Friday, March 30, 2007

RITA Finalists!

Congratulations to the Warner Women RITA finalists:

Susan Crandall for On Blue Falls Pond, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category

Stephanie Rowe for Date Me, Baby, One More Time, Paranormal Romance category

Annie Solomon for Blackout, Romantic Suspense category

Best of luck, ladies!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Recapturing my teens

I dunno about you, but high school was torture for me for two reasons. One, I was an academigeek, and people just hate that. Two, I belonged to this toxic church that required that we wear skirts down past our knees, nylon stockings even in the summer, and our hair pinned up. High school is hard enough when you're normal. When you look like your grandmother on purpose, it gets brutal.

Now that I've been signed to write a series of books for teen girls (first one's out in May 2008 with a tentative title of THROUGH MY GLASSES DARKLY), though, I'm finding that the memories of high-school torture are coming in very handy. I don't have to go very far to reach those emotions of alienation, fear, and perpetually unrequited love that will give my characters (I hope) that universal appeal and sympathy factor. Maybe good came out of it after all ::LOL::

So, tell me ... what's the worst thing that ever happened to you in high school? What cringe-worthy event has had permanent repercussions to your psyche? Just how bad can it get? Inquiring minds want to know. Plus maybe I can put you in a book! LOL

Shelley B.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You don’t know me but…

I was going to start with “You don’t know me…” but then I realized maybe you do know me under my other author name, C.J. Barry. If so, you may also know that I have written five futuristic romances. If not, please don’t tell me. :-)

These days I’m branching out into a new genre with a new name, Samantha Graves. Warner Books/Hachette BG took a leap of faith and bought two books—Sight Unseen (coming out in four days!) and Out of Time (due out July 2008).

They are both contemporary adventure romantic suspense’s with a paranormal twist. The name might be different, but the action, adventure, humor and suspense is still there. It’s just here and now as opposed to there and then. Make sense?

Okay, more about me than you probably ever wanted to know. I’m a computer geek from way back before there were personal computers. Don’t do the math. It’ll give you a headache. Suffice to say, I have skills—computer skills, and I’m not afraid to use them on my blog, websites for Samantha and CJ and Will Write for Wine (WWfW) podcast, MySpaces for Samantha and WWfW podcast, YouTube, and WWfW Podcast with Lani Diane Rich. Who needs sleep? And if that’s not enough, I also work as an IT technical writer. Yes, that is as boring as it sounds. Thus, fiction.

I have two lovely teenagers, a great hubby and a seventeen pound cat named Oliver who I love and adore and feed too much. I live in Central New York state where the autumns are breath-taking, the winters are brutal, the springs are short, and the summers are shorter. I like to garden and cook and have an unexplained fetish for antique cake plates despite the fact that I don’t bake cakes.

Oh, and I am now a Warner Woman, of which I am very proud. This is my first blog, and it’s great to be here with these talented ladies. I had the pleasure of meeting many of them last year at the RWA National Conference and hope to see them all at this year’s conference.

And thus concludes my post. I promise my next blog will not be about me. Thanks for stopping by. Kindly leave a comment and introduce yourselves.

Until next time,
Samantha Graves

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Fall Of Rome by Paula Quinn

I may be slow, or simply in serious denial, but I've just learned that HBO is canceling Rome.



Something is dreadfully wrong with the world. What do you mean it costs too much money to produce? I don't care. Rome is a mega-masterpiece brimming with a host of superior actors. It's historically correct right down to the little coin placed between Niobe's teeth when she died. Sure the set, props, and costumes cost a fortune, but that's what makes the show so believable! (Maybe if HBO invested as much cha-ching in advertising as Showtime has for The Tudors ((which, after viewing the first two episodes, will not and can not replace Rome in my house)) Rome would have more viewers)

Ok, I admit I'm mildly obsessed with Rome. I don't watch much T.V. but I sit in front of the set on Sunday nights counting the minutes, and when that theme music comes on I swear my heart accelerates. It has sucked me in. I'm an addict. I pop grapes into my mouth like a true daughter of the Julii.

The drama, the sex, the tender comradery between Vorenus and Pullo. OMG, Vorenus and Pullo---I don't remember when two characters have touched my heart more. Sure they're a bit brutal, but I like a little brutality in my warriors. Kudos to the brilliant writers who showed me the gentle, honorable sides of these hard soldiers. They made me care. They made me cry and laugh and cringe---and then they pulled the cart right from under me!

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And Marc Antony, you mean I'm never going to see James Purefoy in a toga again? EVIL! If anyone happened to catch that angry sex scene between him and Cleopatra last Sunday--holy smokes! You can't get this on regular television, folks.
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Who am I going to love to hate when Atia is gone? What a perfect conniving b**ch. I prayed she wouldn't eat the poison food when Servilia was trying to kill her. I hated her when she tortured Servilia and that young servant. Then my heart broke for her again when Antony sent her away. Talented writers and a marvelous actress to stir such a mixture of emotions in the viewer.
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I'm going to miss it all terribly, even the chubby guy who shouts the decrees on the steps, emphasizing every word with the proper hand movements.

Thanks, HBO. Thanks a whole heck of a lot.

What television shows are you obsessed with?

Friday, March 23, 2007

I liked 300 too, by Megan Crane

It's nice to see you, Warner Women. It's been a while. I have the usual excuses, but I'll spare you. As ever, I return bearing pictures:

Far be it from me to knock pictures of my new favorite actor, Gerard Butler, off the top of this blog.

I'm so obsessed with the movie 300 that since seeing it I have started many conversations with the battle cry, "SPARTANS!"

No, I'm not kidding.

I am much-beloved in my neighborhood for exactly this reason.

I have also decreed that I will be naming my first son Leonidas. As I am not planning to begin a family any time soon, and am not Greek, this decree was met with the usual rolled eye.

What can I say? I'm with Diane: 300 is an inspiring, glorious epic of a movie, that we should all run out and see.

Again, in my case!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What 300 Can Teach Us about Storytelling by Diane Gaston Perkins

In its opening weekend, the movie 300 earned a whopping $70.9 million, the best March opening ever. I did my part! In fact, I’ve seen 300 three times now. I LOVED THIS MOVIE. It is no secret that I’m a card-carrying Gerard Butler fan, so I was primed to love the movie, but even I was surprised it was as good as it was.

For those who may not know, 300 is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller. It tells the story of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, when 300 Spartans sacrificed their lives battling the largest Persian army ever assembled. This battle is considered a pivotal event in history preserving Western Civilization. The movie was filmed against a blue screen; the setting and special effects were computer generated, making it a whole new movie-going experience.

The movie is visually stunning and the performances are superb. I was totally sucked in to the world that was created. What was it about this movie that worked so well for me?

Anyone who has seen photos like this one cannot deny the appeal of all those fantastic male physiques. Gerard Butler is truly magnificent looking. But, at least for me, the actors quickly became Spartan soldiers and I forgot it was Gerry Butler and felt like I was watching King Leonidas.

But what can I learn about storytelling from 300?

1. Have something HUGE at stake. In 300, what is at stake is Greek freedom from the Persians. History tells us that perhaps the whole of Western Civilization was in the hands of the brave 300.

2. Have strong universal themes. In 300, it is very clear to me that the themes are of honor and sacrifice, to do what is right no matter what the cost. As Leonidas said, “Spartans never retreat. Spartans never surrender. Spartans die.”

3. Also have something at stake that is more personal, more human. The movie makers used the strong love between Leonidas and his wife, Gorgo, in this way. In part, you know that each are fighting for the survival of the other.

4. Make your love scene count for something more than a love scene. Too often we read love scenes that are just kinda stuck in a story, but in 300, it is as Leonidas comes to bed with his wife that he makes his decision of whether to fight or not. Gorgo asks him, “Ask yourself, my dearest love, what would a free man do?”

5. Have a worthy villain. The comic-book version of Xerxes, as all good comic books do, is an over-the-top, fantasy character who is deliciously sinister and seductively tempting. Add that he commands a million soldiers, he seems more than a worthy adversary to King Leonidas, who looks as invincible as a man can look.

6. Make every minor character as vivid as you can. One of the things that so impressed me about 300 was how the movie makers, in very light strokes--a few scenes, a bit of dialogue--made us care about the Spartan soldiers, made us boo Xerxes minions.

7. Create images that are memorable. The movie makers did this with their computer images, but as writers, we do this with our words. We ought to use language that creates vivid images; create lines that readers will remember.

I said this same thing after watching Phantom of the Opera--maybe there is more to learn from the movie than I’ve noticed so far. Maybe I should go see it again. Anybody want to go with me? Let’s go to an IMAX theater this time!

Did you see 300? Not everyone gushes about it as I do. What did you think?
What elements of storytelling do you think are important?


This blog is also posted at Wet Noodle Posse

Sunday, March 18, 2007


In a discussion recently the subject came up about the black moment in a romance novel - the point in the book where all appears lost and the hero and the heroine part ways temporarily until they get back together and live happily ever after.

One person commented the black moment is why she didn't read romance - that the contrived black moment was too unrealistic - and that in real life, relationships never survived black moments.

And then someone else asked the question if any of us had personally survived a black moment in our own relationships - not a spat - but a true black moment when you seriously thought the relationship was over.

I'd never been asked that question before.

And it shocked me when I realized that - Holy Crap! yes - I had survived a real life black moment before my happily ever after. Funny how you forget things like that after twenty years. :)

So how about a game of share-and-tell? I'll share my real life black moment if you'll share yours.

The dh and I had been dating for two years. I was a divorced-for-sixteen-years independent-as-hell single mom. He was a divorced-for-eight years guy with no kids. From the beginning I told him I wouldn't even consider marriage until my daughter graduated from high school.

Graduation approached (gulp) but when he started making big "M" noises, I changed my story and said I meant "until she graduated from college." Amused, he wasn't. He told me it was obvious that I didn't think he was the best that I could do, so he'd bow out and make room for someone better. And he did. 

One week went by and I decided I was better off without him. Two weeks went by and almost called him, but my pride wouldn't let me. Three long weeks went by and I still didn't hear a word from him. The middle of the fourth week he called. He said he didn't want to talk to me, he was still mad as hell. He just wanted to make sure my daughter and I were okay.

I asked him what he was doing for Easter. He asked, "Why?" We were married Easter weekend 1987. This year we'll celebrate 20 years of happily ever after.

So, pfffffffftttttt on the woman who claims there are no black moment survivors in real life.

I've told you mine - now you tell me yours!

Candy Halliday

Friday, March 16, 2007

Shari's working ... really!

Last month I told you about our remodeling project. What I didn't tell you is that in the midst of it I was also finishing a book and trying to get ready to take a much-looked-forward to cruise vacation.

I managed to finish the book, tossed some clothes into the suitcases, and handed the contractor a key to the house. Floating around the Caribbean was wonderful, but all good things seem to come to an end too quickly! The clothes are clean and put away, I have my land legs back, the remodeling project is done, so now it's time to get back to work.

But on what? I'm now in that scary/sublime time in a writer's life where I have to decide what book to write next.

Scary? Well, yes, in a way. Just because an editor has liked my story ideas in the past doesn't mean the same editor will like the next one. So the pressure is on to come up with a Great Idea. Which, oddly enough, is the sublime part. This is the time to allow the mind to wander and give the imagination free rein.

What I should be doing is sitting in the recliner with a pad of paper on my lap and pencil in hand, poised to write down all the Great Ideas that come to mind. Instead, I'm cleaning. All that grit and dust from the remodeling must be dealt with. So the pad of paper is sitting on the kitchen counter, and while I was vacuuming the grit off the top of the bathroom cupboards, I think I figured out who my next hero will be!

The lovely thing about the subconscious is that it works while we're doing something else. Ever have a problem and decide to 'sleep on it' to solve it? I have a friend who swears that answers to her dilemmas are best solved while taking a shower. Long walks are fantastic 'mull it over' times, too.

What method do you use? All comments are appreciated because I've got a lot of thinking to do and can use all the advice I can get!

Shari Anton

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Brown-eyed Handsome Man and Another Chance to Win a Copy of THERE GOES THE BRIDE

Question? Who is this guy and what does he have to do with THERE GOES THE BRIDE? To find out and to be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of THERE GOES THE BRIDE. Visit me as a guest blogger tomorrow, March 15th, at Post on Vivi Anna's blog and you'll automatically be entered to win.

Monday, March 12, 2007

From Sarah McKerrigan...

Do you know your family history? Is it recorded?

Every time I do a signing at a Scottish festival, I'm regaled with tales of mythic proportions about this or that clan. It seems everyone is related to Robert the Bruce. And inevitably, a Guinness-tipsy Scottish-American will wander up, determined to tell me about his family so I can write my next book about them.

I always say the same thing. YOU should write that book!

It doesn't matter if it's riveting or spell-checked or publisher-worthy. What's important is getting down the information and putting a little piece of yourself into the writing.

I can't tell you how many times I've wished my ancestors had written something, ANYthing, about what their life was like. My family kept no diaries, no love letters, no appointment books, no grocery lists, nothing.

I don't know if my great-grandparents were wallflowers or party animals, drank lemonade or bootleg rum, voted Republican or Democrat, dressed for fashion or comfort, liked fancy hotels or tent camping, were lovers or fighters.

How nice it would be to stumble upon a faded journal from some long-gone relative, complaining about the cost of lettuce in Durham or gushing over the beauty of the sun touching the Sutter Buttes, or fretting about the Japanese internment camps in California.

So those of you who keep putting off writing your family history, PLEASE consider your descendants, who would love to know anything about who you were. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be complete. It doesn't even have to be WRITTEN. I interviewed my living relatives a few years ago on tape and transcribed their stories. But do something to preserve your memories.

You are a significant person. Your thoughts, feelings, and ideas are as important as those of a published author to your future generations. So write that book!

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, March 02, 2007

Bloggers Anonymous by Diana Holquist

Blogging is a drug. I'm sure of it.

I started out with this one little blog. Once a month. No biggie. It's not like it was a habit.

But in all my on-line writer's groups, the chant is: blog or die! The peer pressure is awful.

Before I knew it, I had started to blog on my website. Not a real blog mind you--not the heavy stuff. Just a little post on the first page every day. I was in control. It wasn't a problem. Just recreational.

But then, in a post-blog low, I started another blog. This one was one of my characters blogging, I told myself. Not me. It's not like I have a problem. Ignoring my family. My work. Pushing my sweet little cat off the desk in a rage as he interferes with my mad typing.

When I found myself standing in front of the fridge, chugging milk from the carton because I didn't have time to make a proper cup of tea because I had to check my sitemeter, again, I knew I had a problem.

But it was too late. I made myself a myspace page and started blogging there.

Before I knew it, my character Amy had her own myspace page. And she was not only getting more hits than me, but she was getting HIT ON like mad.

I'm not sure people got that she was fictional...or maybe, these people's lives are all fiction, so what difference did it make?

In any case, my life was out of control.

Is there help? A support group? What is with this need for constant contact with strangers?

Maybe I don't want to get started on my next manuscript? Or tackle the 400-page manuscript sitting forlornly on my dining room table, waiting for me to answer author queries?

I don't know the answers yet. I'm going to race to my blogs and blog about it though....

Make Me a Match, in stores now
Sexiest Man Alive, coming Oct 07

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Elizabeth Runs out of Blogging Ideas and Decides to Cheat

Okay, I’m using my Get out Blogging Free Pass today. For those of you who are thinking right now that you’ve never heard of a Get out of Blogging Free Pass, I say you’re just jealous you didn’t think of it first, so neener, neener to you.

I do, however, want to let you know that I have a fantabulous contest up on my website which starts today. I’m giving away my very last, one of a kind, soon to be ultra collectable advance reading copy (ARC) of THE LEOPARD PRINCE, which debuts in April. So y’know, skip on over to my website and enter a drawing to win.

Meanwhile I’ll fill space with the new Darcy: