Sunday, August 26, 2007

You! In a book!

Have you always imagined being a character in a book? Now's your chance!

Fellow Grand Central Publishing author Lani Diane Rich and I are offering a once-in-a-lifetime chance at getting your name in a book on our Will Write for Wine podcast.

Enter our Word of Blog contest and one lucky winner will have a character named after then in the book Lani’s working on right now!

And here’s how you do it:

1. Blog about Will Write for Wine, including a link to the website.

2. Email us ( with a link to your website.

3. You’re entered to win!

You! Yes, you in a book! How can you pass that up? Enter now!

Samantha Graves

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Books to Movies

Barbara Vey at Publishers Weekly wrote a blog about her dilemma over whether or not to see the movie STARDUST before or after she read the book. Which got me to thinking.

I read THE DA VINCI CODE before I saw the movie. This meant I noticed a few discrepancies, but I thought the movie didn't stray enough from the book to ruin it for me.

The same with the LORD OF THE RINGS movies. I loved them all! Yes, there were chunks of the books missing, but gee whiz, if they'd filmed every scene and included every detail, the theaters would have been forced to provide an intermission and serve a meal! (And you will notice I used the opportunity to include Viggo in the blog. Shameless, I know, but I didn't think you'd mind.)

I know I'm not the only person on the planet who hasn't yet read the HARRY POTTER books, but I have seen all of the movies. I've tried to avoid discussions on the book vs movie debates because after I see all of the movies, I intend to read the books. My daughter has all the books, and my grandson is just starting the first one (and he thinks it's grand), so I'll have someone to discuss them with later

So now I'm trying to decide what to do about STARDUST I've heard the movie is worth seeing for Robert de Niro's performance alone. And that's good enough for me! (Oh, Shari, you are sooooo shallow!)

What's your experience with books to movies? Have you been so disappointed when a movie doesn't follow the book that you've been tempted to ask for a refund? Do you always read the book first? Never?

Shari Anton
TWILIGHT MAGIC, Write Touch Readers' Award Winner
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Martha Stewart has a staff, right?

For me, every spring, the Muse of the Green Thumb emerges. It beckons me with the scent of eager soil and fresh foliage, the touch of nurturing sunshine and gentle showers.

"Plant!" it calls. "Plant!"

So I plant.

I turn the earth and add compost that's been brewing all winter. I make artistically staggered seed rows of snap peas and collard greens and rainbow Swiss chard. I scatter mesclun and parsley and mixed looseleaf lettuce in bins. I tuck seedlings of basil and dill, rosemary and oregano, tarragon and chive into the herb garden. I plant tomatoes, regular and cherry and heirloom, and bell peppers of exotic hues. I make mounds of cucumbers and zucchini, crookneck squash and Crenshaw melons. And I always add a touch of whimsy, whether it's gigantic sunflowers or purple string beans or edible nasturtiums.

When the planting's done, I slump back in my lawn chair with a satisfied sigh. This will be great, I think.

I start watering every day. New plants need lots of water.

The second week, I have to skip a day of watering, because I have a booksigning, and there just isn't time to do it before I rush off. But I'm sure the plants will be fine. Then it's two days. Then it's three.

The third week, snails have bitten off some of the seedlings. I make a note to get some of that environmentally-friendly snail killer. Since I'm on deadline, I can't go to the garden store right now.

The fourth week, the garden is overrun with weeds. Hmm. At least it's harder for the snails to make their way to the seedlings. And since I'm only remembering to water twice a week now, the weeds won't be growing too fast, right?

By the fifth week, half of my plants have disappeared. I find a day between edits to pull weeds, buy replacement plants and Sluggo, and water everything deeply for the upcoming L.A. summer heat.

By mid-summer, it's taking a good hour and a half a day to water and weed, mulch and organically keep the pests at bay. Which is why I'm only doing it when I can squeeze it in, say, once every two weeks.

Then I go on vacation...

Okay, I suppose teenagers can't be blamed if watering isn't their first priority when Mom and Dad go away for a week.

Somehow, I manage to whip the crunchy garden back into shape. Yes, my ripe peaches are the size of walnuts, my ivy has become a commune for snails, and my snap peas, though perfect, are hanging from crispy stems. But it's all fixable, and soon the harvest is coming in with a vengeance.

Crookneck squash! Collard greens! Zucchini!

Why in the heck did I plant those? I hate squash. And collard greens are bitter. The kids sure aren't going to eat them. The purple beans are a fun novelty, but they turn green when you cook them. Hmph.

I have two beautiful chocolate brown bell peppers that I've spent $57 watering. The melon vines are gorgeous and healthy–there just aren't any melons on them. And the herbs and lettuce are going to seed faster than I can harvest.

There's an enormous fig tree in my back yard. Figs ripen twice a year, in June and August. I like figs...once in a while. I don't like fig jam or fig cake or figgy pudding. And I really don't like figs on the soles of my shoes. One year I passed out bags of figs to all my neighbors, telling them to come by if they wanted more. No one replied. This year, I'm trying a barbecue sauce with a fig base. If it works, I know what my relatives will be getting for Christmas next year.

By the end of the summer, my fingernails will have dirt tattoos, I'll be sporting a shirt-sleeve tan, and I'll have harvested vegetables I could have bought at the farmer's market for about twenty bucks. What was I thinking? Next year, I'll vow, no squash, no greens, no melons. Maybe tomatoes, since they're easy to grow and we actually eat them. Tomatoes or cactus. I wonder if any weeds are edible.

That's what I tell myself every year. Then spring rolls around. I forget the bitter winter woman with the practical voice, and that April Muse comes by to whisper in my ear again.

"Plant! Plant!"

And I plant.

(I'm wading in figs. Anyone have any good recipes?)

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

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Book Trailer Videos: Boring or the Hot New Thing? by Diana Holquist

Book trailer videos are the hot new thing.

Book trailer videos are a big, huge snore.

What are book trailers, you ask?

Good question. If you've never seen one, they're like movie trailers, only there's no movie. And if you want popcorn, you've got to make it yourself. You watch book trailers on YouTube or on authors' websites. They tell the story of a book. This is the book trailer for my new book, Sexiest Man Alive. It might take a minute or two to come up on the page, but when it does, hit the little arrow in the center of the screen to play it:

I'm a geek, so I also made a bunch of er, amateur trailers. Okay, so one stars my cat. See, this is the trouble with this newfangled technology: anyone can do it. Or maybe, this is the good thing about this technology: anyone can do it. (Hi, Fluffy!)

What do you all think? Are book trailers a big huge bore? Or, are they fun, funny, and a great way to preview a book? Do you watch them when you see them on an author's website, or do you ignore them as too time-consuming and slow?

Hey, writers out there, do you have a book trailer to share? Put the URL in the comments so we can watch it and decide: book trailers--yes or no?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Elizabeth's Fritz the Dog Update

Time for an update on Fritz the dog. As you remember (or perhaps you don't, but flow with me anyway) Fritz is my middle and least-smart dog. Here is a photo of Fritz. He's looking guilty, which is pretty much his default look:

Fritz was an impulse buy on my part. I went to the Humane Society (which my husband has now banned me from) one day and there was Fritz sitting in the middle of the puppy cages. All around him were incontinent babies and Fritz was looking kind of depressed at his lifestyle. When he saw me he put his paw on the cage door as if to say, for god's sake get me out of here. So I did.

Fritz was met with mixed reviews back at my house. Max, our eighty-pound big black dog, sat on Fritz a couple of times to establish his dominance and after that was cool. Pickle, the sixteen-pound (she needs to diet) rat terrier, figured she had another subject to rule over, so she was pretty happy. My kids thought Fritz was cute, but kind of whiny. And my husband thought Fritz was very whiny. In fact, he took to calling Fritz a panty-waist and Mama's boy.

And then we had our first thunderstorm.

My other dogs could care less if it's thundering outside. Fritz, it turned out, was terrified of thunder. He trembled all over and hid. And the one place in all the house that Fritz, that not-too-bright dog, figured he was safe was under my husband's chair. That's right, the man who called him a panty-waist was going to save him from a lightning bolt.

It's been a couple of years since Fritz joined our family. My husband doesn't call him a panty-waist anymore. The other day I nearly tripped over Fritz. He was standing directly behind my husband gazing up at him worshipfully as hubby got a glass of water in the kitchen.

Hubby turned and caught me scowling down at Fritz. Hubby got a insufferably smug expression on his face. "I think he likes me."

And then he left the kitchen . . . trailed by Fritz.