stood. Or maybe it's the bright alteration of a once thriving small town or metropolis. Wherever it is, you have the privilege--no, the honor--of naming the town after yourself. So, what's it gonna be?

If I'm in charge I could name my town Annievllle. Or Annietown. Annieton. Annyton. There--Annyton. New York still retains its early Dutch influence with many place names containing the word "kill"--creek or river. So...Anniekill? How's that for a writer of romantic suspense?

Or I could go with Solomon's Ridge. (This would be in the foothills of the Appalachians or the Smokies). Or there's always Solomon City or Port Solomon (that sounds very South Pacific to me). How about Soloville--the new community on the dark side of the moon.

If we took some of the other writers on the blog and turned their names into towns, what would it be? Susieville? Crandaltown? Elizabeth Hoyt is easy--there must already be a lot of Elizabethtowns around. But what about Hoyt? Hoyt City?

Given the chance, what would you name your town?


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What Next and Other Observations On the Writing Life by Annie Solomon









I'm in transition. And since Robyn deHart is madly working on her deadline, I have plenty of time to step in here.

Unfortunately.

This transition period is difficult. My last book, One Deadly Sin, came out in May. Meanwhile, I finished my latest--whose working title is Two Lethal Lies--and sent it to my agent to read. She got back to me a few days ago with basically no changes. I get nervous when someone reads my manuscript and tells me it's great. Weird, huh? Does anyone else feel the same? If she had told me the first hundred pages need a total revision I would have accepted that. I'd feel awful, but happy in a way. At least I knew she actually read it...

So now my "masterpiece" is ready for the editor. I'm delaying, making sure it's exactly how I want it. But basically I'm done.

Now what?

I've been floating around, thinking about the next book. I have a few foamy ideas, but I can't seem to corral them enough to get them on paper. So I play lots of freecell and solitaire (do you know how many versions of that game there are? I think I've played every one). I've blogged, guest blogged, and commented. I've updated my website 500 times. I watch TV. I'm trying to read--3 books so far. A record for me these last few years.

In a word (or two), I'm at loose ends.

I know the way to success is to have several projects going on at once. One publisher for the fall book, another one for the spring. A YA here, a single title there. I can't seem to manage that.

I wonder if this is true for everyone, not just writers. Project managers, copywriters, film makers, research scientists--where are you?

Those of you out there (writers or not) who go from one thing to the other seamlessly and without bumps--how do you do it? Got any tips? Rituals? Spells? Send them my way.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

BOOKLOVERS UNITE!



It’s a sad day for Benjamin Franklin.

Along with inventing bifocals, the Franklin stove, and the first fire department, Benjamin Franklin formed the first public lending library in America, in the city of Philadelphia.

Today it was announced that as of October 2, 2009, the Free Library of Philadelphia will be closing all of its branches due to lack of funding by the State Legislature.

Not only will there be no lending libraries, but all the programs operating through the library system will be discontinued. These included children’s after-school programs, computer classes, GED, ABE and ESL programs, and library visits to schools, day care centers, and senior centers.


I think this sets a very dangerous precedent. It’s a slap in the face of literacy, as well as a grave insult to one of our Founding Fathers. So even though I don’t live in Philadelphia, as a lover of books, I’m going to see what I can do about it.

If you’d like to read more information and take up the fight with me, start here:
http://www.library.phila.gov



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

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

End of Summer

It's over. Labor Day was yesterday, and now I think (even though the literal seasonal calendar may disagree) we're into fall. School has started and before we know it, it'll be getting cooler and the holidays will be here!

The summer started off with a bang for me, when my first book, A HINT OF WICKED, was released. The months of June, July, and August were a giant whirlwind, and the summer ended for us with a Labor Day baseball tournament. It was in San Diego, which, as far as I'm concerned, is the city with the all-time nicest weather of anywhere! Our boys lost in the semifinals, too, in the kind of close game that leaves you going, "Oh, if only xxx had caught that ball, or if yyy made it to first before he was thrown out..."

This summer I will always remember for the release of A HINT OF WICKED, but I will also bring home fond memories of baseball, baseball, and more baseball (my son was on a championship team and we were at tournaments almost every weekend, along with practice every single day!).

I have definitely learned to enjoy the game, that's for sure! I do love watching my son play.

How about you? What is your fondest memory of this summer?

Jennifer Haymore
www.jenniferhaymore.com

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Elizabeth Discusses Honesty in Reading

Oh, hello. Apparently it's my day to post, which I nearly forgot, but most fortuitously remembered in time.

*ahem*

So let's discuss reading lists, shall we?

Recently someone (who was obviously procrastinating that day) posted on one of my writing loops with a link to NPR's favorite beach reads. Apparently NPR had some kind of online poll for the 100 best beach reads ever. The top pick was a Harry Potter book, which quite makes sense to me, but after that the list became rather dicey. I remember Anna Karenina was number 42.

Yup. Anna Karenina.

Some other picks were: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Old Man and the Sea, and Lolita. Now far be it for me to be judgemental, but I think some of the people who took this poll are big fat LIARS. Who in the world would take Lolita to the beach? (Note: I'm not knocking any of these classics, but come on, haven't you read something more recently?) It's as if they couldn't think of a book--any book--so they had to fall back on their high school (or in the case of Lolita, college) reading lists.

Sigh. I've thought about this list and I've come to the conclusion that either a) these people are fibbing about what they like to read, or b) they aren't reading at all, or c) they really are reading Lolita at the beach.

I'm not betting on c. So in the interest of Honesty in Reading I've decided to list what I'm reading. Let's see, the last three books I read were:

Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy
A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore
and
Ghost Hunter by Jayne Castle

The next three books I'll read (probably--they're on my bedside table anyway) are:

Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy (I'm on a roll!)
Death Angel by Linda Howard
and
Storm of Visions by Christina Dodd

And--special bonus!--if I were going to take a book to the beach and assuming I'd read it before (thus qualifying it for best beach book ever) I'd take:

Shield's Lady by Jayne Ann Krentz

Unless I brought Linda Howard's Mr. Perfect. Or Jim Butcher's Summer Knight. Or Julia Quinn's Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. Actually, if you gave me enough time, I bet I could come up with at least a hundred books I'd bring to the beach before I took Anna Karenina.

Cheers!

Elizabeth Hoyt

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sneak peek of under the covers

SEDUCE ME hit stores July 28th and so far I’m getting great feedback from reviewers and readers alike. I normally reveal my Under the Covers feature on my website, but I wanted my blog friends to get a sneak peek at the behind the scenes.

Seduce Me is the launch book for my Legend Hunters series, an idea I had about a hero-centered series of treasure hunters and would-be archaeologists. They are the men of Solomon’s, a gentleman’s club devoted to those who chase myths. And when I was brainstorming the series and coming up with the myths I wanted to write about, the first idea I had was, of course, Pandora’s Box. I’ve always been interested in Greek mythology and this one in particular is fascinating. And it’s always had sexy connotations evoking the very image of forbidden fruit. So when it came time to write the first book in the series, Pandora was the way to go.
I certainly took some literary license with the story though and came up with my own mythology equipped with a curse. Have to keep those characters up to their necks in danger. Speaking of characters, let’s meet my inspiration behind my cast.

Heroine: Esme Worthington Inspiration – English actress Eva Green who you might remember as the Bond girl in Casino Royale. I needed a picture that captured Esme’s sassiness, but girlish beauty.









Hero: Fielding Grey Inspiration – Paul Blackthorne. This shot captured the intensity of Fielding yet you catch a glimpse of the pain he’s carrying. Love those eyes!














Villain: David Grey aka “The Raven”
Inspiration – Alan Rickman. Because who else do you go to for a truly nasty villain who actually has some sex appeal. When I wrote the Raven’s dialogue I could hear Rickman’s methodical cadence in my head. He was a perfect fit!















And here was my inspiration for The Raven's two goons:











Thatcher (L) and Waters (R)

Being a big fan of movies, especially action adventure movies I wanted to capture that feel in the Legend Hunters books. So within the pages of Seduce Me hopefully you’ll feel whisked away on a grand adventure and when you close the book you’ll reach for your phone to call Steven Spielberg and say, “hey Steve, have I got a story for you!”

So what are your favorite action adventure movies? Could you watch The Mummy and The Goonies and Indiana Jones over and over again? And how do you feel about authors revealing their character inspiration? Does it ruin your own mental picture of the characters?

*this blog content originally posted on www.JauntyQuills.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Before Harry Potter


Remember that great teacher you had in third grade who made knowledge come alive for you? I think the special books of your childhood can be like that, too. Maybe they're stories you discover at a sensitive time of your life. Maybe they're answers to emotional questions or triggers to complex thought. Maybe you're caught up in the lyrical quality of the writing, the historical context, or the way the book keeps you on the edge of your seat. Maybe they're inspirational. Or maybe they're just a rollicking good time.

Whatever it is, there's no question that our favorite books as children can wield a great influence over the rest of our lives, especially if we're writers.

So with that in mind, here's the list of my five favorite childhood reads:


HALF MAGIC by Edward Eager

The troop of siblings and friends tromping through Edward Eager's books had a retro feel and down-to-earth reality as they bickered and experimented and reasoned their way through adventures by whatever magic talisman they'd discovered this time. I spent hours imagining what wishes I'd make with such a talisman.





JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH by Roald Dahl

It was thrilling to watch James break free of his sheltered life into a world that rivaled Oz and Wonderland. I especially liked all the anthropomorphic animals (though I'm sure I didn't know that word then!).







THE HARDY BOYS by Franklin W. Dixon (actually 17 different men and women!)

I didn't care for Nancy Drew, but Frank and Joe were so clever and playful, I used to wish they were my older brothers. The vocabulary was very adult, and the stories were exciting and full of cliffhangers.




A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle

This book had everything...fellowship, adventure, great love, crushing fear, hard-won triumph. Best of all, the heroes of the story were nerds like me.








THE STORY OF KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS by Howard Pyle

The nobility and honor of the real and magical characters in this four-book series--Arthur, Guinevere, Launcelot, Galahad, Gawaine, Merlin, Pellinore, Tristram, Nymue...were inspiring. I used to sigh over the dramatic pen-and-ink drawings, too. I'm sure these books are what fired my affection for knights in shining armor.

So how about you? What were your favorite childhood books?



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

Sunday, August 09, 2009

On Procrastination

I am the Queen of Procrastination. There are so many ways to do it! Perhaps worst of all, much of this procrastination can be done in the name of “promo” or “research,” making it so easy to rationalize the time that’s sunk (er, I mean, spent). And that time commitment can be absolutely enormous! In fact, I think between promotion and research, I could make “procrastination” a full-time job!

First and foremost, I know my number one priority is to write the best book I can. But once that book is written, I need to promote it. I need to research the next one. I need to continually work on improving my craft.

Here are some of the ways I engage in “productive procrastination”:

(1) Researching and Improving Writing Skills

*reading fiction

*reading non-fiction

*browsing google books

*conferences

*Romance Writers of America monthly local chapter meetings

*Specialty groups (mainly historical) chat lists

*Keeping apprised of the state of romance and of technology in publishing

*Critique groups – returning critiques and beta reads that others have done for me

*Mentoring new writers


(2) Social Groups and Promotion

*Group blogs (I’m a member of the Dangerous Women group along with several other Forever authors)

*Guest blogging (how can I say no?)

*Interviews

*Appearances and book signings

*Reader chat groups (for Dangerous Women and others)

*Twitter (you can find me here on Twitter!)

*Facebook (you can find me here on Facebook!)

*Emailing readers

*Snail mailing readers

*Coming up with new ideas for contests and managing them (I'm running a great contest for writers right now over on my Dawn Halliday site!)

*Responding to blogs

*Updating my website, keeping it fresh and current

*Writing groups-the social aspect

*Writing newsletters

All of this is important, right? I do think, in this day and age, most of it is necessary. And sometimes it can be a really fun diversion from the comparative loneliness of writing. But as a writer with a young family, it can be an incredible challenge at times to balance it all. I’m definitely trying, but sometimes I think there needs to be two of me to get it all done!

What are some of the ways YOU procrastinate?


Jennifer
www.jenniferhaymore.com


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

My TV debut.

Sorry I'm late posting this blog, but I was busy with my television debut. Ho-hum. No big deal....

HA! Who am I kidding? It was the most fun I've had in ages. Well, maybe not fun, exactly. Let's just say, I'm relieved it's over. Here's what happened...

I arrived at the local Philadelphia NBC station at the appointed time. (Okay, I was 20 minutes early and had to sit in the car a bit. Hey, I was anxious.)

I was properly attired. (Except that they told me not to put on make-up. When I got there, another "guest" was in FULL make-up. She said, "Oh, I'd NEVER let anyone else do my make-up. And sometimes they run late, and they can't make you up at all." Oooops...)

I was calm and collected. (...while I frantically tried to look cool slathering myself with make-up in a tiny mirror in the "green room.)

Soon, it was my turn to go on. (OH MY GOD SOMEONE HELP ME!!!!)

I had an thrilling and informative interview with the host. ( I don't remember a single thing I said. Please, God, tell me I didn't curse.)

I went home to watch myself with my lovely, supportive family. (My son pointed out that my bra strap had been showing the whole time.)

Have you ever been on TV? Do you ever buy books because you've seen authors on TV? Can you bring me a tall, stiff drink? Here's the show:


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The allure of the romance...

I've just returned from the annual RWA National Conference and it's always so very cool to be surrounded by that many other fans of romance. The literacy signing is exceptionally cool as we get to meet many of you, our readers. We so appreciate your kind words. After a week with fellow romance lovers I'm left wondering what it is that keeps us returning to both reading and writing romance.

The allure of the happy ending is, indeed, great, and many of us read romances exclusively because of this very element. But I think at the heart of things, romance is a bit more and the real reason we all cuddle up with our favorite heroes and heroines (either writing or reading) is all of the stuff that actually leads to the happy ending. The enduring power of love is nothing short of awe-inspiring. I'd like to think that most of us have felt it in our own lives. But even before that, you can know, believe in your heart of hearts that it's out there. This, too, is a great pull to the genre. Yet it's still not quite what I want to put my finger on though.

There is a key difference between villains and heroes - heroes must grow and change, but villains don't have to. This is, I believe, the true draw of romance. Most of us are eternal optimists, we like to believe that no matter how the day goes, in the end all will be well. We know the world doesn't always work that way, but we still wake up the next morning hoping for the same thing. In the romance world, everyday doesn't always end pleasant, but we know it's coming. The characters we read/write about are flawed and they have fears and dreams and secret desires – all attributes that you and I have – and like real people when the going gets tough, our characters (eventually) face those fears and make big, scary decisions. They grow and they change and they overcome. They walk through fire and they come out on the other side stronger and more able. They tackle their big issue and they resolve it before they get their happy ending, so we know that happiness will endure past the last page of the book. It's this what gives us the real hope? Seeing people overcome adversity and pain and fears. Isn't that we all want in our own lives? To overcome and battle our own demons? And triumph! Yes, yes, this really is the happy ending. Were it not for the growth and the change, then the happy ending in the relationship would be a bit watered down and unsatisfying.

So three cheers for our strong characters, they do what a lot of characters in other books do not. They win and they are better people in the end.

You can read about my own strong characters overcoming their own challenges on July 28th when Seduce Me hits bookstores everywhere. Be sure to check out my website, www.RobynDeHart.com for the latest reviews and an excerpt.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Highland Lass's Border Laird in a Kilt


I can plot every intimate detail of a hero and heroine’s adventure. I can whip out snappy dialogue and describe times and places I’ve never been. My words can keep readers up all night, make them giggle, make them sigh. In a pinch, I can even come up with catchy marketing phrases for bookmarks and promotion.

Just please don’t ask me to come up with TITLES for my books!

That’s my Achilles’ heel. (Hey--“Achilles’ Heel”? Wouldn’t that make a great romance title?) See what I mean?

My latest manuscript, a historical set in the time of Mary Queen of Scots, is in final revisions, and it’s still going by “Book Number 1 of 2.”

Ideally, the title for this book should reflect:
1) It’s Scottish
2) It’s a romance
3) It’s different from every other Scottish romance you’ve read

But the telltale Scots-indicator words--“Highland,” “Kilt” and “Border”--have been done to death (not to mention that my story takes place in the Lowlands, in the time before kilts).

This suggestion, by the way, was sent to me by my father, who thinks my problem is HILARIOUS...


My husband thinks I should just change what I write, since a lot of the titles I’ve come up with sound like military action novels:

Tempered Steel
In Harm’s Way
Undaunted
By Honor Bound


You can see my dilemma. So how about it? Does anyone have any spectacular titles for a romance featuring a kick-arse Scots lass and her English hero?



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

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Romance Writers of America (and Washington, D.C), Here I Come!

In just four days' time, I'm headed across the country to Washington D.C., where I'm going to the Romance Writers of America National Conference for the first time as a "real, published author," and I'm going to be meeting (and signing A HINT OF WICKED!) with a group of amazing Grand Central authors.

I'm also in the middle of a deadline, and apparently I'm getting page proofs in the mail, which I'll be working on on the airplane. I have nothing to wear (will the clothes I wore last year still fit?), and I have no idea about shoes...or even transportation from the airport... Yikes! Time is short--I'd better get on all that.

I'm going to be the nervous nelly newbie, I just know it. I'm generally a pretty shy person, and I'm super quiet in groups. When someone asks me something and everyone turns and looks at me, waiting for the answer, I tend to turn beet red. But I'm so excited, and so thrilled to be going! AND I feel so honored to be a one of the Grand Central Romance writers, because truly, some of my favorite authors write for this house. Is it possible to be a giggling fangirl and part of the group at the same time? Guess I'll find out!

If you're coming to DC, please stop by and say hi (I'm likely to be the blonde wallflower in ill-fitting clothing and mismatched shoes hiding in the corner), but if not, I'll be Twittering from the conference, so come on over & check out my updates (I'm @jenniferhaymore over on Twitter and Jennifer Haymore on Facebook).

Okay, off to sort through my closet in a last lame attempt to find something to wear. I have no time left to shop at this point! See you soon, everyone!

Jennifer
www.jenniferhaymore.com

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Biggest Author Signing of the Year!

Well, maybe not the biggest of the year, but certainly a gosh-darn large one. The author signing I'm talking about is RWA's "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing in Washington D.C. How big is it? Dude! Over 500 romance authors will be there! Here's the info:

2009 RWA "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing
Wednesday, July 15th
5:30-7:30
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Exhibit Hall

The best part of this signing? Not only wlll you get a chance to meet and chat with your favorite authors, but all proceeds from the autographing go to literacy charities. For a list of the 500-plus who will attend, go to RWA's website, but here are some of the Grand Central Publishing authors who will be attending (and if I miss anyone, please add your name in the comments section.):

Sherrill Bodine
Shannon K. Butcher
Susan Crandall
Robyn DeHart
Lilli Feisty
Jennifer Haymore
Rita Herron
Diana Holquist
Elizabeth Hoyt (and Julia Harper)
Carolyn Jewel
Marliss Melton
Andrea Pickens
Karen Rose
Michelle Rowen
Kelley St. John
I hope we see you there!
Elizabeth Hoyt

Sunday, June 21, 2009

For your viewing pleasure...

I am in a place we writers fondly call "deadline hell" it's those last few days/hours before a book is due when we haven't washed our hair, done dishes or left the house and instead we sit at our desks working until our fingers (and perhaps eyeballs) begin to bleed. It's a scary place, though probably more for our families than ourselves. We're used to it, we've been here before, it's familiar (though the panic always feels new and different) and we're just working as fast as we can to get out. 

Normally I'm not an end of the wire kind of writer. I like to turn things in early, not weeks early necessarily, but at least a few days. It makes me happy to beat my deadline, as it were. But with this one, that's simply not possible. You see in the midst of writing this book we were packing our house and putting it on the market and then moving across the country. And did I mention that for the time being (while we're waiting for said house to sell) we're living with my parents? It's just temporary, but needless to say, things have been hectic and disorganized. So I'm running behind on my normal writing schedule. 

All this to say I'm cheating and not really blogging today and instead sharing with all of you my gorgeous book trailer. Seduce Me hits stores July 28th! 


Friday, June 12, 2009

Yo-ho! Yo-ho! A pirate's life...


Piracy is the hot topic on a lot of romance writer bulletin boards lately, and I don’t mean the kind where swashbuckling knaves make off with feisty heroines.

With books available in electronic format, it’s easy to share files, swap novels, and basically steal content without authors receiving a cent for their work.

Well, as you might imagine, though there are some authors who figure it’s no big deal, a lot of authors are up in arms over this, mad as hell at the pirates who are rampantly ripping them off.


I have a different attitude. I think it’s important that authors get paid for their work, but I think the bill should fall, not on the consumer, but on the internet providers who charge for the availability of this content in the first place. Would you pay $30 a month for your internet service if it DIDN’T come with any intellectual property? Think about it. No music. No video clips. No newspaper articles. Nothing that was created from the brains of artists, musicians, journalists, authors? Not even the photos I’ve included in this blog entry?

I don’t want to bore anyone with the details, but for decades, the music industry has had a brilliant model for this in ASCAP and BMI. These performance rights organizations charge nightclubs, restaurants, theaters--any venue where music is delivered to the consumer--a fee for that right, which they then distribute to the creators of the music, based on a sampling of what songs are being played.

Why can’t we do that with books? The internet providers pay a small fee for the content they’re delivering (research says that approximately $5 per month per IP address would be sufficient), and consumers can then enjoy unlimited downloads of any creative content they want! It’s sort of like cable TV or an all-you-can-eat buffet. An independent writer’s organization then does a sampling of what’s being downloaded and pays authors and publishers according to what books are most popular.

With that model, the current pirate sites would become amazing resources for distribution and the authors’ and publishers’ best friends!

Arrrrrrrgh...



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

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Suffering from Chicken-Without-A-Head Syndrome

Wow...is summer actually here? The weather here certainly wouldn't attest to that! It's cool and gloomy, and it has been for weeks. Here in California, we call it June Gloom, but I wish it would dry up and warm up. Summer is my favorite season, and I want it now!

My first book for Grand Central, A HINT OF WICKED, released on June 1. My kids got out of school on June 5. My son's baseball team had playoffs the week of May 30-June 7. June 7 was my daughter's preschool graduation performance. I'm giving presentations to two different RWA groups on the second weekend of June. I'm at the tail end of a blog tour. My column in my RWA chapter's newsletter was due last night. My critique partner is on a tight deadline and I'm trying to help her. My kids' new school needs about 100 pages of paperwork turned in to them by Wednesday. My mom is in town, and my grandmother is ill. I have edits due on book two by June 20...

See what I mean? I'm suffering from too much to do, too little time. One of my friends just gave me a card that said, "I know 100 languages, but I don't know how to say no in any of them..." So true. I'm so bad at saying no. But I've already said yes, and now I can't renege! I have to get all this stuff done.

I know I'm not the only one who's busy. Almost everyone I know is in the midst of a million things to do. It seems that being over-extended is a common ailment in this day and age.

I'm looking forward to June 20. I'll turn in my edits, and then I'll have a few days to recover & enjoy summer before I'm on to the next thing. And hopefully this June Gloom will have disappeared...

What about you? Are you busy too? How do you manage it so that you find some time to enjoy life in the midst of all the craziness?


Jennifer
www.jenniferhaymore.com

Monday, June 01, 2009

In Praise of Public Libraries


So I was recently at the RT Book Reviews Convention mongo author booksigning and a reader came up to me and told me she'd read all of my books and loved them. Believe it or not, authors really enjoy hearing this kind of thing so I beamed at her and said something like, "I'm so glad!" Then she turned a little red, sidled closer, and said that she'd gotten my books from her local public library in the tones most would use to confess to a mass murder. I probably would've laughed at that point, but the reader was explaining why she had to use the public library--her husband had been laid off--so I was serious as I told her how sorry I was to hear that.

Then I said something like this:

Listen, there's no reason you should ever apologize for checking a book out from the local public library. Yeah, I may not have made my 8% royalty on that particular book at that particular time, but the public library did pay for it with your (and my!) tax dollars. Libraries in America account for a huge percentage of the books sold. Many readers "test" new authors at the library and, if the author proves to be good, buy her next book new. I figure it's a win-win situation.

Besides, if I'd condemned that reader for using her public library, I'd be a hypocrite. I love the public library! Every time my family has moved one of the first things I do is find out where the local library is and go get a card. Linda Howard, Amanda Quick, and Elizabeth Lowell are just a few of the authors I discovered by reading dog-eared copies of their backlist (and subsequently buying new.) Using the public library when your personal finances are tight just makes sense.

Now, here's something else I told that reader at the RT bookfair: if you do use your local library, make a point of requesting your favorite authors' new books. Why? Sadly, libraries' budgets are getting pretty tight. They may not buy an author if they don't know there's interest in her books--this particularly pertains to new authors who don't have a following yet. I have to confess that I always felt awkward requesting a romance book at my local library, despite my librarian's urging. I figured, who was I to decided what the library should buy? Well, I was a romance reader who'd been reading the genre for 25+ years (at that time) that's who. Duh! I had (and I bet you have) a really good idea of who the hot romance authors were, authors that other romance readers would like to read as well. And although I loved my local librarian, she didn't read romance (though her SF/F section rocked.)

So remember: use the public library with pride--it's once of the best benefits of living in the USA--and be sure and request authors you enjoy.

Go forth and read!

Elizabeth Hoyt
www.elizabethhoyt.com
www.juliaharper.com

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A writer's career path


So far this year I've had four requests from high school students to do a career interview. You know, what classes do you need to be successful in your career, what kind of degree, skills, personality traits, and so on. 

This time, I got to the question, "What is the career path like (entry level to advanced)?" and I stalled. If you're a programmer or a social worker, this is fairly clear. But the writer's career path? Mine has been as different as I am from Diana or Elizabeth or anyone else who posts on the Cafe. But . . . I had to answer the question. So here's what I wrote:

Form-letter rejection.

Rejection with personal note.

Rejection with offer to revise and resubmit.

Request for partial.

Request for full manuscript.

Rejection.

Start over.

Request for full manuscript.

Rewrite manuscript.

Offer on manuscript.

Multi-page revision letter.

Book is produced and published.

Start on second book.

Get better offer, with better terms and more money.

Reviews come in for first book. They’re mixed—good and awful.

Six months to write second book, wondering if the awful reviews were right and you really have no talent.

Turn in second book. Goes to production and is published.

Orders are better.

Start on third book.

Offer for third book in a multi-book deal.

Reviews come in for second book. Fewer awful ones. Some really good ones. Maybe you can do this after all.

Am I having a career now?

Back to third book. Screw the reviews—it’s the writing that really matters.


Shelley

http://www.shelleyadina.com

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day Gift of Laughter



This had me laughing so hard that I had to play it three times just to hear all the lyrics. It’s Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg with their "moms," and it's as wickedly funny as their first video. I hope you enjoy it, too:



Is there nothing sexier than a guy who can make you laugh?

I’ve met my share of tall, dark, and handsomes, but if they don’t have a sense of humor, especially about themselves, they really don’t rate very high on the appeal meter.

What about you? Do you prefer six-packs abs or belly laughs?



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, May 08, 2009

Jennifer Haymore Intro, Plus Contest & Freebies

I’m Jennifer Haymore, a brand new Grand Central author, and I’m way beyond excited to be here! My first book from Grand Central will be releasing in just a few weeks!

A HINT OF WICKED is the story of Sophie, the Duchess of Calton, who loses her beloved husband at the battle of Waterloo. Pregnant and alone, she picks up the pieces and learns to be independent and strong, and years later, she falls in love again. A few months into her second marriage, her first husband returns. Both men want her; she’s in love with both. It’s a tangle of emotions and passions complicated by a sinister threat to all their lives.

The heroine of A HINT OF WICKED, Sophie, is a mother—and for the years preceding the opening of the book, she was a single mother. Sophie’s daughter and stepson significantly affect the decisions she makes. In fact, one of the pivotal questions in the book for Sophie is whether it will be best to raise her daughter with the family she’s known all her life, or with her biological father whom she’s never known.

Kind of reminds me of my own life, and how my kids are behind all the decisions I make, throughout my day, every day...and night. Cast in point: I was up late last night, and I abruptly woke up late this morning from a nightmare about my kids starving at school. I ran downstairs, and not only did I find their lunches sitting untouched in the fridge, I discovered they’d gone to school without their homework. Gah! I was furious (and my husband can attest to that fact after the fuming phone call he received from me at 8:06 a.m.). Seriously, without mothers fretting about lunches and homework and the like, there would be a lot of starving kids and angry teachers in this world!

Grand Central just sent me a boxful of copies of A HINT OF WICKED. To celebrate receiving final copies of the book, and Mother’s Day, I’m giving away a new copy of A HINT OF WICKED to someone who signs up to receive a set of freebies (free promotional items from me and five other authors). You can find more info about this contest at my blog, and if you’re too late for the book contest, you can still sign up for a packet of freebies here.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, EVERYONE!


Jennifer
www.jenniferhaymore.com