Monday, September 29, 2008

Dancing at the finish line

I love writing. But more than that, I love having written.

Case in point: On Saturday I finished Tidings of Great Boys, book five in my six-book "All About Us" YA series. I typed THE END, had a little cry from sheer relief, and then leaped to my feet and did a Snoopy dance all around the living room. Because for writers, there's nothing quite like that feeling of accomplishment when you finish a book. That end-of-the-road, boy-I'm-glad-to-be-here feeling that makes you want to get up and shake it with more abandon than you ever would on a dance floor, LOL!

How do we celebrate the big accomplishments? Back in caveman days, they'd bag that mastodon and come back to camp and barbecue it, then have a celebration dance, right? A person gets married, they dance. A company has a good year, they throw a Christmas party and dance. Ya gotta love the human impulse to lift those knees and wave those arms in a way that says, "Woohoo! We did it!"

So I figure I'm not just being a loon and embarrassing the neighbors because I forgot to close the drapes. I'm carrying on a human impulse that has been part of our DNA for millennia.

That's my novel, and I'm sticking to it.

Shelley Adina

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hooked on Books

I did some major reading over the past few months, and thought I'd see how my reading list stacks up to yours!

From the library: I caught up on Tess Gerritsen. Haven't yet caught up on Amanda Quick and Lee Child but am working on it. I also discovered Anne Perry.

I've become a fan of: Joanna Bourne, Karin Tabke, Deanna Raybourn, and Ariana Franklin.

I found I still love: Lori Handeland, Isabel Sharpe, Karen Rose, Elizabeth Holt and Susan Crandall.

Currently on the iPod: World Without End by Ken Follett, and all three books of Nora Roberts' In The Garden trilogy. Does anyone else have an iPod that doesn't have music on it? Honest, all that's on mine are audio books.

Bought last night: The Edge of Desire by Stephanie Laurens, and Seduction of a Proper Gentleman by Victoria Alexander.

My to-be-read pile isn't any smaller than it was at the beginning of summer. Read a few books, add a few more!

So where does my list (this is partial, btw) coincide with yours? Or what book or authors have you read lately that you'd like to recommend?

Shari Anton

MAGIC IN HIS KISS, Available Now

Friday, September 12, 2008

Powers of Observation

Every time I hear the phrase--a writer's eye for details--I cringe. I'm the person who can drive past a weathered four-story building on my daily trip to the gym and say, how long has THAT been there? I'm always losing my car in parking lots. I can re-watch movies I saw years ago, because I don't remember how they ended. Last week, I spent hours perusing masterpieces in a museum I've been to before.

My husband, on the other hand, whose interest in writing tends toward writing code for computer programs, recollects in minute detail every stage on which he's performed in the last 10 years, knows where he left a specific cable in a garage full of wires, and can play "name that cityscape."

I'm not alone. My good friend and fellow author, Lauren Royal, suffers from the same affliction. When we attend conferences or writer's retreats together, it's like the blind leading the blind as we lose ourselves in the hotel hallways or on the cruise ship. Lauren can't remember what waitresses look like. I don't recall if I've heard the speaker before. Neither of us know which way's north.

So how do we detail-challenged authors manage to write?

I think romance writers may not necessarily have an eye for PHYSICAL details, but we have great powers of EMOTIONAL observation. I may not be able to picture the restaurant I went to for my 30th birthday, but I remember distinctly the warmth of being surrounded by friends and family. I don't know which football game it was, but I remember the way I choked up when my kids played "The Star-Spangled Banner." I can't recall my sixth-grade classmates, but I remember the horrible humiliation of being picked last for the softball team. I have trouble envisioning the face of my first high school crush, but I'll never forget the dizzying passion of falling in love. I don't remember the details of giving birth--what was in the room, the color of the curtains, what I talked about for 18 hours--but I clearly recall the utter joy of holding my new baby in my arms.

Emotion, after all, is what's most important in a romance. The details I can invent. (But believe me, I'd never invent a manor for the hero that had the convoluted blueprint of some of the hotels I've been in!)

So how are your powers of observation? Does anyone share my curse? Give me the...details.

Oh, one more thing...If you get a moment, please go here to vote for my Danger's Kiss book trailer (voting is the dark box in the upper left):

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, September 10, 2008

Parlez vous Sheep? Plus a contest thingee.

It's amazing how much French I've forgotten since college yet at the same time it's surprising how much I recall. I would not be helpless in France. Or Quebec, for that matter, which is kind of reassuring. Except tout les monde would have to speak very sloooowwwly for me.

Besides English and slowly spoken French, I also speak dog and cat and possibly some peacock. The first two are rather useful. When my dog Fudge Carolyn's dog, the chihuahua Fudge(aka The Fudgester, Fudgie or Speed Brick) barks and turns in a circle he's either thrilled I'm home, begging for a snack or needs to go outside.

Jasper, Carolyn's Tonkinese CatIf my cat Jasper (aka Jazzman or Devil Cat) knocks stuff off shelves he's either hungry and there's no food, someone has not cleaned the kitty litter or he's retaliating for some slight. Like I didn't let him out to cherchez les femmes or something. (Actually, he's had the operation, you know, and he isn't allowed outside because cats are, I am sorry to say, eliminating ground nesting birds at an alarming rate. Indeed, in the county where I live, Meadowlarks are now rare.) But sometimes he glares at me before he does something evil or even just because. Then at night he sleeps under the covers against my stomach and all is forgiven. He also MUST be in the same room I am. He's 17 now and slowing down a bit.

When the peacock imitates a child in distress it means he's lonely and is hoping some hot feathered babe will pay him a call. The picture, by the way, is of Angus. He just showed up one day and hung around for the good company I guess. Angus The Peacock walking in the field looking for chicks He actually did have some girlfriends for a while, until we noticed the result was more peafowl. Then we ran around like um, idiots, trying to catch baby peafowl and give them away. Lots of takers!

This is Thirsty. She was a bummer lamb, meaning her mother wouldn't take her for whatever reason and so lived in our kitchen and/or utility room until we were sure should would live. Then she lived on the deck for a while and then when she was strong enough and big enough, out into the field. For such a sick lamb at the start she was often very Thirsty. Thirsty the Sheep Thirsty is now the Alpha Ewe. That's usually the one smart enough to know who's passing out the good food and when so she's always first in line and the other sheep follow like, er, sheep, in case there's leftovers. Her primary word is, no surprise, Baaa. When she was still bottle-fed she would run up and down the fence bleating about being thirsty.

Lastly, this is Mel The Rooster. He is mean. Which you can probably tell if you study the picture a bit. Mel The Mean RoosterWhoever's getting the eggs better watch their feet, because he pecks. You better believe he was thinking about pecking my feet when I took that picture. But I'm faster than I look and my camera has a telephoto lens. He has a lot of girlfriends who provide eggs.

So, now you've met some of the menagerie where I live. Do you have a menagerie of your own or maybe just a pet or two? Tell me about one or some in the comments and I'll send one commenter a signed copy of My Wicked Enemy. Amusing gets points. You could lie if you want, or talk about the pony you wanted but never got. Comment away! Please.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

When Your Characters Come to Life. Literally. By Diana Holquist

Imagine my surprise when I got a letter a few weeks ago from Josh Toby.  For those of you who've read Sexiest Man Alive, you know that Josh Toby is, well, the sexiest man alive.  (See towel man on left.) 

He's a character in my book.  I made him up. 

Or did I? 

Seems there's another Josh Toby, a doctor in Texas, a real Josh Toby.  Here's part of the letter he sent me: 

"Dear Ms. Holquist: I feel compelled to contact you after it has come to my attention that your recent work, Sexiest Man Alive, has been based on my life."


He included proof of his claim, including a picture of himself, a copy of his drivers license, and other documents that show he has the same name, is the same age, and matches the general description of the Josh Toby in the book. Although, as he says, "I would have chosen to include more action sequences/love scenes."

Luckily, he said he'd forego any legal action in exchange for a signed copy of the book and first rights of refusal to "play Josh Toby in the motion picture or Broadway production." 

You got it, Josh.  

I'd post his picture here, as he is indeed quite adorable. But he is, after all, a doctor, and I don't want to get him in any trouble for moonlighting as a fictional character in my book. 

Now, with Hungry for More hitting the shelves this week, I wonder, will a James LaChance appear out of the woodwork?  And will he be able to cook? And will he find me, and demand restitution? 

I sure do hope so.  I'd love to meet him, too. 

Have you ever had a "character" contact you? Have you ever been a character in someone's book? I think it would freak me out to read about a Diana Holquist. But maybe not....if she were as young and thin and breathtaking as me.  (Cough, cough...)

Have a great week, everyone!


Visit my website to win free chocolate in my Happy Endings contest.

Monday, September 01, 2008

And the winner is....

No, you don't win the guy. I just though you could use some eye candy.

The winner of the $25 online gift certificate to either Barnes and Noble or Amazon, your choice is.....drumroll....


To claim your prize, email me at

Thanks for participating everyone. I have a lot more contests like this one, exclusively for members of the WildeWomenVIP Lounge. To sign up just go to For the last month we've been having bi-weekly drawings giving away the free books I got at the RWA conference. There's still a ton of books left so if you want in on the freebies, join the Wilde Women Today. (PS--we have another grab the widget contest going on over there as well.)