Wednesday, October 31, 2007

CAKE, Baby!

My friend Dana has been doing an homage to cake on her blog...and what do I plan to write my NaNo about? Hmmm? CAKE!!


She is such a good pal. Now...what is the story?


a cake decorating competition?

designing a cake for a wedding?

someone who makes cakes for a restaurant?

cake cookbook author and the food photog?


hmmm....and yummmmm!


Monday, October 29, 2007

Stealing Pictures

Michelle put up pix...so I thought it was only right that I pirated them. I mean, what are friends for? This is me, Michelle and Gwen of Brazen Hussy fame.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Who Says Whining Doesn't Pay Off?

Emerald City Writers Conference - 3rd dose

I cannot beleive I made it to an 8 am class. I must truly be serious about this writing thing. Who knew?

Ann Roth & Alexis Morgan presented Making Your Characters Real, showing us their character charts. Then it was on to Block Busting : Putting the Joy Back in Writing with Laurie Schnebly Campbell. This was a great class. She explained why writers block happens (self-preservation) and why white knuckling it through isn't the best option.

Mary Buckham's Seven Deadly Sins of Synopsis Writing was up next.
The most common stumbling blocks
1. Too many names to track
2. Too many details
3. Making it passive instead of active.
4. Not finishing the synopsis.
5. Not using transitions to change POV, time, or place.
6. Not unfolding the synopsis as the story unfolds.
7. Raising questions in a synopsis.
8. Vagueness.

Yes, there are 8...but the 8 deadly sins just sounds silly. Susan Lyons' Wild Mind workshop played into the writers block one, teaching us to let our mind do its work and get out of the way.

After the workshops were over it was time for lunch...and a moving keynote from Jane Porter which left the room in tears. She not only writes with emotion, she delivers it in person.

For a complete change of tone, there was the raffle for the baskets, proceeds benefiting DAWN. I was at a table with Cherry Adair, who closes the conference each year with her special brand of motivation. She was so excited to get to her presentation, she put her hands on her props and put 'magic' in them.

I beleive in magic...8 of the 10 people at our table won a basket! Gwen won another (called the Brazen Hussy basket, fitting for a 2 basket winner)...and I was up front, hoping with each basket that I was the winner. I didn't want to be the only one at the table without a basket...

My whinig must have been truly pathetic. One of the annoucers of the raffle (who had way too much fun listing what was in Gwen's basket) gave me hers! I kid you not!

Then it was time for Cherry! Each year, she asks politely (Ha!) for all the writers to commit to finishing a book before the next years conference. Those of us that rise to the challenge come up to the front and get certificates...and this year she even made up pins!

And the cherry on top (Ha!)...she gave 3 scholarships to next years conference, AND a scholarship to Nationals! WOWZA!

That is generous and amazing, but the best part was standing up with those who finished their book. Both of the women on either side of me said they wouldn't have finished their book without Cherry's enthusiasm and the fear of not being able to stand up when she asked who finished. How fab is that?

My Cherry book, HER CINDERELLA COMPLEX...comes out in January/October from Samhain.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

What to do when your middle sags...and drags...

Emerald City Writers Conference...part deux

For some reason, I didn't sleep well last night. Took me forever to fall asleep, then I was up at 2, and finally gave up at 5. Sad, all this space to myself and I can't even sleep!

Since I was awake, I had no problem making the early morning workshops. Susan Mallery talked about Writing Faster, and since people came to hear what I had to say about that, I knew it would be packed! She scared us all with a schedule, but had practical advice for how to increase our output. Namely :
  • write every day. Writing in bursts leads to not writing in bursts.
  • increase your daily page count slowly. When you are comfortable with that, increase it again.
  • schedule in emergency weeks. Life happens.
  • Write forward. If you like to edit, do that after your pages are in for the day
I liked the first workshop so much, I stayed for the second - How to Prop Up Your Sagging Middle...and not your tummy! I love beginnings and endings, so the middle is the part that makes me work...hmmm...I like my hair and my toes...wow, this workshop is a metaphor for life...but I digress... Some hints :
  • Have a midpoint. This gives you somethingto write to, and once it is over, it is all downhill from there.
  • The middle is what makes your characters relatable and likeable. It is where you explain what you introduced.
  • If things are dragging, make something happen. (I use penguins, she suggested burning down the town!)
  • Never have more than a half page of introspection.
At lunch they did the basket raffle - buy raffle tickets and maybe you'll win a basket full of goodies...alas, I didn't win...but Gwen did :)

I just ran up stairs to rip off my shoes...they were cutting of circulation in my swolen feet! No more of those until summer! So...now I am in comfier clothes (since I don't think tennies go with my dress) and off to learn some more :)

Leah Hultenschmidt has demons all over her desk!


Emerald City Writers Conference - Day 1

I made it all the way to Bellevue without falling asleep! Quite the accomplishment, I assure you. I even found a killer parking spot and my room without a problem - except for the broken ice maker on my floor. But I digress...

Then it was time to find the conference gurus and sign up. Right in the lobby fellow Dreams & Desires and Samhain author Susan Lyons was waiting...with chocolate! She directed me to the registration downstairs where I picked up my goodie bag (more chocolate, bat erasers, a Kate Walker book and a mini notepad were the highlights). I found Shelli Stevens for a quick hug, then retreated to my room to relax.

At dinner I quickly latched on to PHS reviewer and the only person I've ever mat who may love category romance more than me, Marilyn Shoemaker. We gushed about the gift baskets and giggled as Jenna Petersen insisted on taking a picture of the three Jenna's at our table. She promised to put a 'Jenna is not fat, just pregnant' disclaimer on it, but we'll see...

Christina Dodd gave a funny talk about how there is no 'right way' to write a book, giving hilarious examples of how Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jayne Ann Krentz, Julia Quinn, etc do it...I'll have to be sure to give her an appropriate hand gesture for her insights. In case you were wondering...Christina can write a book backwards and Lisa Kelypas bought herself a HUGE diamond ring for inspiration.

Then it was time for the editor and agent panel. They were asked all the obligatory questions - what is hot right now, what have they seen too much of, what do they hate most in submissions. It turns out hte answer to the last one is tape. Seriously...stop taping your submissions. And be sure to get the postage right. And nobody send Leah Hultenschmidt demon stories for a while...she has them all over her desk!

more later...

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Long and Short of It

My short story, A Familiar Ring, is up at Long And Short Reviews as their free read of the week! I love this story about love that defies the lost and found.

Raffling Off Editors...

Tired of submitting to slush piles and getting rejected before the editors even see it?

Want a chance to get your book before a print editor???

Want a guaranteed that the editor actually reads it?

You don't ever get that request for a FULL manuscript??

Well here is your chance!! Win a chance to have your completed or nearly completed manuscript read and receive a one page critique from Hilary Sares, Kensington editor (Debut, Brava, Approdisia lines)

YES!!!! FIFTEEN people will win this amazing opportunity. How do you win this amazing chance??

RAFFLE -- $100 per entry. Enter as many times as you want.

Rules: You may enter as many times as you want at $100 a "ticket".The more times you enter, the better your chances are. Winners will be randomly selected from a drawing of names on December 21st, 2007

~~~~~~~~ RUNNERS up will get....
2nd place Runners up.... (#16 and #17 winners) Chris Keeslar, Senior Editor, Dorchester Publishing (Leisure Books and Love Spell) will read and critique 100 pages ~~you get to put a proposal of 100 pages before Dorchester's editor, and receive 1 page critique. Again, he will consider buying if you impress him! (Historical Romances, Magna, Contemporary, Paranormal)

Leah HultenschmidtEditor for Dorchester Publishing(Leisure Books and Love Spell) ~~ will read and critique a 100 pages! Again, she will consider buying if you impress her!(Historical Romances, Contemporary, Paranormal)

3rd place Runner up (#18, #19, #20 and #21 winners) Leanne Burroughs Publisher/Editor of Highland Press, will read and critique 4 full manuscripts -the publisher/owner of Highland Presswill read and giveeach a 1 page critique.Again, she will consider buying. (Historical Romance, Paranormal, Contemporary,Mainstreams YA, Childrens) Trade size PRINT Books

Details....The raffle runs through midnight EST December 15, 2007 The random drawing will be held on: December 21, 2007 so 21 people will have a very Merry Christmas!!! Winners will be notified by phone and email on that day. All monies raised go to help author Dawn Thompson's hospital and medical bills. Dawn recently had a bad fall. She is a new writer so has to wait for nearly a year or more to start receiving her royalties. She doesn't have family to help her and has a lot of needs not being covered by her insurance. Money will go to help her pay for medicine not covered, and other needs arising from her recovery. All drawings will be final. No Refunds

Any questions about the contest email ::
Deborah Macgillivray
Kensington, Dorchester, & Highland Press author
writer@deborahmacgi llivray.co. uk

To enter
Name:
email address (working email addy for you will be billed $100 through Paypal):
Penname, if any:
Your full address:
Your Phone number:
The Title of your manuscript:
The genre of your manuscript:
Is your manuscript completed? Yes NO If no - expected completion date

Once your email application is received you will be sent a "ticket" bill through Paypal at $100.00 for each entry.You pay enter has many times as you want to increase your odds. You will be helping a fellow writer get back on her feet after trauma, and you finally get that GUARATEED chance to be read by some top print editors.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So I was...

...OK I was procrastinating. HUGE shock. I really need to get my mojo back. ANYWAY...I was mentioned in an article. Who knew?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Do you think this quiz thinks I'm a man?

Trish & Fiona have done this recently...mine is OK, but I do love to cook, though nothing can be bad about a Chocolatessen!
Your home is a

Athletic Magnate's Headquarters

Your kitchen is someplace you never go, because you "have people for that." There's a Chocolatessen, which is rapidly becoming your favorite room of the house. Having one is also becoming a trend among your wealthy neighbors. Your master bedroom is the size of a small barn, with carpet thick enough to reach your ankles. Your study has hardback editions of every classic ever written, plus a special edition of Rich Dad, Poor Dad with the parts you ghost-authored highlighted. One of your garages holds your collection of ferraris, and is measured in acreage.

Your home also includes a guest wing and private quarters for your servants. Your guests enjoy your animatronic replica of the cantina at Mos Eisley. Outside is your hedge maze and gardens, meticulously tended by a team of world-class botanists.

And, you have a pet -- a doberman pincer named "Warren".

Below is a snippet of the blueprints:


Find YOUR Dream Home!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Busy Busy

Not only am I hustling through life, trying my best not to vomit all the time...the kids are BUSY! Really, this should be the part of parenting they warn you about. The school concerts. field trips, art classes, homework...these are the hardest working tiny people!

I don't know how those uber-scheduled kiddos do it. Mine only get one extra thing at a time (because Mommy can't handle more) and they get burned out with that! Hmmm....perhaps I'll have to explore this and try my hand at writing womens fiction.

Nah...I like the escape! I have two stories vying to be written as my NaNo, which is nice. Cupcake (which might not have a love scene) and Cake (again, with the prudish characters). If I wasn't writing something for Phaze right now, I'd swear preggo brain is rejecting all things sexy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

For the love of Category...

Dear Author has had a great discussion about category romance this week. I thought I'd pull some of my favorite quotes :)

I think it’s incredibly hard to write category. -- Charlene
Teglia

Writing a single title is like producing Swan Lake–the big stage, all the
lights, the choreography, the cast, the costumes, the music. Category is
producing Swan Lake in a phone booth. It takes a lot of skill to pull it off. --
Nora Roberts (attributed to a freind of hers)

Category romances are some of my favorite reading material when I’m extra
busy and need something to read for short periods of time -- Angela
James

I’ve always considered them the hardest genre for an author to write. There’s
just so much that has to go on in such a short amount of time. I’m always in awe
of writers that do it well. -- Sarah McCarty

I find great categoricals perfect when it comes to giving an emotional
punch–good story, goes straight into the relationship, then Pow! great conflict,
and very satisfying ending. -- Gennita Low

70 Days of Sweat...


or...a great way to get your Nano-prep & NaNo novel done :)


I think people work better as a group...there is an accountability facctor that really keeps motivation rolling. This time around, the goddesses of 70 Days of Sweat coordinated it so the span starts a bit before NaNo (October 15th) rushes through the month of words, and winds up on January 15th...yes that is more than 70 days, but the beauties are giving us holidays off...23 days of them!


Come on, how can you say no when they are being so generous?


Alison Kent, Jo Leigh, HelenKay Dimon, Larissa Ione, Stephanie Tyler, Shiloh Walker, Lauren Dane, Diana Peterfreund, Jaci Burton, and Portia Da Costa are offering their support during the process. So far over 200 people have signed up, including MG Braden, Susanna Carr, Shelli Stevens, Bronwyn Jameson, Delilah Devlin ... too many people to name...so...


Go sign up on the website, and write a few pages today...manuscript pages if you aren't NaNo-ing, do up a character chart if you are.

Monday, October 15, 2007

At it again...



I'm loving up on a man at the Pink Heart Society. Hey, what do you expect? It's Male On Monday. That is like an international internet holiday, every single week!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Want a free e book?

Phaze is having a reader survey...you answer the questions, send an email...you get a free ebook and a chance to win some print books...and if you let them know Jenna Allen told you about it...I get publisher kudos :)

TO PARTICIPATE: Until we get the form active, please paste the questions below and send your answers to klively (at) phaze (dot) com. We will try to get your book to you ASAP. Thanks for participating.

What is your e-mail address? (So we can send your free eBook)

Name of Phaze Author who referred you to this survey :: Jenna Allen

How many eBooks do you buy a month?

Where do you most often buy eBooks?

When purchasing directly from a publisher, what do you consider to be the most important factor?

Would you be more inclined to buy from a publisher that offered regular sales and discounts?

Would you be more inclined to buy from an eBook publisher that offered print books?

If you could change one thing about the website of your favorite publisher, what would it be?

How do you most often hear about a new eBook publisher?

From which publishers do you most often buy eBooks? CHOOSE FIVE

What are your favorite subgenres of erotic romance? CHOOSE FIVE

Which subgenres are you least likely to buy? CHOOSE FIVE

Which subgenres would you most like to see published? CHOOSE THREE

If you knew an eBook was going to print, would you wait to buy the print version?

Do you buy anthologies?

If you buy anthologies, which do you prefer?

What length preference do you buy most often?

What heat level of erotic romance do you prefer?

Comments?

Thank you for answering our survey! Please write the name of the Phaze eBook you would like to receive for free. (Visit Phaze.com for our current catalog).

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Losing NEXT...

It seems my favorite lines are tragically unpopular...so sad. This week Harlequin announced they are discontinuing the NEXT line and merging Everlasting with SuperRomance. For Everlasting authors this has a silver lining - SuperRomance is a successful and consistent line. For the authors and readers of NEXT...well, the readers are sad there weren't more of us!

I loved that they were different. Sometimes edgy, sometimes sweet. Plus, they had the best cover art of any line. At least they are in good company with other lines I loved. Temptation. Duets. Flipside...




Friday, October 05, 2007

My MySpace?

Good Night! How do you people get it to look like anything? I've wasted way too much time trying to figure that beast out. I can't figure out how to add anything, or delete the boring bits...I tell you! I think it might be that Profile Beta thingee...but still! Who would make a MySpace right now? Well, me, obviously.

I know, I've been putting off MySpcae so it serves me right in a sense. But today someone told me of this great place to get free MySpace themes. I found it, quite cute some of them...but can't for the life of me see where to enter the HTML code. AND...the MySpace helper thingee to take off the boring bits...no help. It just tells you to enter some HTML...but not where to enter it.

So...I tried. And I'm not trying any more for a while!

http://www.myspace.com/jennabayleyburke