Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Great Canadian Book Search

Just got back from a trip to Canada. Went to Alberta, which, for those in the states, is north of Montana, and for those in Canada…well, you know where Alberta is. Anyway, beautiful place. My brother-in-law has a quarter section (about 160 acres) in Blackfalds, near Red Deer. They have horses and hay fields, a garden and a barn—pretty much everything a city girl fantasizes about when she thinks of the country. The sky there is so low and blue, it seems like you could reach up, grab a cloud, and stuff it in your pocket. You look toward the horizon and way over at the edge of the world you can see the dark mist of rain miles away, while the sun is shining happily overhead.

Anyway, the highlight of the trip—well, there were a lot of highlights, but I’m only telling this one—was a visit to the public library in Red Deer to check my email. Alberta is booming with oil money and Red Deer is busy being prosperous. The library looked well used and maintained. And, get this—it had a café inside. Big digression here—we went to the grocery store and discovered they charge for plastic bags—4 cents a pop. To save the charge you just bring your own bags. Great way to “persuade” folks to conserve on plastic. I have cloth bags but I’m always forgetting to bring them. I’m sure if I had to pay for my plastic, I’d remember to tote my own… Good on ya, Alberta.

Anyway back to my highlight at the library. After I checked my mail, I had some time to wait around for the rest of my group. What else to do but check the romance section, right? Do they even have one? Is it prominent? And most important…do they have my books. Okay, the last is what I really cared about. I mean, doesn’t everyone want to know if their books are available? I can’t pass a bookstore without going in to see. In fact, I got pulled away from numerous bookstores all during the trip (and that means the airport, the mall, as well as the library). Largely because if my books aren’t there, my happy face disappears.

So, dear reader, I’ll bet you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what happened at the library. They were there!

I know it’s kind of corny, but I was thrilled. Happy face intact. I wanted to take a photo but, typically, I left my camera home. So you’ll just have to picture it. Blue sky, fluffy clouds close enough to touch, and me holding my books at the Red Deer Library. Oh, Canada.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Characters Waiting in the Wings

Have you ever read a book and become so intrigued by a secondary character that you wanted to have that character's story in hand Right Now? Have you ever then emailed the author to see if that character gets to be the hero or heroine of her next book?

I can't tell you how often a secondary character intrigues a writer. Sometimes it's darn hard to keep that character from playing too big a part in the book, and long after the book is done that character's own story pesters, nags, nudges, and sometimes finally gets a book of his or her own. That's how series are born!

Such was the case in the Magic trilogy. In Midnight Magic, Gwendolyn had two sisters. As part of the plot, both of those sisters were sent away from home. I kept wondering what happened to them! So Emma's story became reality in Twilight Magic, and Nicole's story is told in Magic In His Kiss (which will be on the shelves in a couple of weeks!).

Confession time. It should come as no surprise that authors are also readers, and we easily get caught up in other authors' stories.

As soon as I finished reading Scream For Me by Karen Rose, I sent her an email telling her I loved the book – then asked her for the stories of two of her secondary characters. She tells me I'll get my way with at least one of them. Made my day!!

So back to my original questions. What's your experience with secondary characters? Is there one in particular whose story you're just dying to read (or write)?

Shari Anton

Thursday, June 12, 2008

First Crushes

Who was your first crush?

I vividly remember, as a Kindergartner, sitting in front of our black-and-white TV, watching with bated breath as Timmy wrapped his loving arms around Lassie one more time on Sunday night.

I’d sigh and go to bed, wishing Timmy was MY friend.

It wasn’t that he had dimples to die for and a smile a mile wide. It wasn’t that you could lose yourself in his sparkling eyes and sigh when they welled with tears. It wasn’t even the dog--I was a cat person then.

What I adored about him was that after a day of dealing with little five-year-old brats who shoved and yelled and ran around me like rabid monkeys, Timmy was a breath of fresh air--a boy who was calm and nice, smart and expressive, noble and honest, a boy I could relate to, a boy who wouldn’t dream of pulling my pigtails. (Okay, he was also awfully cute.)

I had a major crush on Timmy.

Of course, he was one of many childhood crushes to come: the son of “The Rifleman”... Will from “Lost in Space”... Prince Philip from “Sleeping Beauty”... Michelangelo’s David. (Only a budding writer with a vivid imagination could fall in love with a cartoon and a statue!)

Well, in my wacky world of “there are no coincidences,” I found out not long ago that my neighbor’s sister, Laurie Jacobson, stole Timmy from me. It turns out she married him! Of course, his name isn’t Timmy. It’s Jon Provost. And together they’ve written and just published his biography.

I recently got the opportunity to go to one of their booksignings. Here’s a photo of Jon and me with his book, “Timmy’s in the Well”:"It’s a very revealing and well-written expose of Hollywood in the sixties and what it’s like to grow up a child star. And you know what? “Timmy” is just as engaging in person as he was on the small screen. (It’s just a matter of getting used to the mustache!)

How about you? Who was your first crush? David Cassidy? Michael J. Fox? Justin Timberlake? John Stamos? Confession time!

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 10, 2008

I'm Cooking Now!

This Carolyn Jewel and this is my first ever post to the Grand Central Cafe blog so I'll introduce myself a bit, putting in all the best parts and leaving out the boring parts. (What an amazing coincidence. That's what that I try to do when I write books!) Right. So here we go. In my day job, I'm a MS SQL Server DBA. . . .

Hey!! Wake up!

Ahem. Trying again here. Note to self: leave OUT the boring parts.

My first book for Grand Central Publishing is coming out this August. The title is My Wicked Enemy. So, far I've had one advance review show up, by Terrie Figueroa at Romance Reviews Today and she said, some of the sex scenes should probably come with a warning label, which made me laugh for reasons that would take too long to explain, aside from the obvious of course. So if such scenes bother you, this book may not be your cup of tea. (By the way, in keeping with the cooking theme, sort of, my favorite tea is Murrough's Welsh Brew.)

Over there to the right, if you're reading this at the website, you can see my cover which is pretty hot. Like the sex scenes. LOL. You can Read Chapter one here or read the the entire review over at my blog since, as of this posting, the review (being an advance review and all) isn't yet posted over at Romance Reviews Today.

Quick Introduction to My Wicked Enemy

My Wicked Enemy is about Carson Philips, a woman who grew up not knowing she was a witch or that the man who raised her is a mage (a human with magic). Alvaro Magellan and others like him, kill and/or control demons in order to protect humans. That excuse serves as a convenient cover for things that aren't at all very nice. When Carson finds out what some of those not very nice things are, she runs away. She gets found pretty quickly. By a demon warlord sworn to kill her and Magellan. Uh oh.

That's Nikodemus and Carson on the cover so you can probably guess they don't stay enemies.

An Even Quicker Contest Note

To celebrate the release of My Wicked Enemy, I'm having a Wicked Cool contest, which I would love to have you enter. Catch: you enter by joining my newsletter list, which comes out only when I have news, so it's not like you'd get to read amusing things like this blog post all the time. I know, I know. So disappointing! To make up for that, there will be wicked cool prizes. Now, on to the important stuff!

Achieving Cookie Awesomeness

I like to bake, so I thought I'd give some baking tips that make me look like some kind of super cook, even though I'm not. I love chocolate chip cookies. Looooove them. So does my son, so I like to have them on hand for his lunches. The Toll House cookie recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag is awesome, but there are a few things you can do to ensure cookie awesomeness:

  1. Use butter, not margarine;

  2. The butter should be cold-- and don't over beat it. If you do, the cookies come out looking flat and thin. Voice of experience here;

  3. Use mini chocolate chips instead of the regular size chips;

  4. Take the cookies out of the oven when the tops are still a bit white. This ensures a softer, chewier cookie. If you don't like softer and chewier, then leave them in until the tops are not white, but not burnt either. Cookie disasters, and I've had plenty, are another post altogether. The cookies that looked like fried egg whites, oh, that was just bad and sad.

A Few Extra Things Plus Other Stuff

You can find me at my website but also at My Space. But a really fun place to check out Twitter which seems silly and possibly pointless until you're following a few people, and then you get why it's fun.

I'm following a lot of writers. You can ignore the SQL Server people I follow, unless geeks are your thing. You can also search for people from your home town, say, and follow them. I've met some cool people on Twitter. So join up, drink the Kool-Aid and follow me on Twitter. Tweet, tweet.

And lastly, just because I think these video interviews are hilarious, go check out Author Talk. I'm doing my best to get them to interview me. Jill and Gena. They rock. I'm sure I would rock too, if only they would interview me.

And now, believe it or not, I'm all done for this post. But if you have cookie questions or any other questions, leave a comment. Or send me a tweet. Or whatever. Thanks for reading!

Carolyn Jewel

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Billionaire Sheik COP ex-Navy Seal Chef. Or, What is the Sexiest Career? by Diana Holquist

"Cooking, like making love, is best done right or not at all."

This is the opening statement of James, the chef hero of my new book, Hungry for More.

I tried to use this line on my family last night, hoping to get out of making dinner, and all I got were blank stares and few, "oooh, yucks!" from my kids.

This is just one difference between the real world and romance novels.

But in the romance novel world, as in real life, there are definitely sexier job choices for men: ex-Navy SEAL, COP, sheik, billionaire. So what about a chef? Is it sexy enough for hero status?

When I think about all this, I think about the man I married, who is the love of my life. And yet, he cannot boil water. He also is not an ex-Navy SEAL sheik billionaire. And yet, at this stage in my life, I'd give up that for a man who could cook.

Oh, and fix the car.

Nah, I guess I'll just stick with my professor. We can always walk to the pizza joint.

What's your idea of the sexiest career?

Visit my website!